Dawn Griffin

Saint Louis City-Focused Broker/Salesperson
GRI, e-Pro, Licensed REALTOR®

dawn@dawngriffin.com / 314.413.7086

Dawn Griffin

Zestimates In The St. Louis Market


Don’t Let Zillow Fool You

Today’s home buyers and sellers have more online resources available to them than ever before. Nine in 10 home buyers today rely on the internet as one of their primary research sources, and 52 percent turn to the web as their first step.(1)

But the availability of all this information doesn’t make things easier. In fact, it can be very confusing. Especially when it comes to Zillow’s Zestimate®. According to Zillow’s website,

“Zestimates are computed three times per week based on public records and user-submitted data points. It is a starting point in determining a home’s value and is not an official appraisal.”

Zillow claims their Zestimates have a median error rate of 8%, but in St. Louis – Zillow no longer even reports the degree of accuracy for Zestimates.


Zestimates can really be off on rehabbed homes. For example, we recently listed a gorgeous rehabbed property with a low Zestimate of $103,876 that did not take into account the hundreds of thousands of investment dollars that went into turning into a showcase home. It sold for three times the Zestimate amount.


In another example, a nearly 3,000 square foot home had a Zestimate of only $192,700. The beautifully rehabbed property sold for 63% over the Zillow’s Zestimate. hartford

When we look at a few more examples for the 63116 zip code in August-September of this year, the selling prices ranged from 11-90% over the Zestimate!


Essentially Zillow provides really inconsistent home value estimates to buyers and sellers and can cause unrealistic expectations for both. An algorithm just cannot incorporate the years of knowledge accumulated by a real estate professional who has years of experience with specific neighborhoods and market conditions, much less things like landscape/yard issues or recent renovations.

If you are considering selling or buying a home, please don’t hesitate to contact me for a consultation. I can provide you with up-to-date information about the neighorhood(s) you are interested in so we’re making educated and sound decisions based on the latest market data.

(1) According to a 2012 Joint Study from The National Association of Realtors® and Google

New Listing OPEN HOUSE: 6114 Arendes

We have an open house this Sunday (10/25/15) at our newest listing. 6114 Arendes is on a wonderful tree-lined street in the desirable Holly Hills area of St. Louis.  This beautiful renovated home features 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2 bonus rooms, and so much more. Here is a quick overview:

Close to many great amenities:

  • 3 minute walk to the 180 acre Cardondelet Park
  • 5 minute walk to Iron Barley and Quincy Street Bistro
  • 10 minute walk or 3 minute drive to YMCA Rec Complex
  • 12 minute walk or 5 minute drive to Loughborough Commons (Starbucks, Schnucks, Qdoba, Paneera, Lowe’s, and more)
  • Quick and easy access to Highway 55 – quick commute downtown

With a fireplace, abundance of natural light, and soothing colors, the living room and dining room are warm and inviting spaces, large enough to host parties. Imagine hosting your next Thanksgiving here!

living room

dining room

A family room/breakfast area spans the back of the house. It is flooded with natural light and opens to a partially covered deck, perfect for entertaining.

family room
All the large bedrooms are on the upper level. This home’s fourth bedroom is being used as a playroom, but could easily be an office.


There is another finished bonus/rec space in the basement and a separate office space, along with laundry, storage, and another bathroom. A two car garage and beautiful landscaping make this home a “total package”.

6114 Arendes

Interested? Stop by our open house this Sunday, October 25, 1-3pm for more information. Please visit 6114arendes.com for plenty of extra photos to really get a feel for all this home has to offer. And of course reach out to me with any questions to learn more.

Other helpful neighborhood sources: Holly Hills and Carondelet Living

5653 Southwest: Vintage Home Brings Back Memories for 75 Year Old

Carol Colombo Deters turned 75 on October 3rd. As a birthday surprise, her children took her for a trip down memory lane. As luck would have it, the home that her father built and where Carol spent her formative years is currently for sale so the children arranged for her to see it.

The home is in fantastic condition and nearly untouched. It still includes the original kitchen with the 1948 Maytag Oven and Farm House drainboard sink. Carol knew the home was for sale and had viewed photos online, but she had no idea that her children were taking her to the home for an actual walk through. The photos below picture Carol as she gave us the tour and took us back in time with her.

FullSizeRender (3)

FullSizeRender (8)

FullSizeRender (4)

FullSizeRender (7)
5653 Southwest has a partially finished lower level complete with a full bath (check out the exquisite pink and black tile) and summer kitchen. Carol’s family did most of their living downstairs but slept on the main level in the three large bedrooms. “That was just the way they did things back then.”

The photo below shows the Colombo family gathered on the unique circular shaped front porch when they lived in the home. Since the Colombo family moved out there have only been two additional owners. Now this vintage home is ready for it’s fifth owner.
FullSizeRender (5)


If you would like to become a part of this unique home’s history, please contact me for more information or check out our previous blog post about the neighborhood and special down payment assistance available.

Thanks for sharing your birthday surprise with us Carol!

Fall Festivities in St. Louis


Pumpkin Patches

Looking for the best place to pick pumpkins near you? The Out & About site has a comprehensive list of area area locations offering pumpkins and other fall experiences like hayrides, apple picking, and corn mazes. Not too many weekends left…(Detailed Listings)

Sauce Magazine’s Harvest Fest at Laumeier Sculpture Park

More than 3,000 patrons attend Sauce Magazine’s annual event featuring fall foods and beverages from St. Louis’ top restaurants, a farmers market, locally made arts and crafts, live music and more on the Laumeier grounds on Sunday, October 18, 2015. (More details)

Halloween Nights at Grant’s Farm

Get into the spirit with some spooky family fun at Grant’s Farm. Enjoy themed shows, a DJ in the Bauernhof courtyard, and themed Deer Park rides with Halloween lights! Thursdays-Sundays from 6-9pm throughout the month. (Detailed schedule and more info)

Gateway Arch 50th Anniversary Celebration

An all-day community celebration will take place at Kiener Plaza on Saturday, October 24, 2015 commemorating the 50th anniversary of the St. Louis Arch. The event will include food and drink vendors, children’s activities, and live music throughout the day and culminates with a fireworks display. The celebration will culminate with a world-class fireworks display showcasing the Arch. (More Info)

Neighborhood History Lectures


If you’ve ever been curious about some of the oldest neighborhood buildings in St. Louis or have wanted to research the history of your own home, the Missouri Humanities Council is sponsoring two great lectures in October at Ritz Park on South Grand.

Landmarks Association Lecture: St. Louis’ Oldest Neighborhood Buildings

October 13, 2015  |  6:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Andrew Weil is the Executive Director of Landmarks Association of St. Louis and a Lecturer in the Sam Fox School of Architecture and Design at Washington University. Mr. Weil is an expert on the neighborhood architecture of St. Louis’ and the city’s development history. Mr. Weil has authored many National Register of Historic Places Historic District Nominations in St. Louis, including that of Tower Grove East where he resides. Mr. Weil’s presentation will focus on some of St. Louis’ oldest neighborhood buildings and what to look for in seeking them out. (More info)

Missouri History Museum Lecture: House History 101

October 17, 2015  |  7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Learn how to research the history of your home with Missouri History Museum associate archivist Dennis Northcott. See what discoveries can be found about your home and its former residents in old maps, directories, census records, historic photos, and more.

A native St. Louisan and graduate of Washington University, Dennis Northcott has been on the Missouri History Museum staff since 1989 and currently is an associate archivist at the Library and Research Center. He has compiled numerous guides to the museum’s manuscript collections, including an inventory of the extensive Civil War holdings. He is the creator of the Missouri History Museum’s Genealogy and Local History Index, and frequently gives presentations and workshops on genealogy and house history research. (More info)

Fall Maintenance Checklist for Home Owners

fall maintenance checklist

Temperatures are starting to cool and fall is the time to being to preparing our homes for the colder winter weather. A couple of hours attending to these main areas of your home can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

  1. Gutters: Clean gutters. You may have to do this more than once before winter if you live in an area with a lot of trees. Blocked gutters can cause water seepage in basements and damage to your foundation and soffits. These are costly repairs while the average price for gutter cleaning services in St. Louis is around $230. The price will vary widely depending on the size of your home and how many stories it is. We recommend professionals for maintenance issues that revolve ladders.*
  2. Caulk, Paint, Repair: Check exterior of your home for areas that may need caulking or repair. Windows or doors that have open joints or rotting wood need be sealed to present moisture damage and air leakage. Paint any areas that need it, properly preparing surfaces for improved longevity. Don’t forget hard to see areas, like the wooden gable vents on the roofs of older homes. Check decks, repairing or securing loose or deteriorating boards and sealing, staining, or painting as necessary.
  3. Yard: Rake and aerate the yard and apply fall fertilization. A basic fall treatment by a professional lawn care service is more reasonable than you might think. Trim shrubs and tree branches that close to the home. Heavy snow or ice could cause them to break and damage home.
  4. Hoses: Disconnect all hoses prior to the first hard freeze. Turn off the interior valves and open the exterior values. Stores hoses inside once drained.
  5. Driveways: If you have an asphalt driveway, now is a good time to seal cracks and apply a full surface sealer. Concrete driveways should also be sealed periodically with a good quality sealer. This helps limit the effects of weather and salts brought in from the street.
  6. Heating Systems: Perform routine maintenance of your heating system, including changing the filter. If you have a humidifier or electronic air filters, a professional should be called to perform a check. Contact a chimney sweep to make sure fireplaces are in good working condition. They often have coupons and specials this time of year.
  7. Foundation: Clear debris away from the foundation and ensure gutter water flow is pointed away from the foundation. The soil beneath your home shrinks and swells throughout weather cycles, so check foundation for any new cracks or expansion of existing cracks and call a professional if you notice any new developments.

*According to 2010 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over one-third of fatal falls involve falls from roofs or ladders. Out of 617 falls, 20% were from the ladder, 18% were from the roof. Be safe!

Get Up To $15,000 for Down Payment Assistance and Live on The Hill

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 3.42.11 PM

Learn how you can qualify for up to $15,000 down payment assistance at the Wells Fargo LIFT Program. The educational event will take place September 25-26th at America’s Center-Hall 1

You can register for the event here.

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 3.45.00 PM


This amazing home on The Hill is featured in the LIFT Showcase of homes. This home has a partially finished lower level with a full bath and kitchenette. It is perfect for in-law quarters or the grown child you just cannot get to leave the nest.


Bigger than it appears, this home is full of vintage charm, including the original 1948 Maytag oven, and coveted farmhouse drainboard sink! If you are a fan of the popular Retro Renovation website, you will love this home, with its unique tile work in the kitchen and the bathrooms. The first floor has 9 foot ceilings, custom archways, bay windows, and a wood burning fireplace. The lower level has a large FAMILY ROOM with vintage knotty pine and private office. A large, insulated attic offers opportunity to expand. Out back is a quaint yard and HUGE garage.



The Hill is consistently recognized as one of the best places to live in St. Louis, and for good reason. Renowned for its Italian-American history, the highly walkable area is packed with nationally recognized restaurants, markets, and shops. Mario Batali considers The Hill to be one of the country’s top “Little Italy” neighborhoods. Not only will you find a 90+ year old bakery, three Italian markets, two bocce gardens, and a gelateria, but shops like Skif Fashions and Herbaria Soaps lend a contemporary vibe that help the neighborhood continue to thrive.


The brick bungalow faces Sublette Park, host of the popular annual Fireworks display. Urzi’s Italian Market is less than 5 minute walk, and right next door you can pick up a famous thin crust pizza at Lou Boccardi’s. If you aren’t familiar with all the restaurant choices on The Hill, consider taking a Taste of The Hill Food Tour. You can see more photos at 5653southwest.com and if you are interested in looking at this home or others like it, please contact me


Additional Reading

Other Sources

11341 Cragwold in Sunset Hills Backs to Powder Valley


Looking for a home as unique as you? 11341 Cragwold is a beautiful home perched atop a bluff which overlooks the Powder Valley Conservation area. You’ll have access to miles of hiking trails and can enjoy an abundance of wild-life (think bird and deer) from Powder Valley or your own property.

This home is  ideal for entertaining with a large kitchen which walks out onto a spacious deck—great for parties or for your morning coffee. From the stunning deck, access the four season room, which provides year-round integration of nature. There is an impressive Mexican Adobe-style fireplace in the living room that means cozy winter nights. This special home was built the same way Frank Lloyd Wright built his house—on piers that go down to bedrock.

17368189558_fe2676d09d_z 17555889901_475eec3c5f_z

With a new price, this is a great time to make an appointment. If you are not already working with a Buyer’s Agent, let me introduce you to one.

7 Reasons You Should Stage Your Home

If you are thinking about selling your home, don’t forget about the importance of staging your home! Staging your home can help you sell your home quicker and easier. Here are seven reasons you should stage your home:
  1. In a 2014 survey of over 3,500 homes professionally staged, over 50% sold for 10% MORE than their un-staged neighbors home.
  2. In a recent Real Estate Staging Association Survey, professionally staged homes spent 72% LESS time on the market.
  3. In a 2015 National Association of Realtor Survey, over 81% of buyers said it was easier to visualize the STAGED property as their next home.
  4. According to NAR, over 95% of buyers are online first looking at photos of the home before they go visit or call an agent.
  5. According to a 2014 Zillow survey of real estate experts, home staging was listed as a top two necessary item for sellers.
  6. Staging helps showcase a home and makes it easier for the buyers to see themselves in the space.
  7. Staging helps reduce clutter- when a buyer sees clutter they may think that the home doesn’t have enough storage space, by reducing clutter you help the buyer see a organized home with ample storage.




Staging and photos by Peek Home Styling.

Other Sources:

Perfectly Located 3159 Allen Ave.

Location is everything for this charming 5 bed, 2 bath cottage-style home at 3159 Allen Avenue. Located in the Compton Heights neighborhood, where the homes are known for their historic features and Victorian living while being conventionally located only 10 minutes away from everything. This home is conveniently located near Downtown, historic Soulard, South Grand, the Fox Theater, Forest Park, the Hill, and so much more!


A quick drive down the street will take you to South Grand, where the possibilities are endless. South Grand has much to offer, aside from being located next to Tower Grove Park, the street offers a wide variety of shops, and an even wider variety of cuisine! Wither you are craving Italian food, Vietnamese food, Thai food, or even some diner food, South Grand has something for you. Check out this great article that highlights a few of the great restaurants you can explore.


Also located just around the corner from this delightful home is Lafayette Square. Lafayette Square is home to the oldest park in St. Louis, as well as many historic, and stately homes. Spend the afternoon strolling through Lafayette Park before heading to 33 Wine Shop & Tasting for some wine, or Square One Brewery for dinner and a brew.


Contact me for more information on this home.