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
.

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.

Friday, August 5, 2016

BUYING A HOME—IN TODAY’S “SELLER’S MARKET”


According to the national Association of Realtors (NAR), sales of existing homes rose by 9% in 2015 over the previous year. Economist Lawrence Yun attributes this to pent-up demand from homeowners who have now regained enough equity to buy into a new house, or “trade up” from their current one.
As a result, home prices rose 4% in 2015 across the U.S., and are expected to rise another 3% in 2016, according to Kiplinger and Clear Capital, a real estate data firm.
So what does this all mean? It means we are in the midst of a “seller’s market.” In other words, the market is hot—and houses are selling super-fast—so it will be tougher to lock down the house you want, once you find it.
But don’t despair. Here are 4 simple tips to help you buy the right home in a seller’s market.

TIP #1—GET PREAPPROVED FOR YOUR MORTGAGE.

Make sure you’re ready to buy before you even tour the house. Since it takes at least 1-2 days to get approved by a lender, you don’t want to lose the house you love in a fast-paced market. (For more lending tips, check out HomeServices Lending.)

TIP #2—SEE NEW LISTINGS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Ask your realtor to alert you of new listings the same day they open. Be prepared to visit homes as soon as they list. Many houses in a seller’s market will sell on day 1, so you don’t want to wait till tomorrow.

TIP #3—BE PREPARED TO OFFER MORE MONEY.

If multiple buyers are bidding on the same house, it’s very likely that you will get into a “bidding war.” You may want to offer more than the price of the home upfront to avoid a bidding war or secure the best possible chance of sealing the deal. (Your real estate agent can coach you on this.)

TIP #4—BE WILLING TO WORK WITH IMPERFECTIONS.

Consider beforehand whether you would be willing to make renovations to a home that’s less-than-perfect—especially if it’s the right home in the right neighborhood. Would you paint a living room? Replace the landscaping? Redo the hardware on the kitchen cabinets? Know your limits before you buy.
Need a pre-approval in a hurry? Talk to HomeServices Lending, the affiliated mortgage company of ReeceNichols.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

8 GREAT REASONS TO BUY A NEW HOME IN YOUR 40’S AND 50’S


If you’re in your 40’s or 50’s, have you considered buying a new home? Here are 7 great reasons why it’s a perfect time to buy a new home now:

#1—THE LAST HOME WAS FOR THE JOB. (OR THE KIDS. OR THE FAMILY.)

We buy houses in our 20’s and 30’s for our growing families, new careers, and exciting jobs. In our 40’s and 50’s, our careers are more stable—so we can buy a home for ourselves, and spend a little more time commuting, if we wish.

#2—THE KIDS ARE GETTING OLDER.

For most of us with families, our kids get older by our 40’s and 50’s. Maybe your kids are in high school or college—or even starting their own families. Either way, a new home can better accommodate your shifting space needs.

#3—A PARENT, GRANDCHILD, OR OTHER RELATIVE NEEDS HELP.

Will you be caring for a live-in relative? If so, then now is the time to plan for the extra space you’ll need—to ensure that youand your guest have the right balance of privacy and care. Consider homes with finished basements, additional bedrooms, extra bathrooms, and even parking space—as well as proximity to medical care, if required.

#4—YOU LOVE HAVING GUESTS.

Do you enjoy entertaining—but never had the space to do as much as you’d like? You’ll be amazed at all the amenities available today to host in your home—from kitchen islands, to wet bars, fire pits, hot tubs, mini guest apartments, and tri-level porches.

#5—YOU WANT TO BE CLOSER TO ENTERTAINMENT.

Now is a great time to live closer to the entertainment venues you love—whether it’s nightlife, dining, shopping, museums, theatres, or the arts. Kansas City abounds with entertainment options.

#6—YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME PURSUING YOUR PASSIONS.

Maybe you love gardening, and would enjoy a bigger yard. Or maybe you’ve always wanted a dedicated room for exercise, playing guitar, reading, cooking gourmet meals, or scrapbooking. Find a home that gives you the dedicated specialty space you need—to be as creative as you want.

#7—YOU’VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF LIVING IN A SPECIAL LOCATION.

Maybe you love the Plaza—but your kids attended school in Olathe. Or maybe you’ve always dreamed of living near a lake in Parkville, in a brownstone in Brookside, or in a city loft in the River Market. Whatever your dream is, now is the perfect time to pursue it.

#8—ENERGIZE YOURSELF!

Your 40’s and 50’s are a great opportunity to pursue your dreams, engage your passions, and care for yourself—as well as for any family members who may need your help. Energize yourself for the next 10-20 years of your working career, so you can live life to the fullest
Thinking about buying a home? A ReeceNichols agent can help you weigh your options. Contact us today.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

KANSAS CITY FESTIVALS YOU’LL LOVE!



What better way to enjoy the weekend—than with a local festival? Kansas City offers dozens of festivals every year. Whether you enjoy butterflies, art, music, BBQ, or even Shakespeare—we’ve got something for everyone.

SNAKE SATURDAY PARADE & FAMILY FUN FESTIVAL (MARCH)

The largest Irish festival in Kansas City brings 100,000 visitors to this annual 2-day event, held around St. Patrick’s Day in the heart of North Kansas City.

ROCK FEST (MAY)

This all-day music festival draws 50,000 visitors each year to the Liberty Memorial, with multiple stages playing several different bands.

OLD SHAWNEE DAYS (JUNE)

4-day festival celebrating the unique pioneer history of Shawnee, Kansas, with re-enactments, rides, music, games, and arts and crafts. Tour Shawnee Town and experience a typical day on a 1920s Kansas farm.

HEART OF AMERICA SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL (JUNE/JULY)

Reserve a seat or blanket in advance for this 24-year festival, which features multiple performances of one of Shakespeare’s masterpieces. Perfect for a picnic—or grabbing a bite to eat from a local vendor. Plan enough time to see the pre-show parody and performances.

FESTIVAL OF BUTTERFLIES (AUGUST)

Powell Gardens has hosted this popular family festival for over 20 years. See hundreds of colorful, free-flying butterflies, including monarchs. Kids can do a caterpillar hunt and costume parade.

KC RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL (SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER)

For 40 years, the Kansas City Renaissance Festival has entertained guests with its medieval village, jousts, pub crawls, and comedy shows. It has more than 20 stages of live entertainment, rides for the kids, live animals, plus plenty of food and drinks for everyone.

AMERICAN ROYAL (OCTOBER)

Since 1899, the American Royal has celebrated the region’s agricultural heritage with rodeos, livestock, and a horse show. But the real draw is the World Series of Barbecue, the world’s largest BBQ competition—with 600 teams competing and nearly 50,000 attendees.

Moving to Kansas City? You’ll find a ReeceNichols agent in every neighborhood
.