Jul 31, 2017
The fashionable mid-county corridor continues to exert a strong pull for wealthier residents, according to a recent national survey by American City Business Journals.
Covering nearly 15,000 communities across the country, the ranking found the top 10 municipalities in Missouri were all in St. Louis County with nine of the ten placing among the top 500 in the nation in relative affluence. Many of them hug I-64 or areas a stone’s throw to the south.
Ladue led the pack – finishing eighth in the nation and tops in the state – while Town and Country picked up second place with a ranking of 65th. Fashionable shopping haven Frontenac and West County’s Clarkson Valley both made the top 150 followed by Warson Woods, the smallest of the communities at less than 1,800 residents. The cities of Des Peres, Clayton, Glendale and Creve Coeur all hit in the elite top 500. Wildwood completed the state’s 10 best at 589th place.
The highest-ranking Missouri city outside the St. Louis area was Lake Winnebago in Cass County outside Kansas City at 645th.
Chesterfield, Weldon Spring, Oakland, Sunset Hills and Webster Groves all made the top 1,000.
The top-finishing Illinois community in the St. Louis area was Shiloh at 2,045th.
Quoted in the St. Louis Business Journal, Stafford Manion said that people enjoy the prestige of living in exclusive communities like Ladue but younger, fashionable cities just below the top 10 are also doing well.
“Kirkwood, Webster, Maplewood, U. City – places with less expensive homes and an urban vibe – are hot as a pistol - $300,000, $400,000 and $500,000 houses,” he noted. “Some are starter homes for young people making $300,000. You can’t keep them on the shelf.”
Meanwhile, Clayton’s extensive city amenities and good schools are proving attractive magnets for upscale buyers as well.
“Sure, some families send their kids to private schools but many go to public schools,” he told the Journal. “People are placing more emphasis on education.”
Still, with property values already relatively high in the area, there hasn’t been a great deal of change with the recovery.
“It doesn’t seem like we benefited much from improvements in the economy,” Manion said. “I would have expected to see more of a jump in home values. Clayton went down and others went up marginally.”
Based off Census data, the American City Business Journals measure of “relative affluence” employs a formula based on a dozen different components and is not limited to income levels.
Jul 31, 2017
The purchase of property is a happy event for most people. Few things can compare to walking into your very own home for the first time. Unfortunately, the emerging world of cybercrime can turn that moment of joy into a nightmare of financial loss for buyers who have been swindled by hackers.
Yes, even the real estate industry has felt the sting of online thievery and all parties in a transaction need to understand that the risk is real. Moreover, these scammers aren’t just amateurs sending out blizzards of untargeted spam hoping to hook someone with a get-rich-quick scheme. Even careful, intelligent buyers can be taken in by last minute changes to deposit instructions sent from lookalike email accounts or links to web pages decorated with the same logos and text as your bank, realtor or other party. Anthony Lamacchia, a Massachusetts realtor, wrote in last month’s Boston Globe that he warns agents to guard against this type of increasingly sophisticated online fraudster but there are also things you can do to protect yourself. Tips from Lamacchia and other professionals include:
• Confirm any changes given in an email. If the instructions for making your down payment have suddenly changed, don’t just trust a note in your inbox before dumping thousands of dollars down the electronic rabbit hole. Call the sender and ask if the message is genuine.
• Don’t believe URLs. Thieves may adopt an email address that mimics your agent, loan officer or banker or may actually hack into their account. Just because the tag after the @ sign looks legit doesn’t mean it is.
• Stay safe. Avoid unsecured hotspots and stick with Wi-Fi networks that are password protected.
• Use multiple passwords. It may be easy for you to remember your dog’s name from third grade but it is also easy for a hacker to access your email, financial information and other parts of your personal life if you use the same master password to secure everything. In fact, it is best to avoid words altogether. Use random strings of numbers and letters instead and change them regularly.
Jul 24, 2017
Exceptional Ladue Estate, at the end of a narrow lane, 1.4 gentle acres of manicured grounds and walking trails. The property has been enhanced with $400,000 in upgrades and improvements including new architectural shingle roof, luxe Lower Level with new kitchen, inlays and distressed cabinetry. New paint and carpet, throughout. Terraces and patios offset a remodeled Pool House and Pool areas, ideal for parties/fundraisers. A shimmering stamped concrete parking court leads to the main entry, where a floating curved staircase and 2-story foyer greet guests. The Main-level Master Suite has separate baths & dressing areas, with a private staircase to the Lower Level gym. The office/den overlooks a 2 story Great Room addition. French doors open to a park-like setting, expansive views of both the home and grounds. Large and functional eat-in kitchen. Pool house is a large multi-purpose structure, ideal for use as office, studio, Guest House or multi-car garage.
Spacious colonial 2-story home in River Bend subdivision, this family friendly neighborhood home boasts 4 large BRs plus an extra bonus BR/office & 2.5 baths. Beautiful Terra Cotta flooring in the entryway & wood flooring thruout rest of home. The FR has a woodburning FP & great view of large privately fenced in backyard that backs to commonground & trees. The backyard also includes a custom built pergola on the outside patio, a kids jungle gym and a zipline! The updated kitchen has custom made cabinets, granite countertops, a breakfast bar, & 2 pantries! Off the kitchen, find a separate mud room & laundry room that lead out to the oversized 2-car garage with a large workshop space. Other updates that have been done to the home include: a new roof & painted exterior in 2015, new hardwood floors in the LR & powder room in 2016, and freshly painted interior, full renovation of upstairs hall BTH, new insulated garage doors, & new main floor AC & furnace unit in 2017.
Jul 21, 2017
Buying a house is a costly process and it can be easy to want to find ways to cut back on outlays.
However, experts advise that one of those ways shouldn’t be dumping your home inspection. Home inspections may sometimes seem like a pricey formality, yet another check to sign in a seemingly endless series of expenses.
But the truth is that home inspectors actually charge very little in comparison to the sorts of problems they might be able to turn up. According to a May article on Curbed.com, the average inspection costs between $350 and $385 but that could seem negligible if serious issues are uncovered. Roofing repairs, foundation problems, HVAC, plumbing, electrical or siding issues can all easily run to five figures and it is best to know about them before signing on the dotted line.
A few other tips on home inspections from Curbed:
• Don’t skip the extras. Yes, it may cost a bit more to test for radon or get a termite inspection but the safety of your family and the security of protecting your wallet from big expenses can make the price tag well worth it.
• Get the right company for the job. Don’t assume that the first person you find in the phone book is the best. Different states have different licensing requirements and some may not have any at all. Make sure your choice has accreditation from a larger group such as the American Society of Home Inspectors or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.
• Accreditation isn’t the only thing to look for. Be sure to inquire about an inspector’s education, training and experience. According to Curbed, a full-time inspector should probably be examining at least 250 homes a year. Insurance is another issue. If a problem is missed, does your inspector have proper coverage?
• Don’t bank on age. You might think that a new home doesn’t need a good once-over but the reality is that problems could be baked into the construction. A recently-completed residence could have just as many pitfalls as an elderly one. Don’t assume that new means problem-free.
Jul 21, 2017
Let’s face facts. No one wants to pay a real estate agent. Besides, the pull of a “For Sale by Owner” sign in the front yard might seem attractive to many a do-it-yourself seller.
But before you go it alone, remember that agents bring some compelling assets to the table. Yes, an agent has to be paid but if you avoid getting a worse deal, the money you spend upfront could end up saving you a good deal more. That’s because some people undervalue their homes – an especially prevalent problem in the current sellers’ market. A lack of housing stock may mean your humble abode is worth well above what you are asking. Listing a home gives you wider access to the market and more potential buyers to drive up the final price.
Experience is another big factor to consider. If you haven’t sold a home before do you really want to enter into one of the biggest transactions of your life without professional guidance from someone who does this for a living? The reality is that a good agent acts as a conduit between buyer and seller and having someone on your side who has seen it all before is a big plus, especially if complications arise in the sale. Are you experienced enough to understand potential problems with financing, home inspections or contract clauses. If not, you might consider getting someone who knows the ropes to give you a hand.
Successful transactions without an agent are not impossible and sales between private parties can go smoothly. But it is still best to exercise caution. Getting a pro to facilitate the deal can save on big headaches or lost opportunities down the road.
Jul 21, 2017
William Shakespeare once said that all the world’s a stage. No doubt the Bard would have felt even more strongly if he’d been a real estate agent.
Realtors agree that staging, the act of strategically setting up your home for display to buyers, can be a powerful tool to both boost the selling price and shrink the amount of time spent on the market. A recent National Association of Realtors study found that more than three-quarters of buyer’s agents believed staging could help their clients see themselves living in a given home and two of every five are more likely to do a walk-through when they see a staged home online. Seller’s agents are just as enthused with nearly two-thirds saying that properties sell more quickly when they’ve been staged. The process is viewed as so important that 21 percent of seller’s agents were willing to provide funds for the purpose.
Effective staging can be an art form in and of itself. It could involve something as complex as a complete redo of a room and new furnishings or something as simple as a coat of paint or just some freshening up. Ninety-three percent of agents recommend decluttering the home before a showing and almost as many say that cleaning, including carpets, is a good practice.
Regardless of what you do to stage a home, a tried-and-true rule of thumb is to stage in the most broadly appealing manner possible. Some buyers may like an avant-garde motif or a room that looks like someone’s cutting edge retro art project but the best strategy is to keep the decor friendly and neutral since you won’t know a given buyer’s particular tastes.
Don’t have the time or resources to stage everything? Experts agree that you should prioritize the living room and master bedroom first with outdoor landscaping and the guest bedroom being lowest on the list.
Also consider removing pets before anyone visits the residence. You may adore Fido or Kitty but not all your potential buyers feel as warmly about four-footed members of the family.
Jul 13, 2017
Gladys Manion Real Estate once again made the St. Louis Business Journal's Book of Lists for Largest Residential Real Estate Agencies. Ranked as # 24, Gladys Manion has one of the highest average sale price among other St. Louis real estate agencies.
Jul 11, 2017
As the waning days of spring run out, assessment time is again upon us. Taking place every two years, this ritual by county authorities is mandatory and many should have seen new reassessment notices sent to them by now.
But what should you do with that notice? How do assessments work and what do they mean for your pocketbook?
Basically, an assessment is a property tax figure based on the government’s current estimate of your home’s value. According to PAR Residential, a Missouri-based property tax consulting firm, assessments are often drawn from market averages, modeling and statistics so they may not reflect your home’s true value. If the assessor overestimates that value, your wallet could be in for an unpleasant surprise next time your mortgage company refigures your escrow payment.
So what can you do?
The important thing is to pay attention and remember that the assessor’s judgment is not set in stone. Read your assessment notice and then go online to do a bit of research to see what comparable houses in your area are selling for. If the assessor has your property’s market value running significantly above that figure, then you may need to make contact and schedule an appeal. Bring your own research to your appeal. You may even consider getting a professional appraisal though keep in mind that comes at a cost.
Some homeowners get help from firms like PAR Residential who can work to get your assessment lowered. Learn more at www.parresidential.com.
Jul 5, 2017
A pampered lifestyle of maximum luxury awaits, with panorama views from 2 balconies on the 9th Floor of The Plaza, Clayton's High Rise Condominium Residences, built to World Class Standards of Construction and Amenities. 2BD/3BA/2,421SF. #904, an end unit, directly overlooks the pool, gardens & walks. A foyer entry announces the expansive Living and Dining rooms. Master Suite w/room-size closet and luxurious bath. Directly off the master is a private office/den. The 2nd BR is en-suite, at opposite end of the unit, for optimum privacy. Separate laundry. The Plaza provides every appointment of comfort and convenience: Resident Valet parking, 24-hr Concierge Staff, on-site management, and modern Fitness Center. Resort extravagance engulfs the pool setting; park-like grounds, dog-walk, walking paths and grilling areas.
First Time on the Market. Custom designed home located on the prestigious Sunset Hills Golf Course. Home features a dramatic 2 story foyer with see-thru fireplace. Master suite with private deck overlooking the grounds; family room and library. The kitchen is truly a chefs delight with top-of-line appliances, butlers pantry, breakfast bar and center island, opens to the hearth room and access to the huge veranda. First floor has 2 add'l ensuite bedrooms. The finished lower level features a full-service bar, bedroom, full bath, an exercise room that rivals any gym and a private sound-proof music room. The outdoor space has a beautiful salwater pool, hot tub. The veranda has an outdoor TV, gas fireplace and plenty of room to entertain. A portico connects the home to the 4-car garage. The is truly a special home and is sure to please. Includes a parcel of land at 10 Timber Creek where the septic field is located.
Outstanding custom Prairie Style designed & built "Green Home". Architectural features include stone & Hardie Plank sided exterior w/architectural shingle roof. An open feel created by the see-through staircase, 9 ft ceilings, walls of windows & drs filling this home w natural light. The hearth rm has a stone gas fireplace and built-ins, the formal dining rm has custom chandelier & butler's pantry. All open to the gourmet kitchen. Ebony stained cabinets, high end SS appliances, big center island w vegetable /sink. The main fl. master suite has high ceilings, spacious walk-in closet w organizers & a luxurious bath w over sized shower, soaking jetted tub, custom cabinets, vessel sinks, heated flrs & towel bar & linen closet. There's an office, powder rm, mud rm/laundry w/built-ins that complete the 1st flr. Plus 3 spacious bedrms w hall bath & a J&J bath. Kohler fixtures, hardwood flrs, custom lighting, geothermal, deck, 3 car garage on almost a 1/2 acre in Ladue Schools.
A meticulously maintained and tastefully decorated villa in the unbeatable outer perimeter of The Mansions at Spyglass Summit - enjoy views of lush landscape and seasonal hilltop views of the Missouri River. This Villa is a "home" filled with modern conveniences to suit today's lifestyle. 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths on main with additional bed/full bath in lower level. Just as expected with a home, this villa is designed with DR, LR, eat-in kitchen, FR and office all embellished with rich molding throughout. Lovely outdoor spaces include a deck and screened-in porch providing the privacy that is only offered to the outer perimeter villas. Don't miss the opportunity to sample this simple lifestyle opportunity without having to sacrifice the everyday comforts of a yard, green scape and all of the amenities that make a house a true home!
Jul 1, 2017
Fresh from closing an eight-figure deal on the property, the new owners of one of the Gateway City’s most storied hotels appear to be opening the checkbook again for a major renovation of the nearly nine-decade-old facility.
According to reporting in the St. Louis Business Journal, the old Chase Park Plaza could see $10 to $15 million in work to revamp the 1.2 million-square foot complex which was recently rebranded under the Sonesta International Hotels Corporation. Sonesta, which runs almost 40 American hotels including one near Westport Plaza, is set to manage the Chase in the wake of its acquisition by Boston’s Hospitality Properties Trust which indicated that it closed on the $87.75 million arrangement at the beginning of June.
Dallas-based Behringer Harvard agreed to sell the 338-room hotel, which also contains a variety of shops, restaurants and other amenities, earlier this spring. Documentation from the city indicates that the Chase property appraises out at more than $23 million.
Calling the facility “iconic” chief operating officer John Murray told the Business Journal that the new ownership believes the Chase can be the nicest hotel in the area once the facelift, tentatively slated to get underway next year, is completed.
A longtime cultural hotspot in town, the Chase became famous for its wrestling TV program and its chic reputation as a center of elegant entertainment for big name visitors. The Chase is now listed as a “Historic Hotel of America” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.