Extend the Lifespan of Home Fixtures and Appliances

Something goes wrong with the air conditioner or the toilet clogs when you least expect it. Unless you’re Mr. or Ms. Fixit, you’ll have to go to the expense of calling a plumber, electrician or appliance expert to solve the problem. Unless a part has worn out, pilot error (that’s you or someone in the household) caused the malfunction.

Appliances and fixtures can be temperamental because they’re only designed to work under certain conditions, so take time to learn a little about how each product functions. Even if you don’t think you’re handy, you can do a little preventive maintenance and quick fix to handle minor problems.

To extend the life of your appliances and systems, here are 10 helpful suggestions:

  • Keep all booklets, warranties and operating instructions for every system and appliance in one convenient place.
  • Follow suggested scheduled maintenance, such as bi-annual checkups for air condition systems.
  • Keep supplies on hand – a plunger, drain cleaner, filters, etc.
  • Change heating and air filters once a month.
  • Clothes need room to tumble to get clean, so don’t overload washers.
  • Empty dryer filters with every load.
  • Don’t put potato peelings, fibrous vegetables such as celery, cooking oil or grease down any drain or disposal.
  • Run water before during and after using the disposal.
  • Put a mesh trap in your shower drain to catch hair and soap buildup.
  • Paper towels, Kleenex, baby wipes and cat litter can quickly clog a toilet, even if the box says the contents are safe to flush.

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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Top Four Home Design Trends for 2019

An important benefit of homeownership is that you can design and decorate the property to your tastes, but sometimes you need a few ideas to get started.  Should you paint or wallpaper? Should you stay safe with neutrals or go wild with color? The answers may lie in trendspotting for 2019.

Color over neutrals. This is the year to embrace color – reds, blues, greens and yellows in tones that look terrific against a backdrop of black and white. Meanwhile, grays as neutrals have had their day.

Patterns. The global look of Ikat, Morrocan Trellis, and Shibori is giving way to large classical florals with a modern edge, including bohemian abstracts. Consider the lush wallpaper and fabric patterns of Timorous Beasties.

Style-mixing. Mid-century modern and minimalistic décor have been hugely popular over the last few years, but now the styles are looking dated. One reason why is that to be most effective, they’re rarely mixed with other styles making a home look more like a museum. Feel free to mix furniture and accessories of compatible eras.

Comfort. While metal, acrylics and wood furniture look great, don’t be afraid to soften the edges. You’ll see sumptuous fabrics overlaying stuffed chairs and sofas.  Make your bedding inviting with plush duvets filled with lightweight down.

Other trends include one-of-a-kind artisan goods such as bronze sculpture, oil, acrylic and mixed media paintings; lighter than darker wood floors, and accents of brass, pewter and chrome.

Whatever you choose, it’s your home, so enjoy!

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kansas City Realty Announces New President

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices (BHHS) Kansas City Realty announced today that Jim Raines has assumed the role of president. Jim Manning, former president, will continue as managing broker of the Lenexa, Kansas and Overland Park, Kansas offices and will work alongside Jim Raines to grow the offices. Manning had been at the helm of BHHS Kansas City Realty since the introduction of the brand in the Kansas City market in 2013.

“Jim (Raines) has a proven track record of success in growing offices and helping them flourish,” Manning said. “I’m excited to work alongside him to continue to develop the brand in Kansas City and support our terrific agents.”

Raines has 22 years of experience in real estate, ten of which have been in management. His career has taken him to six different states, where he successfully launched start-up offices and turned around struggling offices, largely with Keller Williams Realty, increasing their profitability. Most recently, Raines was a member and co-owner of the Shanan Group in Olathe, Kansas. Together with his wife and business partner, Shanan Steere Raines, they’ve sold more than 1400 homes in their lifetime.

Raines will focus on growing the profitability and productivity of the BHHS Kansas City Realty office, with a goal of increasing agents to 150+ and office locations to five.

“I’m really excited to join the Berkshire Hathaway family — I truly believe it is a family.” Raines said. “Having had the opportunity to observe the agents from the outside looking in, the comradery and the fellowship they exhibited was amazing. They have one of the most unique company cultures I’ve ever experienced and I’m extremely excited to be a part of that.”

Get A Home Warranty

Whether you’re a homebuyer or seller, a home warranty can give you peace of mind. Also known as a home service contract, the home warranty typically covers mechanical systems and built-in appliances in the home.

Not to be confused with homeowner’s insurance, which covers damage from external forces, home warranties are designed to fill the gap between the original manufacturer’s warranty and normal wear and tear, according to HomeServiceContract.org.

Here’s how it works. If your AC goes out, or your dishwasher breaks, you contact the home service company and describe the problem. The dispatcher will send the appropriate licensed plumber, electrician, or appliance repair specialist to service the call. Expect to pay a service fee of about $50 or higher for each visit.

Remember that home warranties don’t provide blanket service. They don’t cover repairs or replacement for pre-existing conditions or for elderly mechanicals that are beyond their useful lifespan. But they are good for emergencies if your toddler clogs the toilet trying to “wash” his teddy bear.

For home sellers, home service contracts improve the home’s marketability to homebuyers and diminishes liability. For buyers, warranties can absorb the costs of unexpected repairs or replacements. Extended coverage for non-built-ins such as clothes washers, dryers, and stand-alone refrigerators is usually available.

When you think about the wide range of systems and appliances that it takes to operate your home, a home service contract is a bargain at approximately $400 to $500 and could pay for itself with one use.

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

Don’t Deal with Unrepresented Homebuyers

To some people, the idea of paying third parties to find you a home, close the sale, and later, help you sell your home, seems like a formality they can live without. But there are many more jobs your agent performs for you, and the most important is your protection.

When your home is listed with your real estate professional, it’s marketed worldwide, including to other real estate professionals.  The first place it’s listed is in the multiple listing service, which has compensation rules that allow other licensed professionals to bring their qualified homebuyers to see your home. If your home sells under contract, they’re compensated by your real estate professional.

The reason this system has worked so well for decades is that the only homebuyers who will see your home are motivated, understand the process, are willing to take the appropriate steps, and are ready to buy.

Unrepresented homebuyers may come to your door and ask to see your home, but beware. They think your listed home is an open invitation to look around. Other buyers simply aren’t quite ready to buy, or they’d have their own real estate professional. Whatever their reasons, they’re strangers who haven’t been vetted and shouldn’t cross your threshold.

It’s best not to discuss your home, your reasons for selling, or provide other information to unrepresented buyers. Instead, direct them to your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kansas City Realty professional. They’re trained to help both buyers and sellers.

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

Co-borrowers and Mortgages

First-time homebuyers may face challenges when it comes to securing a mortgage loan. They may not have a long enough credit or work history, and they are often paying off student loans, among other reasons. Many turn to co-borrowers to make their dream homes come true.

Co-borrowers can be anyone, including a spouse, who is willing to be co-liable for repaying the mortgage loan. According to The Lenders Network, a co-borrower’s income, assets, and better debt-to-income ratio (DTI) can be equally considered with the main borrower’s, improving the chances of getting loan approval for more money and with a lower interest rate. Lenders will consider the credit scores of both the main borrower and co-borrower, but will use the lower of the two.

A co-borrower is equally liable on the loan documents regarding repayment, but they may not have ownership interest in the home. In this case, the co-borrower is called a co-signer and is not on the title of the property, meaning the co-signer can’t borrow against the home as an asset.

If the home is sold, the co-borrowers split the proceeds, while a co-signer is not entitled to split any profit. Because the co-borrower or co-signer risks their own DTI ratio and potentially their credit score, as well as liability for loan payments should the main borrower default, why would they participate?

It’s a matter of love, trust and the expectation that once the main borrower’s financial situation improves, they’ll refinance the home into their name only.

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

Why You Only Need One Real Estate Professional

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When you’re searching for a home, it makes sense to put all available resources to work for you. That’s why it’s tempting for some buyers to communicate with more than one real estate professional. But, using multiple professionals in the same area could work against you.

Real estate professionals are state-licensed and most choose to specialize in their own cities or their own neighborhoods. They have access to the same multiple listing data as others. If you’re working with multiple agents, sooner or later they’ll find out, and you may miss being the first to see new listings coming onto the market. They’ll show those to dedicated buyers before notifying you.

Your Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices agent has all the information, contacts, and experience you need to find a home, plus the backing of one of the most respected names in the real estate industry. He or she will network with other professionals to help you meet your goals. With such a strong support system, you’ll be quickly apprised of relevant homes for sale as well as those coming on the market.

The best course is to be honest about your goals and preferences. If you’re interested in more than one community, say so and ask for a referral to a specialist in the other area. Both professionals will help you with enthusiasm.

What you don’t want to do is keep your intentions secret. No professional can meet your expectations if they don’t know what you really want.

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