Well, it was going to happen sooner or later. With all the good deals out there it’s hard to resist them. Recently I bought a little bungalow and am working with two other people to renovate it and get it to market before the end of the Spring. It’s not much right now, but soon it will be a solid two bedroom bungalow with spectacular kitchen, new windows, new HVAC, sparkling wood floors and updated plumbing and electric.
After looking at 12 homes in the South City area we settled on this one for a few reasons. First, we really liked the layout. It is a proper 2 bedroom with a large living room and separate dining room. There’s an entry way, so you aren’t dumped into the living room as soon as you walk-in. Second, the demo was mostly done, so we could get right to work. And finally the location is superb. It’s tucked right in the middle of Tower Grove South walking distance to Grand, Morganford and the park.
Click here to find more opportunities. All homes in this link are under 50K and will require work. Some need everything, some just need a little TLC. If you need contractor recommendation, no problem, I am happy to pass on names and numbers of those who have proven that they can show up on time and understand how to coax a beautiful rehab out of an ugly shell.
St. Louis is considered to be in the West North Central region along with Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Two figures are given for MO: St. Louis and Kansas City. The numbers below come from the St. Louis section.
Attic to Bedroom
Job Cost: $54,112
Value at Sale: $38,568
Cost Recouped: 71.3%
Midrange Kitchen Remodel
Job Cost: $22,128
Value at Sale: $16,463
Cost Recouped: 74.3%
Upscale Bathroom Remodel
Job Cost: $55,035
Value at Sale: $38,707
Cost Recouped: 70.3%
Where to get the most bang for the bucks?
Average return on a wood deck in our region: 76.1%
Average return on fiber cement siding: 79.9%
I showed this to one of my clients last week. Lucky for everyone else, it isn’t what she is looking for. But it is perfect for someone. It is just waiting for it’s next life as a bed and breakfast, antique store, art gallery daycare/family home or any of the other endless possibilities. This is such an interesting building and is in such great shape, I hate to see it just sitting there.
This building was the former rectory of the church next door. The church sold last year for 250K and the rectory is for sale now for 118K. There are at least 8 bedrooms. The kitchen needs work but has a complete set of Geneva cabinets. The radiator is still pumping away and has probably been serviced every year since it was installed. The tax records record this at 1925 square feet but there’s no way that’s true. This place is massive. Entering from the front there is formal wood staircase and two formal parlors each with art deco style mantles fully intact and in great shape. Beyond the reception area there is another suite of rooms that look as if they were used as offices. Around the corner is the informal parlor. From there pass thru the butler’s pantry into the kitchen. On the second floor there is a suite with sitting room another great looking mantle, bedroom and private bath. In the rear of the building on the second floor there’s another parlor with mantle, a few more bedrooms and a full bath. The third floor is small with two small rooms.
The building has been well kept and in most cases untouched where you would hope it would be…the millwork and wood floors. However, certain questionable upgrades have been installed over time. The dropped ceiling and dark paneling will have to go and there are signs of water damage from the flat roof on the second floor. But the foundation looks great and the house feels solid.
Here’s a link to the MLS lisitng. Unfortunately the listing doesn’t show the correct photo. This isn’t a Circa listing but anyone in our office would be happy to help you tour it if you are looking to buy a unique space and aren’t afraid of a little work.
We have been working hard on this auction all year at Rebuilding Together and it is really shaping up to be a great event. It will be at the FK Photography Studio on Locust in the Locust Business District. A $35 donation gets you in the door and after that the food and drinks are free. There will also be FREE valet parking in a secured parking lot.
Bailey’s Chocolate Bar, Rooster Cafe, Butler’s Panty, Kirk’s Traveling Kitchen, Niche, Moxy and Vin de Set are preparing plenty of samples for the 500 attendees we expect. Local St. Louis artists (and a few from afar) are donating over 40 pieces of original work to be silently auctioned throughout the night. In addition we have been collecting donated auction items including a professional photo shoot, a single engine plane ride around the city, a week’s stay in Mexico, Coach purses, a pearl necklace and bracelet set, restaurant gift certificates, a tasting for 8 at Schlafly, sports tickets and memorabilia and much, much more.
So mark your calendars for Saturday, 10 November 2007. Doors open at 7pm. Purchase tickets online at the ArtFix website. (Generously donated by TOKY Branding & Design)
There are many ways to fund a renovation project. Mr. White, a man who renovates smaller projects around South City, said to me a while ago when I asked his secret, “CASH.”
Well, not everybody has CASH and for those who have never even owned a home, there isn’t even equity. Never fear… there is always a way to finance your dream home even if you are a first time buyer or rehabber. In the case that you have never owned a home and have no experience doing any sort of renovation, there is still a way to buy a building that needs a considerable amount of work and not get in over your head.
The loan product is called an FHA 203K and the beauty of it is that while the property is under construction you don’t have to the pay the mortgage (although like anything else you will end up paying) and it is designed for a person without any renovation experience. There are many checks and balances to make sure that the borrower is doing the necessary planning and is working with reputable contractors. Before any money is lent the project undergoes a full review including inspection, appraisal of after-improved value and renovation plan. But don’t take my word for it. Below is a copy of a Q & A I had with a former client.
Kirsten is web designer with a passion for letterpress design. She needed a very unique space for her studio and she found that in an old brick building that was originally used as a horse stable for a St. Louis Police Station.
How did you know this was the building for you?
Because I have a lot of heavy equipment that would fit perfectly on the first floor of the space.
Did you have any $ for down payment?
Did you have any experience in renovation?
How did you finance the project?
The best thing about it was not having to pay on the loan for the first 6 months. I suppose the con would be that you have to borrow a bit extra, but other than that I didn’t really see any downfalls, as it allowed us to get the project done.
Can you explain the 203K process?
HA! I would have to look through my paperwork again.. But basically an inspector has to come out and verify that the property will be worth the amount that they are lending to you once you are done before they will lend the $ that you need for the renovation.
In retrospect do you think you could have accomplished the project without the 203K?
How did you find contractors?
Word of mouth.
What were some of the biggest hurdles in the process?
Communication with the contractor was pretty tough, and a lot of times they dont show when they say they will, etc… There were some hurdles to work through with the subcontractors as well, and disputes between the subcontractors and the contractor at times.
Is it finished or still a work in progress?
Very much a work in progress.
What did you splurge on?
What did you skimp on?
Did you do any of the work yourself?
Yes, we did some custom ceiling work, installed fancy trim, tiled the kitchen counter, and some of the work on the deck and all the demolition. If you can take on the demolition on your own, it’s great because it saved us about 7,000$ to do it ourselves. It’s dirty and not fun, but you can’t really screw it up.
Any advice to other other first time rehabbers?
Find a good contractor!!!! And don’t be wimpy when dealing with them. I think I was too easy-going, and didn’t communicate a sense of urgency enough to the contractor. It seems with those guys the squeaky wheels get the most attention, as with most things, and I always tried to be pretty nice about stuff, but it ended up that a lot didn’t get done until the 9th hour.
Inspired by my last post the Perfect $100,000 House in St. Louis, I decide to follow up on the properties I saw that were listed in the MLS under $100,000 but needed to be taken down to the studs (and in some cases even further).
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!
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.