When searching for your new home, is location your top priority? Are you searching for a perfect neighborhood that fits all of your needs? 6054 Mardel is just what you need!
Located just 15 minutes west of Downtown St. Louis, you are surrounded by the convince of the city while also being in the fresh and friendly Lindenwood Park Neighborhood. An involved community hosts annual bloc parties and yard sales making it easy to get to know people.
This beautiful home is located within walking distance of Target, Starbucks and Schnucks! You can find plenty of family owned restaurants and shops only a few blocks away, as well as other favorites like Ted Drews!
Just a short walk from Tilles Park, Francis Park, and Lindenwood Park, where you can find many baseball fields, tennis courts, soccer fields, skating courts, and of course playgrounds! Perfect for a sunny afternoon out.
Come by our Open House this Sunday 5/3 from 1-3pm, or give me a call for more information on how you can be a part of this wonderful neighborhood.
3251 Indiana Ave. is a charming 2 bed, 1.5 bath (with a HUGE 2-car garage) home in the exciting and lively Benton Park neighborhood. Conveniently located between Benton Park and Cherokee Street’s Antique Row, there is never a dull moment in this neighborhood. Whether you’re looking to spend the afternoon in the park, or browsing Antique Row, you’ll fall in love with this neighborhood.
Take a short walk down the street, and you will find yourself in the middle of Historical Cherokee Street. There you can shop at a wide variety of thrift and antique stores, such as the Purple Cow, and Retro 101. After you’re done browsing the amazing shops, you can stop and enjoy a great cup of coffee at Mud House, or a variety of delicious baked goods from Whisk Bakery.
For more information about your new home in the Benton Park neighborhood, call 314-713-7086.
3411 Halliday is a beautiful 5 bedroom, 2.5 bath home is located in the Tower Grove East neighborhood. This home is only a 6 minute walk to the beautiful Tower Grove Park. Whether its jogging or relaxing this park has everything you are looking for: a wading pool, playgrounds, tennis courts, ball fields, picnic tables and pavilions perfect for BBQ’s, and myriad shade trees great for napping under.
You can move into the neighborhood just in time for Food Truck Friday, which kicks off May 8th.
3411 Halliday is also within walking distance of many amazing restaurants, for example, The Shaved Duck , featured on the Food Network, is just around the corner.
Feel free to reach out to me to learn more: 314-413-7086
This little gem is close to the Delmar Loop, UMSL and the airport. 7426 Lynn has everything you need under $100,000 starting with the romantic Craftsman curb appeal.
With warmer weather quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to get out and explore the city, and what better area to spend an afternoon than University City? This area is most notably known for being the home to the Delmar Loop, but this city has so much more to offer. Here are just a few of the yearly events University City holds each year:
Forest Park is another aspect of University City that everyone enjoys. Forest Park has something for everyone, from the Muny, to the Art and History museum, to the Zoo there is never a dull moment.
University City is known as home to the Loop. The Loop has something for everyone to enjoy, every day of the week. Whether you are looking to enjoy some BBQ at Salt and Smoke, catch Chuck Berry preform at Blueberry Hill, or watch a movie at the Tivoli Theatre, you are sure to have a great time.
Ready to call University City your new home? Then we have the perfect home for you! Located at 7426 Lynn Ave., this home offers 2 bedrooms, 1 bath. Contact me for more information.
How long do you plan to own your new home? This is one of the first questions I ask clients to help determine their mortgage needs. Most folks throw out a vague number of years, not really knowing for sure. Others are adamant they will be in the home forever. However, some people have a very definitive answer and can tell me right off the bat. For example, I have found in particular that medical students, fellows, residents, etc. often know exactly how long they want to stay. For these buyers, adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs for short) are a great option, allowing them to save thousands of dollars effortlessly.
Turning Jargon into English: The first thing to understand about ARMs is that most of them are not true adjustable-rate mortgages at all! In fact, in my 10 years as a mortgage banker, I have never closed a true ARM. The kind of ARMs I am going to discuss here are technically referred to as “Fixed-Adjustable Hybrid Mortgages” (I guess we could call them FAHM’s, but that doesn’t have a very nice ring to it.) The word ‘fixed’ is the aspect we’re interested in here. In a true ARM your interest rate would adjust on a monthly or yearly basis, subjecting you to a high degree of risk. In the fixed-adjustable hybrid version, your rate starts out FIXED for a predetermined amount of time.
When looking at these types of ARMs you will see two numbers and a slash – for example, 5/1 or 7/1. The number before the slash refers to the number of years the rate will be fixed. The number after the slash refers to how often that rate will adjust once the fixed period is over. So, in the case of a 10/1 ARM, the initial loan rate will stay fixed for 10 years. After 10 years, it will adjust once per year. I could go on to explain how the adjustments work, but for the purposes of this conversation we are assuming the loan never goes into adjustment because you would sell the property before the adjustable period is over.
Reasons to consider an ARM: Assuming you know how long you are going to own the property and that you choose a fixed period that matches up properly, you should seriously consider an ARM because it will save you tons of money versus a traditional 30-Year Fixed mortgage – it is that simple.
Example: To help demonstrate these numbers, I wanted to use a real, live example of a property that is for sale right now! Dawn Griffin has currently listed 5351 Pershing Ave. St. Louis, MO 63112 at $299,000. We chose this property for this example as it is in an area near Washington University Medical School, which means there are many prospective buyers that could benefit from an ARM versus a fixed rate loan.
Assumptions: I am going to assume a 20% down payment, though technically you could put much less down. In addition, I am going to assume a 740 or higher credit score. Finally, as a legal caveat, I have to explain that the rates mentioned below are subject to change without notice but that they are valid rates for the day I am writing this (3/3/2015).
30 Year Conventional Fixed Rate: Current rate would be 3.75% (3.799% APR). If you stayed for in the home for 5 years you would spend $42,731 in interest. Over 7 years, you would pay $58,507. And if you lived there 10 years, you would make $80,576 in interest.
10/1 ARM, current rate would be 3.5% (3.277% APR). Over 10 years you would spend $74,899 in interest – a savings of $5,677 versus the fixed rate program. Over 7 years, you would spend $54,452 in interest – a savings of $4,055. Over 5 years, you would spend $39,802 in interest – a $2,929 savings.
7/1 ARM current rate would be 3.125%. Over 7 years, you would pay $48,403 in interest – a $10,104 savings versus the 30-year fixed loan. Over 5 years, your total interest spent would be $35,426 – a $5,672 savings.
5/1 ARM current rate would drop to the quite enviable 2.875% interest rate (2.956% APR). Your total interest payment over 5 years would be $32,521 which is a savings of $10,210 compared to the 30-year fixed.
Make no mistake, while these savings are fantastic, they have the potential to evaporate quickly if rates shoot up after the fixed period is over*. One option to consider is to give yourself a buffer. If you only plan to be in the home for 5 years, you might consider taking the 7/1 ARM or even the 10/1 ARM. The savings are still significant and you will have some additional peace of mind.
In closing, let me share a quick observation. I took a look at my purchase clients that closed in 2008. By my records and best efforts to interpret them accurately, a full 50% of the clients that took 30-year fixed rate loans have already sold the property or refinanced. That means that every single one of these clients could have saved significant money by using a 10/1 ARM. Is the product right for everyone? Absolutely not, but they can be a great way to save money when used in the right circumstances.
Our newest listing at 27 Crosswinds Dr. has something to please everyone. Located in the Ladue School District, this beautiful mid-century modern home features 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2 fire places, a pool, and so much more.
Here is a quick overview of everything this home has to offer:
Buying and Selling Simultaneously is a tricky process, but people literally do it everyday. I met with three home sellers last week who were just beginning to parse out this puzzle.
Here is a great article from Realtor.com that lays it out pretty succinctly. The article outlines three basic ways to make the move when you already own a home.
Option 1: Sell First then Buy
Advantages: You have a clear financial picture and know what your buying power is. You do not have to worry about interim financing. You do not have to write a contract contingent on the sale of your home. This option gives you a better negotiating position when you are on the purchasing side and allows you have a longer period to look for your next home.
Disadvantages: You have to find short-term interim housing and you have to move twice.
Scenario: I recently had a client who KNEW he wanted to the live in the Shaw neighborhood. Shaw is the current IT city neighborhood and it is definitely a seller’s market. Based on his price range and required criteria, we knew that he would need to submit a clean offer. Financially, he was unable to carry two mortgages considering the price range he needed to be in to get what he really wanted. The best option for him was to sell first. While it was a huge hassle to move twice, it was worth it to him because he was not interested in comprising on his location or required criteria. Because the neighborhood was so competitive, the seller of his home received multiple offers. He was able to win the bid by submitting a clean offer not contingent on the sale of his existing home.
Option 2: Buy First Then Sell
Advantages: You only have to move one time. This option gives you time to prepare your new house while still living in your current home. Once you have moved, you will have more time to prepare your old home for market and you will be able to keep it show ready at a moment’s notice.
Disadvantages: You will need to be prepared to carry two mortgages for at least a couple months. There is also the possibility that your current home will not sell. It decreases your buying power on the next home because the debt on the first home counts against you.
Scenario: In December of 2013, my clients bought a home that needed a gut rehab. Using construction financing, they worked on it for 6 months with a general contractor. The original plan was to put the home on market about 6 weeks prior to the completion date of the second home. However, they had two toddlers, so keeping the home show ready proved to be a true challenge. Ultimately they decided to wait until the rehab was complete. They moved out of the existing home and into the rehab. Once they were out, they spent a week with contractors getting the home ready to sell. With the kiddos out of the way, the small amount of work they put in a made a huge difference in the presentation which made all the difference. They ended up with a full price offer (on a list price that was higher than they originally anticipated) the first weekend on the market.
Option 3: Buy and Sell Simultaneously
Advantages: Does not require multiple moves. Allows you to use your full buying power and does not require you to carry multiple mortgage payments.
Disadvantages: Requires you to make offers contingent on the sale and closing of your home which reduces your negotiating power on the purchase price. Or requires that you wait until your home is under contract before shopping for the new home which gives you a very short window of time to find your next home.
Scenario: While complicated, this is surprisingly the most common. I recently had a listing in St. Louis Hills where the owner had lived in the house nearly her entire life. She was ready for a change. Not a small change but a big one. She no longer wanted a small postage stamp lot and walkable lifestyle. She wanted acreage. Buying acreage requires funds. The existing home had an enormous amount of equity in it. But rather than do multiple financial transaction to get to that equity, she decided to sell and buy simultaneously. On the day of closing the equity in the existing home was cashed out and she used the proceeds from the sale to buy/finance the next purchase.
Step One: List the house. Step One and a Half: Research the available inventory for the purchase (without getting to attached to any single home). Step Two: Accept a Contract to Sell the Existing House. Ideally, negotiate an extended close date. Step Three: Shop for the next house. Include language in the purchase contract to protect you if the sale of the existing home does not close. Step Four: Micromanage each transaction and prepare for a whirlwind closing day.
This is just a primer. If you are thinking about moving and are wondering how to sell your house and buy the next one at the same time, call an agent (me!) and schedule some time to talk this through. There are so many scenarios to discuss. Figuring out which of these may be the best avenues for you requires a lengthy and meaty discussion.
3281 Gustine in the Capistrano Building is currently on the market. Because it is bank owned, the price has been radically reduced. It is being offered at only $89/sqft. Compared to other condos currently listed between $350,000-$450,000 that’s about $100 less per square foot than the average price per square foot for a traditional resale. At such a discount you might think the unit was lacking in some way. But check out the side-by-side comparison below and you will see that it offers much, much more than the average condo.
3 Up Comparison: Before looking at the details of each condo, check this side by side comparison of prices, fees and amenities.
3281 Gustine: Castle-like residence with its own private entrance, full basement for storage and 3 spaces in the underground garage. Feels more like a townhome than a condo, but offers a luxury and maintenance-free lifestyle. Added bonus is the partially finished lower level with walk-out. Could make a great in-law suite, office or AirBnB Rental.
4554 Laclede: This unit in the Wexford offers a very traditional condo experience with a communal entry. The unit has a fireplace and den. Pool access and underground parking.
5256 Waterman: This unit in Portland Court offers the maintenance free lifestyle of a condo with more of a townhome experience.
2015 is going to another great season for the home-seller. Inventory still seems to be low. Rates are still absurdly low and FHA just announced that annual insurance premiums will be reduced which will give Buyers more buying power.*
For buyers, this will mean more competition for the available homes. And therefore it is likely that as a Buyer in the 2015 Spring market you may find yourself in a multiple offer situation. (This is when a seller receives more than one offer on a the home at the same time).
Here are some tips on how to make your offer stand-out in a multiple-offer situation:
1. Make sure you are FULLY pre-approved and not just pre-qualified. This requires that you find an excellent lender who will do the work for you ahead of time. Most lenders will not submit your file to underwriting until you have a contract on a home. Other lenders will make sure your file is complete with the exception of the contract and appraisal. This means that when you submit an offer to the seller, the seller is assured of your ability to deliver the funds on the day of the closing and offers the seller peace of mind when accepting your contract.
2. If you are serious about buying a home, you will likely have saved a decent down payment and you should have funds in reserve. The contract asks that you submit an Earnest Money deposit at signing. This money shows the seller that you are serious. The Earnest Money is your money. If you fulfill the contract, it is credited back to you at closing. The contract also allows you several contingencies to terminate after doing your due diligence. If inspections reveal serious structural issues or if the home does appraise for the agreed price, the buyer is within their rights to terminate the contract with Earnest Money returned to the buyer. Therefore the Earnest Money is only in jeopardy if the buyer defaults on the contract. So, if you are serious, show the seller your are serious with a larger Earnest Money deposit.
3. Do not write an offer contingent on the sale of your home. (This topic deserves its own blog post)
4. Be ready to pay your own closing costs. In the past, many sellers were willing to credit a portion of the sale price back to the buyer to pay for the buyer’s closing costs which includes lender fees, title fees and pre-paids. In this market and especially in a competing offer situation, the seller wants to see the cleanest offer possible. Talk with your lender ahead of time to see how much cash you need to have ready to cover your down payment and your own closing costs.
5. Be flexible with your closing date. Some sellers want to close as quickly as possible. Others have to wait for their next home to be available. If you can be flexible on timing, the seller may pick your offer over a different higher offer. The more flexible you can make yourself, the easier your purchase will be.
6. Add an escalation clause. I.E (I will pay $1057.00 more than the highest offer not to exceed $X). Talk to your agent about how to structure this so that all your bases are covered.
7. Write a note to the seller. I recently helped a seller sort through FIVE competing offers for her house. Two of the contracts had very similar offer prices and terms. Both used an escalation clause. Both were willing to pay more than the highest written offer on the table. One of the buyers wrote a note of introduction. In that case, the letter was the tipping point in helping the seller choose which offer to accept.
*Note: This means that borrowers will have more buying power. For a $120,000 borrowers, the reduction in annual premium will save them $50/month. Instead of paying $50 a month to mortgage insurance, that $50/month can go to a larger loan amount giving the borrower at the $120,000 about $12,000-$15,000 cushion in their price point.
Dawn Griffin Real Estate Blog
I’m an experienced Saint Louis Realtor specializing in St. Louis City as well as neighborhoods like Webster Groves, Maplewood, Clayton, University City and Ladue. With an undergraduate degree in Education and Master's in Urban Planning and Real Estate Development — I have the heart of teacher.
I have been immersed in Residential Real Estate, helping home buyers and sellers understand the market, manage the ambiguities and negotiate the best terms for themselves. I am consistently voted a 5-Star Agent by clients and featured as one of St. Louis' Best Agents in Saint Louis Magazine.