4420 Ohio Ave, aka Sugar Loaf Mound, is one of the remaining prehistoric Native American mounds in St. Louis. Being offered for the first time in 40 years, this .65 acre lot is now for sale. The mound itself is on the National Register of Historic Places. The house is not. Read the article from the Suburban Journal here.
The other night I ran into some people looking for a home. They said they wanted to buy before the market turns around in order to cash in on the lower prices. I was getting ready to tell about the rehabs in Tower Grove East, but they stopped me and said that they didn’t want a home that was already finished, they wanted a home that they could renovated. As I was telling them that it was possible to buy places for 20-40K, they added one more stipulation: They want a home for around 60-80K which a needs some work, but would be livable while they were doing the renovation.
Usually those homes are a little tougher to find. But in this instance I could think a perfect option. My listing at 3247 Morganford was exactly the kind of place they were describing.
3247 Morganford was built in 1901 and has been reworked a few times. Currently it is set up as a two family, but the owners are using it as a single family. The first floor apartment flows much better as living room, dining room, kitchen and the second floor makes three large bedrooms and an office. To complete the conversion back to a single family there are a few remaining projects.
Install AC units $7000
Remodel Kitchen $7-12,000
Sand/Stain Floors $3000
Replace Roof $4000
For roughly $25,000-$30,000 the renovation could be completed. It is currently priced at $89,900 which means that after making the improvements the new owners would have about $120,000 into the home. That’s a good price for a 3 bedroom 2 bath home with new kitchen, wood floors and updated systems. Compare that to any of these homes which are all within a one mile radius of 3247 Morganford.
There are a few things on that list that new owners could do themselves putting in a little sweat equity and saving money. There are other items on the list that could wait awhile giving the new owners time to save up for the improvements.
Because the home has been well-kept and many of the necessary improvements (updated plumbing and baths and updated electric) have already been made, this home is ready for occupancy.
The number I used for the projects are only estimates. On what did I base these estimates?
AC: Choice Heating and Cooling charged me $3500 to replace and old AC with a new unit tying it into the existing furnace and ductwork, so I doubled it.
Kitchen: I spent $7000 for materials and labor for a kitchen on a house I remodeled on Hartford.
Paint: Mirsad, remodeler, handyman and all around good guy gave me a bid of $2100 to repaint a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2000 square foot home.
Floors: Original Floors charges $600 for the first room and $400 for each additional room to refinish wood floors.
Roof: The two rehabs is TGE just had both roofs completely torn off and replaced, each for $4000.
Again, these are just estimates. It would be prudent for the new owners to get their own estimates prior to purchasing this home so that they know what they are getting into. Additionally, if this is their first home purchase they may want to talk with other people who have taken on similar renovation projects. It can be stressful and without good contractors, it could be risky. However, if they have the stamina and skills to manage the process, buying a home that needs some updating can be a very good investment. Additionally, it will give the new owners the opportunity to participate in the creation of their home.
I have two new listings coming up in Tower Grove East. When finished both will be 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths with 2nd floor laundry. Additionally each will have a two-car detached garage. The kitchens will be new with granite and stainless appliances and the first level of each home will have hardwood floors. But when these renovations are finished there will be valuable improvements that won’t be nearly as obvious.
Insulation: Each of the four exterior walls will have added insulation to make this 2 story brick home a little more energy efficient
Ductwork: The new ductwork is contaminant free and will also help with efficiency.
New Wiring: All of the old knob and tube wiring was ripped out and new wiring will be run throughout house and connected to a 200 amp panel.
New PVC: all of the vents and stacks will be replaced with PVC.
PVC Lateral Line: New plumbing under the basement floor and out to the main in the alley.
In the end, these improvements won’t be as obvious as the many more updates to come, but knowing that these improvements have been taken care will give the new homeowner peace of mind. Additionally, many of these projects will translate in an overall savings to the new homeowner. A new roof and new wiring can save on insurance costs and the new ductwork, insulation, HVAC and windows will equal a great deal of monthly savings on energy bills.
Not all rehabs are created equal, make sure to investigate what’s behind the walls. Ask for proof in the form of before and after pictures, receipts and warranties. For these two projects, I plan on keeping up with my clients throughout the rehab process. I will post their progress here, but when it is listed, I will leave a scrap book in the home so that prospective buyers get a sense of the completed work and do not have to rely on word of mouth.
Mark Anderson is a lender with Pulaski Bank that I work with quite often. Lately I have heard a lot of concern from some of my clients who are just at the beginning stages of looking for a home. The general concern is that they won’t be able to qualify for a loan or they will be required to have a huge down payment. Below is Mark’s response to that concern.
Despite what we’re hearing on the news, very little has changed with access to financing for average home buyers. It is true that the credit markets have tightened. It’s also true that some banks have gone out of business. But these changes have had very little impact on basic approval standards for home loans. Chances are, if you have at least fair credit and are able to afford the house payment you are looking to take on, you can be approved for a mortgage. And again, despite what you may hear on the news, you won’t have to take a high interest rate, or an adjustable loan just because you don’t have a 700 credit score.
The one major change that has affected home buyers over the past 12 months involves down payment requirements. You used to be able to take a 30-year conventional mortgage and not have to make a down payment at all – as long as you met certain approval standards. These days, you will have to make a down payment, but the amount is not as much as you may have heard. No one waived a wand and required all borrowers to make 20% down payments, regardless of the credit crunch. In fact, the minimum down payment available, through FHA, is 3%. What’s even better is that this 3% can come from gift sources or from the State of Missouri first time home buyer program, MHDC. Using either a gift from family, or funds from MHDC, you can actually still purchase a property with minimal out of pocket cost.
Dawn and I recently closed with a client who took advantage of MHDC. After negotiating for the seller to pay closing costs, our client only had to come up with enough funds to cover her home inspections and a couple other optional add-ons like a home warranty plan.
To take advantage of MHDC, you need to have not had an ownership interest in a Missouri property for the last 3 years. Your income also needs to be under a certain level depending on how many people are in your household and in what area you are intending to buy. MHDC is called a ‘no interest, forgivable second mortgage’, meaning that you don’t make payments on the money and that over time, the loan balance diminishes. Every year you remain in the property after the purchase date, one-fifth of the balance is ‘forgiven’. After 5 years, the balance goes away entirely.
MHDC goes through periods of availability. Right now there are still funds available. Once they are gone, you can be added to a waiting list. Feel free to contact me anytime for up to the minute details on availability and on qualifying guidelines.”
I have been volunteering with Rebuilding Together-St. Louis, an organization which helps elderly and disabled homeowners remain in their homes by performing maintenance and repairs on their homes at no cost to them. Our 2nd annual ArtFix fundraiser is being held on Friday, November 14that the Mad Art Gallery in Soulard! ArtFix was a huge hit last year and I have already had many of you asking me about getting tickets.
Tickets will be available this Friday and are $40 each.
Just a little more information about the event. Bailey’s Chocolate Bar, Rooster, Serendipity, Butlers Pantry Vin de Set and Square One Brewery and several other local restaurants will be serving heavy hors d’oeuvres. We will be displaying work from 32 local and national artists and we will have a large variety of silent auction items including a chauffeured 10 passenger stretch limo, a Dooney & Bourke handbag, wine tasting for 10 at Cave Vineyard, a Nintendo Wii, handmade quilt by awarded an winning quilter, weekend at Harrah’s Resort and Casino and tickets to the St. Louis Actors’ Studio just to name a few.
For just $40 per person, you and your guests will enjoy a lively evening viewing great art and silent auction items, tasting hors d’oeuvres and desserts from fine restaurants, and enjoying unlimited beverages (wine, beer, soda, water).
What should I do about my registration if I marry, move, or change my name
In order to change your name in the voter registration lists, you need to contact the election authority before the election or an election judge at your polling place and notify them of the change. The election authority will enter the change on the record and issue new voter identification cards. Voters are allowed to vote at one election under the old name without changing their voter registration.
If you have moved to a different address within the same county, you are permitted to change your registration address on Election Day at your new polling place or the central polling location. It is recommended that you contact your local election official with any address changes prior to Election Day in order to determine your assigned polling place.
In order to change your address if you move outside the boundaries of the election jurisdiction in which you were previously registered, you will need to fill out a new voter registration form at any of the offices where registration is permitted.
If you moved before the deadline to register for an election, you must complete your new registration prior to the registration deadline in order to be eligible to vote a full ballot. If you moved after the registration deadline, you will be entitled to vote a limited ballot, containing only federal and statewide candidates and issues once you submit a completed voter registration application in person with the local election authority. People moving from one election jurisdiction to another prior to the registration deadline who fail to register to vote by the registration deadline will not be able to vote in that particular election.
If you moved to Missouri after the deadline to register for a presidential election, you are entitled to register and vote only a presidential and vice presidential ballot.
That’s a question I hear a lot these days. My answer usually varies. But here is quick look at what happened in the 63116 zip code in September.
Click here to find a list all the houses that sold in the 63116 zip code between September 1, 2008 and September 30, 2008.
There were a total of 22 houses that sold over the course of 30 days. For this search I only included single family homes. The low end was capped at 75K but there was no limitation on the high end. The highest price sale in this zip code was $318,000 which was a new construction property on Blow Street. It was a 3 bedroom 2.5 bath that had been on the market for 208 days. 208 days seems like a long time, but there was another house that took 291 days to sell. When that house first came on the market it was listed for $154,900. The price was finally reduced to $124,900 which spurred an offer and the sale price was recorded at $123,900. Conversely there was a house that sold in only 8 days. The list price was $114,900 and the final recorded sale was $115,00. Another house took only 11 days to sell. It’s original price was $84,000 and it was listed at $84,000 when it received a contract. The recorded sale price was $80,000.
I suppose there are many conclusions that could be drawn by looking at this list of homes, but there are two major points that I see as valid. First, houses are still selling. Second, if priced well they sell quickly, if over priced, it may take several price reductions and many days on market to finally procure a buyer.
If you are about to list your home try to read the comps as objectively as possible and price your home accordingly. If it is priced according the market and shows well, it will sell.
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.