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Magazine Publisher Meredith Finds Success Focusing on Women

The Kansas City Star recently highlighted Kansas City's own Stephen Lacey, CEO of Des Moines, Iowa based media-giant Meredith Corporation, the company which owns the Better Homes and Gardens brand.

Meredith, a company that started out as magazine with the simple goal of helping farmers find success in the early 1900s, has survived depression, recession, the internet and an increasingly crowded field of magazine competitors to become the nation’s top publisher focused on women, reaching more than 200 million people a month. Read more.

Source: The Kansas City Star, Friday, March 20, 2015.
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April is BHG National Open House Month

During April, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate will hold its national open house month. We are asking all of our sales professionals to participate by hosting Open Houses throughout the month!

To promote the event, BHG Real Estate is launching an Open House Sweepstakes that will allow consumers a chance to win $2,500. Consumers can enter by going to any BHGRE open house and uploading pictures of themselves next to open house signs, and then posting these pictures to the national contest page on Facebook. After April 1st, check the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Facebook page for more information about this event. Also follow the All Things Real Estate BHGRE Facebook page for Open House best practices and tips throughout the month.

To help you get ready for your open houses, BHG Real Estate has prepared the following resources which can be found on the Greenhouse by clicking the rotating banner on the main page, or by searching for National Open House Month in the search bar.

- Download the Open House Sweepstakes flyer. Hand it out at your event, mail it to your contacts and distribute it at local establishments with information about your local open house.

- Dedicated training programs on the Greenhouse with best practice tips on conducting a successful open house. Topics include: Preparing for an Open House, Day of Tips, and Successful Lead Follow Through. Visit the training tab on the Greenhouse and register today. Click here for more information.

- Customizable drip email campaigns available in the Digital Marketing Center to help you promote your Open House. Click here and scroll down to the Drip Email Campaigns for more information.

- Download Open House Sweepstakes Social Media Kit complete with sample posts you can use to reach your social sphere available on the Greenhouse.
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Top of the List: Wealthiest ZIP Codes

The Kansas City area is home to 145 ZIP codes (omitting areas with less than 100 households and populations of less than 200), but 16 of the wealthiest 25 ZIP codes are in Johnson County.

We ranked Kansas City's ZIP codes using a multi-variable wealth rank established by Esri, an international supplier of Geographic Information System (GIS) software. Read complete article.

Source: Derek Ozkal, Kansas City Business Journal, Friday, March 13, 2015.
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Plaza Office Takes 2nd Place in St. Patty's Day Parade

Congratulations to the Plaza office for winning the 2nd place prize for best float in the recent Kansas City St. Patrick's Day Parade. More than 30 companies sponsored floats in the business division.

A special thanks to Plaza agents Annette LePique, Tyler Jackson and Maria Morton who built the playhouse, "Creative Decorating Duo" Bruce Kay and Donna Toma and other Plaza agents Patti Jien, Kathy Cipolla and Joshua Farrell, all who were instrumental in bringing home the prize.

It's easy to see the Plaza office enjoyed marching in the parade and is already looking forward to next year's event!

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3 Ways to Serve Multigenerational Clients

With aging grandparents on the rise and adult children returning home from college, multigenerational living becoming more prevalent. In 2012, a record 57 million Americans lived in multigenerational households, double the number from 1980. And the trend continues to rise.

In fact, according to NAR, 4% of U.S. home purchases last year involved a multigenerational household of adult children, plus parents, grandparents or both. How will this growing trend affect the agent’s role in the home searching and buying process? Here are three things to keep in mind. Read complete article.

Source: RISmedia, Monday, March 9, 2015.
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Realogy Named As A 2015 World's Most Ethical Company By Ethisphere Institute For Fourth Year In A Row

Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY), a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services, today announced that the company has been recognized by the Ethisphere Institute, the global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices, as a 2015 World's Most Ethical Company®.

This is the fourth consecutive year in which Realogy has received this recognition. The World's Most Ethical Companies designation recognizes those organizations that have had a material impact on the way business is conducted by fostering a culture of ethics and transparency at every level of the company.Read complete article.

Source: Realogy Holdings Corp., Monday, March 9, 2015.
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Social Media for Real Estate: 5 Steps to Success

Do you use social media to promote your real estate services and build your brand? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn—no matter which channels you use, social media is a powerful way to market your business to today’s buyers and sellers.

These five tips will help you gain followers, attract prospects and make connections on your social channels…for free!

1. Create Compelling Content
If you create real estate content that helps or entertains people, they’ll be compelled to read and share it. Your content may take the form of a helpful home staging blog post, a local market report, or even an infographic for first-time buyers. Read complete list.

Source: RISmedia, Monday, March 9, 2015.
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Kansas City Institution Among Nation's Best for Fried Chicken

Stroud's Restaurant serves up some of the best fried chicken in the country, according to food, drink and travel rating site Thrilllist.

According to the site, "Since 1933, the good people of North Kansas City have hit this place for their pan fried chicken. Get the regular dinner, and when you bite into that crunchy, salty, juicy, peppery chicken mess, and grease runs all down your face and YOU JUST DON’T CARE BECAUSE IT’S THAT GOOD". Read complete article.

Source: Kevin Alexander and Liz Childers, Thrillist, Wednesday,February 25, 2015.
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3 Things Realtors Can Learn From Big-Brand Marketing

From Nespresso to Louis Vuitton to Nike, the world’s most successful consumer brands offer something intangible along with the physical products they sell. They make a connection beyond your rational assessment of the object they’re selling.

They achieve this through offering an aspirational brand experience that is consistently expressed through every consumer touch point — from the advertising campaign to the retail experience to the way the product feels in your hands.Read complete article.

Source: Shane Conroy, Inman, Thursday, March 5, 2015.
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2015 Recognition Club Trip: It's No Secret... You'll Have a Great Time!

The latest recognition club trip destination - Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf and Spa Resort - was announced at the annual year end event. Situated just 10 minutes north of Cancun, Mexico, Secrets Resort is an all-inclusive luxury getaway destination with plenty to do and lots to enjoy.

Based on your feedback, we've moved the timing of the trip up from November to late October (10/25-10/29). We hope this will allow more qualifiers to be able to attend!

Congratulations to the more than 50 sales professionals who have qualified to join the fun in Playa Mujeres. If you are not yet among them, you still have until June 30 to qualify. Please see your broker for details.

Good luck and we'll see you in Mexico!
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Order Your 2015 Schedule Postcards

Looking for some new postcard designs to send to your COI?

We've updated the following postcards: NASCAR, Chiefs, Royals, Holiday Dining, Holiday Lights, Pumpkin Patches, College Basketball and College Football. 2015 postcard cost info:

• Postcards including USPS Standard Rate postage - $0.67 each
• Postcards including USPS 1st Rate postage - $0.89 each
• Postcards including USPS Standard Rate postage WITH magnets - $0.89 each
• Postcards WITH NO postage - $0.41 each

Download your 2015 postcard order form here. Final designs will be posted on KCHAgent as soon as they become available.

For questions or to order, contact John Steib at Print Time - or 816-472-1500.
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The Exclusive Digital Magazine for Clients in the Luxury Home Market

We invite you to page through the Winter Issue of the Distinctive Collection digital magazine to see more than 30 spectacular Kansas City area homes, priced from the $600Ks.

From Loch Lloyd to Mission Hills, you'll see stunning interior and exterior photos, as well as details about some of the most sought-after homes for sale in Kansas City.

Share 2015's first-quarter issue of this e-magazine with your prospects and clients today who are searching for their next Kansas City dream home.

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MLS Statistics for February 2015

The following statistics compare sales activity in February 2015 with the same time last year.

Heartland MLS:
  • Sales (YTD): -4.2%
  • Avg. Home Sale Price (YTD): +8.7% to $185,696

Johnson County:
  • Sales (YTD): -5.2%
  • Avg. Home Sale Price (YTD): +8.6% to $272,670
  • New Listings YTD: +12.1% to 1,848

Wyandotte County:
  • Sales YTD: -12.1%
  • Avg. Home Sale Price (YTD): +8.5% to $93,140
  • New Listings (YTD): +2.3% to 309

Jackson County:
  • Sales (YTD): -11.0%
  • Avg. Home Sale Price (YTD): +11.5% to $149,688
  • New Listings (YTD): +0.8% to 1,928

Clay/Ray Counties:
  • Sales (YTD): +13.6%
  • Avg. Home Sale Price (YTD): -1.6% to $157,497
  • New Listings (YTD): +16.6% to 976

Platte County:
  • Sales (YTD): -4.9%
  • Avg. Home Sale Price (YTD): +1.3% to $224,125
  • New Listings (YTD): +24.7% to 409

Click here to download the February 2015 MLS statistics report and summary.
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NAR Generational Survey: Millennials Lead All Buyers, Most Likely to Use Real Estate Agent

Despite the economic and financial challenges young adults have braved since the recession, the millennial generation represented the largest share of recent buyers, according to the 2015 National Association of REALTORS® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study, which evaluates the generational differences of recent home buyers and sellers.

The survey additionally found that an overwhelming majority of buyers search for homes online and then purchase their home through a real estate agent, with millennials using agents the most.

For the second consecutive year, NAR’s study found that the largest group of recent buyers was the millennial generation, those 34 and younger, who composed 32 percent of all buyers (31 percent in 2013). Generation X, ages 35-49, was closely behind with a 27 percent share. Read complete article.

Source: RISMedia, Thursday, March 12, 2015.
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Are First-Time Buyers Back?

The pace of new construction is one of many gauges of the state of the current housing market, along with home prices and the volume of sales. Moreover, the kinds of new homes under construction can tell us about the health of the housing recovery. The types of new homes presently being built suggest that housing growth continues, with initial signs of optimism for one of the market’s key weaknesses in recent years: lack of first-time buyers. Read complete article.

Source: Robert Dietz, U.S. News & World Report, Tuesday, March 10, 2015.
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Infographic: Inside the Mind of a Millennial Homebuyer

Click below to download the infographic:

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Why Buyers May Find Mortgages Easier to Get

Good news for potential home shoppers: A Mortgage Bankers Association index shows lender requirements regarding credit scores, down payments, and other key terms are finally loosening up. Some lenders are even expanding the types of mortgages they offer. These moves come after years of lenders tightening loan requirements in the aftermath of the housing crisis. Read complete article.

Source: REALTORMag, Monday, February 23, 2015.
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Missouri's Best Burger is Made in Kansas City

In a hunt for the best burger in each state, its editors, writers or contributors ate at each burger joint to compile a list of "The Best Burger in Every State in America"...Thrillist named Westport Flea Market Bar & Grill's patty melt as the best hamburger in all of Missouri. Here's what they had to say about it. Read complete article.

Source: Andrew Vaupel, Kansas City Business Journal, Wednesday, March 4, 2015.
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Choose from Two 2015 Royals Schedule Postcard Options

Share some of that Royals magic with your clients by sending them 2015 schedule postcards.

Print Time is offering two versions for you to choose from - a four-up and a six-up game schedule display. 2015 postcard cost info:

• Postcards including USPS Standard Rate postage - $0.67 each
• Postcards including USPS 1st Rate postage - $0.89 each
• Postcards including USPS Standard Rate postage WITH magnets - $0.89 each
• Postcards WITH NO postage - $0.41 each

Download your 2015 postcard order form here. Show your COI that you're Forever Royal and stay top of mind with them at the same time.

For questions or to order, contact John Steib at Print Time - or 816-472-1500.
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Why 2015 Will Be a Breakout Year for Real Estate Sales

I believe that the real estate market will make a comeback in 2015 — but it will do so in spite of the terrible economic environment and the government. (Please don’t confuse what I’m about to say with any credit you might hear taken by a politician or the government. Politicians are confounding the market by adding excessive regulatory controls and new taxes, to name just a few hits.)

What reasons do I have to be so optimistic? Read complete article.

Source: Tom Donegan, Inman, March 3, 2015.
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Shooting a Great Home Tour Video with a Smartphone in 10 Easy Steps

We all want to be able to shoot a great home tour.

Below are 10 top tips.

1. Before you shoot make sure you have deleted unnecessary photos and videos or uploaded them to your desktop computer or card so you have enough memory space on your phone. A few gigs should be plenty.

2. Shoot your video in horizontal/landscape mode.

3. Before you start shooting in a home make sure the counters are clean, coffee table items are straightened and organized, toys off of the floor, and everything else put away. Read complete article.

Source: RISMedia, Thursday, March 5, 2015.
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2015 CE Schedule Released

The preliminary list of classes for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Kansas City Homes' 2015 Continuing Education series is now available.

Take a moment to download and review it so you can make plans to attend the classes you need for the coming year. Check back often as this list will evolve and be updated in the future. If you have any questions about the classes offered or how to register for them, please contact Elaine Cavener, Education Director at 913-661-1486 or via email.
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