Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What Did It Sell For?

63011 Ballwin, MO.

829 Lilybud Ct, $102,900
832 Lilybud Ct, $108,000
160 Burtonwood Dr, $130,000
605 Vitry Dr, $157,700
1219 Brittany Parkway Dr, $163,000
2333 Forest Leaf Parkway, $205,000
200 Morewood Dr, $215,000
1526 W. Field Av, $225,000
320 Country Club Dr, $255,000
315 Claymont Cove Ct, $269,500
425 Tamarack Dr, $275,000
336 Glan Tai Dr, $319,900
725 Kerley Ct, $357,000
16520 Highland Summit Dr, $370,000
1348 Rusticview Dr, $385,000
528 Dartmouth Crossing Dr, $434,500
730 Clayton Corners Dr, $628,000

63021 Ballwin, MO.

159 Carmel Woods Dr, $78,500
28 W. Meadows Ln, $87,500
224 Victor Ct, $110,000
1220 Wicklow Rd, $118,000
200 Braeshire Dr #D, $130,700
278 Village Creek Dr, $137,000
676 Turfwood Dr, $150,000
1356 Holgate Dr #E1, $155,000
2375 Hidden Meadow Ln, $161,500
1635 Award Dr, $163,000
724 Woodrun Dr, $167,000
152 Cascade Circle Dr, $174,000
809 Ginger Wood Ct, $178,000
938 Oakwood Farms Ln, $199,900
405 Harvest Hill Ct, $225,000
1412 Cedar Bluff Dr, $235,000
345 Carr Manor Ct, $300,000
916 Kiefer Trails Dr, $325,000
287 Victoria Pointe Ct, $425,000 1
515 Dietrich Ridge Dr, $750,750

63026 Fenton, MO.

1407 Valiant Dr, $98,000 1
452 Noche Ln, $148,000
819 Spring Crest Dr, $215,000
17 Majestic Ct, $233,500
2050 Meramec Meadows Dr, $274,000
1223 Summerpoint Ln, $305,000
1025 Hawkins Bend Dr, $431,310
1347 Remington Oaks Terr. $318,000
2220 Fenway Farms Trail, $460,000

63123 Affton, MO.

9207 Reavis Barracks Rd, $45,300
6247 Pointview Ln, $73,000
9434 Dorisann Ct, $100,000
9315 Rambler Dr, $110,000
4842 Mohegan Dr, $111,856
6501 Horst Dr, $115,000
10133 Florinda Dr, $120,500
9410 Upland Dr, $126,000
5124 Lakewood Av, $127,000
4327 Hannover Cts, $130,000
9433 Sequoia Ct, $135,000
9401 Talbot Dr, $138,500
4736 Weber Rd, $140,000
4355 Mohegan Dr, $144,000
7934 Aldershot Dr, $145,000
9800 Chesterton Dr, $148,300
4465 Mohegan Dr, $149,000
9040 Amona Dr, $149,000
7114 Val Brook Ln, $149,850
7127 Fernbrook Dr, $155,000
8218 Fendale Dr, $160,000
7221 General Sherman Ln, $161,000
8301 Lonkar Dr, $161,500
821 Forman Rd, $165,000

63125 Lemay-Mehlville, MO

9606 Gentry Av, $52,000
1919 Mansard Dr, $57,000
420 Earlsfield Ln, $128,000
1803 Diane Dr, $145,000

63128 Mehlville, MO

5450 Cherryview Ln, $120,000
5506 Duchesne Parque Dr, $142,000
4737 Music Ln, $239,000
9853 Southwick Dr, $250,000
4911 Griffin Rd, $272,000
4742 Music Ln, $275,000

63129 Oakville, Mehlville, MO.

4380 Tavistock Circle, $33,000
1053 Humber Circle, $105,000
29 Kassebaum Ln #202, $129,900
2902 Parc Cheri Ct, $138,000
29 Kassebaum Ln #101, $142,850
3620 Kathleen Ann Dr, $146,000
447 Fairwick Dr, $146,000
634 Fairwick Dr, $149,900
5835 Bristlecone Ct, $186,000
2840 Bee Tree Ln, $190,000
2680 Queen Bee Ln, $250,000
729 Forder Crossing Ct, $250,000
773 Forder Manor Dr, $250,000
3108 Woodbridge Estates Dr, $261,000
5006 Southridge Park Dr, $324,900
6250 Olsen Ln, $400,000

Prices and address' from public records.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Is it time to Move Up?

These 6 questions will help you decide whether you’re ready for a home that’s larger or moving to a more desirable location. If you answer yes to most of the questions, it’s a sign that you may be ready to move.

1. Have you built substantial equity in your current home? Look at your annual mortgage statement or call your lender to find out. Usually, you don’t build up much equity in the first few years of your mortgage, as monthly payments are mostly interest, but if you’ve owned your home for five or more years, you may have significant, unrealized gains.

2. Has your income or financial situation improved? If you’re making more money, you may be able to afford higher mortgage payments and cover the costs of moving.

3. Have you outgrown your neighborhood? The neighborhood you pick for your first home might not be the same neighborhood you want to settle down in for good. For example, you may have realized that you’d like to be closer to your job or live in a better school district.

4. Are there reasons why you can’t remodel or add on? Sometimes you can create a bigger home by adding a new room or building up. But if your property isn’t large enough, your municipality doesn’t allow it, or you’re simply not interested in remodeling, then moving to a bigger home may be your best option.

5. Are you comfortable moving in the current housing market? If your market is hot, your home may sell quickly and for top dollar, but the home you buy also will be more expensive. If your market is slow, finding a buyer may take longer, but you’ll have more selection and better pricing as you seek your new home.

6. Are interest rates attractive? A low rate not only helps you buy a larger home, but also makes it easier to find a buyer.

If you think it may be time to move up or move out contact The H Team today for a free review.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

In A Buyer's Market Values Are Determined By Buyer's

While speaking with a new client yesterday, who is considering selling his house, a question/comment came up. As we were discussing com parables in the neighborhood he produced a print out of what he thought his home was worth.

I tried to explain to him the value of his home is determined by what a buyer is willing to pay in TODAY’s housing market, based on the comparison of the home in question with all of the others on the market, in the same neighborhood and others that had been sold that were comparable to his. I continued to explain what things did not affect the value of his home. After spending an hour with this gentleman I decided to make a list of items that do not effect the value of a home and create a list to include in my pre-listing packet;

What you paid for the house
Your remodeling costs
The amount of cash you need to buy your new house
What you want for your house
What I say your house is worth
What other real estate agents say your house is worth
What an appraiser says your house is worth
What the tax assessor said your house was worth
What Zillow says your home is worth
What Trulia says your home is worth

Your home is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it.

Since this fellows home was in a market area with a lot of foreclosures his potential price prohibited him from placing it on the market at this time.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

How the Tax Credit Works

The First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit was passed this year as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (H.R. 3221) on july 30, 2008 and targets any individual that hasn't owned a home for at least three years. Taxpayers can take the credit on their 2008 tax return if the purchase was made after April 9, 2008

It's worth up to $7,500 and can be taken in a single tax year.Authorization for the tax credit ends July 1, 2009 so if you wait to buy until after the first of the year you can take the tax credit on your 2009 return.

The actual credit amount is set as a percentage of the home purchase amount. That perccentage amount 10 percent of the purchase price credited against your tax liability up to the $7,500.

Income levels are $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for households. Individuals who income exceeds the $75,000 limit but isn't more than $95,000 can still take the credit but on a reduced basis. The same thing applies to households earning up to $170,000.

Any house is eligible as long as it's a primary residence and is in the USA.

Contact your professional tax advisior as to your eligibility. The H Team can help you find a new home.

Friday, December 05, 2008

First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

Frequently Asked Questions
About the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 authorizes a $7,500 tax credit for qualified first-time home buyers purchasing homes on or after April 9, 2008 and before July 1, 2009. The following questions and answers provide basic information about the tax credit. If you have more specific questions, we strongly encourage you to consult a qualified tax advisor or legal professional about your unique situation.

Who is eligible to claim the $7,500 tax credit?
What is the definition of a first-time home buyer?
How do I claim the tax credit? Do I need to complete a form or application?
What types of homes will qualify for the tax credit?
Instead of buying a new home from a home builder, I have hired a contractor to construct a home on a lot that I already own. Do I still qualify for the tax credit?
What is "modified adjusted gross income"?
If my modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is above the limit, do I qualify for any tax credit?
Can you give me an example of how the partial tax credit is determined?
Does the credit amount differ based on tax filing status?
Are there any circumstances for which buyers whose incomes are at or below the $75,000 limit for singles or the $150,000 limit for married taxpayers might not be able to claim the full $7,500 tax credit?
I heard that the tax credit is refundable. What does that mean?
What is the difference between a tax credit and a tax deduction?
Can I claim the tax credit if I finance the purchase of my home under a mortgage revenue bond (MRB) program?
I live in the District of Columbia. Can I claim both the DC first-time home buyer credit and this new credit?
I am not a U.S. citizen. Can I claim the tax credit?
Does the credit have to be paid back to the government? If so, what are the payback provisions?
Why must the money be repaid?
Because the money must be repaid, isn’t the first-time home buyer program really a zero-interest loan rather than a traditional tax credit?
If I’m qualified for the tax credit and buy a home in 2009, can I apply the tax credit against my 2008 tax return?
For a home purchase in 2009, can I choose whether to treat the purchase as occurring in 2008 or 2009, depending on in which year my credit amount is the largest?
Is there any way for a home buyer to access the money allocable to the credit sooner than waiting to file their 2008 tax return?

Who is eligible to claim the $7,500 tax credit?
First time home buyers purchasing any kind of home—new or resale—are eligible for the tax credit. To qualify for the tax credit, a home purchase must occur on or after April 9, 2008 and before July 1, 2009. For the purposes of the tax credit, the purchase date is the date when closing occurs.

What is the definition of a first-time home buyer?
The law defines "first-time home buyer" as a buyer who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase. For married taxpayers, the law tests the homeownership history of both the home buyer and his/her spouse. For example, if you have not owned a home in the past three years but your spouse has owned a principal residence, neither you nor your spouse qualifies for the first-time home buyer tax credit. Ownership of a vacation home or rental property not used as a principal residence does not disqualify a buyer as a first-time home buyer.

How do I claim the tax credit? Do I need to complete a form or application?
Participating in the tax credit program is easy. You claim the tax credit on your federal income tax return. No other applications or forms are required. No pre-approval is necessary; however, prospective home buyers will want to be sure they qualify for the credit under the income limits and first-time home buyer tests.

What types of homes will qualify for the tax credit?
Any home purchased by an eligible first-time home buyer will qualify for the credit, provided that the home will be used as a principal residence and the buyer has not owned a home in the previous three years. This includes single-family detached homes, attached homes like townhouses and condominiums, manufactured homes (also known as mobile homes) and houseboats.

Instead of buying a new home from a home builder, I have hired a contractor to construct a home on a lot that I already own. Do I still qualify for the tax credit?
Yes. For the purposes of the home buyer tax credit, a principal residence that is constructed by the home owner is treated by the tax code as having been "purchased" on the date the owner first occupies the house. In this situation, the date of first occupancy must be on or after April 9, 2008 and before July 1, 2009.

In contrast, for newly-constructed homes bought from a home builder, eligibility for the tax credit is determined by the settlement date.

What is "modified adjusted gross income"?
Modified adjusted gross income or MAGI is defined by the IRS. To find it, a taxpayer must first determine "adjusted gross income" or AGI. AGI is total income for a year minus certain deductions (known as "adjustments" or "above-the-line deductions"), but before itemized deductions from Schedule A or personal exemptions are subtracted. On Forms 1040 and 1040A, AGI is the last number on page 1 and first number on page 2 of the form. For Form 1040-EZ, AGI appears on line 4 (as of 2007). Note that AGI includes all forms of income including wages, salaries, interest income, dividends and capital gains.

To determine modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), add to AGI certain amounts such as foreign income, foreign-housing deductions, student-loan deductions, IRA-contribution deductions and deductions for higher-education costs.

If my modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is above the limit, do I qualify for any tax credit?
Possibly. It depends on your income. Partial credits of less than $7,500 are available for some taxpayers whose MAGI exceeds the phaseout limits. The credit becomes totally unavailable for individual taxpayers with a modified adjusted gross income of more than $95,000 and for married taxpayers filing joint returns with an AGI of more than $170,000.

Can you give me an example of how the partial tax credit is determined?
Just as an example, assume that a married couple has a modified adjusted gross income of $160,000. The applicable phaseout to qualify for the tax credit is $150,000, and the couple is $10,000 over this amount. Dividing $10,000 by $20,000 yields 0.5. When you subtract 0.5 from 1.0, the result is 0.5. To determine the amount of the partial first-time home buyer tax credit that is available to this couple, multiply $7,500 by 0.5. The result is $3,750.

Here’s another example: assume that an individual home buyer has a modified adjusted gross income of $88,000. The buyer’s income exceeds $75,000 by $13,000. Dividing $13,000 by $20,000 yields 0.65. When you subtract 0.65 from 1.0, the result is 0.35. Multiplying $7,500 by 0.35 shows that the buyer is eligible for a partial tax credit of $2,625.

Please remember that these examples are intended to provide a general idea of how the tax credit might be applied in different circumstances. You should always consult your tax advisor for information relating to your specific circumstances.

Does the credit amount differ based on tax filing status?
No. The credit is in general equal to $7,500 for a qualified home purchase, whether the home buyer files taxes as a single or married taxpayer. However, if a household files their taxes as "married filing separately" (in effect, filing two returns), then the credit of $7,500 is claimed as a $3,750 credit on each of the two returns.

Are there any circumstances for which buyers whose incomes are at or below the $75,000 limit for singles or the $150,000 limit for married taxpayers might not be able to claim the full $7,500 tax credit?
In general, the tax credit is equal to 10% of the qualified home purchase price, but the credit amount is capped or limited at $7,500. For most first-time home buyers, this means the credit will equal $7,500. For home buyers purchasing a home priced less than $75,000, the credit will equal 10% of the purchase price.

I heard that the tax credit is refundable. What does that mean?
The fact that the credit is refundable means that the home buyer credit can be claimed even if the taxpayer has little or no federal income tax liability to offset. Typically this involves the government sending the taxpayer a check for a portion or even all of the amount of the refundable tax credit.

For example, if a qualified home buyer expected, notwithstanding the tax credit, federal income tax liability of $5,000 and had tax withholding of $4,000 for the year, then without the tax credit the taxpayer would owe the IRS $1,000 on April 15th. Suppose now that taxpayer qualified for the $7,500 home buyer tax credit. As a result, the taxpayer would receive a check for $6,500 ($7,500 minus the $1,000 owed).

What is the difference between a tax credit and a tax deduction?
A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in what the taxpayer owes. That means that a taxpayer who owes $7,500 in income taxes and who receives a $7,500 tax credit would owe nothing to the IRS.

A tax deduction is subtracted from the amount of income that is taxed. Using the same example, assume the taxpayer is in the 15 percent tax bracket and owes $7,500 in income taxes. If the taxpayer receives a $7,500 deduction, the taxpayer’s tax liability would be reduced by $1,125 (15 percent of $7,500), or lowered from $7,500 to $6,375.

Can I claim the tax credit if I finance the purchase of my home under a mortgage revenue bond (MRB) program?
No. The tax credit cannot be combined with the MRB home buyer program.

I live in the District of Columbia. Can I claim both the DC first-time home buyer credit and this new credit?
No. You can claim only one.

I am not a U.S. citizen. Can I claim the tax credit?
Maybe. Anyone who is not a nonresident alien (as defined by the IRS), who has not owned a principal residence in the previous three years and who meets the income limits test may claim the tax credit for a qualified home purchase. The IRS provides a definition of "nonresident alien" in IRS Publication 519.

Does the credit have to be paid back to the government? If so, what are the payback provisions?
Yes, the tax credit must be repaid. Home buyers will be required to repay the credit to the government, without interest, over 15 years or when they sell the house, if there is sufficient capital gain from the sale. For example, a home buyer claiming a $7,500 credit would repay the credit at $500 per year. The home owner does not have to begin making repayments on the credit until two years after the credit is claimed. So if the tax credit is claimed on the 2008 tax return, a $500 payment is not due until the 2010 tax return is filed. If the home owner sold the home, then the remaining credit amount would be due from the profit on the home sale. If there was insufficient profit, then the remaining credit payback would be forgiven.

Why must the money be repaid?
Congress’s intent was to provide as large a financial resource as possible for home buyers in the year that they purchase a home. In addition to helping first-time home buyers, this will maximize the stimulus for the housing market and the economy, will help stabilize home prices, and will increase home sales. The repayment requirement reduces the effect on the Federal Treasury and assumes that home buyers will benefit from stabilized and, eventually, increasing future housing prices.

Because the money must be repaid, isn’t the first-time home buyer program really a zero-interest loan rather than a traditional tax credit?
Yes. Because the tax credit must be repaid, it operates like a zero-interest loan. Assuming an interest rate of 7%, that means the home owner saves up to $4,200 in interest payments over the 15-year repayment period. Compared to $7,500 financed through a 30-year mortgage with a 7% interest rate, the home buyer tax credit saves home buyers over $8,100 in interest payments. The program is called a tax credit because it operates through the tax code and is administered by the IRS. Also like a tax credit, it provides a reduction in tax liability in the year it is claimed.
If I’m qualified for the tax credit and buy a home in 2009, can I apply the tax credit against my 2008 tax return?
Yes. The law allows taxpayers to choose ("elect") to treat qualified home purchases in 2009 as if the purchase occurred on December 31, 2008. This means that the 2008 income limit (MAGI) applies and the election accelerates when the credit can be claimed (tax filing for 2008 returns instead of for 2009 returns). A benefit of this election is that a home buyer in 2009 will know their 2008 MAGI with certainty, thereby helping the buyer know whether the income limit will reduce their credit amount.
For a home purchase in 2009, can I choose whether to treat the purchase as occurring in 2008 or 2009, depending on in which year my credit amount is the largest?
Yes. If the applicable income phaseout would reduce your home buyer tax credit amount in 2009 and a larger credit would be available using the 2008 MAGI amounts, then you can choose the year that yields the largest credit amount.
Is there any way for a home buyer to access the money allocable to the credit sooner than waiting to file their 2008 tax return?
Yes. Prospective home buyers who believe they qualify for the tax credit are permitted to reduce their income tax withholding. Reducing tax withholding (up to the amount of the credit) will enable the future home buyer to accumulate cash by raising his/her take home pay. This money can then be applied to the downpayment. Buyers should adjust their withholding amount on their W-4 via their employer or through their quarterly estimated tax payment. IRS Publication 919 contains rules and guidelines for income tax withholding. Prospective home buyers should note that if income tax withholding is reduced and the tax credit qualified purchase does not occur, then the individual would be liable for repayment to the IRS of income tax and possible interest charges and penalties.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

10 Tips to Avoid Foreclosure

As everyone knows foreclosure rates are up all across the US. Each month more than 250 families are foreclosed on. There is help, but most families are not acting fast enough. It is imperative that you ask for help as soon as you see trouble. These tips are provided to educate homeowners who are facing foreclosure.

Should you find yourself getting behind on your mortgage payment ACT NOW

1. Don't Ignore The Problem The further you fall behind the tougher it will become to reinstate your loan and the higher the chance of losing your home.

2. Contact Your Bank/Lender As soon as you realize you have a problem. The bank/lender does not want your house. They have options to help borrowers through tough times.

3. Open And Respond To All Mail From Your Lender Normally, the first notices contain good information about foreclosure prevention options to help get you through a tough financial period. later mail may include information about impending legal actions. Failure to open your mail is not an acceptable excuse in foreclosure court.

4. Know Your Mortgage Rights Locate your mortgage documents and read them so you know what your lender can do if you can't make your mortgage payments. Learn about foreclosure laws and time frames in your state (as every state is different) by contacting the State Government Housing Office.

5. Understand Foreclosure Prevention Options Valuable information about foreclosure (also called loss mitigation) can be found on the Internet at www.fha.gov

6. Contact A Non Profit Housing Counselor The Us Department of Housing Urban Development funds free or very low cost housing counselors nationwide. Housing counselors can help you understand the law and your options, organize your finances and represent you in negotiations with your lender if you need assistance.

7. Prioritize Your Spending After health care keeping your home should be your main priority. Review your spending and see what you can cut spending to make your mortgage payment. Look for optional expenses, like cable, health club memberships, entertainment you can eliminate. Delay payments on unsecured debt such as credit cards until you have your mortgage paid.

8. Use Your Assets Do you have a second car? Whole Life insurance with cash value? Items you can sell to help reinstate your loan. Can a member of the household get a second job? Even if these efforts don't significantly increase your available cash or your income, they demonstrate to your lender that you are willing to make sacrifices in order to keep your home.

9. Avoid Foreclosure Prevention Companies for-profit companies will contact you promising to negotiate with your lender a plan to work out your loan. While these may be legitimate business' they will charge you a hefty fee (up to 3 months of your monthly mortgage) for providing information and services your lender or a HUD approved housing counselor will provide for free if you contact them. You don't need to pay money for help- use that money towards your mortgage instead.

10. Don't Lose Your Home To A Foreclosure Recovery Scandal If any firm claims they can stop foreclosure immediately if you sign a document appointing them to act on your behalf, you could be signing your home over to them and becoming a renter in your own home. Never sign a legal document without reading it or understanding it. Always get professional legal advice from an attorney, a HUD approved housing counselor or a trusted real estate professional.

To find out more about HUD approved housing agencies and their services go to www.hud.gov or call toll free 1 800 569-4287 weekdays between 9 AM and 5 PM Eastern Standard Time. You can receive the three closest housing counselors nearest you.

Good Luck. This information provided by The H Team a professional team of Realtors serving the St. Louis area. Experienced Loss Mitigation and Short Sale specialists.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Legislation to permit Seller-Funded Downpayment Assistance

On September 16, the House Financial Services Committee approved H.R. 6694 the "FHA Seller-Financed Down Payment Reform and Risk-Based Pricing Authorization Act of 2008' (Whew what a mouthful) Introduced by Rep AL Green (D-TX) will allow seller-funded down payment assistance to continue for certain borrowers only.
H.R. 3221, the Housing and Economic Recovery Act which became law in July 2008, actually prohibits Seller Down payment Assistance which began in October 2008. H.R. 6694 would allow seller-funded down payment assistance for borrowers with credit scores above 619. Borrowers with scores between 620-680 will be required to pay a higher up-front premium (3%) and higher annual premiums (1.25%. Those above 680 will not have to pay the higher fees.

** NAR Washington News Report September 22, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

Take the Stress Out of Homebuying

Buying a home should be fun, not stressful. As you look for your dream home, keep in mind these tips for making the process as peaceful as possible.

1. Find a real estate agent who you connect with. Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the REALTOR® you chose is both highly skilled and a good fit with your personality.

2. Remember, there’s no “right” time to buy, just as there’s no perfect time to sell. If you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer — you risk losing out on the home of your dreams. The housing market usually doesn’t change fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won’t stay on the market long.

3. Don’t ask for too many opinions. It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of your immediate family — the people who will be living in the home.

4. Accept that no house is ever perfect. If it’s in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go.

5. Don’t try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price or by refusing to budge on your offer may cost you the home you love. Negotiation is give and take.

6. Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself — room size, kitchen, etc. — that you forget about important issues as noise level, location to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life.

7. Plan ahead. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate home insurance, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.

8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

9. Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big financial commitment. But it also yields big benefits. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to buy a home and what made you fall in love with the property you purchased.

10. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4 percent annually over from 1998 to 2002, a home’s most important role is to serve as a comfortable, safe place to live.

To insure a stress-free transaction contact The H Team today. Ask about our free Buyer’s Guide.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sharp decline in Mortgage Rates This Week

Sharp Decline in Mortgage Rates This Week

Mortgage rates declined Tuesday after the Federal Reserve said it would spend $600 billion to support the mortgage securities market.

Rates fell to 4 7/8 percent, a 1 1/8 percentage point decline. David Beadle, president of BestInfo, said it was the sharpest one-day decline since 1988.

"I hope that the effect is that it brings more investors home to investing in housing," said Alfred DelliBovi, president of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York. “[Investors] have had a sense in the markets that anything connected with a mortgage is bad" even though most people pay their home loans, he said.

Source: Reuters News, Al Yoon and Lynn Adler (11/25/2008)

Let The H Team help you get pre-approved with Christie Gabel. A full service loan officer with years of experience.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Getting Your Home Ready For Winter

Getting Your Home Ready For The Winter


Disconnect all hose bibs.

Turn off all exterior freeze faucets

Caulk around all Windows

Cover Air Conditioning Unit


With the furnace off.. Take your vacuum cleaner and clean out around the coils/ heat exchanger. Next change the filter.

Insulate your H2O heater and install pipe wraps on the line coming out of the heater. Make sure your H2O heater is on medium to conserve energy.

All basement windows should be caulked. Install insulation along all exterior door frames.

If you use a fabric softner sheet make sure you remove the dryer vent screen and wash it with water. This will help extend the life of your dryer.

Check dryer vent hoses to insure they are free of debris.

Main Living Area

Caulk around every window,, top, bottom and sides.

Install door frame insulation to all exterior doors.

Install door sweeps on the bottom of all exterior doors.

Install outlet and light switch insulators on any outlets or switches on exterior facing walls.

Install a programmable thermostat.

Vacuum all heat registers.

Hire a chimney sweep to clean chimney

By becoming pro-active now you will save energy and have a warmer home. For a list of qualified contractors contact The H Team today.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Considering "Rent To Own" Things to Know

In today's Real Estate market some sellers are considering "Rent To Own. Is it for you? Here are some thoughts if you are the buyer or if you are the seller. As with any other contractural agreement consult a licensed professional.

Rent-to-Own Deals: Smart Questions to Ask...

For Sellers:

Who will tend to the property and pay for routine maintenance?

Who pays for major repairs?

What are the costs of setting up and managing an escrow account for the portion of rent allotted to the down payment?

Will you manage the property yourself, or hire an agent?

What if the renters change their minds? Who keeps the money in the escrow account?

If the buyers change their minds, what will be required to put the property back on the market?

For Buyers:
How much of the rent is going to the down payment?

How locked in are you if you change your mind?

What will it cost you to get out of the deal?

How long will it take to accumulate enough of a down payment that you are likely to qualify for a mortgage?

Need an agent experienced in Rent To Own? Contact The H Team today.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mortgage Foreclosure Debt Relief

Today’s Home Owners are facing a lot of stress due to changing market conditions that are forcing foreclosure or a short sale of their home..
As the government takes action to stabilize the housing market, homeowners must understand the potential tax implications and new rules regarding these often once in a lifetime transactions.
“It’s hard to believe, but prior to December of 2007, if a homeowner lost his house due to a bank foreclosure, and the bank forgave any difference between the price it was sold for and what was owed, the homeowner would owe additional income tax on that portion,” said Chris Kaucnik, Director of Marketing for HWA.
Michael J. Greenen, CPA and Certified Financial Planner offers an example, “Let’s say the homeowner owed $300,000 on the mortgage, but the foreclosure sale only brought in $200,000. Then the bank forgave the $100,000 shortfall, called cancellation of debt. The homeowner would have been liable for the income tax on the $100,000 debt forgiveness from the bank.”
“Now, because of the unique stresses in the housing industry lately and on our whole economy, last December Congress stepped in to provide temporary relief in the form of forgiving this debt, but only for the 2007, 2008 and 2009 tax years. After that, the old rule applies again,” adds Greenen.
There are conditions that apply to this tax relief:
– To be eligible, the mortgage must be for the principal residence, not vacation, investment or other properties.
– No more than $2,000,000 of forgiven debt can be excluded from taxable income.
– When part of the debt is from a home equity loan, it cannot have been used for purposes other than to build, buy or substantially improve the property otherwise that portion used for other purposes is still taxable.
– When a short sale occurs*, the portion of the mortgage the bank may forgive, including any commission expenses and other selling costs are taxable other than for 2007, 2008 and 2009.
– When the lender agrees to reduce a mortgage payment for a homeowner to keep them in their home, the amount it is reduced by is taxable other than for these relief years.**
– This Act also extended mortgage insurance as an itemized deduction through 2010 on mortgage contracts entered into between 12/31/06 and 1/1/11.
* A short sale is when a borrower is behind on the mortgage payments and the lender agrees the house can be sold for less than what is owed on the mortgage. But all proceeds must be turned over to the bank.
** This does effect eventual capital gain exclusions when the homeowner decides to sell the home. Consult with a professional tax accountant or attorney for advice and information as soon as possible.

Information provided from HWA.

Determine your Homes current value and possible sale price by contacting The H Team today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Keeping Your Fireplace Clean

How to Keep Your Fireplace Clean

Winter and cold fall nights are on the way. When did you last take a minute to Thank your fireplace for keeping you warm? What about the nights when its flames sparked an evening of romance, or when that special smell brought comfort and calm to you and your family? There’s really an easy and great way to thank your fireplace.
Take Care Of It!
No matter how well you care for a fireplace, the flue inside your chimney suffers a gradual build-up of creosote (hard-layered residue from the wood-smoke), which can catch fire. Periodic chimney-cleaning is necessary in order to avoid such a catastrophe. This isn’t a do-it-yourself project; you need to hire a professional to clean your chimney.
Have your chimney cleaned once a year if you use it a lot. If you use your fireplace two or three times per week during colder months, have it inspected and cleaned each year. Another handy method is to inspect and clean after every 70 fires. Ask the chimney inspector about the condition of your flue liner and (if you have a masonry chimney) mortar.
So how can you reduce creosote build-up and keep your fireplace and chimney as clean as possible this season?
First of all, encourage good draft up your chimney, simply by keeping a window open a crack when you burn a fire. The air entering your room will get sucked up the chimney. Opening a window also ensures that your indoor air quality stays good while you burn the fire.
If you have glass fireplace doors, invest in a screen to block the fire instead of using glass. Doing so will also aid in ventilating the fire and encouraging airflow through the flue.
In addition to the aforementioned ventilation tips, you can reduce creosote build-up by using only dry hardwood logs, which burn more completely.
Clean the ash out of the fireplace. Wear a dust mask, open a window in the room and then open the damper to let the draft suck any airborne ash out of the fireplace. Then, using fire gloves, remove the old coals. Carefully sweep the remaining dust into a dustpan. Remember to wait about three days after your most recent fire to do any of this; embers stay hot for a surprisingly long time!
Cap your chimney. Not only can an uncapped chimney collect gunk and debris, but it can also cause your damper to rust or even invite animals to make it their unlucky home.
Glass cleaners, brick cleaners and other appropriate cleaners are available for purchase to maintain the happy appearance of your fireplace. If you have dish soap handy, simply dilute it to make your own glass cleaner.
Taking care of your fireplace will insure staying warm on those cold wtinter nights and increase the safety for your family.
For a list of licensed chimney sweeps in the area just contact The H Team

* Adapted from an article written by Brian McDonald RIS Media, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

November is Home Staging Awarness Month

STOCKTON, Calif., Oct 31, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The Real Estate Staging Association (RESA), the Trade Association for Professional Home Stagers, has announced that November is Home Staging Awareness Month. RESA's goals are to facilitate positive interactions within the home staging industry, provide support to professional stagers in addition to promoting the benefits of home staging to the consumer. The Interior Redesign Industry Specialists (IRIS), and American Society of Home Stagers and Redesigners (ASHSR) are also partnering with RESA as National Co-Sponsors of Home Staging Awareness Month in a unified effort to bring industry professionals together. All professional stagers are invited to attend and participate in this ground breaking event.
These leading Staging Professional Organizations have partnered with members of "Stage it Forward" (SIF) a powerful internet blogging community that is hosted by the Real Estate Blogging website called Active Rain. ( www.ActiveRain.com) SIF is conducting "Home Staging Round Table Discussions" throughout North America during the month of November, "Home Staging Awareness" month, in order to bring home stagers together to discuss vital industry issues. If you would like to attend a Round Table Visit www.RealEstateStagingAssociation.com and click on the event calendar to find a location near you.
Other industry partners such as BEKINS PODS, IKEA, THE PLANT ATRIUM, CORT FURNITURE RENTAL, BROOK FURNITURE RENTAL, KELLER WILLIAMS and THE ENERGIZED SELLER, are sponsoring the events. For a full list of industry partners and sponsors please visit www.RealEstateStagingAssociation.com and click on the SIF button on the menu.
RESA has released "The Consumers Guide To Real Estate Staging", free publication that explains the benefits of staging and how to choose a professional stager. The publication is available to homeowners and Real Estate Professional. To download a free copy visit www.RealEstateStagingAssociation.com.
For more information on home staging, or to join a Round Table, find a professional stager, or sponsor a future event, please contact one of these organizations: RESA -The Real Estate Staging Association visit www.RealEstateStagingAssociation.com or call 888-201-8687 speak to Shell Brodnax; IRIS - Interior Redesign Industry Specialists www.WeReDesign.com or call 877-674-8667 speak to Sandy Dixon; ASHSR - American Society of Home Stagers and Redesigners www.ASHSR.com or call 888-563-9271 and speak to Audra Slinkey.
Should you desire a local staging company contact The H Team
SOURCE: Real Estate Staging Association

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Understanding Your Relationship With A Realtor

It’s important to understand what legal responsibilities your real estate salesperson has to you and to other parties in the transaction. Ask what type of agency relationship your agent has with you:

Seller's representative (also known as a listing agent or seller's agent)
A seller's agent is hired by and represents the seller. All fiduciary duties are owed to the seller. The agency relationship usually is created by a listing contract.

Buyer's representative (also known as a buyer’s agent)
A buyer’s agent is hired by prospective buyers to represent them in a real estate transaction. The buyer's rep works in the buyer's best interest throughout the transaction and owes fiduciary duties to the buyer. The buyer can pay the licensee directly through a negotiated fee, or the buyer's rep may be paid by the seller or through a commission split with the seller’s agent. Free Seller Representation

A subagent owes the same fiduciary duties to the agent's customer as the agent does. Subagency usually arises when a cooperating sales associate from another brokerage, who is not the buyer’s agent, shows property to a buyer. In such a case, the subagent works with the buyer as a customer but owes fiduciary duties to the listing broker and the seller. Although a subagent cannot assist the buyer in any way that would be detrimental to the seller, a buyer-customer can expect to be treated honestly by the subagent. It is important that subagents fully explain their duties to buyers.

Disclosed dual agent
Dual agency is a relationship in which the brokerage firm represents both the buyer and the seller in the same real estate transaction. Dual agency relationships do not carry with them all of the traditional fiduciary duties to clients. Instead, dual agents owe limited fiduciary duties. Because of the potential for conflicts of interest in a dual-agency relationship, it's vital that all parties give their informed consent. In many states, this consent must be in writing. Disclosed dual agency, in which both the buyer and the seller are told that the agent is representing both of them, is legal in most states.

Designated agent (also called appointed agent)
This is a brokerage practice that allows the managing broker to designate which licensees in the brokerage will act as an agent of the seller and which will act as an agent of the buyer. Designated agency avoids the problem of creating a dual-agency relationship for licensees at the brokerage. The designated agents give their clients full representation, with all of the attendant fiduciary duties. The broker still has the responsibility of supervising both groups of licensees.

Nonagency relationship (called, among other things, a transaction broker or facilitator)
Some states permit a real estate licensee to have a type of nonagency relationship with a consumer. These relationships vary considerably from state to state, both as to the duties owed to the consumer and the name used to describe them. Very generally, the duties owed to the consumer in a nonagency relationship are less than the complete, traditional fiduciary duties of an agency relationship.

**Adapted with permission from REALTOR Magazine consumer handout.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

10 Easy To Do Ways to Increase Your Home Value

Home sellers can raise their property value in a down market by making a few changes and adding a few things prior to placing their home on the market.

1. Paint the exterior – Painting the exterior of your home can give your home a facelift, and can be done for a lot less than you may think. Choose a neutral color that blends in with neighboring homes. Make sure eaves, gutters and drains may also need painting or updating.

2. Complete all needed repairs – Your Realtor should be able to refer you to an Ashi Certified Home Inspector who will be able to provide a list of items you need to repair prior to placing your home on the market. We also suggest a Radon test.

3. Purchase a home warranty – A Realtor can provide a Home Warranty Company. They will increase the new buyer’s peace of mind, knowing that most major components of your house are covered should they fail. Normal cost ranges from $350.00 to $450.00, dependent on the size of your house.

4. Stage the home to sell – Hire a Realtor who can help you stage your home to sell. By staging the property it allows the potential buyer to visualize the property as their own. Removing things like clutter, personal photographs, monogram towels, etc.

5. Increase front yard curb appeal – People are more likely to tour a home when the front yard looks inviting. Adding color, landscape lighting and replacing dead grass areas with sod will make your home more inviting and increase your visitors.

6. Easy inexpensive kitchen makeover – Most decision makers base their decision to buy a house on the kitchen. Although you can’t make it larger you can upgrade a bit. New stainless steel appliances, cabinet fronts, hardware, flooring even replacing dated countertops will increase the ohs and ahs when potential buyers are touring your house.

7. Update your bathroom - Your master bath is very important in determing a home’s value... By turning the bath into a spa, it will become a welcome relaxing space. Upgrade the faucets, fixtures, lighting, cabinetry, and mirrors. Adding some plants, candles and luxiourious towels will also increase the buyer’s interest.

8. Replace the carpets - Instead of cleaning old, used carpet, replace it with fresh, neutral-toned carpet with an upgraded pad for an extra luxurious feel, or install pergo flooring to really increase the WOW factor.
9. Upgrade doors and hardware – Replace old doors with modern 6 panel doors. If replacing the doors is out of the question at least change out the old hardware with an updated look of pewter, anything other than brass.

10. Clean - Your house has to look and smell fresh. Clean all the appliances, including the oven, make sure all fixtures gleam. Place a basket of potpourri in the bedroom and light a few candles. Vacuum and dust everything. A clean house projects a well taken care of home.
By following these 10 easy to do ideas will result in more visitors viewing your house which will greatly increase your possibility of selling the house. Contact The H Team today for your free Home Staging report.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Selling or Not Selling in the Fall

As Fall begins most Home sellers begin thinking, “I need to take my home off the market”, or “Fall is not the time to place my home on the market”
As a full time Realtor, I can tell you that is the wrong thinking.
People buy houses when they need a house, which can be any season of the year. While it’s true, Spring, historically is the best time to market your house, due in fact that families with school age children who want to get situated into a new home prior to the start of the new school season, I think fall brings out the serious lookers who have to move right away. Due to job changes, relocation, downsizing, or upsizing.
A big plus as to why you should keep your home on the market during fall is less competition and agents have less listings so yours gets more attention and possibly more marketing dollars.
Waiting till Spring or taking your home off the market in the fall may result in you receiving a lower price for your home when you relist in the spring. Most economists tell us we have not hit the bottom on home values yet and by pulling it off and waiting may result in a lower listing price later.
The first thing sellers have to do is look how their home is priced. Is it the highest priced home in the area or the lowest priced? You want your home to be the “best buy”, which will increase traffic and will normally result in multiple offers or offers at full list without concessions on your part.
Drive around the area on Sunday afternoons, to tour competing properties. Look at the pluses and minuses compared to your home. Do they offer nice wood floors while yours offers 6 year old worn out carpet? Is their kitchen dated while yours is updated with stainless steel appliances? You have to be very objective and critical. If the properties are close in comparison , give the advantage to the comparable property.
Increase your home’s curb appeal. You can purchase potted Mums at most garden centers place a few on the porch and maybe even plant a few in your garden beds and allow the colors to pop out at approaching buyers. Install fall decorations on the front door and throughout the home, a nice burning spice candle or potpourri increases the buyers senses.
Get rid of personal items, like photos on the fridge. Remove clutter, nick-knacks. Do some updates, splash some color on the walls, remove old outdated wall paper, update the carpet or re-seal the wood floors. Clean and deodorize your house. If your house is a higher priced property people like to see granite counter tops, ceramic tile, stainless steel appliances and other high end updates.
Try hiring a staging expert who can get rid of your clutter and open the space up. Some Realtors like The H Team provide basic staging advice and it’s offered as part of our marketing plan. Staging can increase the offer’s on your house.
So, regardless of what you’ve heard, placing your property on the market in the fall or keeping your house on the market in the fall can result in you receiving an offer.
The Real Estate market is always changing in the St. Louis area but by working with Realtors who are experienced, knowledgeable, trustworthy, and educated you’ll increase your chances of success. Contact The H Team today for a free non-obligation evaluation that includes a comparitive market analysis, a free staging report, and a free home sellers how-to guide.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Staging Your Bathroom to Sell

Real estate agents will tell you that kitchens and bathrooms are the most important rooms in your home, that determine a sellers decision to make an offer on your home. Staging your bathroom is essential to appeal to the prospective buyer. By doing a good job staging your bathroom, will result in buyers remembering your home over other homes they’ve viewed.

Fixtures & Details
Be sure all fixtures are in good condition with no leaks or drips. If your plumbing fixtures are outdated, replacing them with sleek modern fixtures. Replacing the fixtures is an inexpensive and easy to do fix. Brass fixtures are outdated, choose pewter or stainless steel. How bout your lighting fixtures? Replace them too if they’re outdated.

Color & D├ęcor
Color coordinate some fluffy towels with your bathroom color scheme and place them on the towel racks just before buyers arrive. Add a matching bathmat, a floral arrangement and some floating candles in a pretty bowl. Open any blinds to allow natural light in. Painting your walls with some color will help improve the appearance also.

Scrub & Replace
Shower doors should gleam. Remove all lime and soap scum deposits, scrubing it with a scouring pad and a mixture of ten parts water and one part muriatic acid. If it still looks dull and lifeless, replace it with a new one. This method also works well for cleaning tile. Thoroughly clean tile grout or replace it. Also make your mirror shine or update it with a round or oval shaped one.

Clean & Deodorize
Always clean your bathroom thoroughly before your home is shown. The room needs to sparkle from top to bottom. It should have sufficient lighting but not be overly bright. Keep counters and shelves clear of clutter. Put away all blow dryers, curling irons, combs and brushes. Remember to empty, clean and deodorize wastebaskets. Also, clean the exhaust fan. Leave no sign of dust or dirt. A spotty or messy bathroom will turn prospective buyers off.

Making your bathroom a “WOW” experience for the prospective buyer may result in receiving an offer to purchase your house.

For a free evaluation of your property and your own "Get it Staged Correctly" report contact The H Team today.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Preparing Your Home for Fall

Clean the air ducts in your heating system. Vacuum dirt from all floor vents, baseboard heaters and the cold air return. Dust build-up is a major cause of indoor dirty air. In a home that is insulated and air tight for the winter, dust increases the possibility of illness.

Check the heating system. Change the filter every month, check the pilot light and burners in a system fueled by gas or oil. Fireplaces, boilers, water heaters, space heaters and wood burning stoves should also be serviced and checked every year.

Clean out your gutters. Remove all debris that slows down the ability for your gutters to drain effectively from the roof. Standing water in your gutter can freeze and thaw, which will crack and break your gutters.

Check the roof. Look for loose or missing shingles, gaps in the vents and flues, as well as damaged mortar around the chimney. Immediate maintenance can prevent emergencies and expensive repairs.

Check steps and handrails. Repair any broken steps and secure all loose banisters.

Inspect exterior walls and window sills. Check walls and window sills for damage such as cracks, gaps, loose or crumbling mortar, along with splitting and decaying wood. Caulk exterior joints around windows and doors, which will lower heating bills

Remove any damaged tree limbs. Dead branches will damage a roof or a deck if they break and fall off.

Test all smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detectors. Often alarms and detectors go unattended. Batteries should be changed every six months. Most people change them when they have to reset their clocks for daylight savings in the spring and fall.

Pools, sprinkler systems and outside faucets. Homeowners can shut down outside faucets, and disconnect all outside hose bibs from hoses. Professionals should blow out and winterize sprinkler systems.Remove all pond equipment.

Preparing your home in the fall will allow you to keep the cold air of winter outside. For a free checklist of additional items to complete before Old Man Winter arrives contact The H Team

Monday, September 29, 2008

What to do if you're facing foreclosure

Are you falling behind on mortgage payments? Has your loan been referred to an attorney? Are you receiving lots of junk mail, offering to buy your house? You must act fast to avoid losing your home. The most important step you can take is to start returning phone calls, asking for help from your mortgage lender, servicer, or housing counselor.

Most folks stop answering their phones or opening their mail. You have to become pro-active. Delaying and falling further behind will result in fewer options.

Your mortgage lender doesn't want to foreclose so by finding a solution that avoids foreclosure will be better for you and better for them. Foreclosure destroys your credit and will greatly reduce your ability to borrow money or buy another home in the future.

It is important to be open and honest about your financial situation with your lender or serviceing company. Here are the steps to take to prevent foreclosure:

· Call your lender or loan servicer and discuss your situation; The contact information will be on your monthly mortgage statement or coupon book.

· If you can't reach your lender or servicer or you do not receive help; Call Homeownership Preservation Foundation at 1-888-995-HOPE. Their experienced counselors can help you develop the best plan for your personal financial situation. This is a free service.

· Gather the information you will need. You will be asked to provide:

All correspondence from your lender,including any foreclosure notices
Mortgage statements showing your loan number
Your homeowner's insurance policy
Last two years of tax return for all borrowers named on the mortgage
Pay stubs or unemployment compensation verification
Proof of any other types of income, including child support, alimony, Social Security, or pension
Bank account statements
List of all monthly bills

· Understand all your options: Dependent on your situation, you may have several options which could include the following;

Back end add on; All missed payments are added onto the back side of your original loan. This option is the least desirable as these amounts accumualte interest at a higher interest rate.

Repayment Plan; Your lender may allow you to repay this amount over the remaining period of your loan.

Advance; Mortgage's owned by Fannie Mae may allow you to make an unsecured personal loan through a company such as HomeSaver Advance TM if your missed payments are due to a temporary financial hardship, contact your servicer.

Modification; In some rare cases, mortgage loan terms can be changed on a temporary or permanent basis to make the payment more affordable.

· Avoid foreclosure rescue scams; If there is any kind of fee associated with getting help, stay clear of it. Foreclosure scams will take advantage of your situation.

If your financial situation has changed significantly since you qualified for your home due to unemployment, divorce, job change/relocation, or medical issues, You may just need to sell your home as a result of the changes. Contacting a Realtor is your first step in getting your house sold and/or purchasing a more affordable home.

Pre-foreclosure or Short Sale Specialists work with borrowers to sell the home and use the proceeds to pay off the loan even if the proceeds are not enough to settle the entire balance. They normally will assist you in getting the mortgager to accept a lower price

As you can see there are a number of options available to the home owner who is facing possible foreclosure, but you have to act now and get your head out of the sand. Today the lenders, servicers and mortgage holders understand there are lots of homeowners in trouble and they want to help you prevent foreclosure.

Contact The H Team today to receive your free copy of Preventing Foreclosure.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Home Buyers Jump In Now Don't Miss Out

Everything is finally coming together for Home Buyers.
Prices are down, Interest Rates are down and the Government Incentives are Up!
What a great time to be a Home Buyer. Now is the time to jump into the market with both feet. This fall will be the time. Most real estate forecasters tell us that the market is finally stabilizing and that house prices are pretty close to the lowest they're going to go. That’s the message that should motivate all potential buyers to get serious about finding that new home.

With interest rates down, which may go lower as the government shores up Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

With the current levels of Homes on the market at a 12 year high of about 10.5 months of Inventory, sellers are negotiating to get their properties sold.

And first time home buyers (those that haven't owned a home in two years or more) who have been sitting on the fence can get a $7,500 tax credit next April 15 which should be a big enough incentive for them to get going. And even buyers who won’t owe that much in federal income tax will get the money as a refund.

When you take these factors into considering when to jump in, Now is the time. Contact The H Team and create your own password protected MLS search and receive new listings that meet your criteria via e-mail as soon as they become available.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How to set your Homes Selling Price

Setting the selling (asking) price of your home involves evaluating a number of various conditions in your market area.

When you're ready to sell your home you'll want to contact a full time Realtor to help you determine the list price of your home. He will create a Comparative Market Analysis that will take into consideration, comparable sales, days on market, square footage, updates, special features, lot size, and market conditions.

After all these factors are calculated your Realtor should be able to provide you with a price range to list your house. If he has done the CMA correctly you should estimate receieving about 95% of the list price in todays real estate market.

Beware of the agent who comes to your home unprepared or who gives you a list price way above what the other comparative homes in your area have been selling for.

Once the list price has been determined you'll want to figure you're net proceeds, you will need to deduct the following items to determine that;
Your current loan payoff

Realtor commission

Prepayment penalties if any

Unpaid property taxes ( You normally pay from the first of the year til escrow date)

Unpaid sewer bills

Closing costs

Inspections and any seller repairs required (normally a negotiated agreement)

As your Realtor of choiceThe H Team will prepare a Comparative Market Analysis and provide all the information you need to determine your homes selling price.

For your FREE CMA contact the H Team today.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What Did It Sell For Week ending September 17, 2008

63011Ballwin, MO.

124 Coral Terrace, $135,500

1366 Marsh Av, $150,000

1104 Miremont Dr, $155,000

400 Wyncrest Dr, $180,000

407 Auber Dr, $210,000

16539 Oak Forest Ct, $220,000

63021 Balwwin, MO

1027 Rose Hill Ln, $110,000

1103 Pocono Trail #B, $117,000

701 Ridgeside Dr #D, $119,000

445 Rosedale Terrace, $130,000

1331 Parkview Estates Dr, $154,000

379 Novara Dr, $160,000

626 Dennison Dr, $171,850

808 Westbrooke Meadows Ct, $185,000

1011 Hollyleaf Ct, $190,000

620 Hickory Knoll Ct, $192,000

895 Totem Woods Ct, $194,500

224 Crowsnest Dr, $199,000

525 Vernal Hill Ct, $204,500

543 Oaktree Crossing Ct, $224,500

1926 Strawberry Ridge Dr, $229,000

1565 Glenn Brooke Woods Circle, $237,500

459 Talbert Ct, $238,500

1702 Carman Valley Rd, $273,000

1344 Richland Meadows Dr, $309,000

839 Mallard Woods Dr, $322,000

535 Coachgate Ct, $384,465

1822 Loehr Estates Ct, $426,000

931 Hanna Bend Ct, $470,561

63026 Fenton, MO

1427 Vadera Ct, $110,000

1946 San Miguel Ct, $155,000

2515 Dimus Dr, $169,500

1266 Green Falls Dr, $171,000

1313 Green Mist Dr, $184,000

1006 Oak Terrace Ct, $198,000

1600 Ivy Chase Ln, $280,500

1534 Flora Del Dr, $384,045

63088 Valley Park, MO.

1025 Big Bend Crossing Dr, $154,900

1057 Big Bend Station Dr, $238,000

15 Big Bend Station Ct, $266,000

St Louis County


4825 Hamburg Av, $40,000

4744 Oldenburg Av, $41,000

8030 Genesta St, $95,000

8281 Morganford Rd, $101,200

10011 Echoridge Ln #D, $104,000

7232 Mackenzie Rd, $109,000

7728 General Sherman Ln, $120,000

11116 Marley Dr, $138,900

8952 Anchor Dr, $140,000

9838 Coventry Ln, $140,000

9842 Ione Ln, $145,000

5337 Staely Av, $150,000

10527 Sonata Dr, $154,900

7135 Valbrook Ln, $157,500

9625 Labette Dr, $166,500

7418 Brightwood Dr, $167,000

10082 Lakeshire Dr, $200,000

9803 Antonia Dr, $217,000

9863 Tiffany Square Parkway, $261,500


9502 Gentry Av, $11,750

234 Morris Av, $32,000

3725 Viking Av, $46,801

617 Weiss Av, $100,000

2763 Clager Rd, $105,885

608 Bellsworth Dr, $113,000

3656 Anita Ln, $121,000

3321 Lan Dr, $129,000

905 Wachtel Av, $129,900

1239 Garden Circle Dr #G, $131,000

3301 Avenue H, $131,000

817 Rainbow Dr, $155,000

2854 Telegraph Rd, $206,000


512 Acorn Dr, $157,500

9512 David Scott Dr, $242,500

9133 Rusticwood Trail, $245,000


181 Floralea Place, $134,900


5459 Cherryview Ln, $157,900

4843 Broad Oak Dr, $250,000

4607 Southridge Pines Dr, $255,000

4608 Southridge Pines Dr, $265,000


452 Golden Valley Dr, $115,000

4100 E. Donaldson Dr, $150,000

3534 Pearson Pointe Ct, $165,000

5899 Westcliffe Dr, $193,000

4335 Meadowgreen Estates Dr, $204,900

5616 Wildbrook Dr, $213,000

106 Grimsley Station Rd, $215,000

2706 China Lake Dr, $231,000

7609 Shadybridge Dr, $241,100

Saint Louis City

1014 Mississippi Av, $30,000

1802 Kennett Place #A, $76,250

2327 Tennessee Av, $96,001

2225-27 Sidney St, $97,500

2757 Shenandoah Av, $130,000

3315 Shenandoah Av, $132,601

3006 Victor St, $160,500

1859 S. 10th St #D, $185,000

1515 Lafayette Av #313, $195,000

1515 Lafayette Av #406, $238,000

1010 Russell Blvd, $240,000

1906 Lasalle St, $325,000

2339 Albion Place, $367,000


5017 S. Kingshighway Blvd, $63,000

5616 S. Kingshighway Blvd, $67,900

6627 Tholozan Av, $98,000

7023 Mardel Av, $109,000

5616 Lansdowne Av, $147,900

5708 Finkman St, $148,000

5715 Nottingham Av, $150,000

4942 Delor St, $154,900

6962 Sutherland Av, $167,500

6721 Itaska St, $186,000

5709 Lindenwood Av, $189,000

6439 Lansdowne Av, $239,900

5239 Mardel Av, $246,000

3816 Linden Tree Ln, $269,520

6475 Devonshire Av, $285,000

6204 Clifton Av, $295,000

7028-32 Jamieson Av, $395,000


4211 Arco Av, $69,001

5005-07 Shaw Blvd, $110,000

3926 Botanical Av, $115,000

4023 Botanical Av, $154,000

2118 Edwards St, $183,000

5009-11 Shaw Blvd, $190,000

2124 Marconi St, $210,000

4033 & 4035 McRee Av, $235,000

4060 Blaine Av, $244,899

3920 Blaine Av, $339,000


7316 Michigan Av, $20,000

4614 Alaska Av, $21,500

621 Walsh St, $44,000

7103 Minnesota Av, $97,000

6318 Alaska Av, $115,000

4402 Pennsylvania Av, $156,766

4540 Ohio Av, $164,000

4642-44 Virginia Av, $185,000

5500 Idaho Av, $215,000

4307-09 S. Compton Av, $320,500


4405 Gannett St, $12,000

4555 Adkins Av, $16,444

4762 Goethe Av, $37,000

3837 Fairview Av, $49,000

4846 Allemania St, $55,000

4046 Humphrey St, $56,900

4119 Hartford St, $59,900

4218 Grace Av, $75,000

4648 Newport Av, $75,000

3634 Neosho St, $76,315

4428 Dewey Av, $83,000

6462 Wanda Av, $85,000

7500 Jeanene Av, $108,800

4262 Juniata St, $109,750

4544 Eichelberger St, $119,500

4850 Germania St, $120,000

4143 Wyoming St, $123,700

3863 Meramec St, $140,000

4040 Miami St, $146,000

4041 Miami St, $147,000

4032 Louis St, $169,000

3809 Fairview Av, $178,000

3844 French Ct, $183,500


3739 Oregon Av, $10,000

3504 Illinois Av, $17,000

3511 Wyoming St, $29,761

2206 Chippewa St, $30,000

3526 S. Compton Av, $33,000

3319 Cherokee St, $34,000

2722 Texas Av, $35,000

3553 Michigan Av, $37,000

3452 Illinois Av, $50,000

3620 Virginia Av, $50,884

3415 Klocke St, $71,000

2719 Lemp Av, $100,000

3133 Oregon Av, $123,500

3735 Louisiana Av, $133,000

3816 Illinois Av, $150,000

2623 Virginia Av, $171,500

3505 Utah St, $208,000

2800 Texas Av, $230,500

3451 Halliday Av, $440,000

63119 Includes Webster Groves, MO.

11 Eldorado Ct, $50,000

324 Eldridge Av, $64,000

734 Yeatman Av, $110,000

321 Madison Av, $126,000

7515 Triwoods Dr #C, $133,000

1415 Cheshire Ln, $135,000

5122 Exeter Av, $155,000

1028 N. Bompart Av, $185,500

9908 Gilbrook Av, $196,000

7318 Whitehall Colonial Ln, $209,900

115 Baker Av, $215,000

529 Newport Av, $248,000

471 Toft Ln, $314,900

7500 Lansdowne Av, $315,000

104 W. Jackson Rd, $560,000

320 S. Gore Av, $612,500

Contact The H Team today to learn what houses in your area sold for.

The H team currently serves the areas South of Highway 40 but able to refer a qualified agent to you in any area of the country.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Understanding What A Short Sale Is

The Mortgage Bankers Association, tells us that in the next three months, 250,000 new families will enter into foreclosure. Which means that one child in every classroom in the USA is at risk of losing their home, because Mommy and Daddy are behind on the house payment, usually through no fault of their own.. This means one in 200 homes will be foreclosed on. These statistics are alarming to say the least, but it's what is happening in today's real estate market. Fortunately, it can be a win-win for everyone involved: the home seller, the home buyer, the bank and the real estate agent.

This decline in property values has created many challenges for both real estate agents and homeowners, but a “Short Sale” could be the solution to a happy ending. So, what is a Short Sale? A short sale is a loss mitigation solution. The easiest way to explain it is; When an agent goes into a potential seller’s home and asks “how much do you owe on your home?” and the answer is higher than the neignboring com parables show the current value of the home is, that qualifies the home as a potential Short Sale.

When a homeowner falls behind two months on their mortgage payment and can also show that changes in his/her income reduce their ability to stay current with their mortgage could be considered a short sale candidate. The homeowner is considered pre-foreclosure when the bank sends a notice of default or a notice that they’re taking legal action to collect the debt, this is usually sent certified or registered. Contrary to what most homeowners believe, a short sale can still take place during the foreclosure process. Only two reasons would prevent the homeowner from making a short sale;

The foreclosure has already taken place and the home is placed in an auction.
The homeowner files for bankruptcy.

Now that you have some information on what a Short Sale is, you as a home owner must realize the importance of beginning the short sale process immediately. Due to the recent decline in property values it has created many challenges for homeowners. However, the short sale is the answer for all parties involved, and can benefit the home seller, home buyer and the lender.

The nationwide rise of defaulted mortgages and foreclosures is an opportunity for experienced real estate agents to help homeowners, during a very emotional time. Most experienced Realtors who work with Short Sales have a plan that provides everything the bank is looking for to help prove to the bank the property qualifies as a potential short sale and all the documentation the bank is going to want to see.

If you're a homeowner who is behind on their monthly payment or who has had a major change in earnings and considering a short sale contact The H Team today for a free consultation.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Top 10 Home Buying Mistakes

Buying a home is the largest investment a person will ever make; yet all too often the decision is made in haste without proper preparation

Using this list may help you avoid any costly mistakes;

1. Love at first sight: Falling in love with the place at first sight. Does it meet your family’s needs and budget? Make a list of all your needs and make sure the house fits into those needs. Check out the neighborhood and the community before you buy.Visit at different times of the day and week to learn about noise and traffic patterns. Park on the street and observe some of your neighbors and their actions. Even if you don’t have children, the local schools will have a lot to do with possible resale value.

2. Failure to be Pre-Approved: Getting pre-approved will give you an idea of how much you can afford to borrow. Being pre-approved means a lender has verified your information and credit rating and agreed to provide you with a specific amount of money. Most savvy home sellers are going to require a pre-approval when your offer to purchase is submitted.

3. Buying Too Much: Even though you can purchase a larger home and make the payments, take a reality check. Figure your actual monthly costs, including medical, groceries, automobile, include everything. Try to stay around 38% including your mortgage. Always figure 3% of the sale price for closing costs and another 1% for moving cost, new drapes and decorating costs.

4. On Your Own: Buying a house can be full of pit falls. make sure you hire a qualified buyer's agent, a lender, and a ASHI qualified home inspector. Request referrals from family and friends.

5. Making A Verbal Offer: Not putting an offer in writing allows for too many miscommunication. Never go by a verbal statement, if something is included in the sale like a refrigerator or stove make sure it's written into the contract. A written agreement always stands up in a court of law.

6. Create Contingencies: The more the better. Using a standard St. Louis Realtor contract provides these contingencies;
A. Financing: Allows the bank to have final say regarding appraisal,inspection and your ability to repay.
B. Title: Insures that any potential liens against the property will not pass with the ownership.
C. Insurance: Guarantees that the property is insurable, including flood and hazard insurance if required.
D. Survey: Insures that no other property is encroaching on your property or that your property is encroaching on a neighbors property.

7. Not Reading Everything You Sign: Always read the fine print and ask questions if you don't understand. Getting all the paperwork a few days in advance will allow you to read everything and have your questions ready.

8. Trust: The recent mortgage Crisis reminds us all to do our research and make sure everyone involved in the transaction knows their responsibility and is acting in your best interest, not his/hers.

9. Buy Low Sell High: Purchasing the highest priced home in the area can backfire on you, when the lower priced homes are sold. looking at the amount of foreclosure's on today's markets reminds us that markets can change.

10. Remorse: Don't worry about it. Everything will be fine. Buyers remorse almost always happens after such a large commitment. You've found the perfect house, now enjoy it.

The 'H" Team can assist you as a buyer's agent. Contact Us Today for your free buyers guide.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Is there Radon Gas in Your New Home

You're getting ready to make a real estate purchase in St. Louis, MO. and have scheduled all of your inspections. But have you scheduled them all. Radon is known as the secret killer.

It is the number 2 cause of lung cancer and orderless. It has become easier to test for Radon and you can remove it pretty easily too.

From Consumer Reports, here are some steps to making your home radon-free:

Measurement: The first thing to know is that radon is measured in picocuries per liter (PCi/L). The national average indoor level is 1.3. Anything above 2, the EPA suggests remediation. Above 4 is the recommended level to take immediate action.

What is your risk: Throughout Missouri our levels are higher than others, radon levels vary from home to home and even street to street. The only way to determine radon levels in your house, for sure, is to test.

Inspector: A licensed Inspector will charge you around $175.00. He installs a meter in the lower level of the home for a period of 48 hours and provides you a printed report of the Radon levels. This is our recommended type inspection.

Radon test kits: Are accurate and in-expensive. Purchasing the long-term kit provides better accuracy. These kits take sampling levels for 90 days or more and will give you a better reading on average radon levels than a short-term kit. A long-term kit costs about $40. If you do need faster results, one accurate short-term kit to use is the RTCA charcoal canister. It costs about $20. But its results should still be confirmed with a long-term kit just to be on the safe side.

If you discover your home contains radon, call a professional. A radon-removal kit can cut levels to below 2 PCi/L. They will cost from a low of $800 to as much as $2,500 if you live in a two story type home. For an average house, the cost is about $1,200. Contact the EPA to locate a trained professional in your area or contact The "H" Team for a local radon contractor.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Purchasing A Home in St. Louis, MO

MOST IMPORTANT - Get Pre Approved BEFORE you shop
Getting pre-approved will save you from looking at houses you can't afford and put you in a better position to make a offer when you do find the right house. Sellers expect a pre-approval when your contract is submitted.Pre-approval is quite different from pre-qualification. Pre-qualification is merely a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval is based on your actual income, debt and credit history. There is no fee to get pre approved.

Good credit will get you a better interest rate.
Since most people need to get a mortgage to buy a home, you must keep your credit history as clean as possible. Six months before you seriously begin house hunting, get a copy of your credit report. Make sure everything is correct. Should any problems appear, handle them quickly by contacting the credit reporting agency.

Although lenders like to see 10 to 20% as your down payment, don't worry if you only have 5 to 8%. These loans do carry slightly higher interest rates, but they can be great for first time home buyers who anticipate increasing income potential and equity increases. Although credit has tightened up the last few months there are plenty of programs out there.

Your new home should be in a good school district, even if you don't have children, because when it comes time to sell, a good school district will increase your homes value.

Real Estate Professionals. Hire an Experienced Realtor who understands the home buying process. Interview at least 3 buyers agents before deciding. Look at their experience, education, knowledge and ask for references.

When you find the perfect home, move quick. Your buyers agent should be able to provide comparables of houses that sold in the same area that are pretty much the same in age, square footage, and amenities. Based on the average sale price of these comparables will allow you to reach an offer price. Always leave room to negotiate. If you really want the house, don't low ball, it may upset the seller.

By researching the comparables and knowing the neighborhood you should be able to offer a fair purchase price for the house. In a buyers market you have the advantage while in a sellers market the seller has the advantage. Look around the neighborhood, are there a lot of for sale signs or very few?

Once you agree on a purchase price, your buyer's agent will draw up a sales contract offering to purchase the house which will includes the closing date. A good buyers agent will make the purchase contingent on a few things:

1. Financing, that you can get a loan with rates and terms you agree with
2. A satisfactory building inspection by a licensed home inspector
3. The home is insurable
4. The title is clear of any liens or claims
5. An acceptable closing date normally 30 -60 days after submission

Two days before the closing you will receive a HUD 1 Settlement Statement from your title company that lists all the charges you can expect to pay at closing. Normally you can figure those costs at 2-3% of the purchase price.

On your scheduled day of closing you will go to the Title Company to sign the documents. Normally the closing is attended by your lender, your buyers agent and the title company employee. Once all the paperwork is completed and signed your Realtor will hand you the keys to your new home.

Cleaning and Repairing Your Concrete Driveway

Cleaning and sealing your concrete driveway can make it look new again, almost. If a good cleaning is needed for your concrete driveway, plan to rent or buy a power washer.

After a thorough power washing, you can remove any deeper stains, seal cracks, and then roll on a coat of translucent masonry sealer, available at your local home improvement center.

Remaing grease or oil stains can be soaked up using cat litter, fine sawdust, hydrated lime, or cement powder, and then sweeping away the residue.

For older, deeper type stains, try a commercial degreaser, emulsifier, or 1 to4 bleach-water mixture. You may find that some stains cannot be removed but can be lightened.

Next,seal any hairline or surface cracks in the driveway with concrete patching compound, normally applied using a caulking gun. For any crack wider than 1/4 inch, widen the crack with a mason's hammer and cold chisel,removing any loose concrete, sweep out the crack and blow out any dust or fine pieces of concrete and trowel on a concrete-patching compound, again available at your local home improvement center.

When the compound starts to set, using a wet trowel, smooth over the patch so it is even with the surrounding concrete. Moisten the patch with water throughout the week to ensure the concrete dries slowly.

After the compound dries apply a clear or stain type concrete sealer to increase your driveway's beauty.

As Realtors, we have developed a list of qualified contractors in the St. Louis, MO area. Locate a Local Contractor Here

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Getting Your Home Sold

1. The First Offer is Always the Best Offer; “If you get an offer in today’s market, attempt to make the best of it and live with it if you can, because there usually isn’t another one waiting. In today's market multiple offers are few and far apart.

2. Be Realistic About Price; Most homes go onto the market over priced. Buyers are not going to pay for an overpriced house. Overpricing a home reduces your showings and with fewer showings you get fewer offers. Your going to end up reducing the price eventually, reduce it before listing to insure lots of attention from the get go.

3. Listen to the Experts; You're paying a Real Estate agent for their advice, don't disregard it. They know and understand the market of today.

4. Beware of Getting Stale; The longer a house is on the market, the less attractive it appears. By listing the home and then reducing the price isn't going to fool anyone. You have to price it right.

5. Go For the HGTV look; First time home buyers expect the moon and the stars. You have to make some updates and clean up and de-clutter. Remove excessive family pictures, remove overstuffed furniture, set the kitchen table, paint the walls with something with some color. Let the light in.

6. Understand Buyer's Fear; Sellers are under the impression that buyers are being greedy, But in reality buyers are afraid. Afraid they're going to buy a house with the possibility that the home will loose value and they won't be able to sell it. By properly pricing the property better than the neighboring competition it becomes very attractive to them.

7.Buyers are not going to Renovate; Of course there are plenty of do it yourselvers who enjoy painting, laying tile, building a deck, installing some new fixtures. But most just want to move in, unpack and relax.Fixer-uppers attract limited offers because people just don’t have the time and those that do expect a reasonably priced fixer upper.

8. Play on Your Home’s Pluses; Private Yard, Large Deck, Side Entry Garage, Finished Lower Level, Main Level Master. Highlighting those pluses will make the home much more attractive to a buyer.

Frank J. Helderle

Monday, September 01, 2008

South County Mo. Italian Restaurants

Italian Food

Bartolino's South 5914 S. Lindbergh Blvd. 314-487-4545
Cusanelli's Restaurant 705 Lemay Ferry Rd 314-631-7686
Gianino's Restaurant & Bar 3735 South Lindbergh Blvd 314-821-4140
Rizzo's 4460 Lemay Ferry Road 314-487-4242
Rich & Charlies 4487 Lemay Ferry Road 314-894-1600
Pasta House 6214 South Lindbergh314-894-9161

Our Favorite
Trattoria Giuseppe 5436 Old Highway 21 636-942-2405

Friday, August 29, 2008

Missouri Real Estate Getting Ready to Rebound

Just released from Freddie Mac is the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 6.40 percent with an average 0.6point for the week ending August 21, 2008, down from last week when it averaged 6.47 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.67 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 5.93 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 6.00 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 6.12 percent.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 6.03 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 5.99 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 6.35 percent.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 5.33 percent this week with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 5.29 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 5.84 percent.

"Interest rates for fixed-rate mortgages continue to drift down as reports of economic weakness persist. July's leading economic indicators fell by more than the market consensus and manufacturing slowed in both the Philadelphia and Richmond regions. ARM rates, on the other hand, rose slightly after the Federal Reserves Open Market Committee hinted it might increase the overnight bank lending rate in its August 5th minutes," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.

However, the housing front is providing some encouraging signs. The pace of home price declines slowed down for the fourth straight month in June and the number of metro areas exhibiting monthly gains rose from seven to nine, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller® 20-city composite index. There are also signs more buyers may be getting ready to return to the market. The Conference Board says the share of households planning to buy a home within six months is now at its highest level since March. At the same time, the supply for unsold new homes is down to 10.1 months, the lowest since February, as single-family existing homes (excluding condos and co-ops) start to sell more quickly. Although, when condos and co-ops are included, the resale inventory did edge up."
Although St. Louis, Mo is not included in the 20 city reporting market all local Real Estate News has been positive. New home permits are up, Realtors are noticing more traffic through Open Houses and calls are up. Although the housing market is not out of the woods yet, most fellow practicioners are predicting another six months of minimum gains.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Jefferson County Meth Lab Information

Meth Lab Seizures The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office provides this information as a public service. It contains the addresses of some locations where the Sheriff’s Office has found chemicals or other items that indicated the presence of clandestine drug laboratories, glassware seizures, or dumpsites. Members of the public must verify the accuracy of all entries. No warranty, representation or guaranty is made or implied regarding the content, sequence, accuracy, timeliness or completeness of the data provided herein. The public should not act or refrain from acting based on entries on this website. The Sheriff’s Office does not establish, implement, enforce, or certify compliance with clean-up or remediation standards for contaminated sites; the public should contact a state or local health department or environmental protection agency for that information. The Sheriff’s Office does not accept responsibility or liability for damages of any kind resulting from reliance on an entry or lack of an entry on this website. If you believe that any of the information found in these records is in error, please contact the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at P.O. Box 100, Hillsboro, Missouri 63050 or (636) 797-5000.

Four Tips for Buying A Foreclosure

Driving down every street in the St. Louis, Mo. area you see foreclosures. Because you don't have any disclosures or information from the previous owner, purchasing one greatly reduces your protection. If it says AS-IS then realize it is AS-IS.

From Consumer Reports magazine, here are four ways you can protect yourself if you’re in the market for a foreclosed home:

1. Don’t pay a fee for property listings. You can find free information on foreclosed homes in your area by checking with a local agent. Usually there will be someone who specializes in foreclosed properties at the broker’s office. This person is a great free resource.

2. Invest in a home inspection. This is always a good idea whenever you buy a house, but for a foreclosed property it is especially the case. The property may have been vandalized. Fixtures and appliances may be missing. Also, with utilities shut off it will be impossible to test for the water pressure in the shower. Try to arrange for the utilities to be turned on before you buy. The inspection will cost between $250 and $400, but it will end up saving you if there is a problem with the home’s structure or its systems.

3. Don’t assume the sale is final. In some states, a previous homeowner may have up to 180 days after the foreclosure to pay any outstanding debts and reclaim the home even if it has been bought by someone else.

4. Buy some title insurance. The title insurance will protect you against any liens that you might not know about. It will also prevent a previous owner from making a successful claim on the house after you buy it.

Purchasing a foreclosure can be a great experience. Using an experienced Agent who has a working relationship with the Bank can greatly increase your success ratio.

The H Team has handled foreclosure properties for over 5 years and will assist buyers in overcoming most hurdles associated with purchasing a foreclosure property.