Five Safe Strategies for Homebuying

With home prices and interest rates rising, you may be wondering if now is the best time to buy a home. The answer is always yes but there are ways to buy wisely and safely.

Save for a down payment. The more money you can put down, the better borrowing terms you’ll get on your mortgage. Establish a firm budget. Limit credit card spending and pay down your debts. Put your next raise into savings.

Choose wisely. Your home should improve your lifestyle, but not cripple you with debt. It should serve your household’s needs for at least five to ten years, so consider location, neighborhood, commute times, size, number of bedrooms, amenities and condition.

Buy within your means. Your payment, including interest and taxes, should be no more than 28-30 percent of your gross income or 40-42 percent of your income including existing debt. As your income improves, you’ll be able to meet other life goals, such as growing your family, starting a business, or buying more property.

Buy for the long term. The longer you own your home, the more equity, or ownership, you have and the less you owe the bank. Think of equity like savings you’ll get back when you sell or rent the property some day.

Take care of your property. Keeping your home repaired and updated is the best thing you can do to protect your investment. A home in top condition always sells for more money than homes in less desirable condition.

It always a good idea to consult your financial advisor.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!

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BHHS Kansas City Realty Recognized for Top Performance in 2017

LENEXA, Kan. — Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices (BHHS) Kansas City Realty earned a spot on the Kansas City Business Journal’s “Top Residential Real Estate Firms” List, ranking 14th. Twenty-five BHHS Kansas City Realty agents were also honored in BHHS’ national awards recognition program for their high volume and number of transactions:

  • Chairman’s Circle — Diamond: The Andy Blake Group
  • Chairman’s Circle — Platinum: Matt & Mark Toepfer and T Group Realty
  • Chairman’s Circle — Gold: Chris Manning; Scott Strevell and KC Homes 365; The Jeff Manning Team
  • President’s Circle: Kyle Blake; Kyle Hutchings & Wendy Manning; Luke Zeller
  • Leading Edge Society: Austin Short; Bala Subramaniam; Cathy Claudell; Don & Kathy Mayer; Judy Jones & Penny Lawrence; Gina Bailey and Proper Home KC; Spencer Bishop; Tom Elliott
  • Honor Society: Bruce Droge; Chris Conley; Chris Hutchings; Leanne Knisely; Lori Robben; Mikki Plaskett; Rebekah Groebe; Tom Finholm, Jr.; Will Thomas

In addition, Andy Blake, leader of The Andy Blake Group with BHHS Kansas City Realty, was appointed to the National REthink Council, an exclusive group of top-producing, motivated young agents from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brokerages across the country.

“We have a fantastic group of agents here, and they deserve all the accolades they earned in 2017,” Jim Manning, president of BHHS Kansas City Realty, said. “Our elevated ranking for 2017 is just further proof of our dedication to serving the people of Kansas City.”

About Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kansas City Realty

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kansas City has more than 75 sales associates and two offices in Lenexa, KS, and Lee’s Summit, MO, servicing the greater Kansas City area. The company offers residential real estate services, corporate relocations, referral services, mortgage, and title services. Learn more and view current properties at www.bhhskcrealty.com.

Media Inquiries:

Annie Gieseke, PR Specialist
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kansas City Realty
(913) 945-3779 | annie@bhhskcrealty.com

Portable Gardens for Curb Appeal

To make your home more attractive to homebuyers, you could plant fresh flowers or you could put plants in containers and take your garden with you when you sell your home!

Containers can accent your home’s personality – like washtubs for a farmhouse look or colorful fired pottery for a bohemian vibe. They’re the perfect solution for styling a porch, entry or walkway.

Follow these easy tips to make sure your potted gardens thrive:

Pick the right container. A confined space means substituting what the plants would get if they were in the ground. You need to have enough space for plants to grow and proper drainage holes so your plants don’t become sodden.

Use fresh potting soil. Good potting soil doesn’t clump and allows roots to spread. It contains nutrients to give plants a good head start.

Group plants according to sun and water requirements. A mix of cascading plants, tall leafy plants and various flowers make a beautiful composition. You can even mix in edibles like vegetables and herbs, but make sure all the plants in one container require the same amount of sun and water.

Water frequently. Container gardens dry out quickly, especially smaller pots. Check that the container is draining properly and you don’t have to worry about overwatering. Water daily in warm weather.

Bigger is better. Larger containers hold more soil, allow plants to grow larger, offer more room for variety and require less frequent watering.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!

Should You Wait for Lower Prices and Interest Rates?

Home prices have been rising for over seven years, and mortgage interest rates for five years. Should you wait to buy a home? The numbers say no.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the median existing home price is more than $250,000, the highest it’s ever been. If you wait to buy a home, you’re losing the opportunity to build equity, or ownership, in a home of your own.

If you’re worried that homes are priced too high and you’re afraid of losing money, consider this: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for housing were 50.88% higher in 2018 versus 2000, for an average increase of 2.31 percent a year. The average inflation rate for the same period was 2.07 percent. Home ownership beat inflation by 0.24 percent.

Mortgage interest rates hit all time highs in October 1981, when a benchmark 30-year fixed rate was 18.45 percent (with 2.3 points paid by the borrower), according to Freddie Mac. The lowest took place November 2012 at 3.35 percent with 0.7 points. At about 4.5 percent for a conforming fixed-rate for those with good credit, mortgage interest rates are tantalizingly low.

The best time to buy a home is when you want to, not when you think the market timing is best. Unless you have a crystal ball, you don’t know if prices and interest rates will recede, plateau and or rise. Look at homebuying for the long term, and you’ll be glad you didn’t wait.

As always consult your financial professional for interest rate information and advice.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!

How to Decorate Your Kitchen with White Hues

Kitchens decorated with mostly white hues never seem to go out of style but there’s a fine line between white that’s serene and beautiful and white that’s stark and clinical. If you love the color white, here are some tips to make your kitchen modern and sophisticated:

  1. Include a little grey. Choosing a light grey to accompany white in your kitchen will still give your white color some dimension. It’s like a shadow that helps define the white.
  2. Go monochromatic. Monochromatic doesn’t mean using all the same hue. If you look at paint colors, tiles, countertops and appliances, there are hundreds of whites. Each white has an undertone, typically blue or yellow. Choose the shade you like best and make sure all the colors you use are in the same family.
  3. Break it up. White can bring the drama if you have an element like stainless or black matte appliances instead of white. Or choose a backsplash in a color that you can repeat in a fabric like curtains or placemats.
  4. Bring the outdoors in. A great view of side or backyard landscaping can bring a lot of color indoors. And what looks lovelier with the color white than nature’s woods and greens?
  5. Pop your white colors with art. Your only “color” in a white hued kitchen might be a contemporary painting with splashes of red, orange or blue. Accessorize with dishes or enameled cookware to complement other color accents.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!

Kitchen Design Trends for Spring 2018

Kitchen design doesn’t change as quickly as other fashions, so when trends evolve, it’s time to pay attention, especially if you’re considering remodeling your kitchen. Here are five trends to consider:

Color. White kitchens are clean, pristine, and modern but they don’t have to be monotone. Colors that are coming on strong are teal, a deep bluish green and marine blue, a saturated greenish blue. If you love white, or white and grey kitchens, think about adding more color to the island, walls, cabinets or backsplash.

Matte black fixtures. Matte black looks a lot like traditional polished bronze, so for the look to work, the style needs to be sleek, geometric and contemporary. The look is also a great update for your bathroom fixtures.

Workstations. Whether you’re baking, grilling or using the stovetop, install multiple food preparation areas for chopping and mixing. Family and friends can cook together, making meal preparation a fun bonding activity. You can separate foods for individual diets, like gluten-free, and clean up is easier.

Beverage stations. Taking the place of butler’s pantries, when no one has a butler these days, are beverage stations adjoining the kitchen. Chose the appliances around your favorite drinks, including coffee machines, smoothie makers, wine storage, juice bars and cocktail mixing.

Waterfall islands. To really show off your choice of granite, dress your island with a waterfall, where the granite cascades down the sides between the seating area and food prep area. The look is worth the extra expense.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!

Five Must-do Improvements For Resale

Most buyers want a move-in ready home that’s clean, updated and functional and they’re willing to pay more to get what they want. Here are just a few improvements you can do that will go a long way with buyers.

  1. Update the finishes. If you’re going to improve a room, update everything, even the light switches. Get rid of popcorn ceilings, which are universally reviled by buyers. If you have wood floors, pull up your old carpet and polish the wood until it gleams.
  2. Reconvert the conversions. Conversions are usually awkward, such as garages turned into living spaces. The house and garage elevations are rarely the same, the driveway leads nowhere, and there’s no place to park cars away from the next hailstorm. Offer to reconvert on request.
  3. Paint neutrally. Nothing improves a home like fresh paint. Your Berkshire Hathaway Home Services network professional can help you choose sellable colors and finishes.
  4. Fix obvious problems. If you can see it, your buyer will see it, too, so fix the sticking door, the running toilet, the leaky faucet, the busted sprinkler head, the wobbly ceiling fan, the loose doorknob, and so on. Buyers are so turned off by dirt, so plan to deep clean every nook and corner.
  5. Say “Welcome!” with curb appeal. Fresh modern paint on the front door, a new welcome mat, potted flowers, shiny new porch lights all show pride of ownership – something you want your buyers to feel, too.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!