In May of 2009 I wrote a post titled: Homes Under $200,000 near St Louis MetroLink stops and I was thinking about revisiting it because I just met a new clients who thought they had to live in a specific area to have access to the MetroLink. At our initial meeting they expressed interest in a 2 bed 2 bath condo. And as I was clarifying their desired amenities, I realized that they were actually interested in single family homes but that they weren’t sure where they could go and still be close to a MetroLink stop.
Homes near South Grand (its easy to take the bus to the Grand Metro stop): Includes part of Shaw, Tower Grove East and Tower Grove South
Homes available in Skinker DeBaliviere: Parts of Skinker Debaliviere, Clayton and University City
Homes available in Clayton: Parts of Clayton, Richmond Heights, Ladue and St.Louis City
Homes available in Maplewood/ Manchester: Includes parts of Maplewood, Richmond Heights, Webster Groves and St. Louis City
Homes near Shrewsbury/Lansdowne: Includes parts of the 63139 and 63109 south St Louis zip codes, Shrewsbury, Maplewood and Webster Groves.
This post highlights approximately 150 active listings within a 1 mile walk to a MetroLink stop. There are many, many more. If proximity to public transportation is important to you in home search, know that you various options at all price points.
As if there weren’t enough great reasons to live Downtown or around the Tower Grove Area, here is one more: South Grand Delivered soon to be known as Griffin Delivery (no affiliation) can deliver fare from some of the best restaurants in the neighborhood to your door via bike!
Who: Andy Heaslet and Evenn Moore, two 20-somethings with a passion for urban cycling. What: Bike Based Restaurant Delivery, currently serving 6 South City restaurants (Al-Waha, Local Harvest, Mangia, St. Louis National Pizza Company, The Vine Cafe, Wei Hong Bakery) When: Deliver from 4-9PM Sunday-Thursday and 4-1030PM Friday and Saturday. Where: Participating restaurants include Al-Whahi, Local Harvest, Mangia, St. Louis National Pizza Company, The Vine Cafe, Wei Hong and will soon encompass Downtown as well. Why: They saw an obvious and unmet demand in the delivery business.
Current Service Area
Downtown delivery will begin at the end of March for lunch service only (at first). Restaurants to be determined.
Want to move to area where you can have something other than pizza delivered? Check out the homes available in the area.
2825 Shenandoah: $184,900 newly rehabbed townhome with 3 beds and 2.5 baths. Walk to Fox Park!
As mortgage guidelines have tightened over the last several years, income verification in particular has become more difficult. The rules of mortgage approval, effectively set by the quasi-government agencies Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA, are quite particular when it comes to what income can and cannot be considered as a part of your mortgage application.
If you are an average W2 employee with a base salary, the income calculation procedures are logical. You take your base yearly salary and determine the monthly gross – simple, right? However, if your income fits into any of the following categories, the rules could make your head spin:
For each of these categories, there could be a big difference between what you make in reality and what we can consider for your loan application. Without going into detail about each category, I’d like to point out a few common areas where the way the industry calculates your income could dramatically affect your loan options. Guidelines can vary between loan programs, so keep in mind that the details of your exact situation matter in a big way.
If you work in the service industry it is quite common to receive some or most of your income in tips. The problem with this for loan purposes is that often large chunks of your actual income are unreported to the IRS. Also, mortgage approval guidelines are geared toward stability. This is why in order to count even fully IRS reported tips, we must show at least 1 year of job history at the same employer. One other issue with tips and service industry work is that often the number of hours worked per week can fluctuate. For this reason, your gross year-to-date earnings are going to be used to come up with your monthly gross income for the purpose of your loan application.
As stability is a major concern built into mortgage approval guidelines, people that work multiple jobs must show that they have consistently worked more than one job for at least two years. You also need to show that the individual jobs themselves are consistent. This means that if you work 20 hours a week at the library and 20 hours a week at the pet store, in order to count both incomes we need to show a history of holding both of those jobs at the same time for the past two years. If you worked at the library for 3 years, but the pet store only 1 year, this could cause the underwriter not to be able to consider the pet store income.
I could write more on this subject than any other, but I’ll just point out the highlights. The primary challenge I run into with self-employed clients is that their tax strategy shows very little income after all deductions are accounted for. Some businesses, especially new ones, show significant losses. In order for business income to count, it must be relatively stable…not to mention positive. We are also limited to going off of what is actually reported to the IRS. In the case of a new business, it may take years for it to show income that can be used for qualification purposes. For older, more established businesses, owners must consider the impact of their tax strategy on their ability to qualify for financing.
In general, your self-employed income will be calculated based on the average of your previous 2 years of tax returns. However, if the most recent year shows less income than the year before, we will have to use the lower number only. Remember here that the rules, unfortunately, are not designed to be fair! They are designed to protect against risk, which has definitely affected self-employed people in a big way. More than in any other category we’re talking about today, before you assume you’ll be approved for a mortgage, contact your loan officer to make double sure.
Much like business income, the challenge for landlords comes down to the tax return. Tax strategy again can conflict with your ability to qualify for new mortgage loans. One area that can cause frustration is with large repairs. If your most recent year of tax returns shows a big cost for repairs, this could impact your overall income negatively. Even if you have a primary W2 job, rental property losses are counted AGAINST this income to qualifying purposes. Also, do not assume that your leases will be used in the income calculation – tax returns will be the primary basis for this.
More than any other category, the devil is in the details here. If you have started a new W2 position, in most cases we can consider your base income for qualifying purposes like normal. Bonus income for a new job will almost never be used, however. Things get much trickier if this new position doesn’t begin until after closing. This is common for relocating executives, physicians, etc. In this case, you can only be approved for a loan based on the new income if:
-You have a fully executed employment contract. An offer letter is typically not workable without additional documentation from your new employer. The contract must explicitly state your base compensation. Projected bonus income will not be considered.
-You start the new job BEFORE your first payment is due. In most cases, you must also receive a paystub before the first payment comes due. For example, if you close at the end of May, your first payment will come due on July 1. If you do not receive a pay stub before July 1, you will likely NOT be approved for the loan. In this case, you would want to re-schedule your closing accordingly.
Do not assume anything – you will want to talk with your loan officer about all aspects of the new position as part of your formal loan application.
Keep in mind that the ‘bad’ loan programs you’ve heard about – like stated-income and no income verification loans – were originally designed for people that fit into the income categories described above. The reality of what you make can be very different than what we use for your approval. Before making assumptions about what you can qualify for, talk to your trusted loan officer…and be prepared to provide documentation as needed.
Get an M.B.A. (most billionaires meet their spouses at work)
Make Consumption Your Career (Sell that Billionaire a Boat)
Move Closer to Where the $$$ lives.
On that note, here is a quick spotlight on homes where your whale might live.
2015 Park 63104: List Price $750,000. Replicated 19th century mansion. Overlooking historic Lafayette Park. All brick home, solid limestone on the front. 4200 square feet on three floors.
2150 Lafayette 63104: List Price $949,000. 3 Story Lafayette Mansion with 5 bedroom, 3.5 baths is striking with gorgeous finished hardwood floors, completely restored 8 functional fireplaces beauty, custom walnut pillars with walnut burl inlays frame the outstanding staircase, breath-taking custom mahogany library with 10 piece crown molding & elaborate kitchen offering limestone fireplace, double 42 cabinets & octagon bay breakfast room all overlooking the park!
Pershing Place 4976 Pershing 63108: List Price $999,000. The Tudor Revival w/ Arts & Crafts” was designed by Laurence Garden as a special favor to the original owners.
Portland Place 17 Portland 63108: List Price $1,639,900. This home was designed by the premier architect of St. Louis’ Golden Age, James P. Jamison. In addition to its original grandeur this home includes private walled garden w/ in-ground swimming pool & hot tub.
Clayton 7426 Wydown, Clayton 63105: List Price $1,595,000. 11 year old home with 4+ bedroom, 5.5 bath home has an exquisite 2 story entry w/ marble flooring & dramatic staircase. The gourmet kitchen includes stainless steel appliances (Wolf, Sub Zero, Miele), custom cabinets w/ new back splash, and granite counter tops.
Looking at some of the more affordable options that might put you in the path of your Billionaire:
Lafayette Square 2343 Hickory St 63104: List Price $199,900 This 2400 square foot home might need a little work but it has an oversized lot and THREE CAR GARAGE. (You will need this for all the automotive gifts from your billionaire)
Skinker-DeBaliviere (Near Pershing Place and Portland Place) 5621 Waterman Blvd #2, 63112 : List Price $199,999 Here is the splendor of the past and the living style of today. Graced with Hardwood Flooring, Wood-Burning Fireplace, Laundry, Sunroom, Separate Dining and an Eat-in-Kitchen.
Clayton 7532 Cromwell Dr #2n, Clayton 63105: List Price $150,000. This condo is being offered at $47,000 below what the owner paid in 2006. Evidently, they found their billionaire
Interested in viewing any of these properties? You can contact me through my website or call at 314-413-7086
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.