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

A Double Edged Sword: Property Assessments are Up

by Chuck Roper 26. May 2017 07:50

The good news is the value of your property may have increased.   The bad news is the tax man is coming to collect more taxes.  Many of us received our notice of reassessed value in the mail this week.  More than a third of properties in St. Louis City saw an increase.   The Central West End, South Grand and Tower Grove showed the larger city increases.  In St. Louis County, the median change in property value was up 7.3% with Webster Groves, Lindbergh and Kirkwood school districts leading the gains, according to the County Assessor’s office.  And St. Charles County increased nearly 5%.

This year’s reassessment is larger than recent years.  While this is good for our personal balance sheets, it likely means our taxes will go up.  Our property taxes are a function of two things, the assessment and the rate.  The assessment is sent to us in May, the rate is not published until Fall.  We will not know our 2017 property taxes until November.  If you are selling your home today, the amount you owe at closing will be based on 2016 taxes.

The Assessor’s job is to establish the fair market value of your property every odd dated year.  Market value is the price the property would bring in an “arm’s length transaction” on the open market (i.e. not foreclosure or a private/family sale).   The Assessor may use a Cost Approach, the value of land plus amount it would take to replace the structure, a Market (sales comparison) Approach, an estimate based on sales of comparable homes or an Income Approach, for commercial properties.

In my world of residential real estate, the Market Approach is used most frequently.  Your assessed value is estimated from sales of comparable homes in your neighborhood or close proximity.  The comparable sales need to be before January 1, 2017.   

When you receive the reassessed value, think to yourself “Is this the value for which I would sell my house?” If you believe your assessed value is too high, there is an appeal process; you can schedule an optional informal conference to review your information.  If not satisfied with the informal meeting or choose to bypass the informal meeting, you may appeal to the Board of Equalization.  For information, you may call:

St. Louis City: (314) 589-6581

St. Louis County: (314) 615-7195

St. Charles County: (636) 949-7560

 

If you do choose to appeal your assessment, here is a list of suggested items to bring, copied from St. Louis Assessor’s office (https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/assessor/frequently-asked-questions) 

1.       Appraisal – By one of the independent St. Louis appraisers, that reflects the market conditions as of January 1 of the most recent reassessment year.

2.       Sales Contract – That reflects an “arm’s length” transaction on the open market. (An “arm’s length” transaction is a sales agreement between two individuals who have previously never met. A non-arm’s length transaction would be the same as a parent selling their child a property at a discount.)

3.       Closing Statement – That reflects an “arm’s length” transaction on the open market.

4.       Photos – That show the existing structural issues or conditions that a buyer may require a seller to repair prior to closing, or that might affect the market value beyond what the Assessor has already taken into account.

5.       Repair Estimates – That shows structural issues or conditions that might affect the market value of the house.

6.       Statement of Construction Costs – That reflects recent bills or statements that demonstrate the value of new construction or additions.

7.       Comparable Sales – Sales of similar houses in the same or comparable neighborhood that occurred before January 1 of the most recent reassessment year; information is available on the County website.

You may not need all of these depending on your case.

Janet Horlacher

Principal, Janet McAfee Real Estate

Tags: , ,

General | Real Estate Market

What Does the Interest Rate Hike Mean to Us?

by Chuck Roper 17. March 2017 11:29

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve announced raising the Federal Funds rate (the rate which banks lend money to other banks for overnight borrowing) by one quarter percentage point.   Historically, an interest rate hike sends Realtors into an emotional frenzy.  This time, however, I have heard very little push back and I think this is why: 

1.       We all anticipated the rate hike.  Generally, we don’t like surprises, so it just confirmed what we already thought.

2.       We are happy the economy is performing better; unemployment is under 5% (4.7% in February); 200,000 jobs are being added per month; and the stock market is at record levels (actually closing higher on Wednesday).

3.       Mortgage rates remain historically low.  After the announcement, the 30-year rate rose from 4.21% to 4.30%.  If you’re like me and purchased your first home with a 12% mortgage, this still seems like a pretty good deal. 

4.       Real estate sales are gaining steam.  In our market area, 65 homes went under contract from Wednesday to Friday.  71 homes are pending, which means they are scheduled to close. 

As Realtors, we can’t predict the future.  But for now, we are seeing positive economic signs, confidence and optimism.  I’ll take that any day!

 

Janet Horlacher

 

Principal, Janet McAfee  

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