Dawn Griffin

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

dawn@dawngriffin.com / 314.413.7086

Dawn Griffin

Why IKEA Chose St. Louis City and Why Should You Too

While IKEA coming to St. Louis is not necessarily breaking news, the selected location at the corner of Forest Park Parkway and Vandeventer was still a surprise to some.

In regards to the location question, the St. Louis Business Journal (12/4/2013) quoted an IKEA spokesman as saying “highway visibility and accessibility; centrality in the region; and available land” were keys issues in this particular site selection.

IKEA  is part of Phase III of the Cortex Development whose objective it is to “Transform a 200-acre midtown industrial neighborhood into vibrant, 24-7 live-work-play-learn innovation community.”

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(Slide taken from a presentation given to the Urban Affairs Committee of SLAR in March 2014)

The area is anchored by Saint Louis University to the east and the Washington University and BJC Medical Campus to the west. Other area amenities include the Grand Arts Center District, Central West End, Forest Park and Missouri Botanical Gardens.

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(Slide from the Presentation to the Urban Affairs Committee of SLAR in March 2014)

 

The Innovation District Projections include 3,700,00 square feet of mixed use space, 13,000 new jobs and $711 million in annual payroll.

Now, that is starting to sound pretty interesting!

 

Check out some of the nearby housing options below:

A quick radius search of 3miles around the district shows that there are 145 active listings with 3+ bedroom homes priced above $200,000.

Here are two of my favorites:

3159 Allen: An expansive home with a cottage feel in sought-after Compton Heights for just $339,900
3159Allen1-02

3285 Gustine: A sleek town-home style condo in the heart of Tower Grove South includes access to two salt-water pools on the back deck. List price $339,900
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Economic Forecast from NAR’s Chief Economist

The National Association of Realtors Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research, Lawrence Yun, spoke to the St. Louis Association of Realtors this month. Here are some highlights from his presentation.

 

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The St. Louis residential retail market has rebounded. People are no longer asking “Have we hit bottom yet.” The data shows that we hit bottom between 2010 and 2011. The number of sales and housing prices have increased year over year for the last two years. 

 

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Nationally the median home price has increased almost 20% over the last two years. Homeowners who couldn’t consider putting their home on market two years ago because they were under water may now be in the black. Which is great because the Exiting Home Inventory is down near a 13 year low.

 

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Lack of inventory will drive housing prices higher and the inevitable rise in mortgage rates will hurt the affordability of homes. Meaning a person considering buying a home NOW will be able to get more for less now. While a person who waits a year, will not only have to confront higher sale prices, but will also be paying higher interest rates.

 

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Two take aways from Forecast #3:

If you were ever considering buying rental property as an investor, now is the time to do it. Home purchases will become more expensive keeping solid renters from becoming solid home owners. These will be ideal tenants.

If you are considering purchasing a home, now is the time to talk to a lender and Realtor about your options. Prices are rebounding and interest rates are increasing. A $1300 monthly mortgage payment today means you can afford a  home with a list price of $272,300  with a mortgage interest rate of 4% versus a list price of $228,900 with a mortgage interest rate of 5.5%.

 

Remodeling: Cost Versus Value Report

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 10.11.11 AMRemodeling’s Annual Cost v. Value Report is out.  The report which catalogues the 35 most popular renovation projects and shows how those projects maintain their value at resale is divided by region. Missouri is in the “West North Central” region.

Top 3 Interior Renovation Projects

Adding and Attic Bedroom: Percentage of Cost Recouped in Resale 68%
Basement Remodel:
Percentage of Cost Recouped in Resale 63%
Minor Kitchen Renovation: 
Percentage of Cost Recouped in Resale 65%

 

Top 3 Exterior Renovation Projects

Upgrade to Fiber Cement Board Siding: Percentage of Cost Recouped in Resale 72%
Wood Deck Addition: Percentage of Cost Recouped in Resale 68%
Window Replacement both Vinyl and Wood: 
Percentage of Cost Recouped in Resale 62%

 

 

 

Should I List My House While My Tenants Are Still Living There

I have some clients who are getting ready to sell a property that they have been leasing for the past two years. Their tenants’  lease is up this May but they weren’t sure if they should actively market the home while their tenants were still in the home or if they should wait to list until the tenants move out.
In this particular case, I have viewed the home in its current condition and done extensive data research on the neighborhood. So not only do I know what homes are selling for, I know how much inventory is out there and how long it is taking. I am confident in the advice that I am giving them. But, it is important to remember that every situation is different.
Here is an excerpt from our correspondence
It will not hurt you to list the home after the traditional height of Spring for three reasons.
  • There will be less active competition.
  • Your home will be dropping into a pool of ready buyers who missed the opportunity to buy in Spring (Those buyers may also be feeling pressure to find something before Fall.)
  • The Spring season will set more comps and we will have more data to point to justify our list price.
The two most important reasons to wait until the tenants have moved out:
  • Photos drive foot traffic
  • Show Ready Sells Home Faster
While your tenants have done a good job of keeping the home in good shape, there is no way they will be able to clean up enough for me to get the high quality photos that drive walk-thru traffic. Part of that has to do with their *dorm room* furnishings and the other part is that there is really no incentive for them to be as meticulous as you would be in keeping the home SHOW READY at a moment’s notice.
What You Can Do Before the Tenants Move Out
Set a Pre-Listing Consultation with Our In-House Designer.
Sprucing up the exterior (exterior repairs and landscaping)
Start generating interest online with our COMING SOON web pages.
Here are two examples of Circa listings. One is a CIRCA SHOW READY home occupied by the owners who are trying to sell. The other was a tenant occupied property also a CIRCA listing. Tenants can be coached, but they are just not as invested in selling or showing as an owner would be.
Home Owner:
http://www.marismatrix.com/DE.asp?k=608752XMZTC&p=DE-13738133-213
Tenant Occupied:
http://www.marismatrix.com/DE.asp?k=608752XMZTC&p=DE-13738150-646

 

2013 4th Quarter Market Watch Stats

Here are the highlights from the 4th Quarter Maris report for 2013!

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Simply put: Prices are up. Inventory is down. In fact, the available housing stock is down nearly 20% from just one year ago. Looking at the bar graph, you can see that the gap between Homes for Sale and Closed Sales has dramatically decreased since 2011. For the 4th quarter of 2011 only about 1/4 of the homes listed actually resulted in a closed sale. For 2013, nearly half of the listed homes resulted in a sale.

 

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Most salient observation: There is only a 4 month supply of homes for sale in St. Louis County. Most economists say a 6 month supply is a healthy market. A 4 month supply is leaning heavily toward a seller’s market. Nearly 2/3rds of the homes being listed are selling. On average, those homes are selling with 71 days.

University City Homes Within Flynn Park Elementary Boundaries

Screen Shot 2013-12-27 at 1.58.43 PMAre you searching for your next home by elementary school options? Here is a quick run down of the homes currently available within the Flynn Park Elementary School boundary in University City. Currently there are 20 homes available priced between $209,900-$750,000. Here is the list as of January 6, 2013.

Of the ten homes priced between 200-300K here is my favorite:
7369 Pershing Ave #2E, University City 63130 listed at $245,000. 3 beds, 2 full baths, 1711 square feet. Condo fee: $250
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6956 Pershing: 4 beds, 1 full and 2 half baths and a 2-car garage. Listed at $349,999 is the only home priced between $300-400,000
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7463 Kingsbury: 4 bedrooms, 1.5 baths and 2-car garage is listed at $439,900 with cozy wood burning fireplace
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7316 Kingsbury Blvd: 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bath and 2 car garage. Includes Master bedroom+partially finished LL. List price $585,000
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6906 Washington listed at $750,000 in sought after Aimes Place has 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths with a 2-car garage. (view from the back)
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St. Louis Crowned “Happiest City” Based on Study of Instagram Pics

Jetpac,  iPhone app for travel, has ranked St. Louis #1 on their list of Happiest Cities after analyzing millions of photos on Instagram. (See article) For those of you who do not live in STL, you may be wondering why we are so HAPPY.

First and foremost, we have unbelievably affordable  housing. Quick example, for $325,000 you could have this 1200 square foot condo in Boston. OR this stunning 2.5 story 2470 square foot single family with chef’s kitchen for $329,900.

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We also have great job opportunities. Check out this opening from Express Scripts. Or this opening with TOKY Branding and Design a nationally recognized creative company.

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We have an exceptional music scene. Classical, Jazz, Blues, Indy, you name it we got it. Check out the upcoming events at Plush. Or the concert calendar from The Sheldon.

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We have over 3250 acres of park space in the city. Our parks range from neighborhood pocket parks to Forest Park which covers  1371 acres.

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We have amazing independent restaurants with classically trained chefs. Bridge, Pomme, Niche, Franco and Sidney Street Cafe to name a few. Check out Sauce Magazine or Feast for the full scope of the STL food scene.

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We even host TED Talks!

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Chicago, Kansas City, Memphis and Nashville are all great weekend road trip destinations!  Just want to leave the city behind for a bit? No problem, it’s easy to get out into nature. Check out 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: St. Louis.

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Ready to move? I can help you relocate :-)

St. Louis City Magnet Pre-School Program

Navigating St. Louis City schools can be a little daunting. There are neighborhood schools, Magnet Schools, Charters Schools and Private Schools. If you have a young child just getting ready to enter the school system, it is hard to know where to begin.

Let the research begin! I amassed the information below from the St. Louis Public School site and the site for STL Magnet Schools. There’s nothing radical below, just a compilation of some basic information on Pre-School and Elementary Magnet School options for STL. Hope this helps you get started!

St. Louis City has 43 Early Childhood education sites. Of those 11 are considered Magnet Schools.  Ten of the Magnet Elementary schools offer a PreSchool program but only 4 of those accept 3 year-olds. The eleventh school on the list has only 3rd-5th grade and it was designed for those student matriculating out of Stix and Wilkinson.

Ames VPA (2900 Hadley) 241-7165
Dewey IS (6746 Clayton) 645-4845
Gateway (#4 Gateway Drive) 241-8255
Kennard CJA (5131 Potomac) 353-8875
Mallinckrodt (6020 Pernod) 352-9212
Mullanphy (4221 Shaw) 772-0994
Shaw VPA (5329 Columbia) 776-5091
Stix ECC (647 Tower Grove Ave) 533-0874
Washington Montessori (1130 N Euclid) 361-0432
Wilkinson EC (1921 Prather) 645-1202
Humbolt (2516 N. 9th) 932-5720


Ames VPA (2900 Hadley) 314-241-7165
Is this a magnet school?     YES
Is the school fully accredited?   Unaccredited (as of 12/2013)
What grade levels are offered at your school?  Pre K-5th
Does Pre-k include 3 year olds? No
What is the student to teacher ratio?PS-2nd Grade/20:1, 3rd-4th/22:1, 5th/25:1
Does the child have to live in a particular area to attend the school? NO
Does the child have to test into the school? NO
Tours Available? Call the school and ask for a tour
What is the school’s emphasis? Visual and Performing Arts


Dewey IS (6746 Clayton) 314-645-4845
Is this a magnet school? YES
Is the school fully accredited? Provisionally (as of 12/2013)
What grade levels are offered at your school? PreK-5th
Does Pre-k include 3 year olds? NO
What is the student to teacher ratio? PS-2nd Grade/20:1, 3rd-4th/22:1, 5th/25:1
Does the child have to live in a particular area to attend the school?  NO
Does the child have to test into the school? NO
Tours Available? Call the school and ask for a tour
What is the school’s emphasis? World languages, cultures and histories

Gateway (#4 Gateway Drive) 314-241-8255
Is this a magnet school? YES
Is the school fully accredited? Accredited
What grade levels are offered at your school? PreK-5th
Does Pre-k include 3 year olds? NO
What is the student to teacher ratio? PS-2nd Grade/20:1, 3rd-4th/22:1, 5th/25:1
Does the child have to live in a particular area to attend the school? NO
Does the child have to test into the school? NO
Tours Available? Call the school and ask for a tour
What is the school’s emphasis? Math, Science and Technology

Kennard CJA (5131 Potomac) 314-353-8875
Is this a magnet school? YES
Is the school fully accredited? Accredited with Distinction (as of 12/2013)
What grade levels are offered at your school? PreK-5th
Does Pre-k include 3 year olds? NO
What is the student to teacher ratio? PS/20:1, Kindergarten-5th/25:1
Does the child have to live in a particular area to attend the school?  NO
Does the child have to test into the school? YES
Tours Available? Call the school and ask for a tour
What is the school’s emphasis? Gifted and Accelerated

Mallinckrodt (6020 Pernod) 314-352-9212
Is this a magnet school? YES
Is the school fully accredited? Accredited with Distinction
What grade levels are offered at your school? PreK-3rd/Gifted: 3rd-5th/General Academics
Does Pre-k include 3 year olds? NO
What is the student to teacher ratio? PS/20:1, Kindergarten-5th/25:1
Does the child have to live in a particular area to attend the school? NO
Does the child have to test into the school? YES
Tours Available? Call the school and ask for a tour
What is the school’s emphasis? Transitioning to Gifted+Accelerated for all grades

Mullanphy (4221 Shaw) 314-772-0994
Is this a magnet school? YES
Is the school fully accredited? Unaccredited (as of 12/2013)
What grade levels are offered at your school? PreK-5th
Does Pre-k include 3 year olds? YES
What is the student to teacher ratio? PS-2nd Grade/20:1, 3rd-4th/22:1, 5th/25:1
Does the child have to live in a particular area to attend the school? NO
Does the child have to test into the school? NO
Tours Available? Call the school and ask for a tour
What is the school’s emphasis? Taught through investigative learning activities

Shaw VPA (5329 Columbia) 314-776-5091
Is this a magnet school? YES
Is the school fully accredited? Provisionally (as of 12/2013)
What grade levels are offered at your school? PreK-5th
Does Pre-k include 3 year olds? NO
What is the student to teacher ratio? PS-2nd Grade/20:1, 3rd-4th/22:1, 5th/25:1
Does the child have to live in a particular area to attend the school? NO
Does the child have to test into the school? NO
Tours Available? Call the school and ask for a tour
What is the school’s emphasis? Visual and Performing Arts

Stix ECC (647 Tower Grove Ave) 314-533-0874
Is this a magnet school? YES
Is the school fully accredited? Accredited
What grade levels are offered at your school? PreK-5th Grade
Does Pre-k include 3 year olds? YES
What is the student to teacher ratio? PS-2nd Grade/20:1, 3rd-4th/22:1, 5th/25:1
Does the child have to live in a particular area to attend the school? NO
Does the child have to test into the school? NO
Tours Available? Call the school and ask for a tour
What is the school’s emphasis?  Instructional methodology of Project Construct

Washington Montessori (1130 N Euclid) 314-361-0432
Is this a magnet school? YES
Is the school fully accredited? Unaccredited
What grade levels are offered at your school? PreK-5th
Does Pre-k include 3 year olds? YES
What is the student to teacher ratio? PS-2nd Grade/20:1, 3rd-4th/22:1, 5th/25:1
Does the child have to live in a particular area to attend the school? NO
Does the child have to test into the school? NO
Tours Available? Call the school and ask for a tour
What is the school’s emphasis? Montessori Method

Wilkinson EC (1921 Prather) 314-645-1202 PS-2nd Grade
Is this a magnet school? YES
Is the school fully accredited? Accredited with Distinction
What grade levels are offered at your school? PreK-2nd
Does Pre-k include 3 year olds? YES
What is the student to teacher ratio? PS-2nd Grade/20:1, 3rd-4th/22:1, 5th/25:1
Does the child have to live in a particular area to attend the school? NO
Does the child have to test into the school? NO
Tours Available? Call the school and ask for a tour
What is the school’s emphasis? Project Construct offers students “hands-on, minds-on” experiences

Humbolt Academy of Higher Learning (2516 N. 9th) 932-5720 3rd-5th
Is this a magnet school? YES
Is the school fully accredited? Unaccredited
What grade levels are offered at your school? 3rd-5th
Does Pre-k include 3 year olds? N/A
What is the student to teacher ratio? 3rd-4th/22:1, 5th/25:1
Does the child have to live in a particular area to attend the school? NO
Does the child have to test into the school? NO
Tours Available? Call the school and ask for a tour
What is the school’s emphasis? Constructivist curriculum

Special Thanks to Stacy Clay and Louis Kruger of SLPS who helped me consolidate some of this information!

Do Increased Property Values in Shaw Correlate to More Educational Opportunities?

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OK, by more educational opportunities, I really mean City Garden Montessori School. Beginning as a small pre-school, City Garden has actually been around since 1995. But it didn’t begin anew as a charter school until 2008.

Since then the Shaw Neighborhood has become really hot. Some of my clients were just involved in a competing offer situation on a home in the neighborhood. And I noticed that a 350K home on Botanical went under contract within 4 days of being listed. That got me wondering whether or not the new school had anything to do with the property values in the area. So, I decided to look at some of the sale data from 2009 to present. It’s all typed out below and I am including the screenshots of the MLS data at the bottom of the post for anyone who is interested.

Note: To be included in this MLS search the house had to have sold for more than 100K and be within the Shaw Neighborhood boundaries.

2009 Averages in Shaw
Sq Ft: 2435
$/SqFt: $94.51
DOM: 108
Sold Price: $221,157
List Price to Sale Price Ratio: 90.15%

2010 Averages in Shaw
Sq Ft: 2439
$/SqFt: $97.05
DOM: 98
Sold Price: $236,273
List Price to Sale Price Ratio: 92.73%

2011 Averages in Shaw
Sq Ft: 2010
$/SqFt: $97.51
DOM: 64
Sold Price: $197,300
List Price to Sale Price Ratio: 90.40%

2012 Averages for Shaw
Sq Ft: 2454
$/SqFt: $105.31
DOM: 93
Sold Price: $245,377
List Price to Sale Price Ratio: 90.74%

2013 Averages for Shaw
Sq Ft: 2670
$/SqFt: $102.74
DOM: 67
Sold Price: $282,613
List Price to Sale Price Ratio: 92.60%

Looking at these numbers it’s really hard to draw any conclusions but it is interesting stuff. Compare the average sold price in 2009 ($221,157) to the average sold price in 2013 ($282,613). That’s pretty significant. But that could be due to many different reasons. A lot of the homes selling now in Shaw are new rehabs (especially those that are selling at the higher end) while in 2009 there were probably more resales. The market will deliver a higher dollar sale price for a home in mint condition rather than one that feels lived-in with deferred maintenance issues.

There has been a lot of rehabbing in the neighborhood over the last 5 years. Maybe the school gave the developers some reassurance that there would be buyers ready when the rehab became available. Note the difference in days on market for the homes sold in 2009 (106). Compared to the days on market for 2013 (67).

The strong involvement from the Shaw Neighborhood Housing Corporation whose mission is to “improve the quality of life in the Shaw neighborhood by addressing housing related issues” cannot be denied either. Another factor could be the overall economy. On a macro level the housing market is better than it was in 2009 and sale prices have increased in many areas.

Regardless, having the option of a great (FREE) school in the neighborhood cannot hurt home sales!Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 6.32.48 AMScreen Shot 2013-11-19 at 6.37.24 AMScreen Shot 2013-11-19 at 6.38.27 AMScreen Shot 2013-11-19 at 6.39.20 AM

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Unbelievable Deal in Carondelet

If you thought home ownership was out of your reach, think again! This home is a great opportunity in the Carondelet neighborhood! 5211 Alabama is 1200 square feet of awesome! It is move-in ready with 2 bedrooms and one full bath. The EAT-IN kitchen in enormous and the screened-in back porch is a rare find. The tipping point for this lovely little gem is the OVER-SIZED TWO CAR GARAGE!

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At only $55,000 for the purchase price an FHA buyer will need only $1925.00 for a down payment and the monthly rent will be less than $500.00 with taxes and insurance included. Not sure how to get the loan process started? Just call Sean Zalmanoff with USA Mortgage and he will help you get started. Ask him about FIRST TIME HOME BUYER financing options!

 

Looking for a good investment? With 20% down the monthly payment would only be $375 a month! This home would lease for twice that with the garage!

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