I have some clients now who are on the fence. They don’t know if they should buy or rent. Initially they wanted to rent but were having some trouble finding what they wanted. They have a dog and want a yard but can’t find an acceptable rental that allows pets. They are looking for a larger space, preferably a single family home with at least 1.5 baths. And they want it to be nice. Apartment grade finishes just aren’t doing it for them. They are absolutely qualified to buy but just don’t know how long they will be in St. Louis which is why renting seemed more appealing at first. They will definitely be here two years and possibly five but not longer than ten. And that’s why this is a tough choice. They could buy something right now that meets their needs and suits their style for less than would spend on monthly rent. With a purchase there is down payment required and closing cost to pay when they sell. But with a rental it is possible they may have to move every year for as long as they remain in St. Louis. In the end it is really difficult to figure out which is the most economical choice.
Here is an example of their options. One to rent. Another to buy.
Here are some shots of a “private alley house”for rent on CraigsList. It is a 2 bedroom 1.5 bath home listed for $1495/month.
2927 Henrietta is home that is currently listed for $139,900. With just 3.5% down, they could move in and pay less than $1000/month.
I just read this article on St Louis Beacon. Among the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the country, St. Louis ranks 7th from the bottom. According to the report released by the Brookings Institute causes contributing to our high emissions include “low residential density, reluctance to use public transit, coal-based electricity generation and energy-inefficient homes.”
One of the more shocking revelations was that residential energy use was a larger contributor to our poor status than transportation emissions. “Between 2000 and 2005, the region’s residential energy footprint rose 16.4 percent at a time when the typical metropolitan area experienced a slight decline.
Although we have new builders in town like Sage and EcoUrban who are demonstrating that new construction can be extremely energy efficient, it is going to take a greater effort on the part of individual home owners to increase the energy efficiency of their homes with new windows, more insulation and more efficient systems. In one of the homes that I visited last week I saw a Bosch tankless water heater. When that home needed a new water heater, the owner made a better choice rather than replacing it with a newer model of less efficient design.
10 Simple Changes for a More Energy Efficient Home
Use CFL lightbulbs
Insulate your attic, walls and pipes
Install a digital thermostat
Install a low-flow shower head
Buy a jacket for your traditional water heater
Use a reflective paint on your flat roof
Weatherstrip doors and windows
Use Power Strips for all electronics and turn them off at night
Use a manual or battery powered lawn mower
Hang dry clothes rather than using your dryer
The next time you are thinking home improvement or repair check out Home Eco on Macklind. They have everything from insulation to solar panels and they often offer how to workshops.
Lately, I have become intrigued with the idea of redirecting the stormwater runoff from my garage roof into a rain garden. “Stormwater has been identified as one of the leading sources of pollution for all water body types in the United States.” Read more about stromwater runoff on the epa website.
When I first read that quote about stormwater it didn’t make sense to me. That was because I had no idea how storm sewers work. The conventional method of handling stormwater contributes to stream erosion and water pollution because it is designed to convey water off site and into the underground maze of pipes as quickly as possible. Once all the water from the storm event is funneled into the sewer system it picks up velocity and volume and literally gushes into streams and creeks which causes erosion of stream beds and banks. Additionally as it moves from the sidewalks to the streets and through the underground system, it picks up all the contaminants in its path (gas, oil, pet waste, trash, salt, yard waste, fertilizers, weed killers, etc.) causing water quality contamination.
Building a rain garden allows stormwater to be kept on site and naturally filtered through the ground where it can eventually find its way back to the water table. Rather than being contaminated along its path, it is purified as it filters through the layers of the rain garden. However, I am barely able to keep the cilantro and basil in my little window boxes alive, so the idea of a rain garden seems a little intimidating. Luckily, this Saturday there is a Water Festival at Hazelwood East High School (11300 Dunn Road, St. Louis, MO 63138). The Living Green in Watkins Creek Water Festival begins at 10AM and closes at 2PM.
From the press release:
Rain Gardens, rain barrels, jazz musicians, and fire trucks will highlight the array of topics, hands on learning and just plain fun expected at the Living Green in Watkins Creek Watershed community water festival…The first-ever event will feature water quality information and exciting learning activities for students and adults wanting to know more about their natural environment. More than 20 exhibitors will represent a range of environmental, education and community organizations. Come and learn about how our natural water system works to support the living ecology of our world….Learn about the steps that residents can take to help keep our rivers and stream clean. AmeriCorps Stream Team volunteers will lead a Confluence sponsored stream clean up of Watkins Creek near the high school on the morning of the water festival.
Living Green in Watkins Creek Watershed is a partnership with RegionWise, an urban center at Saint Louis University, the Hazelwood School District (HSD), Metropolitan Sewer District, Missouri Department of Conservation, and the Missouri Botanical Gardens.
With the coming I-64/40 shutdown those trips to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are going to be that much more cumbersome. Thankfully we will soon have a new alternative in the city at 3148 Morganford.
Local Harvest Grocery will have its grand opening on June 1 and is operating in conjunction with the folks who put on the Tower Grove Farmers Market. In addition to some prepared foods, they will stock locally grown produce, meats, chesses and grains and sustainably produced products from outside the region.
Did you know that the city of St. Louis has a recycling manager? Well, we do and she really knows what she is talking about. She was the most recent guest speaker at the Urban Affairs Committee, a group I belong to through the St. Louis Association of Realtors.
According to Jill Hamilton, each year the city produces 200,000 tons of waste which ends up in landfills and this waste constitutes $6 million in landfill fees.
Don’t despair. There are many programs in place to help us reduce the waste we produce, reuse much of what might be thrown away, and recycle the products that must be tossed.
For a full rundown of what the city has in place click. REDUCE
In the hierarchy of waste reduction this is the priority, by reducing the waste in the first place, we eliminate the need for energy and natural resources required to produce, consume and dispose of products.
If you live in 63110,63108,63112,63113,63116,63139 or 63147 you can participate in curb side pick up. It is a grant funded program and the resident must pay a portion of the fee to initiate service. Call 353-7176 for more info.
For the rest of us there are over 27 drop off locations all over city.
And don’t forget to close the loop. Recycling only works if there is a market for the recycled goods.
Fehlig Brothers Box and Lumber Company, 314.241.6900
Walk around almost any St. Louis city street in an older neighborhood and you’ll see some level of cracked and bulging sidewalks. This is typically the result of roots from a mature tree growing tired of the cement that’s layered on top of it.
Rubbersidewalks has an idea: “The modular sidewalk system allows air and water to reach the soil below, and can be pulled apart for easy tree and root maintenance, decreasing the need for urban tree removal.”
Rubbersidewalks are made from 100% recycled tire rubber, and can be collected and recycled back into the manufacturing process.
Last night on the NPR program “On Point,” the topic was “Building Greener” and covered the basics and concepts behind building a more energy-conscious living space. I found this especially interesting as my husband and I are just starting to research how this is actually done, and seeing what kind of help is out there to make building a new construction ‘green’ home a financial possibility in St. Louis.
I’ll be posting more in the coming weeks as I dive in deeper to the process and weigh some of the highs and lows. I have more questions than answers at this point, so if you have any good resources please post away!
This is a continuation from A Gilded Box?
In an effort to be part of the solution rather, than simply grumbling about what I don’t like, I did some research on what I thought would be better alternatives to the proposed Georgian Square.
In the course of that search I found a sustainable WalMart in McKinney, TX, a renovated strip mall, Abercorn Common in Savannah, GA, that has earned Silver LEED certification and a new construction open air shopping center in Denver, CO which in addition to being LEED certified has encouraged its tenants to go green as well.
What do all of these developments have in common?
They all could have been large asphalt lots bordered by Big Box retailers.
So instead of simply courting retailers to fill physical space and the amenity void, they found a way to make the whole project environmentally and fiscally responsible.
None managed to delete parking lots altogether but adjustments were made to decrease the negative impact on the environment. For example in the Abercorn Common development, porous pavement was used in the parking lots to allow rainwater to drain naturally. Read about the other sustainable features here.
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.