Monday, April 25, 2022


 Apr 25, 2022

At first, the thought of buying a home without having taken a tour to see it in person might seem like an odd choice. When it comes down to it, though, there are actually a few different scenarios in which making an offer on a home that you haven’t toured might seem like a good idea. You might be buying a home in a new part of the country that you’re currently not in and hope to have the property secured before you move, or it might be a home that’s getting a lot of attention and you want to get an offer in quickly. You might even be considering skipping the tour due to lingering concerns about the pandemic, or for other equally valid reasons.

While there are definitely good reasons to skip out on a tour, doing so can be a bad idea, maybe not even for the reasons that you think. Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons that you should avoid skipping a home tour, as well as some options if you don’t want to (or can’t) tour the property in person yourself.

Why You Should Take the Tour

One of the most obvious reasons to take a home tour is so that you can ask questions about parts of the home that might not be covered in its online profile. Signs of leaks or water damage might not be highlighted in photos, and other indicators of past damage are easy to overlook if you don’t see them in person. By identifying them during a tour, you can find out if repairs have been made or if there are other surprises waiting for you after the purchase.

That’s not the only reason that you’ll want to go on a tour yourself, though. By touring a home, you can get a better feel for how the house will actually fit in with your lifestyle and your personal tastes. It can help you to identify all the little things in the home that you’ll love that the photos might have missed, as well as those parts of the house that you’re probably going to want to have some work done to fix up or remove. Touring a home before making an offer gives you a better idea of how much work you’ll need to put into the house to get it to be exactly the home that you want.

Virtual and Proxy Tours

There are a few options available when you can’t be there in person to take the tour. An increasingly popular option is the virtual tour, which can be either prerecorded or live depending on who’s listing the home. Live virtual tours are a much better option when they’re available since with a live tour you have the Realtor (and sometimes even the sellers) there walking you through the property with a video feed and answering any questions that you might have in real-time.

Another option that might be available to you is a proxy tour. In this case, someone you know (or at least, someone acting as your representative) goes through an in-person tour and asks questions that you’ve prepared ahead of time. They may also take pictures or videos for you, highlighting potential problems or points of interest to make sure that you’re aware of them. While this isn’t as good of an option as a virtual tour that you take part indirectly, a proxy tour is still better than no tour at all.

So in closing, it is the opinion of the Rural KC Team-Keller Williams Partners, that you should always do a tour.  There are so many things that can be missed by not at least spending an hour or so walking the property and viewing the home.  

If you are interested in buying or selling rural property, give the Rural KC Team-Keller Williams Partners a call.  We can help!  913-837-0760 or 913-837-0411.

Monday, April 18, 2022


Summer is just around the corner, and for a lot of homeowners, that means having to run the air conditioner or heat pump around the clock just to keep ahead of climbing temperatures. These tools are amazing for keeping things cool, but after a while, they too can get worn out and need replacing. Do you know how to tell if it’s time to retire your current unit?

Efficiency Is Everything

Many people believe that if their unit is still working, it’s still doing its job, but with HVAC systems this isn’t always true. Efficiency is really everything, and an air conditioner or heat pump that’s slipping in this department may be on its way out the door. Older units may still cool just as well as they always did, and regular maintenance can ensure they live longer lives, but as parts start to wear, efficiency may begin to lag behind.

You’ll notice it in little things, like the amount of electricity your unit is using to cool your home compared to, say, the same month five years ago. Sure, weather patterns need to be accounted for, but if the amount of fuel used by your air conditioner or heat pump continues to climb year after year, you’re losing efficiency and your unit is showing its age.

Your utility bill is a great place to go for this information, but you can also gauge how efficient your unit is by checking the data from your smart thermostat, too. The longer you’ve had the thermostat, the more data it will have collected about all sorts of things, including, on many models, the weather outside your home.

Some Units Simply Become Obsolete

Although efficiency is really important to your HVAC happiness, another pressing issue is at play when trying to determine if your unit is ready to be replaced: obsolescence. Older air conditioners and heat pumps may have parts that are difficult or impossible to locate from distributors, driving up prices or making repairs untenable.

On the other hand, your parts may be just fine, but your coolant may not be. For example, if you have a slow leak that’s repairable, you’d need to replace the coolant that had escaped, with more of the original coolant. Many older units still contain coolants that are no longer manufactured or legal to sell, and your options are very few when it comes to changing the coolant in one of these units.

As long as your coolant is going strong, there’s no issue, but as soon as there is, even a well-functioning older unit may become completely useless. It’s not that your unit is worn-out, as such, but when you can’t get the coolant you need, and the potential for retrofitting to something more modern is a costly one, it really only makes sense to upgrade.

Not Sure If It’s Time To Throw in the Towel?

If you’re still not certain if it’s time to upgrade your air conditioner or heat pump, it makes sense to have a professional check it out. They can answer any questions you may have about the unit’s longevity and efficiency, as well as its environmental impact, and help you decide if it’s time to retire the beast or keep it in service a while longer. Sometimes, all an air conditioner needs is a good checkup and cleaning to go back to running at its best, after all.

Feel free to contact the Rural KC Team-Keller Williams Partners for any questions you might have or if you are interested in buying or selling rural property.  We can help!  913-837-0760 or 913-837-0411. Or go to  Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 13, 2022


When buying a new home, there’s a lot more that goes into the process than just signing some forms and picking up the keys. One of the big steps that you’ll typically take is getting a home inspection to identify any potential issues with the property. While this is common, most of the time it’s not actually required; while lenders will generally insist on an appraisal of the home, this isn’t a full inspection. So does that mean you can skip getting an actual home inspection as a part of the home-buying process?

Technically, yes. Unless you live in an area where home inspections are legally required, you don’t have to get a home inspection before purchase. Should you skip a home inspection? Absolutely not. Having your home inspected serves a much greater purpose than just determining its value, and waiving the option to get an inspection done before purchase could set you up for a lot of trouble (and out-of-pocket expense) down the road.

What Is a Home Inspection?

Unlike an appraisal, which just examines a home to determine its value, a home inspection digs deeper and actually looks into the condition of the home and its components. While the exact coverage of the inspection can change depending on where you live, the type of home being inspected, and the scope of the inspection you’re having done, the goal of the inspection is to determine the condition of the house. This will ensure that the home is livable, and will also serve to highlight any repairs to the property that might be necessary.

At the end of the inspection, you’ll be presented with an inspection report. Your inspection report will likely include items such as the condition of the roof, the windows, its plumbing and wiring, and other key issues with the property. This report will help you to make decisions about the house and can help you budget for necessary repairs or upgrades when finalizing the amount of your home loan as well.

Why You Need an Inspection

There are a few reasons why you’ll want to be sure to get a home inspection. The biggest is to make sure that the home is actually in the condition that you think it is before buying it, so you avoid getting into the home and then having to sink in a lot of money into repairs after the fact. The home inspection can also help you to prioritize repair and upgrade plans, highlighting the areas that you need to focus on first. By getting a home inspection, you should be able to avoid a lot of the surprises that can sometimes come with a new home.

It’s important to note that some sellers might push for you to waive the home inspection process or at least limit it in scope. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they have something to hide; in many cases, this occurs when the seller is also looking to buy another property and is waiting on the property that they’re selling to close. Home inspections may take a little time to schedule and complete, which can slow down closing. Still, the importance of a home inspection is great enough that you shouldn’t waive your inspection even if the seller wants you to do so.

Getting Your Home Inspection

The Rural KC Team can make it easy to find a professional to do your home inspection for you. We can help you connect with professionals in your area that can get your inspection done, and they come recommended by people you already know and trust.

As always, if you are interested in buying or selling rural real estate, please give the Rural KC Team-Keller Williams Partners a call at 913-837-0760 or 913-837-0411.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2022


Cognitive health issues, like poor memory, brain fog, and mood issues, used to be thought of as an “older person’s problem”. However, new data shows that people are experiencing brain health issues and even signs of cognitive decline during middle age, young adulthood, the teen years, or even as children.

There are many causes, theories and mysteries surrounding this phenomenon. And individual health history, genetics and other factors can play a role.

However, one thing experts agree on is that lifestyle choices and environment play a key role in many types of brain health issues, from memory loss and cognitive development to mental health and mood.

This is really good news because lifestyle and environment are two areas we can influence.

What does all this have to do with country living? As it turns out, living in rural areas provides us with the optimal environmental and lifestyle conditions for enhanced cognitive health in children, adults, and the elderly. 

Here are 6 ways country living can help boost cognitive health and development based on science.

#1: Less Noise Makes for a Happier, More Rested Brain

Cities are well-known for their problems with air pollution, which can cause and/or aggravate a variety of health conditions. But less attention is paid to the noise pollution that plagues most urban dwellers 24/7.

Yes, the sounds of traffic, aircraft, round the clock garbage pick-up, blasting stereos, trains, etc. do fade into the background after a while. But research has shown that consistent exposure to noise pollution can cause a decline in brain health, including cognitive processing damage, mental health degradation, memory deficits, emotional stress, learning difficulties in children, and sleep deprivation (to name but a few).

Thus, by living in a quieter setting, you can help protect your brain from the damaging effects of urban noise pollution. Plus, it’s been proven that the sounds of nature (like birds chirping in the morning or the sound of a babbling brook) positively impact the brain by helping it shift into “rest and restore mode” vs. “fight or flight”.

#2: Less EMF Exposure May Benefit Some People

The health impacts of electromagnetic fields (or “EMFs”) emitted from things like high-tension power lines, cell towers, Smart Phones, devices, and Wi-Fi is somewhat controversial. 

However, there has been a link made between EMF exposure and cognitive health issues like dementia, brain fog, and memory issues. That doesn’t mean they will impact everyone the same, but there is indeed published evidence of potential harm.

Living rural typically means less exposure to EMFs because residential areas aren’t as densely populated with people and businesses running their WiFi devices, bluetooth, Smartmeters, radio towers, etc. all day and all night. That doesn’t mean you’ll have zero exposure, but unless you’re living near high-tension power lines, a cell tower, or another concentrated source of EMFs, you’ll have much less exposure than if you were living in a densely populated area.

Nature, and trees specifically, benefit the brain in a number of ways. According to Peter James, assistant professor in Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health: “[time spent around trees] translates into long-term changes in the incidence of depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, and chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer.”

Time spent closer to nature benefits children as well. According to a Spanish study from the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology, regular exposure to greenspace benefitted children’s cognitive development by enhancing working memory (the ability to retain and sort information short-term) while reducing inattentiveness. Living near trees has also been shown to improve mental and emotional health by reducing anxiety, stress, and depression.

#3: The Opportunity to Garden Yields Multiple Brain Health Benefits

Many people find gardening relaxing and therapeutic, and “having more space to garden” is a top reason people move to the country. However, gardening isn’t just good for your physical health. According to research, gardening can benefit your brain by improving memory, attention, the ability to learn new things, retention and can even reduce your risk of dementia by up to 36%.

For children, time spent gardening stimulates their senses and helps them feel more bonded and connected, all of which promote healthy cognitive and emotional development.

#4: Less Stress Equals Better Brain Development and Less Cognitive Wear and Tear

Life outside the city offers an ideal setting for creating a low-stress lifestyle.

How important is stress to brain health and development? It’s critical. According to a study published in the journal Neurology, researchers found the chronic stress in middle-aged adults was associated with an increase in cortisol, which caused memory impairment and decreased brain volume, aka: brain shrinkage!

For children, country living can provide an added brain- and mental health benefit.

Per a study published in the journal Natureshowed children raised in the city are more likely to have a permanently heightened sensitivity to stress than those who move to a city later in life. In other words, children who are raised in rural settings may be better equipped to manage and react creatively to life’s stressors than city kids.

Given what we just learned about chronic stress, cortisol, and brain shrinkage, “growing up country” could provide a significant advantage for our children.

#5: Tight-knit Communities Protect From the Cognitive Health Detriments Of Loneliness

If you grew up in a small rural town, or live in one now, you understand the sayings: “everybody knows everybody” and “there are no secrets in this town/1”. The bottom line is, although social behaviors and customs are not universal, people in small towns do tend to look out for each other and take pride in knowing who lives in their community.

hat sense of small town community has become appealing to many folks in the 21st century. Where a staggering number of adults — from twenty-somethings to the elderly — report feeling lonely, without friendships and/or isolated. These feelings are especially prevalent in middle aged men and the elderly, and warrant serious concern. 

Per the NIH, social isolation has been linked to a variety of cognitive and brain health conditions, including: impaired memory, anxiety, depression, mood disorders, Alzheimer's, and general cognitive decline.

Living within a tight-knit community (rural or not!), offers a potentially powerful way to help protect people from the negative impacts of social isolation while enhancing their sense of purpose. Plus, when you live on acreage it offers endless opportunities to engage in meaningful work, which also helps protect against feelings of loneliness, isolation and cognitive decline.

#6: Farm life benefit the microbiome which supports the gut-brain axis

Living on a farm, especially with farm animals, has been shown to benefit the gut microbiome by increasing beneficial bacteria species. This, as we’ve covered before, explains why farm kids are often healthier and suffer less chronic disease than city or suburban kids.

However, these benefits extend beyond immunity, thanks to the gut-brain connection. Your gut and your brain are connected by an information superhighway called the gut-brain-axis. It is through this axis that your gut and brain share endless pieces of information. It’s also been discovered that your gut has its very own nervous system — known as the enteric nervous system — and houses the majority of your serotonin, which is critical for brain health and emotional well-being. This is why the gut has been called: “The Second Brain” — it has a significant impact on our mental, emotional and cognitive health. It also explains those “gut feelings” or tummy problems we get when our brain knows something exciting, dangerous, etc. is about to happen. 

All these links between your gut and brain, allow the brain to influence intestinal activities and the gut to influence mood, cognition, and mental health. Thus, a more diverse, strong and healthy microbiome equals a healthier brain and mental/emotional state.

This is great news for farmers, hobby farmers, homesteaders, gardeners and even outdoor enthusiasts, all of which tend to have more diverse microbiota due to time spent in contact with nature, the dirt and farm animals. 

If this is all true, why do country dwellers still experience cognitive health issues?

As you can see from the many references in this article (and we only scratched the surface!), there is plenty of evidence to support the beneficial effects of rural activities and the country lifestyle on brain health.

However, these tools and activities can only beneficial if you choose to partake in them on a regular basis. 

Some ways to do this include: making a point to spend time in nature every day, take up gardening or try earthing (walking around barefoot on the ground), make connections in your local community and nurture friendships, spend time around trees (or plant some more!), exercise and move (preferably outdoors) every day, consider keeping farm animals or adopting a pet and be ever mindful of your stress levels.

Becoming aware of how country living can improve brain health is the first step, but taking action based on the science is what will ultimately yield better cognitive health for years to come.

If it sounds like the country life is for you, please give The Rural KC Team-Keller Williams Partners a call at 913-837-0760 or 913-837-0411.  We can help you and your family find the perfect country property.