Our Stories: Real Estate Problems and Solutions

by Chuck Roper 18. June 2013 08:34



Our listed property ended up being a short sale.  Neither side of the sale seemed to be making any headway and the bank was decidedly unresponsive to all our entreaties to speed things up with the resolution process.

 It took constant and daily communications with all involved, lots of hand holding, lots of patience, lots of guidance and support but it did ­finally result in a satisfactory sale.  One of the key ingredients to a successful sale was having us, the agents, keeping both buyer and seller involved and positive reinforcement all along the way.  You can’t give up.  Some sales are just more difficult and complicated than others.

Kevin Hurley   I   314.560.4977
To learn more about Kevin and to see all his fine listings, go to www.janetmcafee.com/kevinhurley.


Our Stories

Barbara Wulfing: A Town & Style Feature

by Chuck Roper 13. June 2013 07:30

When Town & Style Magazine wanted insight about what it takes to be a top luxury real estate agent, they reached out to Barbara Wulfing of Janet McAfee Real Estate.   In a feature article by Senior Editor Tony Di Martino, Barbara discusses her start in real estate, the secrets to her success and her life outside of work.  The Real Talk feature follows:


janet mcafee real estate

By tony di martino

Top broker/sales associate Barbara Wulfing has done more than $500 million in sales since starting her career in 1973. The German-born dynamo, who’s been at Janet McAfee for 10 years, came here as a child and lived with her grandmother while attending school.  She and her husband reside in Clayton and cherish visits from their two out-of-town daughters and three grandchildren.

“I was a stay-at-home mom whose kids were getting a little older. Real estate looked like something I could do part time. I sold $1 million worth of property my first year on the job.  I can’t really tell you why; I surprised myself.  When I first started working, my husband offered to pay my income taxes. He soon changed his tune!

I will never forget my first sale.  With shaking knees I called on a couple who lived in a south St. Louis apartment. I sold them their first home, off Spoede Road, for $43,000.  It felt amazing, but I had a lot to learn. I wasn’t even sure if I filled out the contract correctly.  My bosses said, ‘Don’t worry about that—just keep selling!’

My hobby is golf, though I don’t get to play as much as I like to. My favorite deal ever was helping to acquire the ground for the Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta, Mo.

When people ask for the secret to my success, all I can say is I’m very persistent, and I’m willing to work all hours—nights, weekends, holidays and vacations. I listen to my clients. I rely on my many years of experience for creative solutions to problems. I also have an extremely knowledgeable associate in Pam Thuston, who’s also a broker, and a great back-up team at McAfee. And I owe a lot to my former boss, Jimmie Manion, on whom I can always rely for wise advice. He and I still partner on deals occasionally.

 This is a great business and it’s fun, but you’d better have a lot of time to devote to it. I don’t recommend it to people who have tiny children. Even if you have help and an understanding partner, it’s not easy.

To unwind, I love the symphony, Opera Theatre and The Rep. I try to golf and ski whenever I can. I used to play tennis, but I quit. I can’t keep up with the young players. 

My workday seldom ends before 7 p.m. Luckily, my husband cooks. Otherwise, he would have starved to death by now!”


Our Stories: Real Estate Problems and Solutions

by Chuck Roper 12. June 2013 04:38



Last fall we listed a wonderful house with a 14 year-old addition. ­The older part of the home had some “dated” paint and there was a pool table in the living room. Potential buyers could not see past this.


We took the house off the market for the holidays and updated the rooms with neutral paint, removed the pool table and staged the room for its original purpose. We received multiple offers when we brought the house back on the market.  The beautiful staging and bright fresh interior made all the difference. 


Lisa Coulter   I   314.941.2883



Our Stories

Nancy Ferrillo: Our May Agent of The Month

by Chuck Roper 5. June 2013 10:49

Hallmark of Excellence

For twenty-seven consecutive years, Nancy Ferrillo has been recognized as a Janet McAfee Top Agent.  We believe her unparalleled success in not only noteworthy but deserving of further investigation.  So we asked her to share her insights and motivation with us.  Her comments reveal a great deal about the strength of her character and her commitment to her clients.

How do you stay on top of your profession?

“We are in a knowledge-based business with high service expectations,” says Nancy.  “Pricing is everything.  That means I drive neighborhoods, tour listed homes and study prices to insure I can address a client’s price versus value concerns.”

She continues, “I proactively research new listings, sales and price changes in my target market neighborhoods.  Clients expect me to know the market in depth.”

“To me, networking with other agents, appraisers, mortgage lenders and even industry outsiders has always been important,” says Nancy.  “It gives me additional perspective on the market and alternative approaches to customer satisfaction.  I am often able to transfer success in other industries to my practice.”

Nancy adds, “I always try to “think outside the box.   It helps me find unique ways to enhance my personal marketing and position my listed homes creatively such as the recent “blind” ad I did for a Ladue home.”

What personally drives your success?

“I believe my clients drive my success,” says Nancy.  “I am very fortunate because the majority of clients are loyal with their repeat business and generous with their referrals of family and friends.”

She continues, “The second driver of my success is pride.  I want to be recognized as an industry professional so I try to consciously implement ‘best practices’ in every aspect of my real estate business.  That covers everything from technology to client communications and it requires me to constantly adapt to change.”

How do you manage your priorities?

First of all, you need to be ruthlessly organized in this business,” says Nancy.  “That means annual, monthly and weekly planning with daily ‘to-do’ lists.  We live according to timelines and we must manage our time and our tasks efficiently.”

What do you do when you are not working?

 “I spend time with those I love-George, my sister, close friends, and my dear Scottie, Ella,” says Nancy.  “She is ‘the dog of a lifetime’!  Whoever knew a dog could offer so much love and enjoyment!”


To learn more about Nancy Ferrillo, simply follow the link www.janetmcafee.com/nancyferrillo.







OUR STORIES: Real Estate Problems and Solutions

by Chuck Roper 4. June 2013 06:12

Buying A Home Before You Sell Your Present Home

If you think you may be selling your house, getting your home ready is essential.  De-clutter, paint, power wash, make obvious repairs etc..  That way you will be ready when you find the house of your dreams.

It is also important to discuss a potential purchase with your lender of choice and to listen to your agent when it comes to a listing price.   Serious buyers will normally not bid on a home that is priced too high. 

Lastly, try to get a long closing on the home you are purchasing as many sellers will not take home sale contingencies.

Julie Lane   l   314.303.6504


Ann Carter: Our April Agent of the Month

by Chuck Roper 29. April 2013 11:28

Congratulation to Ann Carter, our April Agent of the Month.


The Serious Side of Ann Carter

Her colleagues at Janet McAfee Real Estate will recall some of Ann Carter’s well-conceived and beautifully executed pranks or her laughter lighting up the office; but we think there is a serious side to Ann that guides her impressive real estate business and consistently makes her a Top Agent at the firm.

Okay, before we get serious, what was your best prank?

“So far,” she says, grinning like a Cheshire cat, “my best prank was on one of my favorites agents here at McAfee.  We have a vacant building lot on a private lane which is also next to our parking lot.  The owner placed a Port-A-Potty on it.  Well, I put a McAfee “For Sale” sign with this agent’s name on it right next to the Port-A-Potty and then placed “Open House” signs across the front of the lot. The only thing I didn’t do was advertise it in the Ladue News.  Everyone entering the parking lot (including customers of Sportsman’s next door) or driving down the lane saw this agent’s great new listing!  For those that missed it, I took pictures and displayed them prominently on all company bulletin boards.  She really took it well and thought it hilarious.”

Ann continues, “If you want more, ask me about Cathy Noll’s Peep-mobile.”

Seriously, how do you stay at the top of your profession?

“I think the short answer is hard work.” says Ann.  “And, it’s a trait you see in all the Top Agents here.  It’s a commitment, a personal investment we willingly make every day including evenings and weekends.

“The real answer is complex because first of all, it takes time to achieve success in this business.  But, if you want to be a success, here are the real ‘secrets’ of my real estate business,” she says.

“Build and enhance your knowledge of the geographic market you serve.  Know it intimately.  Know the neighborhoods, the schools, the houses, the retail areas and recreational amenities.  Speak with confidence.

“Pay attention to details.  Whether on a listing call or working with a buyer, know what details matter and make sure your clients know.  Learning what is important takes many transactions and years.  I think it’s called experience.  For me,” said Ann, “I strive to give each client unparalleled service with an easygoing approach.

“Network like crazy.  That includes potential clients, resources to help clients and especially other agents.

“Be tenacious.  Be an advocate for your clients and their best interests.  Negotiate with facts not emotion and never, ever give up.  Tenacity also means returning every phone call or email as quick as possible.

“Embrace technology.  Learn multiple platforms including smart phones, tablets and laptops.  You never know when you will need internet access or a client needs information.

“Finally, don’t be afraid to have fun.  Make your work environment fun and engaging.  Laugh with your clients, your fellow agents and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.”

 Wow, that was totally unexpected.  Who are you and what have you done to our fun-loving Ann Carter?  Dare we ask what personally drives your success?

“Well,” says Ann, “I think it’s because I come from a very loving and supportive family.  My Dad was an entrepreneur and my siblings all followed in his footsteps.  We celebrate our successes together yet try our best to out-do each other whenever we can.  Family get-togethers are a full contact sport and we each play to win. The rules are simple.  It’s not a foul unless you have to go to the emergency room.” 

 Okay, seriously, on a personal basis, how do you manage your priorities?

“It’s really simple,” says Ann.  “Client needs always come first. Next, administrative duties on behalf of clients, then comes lead generation and finally, FUN.  Everyone hates lead generation but I make it fun.  That’s because over 90% of my business comes from client referrals.  My clients make this business enjoyable, they are all great people!!”

 So, what do you do when you are not working?

“Easy,” says Ann. “I escape to Wyoming to see family, play golf when I can and recharge my batteries.  I am fortunate to have a job I love.  If you want to be successful, it does take hard work and dedication.  I am a true believer in luck.  I find the harder I work, the luckier I get!”

To learn more about the serious side of Ann Carter, or see her fine listings, simply go to www.janetmcafee.com/anncarter.


Marcy Byrne: Our March Agent of the Month

by Chuck Roper 27. March 2013 07:33

We are delighted to recognize Marcy Byrne as our March Agent of the Month.


With over two decades of experience, Marcy knows what it takes to be a consistent Top Agent at Janet McAfee Real Estate.  We recently sat down with Marcy to get her thoughts on the real estate business today and what it takes to stay at the top of her profession.  We asked several questions and noted her insights.


What does it take to stay at the top of your profession?

Marcy’s answer was short and to the point. “It takes hard work,” said Marcy.  She added, “Outsiders don’t understand how difficult and time-consuming real estate really is. You cannot sell real estate part time. You must be totally committed to your clients 24/7, offering them the best service possible. You need to be on top of the market and stay ahead of constantly changing technology.”


How have you been able to sustain your success?

 “First of all,” noted Marcy, “The industry has really changed. Today, there’s more paperwork, more inspections, more demands from buyers and sellers. You need to keep a good attitude and maintain a sense of balance. No matter how hard you try, some things are out of your control. If you can realize that but still go in there every day and do your best, that’s the key to success.”


On a personal basis, how do you cope?

“Well,” said Byrne, “To keep stress levels at a minimum, I try to run our big rescue dog, Sam, every morning and during spring and summer, I play golf as often as I can.  I don’t have a lot of free time, given present market conditions. I’m working harder than ever, but so are all of my peers.”


What do you do when you are not working?

Marcy is married to Bob Byrne, who owns Erker Catering Co.  According to Marcy, “We try to travel when our schedules permit, and “Bob-o” and I love to entertain friends and family.  We enjoy Saint Louis and are extremely grateful to all my clients for their trust and referrals.  More often than you’d think, real estate agents stay good friends with clients.”


To learn more about Marcy and to see her impressive property listings, go to www.janetmcafee.com/marcybyrne.



Donna Auld: Tips To Boost Your Home's Appeal

by Chuck Roper 8. March 2013 11:36

When the Ladue News Magazine needs expert real estate advice, they turn to professionals like Donna Auld and Janet McAfee Real Estate.  In a recent article titled “Real Home Critique” writer Brittany May invited Donna to look at a Ladue home and then collected Donna’s insights on affordable upgrades to boost the home’s appeal.

Donna spoke about the importance of making a good first impression. She said, “Spruce up your home’s entrance with a fresh coat of paint on the front door, a beautiful wreath, a new welcome mat along with well-maintained landscaping.”

When it came to the scale of furnishings, Auld noted,” Give the appearance of more living space by removing excess furniture and matching furniture sizes to the scale of each room.  You can simply move larger pieces to bigger rooms, if needed.”

“It makes good sense to de-personalize your home,” said Auld.  She continued, “Take down any of the kid’s artwork and family photographs.  They are treasures you need to protect and take with you.  And, you want potential buyers to envision their families and their belongings in the space.”

Donna then pointed out, “Showcase each room for its original purpose.  For example, if required, change the additional living room, office, or kid’s play room back to the traditional dining room.” Finally, she observed, “Use a neutral palette to brighten any dull or dark room and then incorporate the color scheme throughout the home to create a sense of flowing and integrated space.”

If you would like more tips on preparing your home contact Donna for more recommendations.  You may reach her by visiting her website at www.janetmcafee.com/donnaauld.


Selling Your Home

Barbara Wulfing: Our February Agent of the Month

by Chuck Roper 21. February 2013 04:04

We are delighteBarbara Wulfingd to recognize Barbara Wulfing as our February Agent of the Month.

It has been written, “To profile Barbara Wulfing, you must first understand the scale and magnitude of her sales achievements. In a business dominated by hyperbole, Barbara's performance is both verifiable and remarkable. Since beginning her real estate career in 1973, Barbara has sold over $550,000,000. Accolades for her consistent performance include The St. Louis Business Journal, who has recognized Barbara as one of the elite Realtors in the Saint Louis community every year for the past decade.  For the past five years, Barbara has also been honored with the prestigious FIVE STAR Customer Satisfaction award sponsored by St. Louis Magazine.”

During her ten year tenure with Janet McAfee Real Estate, Barbara sold in excess of $267,000,000 with an average price in excess of $865,000. She is consistently a top producing Agent. Yet, you will never hear Barbara mention numbers, she is Client focused.  Perhaps Ted Thornhill, President of Janet McAfee, summarized it best when he observed, “The numbers and recognition simply do not convey the entire picture of Barbara's performance. Her success, while significant, is simply the end result of the personal investment Barbara has made in every Client she represents. She truly understands her Client’s needs and works the hours necessary to make their visions and objectives a reality.”

The majority of Barbara's business consists of referrals and repeat transactions. Her Client base keeps her focused on the luxury home market and its many segments. In addition to the resale market, Barbara also represents custom home builders and developers of high end luxury properties including town homes, garden condominiums and high-rise developments.

On the rare occasions when Barbara is not working, she and her husband, Charles, like to spend time with their children and grandchildren.  Barbara’s hobbies include golf, tennis and skiing.  She also enjoys the St. Louis Symphony, Repertory Theatre and Opera Theatre.

To learn more about Barbara and to see all of her fine listings, go to www.janetmcafee.com/barbarawulfing



2012 Market Report

by Chuck Roper 29. January 2013 06:28


2012 was a postive year for local housing and Janet McAfee Real Estate.  It's all in our Winter 2013 Market Report, located on www.janetmcafee.com.  The report provides a comprehensive analysis of residential housing activity including price levels for the Saint Louis Central Corridor and is segmented by property type and school district.

Four consecutive quarters of positive gains has brightened our outlook for 2013 and the report details how our firm is well-positioned to serve our clients in the coming year.  





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