Benefits of Buying Vs. Renting a Home

by Chuck Roper 15. February 2018 07:35

For generations, buying a home played a key role in the traditional American dream. While it still marks a major milestone, there are many more factors to consider before becoming homeowners than ever before.


No doubt, buying a home is a big financial investment—possibly the biggest most of us will ever make. Although there’s no single right or wrong answer for the long-standing debate between buying and renting, the best way to decide is to evaluate if buying a house is right for YOU.


Before making your final purchasing decision, here are some questions to consider:


Stability or flexibility?

Are you prepared to take responsibility for a home? The type of lifestyle you lead should play a major role in this decision. If you plan to move within a year or less, owning a home probably isn’t right for you at the moment. By renting, you won’t have to worry about any upkeep or maintenance costs, and have more flexibility should you decide to move.


On the other hand, if you plan on staying in one place, buying tends to be the better option. Upfront fees that come with buying can be spread out over many years and, the longer you stay, the more time you have to spread out these costs. Homeownership can also provide certain intangible benefits, such as a sense of stability, pride and belonging within your community.


“It’s important to talk to your agent about your present lifestyle and your thoughts on the investment horizon. Discuss marital status, children, pets and recreational pursuits. All will have a bearing on the type of home you buy,” says Sales Associate, Patti Greenemay.


Are you ready for a home financially?  

Home prices, rent prices and stock prices can be tough to predict. Purchasing a home is a financial investment, but first you need to know if you’re in the right place to buy a home.


The first step is to get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan. Your income, credit score, amount of debt, and savings are all factors that will affect your ability to get approved. By getting pre-approved, you’ll have an even better chance of being able to negotiate when looking to purchase a home.


Do you want the freedom to alter your home?

With renting comes a list of rules and regulations as to how you can decorate your living space. If you’re hands-on when it comes to decorating, design, and landscaping, you need a space of your own to do that. Purchasing a home means you can make decisions about how your home looks on the inside and out.

 

Are you considering buying a home? Still on the fence? Our experienced agents are happy to help answer any questions or concerns you have, and will help you along the way to finding your dream home.  Contact us to get started!

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Accolades for Sales Achievement

by Chuck Roper 13. February 2018 05:34

Congratulations to our 2017 Top Agents.

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What is your home’s best-selling feature?

by Chuck Roper 12. February 2018 11:47

The marketing strategy for promoting a listing should address your home’s best features.  Each and every selling feature of your home adds value and justifies the asking price to the buyer.  As a listing broker, our job is to communicate your value proposition in order to achieve the highest possible purchase price.  Here’s a couple of thoughts on how your marketing strategy can support your home’s best features.

1.       If acreage or land is one of your homes best features ….

Areal or drone photography is a great way to showcase your home’s manicured lawns, expansive lot size and exterior amenities, like swimming pools, lakes, pool houses and out buildings.

 

2.       If outdoor amenities create an unbeatable lifestyle…. 

A swimming pool, loggia with outdoor fireplace and lush gardens should be displayed to buyers at their peak.  Time your market launch to coincide with opening your pool and spring leaf greening.

 

3.       If your home’s architectural lines are captivating ….

Twilight photography might just be the ticket to transform your house into a magical English manor.

 

Please contact your Janet McAfee Realtor for more ways to customize your marketing plan to promote your home’s best features.

7 Ways to Prepare Your Home for a Spring Market

by Chuck Roper 8. February 2018 03:25

Spring is right around the corner, and if you’re planning on putting your house on the market this season, it’s certainly not too early to be giving some thought to preparing your home for buyers. Spring is the optimum time to sell your home. Regardless of whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market, there is almost always a rise in demand during the months of April, May and June. Of course, increased demand also means increased competition, so chances are you’ll need to do some sprucing up to stay in the running. Read on for seven helpful tips on how to prepare your home for a spring showing.    

1. Stage Your Home

“Home staging” refers to arranging furniture so as to maximize feelings of space and light with an aesthetic eye as to how each room should flow into another. Yes, this means stowing away your pile of magazines or unpaid bills in the hopes of presenting a fantasy version of your home for buyers. If your personal decor isn’t cutting it, you can transfer your belongings into storage and rent furniture and artwork from a home staging company on a monthly basis.

2. Wash Windows & Mirrors

When cleaning your home, remember the phrase “sparkle sells.” A potential buyer may not realize why your home seems so inviting, but if your windows are spotless inside and out and your mirrors clearly reflect the sun, they’ll want to stay all afternoon! So let in the spring sunshine with the help of a bottle of Windex to impress home buyers.

3. Eliminate Odors

As much as we may not like to admit it, we all have unpleasant odors that plague our home from time to time, and nothing will make a potential buyer want to walk out the door than a bad smell in the kitchen, bathroom or living room. However, don’t take the easy way out and simply mask odors with air fresheners, which can be overwhelming and cause allergies. Rather include fresh flowers throughout your home, spice up the kitchen with the scent of boiled cinnamon, or freshen up the bathroom with some eucalyptus.

4. Paint Your Walls

While you may be in love with your seafoam green walls in the kitchen and bathroom, chances are it may be too specific for today’s buyer. The truth is that most buyers prefer to see a blank canvas where they can inject their own personality. Why not select a neutral base color and extend it to all rooms on the same floor? You are making your home appeal to the largest possible audience.

5. Clean or Replace Flooring

Damage to floors and carpeting over the years is unavoidable, and those stains, scratches and cracks will be apparent to potential buyers. Prevent this by cleaning or replacing flooring throughout your home. Carpets should be shampooed and treated for stains, while hardwoods should be swept and mopped until sparkling clean. Any flooring permanently stained or damaged should be replaced, or at the very least refinished.

6. Yardwork

Prepping your home for buyers means cleaning both inside and out. Rake up dead leaves and other debris in your yard, and don’t let overground vegetation block windows or a pathway to the entrance. Trimming bushes and trees will allow more sunlight to shine into your home, and artfully cut lawns will tell buyers to pay attention to small details inside. Remember, the exterior of your home is the first impression buyers will have.

7. Snacks and Drinks

Touring homes all day makes buyers hungry. What better way to make a positive impression than by providing snacks and drinks for guests? Set out crackers and cheese or a plate of your homemade cookies, then place a couple dozen water bottles in the sink filled with ice. Giving refreshments for guests will allow them to spend more time in your kitchen, and marvel at how beautiful it is!

Selling your home can be a stressful process for buyers and sellers alike. Deep cleaning your home will inevitably force you to adapt your aesthetic preferences to sell to a wider audience and sacrifice personal touches you’ve included over the years, but it’s important to keep the bigger picture in mind. Follow the above tips to get your home looking amazing for spring showings and watch your listing sell quickly and at a great price!

Need help with listing your home for sale? Contact Janet McAfee Real Estate today for over three decades of buying and selling experience!

 

 

JanetMcAfee.com Earns Website Quality Certification from LeadingRE

by Chuck Roper 6. February 2018 11:04

JanetMcAfee.com has been honored with one of the most prestigious awards from Leading Real Estate Companies of the WorldⓇ: the World’s Website Quality Certification (WQC).

This certification was based on the tools JanetMcAfee.com provides users such as: superior performance that provides the most up-to-date market information and property details, 29 stunning neighborhood videos, professional photography and in-depth content, giving you an insider's look at the communities we serve, and last, a mobile friendly site and real-time email alert functionality to keep you informed at anytime from anywhere.

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General

Take the stress out of your home inspection.

by Chuck Roper 22. January 2018 07:21

 

Selling your home can be stressful.  And, no time during the selling process is more stressful than the inspection period.  Sellers wait on the side line while the buyer’s inspector goes through their home with a fine tooth comb.  Afterward, a repair list is submitted with all the items which the seller had no knowledge even existed.  Here are a few things from a Realtor’s point of view to help reduce inspection anxiety.

1.       Consider a pre-listing inspection.  There’s no rule that says a seller cannot hire his/her own inspector before the home is listed.  The seller can learn about hidden defects beforehand and either repair them or disclose them upfront to the buyer.

2.       Do a thorough cleaning.  A gleaming house sends a message that the home is lovingly cared for.  There is less reason to suspect deferred maintenance or problems caused by neglect.

3.       Check the windows.  Inspectors are trained to make sure windows and doors are fully operable.  Check to make sure windows open and close properly and that there are no cracks, broken sashes or broken window seals.

4.       Do the outlets work?  Inspectors will test electrical outlets, GCFI’s and the electrical panel, most of which are outside my scope of knowledge.  What I can do is to find out if the outlets are working and replace ones that don’t.

5.       Complete items on your repair list.  Do you have a “honey-do” list?  Do light bulbs need replacing or drains need declogging?  In the long run, it saves time, money and anxiety to make those minor repairs before listing the home. 

6.       Get current with your seasonal maintenance.   If you have missed a few seasonal maintenance checks, now is a good time to schedule your HVAC, lawn irrigation or other regular checkups.   While you’re at it, change the battery in your smoke detectors and replace your air filters.

7.       Clear away piles of stuff.  The inspector needs clear access to HVAC systems, plumbing stacks and basement walls/foundation.   Clear away anything that would prevent the inspector from being able to access the attic or reach mechanical systems or inspect the foundation. 

Do you have other suggestions for reducing home inspection anxiety?  I’d love to hear them.

 

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Selling Your Home

2018 Real Estate Predictions

by Chuck Roper 8. January 2018 09:17

2017 was a positive year for our St. Louis real estate market and we are well positioned for continued prosperity in 2018.   Median sales prices rose +4.4% in the three primary counties we list and sell properties (St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles).  This compares favorably with +3.2% national price appreciation as reported by Realtor.com.  Residential home sales rose +1.9% in our area, compared with +2.5% growth nationally. 

 Looking ahead, Realtor.com published 3 Housing Trends which are relevant to our St. Louis market.

  1. Inventory is expected to increase - Low inventory has constrained sales growth in recent years.  Now, with high consumer confidence, solid home price appreciation and a vibrant economy, home owners are projected to get off the fence and sell.  This will increase sales in 2018.
  2. Price appreciation is expected to slow – Higher inventory will begin to normalize supply and demand, resulting in a more balanced seller – buyer relationship.  One caveat is entry level home prices, which Realtor.com predicts will continue to rise as demand will continue to outweigh supply.
  3. Millennials will gain market share in all home segments - Millennials are the largest population segment.  Realtor.com predicts Millennials may constitute 43% of all home buyers taking out mortgages in 2018.  This is a good sign for us; we need first time home buyers to spur home ownership rates and push sales up the pipeline.

To read the 2018 Realtor.com Housing Forecast, click here.

 

 

 

 

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General

Do You DECK THE HALLS a little or a lot?

by Chuck Roper 30. November 2017 10:54

'Tis the season for holiday decorating!  For my own home, I say "the more the merrier."  I love coming home to a house twinkling with lights, wreaths on every window and planters stuffed with mixed evergreen branches.  There’s nothing more pleasing than the aroma of fresh cut pine, fir or cedar meandering through the home.   Oh, how I love garlands of holly, ivy, magnolia and mistletoe on my mantel and dining table.

However, when I put on my Realtor hat, I remind myself "Less is More."  Too much of a good thing is distracting and confusing to buyers.  Nothing turns off a buyer more than cramped halls, obstructed entry ways and rooms overstuffed with holiday tchotchke.   So, if your house is for sale this holiday season, DO decorate and DO practice a little restraint.  Instead of using every color of the rainbow, choose one or two predominant colors and maintain consistency throughout your house.  My personal favorite is green with gold or green with silver.  It’s fresh and there is so much variety in evergreen cultivars that you you’ll never get tired of it.  I also think red is festive and appropriate for light filled homes with white walls and neutral furniture.

What do you think, a lot of holiday décor or a little?

Janet Horlacher

Principal, Janet McAfee Real Estate

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General | Home Selling Tips | Selling Your Home

Wayne and Ben Join Janet McAfee Real Estate

by Chuck Roper 13. November 2017 10:27

Saint Louis, November, 2017

The team of Wayne Norwood and Ben Patton have joined luxury leader, Janet McAfee Real Estate.  Known as Wayne and Ben within the real estate community, the team operates their own boutique entity, “Finest Homes of St. Louissm, a registered brand focused entirely on luxury homes within the Saint Louis central corridor.  Wayne is the Senior Partner and Broker.  Ben, a licensed Realtor, creates and manages all marketing for the team.

Wayne Norwood, Broker Associate
A former corporate Sales and Marketing Executive, Wayne has proven levels of highest achievement and success. His background ranked him in the Top 1% of two prior fields, wholesale apparel, and consumer packaged goods, and has nearly $1.0 Billion in lifetime sales. A native of New York, Wayne graduated from The University of Rochester, cum laude. Prior to making St. Louis home, Wayne lived in New York City, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.

Ben Patton, Realtor & Business Analyst
A native of Columbia, Missouri, Ben graduated from the University of Missouri, where he majored in Finance, with an emphasis in Real Estate. He is a strong Mizzou fan and a staunch supporter of his Alma Mater.

Ben moved to St. Louis after graduation where he obtained his Real Estate License, and started his career at Gladys Manion Real Estate, in 2009. He teamed up with Wayne, and the two became the company’s most successful Team in its 80+ year history. In 2017 Wayne and Ben joined Janet McAfee Real Estate, the St. Louis region’s premier luxury broker, to springboard ‘Finest Homes’ into the next decade with the best resources and platform to surpass client expectations.

Ben sits on the Young Professional Board of Friends of Wings, through Barnes Jewish Christian Hospital, and is a volunteer Big Brother for over 8 years. Ben’s passions include international travel, his bulldog Gus, attending sporting events, and spending time with his family. Ben resides in the Central West End.

For additional details, go to www.janetmcaee.com/waynenorwood.

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General | Success Begins Here

4 Holiday Home Selling Myths You Can Ignore

by Chuck Roper 13. November 2017 06:27

It may surprise you to learn that the holidays are a good time to sell a home.  Popular opinion tells us buyers are too caught up with travel, social engagements and gift exchanges to look for homes.  The truth is … we sell homes every season of the year.  Holiday buyers are enthusiastic and emotional; they are serious buyers, less distracted by busy work schedules.  Often, they are more motivated to achieve house buying goals during this season of homecoming.     

Myth #1   No one is looking

The reality is that when work commitments slow down around the holidays, buyers look online.  Corporate transferees schedule home buying trips over the holidays.  Holiday buyers have a sense of urgency to write an acceptable offer before the end of the year.     

Myth #2   Holiday decorations deter sales. 

There is nothing like an abundance of lights, a fire in the hearth, the smell of fresh pine and a festive atmosphere to make a home look its best.  As long as it’s not overdone, holiday décor makes a house warm and inviting, which appeals to buyer emotions.

Myth  #3   Spring market brings higher prices.

The fact is prices are more a function of supply and demand (market dynamics) and less a function of the season.  Inventory is lower over the holidays; sellers face less competition; and serious buyers are quicker to make a strong offer.   We don’t have a crystal ball to predict Spring prices, but we do know that 2017 has been strong year and there are qualified buyers actively looking now.

Myth #4   Holiday showings are just for “sightseers”

A person who devotes time and energy to view properties during the busiest time of the year is a serious buyer. Sightseers or people just seeking decorating tips are more apt to tour when nothing else is going on.  Serious buyers are out looking during the holidays.

Janet Horlacher, Janet McAfee Real Estate

 

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