Is now a good time to buy? Interest rates are
still extremely low.
Credit requirements need higher scores. Some programs may need more money
down. Yes this can be a good time to find a new home or a second house as
Is this a good time to sell? The pool of buyers has become smaller.
Credit restrictions, loss of employment, foreclosures, loss of first time home
buyer tax credit, limits on jumbo loans all have created a decrease in the
number of buyers. The number of bargain seekers has not decreased.
If you need to sell your home talk to me about your situation and the best
method for you to achieve your goal. Marketing, pricing, and staging will
provide a solid platform to launch a sale.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, particularly when it comes to buying a
home. Features that attract one home-buyer may repel another.
However, the one feature of interest to every home-buyer is price. Getting
the most home for your money is paramount. The real problem is figuring out
whether that fixer-upper on one street is a better buy than the home in
next-to-new condition two blocks away. That’s why knowing what to look for
before you buy can save you time, energy and money down the line.
Communities Use the community pages to find
individualized portal searches for many of the cities in the St Charles, Arnold,
Saint Louis metro area. The links on each city page will provide daily
news, school calendars, news at city hall, events, MLS portals for each school
district, and the city as a whole, there also is a zip code map showing the city
boundaries. Call and ask me for sellers disclosures and other documents.
The first step is figuring out what kind of house you need. A good buy is only a
good buy if it meets your current and future living requirements. Before
shopping for a home, decide how much space you and your family require. How many
bedrooms, bathrooms? Is a family room necessary? Do you need a layout that will
accommodate a lot of entertaining? Do you prefer a spacious or compact work
space in the kitchen? If you have small children, can the house easily be
Evaluate the front and back yards. Is there enough space to accommodate your
children? Do you want a park-like or garden setting? Do you enjoy yard work and
gardening, or do you want a low-maintenance yard? Take into consideration the
cost of extensive landscaping and upkeep.
Next, determine how much work is required to make the house you are considering
livable. Make an honest assessment of your fix-it abilities. How much work are
you willing to do or pay someone else to do? Do you have basic decorating,
carpentry and plumbing skills? If you plan to learn as you go, make sure you
have accurately determined what you are getting into. Ask an experienced friend,
family member or your real estate agent for their opinion, and be sure to
consider how much remodeling inconvenience the rest of the family can handle.
Unless you are ready and able to tackle a major remodel, look for a house or
condominium that needs only cosmetic improvements. These include painting,
wallpapering and replacing items like flooring, window treatments, bathroom and
kitchen fixtures, light fixtures, cabinet and interior door hardware and
appliances. Remember that even these simple changes can be costly if you have to
make many of them.
Beware of improvements that seem easy enough at first glance but may turn into
major headaches and require a lot of money once you’ve moved in. Remodeled
kitchens and bathrooms, changes to the floor plan, room additions and redesigned
landscaping are examples of seemingly minor changes that can easily eat away the
money you thought you saved by selecting a so-called “bargain priced” home. Of
course, you may be perfectly willing to spend whatever money is needed to
customize the house to match your tastes and needs.
Graphs and Charts
Make sure major systems in the house are in good working condition. The furnace,
air-conditioning and plumbing should be up to date, since repairs can be costly.
Your agent can arrange to have a professional inspector determine whether the
electrical wiring and any room additions are to code. Local utilities often
offer free or low-cost inspections to tell you if the house is energy-efficient.
Look for a house with universally popular selling points. If you’re impressed,
the next buyer down the line is bound to be, too. For example, a roomy, modern
easy-to-clean kitchen is the best selling point a home can have. A house with
only one bathroom is less desirable than a house with two or more. Many buyers
expect at least three bedrooms, with a master bedroom that offers a feeling of
privacy. Lots of storage space and closets, especially walk-in closets, will be
a real selling point. Family rooms or “great rooms” also are desirable. On
closer examination, a house that looks like a bargain may lack some of these key
Don’t forget the old adage: location, location, location. Unless you’re looking
for a fixer-upper, the house should be in a condition that is comparable to
other homes in the neighborhood. Avoid buying the biggest or fanciest home on
the block. Consider the amount of traffic or noise. Homes located in a quiet
area away from a busy street will command a higher price. Make sure the schools
in your district have a reputation for quality education and safety. Nearby
supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants and theaters also will make a location
Down Payment Programs
Good community facilities also add appeal; pools, athletic fields, community
centers, libraries and hospitals all add to a neighborhood’s value and
desirability. Transportation needs also should be considered. Is local public
transit available? How long are typical commutes to places of current and
potential employment? Are there several alternate route? How close is a major
airport? All of these can affect a home’s pricing.
Consider the cost of living in a home. It’s important to consider not only
purchase price but the monthly cost of living in a home. Estimate your utility
and maintenance costs. For example, will the house need to be painted on a
regular basis and will you need to spend money maintaining a swimming pool? Ask
your agent about the property tax rate and whether increases are anticipated.
Will you have to pay special assessments for a homeowner’s association? Consider
the point in the life cycle of major household systems, such as the furnace, air
conditioning, roof and kitchen appliances.
You can find a bargain! Your first step should be to seek out a knowledgeable
real estate agent with experience in the market areas where you wish to purchase
a home. Your agent can help you locate those properties that truly are
“bargains” and help find the home that most closely matches your desires and
needs. To see how the market is doing in the community of interest and see
available listings use this link
Tips To Get Your House and Yard in
As we hopefully begin to wrap up
another summer of strange weather, most of the country needs to
prepare for what may be an unusual winter with more snowfall.
Below is a simple checklist to ensure that your indoor and
outdoor areas are in top-notch shape for the changing of the
Clean or replace your furnace filter. A dirty
filter can lower the efficiency of your home’s HVAC system. If
the filter is reusable, remove it, wash down with a hose and
then re-insert. Otherwise, you’ll want to replace it with a new
Test your air conditioning system. If you wait until the
first hot day of the season day to check it and have a problem,
you’ll probably be waiting quite a while to have it serviced!
Check caulking around all doors and windows. Improper
caulking allows for moisture to get inside your walls and cause
mold. This is also the perfect time to wash/clean all windows
and replace torn or damaged screens as necessary. When
doing screen maintenance it may be necessary to replace all the
screen on a side of the house to match the screen color and
Check/replace fire extinguishers. Make sure
each unit meets current safety standards and check the gauges to
ensure they are charged and ready for use.
Test smoke and fire alarms, replacing
batteries and cleaning dust from the covers.
Clean ceiling fans. Whether you utilize
overhead fans year-round or only during the warmer months, wipe
down blades with an all-purpose cleaner. In addition to a
providing a calming breeze, ceiling fans increase the overall
airflow throughout your home. If you use weights on the
blades for balancing, be careful not to move them while dusting.
Dust and check wattage of light bulbs. While
cleaning each bulb, check for correct wattage. A fire can result
within a light fixture, wall or ceiling if the wattage used in a
fixture is too high. Remember that dimmers are only for
In the summer the air conditioner dehumidifies the air, but
in the winter we need to make sure that the humidifier is
cleaned, water turned on, drain hooked up and ready to go.
In the spring clean and store humidifiers. Unless you reside in a very dry
climate, you probably won’t need them until Fall or Winter.
Storage area will also be needed for any space heaters that are
in winter use.
Deep cleaning carpets is a seasonal-cleaning must. Consider
purchasing a steam cleaner for your home – not only will it come
in handy during twice-yearly major cleaning sessions, but it
will also prove to be a lifesaver if you have pets or children
in the home.
Clean out your refrigerator and freezer. If you have a
coil-back refrigerator, vacuum the coils at least twice each
year for maximum efficiency. Wipe down interior and exterior
surfaces, and place new boxes of baking soda in each to maintain
overall freshness. You may want to use white vinegar to
clean the inside surfaces.
Spring is the optimal time to perform both indoor and outdoor
pest control. Even if you aren’t currently experiencing a pest
problem, it’s best to undergo preventative treatment rather than
wait until warmer temperatures potentially create an issue.
It is less expensive to treat for termites than it is to repair
Check for possible damage to the roof. Look
for missing, cracked or broken shingles and make note of any
needed repairs. For safety reasons, you may want to consider
hiring a qualified professional to take care of any repair work
that needs to be done. The Home Depot offers professional,
efficient roof installation services at a competitive price. Clean gutters and downspouts
and make sure they are directing water away from the house.
Cut back tree limbs and shrubs growing within five feet of
the house or that are brushing up against the roof. You will
create better ventilation, help dry out surfaces and prevent
Check for and repair cracks in driveway/sidewalk. Spring is
the best time to seal cracks in the driveway or any other
concrete. Bouncing a basketball on the concrete can by
sound tell you where there is a hollow area under the concrete
that has washed out or maybe full of water.
Pressure wash your deck/patio and bring outdoor furniture
out of storage. Make sure to wipe down each piece thoroughly
prior to placing on a freshly-washed surface. Be careful
of the damage that too much water pressure can cause.
Check garden hoses for dry rot and inspect hose faucets for
possible freeze damage that may have occurred during the winter
months. Do not leave the hose connected if it is still
probable to freeze.
Clean/condition your outdoor grill by first rinsing all
outside surfaces with water. If grease has loosened on the
grill grates and inside of the grill, wipe off using grill
cleaner and paper towels. Follow by washing with a mild
detergent and water. Rinse well and wipe dry.
By taking the time to prepare your home seasonally, you’ll be
able to focus more on enjoying activities, longer days and mild
weather and less on household fixes and repairs. When it
is dark by the time we finish supper it is more difficult to
keep up with maintenance tsks.
Summer is for the kids to be outside. Toys in the
driveway, bikers on the street, kids, balls and pets running out
into the street. When the season changes there are school
bus stops. Remember the difference between a residential
street and a commercial thoroughfare. Take pride in the