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

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 


In Like A Lion!

by Chuck Roper 6. March 2017 07:33


“In Like a Lion”


The St. Louis Spring selling market is early and robust.   Consumer optimism, a record stock market, spring-like weather and favorable interest rates have all aligned to create this early surge.  Listings which expired in 2016 have re-activated and have already received offers.   We are seeing declining days on market, favorable pricing and competitive bidding.    The tail wind going into our Spring market is vigorous. 

Here is a snapshot of 2017 versus last year:

·         Closed sales up +2.6%

·         Average sold price up +3.6%

·         Number of sales up +3.6%

·         Average days on market down -20.5%

·         Number of Active listings DOWN -10.2%

What can we expect going forward?

All indicators suggest we are poised for a strong Spring market, provided we fill the listing pipeline.  The number of active listings is on a multi-year decline not only in St. Louis, but around the country.  We need to reverse this slide in order to satisfy buyer demand and prevent buyer fatigue.  The risk when there are not enough relevant properties to satisfy demand or buyers repeatedly lose out in competitive bidding, is that buyers get discouraged and opt out completely. 

Another trend we are watching is Millennial home purchasing (or lack of home purchasing).  This generation, now approaching their 20’s through mid-30’s has surpassed their parents as the largest demographic.  Unlike their Baby Boomer parents, who purchased their first home in their 20’s, this generation is delaying home ownership.  This generation graduated from college with the highest level of student debt in history and the most difficult job market.  Today, the “30 something” Millennials are gaining financial security and entering the market.  Going forward, I believe Millennial housing preferences and purchase cycle will be the most significant drivers in residential real estate.  


Principal, Janet McAfee Inc.

Left Digit in Sale Price Affects Home Buyers Most

by Chuck Roper 31. October 2016 06:41

A recent study published by the Journal of Housing Research concluded the best technique for pricing a home is setting the asking price just below a round number.  The study went on to say that this strategy of “just below” pricing yielded a selling price 2.5 to 3 percent higher compared with a “rounded price.”  The example given is a home listed at $199,000 yielded a sale price $5,000 to $6,000 higher than one listed for $200,000.  The study was conducted among 1,000 buyers in Virginia considering a pool of 370,000 listings.

Do you agree or disagree?  Some believe this is old school thinking.  “We don’t price homes like cans of soup on the grocery shelf, commented a Realtor.  Others believe this is a good strategy because home buyers are influenced by a lower first digit.  What is your experience?

 Janet McAfee Real Estate 

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Documenting Home Improvements

by Chuck Roper 27. September 2016 08:08

As a listing agent, pre-empt last minute issues by recommending that the seller request detailed invoices and lien waivers from contractors reflecting repairs performed. Collect the paid invoices and lien waivers a week before closing whenever possible.  Often, by collecting detailed receipts early, the parties will be alerted to any repair items accidentally overlooked or misunderstood, and contractors may be scheduled for another visit prior to closing.  It is rare for a lender to approve last minute credits from sellers to buyers, due to tightened lender guidelines and policies, so have your contractors available and avoid some walk-through woes.

-Cathy Noll
Vice President/Broker 

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General | Selling Your Home

The Best Values Are Right In Front Of Us

by Chuck Roper 19. September 2016 06:22


In recent weeks, I’ve observed a flurry of price reductions and I believe we are seeing great values for the savvy buyer.   The end of summer often brings about price correction (and sometimes underpricing).  Perhaps sellers don’t want to face the winter with the thought of an unsold property.  Now is the time for buyers to capitalize on this value pricing.  Too often, buyers focus only on new listings to the exclusion of older inventory.  I believe there are great deals to be made with older listings which are now priced at incredible values. 

Janet Horlacher
Janet McAfee Real Estate 

St. Louis Luxury Real Estate Trends: Home Offices

by Chuck Roper 10. January 2013 03:53

More and more employees, freelancers and business owners are skipping the congested St. Louis morning commute and working remotely from home. Are you one of the 13.4 million Americans who are currently plugging into the office from home?  Make sure that you continue the productivity you achieved in the workplace by giving yourself a dedicate work space at home. Janet McAfee Real Estate has some helpful pointers to keep the work flowing in your home office.



·         Define a workplace – You don’t necessarily need a separated room with a door to constitute as an office, but you shouldn’t set up shop in front of the television – or anything else that will distract you from your work.
·         Stay organized – A cluttered desk leads to a cluttered mind! Although you are working from home, it is important to maintain the same orderliness as you would in the office. Here are some desk accessories to keep your office stylish and tidy.
·         Make it comfortable – Working from home has obvious benefits: no commute, you get to set your own hours, privacy, etc. Don’t forget that you can also personalize your workspace to best reflect your style. It’s a lot easier to sit down in an office that you enjoy to be in rather than staring at four blank walls. Need a little office inspiration? Check out these tips to help put the home in home office.

If your company is seeing continued growth, don’t be surprised if you are given the opportunity to work from your home in the future – prepare your workstation now! Do you have a dedicated home office space? Visit Janet McAfee Real Estate’s Facebook and Twitter to share your pictures! For more St. Louis real estate tips, remember to regularly check back for additional blog posts!


Post-Holiday Cleanup: Taking Down Your Decorations Safely

by Chuck Roper 27. December 2012 09:04

Decorating around the holidays is a lot like packing for a trip – we take extra precautions when packing each item into our bags, but when it is time to head home, we blindly shove everything into our luggage, crossing our fingers it all fits. It is all too easy to treat packing up your holiday décor in a similar fashion. So much time is spent getting each and every decoration perfectly positioned – Janet McAfee Real Estate wants to make sure you are spending a little extra time to safely pack up your holiday trimmings.

  • Lights – Getting your home in tip-top shape for the holidays can be tricky – especially if you are scaling the roof to add Christmas lights.  Ladder safety is something we often overlook as we pack away the lights as you remove them. Be sure you have a “spotter” that can keep an eye and collect the lights you remove.
  • Tree removal – Nothing says Christmas quite like a real tree. Unfortunately, these saplings are also a big fire safety hazard. When disposing of your tree, make sure it is away from the street – trees also become a big traffic liability during the holiday season.
  • Broken decorations – If you can make it through a holiday season without having a broken ornament, light, etc., we commend you. For everyone else, it is important to properly dispose of broken items. This time next year, it is likely we won’t remember an item is damaged. If we save it, we risk injury the next time we unpack our decorations.



Whether you are packing up your holiday décor the day after Christmas or a month after, make sure you are doing so safely. Make sure to check back with Janet McAfee Real Estate for more tips on home decoration and other St. Louis real estate topics!

Three Tips for Preparing Your Home for the Holidays

by Chuck Roper 29. November 2012 03:56

There is no greater time of year than the holidays – seeing friends and family, upholding tradition and of course, all of these beautiful decorations are just a few of the reasons this is the most wonderful time of the year. If you are expecting visitors over the next few weeks, you will probably be decking out your home in preparation. Make the season of giving a little less stressful by applying a few of those helpful holiday decorating tips Janet McAfee Real Estate has put together for you. 

  1. Holiday wreaths – Nothing is more welcoming than knocking on a door adorned with a stunning wreath. You can purchase a premade wreath from any local retailer, or turn this into a DIY project. We suggest visiting your local craft store for some inspiration.
  2. Christmas garland — Whether you opt for a popcorn garland project with the kids or you go all-out with an evergreen variety, holiday garland is a staple in any home. Hang it from your mantle or on your staircase!  Take a look at Martha Stewart’s website for great ideas.
  3. Christmas lights – Decking out your home in lights is not just for you – it is for all of the families that drive around in December admiring the holiday cheer. Lights are not just meant to decorate the roof anymore. Consider thinking outside the box with glowing gift boxes, lighted trees and fences, hanging ornaments and a lighted driveway as alternatives.

Will you be looking to buy or sell a home in St. Louis this holiday season?  Let the experienced agents at Janet McAfee Real Estate help. Contact us for more information in getting started on your journey to a new home. 

My McAfee Activity Reporting

by Chuck Roper 13. November 2012 07:37

A turbulent housing market makes it increasingly difficult to gain an advantage when it comes to selling your home. The housing market is currently flooded with home listings, but the demand doesn’t meet the supply. So how do you place your home listing more prominently in your area? Having access to an experienced Janet McAfee realtor may lend the upper hand you have been looking for.

Create a more straightforward home selling process with the new My McAfee Activity tool. This new tool from Janet McAfee Real Estate gives you and your agent the ability to monitor and evaluate interest in your home and view the comparable homes for sale in your area. Once the report is activated, they are automatically emailed to the agent and seller.

My McAfee Activity Report (Listing Activity) is the report both agents and sellers will receive that breaks down the overall activity of your property. We evaluate and report on four different areas over a period of seven days, 30 days, and eight weeks:

  • Property Results Report – Displays the number of times your property appeared in a search result on the website.
  • Property Detail Report – Displays the number of times your property details page has been viewed on the website.
  • Property Map Detail Report – Displays the number of times your property was requested on a map on the website.
  • Agent Listings Report – Displays the number of times your property has been viewed from the agent profile page.

    My McAfee Activity Report (Competitive Listing) is a great way to evaluate exactly where your property stands in the local housing market. This is an excellent resource for sellers and agents to form realistic goals and prices when listing a home. A seller’s property is compared to similar homes for sale in the area based on following criteria:
  • Price changes
  • Most recent listings
  • Closest properties


Working together with a Janet McAfee agent and using valuable resources like the My McAfee Activity Reporting tool can open new doors – literally! – throughout the process of selling your home. Need help finding the right agent to sell your home?

Contact Janet McAfee today and we can help match you with an agent that best suits your needs! 






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