Real Estate Success During Uncertain Times

by Chuck Roper 18. March 2020 06:19

From the Desk of Janet Horlacher:

In these challenging times where the health and well-being of our loved ones and colleagues is our top priority, I thought some positive news would be important to share. 

We’re changing the way we do business and still DOING plenty of business. Our sales are up +30% this year and we intend to maintain our success. Here’s a look at how we are selling plenty of homes, albeit doing things a little differently.

Work From Home
Our technology enables our Realtors to work remotely just as efficiently and effectively as in office. As other businesses scramble to adapt their “work at home” systems, our Realtors are already well equipped with web-based transaction management and digital signatures.

Virtual Showing
Your virtual showing has never been more important. It’s already the norm in real estate that the first showing is online. Gorgeous photography – twilight, aerial, video – are already tools we employ to showcase your home in it’s best light. More than ever, sellers should select Realtors who offer these options.

Flight to Safety
In uncertain times, buyers and sellers need reputable, “boots on the ground” brokerages to help navigate the complexities of this changing landscape. Just today, we discovered that municipalities may be delaying services we rely on to complete home sales. Our local expertise can help guide clients through alternative solutions.

Maximum Exposure Marketing
Rest assured that Janet McAfee promotes our listings through every media channel. We are the ONLY St. Louis brokerage to promise print advertising, direct mail, social media and digital promotion on every listing.  

Open Houses Re-imagined
We’ve asked our agents to replace the traditional Sunday Open House with Sunday BY APPOINTMENT Open Houses. Listing agents can schedule a private viewing between designated hours.  Social distancing open house strategies protect you.

Unwavering Trust
Clients have depended on Janet McAfee expertise, honesty and work ethic for 45 years. We have and always will be your most trusted advisor. Now, more than ever, select a Realtor who you trust with your most important asset.

Janet Horlacher, Principal
Janet McAfee Real Estate

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General | Luxury Real Estate

Discover the Top School Districts in St. Louis

by Chuck Roper 23. August 2018 10:54


For a family looking to settle down, a good school district is essential. The St. Louis County area offers a lot of great school districts, all with their own unique features. We’ve broken down the pros and cons of each district to make your move location easy!

School District of Clayton

Clayton, MO is the affluent, bustling business hub of St. Louis County and borders the city of St. Louis. In 2018, the district was ranked the fourth best school district in the United States and the best school district in Missouri by Niche. Several primary schools and high schools in the Clayton district have been ranked as top schools in Missouri. The School District of Clayton is one of the highest-achieving districts in the State of Missouri. Each of the district’s schools are regularly featured in Missouri's list of Top Ten Highest Performing Schools. On average, the student to teacher ratio is 11:1.

According to the 2010 census, the population of Clayton is 15,939 people. Several local universities are at least partially located in Clayton, bringing energy to the city. Being the county seat, St Louis County is the largest employer in Clayton. An active public transportation system connects the city. Clayton’s downtown features art galleries and boutiques, and it is host to the annual St Louis County Fair. For a family looking to settle down in a friendly, small town with an art scene and great public and private schools, Clayton is a great option.

Ladue School District

Ladue, MO is a suburb of St. Louis with a population of around 8,000. Ladue has the highest median household income of any town in Missouri, making it a relatively wealthy suburb.

The school district includes four public elementary schools and one public high school, as well as two private high schools. The student to teacher ratio is 14:1, and teachers are generally reported to care for and give special attention to students. Teacher salaries are above the national average, showing that just as teachers care for students, the district cares for its teachers.

Ladue residents are privileged to be near some of the finest schools in the nation. Ladue School District passes state examinations with flying colors. Ladue Watkins High School is consistently ranked among the best high schools in the state, and has often been named the best public high school in Missouri by U.S. News and World Report. Mary Institute and Country Day School (MICDS) and John Burroughs School are nationally-ranked private schools. Whether in public or private schools, students in Ladue can be assured of receiving a first-rate education.

Lindbergh School District

Lindbergh School District serves the area of Sunset Hills, an idyllic suburban municipality.

Schools in the Lindbergh District have excellent test scores, with math and reading rankings above 80 percent proficiency. Lindbergh High School, the only high school in the district, has a 96 percent graduation rate compared to the 86 percent national average. In fact, Lindbergh School District was recognized as the Number 1 district for K-12 achievement in the State of Missouri from 2010 through 2014.

Lindbergh School District is known for having very good public schools, particularly elementary and preschools, which make up the majority of the district. This makes it particularly great for families with young children.

Kirkwood School District

Kirkwood, MO is home to some of the strongest schools in the state and also serves the area of Sunset Hills, Missouri. The Kirkwood School District has the top-rated teachers in Missouri. Kirkwood’s student to teacher ratio is 15:1, and the district expends more money per student than the national average, most of which goes toward instruction.

In fact, Kirkwood boasts some of the most collegiate schools in the St. Louis area. Not only was Kirkwood High School ranked the third best high school in the state by U.S News and World Report in 2013, but Sunset Hills is also home to elite private schooling. Thomas Jefferson School is a nationally ranked college preparatory school, attracting the St. Louis community’s best and brightest young minds. With students’ average SAT scores over 2000, Thomas Jefferson School occupies a place among the educational elite.

St. Louis Public and Private Schools

The top-rated private school in the St. Louis area is John Burroughs School (mentioned above) located in Ladue. John Burroughs School is ranked as the number one high school in Missouri, as well as the top college prep school in Missouri. The school has a 6:1 student to teacher ratio, and the graduation rate is 100 percent. Families looking for strong private schools should also consider: St. Louis Priory School, ranked as the number one Catholic high school in Missouri and the number one all-boys school in Missouri; Thomas Jefferson School, ranked the #1 boarding school in Missouri and home to excellent test scores; or the Whitfield School, a tight-knit community of 440 students with excellent test scores and strong parent and student reviews.

Families looking for excellent public schools should visit Clayton High School, the top-rated public school in Missouri. It is ranked as having the best public school teachers in Missouri, with a 12:1 student to teacher ratio. Clayton High has great test scores, ranking far above average in proficiency in math and reading. Ninety-two percent of Clayton High students report that they feel happy at their school and enjoy attending. Other public schools to consider are Kirkwood Senior High School, which has excellent test scores and a beautiful campus with above-average athletic and academic facilities, and Marquette Senior High School, which is home to great test scores and above-average student proficiency in math and reading.

Ready to find a home in one of these areas? Contact Janet McAfee Real Estate to get started!

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Cyber fraud and Real Estate

by Chuck Roper 16. March 2018 10:24

Cyber fraud and Real Estate


I just read a scary fact in Realtor magazine: $969 million was diverted or attempted to be diverted from real estate purchase transactions and wired to “criminally controlled” accounts in fiscal 2017.  The fact is attributed to FBI data as reported by the Washington Post.

Scammers are targeting real estate professionals, title companies and mortgage lenders with phishing emails and fake text messages.  One way home buyers are scammed is they receive an email providing wire instructions for funding their new home purchase.   Please be aware - this is a fake email.  You should NEVER respond with your account information without speaking first hand to your agent or title representative.   I read a recent story of a Memphis home buyer who responded to a genuine-looking request to wire the full purchase amount of $203,000 to an account, which turned out to be fraudulent.  The money was gone, wired to a bank account controlled by an invisible thief.


Another risk is hacking.  Realtor magazine also reported about 80 percent of hacking-related breaches were through stolen passwords or passwords that were easy to guess.  If your password is “password,” stop reading, immediately close your browser and change your password. 

Be safe,


Janet Horlacher

Principal, Janet McAfee


General | Real Estate Market | Selling Your Home

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. Earns Website Quality Certification from LeadingRE

by Chuck Roper 6. February 2018 11:04 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 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.



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  Residential home sales rose +1.9% in our area, compared with +2.5% growth nationally. 

 Looking ahead, 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 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. 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 Housing Forecast, click here.





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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


General | Success Begins Here

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.




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