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What Makes a Neighborhood Great? Here Are 9 Things to Look For

Location, location, location! You’ll see this phrase mentioned in almost any moving or real estate buying tips—and for a reason. The area you’re moving to or buying a property in is one of the most, if not the most, important factors to consider.

Why Location Matters

While “location, location, location” is a common mantra in real estate, not many people realize what it actually means or why, exactly, location matters.For one, the neighborhood that a property belongs to determines the value of that property. Rough neighborhoods may have more affordable properties, but you risk security. Better neighborhoods, meanwhile, have everything you need that makes investing your resources worth it.But what exactly makes a good neighborhood? We discuss the components of one below.

It’s accessible

A good neighborhood is a diverse neighborhood occupied by people from different backgrounds. As such, everyone should have the means to navigate the area comfortably, making it fully accessible.The first measure of accessibility is a neighborhood’s walkability. Can you walk to markets and restaurants, or are most establishments only reachable by driving? Are there sufficient sidewalk spaces and other car-free areas you can safely walk on?Walkability is a key component of a good neighborhood because it allows you to leave your car keys at home and simply stroll from one place to another. This helps you save on fuel and reduce the number of vehicles on the road.Walkable neighborhoods also indicate that everything is within reach, making them ideal places to live in even. Plus, it encourages walking, which is an excellent exercise for people of all ages.Another important measure of accessibility is the presence of public transportation. This is essential for residents who don’t have their own vehicles but need an easy way to get to parts of the neighborhood that are farther away.Are there bus, tram, or train systems in your neighborhood? Do they allow pets, and can they accommodate people with special needs, such as the elderly and those using wheelchairs?In Kansas City, for example, several forms of public transport exist. These include the free-to-ride Kansas City Streetcar, which travels 2 miles through the heart of downtown and RideKC, the local bus system with dozens of routes across the metro.

It provides safety and security

An ideal neighborhood provides security for every resident. That means parents can feel comfortable seeing their children play outside, and everyone can feel safe walking alone at night.Before deciding on where to move or buy a property, make sure to check the crime rate in the state or, even better, the specific city and neighborhood you’re looking into. If the crime rate is high, you might want to consider searching elsewhere.Of course, no place is completely safe and free of the possibility of a crime occurring. But if there are neighborhood watch groups and the local government has police-community engagement activities like crime prevention courses, you can rest assured that it’s a place that places importance on everyone’s safety.

You have a full range of public services

The presence of quality public services, or services provided by the government for the people, is an indication of a good neighborhood. It means residents have access to services vital to their everyday lives.Examples of vital public service providers are police stations, fire stations, and emergency services. Public transportation, like bus and train systems, as well as libraries and other public utilities, are also types of public services.These are vital to your everyday life because they provide services during emergencies or enrich and supplement your normal activities. When residents of a neighborhood have access to these resources, life within the community is easier and more peaceful, hence a great neighborhood.

Great schools mean great neighborhoods

Apart from public services, the quality of schools in and around an area is another indication of how good a neighborhood is.While the quality of an educational institution does not always reflect a student’s performance, you cannot deny that sending children to a school with the right facilities and faculty contributes to how well they can perform in school.You must also keep in mind that a “great school” doesn’t always mean a pricey private institution. In fact, quality public education is what makes a successful and dynamic local community.When everyone in your neighborhood, no matter their background, has access to free quality education, the entire community prospers together. And since the existence of public schools is a part of a local government’s public services, it further highlights the latter’s importance.As such, it’s important to look at neighborhoods with highly rated schools, especially if you have children or plan to have them in the near future.

Essential establishments are within reach

There are plenty of establishments vital to a good, thriving neighborhood. Hospitals, pharmacies, and banks are just some of them. Convenient access to these places is essential, especially because they serve emergency purposes, too.Even grocery stores and pet stores need to be within reach. It’s not ideal to live in a place where you have to drive an hour for a loaf of bread or a carton of orange juice.The proximity of these establishments means you don’t waste time stuck on the road, and you can instead use your time to do better things. And when residents of a neighborhood are happier and more productive, the whole community thrives.

It provides leisure and recreation options

While convenient access to establishments that provide access to essential needs, like hospitals and schools, is necessary, you can’t forget about leisure and entertainment, too.A good neighborhood offers an array of recreation options, from well-maintained parks and hiking or biking trails to swimming clubs and tennis courts. These outdoor spaces not only give you options for recreational activities, but also make the neighborhood look more attractive.A bustling nightlife also makes a neighborhood better. Movie theaters and clubs or bars where adults can have fun and let loose provide entertainment and help the local economy thrive.

It promotes sociability

Good neighborhoods promote sociability. After all, a tight-knit community can make for a comfortable place. Spots where you can spend time with your family, meet up with friends, or socialize to meet new ones, are important in keeping that sense of community alive.Spaces like parks and playgrounds allow children to meet other children their age who could be their potential best friends. They are also places where new parents can meet other parents and bond or where dog owners can run into other dog owners and become friends.Knowing who you share the neighborhood with makes it easier to connect with your community. This is why spaces that promote sociability are essential for a great neighborhood.

It fits your lifestyle

Suffice it to say, a suburban gated community neighborhood may not be the perfect fit for a single young professional in the same way that an apartment in a bustling downtown neighborhood may not be ideal for a family with small children.As such, a good neighborhood is a neighborhood that fits your current lifestyle. If you’re young in age or at heart and looking for fun, you may want to look into hip and trendy neighborhoods. If you’re career-driven, then a bigger city with a wider selection of job opportunities may suit you.And if you have a family or are starting one, you want a place that gives you and your family enough space to grow.

You have a choice of housing types

While different neighborhoods appeal to different lifestyles, there are plenty of places that allow all of them to coexist. This type of neighborhood is perfect for people transitioning from one point in life to another without wanting a huge change in their environment.As such, a great neighborhood is one that offers a variety of housing options. In these neighborhoods, people can find a home in a small studio apartment or a two-story house with a wide backyard and picket fence.When you have these choices, you can start in that place as a single person living in a one-bedroom apartment and, years later, move your family into a bigger, more suitable home.This way, if you loved the place when you were younger, you don’t have to say goodbye to it and can still enjoy its many benefits even as you move on and grow.

Find the Perfect Place in the Perfect Neighborhood

Kansas City is Midwestern hospitality at its finest. It features a vibrant food and art scene and is known for jazz and fountains, hence the nickname City of Fountains.But that’s not all that Kansas City has to offer. With beautiful neighborhoods surrounded by the best educational institutions, global businesses, and excellent healthcare facilities, it has everything one would want in a place to live.If you want to move to the City of Fountains, let Cami Jones & Company help. We are a team of real estate professionals, providing clients with the best options for homes in Kansas City.We offer a boutique approach to our real estate services, ensuring that you see every property that fits your needs. You can expect help in every step of the home buying process from a team that works efficiently to ensure all your goals are met.Find your ideal home in one of Kansas City’s beautiful neighborhoods. Contact us today.

Why Winter is the Best Time to Buy a Home

You must have heard it before: winter is the best time to buy a house. Historically, you’ll be able to get the best pricing during the winter months, making it the perfect time to go house hunting or close a deal.But real estate experts Cami Jones & Company from Overland Park, Kansas has more valid reasons to offer. In this blog, find out why winter is the best time of the year to buy a new home.

1. The Market is Slower

House sales tend to slow down in the winter, so it’s a good time to look for a home. You won’t be competing with as many buyers as there are during the rest of the year. If you’re sure about making a purchase in winter, consider hiring an agent who specializes in year-round transactions to help you search for potential properties.

  • Expert Tip: Consider looking for properties that need repair or renovation. You can make a lower offer on the property and do the repairs yourself or hire contractors.

2. It’s Cheaper to Heat Your House

If you’re planning to buy a home with an oil-based heater, you can save money this winter because heaters are cheaper to acquire in winter than in other seasons. Conversely, central air conditioning is more expensive during the winter months when heating costs are lower.

  • Expert Tip: Instead of installing a new heating system, you can improve the performance of the current heater. For example, if the home for sale has radiators without grates, you can get covers to help direct the heat back to your rooms.

3. Moving Costs Less Money

Since demand for moving is less in the winter months, most moving companies charge less. It’s cheaper to transport your belongings in winter when you move into your new house. Moving costs may be 20% to 30% lower during winter compared to the peak seasons.

  • Expert Tip: Ask your moving company if you can save additional money by combining two or more moves. For example, if you’re planning to buy a new home in the same town as the one you currently rent, ask if they’ll give you a discounted rate for both moves at once.

4. It’s Easy to Get Mortgage Approvalmortgage documents being asked to be signed by a broker

If you’re planning to buy a home this winter, now is the best time to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Lenders are always looking for clients during the slow winter months before interest rates rise in early spring.By getting approved now, you’ll have a better chance of finding your dream home before other buyers do.

  • Expert Tip: To get the best mortgage rate, make sure you check with several lenders and compare rates before you commit. Also, shop around online for other types of loans such as auto loans and personal lines of credit because interest rates tend to be lower this time of year.

5. You Can Do Year-Round Repairs

Contractors who do septic, roofing, and other types of work are usually booked solid in summer. Winter may be a  good time to book home repairs for your newly bought house because contractors are not too busy. Plus, the freezing ground makes it easier to dig up septic tanks and find underground lines.

  • Expert Tip: Get quotes from several contractors for each type of work you plan to do. This way, you can decide which ones to hire after comparing the prices and services they offer. Some may offer more than one service that you need.

6. HUD Homes Are Available

If you’re considering buying a foreclosed property, winter is a good time to search. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) often lists foreclosed homes for sale during the winter months when fewer people are looking to buy.

  • Expert Tip: Make sure you get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start searching for HUD homes because they tend to carry stricter financing guidelines than regular listings. Also, ask your real estate agent if they know lenders who specialize in foreclosure properties.

7. You Can Bargain for a Bigger Home

If you’re looking to upgrade from a starter home, this is the best time of year to do it because there’s less competition from other buyers for larger homes. Cold winter months keep most people at home and out of the real estate market so fewer homes are on the market.

  • Expert Tip: If you want to get the best deal possible on a bigger home, work with an agent who specializes in larger homes or knows someone who does.

8. Your Commute Will Be Easier

It takes less time and money to commute during the winter months because there are fewer cars on the road resulting in shorter driving times. It’s also cheaper to fill up your tank with gas this time of year because prices tend to drop as demand for fuel falls between December and March.

  • Expert Tip: If you’re planning to buy a home that’s not close to where you work and you don’t want to drive to and from your workplace, ask your real estate agent to recommend the best public transportation options in the area.

9. You’ll Get a Better Deal on Utilities

Utilities such as gas and electricity are often cheaper to use during the winter season, so your heating bill will be lower than during a warmer climate. And because most people stay indoors during cold weather, there’s less demand for electricity in general. This means you can get lower rates all year round.

  • Expert Tip: Ask your real estate agent for recommendations on how to save on heating costs for your newly purchased home, or compare rates from different providers online to find out which one is cheaper.

10. You’ll Get a Better Deal on Appliances

Winter is also the perfect time to purchase unfurnished homes because appliances are typically cheaper at this time. Demand for products like furnaces, heaters, fireplaces, and other home essentials decreases.Retailers also offer deals on these items when they need to clear out inventory before warmer weather arrives in spring.

  • Expert Tip: Make a list of appliances you want to replace and do some research to find out how much you should save. Compare the prices of different models and ask for help from your real estate agent or homeowner’s insurance provider if you have questions about warranties.

5 Things to Consider When Purchasing a Home During Winter

Here are five things to remember when buying a home during winter.

  1. You Cannot Close on Your Home If Your Lender Requires an Inspection

If your lender requires you to have an inspection before approving a mortgage for your new home, make sure it doesn’t conflict with your closing date, which should be scheduled after the coldest days of winter.Your lender will have to reschedule the inspection if the day is too cold or snowy. It’s best to avoid closing during winter because you can’t be sure when your lender will give you the money.

  1. You Might Need to Pay Extra to Get Things Done Quickly

If there are urgent repairs that need to be done to your new home, don’t expect the seller to do them for free if you offer to close earlier or pay extra fees. The majority of home repairs are usually done in summer when more contractors are looking for work.

  1. You Might Need to Pay Extra for Your Mortgage Insurance

If you need mortgage insurance, make sure to ask your lender about the dates when rates change because they can be much higher during December and January than in other months of the year. And, if you plan to close earlier in winter, remember that most lenders will require you to pay your first six months of insurance in advance.

  1. You Might Need to Pay Extra for Your Title Insurance

You must ask your real estate agent about the dates when rates change for title insurance and about any other closing costs you might need to pay before winter so you know what they will be and whether or not it’s worth it to close earlier or pay extra for these services. You can also ask about discounts that might be available this time of year.

  1. Your Home Inspection Might Take Longer Than Usual

If you’re planning to buy a home in winter, don’t expect your home inspection appointment to take the normal amount of time. Inspectors need more time to cover all the areas of your home, so they don’t have to go back during warmer weather.

Consider Buying a Home During Winter

Winter is a great time to buy a home. There are many benefits of buying during this season, including lower heating bills and less traffic for you to contend with when looking at homes because most people have already closed on their new house by the winter months.If you’re thinking about purchasing your first home or an investment property soon, it’s best not to put off making that decision any longer!Cami Jones & Company is a real estate company that offers a boutique realty experience. If you are looking for a new home this winter, get in touch with us today. Our team will be happy to walk you through the process of finding a new home.

How Homeownership Creates a Path to Long-term Wealth

As of the second quarter of 2021, homeownership in the US was placed by the US Census at 65.4%. While that is lower than last year’s percentage, the fact that it’s only two points lower than last year is a sign that Americans still hold great value over homeownership. Many people are still buying their own homes instead of renting, even during the pandemic.Having your own home and one’s own land and property indicates stability and independence. Most of all, it’s a sign of good finances and money that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. And this is precisely why people put their money into real estate.In fact, real estate has consistently been seen as an excellent investment compared to any other. And historically, especially in the past seven years, people have placed solid trust in real estate as a long-term investment tool.From what financial consultants and specialists around America have observed, in tandem with the experience of veteran realtors like Cami Jones & Company in Kansas City, homeownership could be the beginning of an individual’s path towards long-term wealth. Having your own home is just the beginning of future financial stability and success.

Homeownership versus Renting

Having your own home is the first step towards stability, and that’s helped along by the policies surrounding homeownership. In the US, getting your own home is supported by federal policy (such as tax subsidy on mortgage interest, numerous federal mortgage guarantee programs, and others).It’s all part of wealth building. After all, the payment goes to a landlord every month when you rent a home, but you don’t have true ownership over the property. It’s not designed to be a permanent home unless you rent to own.But when you buy your own home and pay the mortgage, your stake in owning the property with no strings increases with every payment. It doesn’t just lead to equity in your home, but it also increases your own net worth as the homeowner.The National Association of Realtors has created the formula of personal wealth as associated with homeownership. It sums up to price appreciation gains along with principal payments leading to the housing wealth gain.And finally, in terms of wealth-building, your home is less susceptible to sudden changes in cost. Unlike monthly rent, your mortgage would stay at a more stable rate every month as a predictable and fixed expense. With rent, you’re not quite sure when you’ll have to shell out a bit more when you renew your lease. But with your own home, you know how much you’ll have to pay until it’s paid off completely and set money aside for other things.

How Does Homeownership Bring You To Long-Term Wealth?

Homeownership leads to the accumulation of wealth or financial assets in the following ways:

  • Tax benefits

As previously mentioned, your home gains value. But as it does, you also get to save some money for yourself through the tax benefits. The policies discussed above on homeownership extend towards tax benefits that vary depending on each state’s laws.For example, in Kansas City, your property taxes get a rebate based on a local government program. If you’ve lived in Kansas for at least a year, you can get a rebate from the Homestead Refund program of up to $700 a year.Homeowners may be able to write off specific home maintenance and repair expenses. Don’t forget to check in with your realtor and local state laws to gain these valuable benefits and save up some money to pile up in the long run.Furthermore, let’s say that you earn a profit from an investment in the stock market. You might have to pay capital gains tax. But if you profit by selling your home, this profit can’t be taxed, apart from some limitations. It’s more money in the bank for you with reduced taxable income.

  • Forced savings

Let’s say you’re not in the habit of setting money aside consistently. When you’re a homeowner, you’re forced to do exactly that. Part of gaining financial freedom is having a cushion of healthy savings you can add to every month. Without it, the slightest change in circumstances could be catastrophic.But a home can act like “forced savings.” Your monthly mortgage payment pays your principals and builds your equity. This leads to better net worth, and your money is safe in the form of investment: your property.

  • Low-interest loan rateslow interest rates

There are also historically low-interest rates with home loans at present. So now is your opportunity to get that home for less. Mortgages usually require you to commit to a specific interest rate until the loan gets paid off. But with the low interest, you won’t be paying as much as you would be on any other instance in time.Consider all the different channels that can give you home loans and the benefits of each one. Everything from federal loans to local bank loans—consider your options to find the one that benefits your financial plan the most.

  • Homes gain value with time

And your home isn’t only going to be a means of savings. It could also grow that money in time. In particular, real estate appreciates at a national average of 2% over a month and 14.5% over a year. It’s going to keep appreciating, too; the Federal Housing Finance Agency has a House Price Index that states that homes have averaged an appreciation of 3.6% every year since 1991.Your home, therefore, will be worth more than what you paid for it years down the line. If you’ve been paying off your mortgage, that will build even more equity in your home and further increase your personal net worth.

  • Good inflation

Apart from the low-interest rates and tax breaks, homeownership allows you to experience inflation that actually works in your favor. Because home mortgages and property taxes stay more or less the same over the years, you can add it up later down the line to see significant results.Your return on investment gets more substantial as the years go by. It’s appreciation combined with leverage, and if you used money that wasn’t even yours—let’s say, a bank’s, for example—you could’ve already doubled the investment you made.

  • The wealth becomes generational

Because real estate and homes continue to appreciate in value over time, the longer it’s kept in your possession, the bigger the returns grow. And real estate assets are easily transferrable, especially between family members. So, the grantor can transfer the wealth attached to the property as easily.This is wealth that can get passed to later generations. This is one of the reasons that the wealthy ensure that they can set up a trust to hold their real estate assets. At the death of the grantor, the ownership transfers through the trust they have set up. And it’s a lot less complicated than transfers of business assets. Your children will be able to gain the wealth you’ve set up.

  • Even a starter home can help build wealth

The “starter home” is a common term these days for the initial home that a person buys before they can build enough wealth to purchase a “better” home or a larger one to accommodate a family. But even these starter homes are an excellent way to build wealth.It’s important to remember that even starter homes are more affordable now. Today’s mortgage rates are seeing historically low numbers, which is why so many people have decided to purchase a home (even just a starter home) during this time. It’s an ideal opportunity to get started on addressing the wealth-building process, and you need less time to build up the down payment.Apart from all the previously stated benefits, starter homes are still an affordable means of building on your wealth and help you towards your goals. The ideal scenario should show that once you’ve outgrown the starter home, it would’ve already developed significant equity and help you kickstart the process once again with your next home.

  • It builds your retirement plan

This is one of the best benefits of having a home—you’re essentially paying yourself and paving your way to a comfortable retirement. The equity that’s built up from your homeownership added to your retirement fund, 401(k), and other retirement finances builds to tremendous equity that can bring you an incredibly comfortable retirement.Even if you consider that retirement is still a long way off, your property can be a significant addition and makes a big difference on how much you’ll end up with when the time comes. Retired renters have significantly less net worth than retired homeowners; the former could have more than $6,000 in net worth, while the latter of the same age could have as much as $320,000 net worth.

Homeownership isn’t just a wise investment: it’s a line towards financial freedom

Becoming a homeowner can completely change your life plan towards financial freedom and wealth building. Numerous benefits come with owning a home, and these benefits can last for years, impacting your personal net worth, financial freedom, and that of your family’s in the future.Looking for more reasons to make that big home purchase today? Consult with Cami Jones Homes today. Or you can browse for even more informative homeowner information on the blog.

Guide to Starter Homes: A Complete Checklist for First-Time Buyers

Starter homes are often townhomes, single-family houses, or condominium units that are on the lower end of the housing price range. Although they are smaller and have fewer amenities compared to a forever home, starter houses are easier to acquire since they require a smaller down payment.So if you’re tired of renting, buying a starter home is a quick route to homeownership. Additionally, you have multiple loan programs available to you if you’re a first-time buyer, which alleviates the financial burden of buying a new home.Finding the perfect starter home, however, involves many considerations and decisions. If you’re planning to buy your first house, check out this guide for things you should consider when buying a starter home.

1. Location

The location of the property affects two things: accessibility and the housing market. Let’s first look at accessibility.


Of course, you want a house that’s near your work, grocery stores, hospitals, and other necessary services. Being close to these establishments makes your day-to-day routine and dealing with emergencies easier.Another factor of accessibility is transportation. Does the location have a decent public transportation system? If it doesn’t, you might need to buy a car to get around the area, especially if you go outside the city frequently. You have to account for that cost on top of your home buying expenses.

Local Housing Market

You need to consider the location’s real estate market. Aside from home prices, make sure to ask your real estate agent about the competition because a property’s selling price isn’t always the price you’ll end up payingWhen several buyers are interested in a house, they can start bidding wars and drive the price out of the range of first-time buyers. If you’re eyeing a property in a hot market, you need to be prepared to pay more than its going price.You don’t want to buy in a slow market either, though. Remember that you’re buying a starter home; it’s likely that you’ll move out of it eventually. Prices are always going up in hot housing markets, which means you can make a good profit on the house if you do decide to sell in the future.If the housing market isn’t strong, however, then there’s a high chance that the property will depreciate, meaning you won’t earn that much or anything at all from the sale.You should also inquire about the mortgage interest rates in the location. A volatile interest rate market might force you to pay more than you expected or budgeted for.

2. Financing Options

After the location, you also need to look at your financing options, meaning available loan programs and any perks offered by the seller.

Federal and State Loan Programs

Search for loan programs you’re eligible for if you’re a first-time home buyer. Federal government agencies like the Federal Housing Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture offer programs and grants for first-time buyers, provided that you meet their criteria for eligibility.The government-sponsored enterprise Fannie Mae also offers a financial program for first-time home buyers. Its HomePath Ready Buyer program provides a three percent closing cost assistance for foreclosed Fannie Mae properties. You only need to complete the required educational course.Aside from federal loan programs, state governments also offer their own loan schemes for first-time home buyers. This is another reason to think twice about the location you’re buying a property in.Kansas, for example, has the First Time Homebuyer Program. It provides a loan of 15 to 20 percent of the property’s purchase price to help you with your down payment and closing costs.You don’t need to have a high credit score to qualify for this Kansas Housing program, but you do need to meet the income requirements. You can learn more about the income condition here.

Seller Concessions

Other than loan programs, you also want to consider seller concessions. Seller concessions are when the seller pays a part of your closing costs, which usually contribute two to five percent of a property’s purchase price. The seller may be able to cover some or all these closing costs:

  • Title insurance
  • Property taxes
  • Inspection fees
  • Appraisal fees
  • Loan origination fees
  • Recording fees
  • Attorney’s fees

You won’t receive the funds in cash, though. The seller often pays these fees by taking the amount from the sale. For example, if they received $100,000 from the sale but agreed to pay $2,000 in concessions, then they’ll only take $98,000.Concessions are often made by sellers who want their houses sold fast. They’re also commonly offered for properties that have been on the market for too long, which is a common case for slow housing markets.


3. Home Features

Again, starter homes generally have fewer amenities compared to forever homes, but this doesn’t mean you can’t be selective about the property you’re getting. Determine your non-negotiables and where you can be flexible beforehand to make the process easier on you.For example, outdoor amenities like a garage or a fully landscaped lawn are easier to let go of compared to indoor features, such as a downstairs bathroom or built-in storage. You can always build a garage or do your own landscaping, but it’s more difficult and more expensive to have a new bathroom constructed.Here’s a tip: a home’s exterior is generally easier and cheaper to fix than the interior, so this is where you can make wise concessions.If you’re planning to acquire a home at the lowest possible price, consider looking at fixer-uppers or homes that require repairs. These sell at much lower prices than houses that have been repaired and staged before the sale. The best thing about fixer-uppers is that you can turn them into properties that can eventually be sold at a much higher value.Note, however, that some repair issues are harder and more expensive than others. Cosmetic problems are forgivable but make sure to avoid homes with structural issues.Avoid fixer-uppers if they require you to do the following expensive repairs:

  • HVAC system replacement
  • Roof replacement
  • Water damage repair
  • Electrical rewiring
  • Window replacement
  • Complete bathroom or kitchen remodels
  • Plumbing line replacement
  • Mold removal
  • Termite damage repair
  • Foundation repair

4. Sellability

If you’re only planning to live in your starter home for a handful of years, then you should think about how well the property would sell once you’re ready to let go of it. Some factors that influence a home’s value are location, interest rates, the housing market, and the property’s condition and features.As we’ve mentioned before, properties in hot markets have high chances of appreciating after several years. If you can afford a house in a booming market, then you should grab the opportunity to invest in a real estate property in that location. This investment can yield a high return, which you can use to finance your forever home.You can also slowly increase your property value by working on its curb appeal, updating its interiors, and adding some smart technology upgrades. Among these three, improving your curb appeal is the easiest and most affordable option since there are many home exterior improvements that don’t cost much but yield a high ROI. In fact, a good curb appeal can increase your property value up to seven percent.You can have the lawn landscaped, the front door repainted, the sidings replaced, and smart outdoor lights installed. These are features that many home buyers look for in houses, making your property more attractive.If your starter home isn’t easy to sell, you can rent it out instead. This is a wise idea because it gives you a second source of income, which you can use to pay your mortgages for your forever home.

5. Personal Goals and Timeline

Finally, consider your long-term plans. These have a huge impact on the home you’ll purchase, even if you won’t be living in that house forever.For instance, if you have little kids or are planning to have kids soon, then you should look at properties that are near schools. It also helps if you get a starter home in the same area where you wish to get a forever home someday. That way, your kids wouldn’t have to deal with the emotional turmoil of changing schools and moving far away from their friends.The bottom line is that even though you won’t be living in your starter home forever, it should still help you achieve your long-term plans at your ideal pace, whether those are professional or personal goals.

Buying Your Starter Home

In some ways, choosing a starter home is more challenging than buying your forever home. Since you don’t see yourself living in the house for the rest of your life, you need to have an exit strategy for when you’re ready to move. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a property when you’re already planning the next phase of your life.As such, make sure to seek the advice of a realtor when buying your first real estate property. They’ll help you find a house that suits your current needs and goals but will be profitable and easy to sell once you’re ready to buy your forever home.If you need help navigating the real estate market, Cami Jones Collaborative is here. Our boutique-style service gives you a personalized experience, making sure that you have the undivided attention of one of our real estate agents. You can utilize our team’s advanced market research strategies and expert negotiation skills to find your ideal starter home.Ready to buy your first-ever home? Call us at (913) 521-5584 or fill out our online form to book an appointment today.

Buying a Second Home: Vacation Home or Rental Property?

Depending on what you’re using it for, you can receive several financial benefits by buying a second home. If you were to turn it into a rental property, for instance, you’d get an extra source of income. You’d also have tax advantages because you could deduct your taxes from the property’s income instead of your own.However, you also need to consider that mortgage rates typically run higher for second homes compared to your primary residence. The rates for second homes are usually higher by less than .50 percent and about .50 to .75 percent higher for investment properties. If you’re thinking of buying a second house, you need to be aware of the pros, cons, and financial considerations involved in the purchase.

Vacation Home

Buying a vacation property can be a wise move if you visit that location frequently throughout the year. An Aspen or Hamptons home, for instance, is a worthwhile investment if you spend two months there each year. Your annual mortgage payments on the property could be almost equivalent to what you pay for two months of rent.Additionally, you’ll be building your equity in the house over time instead of just giving your money to someone else.You can also rent out your vacation home when you’re not using it. As long as you’re renting it for less than 15 days, you won’t have to report your income to the IRS. Keep in mind, though, that if you spend less than two weeks in your vacation home and rent it for the rest of the year, the IRS will consider it as an investment property. This means you have to report your earnings.Below are some financial factors to consider before buying a vacation home.

  1. Potential Tax Breaks

You can receive tax breaks for mortgage interest and property taxes if you’re using your second home primarily as a vacation home. You can deduct up to $10,000 of your real estate, state, and local taxes on your vacation home – $5,000 if you’re married and filing separately.You’ll need to keep in mind, however, that the deduction limit is low. Many people who buy a second home may already exceed the limit with their first home, so they don’t get additional tax savings from their second home.It’s also important to be aware of the tax break you won’t get on a vacation home. When you sell a primary residence, you can exclude as much as $250,000 in capital gains from your taxes. If, for example, you paid $400,000 for your primary home and sold it for $500,000, you don’t have to pay any tax on your profit.On the other hand, selling a vacation home for the same figures doesn’t afford you the same advantage. Your $100,000 will be taxable.

  1. Other Expenses

Owning a second home involves many expenses apart from your mortgage and taxes. You’ll have to pay for insurance, utilities, and homeowners association dues and memberships. The location of your property can also balloon your expenses, especially if you’re buying in a popular vacation spot.You’ll need to spend money on property maintenance, too. Since the house will likely be unoccupied for most of the year, you’ll need to hire property management professionals like handymen, painters, gardeners, and even snow-shovelers. These services can add up to thousands of dollars a year.There’s also the matter of security. It’s smart to beef up your second home’s security system, so you can keep an eye on it even when you’re not around. Invest in outdoor surveillance cameras, a video doorbell, and a home alarm system that will alert the local police if a breach occurs.Equipment costs vary, but they are generally more expensive if you’re getting professional installation and 24/7 monitoring services.

  1. Vacation Home Insurance

Buying a second home means purchasing an additional set of insurance policies for coverage. You need the right insurance for your vacation home because you’ll be leaving it empty for most of the year, making it vulnerable to burglary and negligence-caused damage.A vacation home insurance policy should be enough to cover a home you own but don’t live in full-time. This type of policy differs from traditional homeowners insurance in that it only protects against named perils. A named perils insurance policy provides coverage only for losses caused by events or risks identified in your plan.Typical vacation home insurance policies cover damage from fire and smoke, lightning, explosions, and theft. Properties located in areas prone to flooding, earthquakes, and hurricanes are subject to higher premiums because they’re more likely to be damaged.Note that insurance rates are generally higher for second homes. Insurers see them as riskier assets because of their vulnerability to break-ins and property damage. Moreover, if you’re planning to use the house for short-term rentals, you’ll also need to get short-term rental insurance.

Rental Property

rental propertyRenting out your second house helps cover the expenses of buying the property. You can use your profit to pay your mortgage and have the renter pay for the utilities and some of the property upkeep expenses.Being a landlord, however, entails certain responsibilities to your property and your tenants. You need to comply with rental laws and other requirements to make your property safe for your tenants. You’re also responsible for the maintenance of the property and its utilities, meaning you’ll have to attend to issues regarding water, heat, and other services agreed upon in the lease.Here are some of the financial aspects of owning a rental property that you should consider.

  1. Tax Deductions

Owning a rental property can generate some great tax breaks. For one, the mortgage interest and property tax of your rental unit are tax-deductible because they’re technically business expenses. You need to remember to file the deduction on your IRS Schedule E (Form 1040) when you file your tax return.Rental properties are business assets that depreciate, meaning their worth decreases over time. You can deduct that depreciation each year on your tax return. The calculation is complicated, though, so it’s recommended to have a tax specialist handle it for you.Rental expenses, such as repairs, maintenance, and other operating costs, are also tax-deductible. Some examples are fixing busted garbage disposals, patching holes in the wall, or replacing the light bulbs. Only necessary expenses can be deducted, though, so the cost of improvements isn’t included.

  1. Rental Real Estate Loss Allowance

This allowance gives you a federal tax deduction of $25,000 per year in losses from rental properties. You can deduct the loss from other income sources you have.Rental real estate loss allowance, however, is subject to passive loss rules. Rental losses are always considered passive losses, which can only be deducted from a passive income. Passive income is the income you earn from activities you don’t “materially participate” in, meaning you spend less than 500 hours on it each year.Investments, rental properties, and peer-to-peer lending are some common sources of passive income.In short, you won’t be able to deduct your rental losses until you have enough passive income to offset the amount.There are exceptions to the passive loss rule, though. You can qualify for the allowance if your adjusted gross income doesn’t exceed $100,000. You also need to be actively participating in rental activities. This means having more than a 10 percent ownership interest in the property and participating in meaningful management decisions regarding the rental.Your deductible losses, however, may be limited if your rental expenses exceed your rental income, as indicated in the Passive Activity and At-Risk Rules.

  1. Income and Expenses Reporting

You need to report all your rental income using Schedule E. List your expenses, total income, losses, and depreciation for each rental property you own.If you have more than three rental properties, attach as many Form 1040s to list all your properties. Complete lines 1 and 2 for each property, but fill out the “Totals” column only on one form. The figure you’ll put in this column should be the combined totals of all your Schedules E.Make sure to keep records of your rental activities, including financial statements, receipts, and tax return documents. You’ll need these in case you’re selected for audit. If you’re audited and cannot provide evidence to support the items you reported on your tax returns, you might be subjected to penalties and additional taxes.

  1. Landlord Insurance

You’ll need landlord insurance to cover the unique risks of renting out your property for prolonged periods. The coverage varies per insurer, but most policies cover damage to the structure of your property, damage to items contained inside the house, and rental income loss.Rental property insurance often includes landlord liability protection. This clause helps you pay for someone’s medical bills or legal expenses if they’re injured on your rental property and you’re found responsible.Let’s say, for example, your tenant fell down the stairs and the court determined that you failed to maintain the railings, which led to the accident. You would be held responsible for your tenant’s recovery expenses. Your landlord liability coverage can help pay for those expenses, as long as the costs are within your policy’s limits.

Buying a Second Home

As you can see, buying a second home is a huge financial decision regardless of whether you’re using it as a vacation home or a rental property. Do your real estate homework first and learn more about the location you’re eyeing and the financial responsibilities involved in buying a second house. Use online mortgage calculators to get an estimate on your down payment and monthly costs.Make sure to seek the advice of an expert real estate agent to make the right choice. If you need guidance in buying a second home, look no further than Cami Jones Collaborative. Named one of 2018’s top residential real estate agents and teams in Kansas City by the Kansas City Business Journal, we help clients in all their home buying and selling needs.With Cami Jones Collaborative, you get more in-depth services than the average agent. We use our advanced market research strategies and fearless negotiation skills to help you find your dream home. You’ll get a bespoke, full-service experience that takes care of your sale or purchase from beginning to end, taking the stress out of the entire experience.Planning to buy a second home in Kansas City? Call us at (913) 521-5584 or fill out our online form to book an appointment today.

Starter Home or Forever Home? Which One Should You Consider?

Buying a new home is a huge investment. There are a lot of things to consider, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. Since it is a long-term commitment, it is important to make the best decision possible to be certain that you and your family are going to be satisfied.You have to consider which type of home fits you: a starter home or a forever home. A starter home is a smaller home usually bought by first-time buyers. A forever home is one that your family can settle in for a long time.Consideration of which home to buy depends on your current situation and goals. To help you decide, Cami Jones Collaborative shares these important points in determining which one will be the right fit for you and your family.


A starter home is much smaller and cheaper. It usually has 1-2 bedrooms and fewer amenities. It’s a common option for younger, first-time buyers because it allows you to save more money. Most owners sell it after 5 to 10 years to purchase a larger home. In Kansas City, the starter home value is around $61,200.On the other hand, a forever home has a higher cost. It’s important to make sure that you’re financially stable before making a purchase. Use a mortgage calculator to figure out the best price and monthly payment for you.Here are some additional costs for homebuyers to consider.

  • Renovation costs. Check how many renovations are needed, as they might go past your budget or take longer than expected. Renovations are very important to increase the home’s value and fix safety issues.
  • Interior and exterior upkeep. If you’re used to living in an apartment with a landlord or superintendent you can call on for maintenance, you might be in for a surprise when you buy a home. Be prepared for additional expenses like home repairs, flooring, landscaping, or snow removal.
  • Insurance. It is more expensive than renter’s insurance, and you might also need private mortgage insurance depending on your situation. Not having insurance might put you in violation of your mortgage contract.
  • Other fees. These include closing costs, taxes, real estate fees, or any legal fees that the lawyer pays on your behalf.


Depending on your situation, the location of your potential home is an important factor to consider. You might want a place that’s close to your work or to your friends and loved ones. For starter homes, choose a location with a potential for resale. You don’t want to be stuck with a piece of property when you decide to move.In choosing the location of your forever home, make sure it is close to your work, your kids’ school, the hospital, and any other necessary services. This way, you can avoid constantly moving which takes time and money, as well as the emotional toll on the kids if you move too far or change schools.Here are some factors to consider when choosing a location.

  • Climate. Choose a location with a good climate to avoid too much heat, flooding, or severe calamities. It could eventually affect the state of your house which might lead to further renovations that will add to your expenses.
  • Neighborhood. Everyone likes a place with a good neighborhood to avoid stress. Toxic neighborhoods might affect your family, especially your kids if they hang out with people with destructive qualities.
  • Safety. Make sure to check if the location of your home is prone to break-ins or theft. You can use a crime mapping service or take a tour around and talk to the people living in the area.
  • Proximity to daily activities or entertainment. Being in close proximity to the nearest mall, supermarkets, restaurants, or entertainment venues is essential for your needs.
  • Transportation. Being close to highways, trains, or other modes of transportation is a big help to save some time in your travel hours. Easy commutes are one of the most valuable assets that people look for when choosing the location of their house.

Personal Goals

Your future plans will have a large impact on deciding which type of home to purchase. If you don’t plan on staying at a certain place for more than 5 years, then a starter home is a good option. A forever home will be perfect to grow your family, especially if you’re not planning on a job change anytime soon.Here are some points that might influence your future goals.

  • Length of stay. If you don’t see yourself staying for longer than ten years, then a forever home might not be a good idea since it is more pricey than a starter home. Invest in a forever home if your mind is set on staying there and growing your family.
  • Space needed. If you are a couple buying a house for the first time, a starter home is recommended. However, starter homes tend to have a smaller space. If you plan on having kids soon, you could outgrow the place, so you may want to opt for a bigger house that can accommodate the kids long-term.
  • Change in lifestyle. If you’re the type that spends a lot of time outside, then the smaller space of a starter home might be ideal. If you’re about to have a kid and will spend a lot of time at home, then a forever home is a good investment for your child and the whole family.

Local Real Estate Market

Unless you plan on moving to another place, consider checking which type of homes in your local real estate market fit your budget and track their prices and availability. Also, check if buying or renting will be more appropriate.Good real estate agents know their local real estate market very well. They can provide a lot of information and guidance that can help you make a good decision.

Quick Questions to Ask Yourself

Purchasing a home will be one of the biggest transactions you’ll ever make. It’s a big move and there are a lot of things to consider that will affect you mentally, emotionally, and financially.Before choosing your home, it is important to evaluate your buying options: affordability, location, condition, and your future plans. Always think twice before making any decision. Buy your home for the right reasons.Here are some common questions you can ask yourself.

  • How much can I afford? You can get a mortgage pre-approved, so that you know how large of a loan you can get. It can provide you with a more specific expectation on how much you can afford. You can also consider some assistance options like down payment assistance or first-time homebuyer programs.
  • How long do I plan on staying? Moving to a new house can be time-consuming and expensive, especially if you haven’t built up equity in your home. If you move out before living there for around two years, you can be subjected to capital gains taxes. If you think there’s no guarantee that you’ll stay on your current property for 2 to 5 years, then reassess buying a new home.
  • What is the condition of the house? Get an inspection before investing in a new home. Have a list of things that need replacement or repair. Also, get an appraisal before signing your mortgage to assess the market value of the home.
  • How much space do I need? Always consider your lifestyle and goals. If you have children, other family members, or pets with you, then you might need a bigger house. If you want to have an outdoor living space, then you need a house with a big yard. Also, put your focus on affordability and the right kind of home for you.
  • Does the location suit my needs? To know how much time you’ll spend on the commute to work, try doing a “test drive” or mapping out your route. Also, consider the proximity to family, friends, and nearby amenities. If you plan on staying for a long time, then the location should be convenient for you.
  • Do I have the means to renovate? Figure out which renovations should be done first. Consider your budget, your availability, and the timeline you’d like them to be completed. If there are certain renovations that affect your health and safety like molds or structural issues, then these should be done immediately.
  • How do I communicate with my realtor? Let your agent know how you want to communicate, either via text, email, or call. Keeping in touch with them will keep you both updated if ever there will be changes.

Professional Real Estate Agency

Cami Jones Collaborativey is one of the top residential real estate companies in Kansas City. Our dedicated team delivers a great marketing strategy, staging services, and confident negotiation skills. We make sure that your transaction goes efficiently and smoothly. For more information, call us at (913) 521-5567 or (913) 521-8883. You can also reach out to us via email.

Finding, Buying, and Negotiating for Your Luxury Dream Home

Picture this: you’re planning to move to Kansas and you’re currently on the lookout for that perfect luxury home you can call your own. What are you looking for in your dream home?Perhaps you want a sprawling garden where you can hold parties or have a big pool and grotto installed. Maybe you want a spacious home that you can decorate to your liking. Perhaps you want a home with a large interior, a well-manicured lawn, a beautiful backyard space, as well as all the comforts of living money can buy.If you want to find the best luxury homes for sale in Kansas, Cami Jones Collaborative is the key. We can provide you with the best listings around the state and take care of the details so you get the luxury home that suits your needs.

The Benefits of Teaming Up with A Real Estate Expert

Finding and closing the deal on a new home is not a simple task. There’s no easy way to know whether the property you’re buying is good or bad unless you have an expert helping you out during the walk-through and inspection process. The buying process can be tedious, too. Although some of these real estate practices are generally similar for a number of states, some components may differ slightly. Therefore, they need to be processed according to local state law.For example, here in Kansas, closing fees are divided between seller and buyer, while in other states, the same fees are taken care of by the buyer. In Kansas, closings can be facilitated by title companies, real estate agents, attorneys, and independent escrow firms, while in some states only an attorney can facilitate a closing.There are plenty of other factors to consider, including property tax guidelines and policy costs. However, having an experienced real estate agent alongside you all throughout your buying journey, you’ll be able to navigate your options better and have the nitty-gritty stuff taken care of by the real estate firm’s team of experts. All you have to do is to tell us what you’re looking for, and we’ll do the legwork for you.

Talk to Us About Your Dream Home

Sit down with one of our real estate agents to discuss the specifics of your ideal hone. We can then set up a timeline that works for both you and the seller.Be as specific as you can be when it comes to your requirements, especially if you’re after green home technology, smart home technology, or turn-key offers. This will help us filter the listings and narrow down the choices based on your requirements and preferences. It also makes the selection process more convenient for you.

Consider These Factors Before Putting Pen to Paper

Buying a home is an exciting journey and it’s easy to agree to an offer when you’ve finally found the home that you’ve been looking for. However, before taking another step, you’ll want to perform a thorough inspection so you can determine your negotiation leverage before closing the sale. If you’re not sure what to put on your worksheet, here are the things that you can negotiate.

Closing Date

Before setting the close date in stone, you’ll want to factor in your seller’s timeline aside from your planned move-in date. Most sellers are eager to close, as they may be moving to a new state or out of the country. These homeowners are motivated to close sooner rather than later.Several factors can affect the timeline and alter the closing date. Appraisals, inspections, and repairs are time-consuming factors that can prolong the time between accepting the offer and closing the home.

  • The close date may also take another 30 to 60 days longer, depending on the bank and mortgage timelines.
  • Closing on a purchase mortgage may have a shorter lead time than closing on a refinance, as these are processed differently.
  • Paying with cash up-front does cut the mortgage lead time, but it doesn’t preclude the closing timetable from being affected by the matters mentioned.

If this sounds a tad complicated, our team of real estate experts can make things light and easy for you. We’ll sort the paperwork and create a timeline that works for both you and the seller. This way, you can determine a tentative close date and plan for temporary living arrangements in case the close date is beyond the move-out date from your former home.

Contingency for Inspection

Consider contingencies as your safety net. Contingencies allow you to negotiate inspection timeframes, as well as repair costs, especially if these affect the structural integrity of the property. You can also negotiate a final walk-through to verify that all the necessary repairs were made and that your new home is in top condition before you take the final step.Contingencies are indicated in the contract and will have to be met before it becomes binding. It protects you, the buyer, from being trapped in a situation that isn’t beneficial to you. You can walk away from it and direct your time towards finding the best home for you.

Inspection Timeframe

Sellers often have a tight schedule for inspections, leaving you, the buyer, with less time than you need to ensure that your potential future home is in top condition. You may ask for a longer inspection timeframe in your contingencies to maintain your negotiation leverage even after accepting the deal.Our clientele is quite meticulous, so we understand why our buyers need a longer inspection timeframe. Besides, buying a property is an important investment; we agree that it’s only right to know that you’re putting your investment in the right property and that you’re getting the best one for you.

Repairs and Improvements

More often than not, sellers spring for repair costs before putting their property out on the market. Some sellers offer the buyer credit, which is a certain amount from the contract price. This amount goes toward repair costs, allowing the buyer to take care of the repairs themselves.Repairs can be structural or superficial, but both require proper attention, as these can lead to further damage later on. Also, It’s much harder to schedule repairs around your new home once you’ve moved in and may cost you storage fees if it’s impossible to move your belongings in just yet.Performing any repairs or improvements is ideal before closing, as you’ll want your potential future home to be move-in ready once the property has been turned over to you.

Cosmetic Improvements

Cosmetic improvements are surface enhancements and do not involve any form of teardown or floor plan alteration to change the size of the floor area. Not all cosmetic improvements are worth negotiating for, so if you’re planning to include any improvements in your contingency, go for the ones geared toward preventive maintenance like fixing minor cracks on walls and installing energy-saving lights.Cosmetic improvements can also be done by applying a fresh coat of paint on the interior and/or the exterior of the property, as well as replacing broken moldings, crowns, and fittings.

Appliances, Furniture, Fixtures, and Decor

You can negotiate with the seller which appliances, pieces of furniture, fixtures, and decorations you would like included or removed. As a rule, anything that is bolted down is considered a home fixture and stays in the property, unless you prefer to upgrade it.Some luxury homes are sold fully furnished and, in some instances, are fitted out with made-to-measure furniture. You might want to take note of customized pieces and make an offer to buy these, instead of having to have new ones made later.If you love the decor and find interesting furniture and decorative pieces you’d like to have in your future home, you can make an offer for the pieces that you’d want to keep.

Pre-Move In-Home Cleaning

If repairs were made on the property after you accept the offer, chances are it will need a thorough cleaning to remove any dust and debris left behind. The real estate company can find a contractor for your move-in cleaning requirements and also help you with unpacking your belongings, if you don’t have this included with your movers, to make moving-in faster and you can enjoy your new home right away.In case of an extended close date, make sure the home cleaning company also offers storage services. This way, you have a unit to store your belongings until you can move into your new home.We’ll help you negotiate these things with the seller to ensure that you’re potential new home is on par with your standards.

We Make it Easy for You

Finding and buying your dream home can be tedious, but if you work with an experienced team of real estate experts like Cami Jones Collaborative, you can make it a wonderful and enjoyable experience. After all, the memories you’ll be making in your new home start from when you first set foot in it and fall in love with it.If you’re looking for a luxury home in Kansas and would like to have a hassle-free and smooth buying experience, we’ll make it happen for you. Call us at (913) 402-2550 or fill out our secure form to book an appointment today.

A Complete Check List for House Hunters

The past year has seriously impacted many facets of normal life, but there is a silver lining. Historically low mortgage rates across the country have emboldened people to buy their own homes. The increased interest in becoming homeowners started in February 2020. A whopping 84 percent of Americans revealed they wanted to become homeowners rather than mere renters.Thanks to cheap mortgage rates, the dreams of aspiring homeowners in America can now become a reality.If you live in Kansas City, you are in an excellent position to look for a place to settle down. The real estate market of the city reveals that it’s a bustling metropolis surrounded by suburbs, and the cost of living is 3 percent lower than the national average. However, you’ll still need to be discerning, especially if you’re out looking for your very first home.Here is a practical and comprehensive checklist you can consult whenever you’re viewing houses personally or digitally.

1. The Neighborhood

Kansas City is home to some of the best neighborhoods in the state, but not every community has the same features. The real estate agent’s adage “location, location, location” cannot be any more true. You can make as many changes as you can to your home, but changing your entire neighborhood is significantly more challenging. When looking for your new house, factor in the following considerations before coming to a decision.

  • Proximity

aerial-view-of-neighborhoodDetermine how physically close and accessible the neighborhood is to places that matter to you the most. Most people determine the neighborhood they’ll live in by finding out how long it takes to get from their prospective home to their workplace. You could also check how close the community is to significant people in your life like family members.

  • Accessibility

Aside from its physical location, you need to consider how accessible the neighborhood is to various forms of transportation. Are there enough roads and highways around the neighborhood so that you can avoid traffic jams? Does it have a robust public transport system, like buses or trains? What are the conditions of these thoroughfares? Remember that sometimes increased accessibility can lead to some detrimental factors, like increased noise and pollution.

  • Schools

Your home’s location will also dictate which school districts your children can enroll in. Real estate agents will usually provide this information to you but be prepared to do your own research. What sort of praise has schools in the district garnered? What are their facilities like? Can you envision sending your children to these schools?

  • Amenities

There are plenty of amenities and essentials every home needs within driving distance. These include hospitals and healthcare providers as well as entertainment options. Are there nearby parks where kids and pets can play? How far away are the hospitals and how quickly can they get to your home in case of an emergency? Are there public amenities like libraries nearby? All these buildings and structures can be important in the long run.

2. The Structure

After you’ve considered the neighborhood thoroughly, you should begin assessing the structure of the house itself.

  • Integrity

house-foundationYour first concern should be the strength of the home itself. Ask your real estate agent if the house has been damaged recently, such as by a fire or a flood. These things can undermine the integrity of the building, even if you repair them. How is the ground the building is standing on? Is it swampy or flood-prone? How old is the house? Homes older than 20 years could have lots of lead in the pipes and paint, which can be detrimental to your health.

  • The Bathroom

Your next order of business is to check the home’s bathrooms. For starters, are there enough of them for your entire household? If you’re only one or two people, one bathroom should be enough. But for larger households, you may need as many as two or three. You can then check on the fixtures. Are they functional? Are the designs to your liking? Does it have both hot and cold water?

  • The Attic and Basement

After you’re done exploring the bathrooms, you need to look past the main floors. Often, home tours take you around the visible areas of the property, but you should also invest some time in looking at the attic and basement. These areas can sometimes hold important structural features like the boilers, foundation, and insulation. Check these areas for signs of damage or room for improvement. It always pays to look behind the curtains, so to speak.

  • The Kitchen

The kitchens should be your next destination, especially if you’re culinarily inclined. Ask the agent what kind of stoves the property uses: gas or electric? Either choice will have a large effect on your utility bills. How is the kitchen laid out? Does it have enough room for future alterations like new appliances? Are the countertops stable and made of food-friendly material? How about the lighting? Are there any exhaust hoods over the range and smoke alarms over the stoves?

  • Storage Space

Never underestimate the value of excellent storage spaces. This may seem like a concern primarily for people who live in the middle of cities, but it’s invaluable in a first home. If you’re planning on settling down in the community for good, you’ll need plenty of closets you can use to store your objects. Then assess the cabinet situations in the kitchen and bathrooms. The basement and attics are also prime storage space if properly secured against the elements.

  • The Yard and Garden

Once the interior of the house is to your liking, you can now proceed to tour the exterior. Unlike the inside of the structure, it’s easier to alter these aspects of the property. However, major renovations and improvements can be quite costly. For example, are there any large trees in the yard? Do they pose significant damage to the home in case of a storm? Are the plants in the yard dangerous? Some decorative plants can look beautiful but are poisonous to pets or children. Make sure to voice these concerns, so you can avoid being surprised when you’ve made your purchase.

3. Other Features

There is also a plethora of other features you’ll want to factor into your final decision. These factors can be just as important as the neighborhood and structural features, so keep track of them.

  • The Design

backyard-swimming-poolIt may seem trivial, but sometimes you look at a house and immediately feel like you don’t agree with the design. Perhaps you’re not crazy about the Victorian wraparound porch or you don’t envision yourself living in a ranch-style home. Because it can be extremely expensive to recreate an entire home’s design, you’re better off choosing a home with a design you already like.

  • Outdoor Features

Does the property have lots of external features like a gazebo or a fountain? Do you enjoy these features? If not, are they simply jacking up the price of the property? Consider outdoor features carefully, especially if they require regular maintenance, like swimming pools or fountains.

  • Technological Upgrades

An increasing number of homes are coming with these types of improvements, ostensibly to improve their utility. Does the house come with its own security system or intercom devices? Maybe it has its own home theater set up, with projector and surround sound? Make sure you like these upgrades and get the details of their maintenance from the agent.

4. The Price

The final factor you should always consider and feature in your house hunting checklist is the price. When you get all the information, from the state of the neighborhood to the structural features present, find out if the property is worth the price. No one wants to overpay on anything, least of all real estate.What price do you set for the property you want and how much more over it are you willing to go? Weighing the value of the house against its amenities and features is always a must. You should also determine if it’s a seller’s or buyer’s market because this will tell you if you’re going to save money or not. Properties in a seller’s market tend to be overpriced whereas homes in a buyer’s market are typically underpriced.Keeping this list of factors to consider close at hand can help you find the home you’ve been dreaming of sooner than you think.

Cami Jones can help you find your dream home!

The search for the perfect home can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be! Keeping a level head, knowing what you want, and knowing how much you want to pay for your home are vital to purchasing the perfect residence. Of course, it is equally important that you have an experienced real estate agent on your side.The real estate experts at Cami Jones Collaborative have been helping our clients find their dream homes for years. We have plenty of property listings that can satisfy your checklists and maybe even become your new home. Give us a call at (913) 521-5584 to start your buyer’s journey today!

Take a look at our buying, selling, and relocation services!

The Best Neighborhoods in Kansas City

Thinking about relocating to Kansas City? One of the first questions our relocation clients ask is: “What are the best neighborhoods in Kansas City?”With over 240 unique neighborhoods to choose from, finding the answer to this question can be slightly overwhelming. This is especially true for newcomers and often for locals. The atmosphere varies widely from one KC neighborhood to the next. In some areas, the locale is so distinct it almost feels like its own miniature city.When looking for a home in Kansas City, getting to know the neighborhoods is a must. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. Let’s take a look at some of the best neighborhoods in Kansas City, along with what makes them stand out from the rest.Note: If you don’t see a neighborhood on this list that sounds like the right place for you, consult with one of our agents. They know this town and will be able to help you find where the best place is for your new home!

The Best Neighborhoods in Kansas City: What Makes Them So Great?

The neighborhoods below all cater to different lifestyles and budgets – keep reading to learn more.

1. Brookside, MO — Small Town in a Big City

Brookside provides the familiar comforts of a small town in a big city.Just close enough to the action, yet still blissfully suburban, this neighborhood is located on the Missouri side of Kansas City.This beautiful neighborhood is known for its warm, inviting atmosphere, unique shops, and gorgeous homes. Approximately 11,000 residents call this tight-knit Kansas City neighborhood home.The first ‘suburban’ shopping area in Kansas City, this neighborhood is full of opportunities to indulge, amuse, and explore. From numerous local shops, upscale eateries and stylish coffee shops to quaint restaurants and a laid back night-life, Brookside has something to satisfy almost every interest. For those who prefer a walkable community, this neighborhood is a wonderful fit.Best neighborhood in Kansas City for: Almost anyone. Young professionals and families will both enjoy the plethora of amenities and comforts this neighborhood has to offer.Highlights: Close to the city, but not in the city. Countless unique places to dine, shop, and play.

2. River Market, MO — Walkable and Modern

This downtown Kansas City neighborhood has been revitalized for a new generation of young professionals. The result? Urban living with neighborhood vibes.Despite the big city atmosphere, comforts of the Midwest still permeate this urban area. Home to the region’s largest Farmer’s Market, the renowned City Market offers fresh produce and goods on Saturdays and Sundays, “Bringing ‘Farm to Table’ in the heart of the city.”One of those places you can almost get away with saying goodbye to your car, River Market is perfect for those who value an urban, walkable lifestyle.The majority of current River Market residents are in their late 20s and early 30s. However, there are also plenty of older residents and even some families with children who are drawn to the unique atmosphere of this area.The cost of living is considered standard, ranked 1% above the national average. River Market offers housing opportunities to suit a variety of incomes and lifestyles, from stylish lofts and condos to contemporary homes to various upscale and income-based apartment complexes. For those who enjoy life in the city, the possibilities are plentiful in River Market.Best Neighborhood in Kansas City for: Career-minded young professionals and people who value downtown, city lifestyles.Highlights: Reasonable cost of living, a variety of luxury and affordable real estate options.

3. Overland Park, KS — Family-friendly and Safe

Located just 15-20 minutes from the heart of downtown, this beautiful area is home to about 183,755 residents.Although it is quite large, this town in Johnson County, KS is perfect for young families and couples looking to settle into a quiet suburban lifestyle.Overland Park is brimming with local amenities and family-friendly activities. The area is home to various outdoor trails and parks and local restaurants, providing plenty of opportunities for awesome leisurely family time.Whether you’re spending a day with the kids at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead or exploring the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens–you’ll never run out of exciting ways to fill up your weekends.The cost of living in Overland Park is right around normal, just 3% higher than the US average. An investment in real estate in this area tends to be a good one since Overland Park has some of the highest home appreciation rates in the country.The schools in the Overland Park area are also considered some of the best in the country. For example, the Blue Valley School District was one of Niche’s 2019 Best School Districts in America.This neighborhood is best for: Families with children, looking for a safe place to raise a family with plenty of fun activities. Buyers or investors looking for a secure long-term real estate investment.Highlights: High home appreciation rates, low crime, family-friendly community in close proximity to the city

4. Leawood, KS — Luxury Suburban Lifestyle

A few miles from Overland Park, Leawood presents another peaceful, suburban neighborhood in the Kansas City area.Leawood is full of gorgeous upscale homes and estates. If a quiet, luxurious neighborhood in the suburbs is your ideal lifestyle, this area will be the perfect fit.Similar to Overland Park, Leawood is a quiet community known for its family-friendly atmosphere. Trendy, upscale restaurants, casual dining, and the renowned Leawood Stage Company provide plenty of opportunities for entertainment, relaxation, and wholesome fun.Leawood also has access to excellent public schools, with almost 100% of all high school students receiving their diplomas. Average test scores in this community are almost 90% higher than the rest of the state and 43% higher than the national average.Best Neighborhood in Kansas City for: Homebuyers looking for premium real estate options in a quiet, suburban neighborhood. Families looking for well-renowned schools.Highlights: Peaceful, Upscale, family-friendly neighborhood

5. Volker, MO — Laidback and Diverse

We are going to head back into Missouri to an area of the city which is highly walkable with plenty to do an see, this Midtown neighborhood is at the center of the action.Volker is home to a youthful and diverse population, featuring plenty of opportunities for shopping, a budding nightlife district, numerous outdoor parks, and sidewalks on almost every street.The real estate in this bustling Kansas City neighborhood consists of sprawling homes, red-brick apartment buildings, bungalows, and plenty of large houses converted into apartments. Perfect for creatives and adults without children, if you enjoy the freedom of a laid back lifestyle, you will love the atmosphere in Volker.Best Neighborhood in Kansas City for: Young creatives and eccentrics. Young professionals without children.Highlights: Night-life district, diverse population.

6. Waldo, MO — Starter Home Heaven

Waldo is a cute, quaint community located right on the edge of the city center. If you’re just starting out in real estate or looking to start over, this neighborhood will likely be a good fit.With plenty of locally-owned shops, boutiques, trendy coffee shops, day spas and nightlife, this neighborhood has plenty of choices to keep you busy on the weekends.The cost of living in Waldo is affordable, reportedly 16% lower than the national average.A perfect place to find your first home, this neighborhood is also known for being a great place to find affordable real estate. A quality two-bedroom home typically runs anywhere from $80,000 to $200,000.Best Neighborhood in Kansas City for: Young professionals looking to find their first home. People looking to downsize.Highlights: Bikeable, walkable, affordable. More than half of businesses here are locally owned.

Which Neighborhood is Right for You?

Ultimately, when searching for the perfect home in Kansas City, the devil is in the details. Determining the best place to live will depend largely on your individual needs.From cost of living and local culture to public school districts,  and overall livability–there’s a lot to consider.

How Our Relocation Specialists Can Help

Cami Jones Collaborative knows Kansas City. Our relocation specialists can help you get to know the area and assist you with all the small details to make the buying process as easy as possible.Let Cami Jones Collaborative help you move into your new life. Together we’ll find your perfect fit in Kansas City. Get in touch with our relocation specialists today by calling 913-521-8883

Moving to Kansas City Soon? Use This Ultimate Relocation Checklist!

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]You are probably here because got a new job and want to know how to plan for your big relocation to Kansas City. Well, we have put together a very comprehensive relocation checklist for you to use so you can get here and start your new life!At Cami Jones Collaborative, we pride ourselves on being experts in real estate and all things Kansas City, so if you have any additional questions after you look over the checklist below, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team![/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_separator color=”custom” accent_color=”#d70080″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Start: 8 Weeks Before Your Move

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]8 weeks out from a big move is close but you can’t exactly start packing everything up just yet. What you can do is start figuring out your moving plan so that when the time comes, you are ready to roll![/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”30px”][vc_column_text]1. Create a moving folder in Google Drive to keep all of the information you need organized.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]2. Find out how much house you can realistically afford. Click here for more information on figuring out your real estate budget.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]3. Create a budget for your moving expenses. What is the company paying for and what will you have to pay for? This is the time to ask HR or a supervisor about relocation packages![/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]4. Start researching schools and neighborhoods in the area. Make sure you obtain records from your kids’ current school to take to their new school. Feel free to use our Kansas City Neighborhood Guide to help you narrow down your search![/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]5. Request time off for a visit to the city. This will give you a chance to see your new office and visit different areas in person. Depending on your company policy, you may also want to request off a day or two for the actual move while you are at it![/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]6. Sell, de-clutter and donate things you don’t want or need anymore. This is a great opportunity to purge all of that junk that has accumulated over the years![/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_separator color=”custom” accent_color=”#d70080″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

6 Weeks Before Your Move

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Okay, 6 weeks before your move date is when you can really dig in and start working out some of the bigger details relating to your relocation![/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”30px”][vc_column_text]1. Contact a realtor in the area and start putting together a house-hunting plan. Your realtor may suggest that you save a few houses online that you would like to see and ask you what your priorities are when it comes to buying a home. Schedule a weekend before your move to go look at the homes you are interested in. Make sure you take this house hunting checklist with you![/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]2. Get quotes from moving companies or truck rental pricing if you are going the DIY route and reserve or schedule them for your move date(s). If you do hire a moving company, make sure that they are licensed and insured by verifying their DOT number.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]3. Start collecting boxes (grocery and liquor stores generally have a ton that they can give you) and packing your non-essential items. This could include that china set that you use twice a year, seasonal clothing, pictures and knick-knacks, etc. Don’t forget to label your boxes![/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]4. If you are moving across the country, have your vehicle serviced.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]5. Perform minor home/apartment repairs. Touching up paint, tightening up hardware screws, etc.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_separator color=”custom” accent_color=”#d70080″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

4 Weeks Before Your Move: The Countdown Continues

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]4 weeks until your move and you are killing it! Now is the time to really start getting those ducks in a row.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”30px”][vc_column_text]1. If you haven’t found a home yet, look into your temporary housing options. You may need to rent a storage unit to hold all of your non-essentials while you continue looking for a new home. A lot of apartment buildings will allow you to rent from month to month. The company that is relocating you may cover temporary housing costs so make sure you ask them about that![/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]2. Buy clothes that are climate-appropriate. If you are moving to Kansas City from somewhere warm like Miami, look into expanding your wardrobe to include jackets, sweaters, boots, and a heavy coat – especially if you are moving during the colder months.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]3. Start collecting boxes (grocery and liquor stores generally have a ton that they can give you) and packing your non-essential items. This could include that china set that you use twice a year, seasonal clothing, pictures and knick-knacks, etc. Don’t forget to label your boxes![/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]4. If you are moving across the country, have your vehicle serviced.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]5. Perform minor home/apartment repairs. Touching up paint, tightening up hardware screws, etc.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_separator color=”custom” accent_color=”#d70080″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

2 Weeks Before Your Move: Almost There!

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]You are almost there! Here is what you need to take care of 2 weeks before your move.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”30px”][vc_column_text]1. Change your address on You can leave your forwarding address with a neighbor or your property manager to ensure you get all of your mail. If you have to stick it out in temporary housing for a few weeks, you can put a hold on your mail and pick it up at the post office once you are settled in at a permanent address![/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]2. Use up the food in your freezer. You won’t want to move these food items and you paid good money for them. Get creative and find recipes that you can incorporate your freezer food into.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]3. Instruct your current utility company to disconnect services the day after your move and direct your new utility company to install services at least a day before you arrive.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]4. Alert your bank, credit card companies and other important parties about your move. If you have your new address, have them update it in their system.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]5. Find important documents and make sure you know where they are when you get to your new home – this will save you a lot of headache in the long-run. I.e. social security cards, birth certificates, tax documents, passports, etc.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]6. Cancel gym memberships and update your address for any subscriptions you are signed up for that do automatic delivery.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator color=”custom” accent_color=”#d70080″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Moving Week Checklist

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]All of your hard work is about to pay off. Now we have come to moving week. This will likely be the most stressful point in your move, but we are here to help you plan and get through it![/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”30px”][vc_column_text]1. Finish packing and clean as the boxes stack up[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]2. Pack and essentials bag or box. This will contain everything you will need when you arrive so you aren’t digging through boxes looking for important items. Pack clothes for a few days, toiletries, favorite toys and games – pretty much anything you know you and/or your family cannot live without for more than a day or two.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]3. Use up the remaining food in your fridge or see if you can donate it to a local food pantry[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]4. Do a final walk through at the end of the week. Reserve a small box for extra things that you might have missed while packing and clean up any sneaky messes you find.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_separator color=”custom” accent_color=”#d70080″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Moving Day is Here!

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]You finally made it. Moving day has arrived and you have done an amazing job preparing to move to your new city so. Set your alarm, get a coffee and get ready to start loading up the truck.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”30px”][vc_column_text]1. Put valuables and important documents into a secure bag that you keep with you in the car.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]2. Show the movers (no matter if they are a company or friends) around and supervise the loading of the truck.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]3. Tip the movers who will not be along for the ride after the truck is loaded. If friends are your movers, reward them with pizza![/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_column_text]3. If you plan to be in the car for a while, make sure you get gas and some snacks for the road.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_separator color=”custom” accent_color=”#d70080″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The experts at Cami Jones & Company know and love Kansas City. Our relocation specialists are here to help you! Let our team help you find the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood. Give us a call today!  You can reach our team at 913.521.8806.  Want to come and see us? Our office is conveniently located at 5000 W. 135th St. Leawood, KS 66224.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]