Friday, July 23, 2021


 How To Choose The Right Projects For Your Home

Deciding on which projects to invest in for your home is a big deal. If you’re moving, you want to avoid putting too much money into areas that won't create a return. On the other hand, when you plan to live in your home for the long run, the benefits of your chosen upgrades aren’t always reflected in your home’s value. Fortunately, there are ways to balance your home projects so that you get the best of both: functionality and return on your investment.

If You Plan To Sell

Although we are stuck in what feels like a perpetual sellers’ market, there are still plenty of things you can and should rectify before putting your home on the MLS. According to home inspection provider US Inspect, includes leaky toilets, slow drains, and tripping hazards, such as loose carpets. Other repairs or changes to the interior or exterior will be defined by the local market.

Your Rural KC agent can help you decide on any other upgrades, updates, or repairs needed before you sell. Keep in mind, however, that you will want to go ahead and plan to stage your home to maximize its appeal. A room-by-room organization system and new light switches don’t sound like much, but it will go a long way toward improving the perception of your home. Another idea is to get rid of extremely dark and oversized furniture and stage your home with modern options that brighten and widen each room.

When You Want To Stay

Deciding which improvements to make when you plan to stay in your home is much easier. A general rule of thumb is that if it increases your quality of life, reduces costs, or helps you better utilize your space, then it is a good investment.

During the spring, summer, and fall, it might be best to start with outdoor upgrades. You can build a patio and fire pit for example. Both projects utilize pavers and a bit of ingenuity but are a great way to enhance your time outdoors. You might also consider fencing in your backyard, especially if you have a swimming pool. Keep in mind here that you will have to know your property line and, if applicable, any easements that you will have to work around. In this instance, it might be best to outsource to a fencing company that will know how to pull the pertinent permits.

On the interior, focus on rooms that help you use them most efficiently. This might be your kitchen, where new countertops and appliances will go a long way toward creating a luxury cooking experience. You might also spend a weekend painting and installing new hardware in your guest bathroom. If you plan to have visitors in the near future, these little touches will help them feel more at home.

How To Know When You Need Help

You can do many projects on your own if you’re comfortable with tools and don’t mind doing a little research. But, there are some areas that you should always consult a professional first. Like installing a fence or other outdoor structure, the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems in your home require special permits or licenses. These are also expensive, and you have to have extensive knowledge in each area to ensure that it’s done safely and correctly. Poor workmanship here can cost you tens of thousands of dollars and put your family at risk. 

Picking and choosing which projects to complete in your home aren’t always easy. When you plan to move, you’ll want to be extra selective to ensure that you are updating only what’s necessary for the home to be functional and more in demand than the next. But, when you plan to stay, don’t be afraid to go all out, even if it means calling in a professional. While you may spend more money, you’ll gain quality of life in a house that you’ve made your home.

Thank you to Micheal Longsdon for this article. As always, if you are in the market to buy or sell rural property, please give the Rural KC Team a call. We can help. 913-837-0760 or 913-837-0411.

Image via Pexels

Monday, July 19, 2021


 We're going to try to make some guesses about the future of the real estate market.

I am beginning to believe that previous estimates or guesses we had about what was

going to happen, almost certainly within the next 6 to 18 months may have been a

little bit too pessimistic, especially for homes that are on acreage, homes that are a

little bit away from the city.

At the end of 2020, the thinking was that the shortage of homes on the market was

caused by the fact that people didn't put their homes up for sale during the traditional

spring selling time, because they didn't want strangers walking through their home

due to the pandemic.

So come 2021 when the pandemic fears had lessened then sellers that didn’t sell in

2020 would put their homes on the market and that would cause a surplus of homes

and that real estate prices might grow softer. We know now that’s not what


But how does that affect homes on acreage? Now, what typically has happened in the real

estate market is that homes in subdivisions sell about twice as fast as homes on

acreage. Before 2020, if you were going to sell a home and it took 10 days to sell a

home in a subdivision then it meant it would probably take 20 days to sell a home

that was on acreage. If the market was slow and it took 30 days to sell a home in a

subdivision, then it would take 60 days to sell a home that's on acreage. But that's

not what we are experiencing now.

Homes on acreage are selling just as fast as homes in subdivisions. For our last

several listings, and we just had one this past weekend, we put it on the market, it

sold within 36 hours, above the asking price.

That has been the experience we have had with almost all of the homes that we’ve

recently sold. Now the reason previously that homes in subdivisions sold faster is

because buyers wanted to be near their work. People had to go into the office to

work, and so they wanted to make their commute as short as possible, and that

typically meant living in a subdivision.

They also found that some of the services that they are typically used to having and

enjoying, in particular, internet service was not quite as mature, or as cutting edge

out in the country. So, you had this situation where if you lived in the country you had

a longer commute, you didn't have good internet service, and as a result that would

drive people to stay in subdivisions.

Now they still wanted to live on an acreage, that's almost everybody's dream

scenario, a few beautiful homes out in the country, perhaps with a pond, secluded

quiet, and private. But up until now most of the time, the people that bought those

homes were at the end of their working career.

Most of our buyers would be in their 50s, maybe late 40s. The kids were gone or

could drive themselves, they didn't need to be near a school as much as they did

before and they are in a career position where they could dictate the terms of their

employment. All of those things have been changed with this pandemic and the

reactions that our society has had to it. Now homes on acreage are selling as fast as

any homes in subdivisions. We are seeing some astounding things happen around the


For example, New York City real estate pricing has absolutely collapsed. Nobody

wants to live in a crowded city, particularly when your life means getting on an

elevator and going up to the 15th-floor condo where you have to share the elevator

and living space with lots of other people, not to mention the safety factor that some

people feel about living in close quarters.

As an example, those areas around New York City are seeing stunning increases in

real estate. For example, Martha's Vineyard has seen a 206% increase in land

prices, and they have had a 47% increase in home prices over just the past year.

By comparison, if you owned a home or condo, say in Brooklyn, or New York, those

sale prices have dropped by 43%. You go to a place like San Francisco, which is

renowned nationally for having an extraordinarily high, hot, expensive real estate

market right now you’d find that unsold homes in San Francisco are at a 15 year


The reality is that we have learned that many tech workers are never going to go back

to the office. I know certainly my own sons, who worked in an office complex in

Kansas City was told by their employer that once they were forced to work from

home because of the pandemic that the company found they were just as productive

working from home, and so there is no need to have an expensive office. They were

told that they would not be renewing their office lease in the future and they should

plan on working from home from now on.

So that means is, they can live anywhere that they have good internet service. Right

now, we are trying to find homes for two people from the San Francisco area, and

another gentleman from the Washington DC area. In all three cases, their companies

told them the same thing that my sons were told, and I quote; "We are not going to renew our

office leases anymore. You can live anywhere you want, just make sure that you

have good internet services."

They are taking a look at what they are paying for real estate in San Francisco and in

Washington and they can live a lot cheaper in the Kansas City area. They can now

decouple geography as one of the primary reasons for buying a particular piece of

property. All they need now is good internet access. That brings us back to what is

changing about living in the country.

There has been an explosion in the past four years of broadband internet service in

rural areas. For example, I live south of Kansas City, on a small plot of land. I am

looking out my window and I can see a company installing fiber optic cable in my

front yard, I will now have fiber optic service available to me, which means I'll have

the same internet service, same speed, and same reliability, as somebody who is

living in the heart of the city.

Now even before that, we had excellent internet service with our fixed wireless

provider. But now I have got the choice where I live of three fixed wireless providers,

which for most people provide outstanding internet service or fiber optic cable. Now,

if you are a buyer of real estate, and you are thinking, do I want to live in the crowded

city? Do I want to live where we are so close to one another that I have to worry about

wearing a mask all the time? Do I want to continue to worry about crime, or waiting

until I'm 55 or 60 to buy my country home? Why don't I buy it now?

I can have my children live and experience country life now. They can have a

pond and go fishing, and the noise they hear will be birds chirping instead of traffic

and sirens.

As a result of all this, we don't think that we are going to see a drop in activity or desire

for people to live on homes and acreage. Right now, as I mentioned earlier, homes

on acreage are selling just as fast as homes in subdivisions but many of those things

that previously drove people to live in homes in subdivisions have gone away.

They are not worried about their commute anymore. They have got great internet

access and they can have now a lifestyle that is now going to be available to them at

a younger age than they ever thought before. We believe that means there is going

to be greater demand for homes on acreage than has historically been true.

I think long term that no matter what happens to the real estate market, we are not

going to see that split that we used to see between the demand for homes in

subdivisions versus the demand for homes on acreage. I think homes on acreage

near the city, but not in the city, are going to be far more popular than they have been in

the past.

Then you add in the fact that the biggest driver of demand in real estate, is interest

rates, they are currently at 50-year lows. If interest rates stay at that level, that will

make the demand for real estate everywhere strong. You add to it the fact that

people increasingly want to live in homes on acreage, I think there is good reason for

people who are thinking about selling a home on acreage to be very optimistic.

We are convinced that the demand for homes on acreage isn't just a short-term

trend, and that we are going to see continued strong demand both for the immediate

and long-term future.

If you, or anyone you know, are thinking of making the move to the country, give the Rural KC Team/Keller Williams Partners a call.  We can help you.  913-837-0760 or 913-837-0411.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021



Whether it’s with knobs, pulls, handles, or some other hardware, you need to have some way to access your cabinets. If your cabinets are relatively new, that hardware is probably fairly modern. But for older cabinets, you may need to replace the hardware, and it might be kind of tricky to figure how to get it. This can make replacing old cabinet hardware stressful, especially if you’re not sure where to start. While your success will depend on the specific pieces that you’re looking for and how recently they were manufactured, here’s some info that will hopefully point you in the right direction if you find yourself on a hardware hunt.

The Need to Match Hardware

Why do you need to match old cabinet hardware, anyway? There are a few reasons. The most common is that handles and knobs sometimes become damaged or break over time, especially if the cabinets see frequent use. You may also find yourself adding new cabinets or other fixtures that you want to match as closely to the older cabinets as possible, including similar finishes and hardware. In some cases, it may even be a matter of hardware being removed to repair or replace cabinet doors and then getting lost or accidentally tossed out. Whatever the reason, you want matching hardware, and it doesn’t seem to be available in stores anymore.

Sources for Older Hardware

When trying to match old hardware, it’s important to start by checking if it’s actually available. Visit cabinet or woodworking shops in your area with pictures of the hardware you need (or the actual hardware itself) to see if anyone can recognize it and know where to order it. If that doesn’t pan out, check the internet; there are a lot of stores online that specialize in older items, and this can include out-of-production hardware and other materials. Even if you can’t find the specific hardware from its original manufacturing run, you may be able to locate visually similar reproductions that will at least match the look of your existing hardware.

If that doesn’t work, spend some time searching online auction sites to see if you can find the hardware that you’re looking for there. While online auctions can be a mixed bag, there are a lot of people who post used or out-of-production items that they have a surplus of to make some money off things that they no longer need. It may be worth checking a few times on different days, as new items are listed all the time, and you never know when someone is going to list that handle or knob that you need for a few dollars.

Unable to Find a Match?

Unfortunately, there may be some cases where you simply can’t find a match for your old cabinet hardware no matter how hard you try. If this happens, you typically have two options: You can upgrade all your hardware to a new style, or you can find something that complements your existing hardware to create a mix-and-match arrangement. It basically comes down to whether you want to upgrade some of your existing hardware or all of it with something a bit newer. You can choose pieces that complement your cabinets, hardware that goes well with sinks and other fixtures in the room, or even something significantly more modern than the cabinets to create a visual contrast between the cabinets and the hardware. Regardless of what you choose, be sure to pick something that you enjoy.

As always, if you have any questions about rural real estate, please feel free to give the Rural KC Team a call at 913-837-0760 or 913-837-0411.