Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lake Quivira, KS shows the best performing housing appreciation for 2009

According to the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors, the best-performing area in Johnson County last year wasn’t Mission Hills or Old Leawood or somewhere out south: the best-performing housing appreciation was ZIP code 66217, encompassing Lake Quivira and the I-435 corridor. The average resale prices of existing homes in that ZIP code in 2009 was $359,800, up 12.7% from 2008.

To see a current list of all available homes in the area, visit our website or give us a call at 913.787.1870!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Obama could speak at Blue Valley Northwest's Graduation?! Cool!

Put your political views aside and think if it from a student's perspective:  There's a chance that the President could speak at my graduation?  A chance to hear a speech from someone that has actually achieved great strides in life and not from a student that happened to score the highest grades?  A chance to be inspired by someone that has made history and not from someone that happened to blow the grade curves?

Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but still...Read below and cast your vote!

Blue Valley Northwest (BVNW) is one of six U.S. high schools selected as finalists in the first annual Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge, a contest sponsored by the White House and the United States Department of Education. The winning school will receive a visit from President Obama who will deliver the 2010 commencement address.

Go to to check out Blue Valley Northwest's entry  and to cast your vote. Voting will be open from Monday, April 26 at 8:00 a.m. EST until Thursday, April 29 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

President Obama will select the national winner from the three schools who receive the most votes.

"I am proud of the students because they determined that this is something they wanted to pursue and have done everything possible to make it happen," said Amy Murphy, principal at Blue Valley Northwest. "Our students are taught to look beyond the walls of BVNW and the Blue Valley School District. Because of the support and guidance they have received, these students want to impact their communities, their state and their country."

The students are proud to hold their school up as a model for high school success. They truly believe that they will be successful post high school because they know how much the staff members at BVNW care about them. The family atmosphere at their school is an important theme in their message to the nation.

"The point of this contest is to pick the school that is the best model for all US high schools," said Cody Cutter, Blue Valley Northwest senior and Race to the Top Commencement Challenge team member. "When you look at the purpose of the contest and consider the spirit that permeates everything about Blue Valley Northwest, I think voters will see that our school is the right choice."

Spring into the Housing Market

I just watched the Real Estate segment on the Today Show this morning and was, once again, disappointed in their reporting.  True, the First Time/Repeat BuyerTax Credit ends on April 30th and you do need to be under contract by that date...but you don't need "super lawyer powers" to make that happen.  The best way to get a piece of that $8000 tax credit on time is to contact your Realtor.

The Today Show recommends pulling your credit annually to know your FICO score and to fix any errors.  Yes, that's a good idea but just walking in with your credit report in your hand isn't going to help when you're ready to make an offer on a home.  One of the first things we go over with our clients is whether or not they have been pre-approved for a mortgage loan.  We have several mortgage companies that we can recommend and they can easily and quickly get a client the pre-approval letter needed to make their offer more substantial.

Your time is valuable and if you really do want to beat the April 30th deadline, the last thing you want to do after work, soccer practice, homework, and dinner is spend time on Zillow researching different neighborhoods.  Again, contact your Realtor and let me do the researching for you!  Zillow, though a nice concept, does not report the most accurate information.  Your Realtor can give you the most current, up-to-date information on any area you are interested in.

Bottom line is that you don't need to spring into the housing market alone.  Contact us and we'll be with you every step of the way!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Energy Efficient Tax Tips

Just a few things you need to know about home improvements to help slash energy bills and 2010 taxes:

1.  Simple qualifying improvements include increasing insulation or insulating items such as door and windows, roofing, skylights, etc. These qualify for a 30 percent credit on the cost of the item, not installation, up to a maximum credit cap of $1,500.

2.  Certain big-ticket items have no maximum credit cap. The credit is still 30 percent of the cost of the item. These items include furnace, air conditioning, tankless water heater, heat pump, geothermal system, solar or wind installation.

3.  It’s a tax credit, not a deduction. That means it reduces the actual taxes you owe, not your taxable income. Use IRS Form 5695, and hang onto receipts and product labels.

Don’t forget to check your state and local area for additional incentives.  For more info on the federal tax credit, check out: and

Friday, April 23, 2010

Builder Matching Tax Credit at Enclave at the Reserve

Time is running out on the First Time/Repeat Buyer Tax Credit (ends April 30th), but you can still get a great deal at the Enclave at the Reserve in Lenexa, KS.  From now until April 30th, the builder will match the $8000 Tax Credit on select inventory in the community.  Choose from 3 Bedroom, 2 1/2 Bath Townhomes starting at $159,950 or 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath Townhomes at $184,950.

The Enclave at the Reserve is a collection of upscale two and three bedroom maintenance provided Townhomes and available in ranch and two story floor plans. The Enclave at the Reserve is conveniently located near K-7 and Prairie Star Parkway (95th St.) in beautiful Lenexa, Kansas. Their amenity package includes a community pool, beautiful clubhouse, tennis court, basketball court and children's play area. Use the walking trails for your own enjoyment or perhaps walk your dog. Best of all you can relax while they mow the lawn and shovel the snow!

To schedule an appointment to view one of their Townhomes or any other homes in the area, visit Pickett Property Group or call 913.787.1870.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Grey Oaks Garage Sale This Weekend!


Attention all you bargain hunters out there!  If you're looking for good deals on everything from baby gear to clothes to household furniture items and more look no further than Western Shawnee, KS...particularly the Grey Oaks community off Johnson Drive and K-7.  It's time for this community's annual Spring Garage Sale and it's happening this weekend...Friday, April 23rd and Saturday, April 24th.

It sounds like Mother Nature may play a wet role off and on during this time, so make sure to bring plenty of cash...and an umbrella!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Two teachers recognized for their efforts at schools near the Grey Oaks community

One of the reasons we moved to Grey Oaks in Shawnee, KS was not just for the great neighborhood, but for the great schools nearby as well.  Though we currently have one son at Prairie Ridge Elementary and another enrolling there in the Fall, we look forward to their continued education at the nearby Monticello Trails Middle School and then eventually, the Mill Valley High School...all within an easy walk from our front door.

Each of these schools have been recognized for their various academic achievements since they opened their doors and this week, the excellence continues.  Yesterday, Brandi Leggett, a third grade teacher at Prairie Ridge, was chosen as the recipient of the FOX4 Crystal Apple Award, for her work with the project, Power of the Pen...inspiring children to write.  Today, Kathy Hill Habiger, the journalism advisor for Mill Valley High School, has won a prestigious journalism teaching award for 2010.  Habiger is this year's recipient of the Jackie Engel Award, sponsored by the Kansas Associated Collegiate Press and named in honor of Jackie Engel, a former journalism teacher at McPherson High School.  The award was created to honor the best high school journalism teacher in Kansas.

Congratulations to both of these individuals for their hard work, dedication, and their commitment to their students!

Kansas City Area Housing Statistics for March 2010

The numbers are in and it looks like there may be a little light at the end of the tunnel! 

March 2010 Housing Statistics
Average Sales Price: The average new home price this month ($307,334) is 6% higher than one year ago ($288,745). There were price increases that occurred in Johnson, Leavenworth, Platte and Wyandotte counties.  The average existing home price this month ($146,519) is also up 7% from one year ago ($137,021). Cass, Clay/Ray, Jackson and Wyandotte counties experienced an increase in average sales price for existing homes from the same month last year. The average price for combined new and existing homes in the region this month was $158,815, which is 5% higher than the average sales price of $150,788 for combined sales prices in March 2009. All counties except for Miami and Platte counties experienced an increase in the average sales price for new & existing combined from the same month last year.
Home Sales: New home sales this month of 174 represents an 8 % decrease from one year ago when there were 189 new home sales in March. New home sales increased this month 53% from the past month when there were 114 new home sales. Existing home sales in March increased 15% from one year ago when there were 1,728 sales. They were up 55% from last month's sales of 1,282 compared to this month's sales of 1,982. Combined home sales of existing and new homes were 2,156 for March, which is up 54% from the total of 1,396 sales from a month ago. This month's combined total sales were also up 12% from one year ago when there were 1,917 sales.
Inventory: New Home inventory continues its steady decrease again this month with 1,789 new homes in inventory compared to 1,811 new homes on the market last month. The new home inventory for the region is 40% lower than it was a year ago at this time when there were 2,968 new homes on the market. Existing inventory this month of 14,798 is 8% higher compared to 13,749 one month ago. The existing inventory this month is 6% higher than it was a year ago when the existing inventory was 13,937. New & existing inventory combined was 16,588 this month compared to 15,559 last month representing a 7% increase in the past month.  One year ago the inventory was 16,908 which represents a 2% decrease in total inventory over the past year.
Kansas City Region Supply of Homes on the Market: The Supply calculation is determined by taking the "Inventory" and dividing it by the "12 month average of the number of Sales." Generally speaking, a 5-6 month supply of homes on the market equates to a "balanced" market. When the supply exceeds 6 months, the market begins to favor buyers, and when the supply is less than 5 months the market tends to favor sellers. Supply for combined new and existing homes rose slightly to a 7.7 month's supply in March from a 7.3 month's supply in February. The existing home supply also rose ever so slightly this month to 7.5 months from a 7.1 month's supply. The new homes supply in March 2010 was 9.1 months compared to 9.2 months in February. The good news is that supply has continued to decline and is lower than March 2009. Although there is a slight buyer's edge present in the new home market, the existing home and combined totals are nearing a balanced market.