Is the Market Heating Up?

by Chuck Roper 25. June 2018 06:54

Is the real estate market as HOT as our temperatures have been?  Every month, we monitor key statistics for all homes in our MLS as well as specific geographies.  Here’s a snapshot of all homes in the MLS this year through May 31, 2018 compared to last year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closed Sales Dollar Volume          Up 6.5% 

Average Sold Price                       Up 4.3%

 

Average Days on Market               Down 3.6%

% List Price to Sale Price              Up .4%

 

New Listings                                Up 1.2%

Available Listings                         Down 3.6%

 

Our collection of fine listings has never been better. 

 

Janet Horlacher

How to Make the Most of Your Outdoor Living Space

by Chuck Roper 25. June 2018 04:35




One of the biggest perks to becoming a homeowner is the freedom; the freedom to tweak, design, and customize your living space down of the very last tile. Living space in this instance—especially with warmer weather on the horizon—extends beyond the walls of your home. It encompasses the front yard, backyard, and every outdoor cranny in between.


Creating the ideal outdoor living space for your home comes down to both your needs and the space itself. How can you effortlessly extend the square footage of your home into the outdoors? And more importantly, how can you make the most of your outdoor living space in a way that’s both beautiful and usable?

Furniture that’s Flexible

The furnishings of your outdoor living space should be reflective its intended use cases. For example, if you enjoy entertaining large groups, you may opt for a design that prioritizes ample seating. This doesn’t have to translate to your standard four-legged chair, however. Consider the use of large ground cushions, benches, or even swings if you have the right infrastructure to work with.


In addition to seating, consider investing in furniture that’s light, multi-functional, and easy to rearrange. Doing so will prove to come in handy should you need to do some last minute prepping for those summertime barbecues.

Account for Shade

Making the most of your outdoor living space is as much about your time spent reading in the shade, as it is basking in the sun. Be mindful of every outdoor moment you might want to account for and prepare accordingly. This could mean investing in a large, outdoor umbrella or simply positioning furniture to account for light pattern changes throughout the day. Especially on those hot summer days, you’ll be thankful for a little reprieve from the elements that don’t require you to stay cooped up inside.

Be conscious of traffic patterns

Whether entertaining guests or navigating solo, it’s important to establish some sort of common pathway from the outdoors to the inside and everywhere in between. Doing so will allow you to decorate around walkways sensibly and keep your flora free from being trampled. Lay down a simple stone path or illuminate with a lineup of outdoor sensor lights.

Organize your tools and accessories in one place

Inside, outside, it doesn’t matter — not being able to locate something you need to get a job done is frustrating. For this reason, consider centralizing all of your outdoor tools and accessories in one place. If you’re an avid gardener or handyman, maybe this means setting up a small shed out of the line of traffic for storage. Or perhaps you’ve designated a place in the garage for those needs. Wherever it is, keeping your outside organized will make it more enjoyable to spend time outside.

Zone your space

One of the easiest ways to approach designing an outdoor living space is to map it out by zones. This translates to the sectioning off of spaces in your backyard by function. There could be a zone for dining, lounging, gardening, grilling, kid’s activities; however you choose to categorize your spaces, make sure they’re reflective of your household needs for intended use.

Create a sense of privacy

Regardless of how much you may enjoy the company of your neighbors, there’s nothing wrong with establishing a bit of privacy. Consider investing in a fence, partitions or awnings. A little seclusion can go a long way in making your outdoor living space feel like an extension of your indoors.


On the hunt for the home (and backyard) of your dreams? Check out our newest listings of homes for sale in the greater St. Louis area today!



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Seasonal Preparations

Top Interior Design Trends for Summer

by Chuck Roper 15. June 2018 04:25


Summer brings sun, the beach, waves, heat--and a chance to brighten up your home! A new season is an opportunity for stylish updates to your home’s interior design, with decor as hot as the weather.


Pops of Color

Summer is the most colorful time of the year, with flowers in full bloom and the sun lighting everything up. Bold color pops--adding an element of color to an otherwise neutrally colored room--can especially bring your home up-to-date with the season. Rooms can be colorfully accented with bright pillows, embellishments like vases or decorative bowls or even wall hangings. Warm colors in the red, orange, yellow and pink family are particularly popular for summer color pops.


Plants, Plants, Plants

Nature is out in full force, so bring some of that greenery into your home! A popular summer trend is to arrange potted plants in your home, warming and softening your space. Try succulents like jade plants, aloe vera, or potted cacti for greenery that needs little maintenance or attention. Try anthurium, ferns, or English ivy for leafy plants that will give your space a garden effect. Accent your rooms with green pillows or wall hangings to highlight your living greenery even further.


Decorate Your Fireplace

If your home has a fireplace, it’s safe to assume you won’t be using it until the weather cools down. Fill your fireplace with flowers, coral, or artfully stacked wood until its needed again. This can brighten up a room and subtly convey the idea of warm weather. A fireplace decoration can double as a room’s pop of color!


Let Curtains Flow

Replace heavy winter curtains and window insulation with long, light, flowing curtains. These will flutter in the breeze and let sun in, keeping you connected to the outdoors and summer. Choose curtains in light colors like white and warm pinks, yellows or oranges, to give your space a light, airy feel. If you live in a buggy area, these curtains can double as shields against mosquitos if you spend long summer days with the windows open.


Feature Fibers

Put natural fibers at the forefront of your summer space. Wicker light hangings are a great way to bring some of the outdoors, indoors, and make your home feel ready for the season. Wicker furniture is a large-scale way to bring your home up to date for summer; make smaller changes with woven wall hangings, picture frames, or hangings for potted plants.



Summer is a great chance to freshen up your space! Whether you’ll be hosting open houses or just seasonal gatherings, make your home more welcoming, airier and more lively.


Ready to list your home? Contact Janet McAfee Real Estate to get started!

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Seasonal Preparations

What 5 Factors Determine The Best Places To Live?

by Chuck Roper 11. June 2018 05:07

When I think about what makes a city a great place to live, I think of these five factors.  And when you compare St. Louis to just about any other place, I think we stack up favorably.  

Proximity – The grocery store, dry cleaners, coffee shop and place of worship are within easy reach by foot, bicycle, car or metro.

Trees and Green Space – We are home to mature tree lined boulevards, parks of all sizes and location and beautifully landscaped neighborhoods.

Great Schools – St. Louis has earned a reputation for academic excellence from early childhood development through our internationally acclaimed universities.  Choices in elementary and high school include public, charter, private independent and religious based.

Fitness and Community Swimming Pools – Many of our municipalities and neighborhood have community rec centers with pools, tennis, gyms and enrichment classes.  

Easy Commuting – Let’s be honest, most of the “in” cities have bumper to bumper traffic with hour long commute times.  In St. Louis, you can easily travel to and from work in less than 20 minutes.     

 

All in all, I can’t think of a better place to live!

 

Janet Horlacher 

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9 Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent When Listing Your Home

by Chuck Roper 22. May 2018 08:28


From a new job to a newborn, there may be a number of potential drivers behind your decision to sell and seek out that new home of your dreams. And while it can certainly be a time full of excitement, the change can also result in its fair share of stress and worry. Luckily, having the right real estate agent by your side throughout the process is a surefire way to curb anxieties from the get-go.


With all of the realtor options available, how do you even begin to decide upon the right real estate agent for you? Conducting interviews with relevant candidates in the area is a great place to start. Here are nine questions to ask your real estate agent when listing your home.

What’s your experience when it comes to listing homes?

Representing a buyer versus a seller certainly falls within the same wheelhouse, but there are differences in approach when it comes to finding success with each. Because of this, it’s important to gauge any potential agent’s experience for each. This is not to say that more experience in one over the other should be the sole driver of your decision, but having someone that can thoroughly speak to the process from experience has its advantages.

How do you determine my listing price?

A good agent will be able to walk you through their thought process when it comes to the listing price of your home. Price it too high, and you risk turning off potential buyers. Price it too low, and that’s less money in your pocket. Since listing price will be heavily influenced by the state of the market, you’ll want an agent with a good grasp on how it impacts your bottom line.

Do you work with buyers in the same range as my listing price point?

The answer to this question may be a good indicator of how knowledgeable an agent is about your potential buyers. In turn, this will influence the ways in which they market to them and eventually approach negotiations.

Are you familiar with this community?

Working with a real estate agent that’s familiar with your particular neighborhood can be an advantage when it comes to your home’s marketability. When building out your listing, they’ll be better equipped to develop relevant local messaging and comment on schools, new developments, and any other areas of community interest surrounding your home.

How do you plan to market my home?

A home for sale without any kind of marketing plan behind it certainly has an uphill battle ahead. From the right staging and quality photography to online virtual tours, there are a number of ways to enhance the online presence of your listing in order to extend its reach beyond just those who may see that ‘For Sale’ sign in the yard.

How do you track online activity for listings?

Traffic to your online listing will inevitably ebb and flow depending on both the market and marketability of your home. Most of that traffic will flow in during those initial weeks, but it’s important to keep tabs on how it may fluctuate throughout. This will allow you to make smarter decisions as a seller from beginning to end.

How should I get my house ready?

If your real estate agent has had experience selling homes in the past, they should have a solid list of to-dos for you to follow when preparing your house for market. They’ll also likely be able to help organize and/or provide references for relevant expertise in home staging and contracting.


Getting your home ready to sell is as much about the positioning of your furniture as it is having the right real estate agent to represent you. Put your trust in someone who knows the industry inside and out. Contact our team at Janet McAfee for more tips on how to list your home to sell.



Tags:

Home Selling Tips | Selling You Home

8 Questions to Ask Your Agent When Starting Your Home Search

by Chuck Roper 18. May 2018 06:09


Whether it’s your first or your fifth, making the decision to purchase a house is one fueled by emotion. Maybe you’re fueled by excitement at the thought of upgrading to the home of your dreams. Or perhaps that excitement is overshadowed with anxiety over leaving behind a place you’ve made countless memories in.


With the ebb and flow of feelings in tow, it only makes sense that’d you engage a real estate professional you can trust; someone who’s both empathetic and cognizant of your needs. As with any major life decision, put in the due diligence and ask the right questions before signing on the dotted line. You’ll often find that the more selective you are, the more enjoyable and successful the experience will be.

Are you a part-time or full-time agent?

Be mindful of how devoted an agent may be to their line of business. If they’re currently dipping their toes in real estate as a part time job, you may not receive the same level of attention you’d find from a full-time agent or agency.

How many clients are you currently representing?

There’s not necessarily a right or wrong answer to be given in this instance. However, there’s a big difference between five and 20 buyer clients when it comes to the amount of attention you’re hoping to receive. Get a feel for the real estate agent’s level of engagement and how often they’ll be available to respond to questions or concerns as they come up.

Will you representing me exclusively, or both the buyer and seller in the transaction?

While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, it’s important to understand where the practitioner’s obligations lie. A good practitioner will explain the agency relationship to you and describe the rights of each party. It’s also possible to insist that the practitioner represent you exclusively.

What type of support does your real estate agency offer?

Having resources, such as in-house support staff, access to a real estate attorney, or assistance with technology, can help a real estate professional sell your home. Get a feel for how an agent will go about aligning your home needs with what’s available on the market to ensure any goals you might set are actually attainable.

Can you recommend service providers for obtaining a mortgage, making repairs on my home, staging, etc.?

Keep in mind here that real estate professionals should generally recommend more than one provider and should tell you if they receive any compensation from any provider. If they’ve been in the business for a while, this will most certainly be the case and be reflective of their ability to network within their community.

How will you keep me informed throughout the home purchasing process?

Again, this is not a question with one correct answer, but one that reflects your desires. Do you want updates twice a week or don’t want to be bothered unless there’s a hot opportunity? Do you prefer phone, e-mail, or a personal visit?


Looking to start your home search off on the right foot? ContactJanet McAfee Real Estate—if you’ve got questions, we’ve got the answers.

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Tips for Buying a Home

Does Timing Matter?

by Chuck Roper 14. May 2018 10:09

Yes.  There is seasonality in residential real estate and the time is NOW.  We are in the peak of the real estate selling season.  In fact, May, June and July are the peak months in our St. Louis metropolitan area.   I looked at closed transactions over the past five years and discovered that the month of June has 32% more closed sales than an average month.  Remember, a closed sale typically occurs 40-60 days after an offer has been accepted, which means contracts written in mid-May produce the closed sales the end of June and contracts written in June close in late July.   As we say in real estate “time is of the essence.”

Spring has sprung … Hooray!

by Chuck Roper 27. April 2018 10:21

Finally, Spring is here!  It’s sunny, in the 70’s and the residential real estate market is in full bloom!  In the St. Louis Central Corridor, 309 listings were put into MLS in the last 7 days.  235 listings went under contract (both new and existing) and 188 sales closed.  In the same period for the luxury market (over $1 million), there were 18 new MLS listings, 6 went under contract and 2 closed.

STL Central Corridor MLS Listings

All Prices

Over $1 M

New Listings

309

18

Option & Contingent

235

6

Sold - Closed

188

2

My advice to our sales agents is “don’t delay.”  Do everything you can to take advantage of this robust time of year.  Be aware that service professionals are busy-busy so we must be persistent and resourceful in scheduling painters, plumbers, roofers and contractors.  When working with buyers, prepare them to act quickly when they find the home of their dreams.   You know the Benjamin Franklin adage “an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure.”  

 

Happy Spring Selling and Buying!

Janet

Staging Your Home to Sell: Physical vs. Virtual

by Chuck Roper 18. April 2018 08:31



We live in a visual world where seeing is believing and believing is seeing imagery that excites each person’s individual tastes. Nowhere more is this true than with the staging of a home to sell.


In fact, 81 percent of buyers argue that staging a house helps in visualizing a property as a future home. The keyword there is home. A place that looks polished but lived in, laughed in and loved.


Staging plays a vital role in prepping a house for market. While the practice can be time consuming and costly to sellers, virtual staging has changed that by transforming how buyers can envision the home of their dreams. Let’s take a look at some key differences between physical and virtual staging.

Cost

The physical staging of a home will typically involve the clearing of clutter, furniture rearrangement and occasionally, replacement. If a home is completely empty to begin with, a design expert will sometimes be hired to gauge the feel of the house with decor to match. All in all, this process can be extremely costly to the seller, ranging anywhere from $350 per room on the low end to over $200,000 for luxury homes.


However, virtual staging is a fraction of the cost. Most rooms can be fully furnished—virtually, that is—for about $100 per room.

Time and Flexibility

The coordination it takes to physically stage a home far outweighs that of a virtual stage based on the convenience factor alone. For a physical stage, clients must consult with a designer, clear out and move decor around accordingly, have new items moved in and then capture the look with a photography session.


Virtual staging, on the other hand, is done without much contact at all between consultant and seller. With the exchange of some photos and guided direction, stagers are able to arrange and rearrange virtual furniture throughout a room many times over within a matter of a few short hours.


Seeing is Believing

It can certainly be argued that seeing is believing, and when a potential buyers view images online that don’t sync with the views in real life, it can be a bit jolting. On the other hand, walking into a completely empty space (or one with opposite design taste aesthetics) can be difficult to imagine as anything other than that. As Danielle Schlisser of the Corcoran Group in New York City says, “In an empty space, people can’t really understand how big a couch or bed is… They’ll come in and think they’ll never fit their furniture in there because they really don’t have an understanding of scale.”


Whether looking to cut costs or re-envision your home decor with ease, virtual staging has opened the door to new possibilities for sellers and buyers alike. Choosing the best option comes down to understanding what works best for your goals, timeline and overall asking price.

 

Need help deciding on whether to opt for physical or virtual staging when it comes to selling your home? Contact Janet McAfee Real Estate today for three decades worth of home buying and selling insights you can count on.

Tags:

Home Selling Tips | Selling Your Home | Staging Your Home

Location Wins Again!

by Chuck Roper 16. April 2018 06:10

We surveyed our Realtors to find out what is the most important home feature that their buyers are seeking at this moment in time.  55% of Realtors ranked Location as Number 1.

Is anyone surprised by this?

 

Moreover, I have discovered that buyer preferences are getting more and more specific.  For location preferences, Buyers direct their agents to look beyond general school district parameters to a particular elementary school or a particular neighborhood.  Buyers may identify where in the neighborhood they want to live – on a cul de sac, on a corner, not on a corner, next to green space, not next to a golf course, etcetera, and etcetera.  

 

Price-Value ranked the second most important criteria for buying a home.  Half responded that price-value was either the most important feature or the second most important feature in the purchase decision.  Again, this is no surprise to us.  Purchasing a home is a major financial decision.  The “Value Proposition” is top of every buyer’s mind.  The home must meet or exceed the buyer’s expectations about what they should be getting for a specific price.  The digital world has made information readily available for smart buyers.  Buyers come equipped with their own price per square foot analyses and room by room comparisons.

 

The survey ranked these important criteria when selecting a home.

Copious amounts of information reside at our finger tips; buyers are more sophisticated than ever before.  With one swipe of a finger, we can check our mobile website to find out the list price and the price which valuation algorithms have calculated the property’s worth.  We can stand in front of a home and see interior pictures on our phones.  From miles away, we can view “google earth” video of the neighborhood and lot characteristics.  Buyers’ perceptions are formed by the images and information that is readily available to them at their fingertips in real time.  Buyers know what’s possible and they want the best of the best.

 

Yet, even in this information age where just about everything is on public display through the internet, there is still one overriding real estate truth: there is no substitute for personally touring the home.   Nothing is quite the same as viewing, touching, experiencing the home first hand, in person, in the flesh.  Our agents are equipped with all the digital information – PLUS – they have actually been inside the home.  And, that’s the difference.

 

Yours, in person and in the flesh,

 

Janet Horlacher 

 

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