Sell Now or Wait Until Spring?

by Chuck Roper 30. October 2017 06:10

Around mid-November, I am often asked whether it is a good time to bring a home on the market.  I consider the following:

1.       Inventory is Low = List Now.  Residential real estate is driven by supply and demand.  When supply is low, as it is now, Sellers have less competition for buyers.  When two or more buyers are competing for the same property, the price is going up.

2.    Inventory of Comparable Properties = Need More Data.  While inventory is low across the entire market, we must look at specifics.  What are inventory levels in your price range and in your neighborhood?  Your Realtor will drill down to only the areas and  price ranges, which are considered comparable.  We do have excess inventory in some categories, so you should be well informed before making the final call.

3.       Pool or outdoor amenity is an essential selling feature = Wait until Spring.   If your swimming pool or outdoor living feature is an essential reason for anyone to buy your home, you should wait until it is looking its best.   If waiting is not an option, I highly recommend providing photos which show just how lovely it looks.

4.       High lot value/possible tear down = List Now.   New home inventory is low and builders are anxiously scouring the market for good lots in good locations.  If your home could be a tear down, take advantage of current conditions and list now.

5.       Condo or Villa = List Now.  Currently, demand is strong for condos, villas and lifestyle communities.

6.       People buy homes every season of the year = List Now.  Remember, people will buy homes in every season.  Job transfers, promotions, marriages, changes in family situation happen all year.  A desirable, well priced home will sell any and every day of the year.

Janet Horlacher, Principal, Janet McAfee Inc.

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General | Real Estate Market

How Often Do You Want to Hear from your Realtor?

by Chuck Roper 16. October 2017 08:27

When a client is dissatisfied with their Realtor, the number one complaint is often lack of communication.   Complaints include lack of feedback on showings, lack of market updates and inability to reach the agent in a timely fashion.   

The frequency of communication should be decided up front when the agent first starts working with a buyer or seller.  There’s no right answer: some clients like to hear from their agent daily; some prefer an automatic alert for all new listings; others prefer a weekly recap of activity.  The important thing is to set up the expectation and then be consistent.

Another communication strategy to establish up front is how you would like to be contacted.  For me, there is no substitute for personal contact.  But I recognize that face to face meetings every day is not realistic.  Decide up front if you prefer phone calls, emails or texts.  Some successful agents schedule a detailed email and phone conversation at a specific time every week. 

How often and which method do you prefer to communicate?

Janet Horlacher, Principal

Janet McAfee Inc.

 

 

Multiple Contracts - 5 Tips for a Successful Outcome

by Chuck Roper 18. September 2017 09:21

This has been a year of multiple contracts on well-priced homes in desirable areas.  The buyers who lose out don’t understand why their near full price offer wasn’t accepted.  They wonder why the seller didn’t give them a second chance to improve their offer.   I hear “I would have paid more.”  In order to coach buyer’s agents on multiple offer situations, I encourage them to look at it from the seller’s perspective and consider the following:

  1. Use terms consistent with the Seller’s needs.  Does the seller have a desired closing date?  Are there fixtures, draperies or other attachments which the seller wants to exclude?   Provide significant earnest money to show the buyer’s commitment.  These are ‘win-win’ considerations which can make your offer appealing to the seller without compromising the buyer’s rights.
  2. Fewer Contingencies make your offer more desirable for the Seller.  Today’s standard Residential Sale Contract is written with terms favorable to the buyer, with rights to terminate or renegotiate the offer.   I often hear that a buyer missed out not because of the price, but because “the other offer had better terms.”  Consider removing the “walk away,” which is the buyer’s right to terminate the contract after the building inspection.  If the buyer is fully vetted and approved upfront, can you submit the offer without a finance contingency or appraisal contingency?  Can you limit the building inspection to only structural or environmental issues?  The last thing a seller wants is to accept an offer, take the home off the market and have the contract terminated weeks later. 
  3. Consider an Escalation Clause.   In highly competitive situations, buyers may offer to pay a certain dollar figure over any competing bid up to a maximum amount. 
  4. Timing is Important.  It’s important to find out from the listing agent when the seller is going to review the offers.  In our age of technology, being ‘too late’ is simply inexcusable.  Conversely, if you submit an offer days in advance of the seller’s response time, you risk having your contract used as leverage to recruit higher offers. 
  5. Follow the “First and Best” Principle - Put Your Best Foot Forward.  You can’t expect a Seller to revisit lesser offers if they have a wonderful contract in hand from someone else.  Buyers may not get a second chance, so submit your strongest offer without any remorse if someone else submits a higher and cleaner one.  

Janet Horlacher, Principal

Janet McAfee Inc.

 

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Tips for Buying a Home

6 Steps for a Smooth Appraisal

by Chuck Roper 23. August 2017 10:09

We have an expression in real estate “you need to sell your home twice; first to the home buyer and second to the appraiser.”  These days, most sale contracts contain a finance contingency or an appraisal contingency or both.  If the home doesn’t appraise for the contract price, the seller may be in a position of lowering the price or letting the deal die.  Both are painful alternatives, especially after a willing, able and qualified buyer has been procured.

 

Here are steps your Realtor can take to make sure the appraisal process goes smoothly:

 

1.       Treat the Appraiser’s Appointment like a Property Viewing  – Turn on all the lights, play classical music on the home’s internal audio system, play a movie on mute in the home theatre and have the pool fountains flowing.  Treat the appraiser’s visit like a showing; present the home in its best possible light with all amenities in full viewing.

 

2.       Provide Access to All Rooms – The appraiser needs to view all floors and measure the home.  A locked room prevents the appraiser from doing his/her job and will likely necessitate a return trip.

 

3.       Provide a Special Features Sheet and Improvements List – The appraiser is comparing the home to “comparable sales,” but there may be additions, updates, improvements and other amenities which make the home more valuable than the others.  Those upgrades may not be visible upon a cursory view, so it’s important to put them in writing and provide the list to the appraiser.

 

4.       Give your CMA to the Appraiser – More information is helpful to the appraiser.  Provide the comparable sales analysis which was used to price the home.  Inform the appraiser if you received competitive offers and if they had escalation clauses.  The appraiser will consider all relevant information.

 

5.       Complete All Repairs Prior to Appraiser’s Visit – If the sale contract calls for repairs to be made, complete them prior to the appointment.  They can impact the value of the home and necessitate a return visit by the appraiser.

 

6.       Keep Pets Away – Man’s best friend is not a friend to the appraiser, even if he/she is a pet lover.  The pet can be a distraction or an annoyance.  You don’t want your appraiser to leave the premises early because they are afraid of your pets.

 

Janet Horlacher

 

Principal, Janet McAfee Real Estate

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Home Selling Tips | Selling Your Home

2017 St Louis Real Estate Market Update

by Chuck Roper 16. August 2017 08:44

With six months of 2017 residential sales data on the books, we examine pricing and segment trends in our St. Louis Real Estate Midyear Report.

In the first half of the year, residential unit sales have increased 2% and prices are up 4%.   Inventory is still hovering at critically low levels.  The lack of inventory is holding back unit sales in some of our strongest neighborhoods.  Low inventory also leads to a seller’s market with intense competition and multiple offers for well-priced homes, a phenomenon true in the middle and low price ranges.  Conversely, the luxury market (defined as homes over $1 million) has ample inventory.  In fact, we are seeing over 8 months of inventory in million+ dollar homes.  While luxury unit sales are modestly growing, prices for luxury homes are flat and in some cases compressed.  Older homes are especially subject to downward price pressure as luxury buyers demand newer floor plans, mint condition and the latest and greatest amenities. 

Click here to read our 2017 Midyear Market Report.

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General | Real Estate Market

"Beat the Heat" Showing Tips

by Chuck Roper 24. July 2017 07:38

St. Louis reached an official high temperature on Saturday with a scorching 108 degrees.  It’s difficult to do just about anything in that heat zone, much less tour homes with out of town buyers.  Everything looks and feels “wilted” making it difficult to showcase our lush St. Louis neighborhoods to transferees (especially if they are coming from Northern Michigan!)

Cool down the House 30 Minutes Prior to Showing – If the home is vacant or if the programmable thermostat is set for energy conservation during the day, an uncomfortably hot house is an immediate turn off for prospective buyers.  Make sure someone arrives early to cool the house, turn on all the lights and play quiet, calming music. 

 

Run the Irrigation System before your showing – Remember, first impressions are everything in real estate.  Nothing says “old, tired, long dated listing” like scraggly, drooping landscaping.  Keep weeds in check; lawns should be cut appropriately for the heat and perennials should be kept trimmed and looking healthy.  Watering prior to showings will give a healthy and well-kept appearance. 

 

Keep your home Clean and Uncluttered.   There’s something about hot weather that makes dirty, overstuffed homes feel even more stifling.   Now, more than ever, it is imperative to purge tabletops of dust loving knick-knacks, wipe down counter tops and vacuum carpets.  A glistening, streamlined home feels cooler and more inviting.

 

Janet Horlacher

Principal, Janet McAfee Real Estate

 

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General | Seasonal Preparations

What is your home’s Aesthetic?

by Chuck Roper 7. July 2017 05:50

I believe every home has an aesthetic, whether it be a specific architectural period (like Tudor, Greek Revival or Mid Century Modern) or it could be a certain look (like bright and airy sunlight filled rooms) which strikes us as we tour the home.   St. Louis homes are rich in diversity and architectural interest.

Our job as Realtors is to communicate the home’s aesthetic to potential buyers.  Not every home appeals to every buyer, but there is a buyer for every home.  Each of us carries our own sense of style and perceptions about how our home should look and feel.  Often times, I hear buyers explain their criteria for buying a home with terms like “I will know it’s the right house when I see it.” 

This month we are focusing on how to best present the home’s aesthetic.  With technological advances in photography and digital media, there are so many opportunities to capture the home’s true essence.  With regard to interior photography, it is about more than just high resolution; we look at lighting, depth of field, composition and color.   For exterior, we love aerial, drone video and twilight photography.

Janet Horlacher

Principal, Janet McAfee Real Estate

 

Top St. Louis Communities to Live In

by Chuck Roper 26. June 2017 10:33

 

 

People move to different areas for a variety of reasons. St. Louis is unique in the fact it is home to many communities that appeal to different interests and walks of life. Each suburb and community has distinctive features that appeal to foodies, artists, outdoorsmen and women, and sports enthusiasts. Join us as we take a tour of the Top Communities in St. Louis!

 

 

 

CHESTERFIELD - If shopping is your bag, Chesterfield is the place for you. With new construction going up all the time and businesses moving in at a rapid pace, Chesterfield shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, there are over 4,000 total services with a number of shopping malls and outlets, including Taubman Prestige Outlets. You would think that they are all play and no work because of this… but you’d be wrong! The community has a 96% high school graduation rate! The houses range in price and style from colonial to craftsman to farmhouse. All of these features combined make this a big draw for growing families. Click to learn more and see houses in this area!

Link: http://www.janetmcafee.com/chesterfield-real-estate

 

 

 

CLAYTON - Everyone in St. Louis knows about Clayton, and for good reason. This historic community is known as being in the center of it all.  It’s less than 10 miles from downtown St. Louis, two miles from the St. Louis Art Museum and St. Louis Zoo, and sports easy access to many highways as well as the Metrolink. Not to mention, Clayton has so much to offer right within the community. You can sample more than 80 restaurants (Foodies, take note!) and walk to high-end boutiques and art galleries easily. If you like to live the luxurious life, this is the place for you. Click to learn more and see houses in this area!

Link: http://www.janetmcafee.com/clayton-real-estate

 

 

BALLWIN - Family fun is right outside your door in Ballwin. Many young families have been getting their start in Ballwin. They sport the massive North Pointe Family Aquatic Center, a number of parks for hiking and outdoor fun (Queeny Park, Lone Elk Park, and Castlewood State Park), and multiple golf clubs (Ballwin Golf Course and the Meadowbrook Country Club). To match the large number of recreational activities, the neighborhoods sport a variety of housing styles including craftsman, colonial, and ranch. Not to mention, you can typically get a lot of house for a good price. Click to learn more and see houses in this area!

Link: http://www.janetmcafee.com/ballwin-real-estate

 

 

WEBSTER GROVES - Historical architecture and rows upon rows of trees welcome you when you enter Webster Groves. Cottage, colonial, craftsman, and bungalow style homes are the most common in these quiet neighborhoods that surround Webster University. Webster Groves also boasts one of the best school districts in St. Louis and the 38-acre Blackburn Park (featuring a bird sanctuary, tennis courts, trails, and picnic areas), though you pay a little more for these amenities in taxes. In addition, various community events are held throughout the year such as the weekly Farmer’s Market and a Fourth of July firework display that may very be the second best next to the famous downtown firework show. Click to learn more and see houses in this area!

Link: http://www.janetmcafee.com/webster-groves-real-estate

 

 

KIRKWOOD - The high school rivalry between Webster Groves and Kirkwood is legendary, but it might be because these neighboring communities share many similarities. Kirkwood also sports a college (St. Louis Community College Meramec), lovely yards and trees, a Farmer’s Market, and a quiet neighborhood feel consisting of ranch, Victorian, and charming craftsman houses. What is unique is the still functional historic train station, and the famous Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park! Quiet, quaint, and classic. Click to learn more and see houses in this area!

Link: http://www.janetmcafee.com/kirkwood-real-estate

 

 

 

BRENTWOOD - Experience the feel of a small town, while still having Downtown St. Louis just 9 miles away. Brentwood and the neighboring Maplewood community make for a double dose of fun that appeals to families and young couples who enjoy shopping and nearby restaurants and breweries. Historic farmhouse, colonial, and craftsman style homes surround Memorial and Brentwood Park (which is home to a fabulous Summer Concert Series). Brentwood High School also has an astounding 96% high school graduation rate. Although it might not be the first community that comes to mind when you think of St. Louis, Brentwood acts as a little known secret that’s central to many parts of the city and county. Click to learn more and see houses in this area!

 

Link: http://www.janetmcafee.com/brentwood-real-estate

Summer Heat in the Real Estate Market

by Chuck Roper 23. June 2017 06:49

How hot is the real estate market in St. Louis?  By most accounts, residential sales are balmy with no signs of cooling off.  In the three counties comprising most of the St. Louis metro, sales are up 2.6% year to date.  Median prices are up 8%.  Lack of inventory is the metric driving up prices, while at the same time, containing sales to single digit increases.  We are down to 2 months of inventory, an all-time low.  In the lower and mid-price range, this translates to multiple contracts.  We have personally experienced up to 7 competing offers on a single listing.

But, as we all know, real estate is intensely local.  Market dynamics vary by school district, by price range and by type of home.  Buyers are more methodical and have more choices when it comes to luxury homes, which we define as homes over $1 million.  In this segment, inventory is not as tight; sales are up about 9% and prices are up about 6% year to date.  I believe there is opportunity for both buyers and sellers in the higher price ranges.

Janet Horlacher

Principal, Janet McAfee Real Estate

Tags:

General | Real Estate Market

Who is Buying Our Luxury Listings?

by Chuck Roper 9. June 2017 07:46

This month we focus on marketing strategies for luxury listings, which we define as properties over $1 million.  As the recognized leader in this segment, the Janet McAfee reach is extensive, selling the finest homes in St. Louis County, St. Louis City, St. Charles and Franklin County (home of St. Albans Country Club).   You may be surprised to learn there are 356 listings over $1 million, and out of these, 66 have accepted offers to purchase.  So, who is searching for million dollar homes and what are they looking for?

Our Luxury Portfolio International website reaches 3 million high net worth visitors annually.  Among those planning to purchase a luxury home:

  ·         95% are homeowners

·         Average age is 36 years

·         97% are college educated

·         Average household income is $372,000

·         57% own a second home

 What is the affluent buyer looking for and how do we engage them?  Again, we draw upon our past experiences through years of marketing to this segment.

 

 1.       Lead with Brand Names.  Luxury buyers need to be convinced of quality in order to justify paying the high price.  Marketing brochures and special feature sheets include the names of architects, designers, high end appliances, uniquely sourced fixtures, cabinetry designers and craftsmen.  Luxury brands are important to luxury buyers.

 

2.       Invest in the Best Photography.  Technology has allowed us to present luxury homes with exquisite high definition images, twilight photograph, soaring aerial shots, drone videos and intricate floor plans.  The first property viewing is virtual, so the online representation must be absolutely flawless in order to bring them across the threshold.

 

 3.       Advertising should present an Inspired Lifestyle.  Buyers are looking to enhance their lifestyle, not be inundated with a tedious list of every factoid you can think up.  Our job is to show prospective buyers the experience of living in the home and how the amenities will enhance their lives.

 

 4.       Tell the Home's Unique Story.  Many historic and architecturally significant listings have remarkable histories about former residents who shaped St. Louis.   For a newer home, it could be a story about choices made during the construction or why a specific architectural element was selected.

 

 5.       Place Advertising to Reach Affluent Buyers.  Yes, it’s true that active buyers are all looking on line.  But, people are ALSO reading the Wall Street Journal, coffee table magazines and society pages.  It’s surprising how often someone, who is not actively looking to move will become a motivated buyer after seeing the right property in a beautiful ad.

 

 6.       Please, please DON’T “Test the Water” with your introductory price.  Affluent buyers are not stupid.  Yes, you may attract a wealthy Californian, but they are still going to do their homework and analyze comparable home sales.  They are not going to waste their valuable time going to see a listing which is overpriced and out of their price point.  Luxury buyers demand a good value and they’re not afraid to pay for it.

 

 

Janet Horlacher

Principal, Janet McAfee Real Estate

 

Exclusive member of Luxury Portfolio International

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