Dawn Griffin

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

dawn@dawngriffin.com / 314.413.7086

Dawn Griffin

Easy Ways to Organize Your Space

Do you ever wonder if people are opening the drawers and cabinets when they tour your home? The answer is, yes! Clutter can be distracting to potential home buyers. That is why it’s important for you to clean and organize your home before putting it on the market. Even the smallest spaces can make an impact.

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Here are 5 quick and easy ways to help organize and de-clutter your home.

1. Use a silverware organizer to keep your toothbrush and bathroom needs organized.

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Photo from Little Penelope Lane.

2. Use Command Hooks to organize everything in your kitchen.

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Photo from Tara Dennis.

3. Use a corkboard covered in linen to organize necklaces.

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Photo from Hello Beauty.

4. Use a magazine holder to organize spaghetti boxes or foil and plastic wrap.

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Photo from Pinterest and Chica and Jo.

5. Lastly, DIY your own drawer organizers a few tools from Lowes.

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Find the DIY here.

 

Happy Organizing!

What Does Contingent Upon Kick Out Mean?

3411 Halliday Ave is listed in the MLS as Contingent With Kickout. What does that mean? It means that the home is still available for viewing and buying.

The seller of this home has accepted a contract from a buyer who also has a home to sell. The offer that buyer submitted has a “Kick-Out” clause in it. This means that the seller has an opportunity to accept a different from a buyer and “kick-out” the first contract.

So, if this home is speaking to you, COME SEE IT! It could be yours!

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6054 Mardel Ave

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!

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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.
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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.

Open Houses Sunday April 19th, 2015 in St Louis

Now is the perfect time of the year to buy your new home! With the weather warming up in St. Louis, there are plenty of open houses each weekend for you to view.

Here’s a list of just a few of the amazing properties you can tour this weekend:

6615 Fyler

$135,000 – 2 Beds/2 Baths – Open House Sunday from 1-3pm

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5234 Schollmeyer Ave

$134,900 – 2 Beds/1 Bath – Open House Sunday from 12:30-2pm

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5216 Bancroft Ave

$149,900 – 2 Bed/2 Bath – Open House Sunday from 1-3pm

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5609 Devonshire

$150,000 – 2 Bed/1 Bath – Open House Sunday 1-3pm

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2328 Esther Ave

$154,900 – 3 Bed/2 Bath – Open House Sunday from 1-3pm

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New Listing: 3251 Indiana Ave. Near Antique Row

 

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.

 

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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.

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For more information about your new home in the Benton Park neighborhood, call 314-713-7086.

 

Live Near the Awarding Winning Tower Grove Park: 3411 Halliday $298,000

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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.

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You can move into the neighborhood just in time for Food Truck Friday, which kicks off May 8th.

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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.

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Feel free to reach out to me to learn more: 314-413-7086

Live Near the Loop: 7426 Lynn Avenue, $99,000

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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

Moving To St Louis For Med School: 5351 Pershing: Adjustable Rate Financing

Guest Post Courtesy of:
Mark Anderson NMLS # 374393
Vice President Direct Lending Division
Cornerstone Mortgage, Inc. NMLS 223109
Phone/Text # 314-599-0511
www.markandersonmortgage.com

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.

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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.

New Listing: 27 Crosswinds Drive: Open House March 1st

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:

The Ladue School District has been honored with many awards, including:

  • The Distinction in Performance Award granted by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) every year the award has been given since 2001
  • Five schools have received six Blue Ribbon School Awards from the United States Department of Education.
  • Three schools have received five Gold Star Schools from DESE.
  • And, for the past 20 years, approximately 10 percent of high school seniors have been recognized by the National Merit Program as a finalist, semifinalist or commended student.

In addition to the many awards, the students who attend Ladue School District, on average, scored higher on their ACT and SAT test scores in 2014.

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While Ladue is located outside of St. Louis City, it is only an 11min. drive to the beautiful Forest Park.

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This home’s fourth bedroom, being used as a den, has a gorgeous built-in bookshelves surrounding a fireplace, perfect for cozy nights in.

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The recently updated Ikea kitchen is a dream come true for any cook.

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Interested? Stop by our open house this Sunday, March 1st, from 1-3pm for more information.

Please visit 27Crosswinds.com or feel free to reach out to me with any questions to learn more.

How To Sell Your Home and Buy Another at the Same Time

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.