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Living Lawrence

Lawrence is a great place to live, work and play, so we’ve included the Living Lawrence page on our website as a helpful resource. Read about it here, but definitely bookmark it on your computer, tablet or Smartphone because you’ll want to refer to it often – for lots of different things. Here’s an overview of what you will find at stephensre.com/buy-your-home/living-lawrence.

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The Right Time to Buy

The real estate market in Lawrence is hot - to say the least - and Spring 2018 is a great time to buy a home. Many choose to buy in the spring because the upcoming summer break is the best time to transition to a new neighborhood and school. Plus mortgage rates are still low and you can reap major tax benefits.

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Why You Should Hire a Realtor®

For most Americans, a home is the most expensive purchase they will ever make. It’s a serious transaction, and proper representation, whether you’re a buyer or a seller, is critical. Realtor.com explains why working with a Realtor is your best option.

1. Realtors have loads of expertise. Want to check the MLS for a 4B/2B with an EIK and a W/D? Real estate has its own language, and your Realtor is trained to speak it fluently. Realtors will help you navigate the forms, reports, disclosures, and other documents, while avoiding delays or costly mistakes.

2. Online real estate listing sites mean you can find up-to-date home listings on your own, any time you want. But guess what? Realtors have access to even more listings. Sometimes properties are available but not actively advertised. A Realtor can help you find those hidden gems. And a good local Realtor is going to know the search area really well. Have your eye on a particular neighborhood, but it’s out of your price range? Your Realtor is equipped to know the ins and outs of every neighborhood, so he or she can direct you toward a home in your price range that you may have missed.

3. Realtors have honed their negotiating skills. Any time you buy or sell a home, you’re going to encounter negotiations. In today’s competitive market you can expect lots of competition, all-cash offers, and bidding wars. You want a savvy negotiator on your side to seal the best deal. And a Realtor will help draw up a purchase agreement that allows enough time for inspections, contingencies, and anything else that’s crucial to your particular needs.

4. Realtors make it their mission to know just about everyone who can possibly help in the process of buying or selling a home. Mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, home inspectors, home stagers, interior designers—the list goes on—and they’re all in your Realtor’s network. Use them.

5. Every agent at Stephens Real Estate is a Realtor which means you get the benefit of working with a licensed real estate salesperson who belongs to the National Association of Realtors®, the largest trade group in the country. What difference does it make? Realtors are held to a higher ethical standard than licensed agents and must adhere to a Code of Ethics.

6. Realtors wear a lot of different hats. Sure, they’re salespeople, but they work hard to earn their commission. They’re constantly driving around, checking out listings for you. They’re researching comps to make sure you’re getting the best deal. And, of course, they’re working for you at nearly all hours of the day and night, whether you need more info on a home or just someone to talk to in order to feel at ease with the offer you just put in.

If you’re wondering whether you should hire a Realtor to help buy or sell your home we’ve just shared a list of great reasons why your answer should be yes. We’re ready to help. Call us at 785-841-4500 or Contact Us.

Before You Show Your Home

You’ve gotten your house in top shape and it’s listed for sale. When you get the call that someone would like to view your home, Stephens Real Estate has a few tips for making the visit a pleasant and memorable experience for the potential buyer.

A tidy house is very important, and even with only a few minutes before prospective buyers arrive, you have time to straighten up a bit. Make sure beds are made, empty all garbage cans and take the garbage outside, put up your “show” towels and close all toilet seats. Grab a laundry basket – throw all of the clutter into it and put the basket into your car. And finally, wipe down countertops and sinks with a damp cloth.

Your house should smell fresh. You may want to bake a loaf of bread or a batch of cookies to add a wonderful and inviting scent. One of our favorite things: an essential oil diffuser. You can buy a variety of nice scents, some of which even boast health benefits like relaxation. Who wouldn’t want potential buyers to feel relaxed during a showing?

Let the sunshine in and make your house feel bright and cheery by opening curtains and blinds. This is especially important if you have a nice view. Natural light and a nice view of the outdoors will create a happy, illuminated space making any room appear bigger and more desirable.

Turn on the lights. You want to let natural light fill your rooms, but also remember to turn on the lights throughout your home. Overhead lights, lamps and even lighting in closets and the laundry room will make it easier for the agent to show your home. Potential buyers shouldn’t have to search for light switches.

Keep the temperature at an appropriate level. You want people to feel comfortable and confident that the house’s systems are in good working order, so turn on that heat when it’s cold outside. Now is not the time to worry about the utility bill. Same goes during the summer months. Turn up the air to keep things cool.

Always, always leave. After you’ve worked hard making your home sellable and memorable, please leave and let the Realtor® do his or her job. If you, your kids or your pets are there, potential buyers may feel uncomfortable. You don’t want them wishing their way out the door instead of enjoying looking at your home.

It’s a great time to sell and we’re ready to help. Your Stephens agent can give you great advice on preparing your home for today’s market. If you’re interested in listing your home, call us at 785-841-4500 or Contact Us.

Our Story

A Strong History

When Bob Stephens founded Stephens Real Estate in May of 1978, his vision was simple: Stay true to your independence, and true to your community. 40 years later, from those humble beginnings in the old Douglas County Bank building on Kentucky Street with 28 sales associates and a small support staff, his vision remains intact. We’ve grown larger, to be sure, but we’ve never lost our independence or our commitment to Lawrence and the surrounding area.

That commitment isn’t just in real estate. From day one to the present day, we’ve been dedicated to giving back to Douglas County through service and volunteerism. Our community involvement includes our support of United Way of Douglas County, The Ballard Center, Boys & Girls Club of Douglas County, Just Food, American Red Cross, Heartland Community Health Center, Go Red for Women, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Toys For Tots and many more. In addition, we are a community partner with Sunset Hill Elementary School.

Moving Forward

Like Bob Stephens, when Pat McCandless and Chris Earl bought the company in 2013 they had a simple vision: Never lose sight of the values that led to our success. Stephens Real Estate is still independent, still full service, and still linked to our community through roots that run decades deep. That means our agents and support team are committed to helping our clients live out their personal dreams right here in our hometown.

We’ve been synonymous with residential real estate since 1978, but there was a day when we were just as well known for our commercial business. Well, we’re proud to say we’re back in the commercial game; big time. Whether it’s a high-traffic spot or just a quiet little corner, we have the local knowledge to deliver just what you’re looking for.

We’re Different

Stephens Real Estate is much more than a conglomeration of talented and knowledgeable Realtors. Our team, unlike some companies, includes experienced transaction coordinators, a marketing coordinator, and a relocation coordinator. We are positioned to give assistance where you need it, when you need it, without the hassle and headache of running around trying to find the right person to talk to. Working alongside our outstanding group of agents, this dedicated support staff will provide you with expert service and guidance through the entire buying or selling process - from start to finish. When you hire a Stephens Agent you get the skills and expertise of the entire Stephens Real Estate Team.

One of the true benefits of being locally owned and operated, is knowing the right community partners to help with your transaction. At Stephens we collaborate with local lenders, title insurance companies, appraisers and inspectors to provide you with the assistance you need. We value the experience of these local experts who provide an unbiased, objective analysis for our clients. Stephens Real Estate, with offices in Lawrence, Baldwin City, and De Soto, is your locally owned, independent real estate resource. We’re committed to serving you when you’re ready to buy or sell. Call us at 785-841-4500 or Contact Us.

Prepare for Winter

(BPT) - As sweater season knocks on the door, it’s time to prepare for the brisk temperatures ahead. This winter, keep your home, health and well-being top of mind with these simple tips to avoid cold weather woes.

Winterize your porch: Install plexiglass panels to keep the cold weather out, allowing you to host friends and family, protect your furniture from snowfall and minimize spring cleaning. Once winter is over, simply pack up the panels and store them for next season. For those who splurged on flooring, apply a protective finish, such as a water sealer or stain, to ensure excess moisture does not seep through the wood.

Take preventative measures: Oftentimes, frozen pipes can burst throughout the winter, or cause leaks as they begin to thaw in the spring. Keep your home safe from leaks by installing the Delta Water Leak Detector - a device that identifies leaks quickly and alerts homeowners at the onset. Simply place the leak detector near water heaters, appliances, sinks or toilets to detect drips or pooling. For added convenience, connect the device to your cell phone to receive alerts in real time.

Turn it upside down: Warm your home without a huge increase to the gas bill by reversing the ceiling fan direction. During the summer months, ceiling fans push air down, naturally lending a cooling effect to those below. By reversing the ceiling fan upward, the cooler air is redirected, keeping you and your family warm beneath.

Cozy up your home: To battle dreary days, stock up on warm essentials, such as flannel bedding, down throw blankets and plush towels. Outfit the common areas with warm fabrics and decorative patterns to keep your home cozy and welcoming during the winter. Finally, consider purchasing comfortable rugs and mats to keep your toes warm on tile and wood floors.

Stephens Real Estate is a locally owned, independent, full service company. Our agents know the Lawrence market and have the experience and the connections to help you find your perfect home. Call 785-841-4500 or Contact Us.

Keys to a Successful Sale

The real estate market in Lawrence is hot this year. It’s a great time to sell and if you’re ready to list your home, Stephens Real Estate has a few suggestions that may help you attract buyers.

De-clutter and minimize everywhere; not only rooms, but closets, cabinets, drawers and storage spaces as well. Get rid of junk and neatly arrange what’s left. Every buyer is looking for storage and can never have enough of it. Remove half the stuff from your closets then neatly organize the remaining contents. Keep everything, including your cabinets, clean and tidy ensuring that each space looks larger and more appealing. If space is a problem for you, rent a storage unit for excess items while your home is on the market.

Remove personal items. Some agents say get rid of all personal items. We don’t necessarily think everything has to go, but you do want your home to show well and attract serious offers. Put away personal items that detract from your home such as photos, toiletries, food, drinks, etc. - anything that makes the space seem cluttered. If you have family photos hung in a tasteful way on the wall, they don’t necessarily need to come down, but you should always be thoughtful about your decorating decisions and keep the buyer in mind.

Use a neutral palette. If you’ve decorated with unusual or bright colors in your home, it may be wise to tone things down both for the listing photos and for showings. When a house is decorated with neutral colors on the walls, floors, trim and cabinetry, potential buyers will not be distracted and can more easily envision their belongings fitting in. Of course, every situation and home is unique. Your Stephens agent can provide sound advice on this.

Decorate thoughtfully. Although everyone has different tastes in decor and furnishings, most people want a home that is welcoming, functional, peaceful and organized. Tailor your house so that buyers will describe it in those terms rather than by your style. Maximize the full potential of your home by arranging furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space.

It’s a great time to sell and we’re ready to help. Your Stephens agent can give you great advice on preparing your home for today’s market. If you’re interested in listing your home, call us at 785-841-4500 or Contact Us.

Stephens Commercial Real Estate: We’re Back & Better Than Ever!

For almost 40 years, we’ve been synonymous with residential real estate in Lawrence and Douglas County. But there was a day when we were just as well known for our commercial business.

Well we’re proud to let you know that Stephens is back in the commercial game. Big time. Whether it’s a high-traffic spot or a quiet little corner, we have the local knowledge to deliver just what you’re looking for.

And, if you own investment property, we can handle that, too. We’re your dedicated, local resource and we know just what it takes to set your property apart from the competition and deliver the best return on your investment.

Even though Stephens Real Estate has been a respected, established entity in Lawrence for decades, we’re not comfortable sitting still. We’re innovators; always looking for new methods or ideas to help our clients.

And you’ll notice those qualities in our new commercial brand as well: the dedication we’re known for and the fresh thinking to get the job done in today’s market.

When it comes to commercial real estate, it pays to know the team that knows Lawrence; Stephens Commercial Real Estate.

Evan Holt is our dedicated commercial real estate expert. He’s a complex problem solver with 20+ years of experience as a leader, strategic planner and global operations manager. He has a proven track record in establishing and carrying out plans to reach even the most difficult goal successfully. Evan’s global experience and real estate background make him a valuable resource in helping your business achieve its goals.

It’s a Great Time to Sell

Spring is just around the corner and the real estate market in Lawrence is already heating up. Thinking about selling your home? Here are several good reasons why now is the time to list.

Currently, Lawrence has a shortage of homes for sale and house prices have been on the rise. Listings that are in good condition and priced right are selling quickly. We’ve seen more than a few instances of sellers receiving multiple offers on their homes.

Stephens Broker Pat McCandless says, “If you’re thinking of selling your home, the best decision you will make is to work with a Realtor. And as it happens, Stephens has plenty of them to choose from. Any of our outstanding agents are able to make recommendations on how you can prepare your home to sell. They will help you arrive at the best price for your home according to its condition, a current market analysis, and recent buying trends in Lawrence.” Stephens Real Estate is a full service agency, so in addition to your agent you get the benefit of our support team. We’re fully prepared to help you every step of the way – from listing to closing.

Deciding to list your home takes some preparation. Our Realtors understand what appeals to buyers and can help you get your home looking its very best. Curb appeal – making the most of your home’s appearance on the outside – is an important element in attracting buyers. It may be as simple as adding fresh mulch to your flower bed, trimming your shrubs and trees, and planting flowers to add color. Or you may choose to add a fresh coat of paint to your front door. Spring is the perfect opportunity to do this as the grass turns green, trees starts to bud and flowers begin to bloom. Don’t underestimate the importance of curb appeal. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Arranging the interior of your home to look appealing and make best use of the space is called staging. It’s an important part of leaving potential buyers with a positive impression. They should like what they see so they can imagine themselves living there. Your home should be clutter-free and clean. Fresh paint and clean carpet will help your home show well. Details like making sure your house smells fresh and having it properly lit are important. Ask your agent how to stage your home so it shows to its best advantage.

It’s a great time to sell and we’re ready to help. If you’re interested in listing your home, call us at 785-841-4500 or Contact Us.

The Holidays in Lawrence

Content thanks to unmistakablylawrence.com

The weather outside could be frightful, but Lawrence and the surrounding towns are always delightful around the holidays. Mass Street is a spectacular show of lights and decorated windows, there are numerous holiday lighting ceremonies, concerts, and other events to attend, and plenty of unique gifts from which to choose. If you’re unsure of how to navigate the myriad of events and activities, visit unmistakablylawrence.com/events-calendar to plan a memorable holiday outing perfect for family and friends.

While each year brings new and interesting events to attend, there are many timeless classics that shape the holiday season in Douglas County year after year. Consider starting your day with a Lawrence favorite that has been a tradition since 1993, the Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade, held today at 11:00.

This weekend really kicks off the season with holiday activities and events for everyone, including: The Downtown Lawrence Winter Wonder Weekend, Tails & Traditions Holiday Festival at Watkins Museum of History, the Festival of Nativities at Centenary United Methodist, the Holiday Extravaganza at the Sports Pavilion, the Gingerbread House Festival at Abe & Jake’s, the Holiday Homes Tour, and the 93rd Annual Holiday Vespers at the Lied Center.

December 8-17 you may experience the sensation and charm of another winter family favorite in Lawrence: The Nutcracker, A Kansas Ballet performed by the Lawrence Ballet Theatre at the Lawrence Arts Center.

Families who treasure selecting a Christmas tree together can visit Prairie Elf Christmas Trees or the Strawberry Hill Christmas Tree Farm – locally owned and operated farms that provide hayrides, hot drinks, and crafts to make your trip extra special. If you still need more holiday spirit, visit the extensive Christmas tree display in historic Lecompton, the Festival of Lights in Baldwin City, or the Santa Claus Express train ride at the Midland Railway.

Stephens Real Estate wishes you a happy holiday season, and we think these events along with the great restaurants and shops Lawrence offers promise plenty of opportunities for holiday cheer.

We are a locally owned, independent, full service company. Our agents know the Lawrence market and have the experience and the connections to help you find your perfect home. Call Stephens at 785-841-4500 or Contact Us.

Stephens Real Estate, Inc.
2701 W. Sixth Street
Lawrence, KS 66049

Phone: 785-841-4500
Toll-Free: 1-800-875-4315