Author Archives: Liz Stander

Dani Beyer Spotlight: A Conversation with Casa Bella Construction

For more than 10 years, Casa Bella Construction and its team of award-winning builders and designers have provided tasteful, affordable luxury homes to Kansas City residents. Owned and operated by Russ and Lise Groshans, Casa Bella sets the industry standard in luxury home development and design. Defined by a signature design, integrity and drive for perfection, each home is custom built to fit the wants and needs of every client. With a growing demand for new residential construction in 2015, we caught up with Russ Groshans to get a deeper look inside luxury home development.

Russ & Lise Groshans of Casa Bella Construction

 Lise & Russ Groshans, Casa Bella Construction

Casa Bella Construction

What sets Casa Bella apart from other build teams?

“We’re set apart by our design. We build homes with a tasteful, thoughtful blend of popular and enduring mediums. We pay attention to the details; I have obsessive-compulsive tendencies so when I build a home, I think of it as my home – what would I want in my own home – and I refuse to negotiate in terms of quality; only the finest building mediums are used. It’s that attention to detail that sets us apart from spec builders. We are truly custom homebuilders who give our clients what they want.”

 

What drove you to change career paths?

“It started out as a retirement trade. As a Police Officer, everything was so structured; my creative passion felt unsatisfied. I had always wanted to design my own homes and in 2002, I saw a niche in the market for affordable, luxury homes. It was the right decision; the first home we built in 2003 was named the American Dream Grand Award Winner, and sold right after.”

 

What current trends have you seen emerge in luxury home development?

The biggest trend would have to be Green, environmentally conscious homes. High efficiency units, pumps, air conditioners, upgraded insulation… utility costs are lower and it’s safer for the environment.

Outdoor spaces are another. Clients come to us wanting outdoor living spaces, covered decks and porches, outdoor fireplaces with built-in TV spaces.

High-end finishes in the lower level… basements with full kitchens, wet bars with granite countertops and up-lighted shelving. Everyone wants a home theatre.

Built-ins are becoming standard. Charging stations, wine components, shelving units, television mounts.

We’re building open floor plans with less square footage. It’s not like ten years ago when you had to have a 7,000 sq. ft. lot on a golf course in order to own a luxury home. We use open floor plans to help eliminate redundant rooms… ultimately, you pay for the space you’re going to use.

Home trends are strange, because what’s popular now won’t be popular in ten years – the Tuscan style homes of the 90’s are the best example. For year’s, clients wanted the clay roof, the stucco exterior. Today it’s passé. When building a home, you want it to outlast the trends; something not too modern or too overdone. We’re in the business of timeless designs: clean lines, open floor plans, and enduring mediums.”

 

Enduring mediums including…?

“Exposed, distressed hardwood beams for the ceiling; cut-stone fireplaces; Beachwood cabinetry and wide plank oak floors; composite, weather-proofed decking; granite countertops… it’s all in the details. We play on the soft and hard materials to provide durable and beautiful results.”

 

Casa Bella Construction

 What are some of the day-to-day challenges you face in this business?

“I think any builder would agree that the biggest challenge in this industry is meeting market demands while maintaining and managing expectations. Market conditions and home building requirements are constantly changing; you have to account for building permits, time frames, building and energy codes, price increases, new insulation requirements… every job is different.”

 

How do you manage your clients’ expectations? How do you keep everyone on the same page, in terms of price and time frame?

“When you’re working a fixed-price build, there’s a threat of margin erosion; priorities change and late changes can put the home over budget. To avoid this, we have Job Specification sheets to help our clients tell us exactly what they want in their home. They tell us design features, amenities, materials… if we know what they want before we even sign the contract, we can stay on budget and stay on time. If they want to change something minor after that, like choosing a different countertop finish, we can make it happen. We do walk-throughs during the building process so the home owners get exactly what they’re paying for.”

 

What advice do you have for first time builders?

“Building a home doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful. Pick an experienced team who shares the same vision as you, and don’t settle when it comes to quality. You can have the home you’ve always wanted.” – RG

 

Casa Bella Construction – Award Winning Designs Since 2003
2014 Kansas City Home & Garden Home of the Year Gold Award | 2014 Kansas City Home & Garden Home of the Year Silver Award | Pick of the Parade Grand Award Winner | Distinctive Design & Plan Grand Prize | 2014 Fall Parade of Homes Top Honor | 2013 American Dream Grand Award Winner | 2013 Spring Parade of Homes Top Honor

 

 

And so it begins!
Casa Bella Construction has broken ground for our clients’ new custom home! Congratulations – we can’t wait to see your completed vision!

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Ready to build your dream home? Contact our team for additional information on the home building process, real estate market updates, and a no-obligation project assessment.  

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Kansas City Events: Warm-Weather Weekend Plans

With warmer weather on the horizon, now is the perfect time to enjoy this weeks list of Kansas City Events – courtesy of Dani Beyer Real Estate. From Kansas City’s Restaurant Week to Party Arty at the Nelson, take advantage of all our city has to offer.

Kansas City Events (January 16 – January 24)

Kansas City Restaurant Week
Friday, January 16 – Sunday, January 25
#KCRW2015

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Dine, shop & stay. Click HERE for additional information.

 

 

Third Friday’s Englewood Art Walk
Friday, January 16 | 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Free

The galleries in the Englewood Station Shopping District, Winner and Sterling Roads, open their doors to art lovers. Englewood Station is a place of charming shops, beauty-filled art galleries, rich dining options, significant local history, and unique people. See artists in action, demonstrations and live music, refreshments and a change to get up close and personal with locally produced prints, photography, oils, sculpture, jewelry, mixed media and more. Art walk begins at 5:30 p.m.

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Englewood Station Shopping District
816.252.3372
10900 E Winner Rd
Independence, MO 64050

 

 

Date Night Dinner at Rozzelle Court
Every Friday | 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Spice up date night at the Nelson Atkins! In the dramatic style of a 15th century Italian courtyard, Rozzelle Court Restaurant serves artful cuisine worthy of its glorious setting. You may enjoy executive chef Jonathan Pye’s masterfully crafted signature salads, sandwiches, soups, breads, dinner dishes and desserts changed seasonally to utilize the freshest ingrediants. Rozzelle Court Restaurant offers self-service dining for lunch and sit-down service with live music on Friday evenings. Named the city’s number one spot “to sneak a kiss,” it is also the perfect place to relax and recharge. Visit this attractive offering in Kansas City’s independent restaurant scene.

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Rozzelle Court Restaurant in the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art
816.751.1278
4525 Oak St.
Kansas City, MO 64111

 

 

Party Arty | KC Beautiful
Saturday, January 24 | 8 p.m. to Midnight
General Admission: $100
VIP: $165 (Sold Out)

For more than 20 years, Young Friends of Art has hosted the Nelson-Atkins’ premier fundraiser for young professionals. In years past, partygoers have traveled to China, Paris and the Middle East. Now we invite you to come home.
Party Arty: KC Beautiful celebrates Kansas City then and now. Travel back to a glamorous era when Kansas City boulevards came alive with new voices, vibrant colors and flowing fountains. Immerse yourself in the neon lights and roaring sounds of 18th and Vine. Guests will enjoy a complete transformation of the museum while sampling delicious foods and specialty cocktails from KC’s finest restaurants. All General Admission guests will indulge in appetizers, beverages and extravagant entertainment in the Bloch Lobby. Tickets are limited.

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The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art
816.751.1278
4525 Oak St.
Kansas City, MO 64111

Want to get more out of your week? Click HERE for additional Kansas City Events and ways to spice up the work-week, Monday through Sunday. 

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Kansas City Power & Light: Simple Ways to Save For 2015

Electricity is an essential part of our daily lives. Get the most out of your energy bill and save money this year with these simple savings tips, courtesy of Kansas City Power & Light. 

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Follow these simple tips to use less electricity and save up to $510 in 2015.

1)   Portion Control
Get rid of the energy –guzzling appliances. Check out the ENERGY STAR models to find the biggest savers. For example, you could save about $40 a year in operating costs by replacing your 10-year-old refrigerator with a new ENERGY STAR-certified unit.

2)  Mindful Consumption
Did you know that 75% of your appliance energy use takes place when you’re not even using it? It’s called passive or “vampire” energy use, and it occurs on every appliance that’s plugged in. For example, your television could be costing you about $150 even when you aren’t using it. Your computer can gobble up another $60 and that coffee pot can cost you $20. To avoid “vampire” energy use, plug your appliances into a power trip and turn off the power strip when not in use. This could save you up to $230 annually.

3)  Making Better Choices
Switch to CFLs and LEDs and save! The five lights used most frequently are your kitchen ceiling light, living room table and floor lamps, bathroom vanity lamp and outdoor porch lamp. Replace them with ENERGY STAR-rated CFLs or LEDs to potentially lower your bill by $75 per year.

4)  Cool Down
Quite paying to overheat your water. Set your hot water heater temperature at 120 degrees and add an insulation blanket to reduce heat loss. This can save you up to $45 per year. KCP&L’s free Programmable Thermostat is professionally installed and helps ensure a comfortable climate in your home while reducing your energy bill.

5)  Tighten Up
Heating and cooling make up about 46% of your monthly energy bill. That’s why sealing and insulating your air ducts can improve system efficiency by as much as 20%. For example, a monthly bill of $110 could result in savings of about $120 a year.

 

Quick, Low-Cost Fixes
Simple saving habits to stretch your budget this year.

1)   Lowering your thermostat by 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours a day can save up to 10% on your bill. A programmable thermostat – including the one KCP&L offers – can do this automatically.

2)   Use window coverings to your advantage. In the summer, close shades and drapes to keep out the sun’s heat. In the winter, open them to take advantage of the sun’s warmth.

3)   Keep your HVAC in good shape. Clean or replace filters on the recommended schedule. Make sure registers, baseboard heaters and radiators are clean and clear of furniture or drapes. Clean your outdoor air conditioning unit or heat pump and keep it free of leaves, grass clippings and other debris.

4)   Wait to wash clothes until you have a full load, then use cold water if possible. You could save $30 to $40 a year.

5)   Use high-efficiency outdoor lights, or rely on solar lights outside to completely eliminate the impact of outdoor lighting on your electric bill.

6)   Set your computer to sleep mode or power it down completely if you won’t be using it for a while. Contrary to popular belief, a screen saver doesn’t save any energy.

7)   Unplug mobile phone chargers when the phone is fully charged or the charger is not in use.

8)   Unplug devices that aren’t even in use. Even in sleep mode, computers and other electronics use energy. “Energy vampires” such as these can add more than 10% to your energy bill.

 

Missouri Home Rebates
You can earn rebates from KCP&L for home improvements you may already be considering. You’ll reduce your electricity use and get money in your pocket.

1)   Home Lighting Rebate
One of the easiest ways to save energy and money is to upgrade your home lighting. Use our instant rebate to switch from incandescent to energy-efficient lighting, and keep your usage down and your monthly bills low.

2)   Recycle Your Old Appliances and Get $75
Your old refrigerator or freezer is worth $75 through our Home Appliance Recycling Rebate. Receive cash and save on your electric bill

3)   Air Conditioning Upgrade Rebate
Don’t punish yourself through another hot summer with a struggling air conditioner. Earn up to $850 when you upgrade to a high-efficiency system with our Air Conditioning Upgrade Rebate.

4)   Earn Rebates for New Appliances
Energy-efficient appliances help reduce your electric bill and benefit the environment. Through our Home Appliance Rebate, purchasing qualifying appliances also earns you cash back. Available for KCP&L – GMO customers only.

5)   Home Performance Rebate with ENERGY STAR
Improve your home’s comfort and efficiency with our Home Performance Rebate with ENERGY STAR. You’ll earn up to $600 by implementing at least one qualifying home improvement. Available for KCP&L – GMO customers only.

6)   ENERGY STAR Qualified New Homes Rebate
Ask your builder to make your home more efficient from day one. Through our ENERGY STAR Qualified New Homes Rebate, your builder can earn up to $800 off the cost of implementing the latest energy-efficiency standards. Available for KCP&L – GMO customers only.

7)   Go Solar and Save
Our Solar Power Rebate encourages solar technology, a renewable power source that has a positive impact on the planet.

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Kansas City Events Spotlight: KC Restaurant Week 2015

Friday, January 16 – Sunday, January 25

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Kansas City Restaurant Week returns this year, offering a week of unique and local Kansas City restaurant specials, and providing diners with cost-effective ways to visit old, and new favorites.

Specially priced lunch and dinner menus are offered for fixed prices ($15 for lunch; $33 for dinner).

To dine out during Restaurant Week, use the restaurant list and search function on the Kansas City Restaurant Week website to find your favorites and view specially priced menus. Click on the OpenTable links to make your online restaurant reservations in advance. After that, just show up during Restaurant Week and enjoy your specially-priced multi-course meal! Reservations are strongly recommended, as these restaurants will fill up fast.

Kansas City Restaurant Week will offer a variety of mouth-watering foods from top chef’s across the metro area, demonstrating why the KC dining scene is among the nation’s best – and up until now, one of the best-kept foodie secrets (the Zagat Survey has called Kansas City the No. 1 dining bargain of all the major cities it reviews).

“Reaffirming a commitment to social and civic responsibility, Kansas City Restaurant Week organizers are pleased to announce three new charitable partners as beneficiaries of 2015 Kansas City Restaurant Week. The donations raised during the 2015 event will benefit BoysGrow, Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired, and Cultivate Kansas City. The Kansas City Regional Destination Development Foundation and the Great Kansas City Restaurant Association Education Foundation will again receive a portion of the donations, as well.”

#KCRW Sponsored by:
US. Foods
Constellation Brands
Visit KC
Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association
Country Club Plaza
Ink KC Magazine
Kansas City Power & Light District
The Kansas City Star
Tivol
The Pitch
Mix 93.3
& more!

 

Dani Beyer Real Estate | Restaurant Week Favorites

Take advantage of #KCRW and indulge at our favorite participating restaurants – from Sushi to Barbecue, these are our must-try’s:

beer kitchen

Beer Kitchen
Honest Food & Carefully Selected Beer
435 Westport Rd
Kansas City, MO 64112


bluebird bistro

Blue Bird Bistro
The Best Brunch
1700 Summit St
Kansas City, MO 64108


cafe trio

Cafe Trio
Pure Urban Sophistication
4558 Main St
Kansas City, MO 64111


charbar

Char Bar Smoked Meats & Amusements
A Twist on Kansas City Barbecue
4050 Pennsylvania Ave
Kansas City, MO 64111


Extra+Virgin

Michael Smith | Extra Virgin
Full of Flavor
1900 Main St
Kansas City, MO 64108


gramdun

Gram & Dun
Kansas City’s Original Gastropub
600 Ward Pkwy
Kansas City, MO 64112


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Nara
Sinfully-Good Sushi
1617 Main St
Kansas City, MO 64108


portfonda

Port Fonda
Authentic Ingredients – Mexican Cantina Cooking
4141 Pennsylvania Ave
Kansas City, MO 64111


q39

Q39
The Best Barbecue in Town
1000 W 39th St
Kansas City, MO 64111


seasons

Seasons 52
Seasonal Dishes – All Under 520 Calories
340 Ward Pkwy
Kansas City, MO 64112


spin

Spin! Neapolitan Pizza
California Style Pizza
4950 Main St
Kansas City, MO 64110


 

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Dani Beyer Real Estate: 2015 Market Predictions

To buy, or not to buy… that is the question. With 2015 now underway, many buyers and sellers may have questions about this year’s upcoming real estate market. Although the real estate industry will always be somewhat unpredictable, our team at Dani Beyer Real Estate set out to find out the facts and figures about where the market is heading for the year. And undoubtedly, good things are happening.

Here’s what to expect in the 2015 real estate market:

 

1. More First Time Buyers 

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently rolled out a mortgage option that allows for a 3% down payment. If conventional lenders get on board, the new low-down-payment option could pull more first-time buyers into the marketplace. During a time of tight credit and stagnant wages, this crucial group of buyers has been all but absent from the housing picture. “If access to credit improves, we could see substantially larger numbers of young buyers in the market,” says Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist for realtor.com (Time Magazine).

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2. Price Boosting by Millennials

For the past decade, the largest portion of the American population was made up of Baby Boomers, folks who long ago settled down and started families. But late last year, the Census Bureau announced that the cohort of now-23-year-old Americans is the largest in the country (The New York Times). As this ascendant generation ages another year, more of them will start to look and buy homes of their own. Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist for realtor.com, argues that this generation will “drive two-thirds of household formations over the next five years” (Fortune Magazine). Millennial generations presence will be truly felt this 2015.

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3. Home Price Increases Will Decelerate

Home prices in October 2014 were up by 6.4% year-over-year, after climbing 10.6% in 2013.  Economists polled by Fortune Magazine were nearly unanimous in predicting that home values would continue to rise, but even slower than they did this year. That’s because the rebound from the bursting of the housing bubble has just about run out of steam, with Trulia estimating that homes are only 3% undervalued relative to fundamentals nationally. Surveys of homeowner sentiment suggest that more of them will look to sell their homes next year, putting more downward pressure on prices.

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4. Closing Out the Foreclosure Crisis

It’s been 7 years since the housing bubble burst and foreclosures skyrocketed, but in 2015 we’ll see the end of that era. Already this year has seen a major improvement in the composition of sales – that is, there are fewer foreclosures and short sales in the mix. “We are on pace for foreclosure inventories to end 2014 down more than 30%, and next year should see a slightly greater decrease as foreclosures fall to normal levels,” Smoke said (Market Predictions).

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5. Increase in Home Building 

Although total housing starts (construction on new housing units) barely broke 1 million in 2014 and was driven by multifamily homes, Smoke noted the pace will pick up in 2015 and shift in focus. “We are forecasting 16% growth in starts, driven now more by growth in single-family starts, which we are expecting to grow 21%,” he said. But shortages of labor and building product material will limit further growth in single-family construction and will keep overall supply tight. “The constraints on new construction supply factor into our assumptions about existing home sales growth and overall tight supple of homes for sale,” Smoke added.

Builders agree. The National Association of Home Builders predicts a 24.3% increase in new home construction; a total increase of 547,000 sales. David Crowe, Chief Economist of the builder’s group, adds, “I’m confident that the demand is out there. But I realize every day that it’s going to take more for potential buyers’ confidence in the marketplace to put them in the buying mood” (The Wall Street Journal).

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6. Credit Will Continue to be a Major Factor

Strict mortgage qualification standards are keeping many consumers, especially younger ones, from buying a home with a bank loan. Although it’s possible that various new federal housing policy initiatives might help loosen those standards in 2015. Opening up access to credit would be a game changer in the housing market, allowing 500,000 to 750,000 would-be buyers who are now cooling their heels to achieve the dream of homeownership (Market Predictions). Be sure you are working with an experienced loan officer who understands credit and can advise you best on your situation. We recommend Meggan McDonald with Supreme Lending for these options.

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We’re confident that the New Year will be better than the last. Interested in buying or selling? Contact our team at Dani Beyer Real Estate for a no-obligation consultation – Now may be the time! As always, we appreciate referrals from our friends and past clients. If you know of anyone who is looking to buy or sell real estate this year, please send them our way!  Happy House Hunting!

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