Tuesday, February 14, 2017

BUY A NEW HOME—OR EXISTING HOME?


There are lots of advantages to buying a brand-new home. But there are also advantages to buying an older, existing home.
For first-time home buyers, here are a few things to consider—before making your final decision.

EXISTING HOMES CAN COST LESS—FOR THE SAME SPACE.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the median price for a new home nationwide in April 2016 was $320,300—but only $232,000 for an equivalent existing home. In other words, new homes right now can cost $88,000 more than existing homes—a difference of over 27%.

THERE ARE MORE EXISTING HOMES ON THE MARKET.

In that same month, 5.45 million existing homes were sold, compared to only 619,000 new homes (according to NAHB). That means only 10.2% of all homes sold in the U.S. right now are new homes.

NEWER HOMES USUALLY HAVE COOLER TECHNOLOGY.

If you enjoy newer home tech gadgets—like “smart” appliances, whole-house wi-fi, USB outlets, electric vehicle charging stations, or programmable thermostats and window treatments—just know that you’re more likely to find them in a new home.

NEWER HOMES REQUIRE LESS MAINTENANCE AND FEWER REPAIRS.

As houses age, they require more repairs and maintenance—which is an added expense. (However, you can always get a home warranty to help with this. For example, every time you buy a home through ReeceNichols, you can buy a warranty through our HomeWarranty Plus plan from our partner, AB May) Newer homes typically don’t need major repairs for awhile.

BETTER LOCATIONS USUALLY HAVE EXISTING HOMES.

The best locations in town are already occupied—by older, existing homes. Newer homes sometimes require a longer commute (or less-desirable location) away from downtown.

EXISTING HOMES HAVE MORE MATURE LANDSCAPING.

A newer home may require you to invest heavily in landscaping, which takes awhile to fully mature. Consider the time, money, and effort involved in planting trees, shrubs, and flowers in a new home—plus the time you’ll wait to enjoy them.

NEWER HOMES HAVE BIGGER CLOSETS AND BATHROOMS.

In general, closet and bathroom size has increased over the past 50 years, as new homes have been built. Newer homes feature larger bathrooms and storage space, which many families prefer.
Your ReeceNichols agent can help you find the perfect new home—or existing home. Contact us today.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

MARKETING YOUR HOME




January 30, 2017


Modern, white, clean kitchen
Marketing has a huge impact on nearly every one of our buying decisions. Long before we purchase a new car or mobile device, our opinions have likely been shaped by innumerable marketing efforts.
If you’re trying to sell a home, then creating a solid marketing strategy should definitely be on your to-do list. Here are some home-marketing tips designed to make selling your home as easy as possible.

CLEAN AS A WHISTLE

This one is obvious, but when you’re living in a home you’re simultaneously trying to sell, keeping it clean can be difficult. You want your house to look like a model home, so it should be spotlessly clean, uncluttered, and free of any strange odors.
If you’re living with children, make sure they keep up on their chores, and if you prefer to make your meals at` home, be wary of preparing meals with aromas that tend to hang around. Do your dishes and put them away after every meal, and adopt taking out the trash as a daily routine. Dust those hard-to-reach corners, and keep the bathrooms spotless. It may seem like a tall order, but you can’t expect potential buyers to look past your clutter and see the hidden gem beneath.

PUT AWAY PERSONAL MEMENTOS

Normally, you’d probably decorate your home with all manner of things that have sentimental value: family portraits in the hallways, your children’s artwork on the refrigerator, awards you’ve won at work in the study. But when you’re trying to sell your home, you’ll want to stow all of those personal memories.
Likewise, it’s a smart idea to get rid of any highly subjective design elements. You might love your purple bedroom walls, but they’re an acquired taste. You’re better off repainting in a neutral color.
Think about it: if you were considering purchasing a home and found yourself surrounded by photos of people you’d never met, you might have trouble picturing your vacation snapshots framed on the walls. You might almost feel like a burglar, or an unwelcome guest in a stranger’s home.
That’s definitely not the impression you want potential buyers to have. You want them to see the home you’re selling as the perfect canvas for the art of living well, and that means providing a blank slate.

MAKE YOURSELF SCARCE

When buyers come to look at your home, don’t hang over their shoulders, and take your pets with you. Again, you don’t want potential purchasers to feel like they’re intruding, and the best way to make them feel comfortable is to let them tour the home with your real estate agent.

WHY HIRE A REAL ESTATE AGENT?

Speaking of real estate agents, we’d strongly recommend enlisting their services. A professional real estate agent will be able to give you in-depth advice on staging your home. Not only that, but you’ll benefit from their marketing reach and industry connections.
Sure, you might have excellent luck going the FSBO route, but working with a professional is far less of a gamble, and when you’re selling a home, it’s best to leave nothing to chance.
Speak with a ReeceNichols agent in the Kansas City area for expert advice on selling your home. They will guide you through the complex marketing process and ensure you get the most value for your home.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

5 FUN WINTER ACTIVITIES IN KANSAS CITY



Looking for something to do this winter? Kansas City is a fun town year-round! When the weather turns cold, try one of these 5 activities—perfect for wintry days.

SKIING AT SNOW CREEK

Snow Creek in Weston, Missouri is only 34 miles north of downtown Kansas City—and features ski and snowboard facilities, plus a tube park. The mountain has a 300 ft. vertical drop, 60 snowmaking machines, 3 chairlifts, and a 10,000 sq. ft. ski lodge with a bar and lounge. Need lessons? 100 instructors are ready to teach all abilities.

BREAKOUT KC

You and your friends have only 60 minutes to find your way out of one of these real-life escape rooms—by solving riddles, cracking codes, and using your gut instincts. Choose from 4 unique experiences: the Szechuan Secret, the Truman Room, the River Quay Casino, or Room 13. With only a 22%-33% success rate, you’re sure to be challenged.

ICE SKATING AT CROWN CENTER

The Ice Terrace is a 44-year winter tradition for many Kansas Citians. Adults and kids of all ages can skate under the lights until 11:00 pm on weekends, November through March.

INDOOR SKYDIVING

The new iFLY Kansas City gives you the experience of flying through the air, without ever leaving the southern suburb of Overland Park. You’ll spend 1.5 hours in the flight chamber, which is the equivalent of 1.5 skydives. This incredible facility simulates true “free-fall” conditions using vertical wind tunnel technology.

PLAZA HOLIDAY LIGHTS

Even if you miss the official Plaza “lighting ceremony” on Thanksgiving Day (complete with fireworks and a celebrity who flips the switch), the lights are worth a visit. This annual ceremony started in 1930, and has been running for over 86 years. Take an evening horse-and-carriage ride through the Plaza in December and January to enjoy the sparkling holiday lights on every building.
Moving to Kansas City? ReeceNichols.com is the #1 real estate brokerage website in the Kansas City region, updated 15 minutes with the latest new homes for sale. Or call a ReeceNichols agent today
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Thursday, November 17, 2016

WINTER HOME MAINTENANCE



Get your home ready for winter—with this handy checklist of cold-weather maintenance that you can perform annually.

REMOVE ALL OUTDOOR HOSES.

Winter freezes can split and damage hoses.

SHUT OFF OUTDOOR FAUCETS.

This prevents water from freezing in the pipes—and causing leaks in your basement.  (For extra protection, turn off the shut-off valve inside your home.)

SERVICE YOUR FURNACE.

It’s worth a few dollars to have a professional service technician clean, repair, and examine your heating system before that first cold day of winter.

CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS.

Remove leaves, sticks, and other debris from your gutters to prevent clogs when snow melts.

PRUNE TREES AND SHRUBS.

Most trees and shrubs benefit from being cut back in the winter, but every variety is a little different.  Check with your local garden shop (or search online) to see what works best for plants in your yard.

BUY WINTER GEAR.

It’s easier to buy ice melt before the first snow.  Make sure you have a shovel or snow-blower on hand, too.

CLEAN OUT THE CHIMNEY.

If you burn real wood in your fireplace, have a professional clean and inspect your chimney.  You don’t want a chimney fire!
Need help with furnace maintenance? Our HomeWarranty Plus partner, AB May, can help.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

PAINT YOUR FRONT DOOR


Want a quick, easy way to freshen up your home’s appearance? Try repainting your front door in a new, bold color—a simple DIY activity that can be completed in a few hours, over a single weekend.
To make sure you get the right color, try going to your local hardware store a few days beforehand, and getting 2-3 different paint chips. Hang them on the front and back of the door for a few days, to see which one you like best.
(Remember, the same color may look very different on the front and back of the door. If necessary, you can always paint the interior side a different color.)

STEP #1—BUY YOUR SUPPLIES.

Before getting started, make sure you have:
  • Paint (1 quart should work)
  • Stir stick
  • Small angled brush (for detail work)
  • Large flat brush (for broad strokes)
  • Painter’s tape
  • Screwdriver (if you decide to remove the knobs)
  • Masking paper or drop cloths
  • Primer (only if you do a prime coat first)

STEP #2—CLEAN THE DOOR.

Take the time to clean your door thoroughly—so you don’t get dust particles stuck in your new coat of paint.

STEP #3—PROTECT YOUR HARDWARE.

You can either remove the door locks and knobs before you paint, for a “cleaner” finish—or seal them off with painter’s tape to protect the surfaces.

STEP #4—PROTECT FLOORS AND WALLS.

Tape the hinges and door jamb with painter’s tape to protect them from stray paint strokes. Put masking paper (or a drop cloth) underneath the door to protect floors from drips.

STEP #5—PRIME THE SURFACE.

If you’re moving from a dark color to a lighter color, you may want to consider painting a coat of primer over the old color first. Or, you can just paint an extra “starter coat” of your new color to hide the old one.

STEP #6—START WITH EDGES AND DETAILS.

Use the stir stick to mix the paint in the can until the color looks smooth and even. Then use your small, angled brush to paint the edges, details, and molding.

STEP #7—PAINT THE WIDE, FLAT SURFACES.

Use the larger brush to paint the wider, flat surfaces.

STEP #8—ADD A SECOND COAT.

If the color is not dark enough for you, wait 1 day for the paint to dry—then add a second coat.

STEP #9—REMOVE PAINTER’S TAPE.

Wait 1 more full day for the final coat of paint to dry, then remove your painter’s tape and painter’s paper (and reattach the hardware, if you removed it).
Want a “new look” for your home? A ReeceNichols agent can recommend a trusty contractor in your area.

Monday, October 10, 2016

EASY TRICKS TO KEEP YOUR HOME WARMER

EASY TRICKS TO KEEP YOUR HOME WARMER



If your home feels cold, don’t just turn up the heat—that can be expensive, and wastes energy. Before adjusting the thermostat, try these easy tricks to keep your home warmer in spring and winter.

GET A DOOR DRAFT STOPPER.

These handy little gadgets cost as little as $10, and fit at the base of a door to stop warm air from leaking out—and cold air from leaking in. Or make your own, using a rolled-up beach towel.

HANG THICK CURTAINS OR BLINDS.

Cover the windows at night with thick blackout-style curtains or blinds (either vertical or horizontal) that block the draft, and keep rooms cozy.

OPEN THE BLINDS IN THE MORNING.

Let the sunlight in during the day, to help warm your home naturally.

COVER YOUR FIREPLACE.

Fireplaces can be drafty when they’re not being used. First, make sure that the flue is closed. Next, buy a fireplace cover or screen that blocks the draft—or make your own, using a small blanket (or towel) and tape.

ADD WEATHER STRIPPING TO DOOR FRAMES.

This reduces the amount of frosty air seeping in around your doorframe, and can be completed in as little as one afternoon using self-adhesive rubber foam tape.

PUT AREA RUGS ON BARE FLOORS.

Sometimes, rooms feel colder because floors are bare. Inexpensive area rugs make “standing areas” warmer on wood floors, kitchen tile, or bathroom tile.

ADD CAULK TO WINDOW FRAMES.

Eliminate the drafts coming in around your windows in a single afternoon, using a can of caulk from your local hardware store.

TRY BUBBLE WRAP INSULATION ON YOUR WINDOWS.

If you have older, single-pane windows, your house can feel colder. Bubble wrap insulation can be applied very simply to these windows, using scissors and water—trapping the heat inside.

REVERSE THE DIRECTION OF YOUR CEILING FANS.

By reversing the direction of your fans, you naturally draw down the warm air that rises to the ceiling.

TRY A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT.

While this is a little more complicated than the other tricks, it pays off in the long run—by giving you lots of heat when you really need it (for example, when you wake up) and then reducing heat usage when you sleep or work. Newer models come with an app that lets you adjust the heat from your smartphone.
Need help installing weather stripping or a programmable thermostat? Your ReeceNichols agent can recommend a home repair specialist near you. Contact us today
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fun Fall Activities in KC

5 FUN AUTUMN ACTIVITIES IN KANSAS CITY


This fall, explore the best Kansas City has to offer—with these 5 fun local activities.

RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL

Join the king, queen, and royal jester in their 16-acre village for jousts, rides, food, and 20 stages with live entertainment. Every weekend features a different theme—such as the Buccaneer Beer Fest; Witches & Wizards; or Wine, Chocolate, & Romance. A Kansas City tradition since 1977, theRenaissance Festival is open every weekend in September and the first 3 weekends in October.

TOPGOLF

Is it a high-tech driving range—or a swanky lounge? It’s both. Enjoy drinks and appetizers for the whole family—while you hit golf balls and score points from a 3-story outdoor structure. Colored lights make night play fun at TopGolf, while a DJ spins tunes on Friday and Saturday nights.

LOUISBURG CIDERFEST

Every autumn, Kansas City descends upon the Louisburg Cider Mill for this popular weekend festival. See how apples are pressed into cider, sample warm cider donuts, and enjoy live music as you tour the old-fashioned Country Store. Kids love the pony rides, pumpkin patch, and 10-acre corn maze. Open during the last weekend in September and the first weekend in October.

HAUNTED HOUSES

Hauntworld calls Kansas City’s haunted houses some of the “scariest in America.” For serious thrill-seekers, there are 5 nationally recognized haunted houses to explore: The Edge of HellThe BeastMacabre Cinema, the Ghosts & Gangsters Tour, and The Chambers of Edgar Allan Poe. And don’t forget Halloween Haunt at Worlds of Fun, the Midwest’s largest Halloween event—with 500 monsters hiding among the rides in this 235-acre theme park.

WESTPORT ART FAIR

For 36 years, the Annual Art Westport fair has displayed the work of Kansas City’s best local art talent in a 3-day event. Walk the streets of historic Westport while you browse the original oil paintings, unique jewelry, household d├ęcor, and fine crafts—and sample food from one of the 30 restaurants and 25 bars in the neighborhood.
Want to buy a house in Kansas City? ReeceNichols.com is the #1 real estate brokerage website in the KC region, updated every 15 minutes with the latest new homes for sale.