Friday, July 30, 2010

A Must-See!! Beautiful Ward Park Home only $280,000

Back on the market...only $280,000!!!

Newly Remodeled Tudor in Ward Park! Private drive with 2 car attched garage! SO MUCH NEW! New Kitchen with GRANITE, STAINLESS APPLIANCES & dark cabinets. Large open Brkfast Room. 

Hardwoods all redone. Elegant Formal Dining Room. Large Living Room w/Fireplace. 1st Floor Office/Den.

Huge Master w/NEW private Bath, double sinks, tub & shower...also double closets. Newly finished basement.

WHAT A GREAT AREA TO CALL HOME! THIS HOUSE IS READY TO MOVE IN! Call  or Text Pickett Property Group for an immediate showing or for more information on the area plus other homes for sale from all listing companies.  We're bringing positive customer experiences back to Real Estate!

Things to Do in KC: Lenexa Waterfest and Lake Fest 2010

It's going to be HOT this weekend, so beat the heat by checking out some "cool" activities on either side of the state line.

Lenexa Waterfest:
     Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park
     Saturday, July 31st
     Cost:  FREE!!
There will be lots of educational booths, a moonwalk, surf-n-slide, and other events.  Want an extra bonus?The first 1000 people will also receive free hot dogs, chips, and drink!

When the fun ends in Lenexa, pile everyone into the car and cross the state line for some fun and fireworks at Lake Jacomo.

Lake Fest 2010:    
     Lake Jacomo
     Saturday, July 31st
     5pm until Fireworks show
     Cost:  $10 per vehicle, walk-ins $5...arrive between 5p-6p & you'll receive a $5 voucher for games!
There will be live music, a water balloon contest, games, carnival rides, boat rides, and more.  Then when the sun goes down, expect a great fireworks display over Lake Jacomo.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mortgage Rates Hit Another New Low

Oops!  I did it again...or rather, the Feds, that is.  Yep, once again, mortgage rates have hit an all time low since the tracking of rates began in 1971.  According to Freddie Mac, the national average rate for a 30 year fixed loan is now at 4.54%...down from 4.56% from the week before.  The only other time we have seen rates this low or lower was back in the 1950s...back when mortgage loans were for only 20 or 25 years.

And for those interested in the 15 year fixed, you can celebrate a drop there too.  Those are now at a surprising 4%...the lowest ever on record!

So for those of you looking to buy, mortgage rates haven't been this attractive in years.  Give us a call to help get you started!  Contact Pickett Property Group when you are ready to buy or sell your next home.  We're bringing positive customer experiences back to Real Estate!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Homeowners Insurance...Are You Covered?

You don't need to be a home insurance expert to make sure everything you own is properly covered.  Take a look at this breakdown and use it as a reference when evaluating your home:

Home Structure:  The price you paid for your home is most likely not going to be the amount it will be insured for.  You'll need to take a look at how much it will cost to rebuild your home...consider the square footage, material costs, and any special features you would like to add.

Personal Property:  Your personal possessions need to be protected also.  Make a list, take pictures, or make a video of all your belongings that would need to be replaced in the event of a disaster.  You may want to consider the replacement cost of these items as well.  Replacement coverage pays based on the current costs to replace that item.

Your Liability:  This helps provide lawsuit protection for bodily injury or property damage that you or your family (or even your pet) may cause...this may include incidents either on or away from your property.  Coverage depends on your policy limits, so I encourage you to talk to your insurance agent.

In addition, there are several optional types of insurance available as well...guest medical insurance, flood insurance, and more.  To see what will be the best fit for you, contact your insurance agent.

Contact Pickett Property Group when you are ready to buy or sell your next home.  We're bringing positive customer experiences back to Real Estate!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Which Kansas City Area School is Making the Grade?

You can see it in the commercials on TV and the ads in the paper...Back to School is just around the corner.  If you're a parent with children, the performance of nearby schools can can have a big impact on where you choose to live.  Great Schools, a non-profit website, is on a mission to improve education by inspiring parents to get involved.  Here you can see how each school is ranked based on performance on standardized tests in the elementary, middle, and high school levels relative to other schools in the state.  You will be able to see test results according to grade, stats on teacher-student ratios, diversity, and some schools even have parent reviews. Using a scale of 1 to 10, each school is given a score...a rating of 10 means that overall test scores are as good as or better than 90% of scores elsewhere.  You will be able to find schools for Shawnee, Lenexa, Overland Park, Olathe and more for the Kansas City area.

To see how your child's school ranks, fill in the information below:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Great Battery Loft Condo near Downtown KC, Crown Center, Hallmark, and Hospital Hill...only $215,000!!

Battery Loft Condo only $215,000!!!

Live in a piece of history, the Triangle Battery Building...once the heart of Kansas City's automotive district.  Built in 1920, this terra-cotta/tapestry brick building now features 12 meticulously remodeled two bedroom lofts...and this Battery Loft can be yours!!

True urban living with all the amenities!!  This beautiful 2 bedroom Condo also includes 2 deeded secure parking spaces and a tax abatement for 20 more years.  Enjoy the rooftop deck with an incredible view of the Kansas City skyline...perfect for entertaining friends and family.  Located right behind the popular Filling Station Coffee Shop.

Features List
• 2 Bedroom• 2 Full Baths• 2secure parkng spots
• Wood Floors• Corian Counters• Stainless Appliances
• Laundry in Unit• All Electric• Large walkin closets
• Bright & open• Lofted ceilings• Tall thermal windows
• Designer colors• Historic building• Park & Blvd setting

If you are looking to live close to Downtown Kansas City, Crown Center, Hallmark, and the Hospital Hill area, let Pickett Property Group show you the best location on "Condo Corner".  Give us a call to schedule your appointment!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Plenty of Grey Oaks Homes for Sale in Shawnee, KS

As your Grey Oaks specialist, I'm here to let you know that even though we are still waiting for the next release of new lots, there are still some existing lots available as well as plenty of resales for the picking!

There are currently 14 active listings on the market now, ranging in price from $275,000 to $399,950.  Four homes are currently under construction and one has never been occupied; the remaining are resales and are eagerly waiting for offers!  The average days on market for the area is 198, which about right for the price range of these homes.

If you are looking for a community to call "home", give Pickett Property Group a call.  Like all Rodrock communities, Grey Oaks features a community pool, cabana, playground, picnic area, sand volleyball, is within walking distance to Award-Winning schools, and is close to walking trails, nearby restaurants, shopping, and highway access.  As an added bonus, Grey Oaks is now offering incentives to home buyers for new construction for a limited time.

Looking to move?  Have a home to sell?  Contact us with your questions and comments!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kansas City: Take the Zero-Volt Challenge

I always have to take a step back when I pay my electricity bill, especially in the summer months when the thermostat creeps higher and higher.  So I spent some time today checking out some new tools and calculators to see how I can continue to improve my carbon footprint and maybe save a little money in the process.

First, I visited Home Energy Saver, a website put out by the US Department of Energy.  With a little bit of information that you provide about your home, it will calculate an estimate of your residential energy use.  You can then see your potential yearly savings if you decide to make some adjustments like buying Energy Star appliances, using a programmable thermostat, insulating your attic, etc.

Then, I stumbled upon the Global Stewards and their Zero-Volt Challenge!  

Simply stated, unplug every appliance and turn off every light inside and out until your electric meter stops running.  Then, re-plug only those appliances that need to be on 24/7 (your refrigerator, for example).  Keep others unplugged until you need to use them or invest in a smart strip.  

I think I'm up for the challenge...are you?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Kansas City Market Reports for June 2010

As a Board of Director for the Heartland MLS, I'm eager to share last month's home sales reports for the Kansas City area.  Overall, the month of June was not bad in the world of Real Estate.  Prices have increased slightly for both new and existing homes, sales for new homes are up, inventory for new homes is down, and supply for new homes is decreasing.  On the flip side, new home prices in all Kansas counties were down and the inventory for existing homes was up.

Average Sales Price:  For the month of June, the average new home price was $296,768, which was a decrease from the same time a year ago ($302,628).  Existing home prices were at $167,487, an increase of 4% from last year ($160,734).
Home Sales:  New home sales increased 23% from last year and 31% from this past May.  Existing homes did see a hit, with a decrease of 5% from last year and 13% from May...most likely due to the ending of the tax credit program.
Inventory:  New home inventory was down 37% and existing inventory is 13% higher than it was last year at this time.
Overall, the good news is that supply has continued to decline and is lower than June 2009.  Even though there is a slight buyer's edge present in the new home market, the existing home and combined totals are nearing a balanced market.  Pickett Property Group has the tools and resources to help you with your next home search, not to mention the inventory available in the area.  Or need to sell?  Give us a call at 913.787.1870 to set up an appointment today.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Prairie Village Home in Meadow Lake Reduced to $125,000!

At this price, this one is definitely a must-see and will go fast! 

Now $125,000!!!

One of the best deals in the neighborhood, this newly remodeled three bedroom ranch has it all!  New appliances, plumbing, A/C, close to shopping, restaurants and more!  Check this out for more information, then contact us to see it today!

Friday, July 16, 2010

What is an FHA loan?

Back in the 1930's, the housing industry was flat.  Two million workers had lost their jobs, mortgages were hard to qualify for and satisfy, and only four in ten households owned homes.  (Sounds eerily familiar, huh?)

In 1934, Congress started the Federal Housing Administration (or FHA) to help families buy homes by insuring the loans that the banks offer to buyers.  This, in turn, allowed the banks to offer lower rates with minimal risk of losing money.  Since then, the FHA has insured over 34 million home mortgages.

With FHA loans:

  • Your down payment can be as low as 3.5% of the purchase price;
  • Most of your closing costs and fees can be included in the loan.
There are also many different applications for FHA loans:
  • Help make your home energy efficient;
  • Help you purchase a home in a rural area;
  • Include the cost to repair a "fixer-upper";
  • Help you re-build your home if you have been hit by a disaster.
If you are looking to purchase a home in the Kansas City area and have questions about FHA loans, feel free to contact me!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Top 8 Projects to Add Value to Your Home

Whether you're looking to update your home or get it ready to put on the market, you will see a return on your investment with some projects more than others.  Not all of these may be necessary or financially reasonable in your situation, but if you're ready to tackle those home improvement projects consider some of these:

  1. Remodel your kitchen.  It may be time to get rid of those old avocado, white, or yellow appliances and replace them with something more modern.  Updating appliances and countertops and resurfacing cabinets is one of the best ways to add value to your home.
  2. Add a garage.  Though costly, homes with at least two garages are more appealing to home buyers.
  3. Remodel your bathroom.  Consider replacing old light fixtures, add a fresh coat of paint, and consider updating the flooring or adding a Jacuzzi tub.  All of these will help add value as well.
  4. Install the right flooring material.  Wood and ceramic tile flooring are all popular now.  If you know you have wood floors under your carpet, consider pulling the carpet and freshening the wood flooring underneath before putting your house on the market.
  5. Increase curb appeal.  Your house only has a few seconds to make a great first impression so make it count.  Does the outside of the house need repainting?  Is the landscaping free of weeds and well-kept?  Add some potted plants and flowers to brighten things up.
  6. Add natural light and open up the space.  Another costly project, but many home buyers like open, cheery floorplans.  Too many walls can close a space in.  See where you can add windows or patio doors and consider knocking out walls to open your home. (ex: a wall between your kitchen and dining room).
  7. Apply a fresh coat of paint.  Paint can make a home look brand new, but bold colors may turn off potential buyers.  Stick with something neutral.
  8. Clean up clutter.  Take out unnecessary furniture and clean out the clutter inside and outside the home.  Keep it simple.
Before I list a home, I look at these things and review with the seller what items they should consider doing  to help sell their home within a reasonable timeframe and at the best price.  Most times, the projects can be completed over a weekend and cost little out of pocket.  When you are ready to list your home or if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.  We're here to help!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Getting Approved for a Home Loan...4 Basic Truths

Getting approved for a home loan can be a nail-biting experience for some people.  There's the whole uncertainty of the entire process, the waiting, and the overall anxiety that comes from getting approved for a home loan.  However, below are some simple ways to calm your nerves and ease your fears regarding the process:

  1. Pay Everything on Time!  Even though this sounds pretty obvious, many borrowers will get so wrapped up in their every day lives that they will forget to pay a bill.  A recent late pay on your credit report could increase the interest rate quoted for the home loan or worse...jeopardize your chances of getting the loan altogether.  To avoid late pays, send yourself online reminders via your bank or internet calendar, write it down in your Day Planner, or post a sticky note on the bathroom mirror.  Whatever way you choose to be organized, pay those bills.
  2. Don't Pay Ahead.  It's not necessary to have all your debts paid in full when you are ready to start the loan process.  In some ways, having some debt with a good payment history can be stronger.  There are some underwriting systems that will allow higher debt to income ratios, depending on the status of everything else in your file.  Your mortgage planner can guide you here.
  3. Save, Save, Save.  However...should there be a debt that the underwriter wants to have paid off, having cash on hand will allow you to do that comfortably without jeopardizing yourself financially in other areas.  In addition, just having the savings in general can be a positive factor in the loan approval process.
  4. Do NOT Obtain New Debt!  I know this one also sounds like a no-brainer, but there are people out there that believe once they have been pre-approved that they can start buying things for their new, appliances, paint, etc.  DON'T DO IT!!  Additional debt can easily ruin a pre-approval.  Wait until you close on your home.

And your Realtor, we are here to help.  Buying or selling a home can be an OVERWHELMING experience for anyone...whether it's your first time or your fifth.  If you have a question, we'll have the answers.  Simple and straight-forward...we're there every step of the way.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rodrock Communities in Shawnee and Olathe Offering Homebuyer Incentives

If you are looking to make a move this summer, look no further than Grey Oaks in Western Shawnee, KS or Maple Brook Park in Northern Olathe, KS.  Both Rodrock Development communities are offering homebuyer incentives and the benefits vary depending on the community.

Maple Brook Park in Olathe features Rodrock Homes' free Home Upgrade Program.  Here, homebuyers can select from kitchen, garage workshop, kids playground and outdoor patio upgrade packages.  Located off K-7 and 119th street, homes are priced in the low to mid $200,000s.

Grey Oaks in Shawnee is offering a limited time cash-back incentive program for their James III Homes floorplans.  They are offering a $5000 bonus at the start of construction that can be applied toward closing costs, upgrades, or simply pocketed in savings.  Grey Oaks is located west of Hwy 435, off Monticello and Shawnee Mission Parkway.  Home prices range from the $300,000-$450,000+.

A Grey Oaks/Rodrock Community resident myself, I can share information with you about this community, Maple Brook Park, as well as others in the Johnson County area.  Several floorplans are available in each community.  The number of specs, new builds, and resales in the area are constantly changing, so feel free to contact me to see what is currently available.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Shawnee, KS Ranks 17th among Money Magazine's Best Places to Live!

Woo Hoo!  It's always a great day when I have an excuse to brag about the town I live in.  Once again, Shawnee, KS makes CNN's (Money Magazine) list of Best Places to Live...this time, ranking #17 out of 100.  Of course, I can't ignore Overland Park, who came in at #7!  This year's Top 100 list is the best of the best when it comes to job growth, great school systems, low crime, and being an overall great place to raise a family.  Click here to read the full article.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Newly Remodeled Home in Prairie Village Priced at $135,000!!

This newly remodeled 3 bedroom ranch in Prairie Village, KS is the perfect starter home or for those looking to down-size.  Located in the Great Meadow Lake neighborhood, you're only one block away from banking, grocery shopping, and dining.  With plenty of new features, this is one to see!!

Features List
• New kitchen• New Bathroom• Gutted & redone
• New Electrical• New Plumbing• New Roof
• New Heater• New A/C• New Flooring
• New Appliances• Low maint siding• New Deck
• Close to all...• shopping• restaurants
• PV village• Brookside• The Plaza

Call us to see this house or others in the KC Metro area...913-787-1870!  We'd love to help you find your next home!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

K-7 and Johnson Drive Interchange Project Update

Even though construction began just a few months ago, you can already see the progress crews have made on the new K-7 bridges that will cross over Johnson Drive.  However, beginning on Monday, July 12th (subject to change though), access to Johnson Drive/55th Street just west of Hedge Lane Terrace from northbound and southbound K-7 will be closed to ALL traffic so that crews will be able to begin work on the roundabout that will be located east of Meadowview Drive.  The traffic lights will still be operational during this phase and people should still be able to access the Crouch Corners and Oak Valley West Shopping Centers from north and southbound K-7.  Here's what the projected roundabout is to look like:

Once this project is completed, which is tentatively scheduled for the Fall of 2011, it should greatly improve traffic levels for this rapidly growing area of Western Shawnee.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Forest View in Olathe, KS...A Community Built to Last

When you are greeted by the 50 foot man-made waterfall cascading over natural rack bluffs found at the entrance of Forest View, it's hard not to be impressed.  But such is the standard that Rodrock is known for...the fountains, the lush landscaped entrances, the proximity to schools and shopping, the diverse floorplans, and the strong community spirit.

Forest View, which is located off K-7 and 119th street, is the perfect destination for those wanting to live amongst nature.  Featuring 160 woodland acres filled with area wildlife and mature trees, natural views are there for the taking.  Not only does the community include a large pool, cabana, sand volleyball court, pergola covered grill, and playground areas, but a Johnson County outdoor recreational area will link to Forest View via walking trails in the future.

What about schools?  Look no further!  Forest View Elementary School opened in the community last year and the brand new Mission Trail Middle School, located a few blocks south of the community, will be opening this Fall.  All schools in this area are part of the Award Winning Olathe School District.

Home prices range from $280,000s up to $600,000s for new construction, but there are several resales available as well.  For a look at these or other homes in the area, feel free to contact me or give me a call at 913.787.1870.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Market Stats for Grey Oaks in Shawnee, KS

Given the tax credit, low mortgage interest rates, and the fact that it's summer, Grey Oaks saw an increase in home sales activity for the month of June.  From June 1st through June 30th, Grey Oaks experienced 6 homes sold with an average sale price of $349,878...compared to only 2 homes sold in the month of May at an average sale price $347,178.  The average days on market for June was about 120 days, which is not too unusual for this price range.

Grey Oaks has just released new floorplans for the community, so if you are interested in checking them out in person, feel free to contact me or give me a call at 913.787.1870. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Things to Do: Fourth of July Fun!!

In case your summer is flying by as fast as mine is, the 4th of July is this Sunday.  And if going to the lake is not your thing, there's plenty of other activities going on around the Metro to keep you and your family entertained for hours.  So don't let the lack of fireworks at Shawnee Mission Park again this year put a damper on your fun...check out these festivities:


Community Days Parade, Lenexa, KS – Saturday, July 3rd, beginning at 10am
Independence Day, 19th Century Style – Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm (Olathe, KS) –  Saturday, July 3rd, 10am to 4pm
Fireworks Celebration in the Park (Kearney, MO) – concert at 7:30pm; fireworks display to follow
KC Riverfest – Berkley Riverfront Park, KCMO – gates open at 1pm – festival food, live music, children’s area and FIREWORKS! – July 3rd and 4th
Booms & Blooms – Powell Gardens, Kingsville, MO – 9am to dark – children’s activities, ice cream, music at 4:30pm, Lee’s Summit Symphony at 7:30pm and fireworks to follow


Village Fest, Harmon Park/Municipal Campus, Prairie Village, KS – performances by The Doo-dads and Mr. Stinky Feet, inflatables, police demos, face painting, clowns, magicians, bike rodeo, children’s parade, petting zoo, pony rides, climbing wall and MORE!- July 4th, 7:30am to 2pm
DeSoto KS July 4th Celebration – Riverfest Park – starts at 6pm with music and activities; fireworks at 9:45pm
Olathe KS Fireworks – Great Mall of the Great Plains, 151st St. – 9:30pm
Star Spangled Spectacular, Corporate Woods, Overland Park, KS -  events from 4pm to 11pm – live music, inflatables and fireworks!
Basehor KS Fireworks – Basehor-Linwood High School Football Field – 6:00pm parade and LOTS of family fun; 9:15pm fireworks
Fourth of July Celebration – Leawood City Park – 5pm to 10pm – activities and music for kids
Fireworks and Salute to the Union – Fort Leavenworth, KS – Games, music, concessions begin at 3pm, Salute to the Nation at 8pm, fireworks, Merritt Lake, Fort Leavenworth.  Picture ID required upon entering Fort Leavenworth.  For more information contact Fort Leavenworth Public Affairs office, 913 684-1724
Fourth of July Celebration, Parkville, MO – parade at 10am; carnival from 11am to 11pm; fireworks at 9:45pm (Carnival actually runs from July 1st through the 4th)
KC Riverfest – Berkley Riverfront Park, KCMO – gates open at 1pm – festival food, live music, children’s area and FIREWORKS!

And what says "America" more than fireworks on the 4th?  Baseball!!  The Royals are in CA this weekend, but the T-Bones are in town.  There's a Family Fun Fest today from 4p-7p and fireworks after each game on Saturday and Sunday.

Whatever you decide to do this weekend, make it a safe one!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Price in Popular Ward only $280,000!

Now only $280,000!!!

Newly Remodeled Tudor in Ward Park! Private drive with 2 car attched garage! SO MUCH NEW! New Kitchen with GRANITE, STAINLESS APPLIANCES & dark cabinets. Large open Brkfast Room. 

Hardwoods all redone. Elegant Formal Dining Room. Large Living Room w/Fireplace. 1st Floor Office/Den.

Huge Master w/NEW private Bath, double sinks, tub & shower...also double closets. Newly finished basement. WHAT A GREAT AREA STREET TO MAKE HOME! THIS HOUSE IS REDONE & UPDATED READY TO MOVE IN! Call me for an immediate showing or for more information on the area plus other homes for sale from all listing companies.

Tax Credit Deadline Extended!

For those of you who were under contract by April 30th, but were unable to close yesterday, you can all breathe a sigh of relief.  Congress passed an extension of the Homebuyer Tax Credit closing late yesterday, extending the deadline for eligible transactions to September 30, 2010.

Additionally, the Senate passed the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of extension of the National Flood Insurance Program, until September 30, 2010.  The NFIP provides insurance to home owners in flood-prone areas, who could not otherwise obtain coverage due to cost or ineligibility.  This insurance allows property owners in certain federally designated areas across the nation to obtain mortgages.