For those of you who do not subscribe to the ‘Investment Spotlight’ newsletter (subscription form is to the right), I am posting information on a great opportunity for some income producing property in a very desirable part of St. Louis City.
Find out more by clicking the URL below, and let me know if you’re interested in seeing this or other similar properties. While you’re at it, email me and I can get you started on your way to finding the perfect investment property.
Mayor Slay was asked a few questions in the 2007 Preview special section the St. Louis Business Journal. When asked what he thought would be making news he said, “The success of Washington Avenue will spread to nearby neighborhoods. Old North St. Louis and Benton Park West will become the new Soulards.”
I repeated this to a client of mine the other day when she asked about Benton Park West. And she said, “Does that mean it is going to have a lot of bars?”
I took this as a good reminder that we all think very differently and what one word (or in this case neighborhood) connotes to one may not be what it connotes to another. When I think of Soulard, I think in terms of price and I think entry level there is around $250,000.00. To check myself I did a quick search on the MLS. Nothing scientific, but here’s what I found when I looked for an updated 3 bedroom, 1.5+ bath single family: 9 active listings with prices starting at $235,000 and capping at $429,888. I drove around these three neighborhoods deliberately searching for a street scape that reflected what comes to mind when I think of these places.
When I hear Soulard, I think of finished street where the house look well kept and the street looks cohesive.When I think of Benton Park West, I do think, “Here’s the new Soulard” I think that it is on the verge of exploding. Right now my first time home buyers can still afford it. In terms of price I think $160-$175,000. I did another search to check myself and I wasn’t too surprised. Again, it wasn’t an exhaustive search. I was looking for at least 3 bedrooms and something move-in ready. I found 13 active listings. All at least 3 bedrooms. Prices started at $159,000 and capped at $252,900. $250,000 seemed high to me so I compared it to the place in Soulard for $235,000 to see what the difference was. For $235,000 in Soulard you get what looks to me like an 80′s renovation. It has just over 2000 square feet with wood floors, white kitchen with mismatched appliances and formica countertops, no parking. Overall it appears to be in good condition and with a little bit of polish it could really shine.
However, in Benton Park West, the listing for 252,900 is a single family with an oversized 2 car garageport. It has recently been gutted so all the systems are new and finishes include granite countert ops, stainless appliances and luxury bath.Now for the real challenge.
This photo is what I think of when I think of Old North St. Louis. I was tempted to take a picture of all the new construction that is going on at North Market Place, but that’s not what I usually think of. I think of Crown Candy, vacant lots and boarded buildings. I also think that it is far, but it isn’t. From the corner in the photograph, Blair and Branch, to Locust and Tucker is just under a mile and a half. In contrast from Locust and Tucker to Iowa and Arsenal it is closer to 2.5 miles. The search in the MLS turned up 3 listings: all new construction ranging in price from $169,900 to $189,900.
In conclusion: Yes, I think Benton Park West will have more bars as soon as the neighborhood can support them! And the intersection of Salisbury and Blair up north would make an amazing main street!
The Urban Affair’s Committee is part of the St. Louis Association of Realtors. It is a coalition of Realtors focusing on city business and urban renaissance. We meet monthly and often have guest speakers. Past speakers included Dr. Craig Williams former superintendent of the St. Louis City schools and Roland Stanley the St. Louis City planner. This month Dr. Henry D. Shannon Chancellor for St. Louis Community College was invited.
Within the last 5 years St Louis Community College has graduated
566 Associates in the Engineering Field
192 Technicians in the Life Sciences
1200 Associates in Childcare and Education
800 Associates in Information Technology
1267 Associates in the Allied Health Professions
3000+ Transfers into area universities.
The student body is 62% female and 38% male.
58% White Non-Hispanic
28% African American
The Wildwood campus is scheduled to open August 2007. It is located off RT. 109 and will have greenroof technology creating an environmentally sustainable rooftop surface.
Another interesting fact: The college always operates on a balanced budget.
What if you are selling in this market where a likely buyer who limits his search to the most basic criteria: price, space, location and garage can find 87 possibilities? The most important issue is to price it right. You will need an objective professional to help you do this. If you are not inclined to take that Realtor’s advice at face value ask that person to show you the other houses that will likely be on the tour when they see your house. For instance if you have a 2 bedroom 1.5 bath brick gingerbread in South City, look at 3-5 other houses like yours that are for sale. When you are looking, be honest with yourself. How does your house compare? If you have a linoleum kitchen floor that is tearing at the seams and the house on the next block has ceramic tile, then your price needs to reflect that difference or you need to update your kitchen floor.
Ask yourself, “If I were buying my house today, what would I find unacceptable?” That’s where you start. Buyers have so many choices now that they are not willing to settle. Either the price of your home needs to reflect its condition or you need to get to work on that “Honey Do” List. If you want to sell in a reasonable amount of time you need to get to work on all the projects that you have been putting off.
David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist said “We now have the most favorable market for home buyers in several years, and most sellers–who’ve been in their home for a normal period of homeownership–are still seeing very healthy returns on their investment. Conditions for buyers have improved because sellers are flexible now and mortgage interest rates are near historic lows. The market promises to be more balanced between buyers and sellers by early spring, supporting future price growth”
Right now in the areas that I serve, those who are looking to buy seem to be benefiting the most from market conditions. For instance, today I was searching for a first time home buyer. I intentionally selected a broad search criteria. I do this in the beginning because I don’t like to prematurely limit a person’s options–at least not until I really understand what they are looking for. I found 87 listings that matched the most basic criteria: price, space and location.
In this case I narrowed it just a little more by specifying that the property had to have a garage. So on my first search I found 87 possible listings that we might view. It would be absolutely overwhelming to show someone 87 homes so I narrowed a bit more. He only wants brick and ideally he’d like to be within 10 minutes of a major highway. That left 52. Of the remaining 52 I can tell by reading the marketing remarks and looking at the photos and the days on market which ones I can shake to the bottom and which ones are likely to be over priced. By the end of my searching I felt that there were 27 that might be “the one.”
Good news for the buyer–but what about the seller? Check the next post
For Christmas I got a stocking stuffer, a small book titled “Mind Games” by Micheal Powell. It provides step-by step instructions for 50 mental feats including topics like how to beat a lie detector, decipher body language, and win a game of chess. My favorite chapter and one so appropriate for my industry is a 16 step plan for negotiations.
Here’s an abbreviated version.
1. Achieve a WIN/WIN situation
2. Aim higher than what you expect to get
3. Look to solve the other person’s needs
4. Enter into a process of give and take
5. Begin your negotiation armed with a list of concessions
6. Take your time
7. Don’t give away something for nothing
8. Always get the other person to name their price first
9. When you hear something you don’t like, remain silent, then say, “Hmmmm”
10. Don’t make unrealistic demands
11. Don’t be afraid to walk away and if you do, do it confidently
12. Maintain emotional distance.
13. Consider the total package not just the dollar amount.
14. Don’t be greedy.
15. Negotiate with the “Decider”
16. First establish a relationship by agreeing on certain issues.
Other chapters that could help in the real estate industry: Cutlery Bending, Aura Reading and The Principles of Fire Walking
Recently I started volunteering at an organization called Rebuilding Together. It’s mission: to help elderly and disabled homeowners maintain their homes.
Every year Rebuilding Together selects 100 homes to repair so that the homeowner can age in place, live independently and prolong the life of the building. If you are interested in volunteering but don’t want to make a huge time commitment, you can volunteer just one day, April 21st, work with a team and complete a project in 8-10 hours!
If you are couch potato with a good heart and desire to help, they take checks too!
If you’re not into junk you should pull over anyway and take the opportunity to explore the 15 acre complex that was just bought by Andy Hillin and the Jacob Development Group. The article in the December 15th Business Journal says the JDG won out over the prominent DESCO Group “whose plans for the development topped $100 million and included 250,000 square feet of office space and an undetermined amount of space for retail, lofts and condos.”
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.