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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 who knows 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.

AGENT SPOTLIGHT

Evan Holt

785.640.8923

Evan is 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 avaluable resource in helping your business achieve its goals. To learn more visit us at Stephens Commercial Real Estate.

 

 

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 Stephens Real Estate at 785.841.4500 or Contact Us

Keys to a Successful Sale

The real estate market in Lawrence has been 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 Stephens at 785-841-4500 or Contact Us.

Lawrence Boasts One of the Most Beautiful Historic Downtown Districts in the Country

It’s no surprise to us that Parade magazine named Lawrence “the most popular tourist destination in Kansas.” And the National Trust for Historic Preservation ranked Lawrence among its “Dozen Most Distinctive Destinations,” touting it as one of the best-preserved and unique communities in America. 

Our downtown district is unique, and the true heart of town is Massachusetts Street, known to the locals as “Mass Street” or sometimes, if we’re lazy, just “Mass.” Massachusetts and surrounding streets generate a hub of activity day and night. This pedestrian-friendly area is home to more than 100 shops, galleries, restaurants, cafes, pubs and much more. In the spirit of our well-preserved downtown, most of them are unique and locally owned, offering one-of-a-kind choices you won’t find anywhere else.

In addition to shopping and dining, Downtown Lawrence has a variety and diversity that will entertain anyone. There are multiple venues for live music and entertainment, and you’ll find plenty of music and art for free as you stroll down Mass Street. Street musicians are almost always providing a tune on the corner along with outdoor art and sculpture.

A block off Mass Street, in the 900 block of New Hampshire, is the Lawrence Arts Center, with galleries and exhibits open to the public. Walk a block the other direction to Vermont and 9th to the historic Carnegie Building housing the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area which tells the story of the pre-Civil War struggles. Watkins Museum of History is also in Downtown, along with several beautiful parks. The lovely gazebo at South Park is the site for summer open-air band concerts on Wednesday evenings. Crowds fill lawn chairs and spread blankets to sit and enjoy the music.

Spend some time exploring Downtown Lawrence. You’ll be glad you did. And when you’re ready to buy or sell a home, contact Stephens Real Estate. We’re locally owned and operated and proud to call Lawrence home.

Content provided by: UnmistakablyLawrence.com, the website of Explore Lawrence, an organization that represents travel and tourism for Lawrence and Douglas County, Kansas. UL is dedicated to creating economic development by attracting visitors, conventions and events to our city.

Welcome to our New Agents!

Erin Nix

785.550.4633 (cell)

Erin learned from her mom that the way to be happy is to reach out to others. She does that by trying to be a great mom herself, volunteering with local organizations like Just Food, and working hard to earn her clients’ trust. Erin has been part of our community for over 25 years, and is a graduate of the University of Kansas. She enjoys the diversity Lawrence offers, along with its rich culture, local food, and inclusive atmosphere. Erin loves old books, architecture, tea, and Colonial Americana.

 

Shelly Doris

913.709.4425 (cell)

Shelly enjoys small town life in De Soto. You may bump into her at the local farmers market or one of several favorite shopping stops in town. Hardworking and ambitious, service to her clients is her primary focus. Along with all things real estate, Shelly is interested in cooking, crafting, and dancing.

Prepare for Winter

Winter is a great time to curl up with a good book and a favorite sweater while enjoying the comforts of home, but you must also be ready for the cold temperatures. Here are a few tips from LiveLawrenceLife.com to help you stay safe and healthy.

Home maintenance matters. To ensure safety at home check to see all outdoor railings are secure and walkways are free of wobbly paving stones or bricks. And have a snow shovel handy.  

Keep yourself (and your wallet) warm. A little chill may not only have a negative effect on your health, it can also be a symptom of a home-energy leak that could make your utility bills higher than necessary. Consider using draft guards under entry doors, window insulation kits, seals for unused fireplaces, and reversing ceiling fans to push hot air near the ceiling down. 

Pile on the layers. Dressing in layers and using blankets and sweaters is a good way to keep warm without spending extra to keep the house at an ideal heat. It also helps your body stay warm when you’re out and about. When you do venture outside have a good pair of no-skid shoes to wear to help prevent falls.

Open the curtains. It may seem counterproductive to have the curtains wide open when you’re trying to save on heat and energy costs, yet letting sunlight in provides free heat and helps combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD.) With a brighter home you’ll feel more motivated and energetic during the winter months.

Keep moving. Winter is an important time to be active as exercise boosts immunity, mood and energy levels. Lawrence has many opportunities to be active during winter with dance classes, an indoor aquatic center, and the free indoor walking track and gym at Sports Pavilion Lawrence.

Safe driving. Prepare for winter by packing an emergency kit for your car with 2 blankets, nuts or granola bars, water, a flashlight, extra washer fluid, and a small shovel. A cell phone, charger, and full gas tank are also key to safe travel. Always remember to back your car completely out of the garage before warming it up as even an open garage can create dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

Have a plan. With the possibility of a winter power-outage, it’s important to have several days’ supply of nonperishable food such as tuna, peanut butter, granola bars, nuts, and canned fruit. Keep a manual can opener handy. Keep flashlights, extra batteries, candles, and a battery operated radio in an easy to find location.

Be ready to enjoy this winter season. Stephens’ Pinterest page has ideas to help you prepare. Visit pinterest.com/stephensreks, and look for our Winter Tips board.

Foodies

Lawrence loves local. This foodie-friendly town can feed you with locally sourced and unmistakably Lawrence cuisine from dawn to dusk. Culturetrip.com recently named four of our local restaurants among the 10 Best Restaurants in Kansas: 715, The Burger Stand, Free State Brewery and Merchants Pub & Plate.

Breakfast - We’ve all been told breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So make it tasty. Downtown offers plenty of delicious starters to your day. Try handcrafted pastries or eggs with artisan bread at WheatFields Bakery, where the walls are lined with work by local artists. The Roost, launched with a kick-starter campaign, will wake you up with breakfast options like the Breakfast Sammy or the Goat Cheese Danish. (You won’t be disappointed.) Eggs Benedict with a unique twist are often on the Specials board at Milton’s Café. Take a seat inside or on the patio and enjoy a restaurant that’s been a Lawrence staple since 1997.

If you have kiddos looking for a power breakfast, check out the amazing cereal bar at Java Break. The options go on and on, and cereal is served in a Chinese food-takeout carton. 

On the west side of Lawrence hunt up The Big Biscuit. The name says it all. If brunch is what you want try J Wilsons or for delicious fresh-baked scones and freshly brewed coffee visit the deli at The Merc Co-op, a community market emphasizing local and organic.

Lunch or Dinner - If you’re Downtown, step inside one of our local originals, or take a seat at a sidewalk table and watch the passers-by on Mass Street. Many of our nationally recognized restaurants and chefs use locally-sourced foods for farm-to-table deliciousness you won’t find anywhere else. 

This is just a start.  There are so many more great restaurants all over town! Check out the EAT section of unmistakablylawrence.com then let your inner foodie spend some time exploring the food options in Lawrence. You’ll be glad you did. And when you’re ready to buy or sell a home, contact Stephens Real Estate. We’re locally owned and operated and proud to call Lawrence home.

Content provided by UnmistakablyLawrence.com

 

It’s a Great Time to Sell

Spring is just around the corner which means the real estate market is 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. Recently we’ve seen several 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 will be able to recommend what you should do to get your home ready 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.

Staging your home – arranging the interior to make it look its best – is important in giving potential buyers a good feeling about the space. If they feel comfortable, they may 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 Stephens at 785-841-4500 or Contact Us.

Lawrence Arts Center

We in Lawrence are incredibly fortunate to have The Lawrence Arts Center; a place where the visual and performing arts thrive and enrich our community. Located on New Hampshire Street in downtown Lawrence, the Arts Center has 40,000 square feet of space filled with dance studios, exhibition galleries, visual arts studios, preschool classrooms, and a performance theater.

The theater seats 300 and hosts annual film festivals, youth and adult theater productions, and a series of concerts called 940 Live which feature artists from multiple genres. The Free State Story Slam is a regular event in the smaller Black Box theater.

The Lawrence Arts Center not only entertains, it educates. Within its walls is a preschool and early childhood facility focused on promoting learning through creative means. If you’ve ever noticed a string of children navigating the sidewalks downtown, you have probably seen a group of Art Center preschoolers and their teachers exploring our city. There is an extensive list of classes available for kids from kindergarten to high school; classes designed to encourage creative thinking, movement, jewelry making, painting, printmaking, acting… We mentioned that the list is extensive, right? 

Adults may also tap into their inner artist by taking classes ranging from ceramics and jewelry to digital media, film, photography and dance. They have the opportunity to attend regular lectures which bring in artists to discuss their work and techniques.

The Lawrence Arts Center is committed to supporting local artists in more direct ways. Visiting and Resident Artists are given a place to work and showcase their art and skills for the community. Those working on a specific project can receive a stipend for their work, use of studio space and private instruction from the Arts Center staff. Artists are welcome to apply for residency any time during the year.

If you read Yelp reviews, you will see comments from locals such as, “The city of Lawrence and its citizens are very lucky to have this crown jewel in our city.” Or from visitors, “We stopped in on our trip to Lawrence. I was very impressed with the building, and the sheer number of programs they boast here. It makes for a very cool place for the arts crowd to gather.”

And we say, if you haven’t taken advantage of the Lawrence Arts Center recently, you should check out their events and classes at lawrenceartscenter.org. 

Stephens Real Estate is locally owned and proud of the great town in which we live. Our agents know the Lawrence market, and they have the experience and the connections to help you find the home that’s right for you. Contact us.

 

LBOR Recognition

Congratulations to the Stephens Real Estate 2016 Lawrence Board of REALTORS® Award recipients, recognized Friday, January 13, at the LBOR Installation and Awards Dinner. We’re proud to call these outstanding agents ours!


Toland Hippe
2016 Sales Person of the Year


Randy Barnes
Good Neighbor Award
Recognizes a Realtor who has made an extraordinary impact on our community through volunteerism

Zach Dodson
2016 Newcomer of the Year
Given to a newly licensed agent, this award indicates enthusiasm for their new career, a desire to grow professionally and willingness to share their expertise with others through LBOR involvement.

Mary Lou Roberts
Realtor Emeritus
Recognized for 40 years of membership to the National Association of Realtors 

The Holidays in Lawrence

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, use this article as your starting point for creating 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, this year held on December 3rd. By only allowing horse-powered entries, the parade keeps the old-fashioned holiday spirit alive while drawing riders, horse teams, floats, and wagons from across the country. The Downtown Lawrence Winter Wonder Weekend, December 2-4, is filled with craft shows, a gingerbread contest, caroling, and live entertainment. Another fun activity to fill a bit of free time is the Library Lawn Skate Rink, open from late November through the end of January. At only $3 per person, the Skate Rink is an affordable family outing.

Be sure to see The Nutcracker: A Kansas Ballet 2016 performed by the Lawrence Ballet Theatre at the Lawrence Arts Center, December 9-18. For more fine arts holiday spirit, don’t miss Holiday Vespers from the KU School of Music on December 4 at the Lied 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