Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Your Home Inspection

You have made your offer and it's been accepted. Now it's time for your Home Inspection. Hiring a qualified Inspector is as easy as going to http://www.ashi.org/ and locating an Inspector.
Once your Inspector arrives he should inspect the roof by actually getting on the roof and walking around looking at the roof material, flashing, gutters, the exterior of the chimney and the cap.
He then will walk around the house looking at the exterior material, be it brick or siding. Also checking the exterior of the foundation. In completing his exterior Inspection he should observe the power cable going into the house any decking supports, gates and fencing
As your Inspector conducts the Home Inspection he will be making notes of his findings. He may from time to time suggest having an item looked at by a qualified technician. Don't quiz him everytime he makes a note wait til the end when he will give you a written report.
Once he enters the home he should check the attic for insulation depth, make sure all ceiling lights/fans operate properly. He'll check each electrical socket for polarity and check for GFI's near water sources.
He'll check all bathrooms and kitchen for functionality and to make sure there are no leaks. He should also make notes of the general condition of the interior.
During the inspection he will review the interior foundation for potential leaks, cracks or damages. Finally he will inspect the furnace, water heater electrical panel and dehumidifier.
A normal inspection should only take a couple of hours. In attendance should be yourself and your Real Estate Agent. Once you have your inspection it's time to ask the inspector questions on anything of concern. Remember he is not a specialist only an inspector and as such should never offer repair services/bids.
The St. Louis Chapter of AMERICAN SOCIETY of HOME INSPECTORS 800-743-ASHI www.stlashi.org CERTIFIED INSPECTORS as of Friday, July 05, 2013 Adams ACI, Charles 314-805-5538 Aadams Inspection Services LLC Armstrong, Steve 636-931-7888 Castle Home Inspections Barclay, Robert 888-246-0242 BrickKicker Inspection Services Bean, John 800-285-3001 BPG/ABA Inspections and Consulting Becker, John 314-307-1856 ABA/BPG Inspections & Consulting Bench, Tim 636-240-7209 JCTB Inspections, Inc. Bentz, P.E., Jerry 800-285-3001 ABA Inspections and Consulting Binsbacher, Jeff 314-249-8371 R. Heyl & Associates Birenbaum, PE, David 314-650-5200 Engineered Inspection & Consulting Services Bonney, Sam 314-570-5135 Cardinal Home Inspection Services Borah, Chad 314-645-7871 Pillar To Post Bossard, Tom 636-477-0800 Heartland Inspection Services Boyd, Michael 314-744-0153 Architective Home Inspection LTD Brewer, Wayne 636-282-8800 Brewer Inspection Services Inc. Brown, Edward 314-576-6410 Guardian Home Inspection Services Bryant, Rick 636-887-6316 HouseMaster, Guaranteed Home Inspections Caby, Richard 314-645-7871 Pillar To Post Cawein, Joseph 800-285-3001 ABA/BPG Inspections & Consulting Clark, Timothy 800-285-3001 ABA/BPG Inspections & Consulting Coffman, Rick 314-645-7871 Pillar To Post Copanas, Frank 314-456-0783 Acropolis Home Inspection Delahanty, Dan 314-892-4047 Show Me Home Inspections Dickinson, Patrick 314-645-7871 Pillar To Post Dingledine, Gary 800-285-3001 ABA/BPG Inspections & Consulting Donjon, John 314-249-8310 ABA/BPG Inspections & Consulting Eisterhold, Carl 314-531-5663 Building Inspection Consultants Engebretson, Eric 314-434-8900 Midwest Inspection Service Entwistle P.E., Ron 800-285-3001 ABA Inspection and Consulting/BPG Fay, Myron 618-580-1120 Z & C Home Inspection Services Fox, Jerry 314-308-6489 AmeriSpec Home Inspection Service Gennaro, Anthony 314-865-2500 Blue Ribbon Inspection Service,LLC Gould, George 314-575-6781 National Property Inspections ST LOUIS Gould, Robert 636-940-1005 National Property Inspections--ST CHARLES Graczak, Joseph 314-283-4765 Suburban Home Inspection Service Inc. Guffey, Gordon 636-282-8800 Brewer Inspection Services Inc. Hardy, P.E., Kyle 800-285-3001 Buyers Protection Group Henderson, Michael 618-235-4330 Amron Home Inspection Services (IL lic.) Heyl, Thomas 314-918-0600 Bean and Heyl Home Inspections Inc. Heyl, Richard 314-504-8504 R. Heyl & Associates Heyl, Ryan 314-374-2262 R.Heyl & Associates Hoffman, Dave 314-680-1834 Apple Inspections, LLC Hosie, Christopher 314-226-3272 Allen Engineered Inspections Jardine, Henry 636-240-5700 Amerispec Home Inspection Jardine ACI, Matthe 314-308-6489 AmeriSpec Home Inspections Jinkerson, David 636-386-1684 Hickory Home Inspections, LLC Jones, Reginald 314-409-4312 HomeSpector, LLC Kelley, Wesley 636-456-0001 7 Oaks Home Inspection llc. Kelly, Terence 314-580-0430 Apex Home Inspections Klein, Nathanial 314-571-9671 Pillar To Post Knight, Tim 636-978-9111 A.C.E. Home Inspections Krause, George 314-497-1234 Elite Home Inspections, LLC Krausz, Lawrence 314-277-9516 Krausz House Inspections Landolt, David 618-550-2800 Inspector Plus Inc. (IL lic.) Lewis, Jay 314-822-0559 Lewis Building Inspections Loesch, P.E., Gerald 314-249-8370 BPG/ABA Inspections & Consulting Lucke, Chris 314-874-5820 Missouri Property Inspections MacNeill ACI, Paul 314-392-9313 Apple Inspections LLC Mayer, Aaron 314-323-7458 Housewarming Home Inspections McCarty, Manuel 314-741-3300 Home Inspection - USA McNamee, Steve 636-936-8706 Homecheck Inspection Service Michalicek, Rick 314-238-6639 Moore Home Inspection Services Minderman, Nick 636-456-0001 7 Oaks Home Inspection Moore, Emmitt 314-727-6868 Moore Home Inspection Service Morrell, Harry 314-223-7310 Allied Building Inspections L.L.C. Morrissey, Michael 314-583-7654 Inspect-It 1st Nance, P.E., Charles 314-805-5576 CHN Inspections LLC Norman, Don 800-285-3001 BPG/ABA Inspections and Consulting Perry, Mark 618-570-8045 Accredited Home Inspection (IL lic.) Pohlman, Curt 314-276-1592 Pohlman Building Inspections Postol,P.E., Theodor 314-878-2884 Building & Home Inspection Consultants, Inc Rathjen, Fred 636-458-5300 Amerispec Of St. Louis Rathz, Mark 636-896-0123 WIN Home Inspection-St Charles Reese, Donald 314-795-7067 Dependable Home Inspections Reese, Robert 636-978-9111 A.C.E. Home Inspections Reichle, Paul 636-528-1554 Missouri Property Inspections Reuther, Frank 636-394-0869 Gateway Residential Inspectors Inc. Richards, William 314-605-4445 Home Inspections of St. Louis LLC Roark, Gary 636-685-6773 Armstrong Home Inspections LLC. Ronollo, Steve 314-276-4872 Excel Home Inspections Rothweiler, Jack 636-931-7888 Castle Home Inspections Ruttle, Richard 636-677-5868 Homestead Residential Inspection Sagehorn, Damon 314-821-8282 Engineering Evaluations Inc. Saladin, Thomas 800-285-3001 ABA/BPG Inspections and Consulting Sandweg, ACI, Dan 314-277-4982 Inspections Complete, LLC Sebaugh PE, Allen 314-401-9370 Allied Building Inspections LLC Shorette, Steve 636-282-2747 Candid Inspection Services Smith, Laurence 636-561-2844 Regional Home Inspection Co. Smith, Johnnie 800-285-3001 BPG /ABA Inspections & Consulting St. Clair, Robert 314-330-5423 Reliable Home Inspections Inc. Steinman PE, Gerald 314-517-5938 BPG/ABA Sullivan, Kevin 800-285-3001 Buyers Protection Group Vander Schaaf, Denni 314-249-8386 ABA Inspections and Consulting/ BPG Villhard, Wes 314-952-7007 Cornerstone Building Inspections Voss, Louis 636-795-0070 Countywide Professional Home Inspections Warren, Mark 800-285-3001 Buyers Protection Group Weisbrod, Doug 636-208-1966 Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspections Wessling, ACI, John 314-520-1103 Wessling Home Inspection Services LLC Whiteley, Deryck 314-932-5557 HouseMaster Guaranteed Home Inspections Zaloudek, James 314-406-2848 Assisting Homebuyers Inspection Service Note: ALL ASHI Members or others permitted to use the ASHI logo may not be listed on this document

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How to have your family prepared in an emergency

Would you be prepared if you and your family had to evacuate your home during an emergency?
The American Red Cross reports that only 10 percent of the families in the US have an emergency plan, a disaster kit, and first aid training including CPR.
The first step to be prepared is to assemble a grab-and-go bag that contains crucial supplies that you'll need in the event of an evacuation. The Red Cross has pre-packed kits for $65 at www.redcross.org or you can assemble your own. Label each bag and keep them accessible.
Your Grab-and-Go bag should contain
Personal travel size toiletries
Light-weight flashlight with extra batteries
Extra pair of eye glasses
Whistle on lanyard
3 days of prescriptions
Bottled water 2-3 gallons
High protein-High energy food bars
Change of clothes
Photograph of each child and adult
First Aid Kit
Battery powered radio
Extra set of home and car keys
Safe deposit box key
Credit Card
Copies of birth certificates, deeds, insurance policies, passports and SS cards

By being prepared in an emergency you will be able to supply yourself during an evacuation or loss of home.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

FSBO or Real Estate Agent To Sell Your St. Louis, Mo. Home?

FSBO or Agent, Which Is Best For Selling Your Home in the St. Louis Market?
By Frank Helderle

With the growth of the Internet, the prospect of 'going' FSBO — For Sale By Owner — as a method for selling your St. Louis, Missouri home is more attractive than ever.

One of the largest expenses involved in selling a property is the payment of an agent's commission — often in the 6% range. But agents do earn their money, by providing expertise on the market and sales process, by advertising widely and by assisting in the negotiation and closing phases of a sale.

Still, 6% of $200,000 is $12,000 and many find the prospect of keeping that money for themselves irresistible. Here are some things to consider when deciding whether to use an agent or 'go' FSBO.

In order to sell a property quickly and profitably, you have to know the market. If your listed price is even 1% off the St. Louis, MO., real estate market average you will either sit on the property for a long time or fail to make as much as you could have on the sale.

Beyond the need to get an accurate, professional appraisal — required whether FSBO'ing or using an agent — agents can provide 'comps' listing the recent sale price of comparable properties. They also know the market and can often tell you whether your price is reasonable.

However, with the increasing availability of similar information on the Internet, FSBO is becoming a more realistic option. If you can access and analyze the data, FSBO may be for you.

Agents put your property in a database called an MLS, a Multiple Listing Service, to which other agents as well as potential buyers — through the agent — have access. MLS data is more difficult for the average person to gain access to and in some states you need a license to obtain the data. Almost in every case, one is required to be a member of the MLS service and pay a fee.

This is only the first step toward advertising your property far and wide to potential buyers. But, again, with the growth of Internet sites advertising homes for sale, along with other traditional options, you may find you no longer need the service once provided almost exclusively by agents.

Some individuals are natural negotiators and some have learned through long experience how to attract buyers and get the best deal. Some, though, will always be on the losing end of a proposition. Only you can decide how effective you can be in negotiating a fair, acceptable price and whether that process is enjoyable or torture.

Once you've listed the property, advertised it widely enough to attract buyers and negotiated a price one will accept, the most difficult part of the process begins. Every state and country including St. Louis has a long and complex list of laws about how a real estate transaction has to be carried out.

Deposits have to be made of the right amounts and at the right times in an escrow account, and insurance regulations have to be met. Title history is investigated and a hundred other details completed before ownership can be transferred and profits (if any) gained. If you don't have the knowledge or temperament for this sort of thing, FSBO is not for you.

But, on the bright side, there are dozens of books, Internet sites such as this, and low-cost 'seller assistance' businesses that can guide you through the process.

Investigate before you decide, and best of luck. There is a lot of free information available to you about buying, selling or investing in St. Louis real estate. For complete information about the St. Louis, MO., real estate market including current homes for sale, property values and more please visit the most complete website online dedicated to everything St. Louis real estate. So please feel free to contact me with any of your mortgage questions and I will me more than glad to answer you queries. Call me on my cell at 314 267-4841 or email me at stlouishomes@yahoo.com or visit www.realestatetrio.com to view the entire St. Louis, MO., MLS..

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thrifty Solutions To Update Your Kitchen

Here are a few tips sellers can use in changing that old outdated kitchen into a new showplace buyers will compete over.

Add space and light by removing a wall and opening up the space.

Do not move the plumbing.

Unclutter your counter tops by installing hideaway appliance lifts.

Buy ready-to assemble cabinets in lieu of custom cabinets.

Consider alternative counter top materials.

These are a few inexpensive ideas to make your kitchen desirable. For additional ideas contact The "H" Team today.

Monday, April 20, 2009

How to Check Quality in Your New Home

The Quality of Homes
The H Team

There are houses and there are houses. Just like anything that is produced in our world from cars to clothing, there is a high quality manufacturing and there is poor to medium workmanship.
In her book "The Fearless Home Buyer" Elizabeth Razzi gives those telltale signs of a well built home.
Windows are an easily-spotted signal of quality. They're one of the most expensive components of a home. You can determine the brand used by looking for the name in the corner of the glass. Look for neatly mitered and whether the window is double panned which offers good insulation in both summer and winter. Look at the windowsill and the wall below to see if there are any water stains or softness in the wall-a sign that there could be a condensation or leakage problem with the windows.
Bathrooms are another area where the quality of the workmanship is important. Pay special attention to the floors and walls around (and downstairs from) a shower stall Look for signs of recent painting, a spongy feel or mold. Water that leaks from a tub or shower over time can rot sub flooring, a common problem in homes built with inferior materials and workmanship.
When you expect the exterior of the home, note the kind of siding that is used. Wood siding is beautiful but requires routine re-painting. Vinyl or aluminum siding is economical and long-lasting, but check it for dings, tears and fading.
As always, if you are uncomfortable about the quality of a home you are interested in purchasing, it's a good idea to hire a professional inspector to confirm or allay your fears.
As Real Estate professionals, we look forward to working for you and answering any questions you might have about quality and workmanship of any home you may be interested in. Call us anytime.

Sales Tax Holiday Information

The Sales Tax Holiday, which runs from April 19-25, means a savings of at least 4.225 percent sales tax fee to people who purchase new ENERGY STAR ® qualified appliances in Missouri during the holiday. The reduced price represents the elimination of the state's sales tax from the purchase.
Several local governmental entities have also opted to participate in the holiday. This means that some purchases will be exempt not just from the state sales tax, but also city, county and special district sales taxes. Nine counties, 57 cities and eight special districts have opted to participate in the holiday. Anyone who buys a qualified appliance in Missouri that has earned the ENERGY STAR will be exempt from paying the state sales tax. ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. The program allows manufacturers of appliances to voluntarily label selected appliances if they meet certain criteria. The goal is to promote appliances that perform as well or better than similar appliances while using less energy. The program has saved businesses and consumers billions of dollars since its inception in 1992.ENERGY STAR-certified appliances that qualify for the sales tax exemption are: Clothes washers Refrigerators Freezers Dishwashers Water heaters Furnaces Air conditioners Heat pumps The sales tax exemption only applies to the first $1,500 on each appliance. If an appliance costs more than $1,500, the regular sales tax rate is in effect for any of the purchase price above $1,500.Examples of appliances NOT eligible for the sales tax exemption are clothes dryers, trash compactors, conventional ovens, ranges and stoves. Lighting fixtures, office equipment, home electronics and other non-appliance ENERGY STAR labeled-products are also not eligible for the sales tax exemption. Counties that have opted to participate in the holiday and have eliminated their county sales taxes on qualified purchases are: Adair, Crawford, Daviess, Gasconade, Johnson, Morgan, Pettis, Ripley and Ste. Genevieve.Participating cities are: Airport Drive, Arnold, Aurora, Ava, Bethany, Bowling Green, Branson West, Brookfield, Butler, Carrollton, Cottleville, Dardenne Prairie, Desloge, Dexter, Fenton, Fredericktown, Fulton, Gladstone, Hannibal, Hazelwood, Hermann, Hillsboro, Ironton, Jackson, Kahoka, Kansas City, Kirksville, Lexington, Macon, Marble Hill, Maryville, Memphis, Mexico, Osceola, Overland, Pacific, Perryville, Platte City, Raymore, Republic, Richmond, Rock Hill, Rock Port, Rolla, Salem, Salisbury, St. Charles, Ste. Genevieve, Sunset Hills, Tarkio, Town & Country, Union, Unionville, Warrensburg, Warsaw, Washington and Willow Springs. Additional information regarding the Show-Me Green
Sales Tax Holiday can be obtained at http://dor.mo.gov/tax/business/sales/taxholiday/green/ or e-mail the Department of Revenue at: salesuse@dor.mo.gov This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .
From an article written by Matt Newport

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Buying Your First Home

Buying Your First Home
Home ownership is the cornerstone of the American Dream. But before you start looking, there are a number of things you need to consider.
Before You Start Grab your current household budget so you can consider your financial situation and your ability to make mortgage payments.
Ask family and friends if they can recommend experts, like a lawyer, a Realtor and an inspector, who can help with the home buying process.
Think about your lifestyle and how it might affect your choice of home and neighborhood.
Do a little research on current home prices in the neighborhoods you plan to target.

To begin your search visit The H Team at http://www.realestatetrio.com for more information.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Why Determine the Value of Your Home

What's it Worth?

As a stock holder many Americans check the stock market everyday, looking at TV, online and the newspaper. But fail to take stock of their own home. Up to 95% of today's home owners do not know the value of their largest investment, their home.
A comparative market analysis (CMA) provided by a Real Estate Professional can bring you up to speed.
The CMA is normally used as a way of measuring value. When you are buying or selling or even refinancing, a CMA is essential in setting a price and in choosing the proper time to sell.
There are numerous other reasons to run a CMA including your net worth or to provide adequate replacement insurance or to leverage your equity.
Get your free CMA today by contacting The H Team.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Thinking Of Buying A Foreclosure Property

Six Questions You Must Ask

Is Now A Good Time To Buy A Foreclosure?
Because local market conditions vary the answer is going to be different. Buyers should be asking questions before they make an offer on any foreclosure property.
What's The First Step A Buyer Needs To Make?
Get pre-approved for a loan before you begin shopping.
How Can You Tell A Bad Foreclosure From A Good One?
There are lots of great deals out there. Make sure you work with a Realtor who can guide you through the potential problems associated with buying a foreclosure.
I'm A Qualified Borrower Can I Appeal To Banks For Better Terms?
Lenders have lots of defaulted mortgages, many of them will offer a below-market loan on a bank owned property.
What Are The Costs Of Buying A Foreclosure?
Figure commissions, closing costs, repair costs and upgrade costs and add at least 10% to that figure as a "surprise" fund.
How Does Choice Of Neighborhood Affect Foreclosure Investments?
Avoid areas overrun with foreclosures, particularly newer subdivisions in overbuilt suburban areas. Choose established neighborhoods with good schools and transportation.

For additional information, questions or a list of local foreclosures please contact The H Team today.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Interior Painting Tips

Interior Painting Tips

Get The Surface Ready
You want the paint to glide on smoothly, so be sure the surface is clean, free of hand prints, dirt or scuff marks. Lightly sand any glossy spots to avoid streaking.

Select The Sheen and Color
Lighting has a big effect on the way your color appears. Try a small trail sample available at most Home Improvement Stores. Higher sheen paints are more durable than flats, so use them in high traffic areas. Satin or low-lustre finishes offer more warmth. Consider a high sheen paint on the ceiling, which offers good reflection.
Don't Buy Cheap Paint Although you may want to save a buck or two it isn't worth it on paint. Purchase top quality acrylic-latex interior paint which goes on smoothly and is easy to clean up. Painting the interior of your home is a big job so you want the quality to show.
Choose The Right Tools
If you're using a roller to paint, select the right length of roller nap for proper paint coverage. The smoother your painting surface, the shorter your nap should be. Use synthetic materials, which are made from nylon or polyester, when applying latex or water based paints.

Source: The Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute
For a list of licensed quality painters in the St. Louis area contact The H Team.

Friday, April 03, 2009

How To Beat Negativity

Our economy is hurting. Most Home Sales are sluggish and we all have a lot of uncertainty. It's very easy to get discouraged.

Breaking Negativity
From Jon Gordon

1. Tell Yourself A Positive Story
2. Model Yourself After Success
3. Focus On The Important Stuff
4. Replace "Have To" with "Get To"
5. Refuse To Participate In The Recession
6. Boost Your Marketing And Advertising
7. Create A Positive Vision
8. Invite Others Onto Your Bus
9. No More Complaining

For a copy of the complete article please contact The H Team for your free copy

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Being Prepared For Severe Weather

Severe Weather Season Begins

Red Cross Urges Preparedness During Missouri Severe Weather Awareness Week

Knowing what to do and where to go during severe weather can be the difference between life and death. In 2008 severe weather killed 28 and injured 271 people according to the Missouri Severe Weather Service.

Provide A Home Tornado Plan
Pick a place where the family can gather if a tornado is headed your way. It can be a basement, a center hallway, a closet on the lowest floor or the bathroom. Keep this area uncluttered. If you’re in a high rise you may not have enough time to get to the lowest level so pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building. If outside, lie flat in a low lying area, and cover your head.

Assemble A Disaster Supplies Kit
Include a first aid kit and any essential medications along with items for infants, the elderly or disabled. You also need canned food, a can opener and at least 3 gallons of water per person. Include protective clothing, bedding or sleeping bags, a battery or crank powered radio, flashlight with extra batteries and written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so. (You’ll need a professional to turn natural gas service on)

When A Thunderstorm Approaches
Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for the latest information. Find shelter in a building or an automobile. Keep windows closed and void convertibles. Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Avoid using the telephone and electrical appliances. Avoid taking a bath or shower. Turn off the Air Conditioner. Power surges from electricity can overload the compressor. Close blinds and shades, they will prevent shattered glass from flying around your home.

Protecting Yourself Outside During A Thunderstorm
Go to a low lying area away from trees, poles or metal objects. Make sure the place you choose is not subject to flooding. Make yourself a small target. Squat with your head between your knees. Do not lay flat on the ground this makes you a larger target.

Provided by The American Red Cross
Contact The H Team for a free list of items for your disaster supplies kit.

7 Steps For Removing Mold From Your Home

What Is Mold?
Mold is a type of fungus made up of tiny microscopic organisms that can grow almost anywhere. It multiplies itself via spores and shows itself in a variety of colors. The most common place to see mold is in your bathroom since mold needs moisture to grow.
1. Wear a face mask, goggles and rubber gloves. Do not touch mold with bare skin.
2. Seal off the area to prevent tiny spores from spreading to other parts of the home while removing.Open the windows and cover heat and ventilation registers.
3. Wash the affected areas with a mild detergent solution, such as laundry detergent and warm water. As an added step, wipe the area down with a solution of a 1/4 cup bleach and one cup of water. (Warning: Do not mix ammonia and bleach; the fumes can be toxic.)
4. Dry the surface completely. Use fans, blowers, dehumidifiers or natural ventilation.
5. Apply a borate-based detergent solution. Don't rinse. This will help prevent the mold from growing again.(Borate will be listed on the ingredient label.)
6. Don't take shortcuts. Never paint or caulk over moldy surfaces. The paint will peel and the mold will resurface.
7. Call a professional. Just when you think you've won the battle you may see dormant spores reappear or spread to clean areas of the home, particularly if proper removal procedures were not taken. You may need to contact a mold remediation company to resolve the problem.

Contact The H Team today for a list of licensed Mold Remediation Companies in the St. Louis, Mo. area.
For more information
Source: The Truth About Mold (Dearborn, 2008)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Top 5 Reasons To Consider Selling Short


1. Avoid foreclosure and help save your credit

2. Ease financial sress and recapture a sense of happiness

3. Reduce debt and regain control of your finances

4. Make a fresh start and restore your confidence.

5. Move forward with the help of a short sale specialist

Hiring a Realtor who is experienced in selling “short” will greatly increase your chances of success. Contact The H Team Today for a free confidential review

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Key Individual Provisions of 2009 American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009

Tax Credit on Installing Energy Improvements To Your Home


What Is It?

A Tax Credit of up to $1500.00 for qualifying residential energy improvements including windows, doors, siding.

Who Gets It?
Taxpayers who invest in such energy improvements to their property.

When Do They Get It?
When taxpayers file their 2009 and 2010 tax returns.

What Does The Taxpayer Need To Do?
When 2009 and 2010 tax returns are completed make sure to claim the maximum benefit under this provision. Be sure to reduce your credit by any non business energy property credit claimed the previous year.

Consult your tax professional for additional information. Not intended as legal advice

Get Your Free Report of Tax Provisions For Individuals Here

Monday, March 23, 2009

Buy A Vehicle - Get Tax Credit

According to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 if you purchase a vehicle before 2010 you qualify for a tax credit.

Who Gets It?
Individuals who purchase new vehicles after 2/16/09 and before 2010. Benefit starts to phase out for individuals with MAGI or $125k/$250k

When Do You Get It?
When taxpayers file their 2009 tax return

What does the taxpayer need to do?
When you file your 2009 tax return, make sure you claim the maximum benefit under this provision. You may claim this deduction even if you don't itemize.

Contact your tax professional for complete details.Not meant as legal advice

Looking for additional details of the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009? Contact The H Team for a free copy of the Key Individual Provisions

Sunday, March 22, 2009

DOGTOWN USA 3 BR 2.5 Baths Under $90K

Three bedroom, 2.5 bath ranch home has much to offer. Vinyl siding, hardwood floors in all 3 bedrooms, Livingroom and breakfast room, Master bedroom suite with updated half bath. Breakfastroom walks out to very large covered deck and privacy fenced yard. Lower level is partially finished with family room, rec room with large bar, full bath and additional room with closets that could be 4th bedroom. There is also a laundry room and stotage room. Covered carport and off street parking. Home needs a little updating but well worth the price for this home.

Contact The H Team for a tour or view the entire MLS with no sign-up required

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Few Upcoming Events in St Louis, Mo.

Upcoming Events
By The H Team

Eco Expo
Join us at the Saint Louis Science Center, April 18-19, at the region’s premier green event, featuring

» Product demonstrations
» Eco-friendly interactive exhibits
» Activities for kids
» Live music in the outdoor beer garden
» Plus much more!
Eco Expo

March Morpho Mania @ The Butterfly House

The Morphos are back! Witness more than 1,500 iridescent common blue morpho butterflies in free flight inside the Conservatory throughout the month.
Butterfly House

Easter Egg Hunt @ Shaws Garden

Saturday, April 4, 2009
The Garden is a gorgeous backdrop in Spring, and kids go crazy when meeting “Bunny” the Garden rabbit.
Shaws Garden

The Boat House @ Forest Park
The Boathouse in Forest Park has been a favorite spot for generations of St. Louisans
Bands will be returning in May
The Boat House

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Incentive for Greening American Homes

The Incentive for Greening American Homes
Written by Peter L. Mosca

Green is good, and the Obama Administration and Congress believe it should be an integral part of pulling America out of its economic doldrums. According to the National Association of Home Builders, expanded tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements in the new economic stimulus package puts more money in consumers' pockets by providing financial incentive for home owners to go green on their renovation projects in 2009 and 2010. While more efficient homes save on water and energy bills, these tax credits will make such home upgrades even more affordable.

The Internal Revenue Code section 25C tax credit for existing homes, which had expired at the end of 2007, was reinstated as part of the economic rescue package passed by the Bush Administration last fall. Homeowners could be rewarded for installing energy-efficient windows, doors, roofing and insulation as well as furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps. But remodelers found that the terms of the 25C credit -- equal to only 10 percent of the cost of each product and with a lifetime cap of $500 -- weren't strong enough to push enough homeowners off the fence and into action.

Now, the credit rate and lifetime cap have been tripled – to 30 percent and $1,500, respectively – the list of eligible improvements expanded, and the deadline for applying has been extended through the end of 2010. Congressional estimates indicate that the new rules for the tax incentive will increase aggregate remodeling activity by more than $6 billion.

"The new tax credit also aligns with industry research indicating that even the most aggressive efficiency goals for new homes won't make a dent in overall energy consumption. Instead, remodeling and retrofitting the nation's older homes is by far the more efficient solution," said NAHB Remodelers Chairman Greg Miedema, CGR, CGB, CAPS, a remodeler from Tucson (AZ).

"These new tax credits are another way that home building industry can combat the potential effects of global climate change by encouraging home owners to make energy-efficient improvements to their homes," said Miedema.

A 2008 California study revealed that 70 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions related to single-family envelope energy consumption can be attributed to homes built before 1983.

The bottom line: Retrofitting existing homes with energy-efficient features is four to eight times more carbon, and cost-efficient than adding further energy-efficiency requirements to new housing, the study showed.

Details on qualifying improvements are available at the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov. It is expected that homeowners will need to complete Form 5695 (Residential Energy Credits) and submit as part of their 2009 income tax returns to claim the credit. Further, homeowners should retain for their own records information that includes:

Name and address of the manufacturer

Identification of the component

Make, model or other appropriate identifiers

Statement that the component meets the 25C standards

Climate zones for which the criteria are satisfied

Additional information for storm windows, if applicable

A declaration that the certification statement is true.
Due to the efforts of nonprofits like NAHB, the National Association of REALTORS and its affiliate organizations like the CCIM Institute, more and more businesses and individuals alike understand that 'green' is good for our economy, for our health and for the sustainability of our nation's communities

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why You Should Buy A Home Now


You’re renting a home and beginning to wonder if you should maybe buy a home, consider what author, David Bach, tells us, "Most average homeowner’s are worth up to 35 times more than the average renter."
His advice is for renters to take action immediately and start saving part of their paycheck every month to help accumulate a down payment. He also encourages renters to borrow 10-20 percent less than what the bank is willing to lend; that way you’re only buying as much home as you can afford.
The longer you rent, the longer it may take you to eventually get into homeownership. If the market conditions have scared you, perhaps you're not looking at the other side of the coin. Owning a home becomes part of your investment portfolio, provides tax benefits, allows you to build equity (it still exists), and, if you buy now, you may get an excellent deal.
According to Market Watch , buying a home now can provide some real negotiating power to request improvements, price reductions, help with closing costs, and more. People can get almost everything they need and most of what they want today.
While poor market conditions have created a tough situation for homeowners across the country , the downturn has made the buying market ripe for buyers.. The affordability of homes is better than ever. The National Association of Realtors' housing affordability index concluded that homes in December of 2008 were more affordable than at any other point since 1970 (the start of the index). And with numerous foreclosures on the market and prices dropping in many areas, now is a good time to buy. But in order to make your purchase profitable, here are some things you should consider.
How long will you be in the home? Some experts advise that if you are planning to move within a year, buying may not be the best option because of the expenses associated with moving. However, if you're searching for a place to live for, at least, five years, buying now could be a good choice for you.
How much you can afford. Don't let tighter lending regulations scare you off from making a purchase. Instead, understand what you truly can afford. Don't get caught up in buying too much home. In fact, these days, the trend is moving toward smaller homes.
Mortgage rates have dropped to historical lows. How much home you can afford is affected by mortgage interest rates that, right now, are very attractive. Good credit, documenting your income, and a substantial down payment will make you a better candidate for better rates.
Freedom to choose. Now, unlike several years ago, the market has a large inventory in many areas. The market time to sell a home has increased which creates a large inventory of homes, everything including new, existing, and foreclosures properties. Buyers can search he market and have the freedom to select the home they really want. If you're interest is in a new home, know that many developers are getting more competitive with their pricing because they also have taken a hit by the ailing economy, and some offer special rates the first year or are offering closing cost assistance.
Quality of life. Buying a home can create a higher quality of life, giving you pride of homeownership, and something to enjoy over the years.
Tax credit benefit. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides for a $8,000 tax credit that would be available to first-time home buyers for the purchase of a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009. The credit does not require repayment. Most of the mechanics of the credit will be the same as under the 2008 rules: the credit will be claimed on a tax return to reduce the purchaser's income tax liability. If any credit amount remains unused, then the unused amount will be refunded as a check to the purchaser.

Wondering What Your Home Is Worth? Let Us Show You

Monday, March 02, 2009

Webster Groves Victorian Home High On A Hill For Sale

Amazing architectural detailing throughout. Spacious rooms with 10 foot ceilings. Lovely refinished hardwoods, stain glass windows with 2 bay windows and original moulding throughout. Kitchen offers 42 inch wood cabinets and opens to family room. Even offers a main floor laundry. Master offers a 8x10 sitting room with cedar lined walk in closet. Zoned HVAC and updated plumbing. Welcome your friends and family to the large 25 x 19 front porch. This foreclosure only needs very little to be move in ready. contact The H Team today for your tour.

Readying Your Home For Spring

Getting Your Home Ready For Spring
The H Team

Get your timers and clocks set ahead one hour. Daylight saving time is just around the corner and you’ll need to adjust any timers on household gadgets, indoor and outdoor lights, and those regulating the thermostats on your heating system.

Plant kitchen herbs inside and transplant in May when all signs of frost disappear. Basil, chives, dill, parsley, and fennel can be started from seeds. Oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, and tarragon do better if you start them from small plants or cuttings.

Change the batteries in your smoke detectors. In addition to testing batteries regularly, you should change these twice a year without fail.

Wash your windows. Clean the residue left behind by winter storms by tackling the job while the weather is still cool to prevent streaking. Start indoors before installing your screens, then finish the job outside on a dry day.


Clean the deck to remove grime, pollen, fungus, and mildew. Scrub the surface with a deck cleanser or this homemade cleaning formula: Add one cup of powdered laundry detergent to a gallon of hot water, and add 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach to kill moss or mildew.

Check shrubs and trees for winter damage and prune accordingly. Remove deadwood or broken branches. Replant any shrubs that have heaved out of the soil during a freeze-thaw cycle, before the roots dry out.

Bring your garden hose out of storage. Check for cracks and leaks and replace the rubber or plastic washers at the connectors as well.

Service Lawn Mowers & Equipment Now is the time to inspect mowers and trimmers. Change the oil, replace spark plugs and sharpen the blades. If a unit needs repair getting it to the repair shop early will insure an early return
Spread Fertilizer and Weed Preventer Apply before the spring showers hit. Read manufacturers suggestions on application and warnings.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Will Your Sale Price Leave You Short

What to Do When the Sales Price Leaves You Short

It’s time to sell your home, and the total amount you owe is greater than your homes current value. This is called a short sale. A short sale is one where the net proceeds from the sale won't cover your total mortgage obligation and closing costs, and you don't have other sources of money to cover the deficiency. A short sale is different from a foreclosure, which is when your lender takes title of your home through a lengthy legal process and then sells it.

1. Consider loan modification first. If you are thinking of selling your home because of financial difficulties and you anticipate a short sale, first contact your lender to see if it has any programs to help you stay in your home. Your lender may agree to a modification such as:

• Refinancing your loan at a lower interest rate
• Providing a different payment plan to help you get caught up
• Providing a forbearance period if your situation is temporary

When a loan modification still isn’t enough to relieve your financial problems, a short sale could be your best option if

• Your property is worth less than the total mortgage you owe on it.
• You have a financial hardship, such as a job loss or major medical bills.
• You have contacted your lender and it is willing to entertain a short sale.

2. Hire a qualified team. The first step to a short sale is to hire a qualified real estate professional* and a real estate attorney who specialize in short sales. Interview at least three candidates for each and look for prior short-sale experience. Short sales have proliferated only in the last few years, so it may be hard to find practitioners who have closed a lot of short sales. You want to work with those who demonstrate a thorough working knowledge of the short-sale process and who won't try to take advantage of your situation or pressure you to do something that isn't in your best interest.

A qualified real estate professional can:

• Provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) or broker price opinion (BPO).
• Help you set an appropriate listing price for your home, market the home, and get it sold.
• Put special language in the MLS that indicates your home is a short sale and that lender approval is needed (all MLSs permit, and some now require, that the short-sale status be disclosed to potential buyers).
• Ease the process of working with your lender or lenders.
• Negotiate the contract with the buyers.
• Help you put together the short-sale package to send to your lender (or lenders, if you have more than one mortgage) for approval. You can’t sell your home without your lender and any other lien holders agreeing to the sale and releasing the lien so that the buyers can get clear title.

3. Begin gathering documentation before any offers come in. Your lender will give you a list of documents it requires to consider a short sale. The short-sale “package” that accompanies any offer typically must include

• A hardship letter detailing your financial situation and why you need the short sale
• A copy of the purchase contract and listing agreement
• Proof of your income and assets
• Copies of your federal income tax returns for the past two years

4. Prepare buyers for a lengthy waiting period. Even if you're well organized and have all the documents in place, be prepared for a long process. Waiting for your lender’s review of the short-sale package can take several weeks to months. Some experts say:

• If you have only one mortgage, the review can take about two months.
• With a first and second mortgage with the same lender, the review can take about three months.
• With two or more mortgages with different lenders, it can take four months or longer.

When the bank does respond, it can approve the short sale, make a counteroffer, or deny the short sale. The last two actions can lengthen the process or put you back at square one. (Your real estate attorney and real estate professional, with your authorization, can work your lender’s loss mitigation department on your behalf to prepare the proper documentation and speed the process along.)

5. Don't expect a short sale to solve your financial problems. Even if your lender does approve the short sale, it may not be the end of all your financial woes. Here are some things to keep in mind:

• You may be asked by your lender to sign a promissory note agreeing to pay back the amount of your loan not paid off by the short sale. If your financial hardship is permanent and you can’t pay back the balance, talk with your real estate attorney about your options.

• Any amount of your mortgage that is forgiven by your lender is typically considered income, and you may have to pay taxes on that amount. Under a temporary measure passed in 2007, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation Act , homeowners can exclude debt forgiveness on their federal tax returns from income for loans discharged in calendar years 2007 through 2012. Be sure to consult your real estate attorney and your accountant to see whether you qualify.

• Having a portion of your debt forgiven may have an adverse effect on your credit score. However, a short sale will impact your credit score less than foreclosure and bankruptcy.

As full time RealtorsThe H Team can provide a Broker Price Opinion and market your home.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

St Louis Association of Realtors Update

Pending Home Sales Show Healthy Gain
Reprint from SLAR News You Can Use

Pending home sales increased as more buyers took advantage of improved affordability conditions, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Big gains in the South and Midwest offset modest declines in other regions. The Pending Home Sales Index rose 6.3 percent to 87.7 from an upwardly revised reading of 82.5 in November, and is 2.1 percent higher than December 2007 when it was 85.9. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the index shows a modest rebound. "The monthly gain in pending home sales, spurred by buyers responding to lower home prices and mortgage interest rates, more than offset an index decline in the previous month," he said. "The biggest gains were in areas with the biggest improvements in affordability."

To begin your search for your new home or to sell your current home contact The H Team today.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Home Buyer Checklist

Buyer's Checklist
The H Team

Buyers must do their part to help make the Buying transaction "smooth" alll the way to the closing table. Always expect minor problems and delays along the way. On the seller's side, title problems are a common cause of postponed settlements. On your side, bureaucratic snags such as extensive credit checks and slow appraisals can bog things down. In many cases, there isn't much you or the seller can do but wait.

While you're waiting for completion of all the processes now in motion, you should:

Apply for homeowners insurance on your new home.
Get an exact accounting settlement cost, and make sure the money and necessary documents will be there at closing.
Select a date for the final walk-through of the house.
Contact utility companies about starting service in your name.
Insurance on your new home

Your lender will require you to take out a homeowners insurance policy, and usually pre-pay for the first years premium, something you would want to do anyway. The lender wants to cover the amount of its mortgage loan so it can recover the money in the event of a loss. However, it's up to you to see that your insurance coverage remains adequate by getting property protection, liability insurance and/or any additional coverage you think is necessary.

The final inspection
The house you're buying must be handed over to you in the condition specified in the contract. To verify this, schedule a walk-through of the house shortly before settlement, several days in advance is best, to allow time for the seller to correct any last-minute problems. Look for left behind items, trash, damages from the movers. Also check attics and garage rafters.

Take along a simple device, such as a plug-in nightlight, to test all electrical outlets. Turn on the furnace and air conditioning, flush toilets and turn on faucets, put the washing machine and dryer through a cycle. Fill all drains and check for leakage, run the dishwasher through a few complete cycles. In short, put the house through its paces.

If anything needs fixing or further cleaning, ask your agent to inform the selling agent or home seller immediately. Neither you nor the seller wants to postpone the settlement, but make it clear you won't go to closing until a second walk-through is satisfactory.

What happens at closing
The closing is where ownership of the home is officially transferred from the seller to you. Your closing officer works for the title company and coordinates the document signing and the collection and disbursement of funds. Your main role at the closing is to review and sign the documents related to the mortgage loan and to pay the closing costs.

Most parties involved with the purchase of your new home will attend your closing. The closing is a formal meeting typically attended by the buyer(s) and the seller(s) (and their attorneys if they have one), both real estate sales professionals, and, of course, the closing officer. The meeting is typically held at the title company's office.

What to bring to closing
For things to go smoothly, each party should bring certain documents and be prepared to pay the necessary fees. Many closing costs can be paid by personal check, but ask the closing attorney or closing officer. A certified or cashier's check may be required. Find out to whom checks should be made payable.Most closers will also require a state approved picture ID.

The seller and his attorney are responsible for preparing and bringing the deed and the most recent property-tax bill. They also will bring other documents required by the contract. This can include the property insurance policy, termite inspection, documents showing the removal of liens and a bill of sale for personal property.

Make sure you have adequate funds for the down payment and other settlement costs, arrange for your attorney to represent your interests at the meeting, bring the loan commitment, inform the lender of the meeting time and place. Finally, it's a good idea to bring a copy of the purchase contract to refresh your memory.

Regardless, if you're buying or selling The H Team will assist you from start to completion. Contact us today to answer any questions you may have.

Friday, January 30, 2009

First Time Homebuyer Tax Credits

Federal First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit
*Preprinted from an article by Sam Licklider

You may have already heard about this program from your Representative or Senator but, if you haven’t, MHDC (Missouri Housing Development Commission) has announced a new program to work in conjunction with the Federal First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit program. Included is the explanation from the MHDC web site immediately below this paragraph as well as the URL for the MHDC.

Quote from MHDC web site
With over 30 years experience funding mortgages for first-time homebuyers, MHDC knows that the biggest barrier faced by first-time homebuyers is acquiring money for down payment and closing costs. As a result, MHDC created a program that allows homebuyers to receive the value of the tax credit at the time of closing.
How the Federal First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Works:

First-time homebuyers receive a tax credit worth 10% of their home purchase, up to $7,500. The credit is claimed on the homebuyer’s federal tax returns. The credit is refundable, which means that the homebuyer receives a refund for the amount of the credit minus any federal tax liability. The credit is essentially an interest-free loan from the federal government and must be repaid through an increase in federal income taxes over a period of 15 years.

How the MHDC Tax Credit Advance Loan Program Works:

MHDC makes a second mortgage to the homebuyer at the time of closing worth up to 6% of the home purchase price or a maximum of $6,750, which is used to cover down payment and closing costs. The tax credit advance loan is paired with MHDC financing for the first mortgage in the form of a safe 30 year, fixed rate mortgage. The homebuyer then files for the federal tax credit and uses the credit refund to pay off the MHDC tax credit advance loan. If the tax credit advance loan is paid off by the designated deadline (no later than June, 2010), the homeowner pays no interest other than a modest servicing fee. If the tax credit advance loan is not paid in full by the deadline, principal and interest payments to repay the loan over 10 years begin automatically.

MHDC loan programs are available for households with incomes up to $85,500.

The federal tax credit and the MHDC tax credit advance loan program are both currently set to expire June 30, 2009.
Visit Missouri Housing Development Commission for more information.

To begin looking for that new home contact The H Team today.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Saving Money While Dining Out in St. Louis, MO.

Saving Money While Eating Out with the Children
The H Team

Everyone is trying to save money these days and one of the best ways we’ve found is going to restaurants that offer “kids eat free”. Here are some St. Louis restaurants that offer free meals for children;

Culpeppers 9 Locations
Kids under 12 eat free on Mondays with each paid adult meal.

Dickeys BBQ 8 Locations
Kids Eat Free on Sundays with Paid Adult Meal.

Kriegers 3 Locations
Kids 12 and Under Eat Free on Tuesdays

O Charleys 8 Locations
Kids under 12 Eat Free Every Weekday

The Pasta House 16 Locations
Kids under 12 Eat Free on Sundays

Steak and Shake 37 Locations
Kids under 12 Eat Free Every Weekday

Another great way to save money at St. Louis, MO., restaurants is to visit Here
There is a small fee but you can get a $25 Gift Certificate for only $10 to some of the area's best restaurants.

Learn how to save money on your next Real Estate transaction by visiting The H Team today

The H Team

Friday, January 23, 2009

Keeping Your Home Safe Using Electric Space Heaters

Keeping Your Home Safe Using Electric Space Heaters

The H Team
• Adapted from an article written by The Fire Protection Agency

As temperatures continue to remain below average Home owners are substituting electric space heaters instead of increasing the thermostat level.

But using a space heater isn’t as safe as it is simple. According to The Florida Fire Protection Agency, electric space heaters were responsible for:

• 32% of home heating-related fires
• 57% of home heating-related property damage
• 73% of home heating-related civilian deaths

Space Heaters cause a disproportionate amount of damage versus central heating systems and fireplaces. Therefore it is very important to practice safety and care when using electric space heaters.

Some basic safety tips include:

• Do not place anything that can catch fire or burn within 3 feet of the appliance
• Make sure your appliance is approved by Underwriters Labotories, it should have a sticker on the appliance or cord.
• Never use an extension cord.
• Turn appliance off when leaving the room or going to bed.
• Follow the manufacturers safety instructions

Provided as a community service by H Team.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

First Time Home Buyer Mistakes

5 Common First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes
The H Team

They don’t ask enough questions of their lender and end up missing out on the best deal.

They don’t act quickly enough to make a decision and someone else buys the house.

They don’t find the right agent who’s willing to help them through the homebuying process.

They don’t do enough to make their offer look appealing to a seller.

They don’t think about resale before they buy. The average first-time buyer only stays in a home for four years.

Check out our web page to view the entire local MLS

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Keeping Your Auto Winter Ready

Keeping Your Auto winter Ready
The H Team

Taking a few moments to check a few things can prevent being stranded or in need of a service truck.


Clean the battery with warm water. Remove the terminals and wire brush them and the battery posts with warm water and baking soda. Reattach the terminals and coat all exposed metal with petroleum jelly. You're not done yet–using some sort of household cleaner, clean all traces of dirt and oil from the battery's top and sides, particularly near the terminals. Traces of dirt can trap moisture, especially during damp winter days. This moisture acts as a conductor along a path that normally doesn't conduct electricity at all, and can leak enough current between the battery posts to prematurely drain your battery. In fact, consider replacing your battery if it's more than 4 years old. Newer cars tend to use smaller batteries to reduce weight and improve mileage, and, combined with high under hood temperatures, that spells an earlier demise than you may have gotten 10 to 15 years ago.

Light Bulbs

Check all light bulbs and replace any that aren't working. The days are short during the winter, and you'll depend on these bulbs for visibility a much larger proportion of the day. Check all turn signals, brake lights and headlights. It's also a good time to check your headlights alignment too.

Windshield wipers

Windshield Wipers are essential for winter driving, and after a summer of sunshine, the rubber squeegees are probably in sorry shape. Play it safe and replace them. Be sure the wiper arms and springs are in good shape, and that the blade is held square to the windshield surface. You may need to bend it slightly to keep everything square. Make sure your fluid level is full and that the washer solvent your using is safe for the low temps in your area.


Check the date on the coolant. (Remember many new cars have extended drain intervals–but not permanent coolant. Read the owner's manual.) If it's due to be replaced, use a 50-50 mix of fresh coolant and water.

These few easy to follow tips can help reduce any problems with your automobile during the extreme cold of St. Louis winters.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Preventing Frozen Water Lines

Preventing Broken Water Pipes
The H Team

Arriving home to a flooded basement because of broken water pipes is a preventable situation. By following a few simple precautions your home doesn’t have to be damaged;

Disconnect exterior hoses
Once you’ve disconnected the hose from the faucet allow it to drain. Turn off the hose bib in the interior and open the valve to drain. If you do not have an interior shut off install heat tape over the first 10 inches of the interior pipe.

Install Insulated Pipe Sleeves
These rubber like covers just slip over pipes in an unheated area and available at most Hardware or Home Improvement Centers. A piece of duct tape over the ends will insure the cover stays in place.

Close up crawl spaces
And seal all access doors, vents and cracks. Cold air seeping in can freeze pipes and other plumbing fixtures.

Open Cabinet Doors
Under sinks to allow heat to keep pipes warm.

Know location of shutoff valve
To turn off all the water in your home, in case of breakage and flooding. Shutting the water off can prevent additional damage.

Always leave heat on
Your thermostat should be set no lower than 55 degrees if you are traveling or will be gone for an extended period of time.

Winterize your home
This consist of all pipes being drained and blown dry by a licensed plumber. Normally this is done if your home will be vacant for an extended time.

Are you in need of a licensed local plumber? Contact The H Team today for a qualified plumber.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Unique Way To Get Your Home Sold

A Unique Way To Get Your Home Sold
Frank J. Helderle

With today’s market being what it is and buyers being in control, sometimes a real estate agent has to become creative, aggressive and think “outside the box.”

After being on the market for 120 days with tons of showings, we couldn’t get anything to happen on our listing. It was a nice listing, only 3 years new in a very upscale subdivision. It offered every builder option available, and was priced $20,000 under what the seller paid. Why, it wouldn’t sell was beyond me.

Finally another agent called who had a re-location client who was looking for a quick closing and was a cash buyer. I held my breath and crossed my fingers, nothing happened. The agent called the next day and said they liked it but that they were trying to decide which property they liked the most of the ones they had toured and wanted to go back in for another look. I asked which properties they were comparing our listing to and did some quick comparisons and even visited and toured the other two homes.

The next day the other agent called and said they really liked our listing but had decided to write an offer on one of the other properties. Since that property was about $15,000 less than ours with fewer amenities I asked the agent to give me a couple of hours to discuss some possibilities with my seller.

I immediately got on the phone with my seller. Since this seller had transferred out of town and purchased another home already he very much wanted this home to sell. In some of our previous discussions my client had confided in me that he was prepared to reduce the price lower but only if we had a qualified buyer who was ready.
I suggested he reduce his price to the point he was willing to go and that we write a reverse offer.
We wrote the offer and presented to the buyer’s agent, who after a brief education on reverse offers, presented the offer to his buyers. The buyers were elated and accepted the offer. The seller was able to get his home sold with a minimal reduction in his asking price.

There are just too many choices out there for buyers today and by offering an incentive to them it should make them take notice. Sellers have to become more aggressive and let the buyers know they are serious.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Is 2009 The Year To Buy A New Home

Is 2009 the Year To Purchase A Home?
Frank J. Helderle

As a buyer in 2009 the decision lays entirely in your court. With low interest rates, an over supply of homes for sale and the lower prices 2009 is a great time to purchase a new home, with a few items to consider;

Buying Too Aggressively So you’ve located a few houses you’re interested in, make sure it’s something you can easily afford. Everything you read today about the economy tells us that our current recession will last longer than a year or so and that unemployment could hit over 8% which means trying to stretch your income just won’t work. Most lenders will tell you how much of a home you can afford, but by buying a home that costs 50% of your take home pay is just inviting problems. Consider what happens if you get laid off or your company shuts down? It can happen, so buy conservatively.

Purchasing A Foreclosure Yes a foreclosure can be a real bargain, with deep discounts, these properties can come with a great deal of baggage. After a home sits vacant for months or years things begin to deteriorate, such as no water running through the stacks, dishwasher pumps tend to dry out, carpet and vinyl begin to get loose when the house has no heat or cooling. Always know what you’re getting into. Before you begin looking at foreclosures hire an expereienced real estate agent and a certified building inspector. Make sure all utilities are on, even if you have to arrange for them to be turned on..By spending a few dollars in the beginning will save you much more in the long run.

Search For The Best Deal Home prices are expected to continue to fall most of 2009, those people considering buying a home are in the driver’s seat and should be looking for the very best deal. Since it is such a buyers market look for the deal and low ball the offer, you never know, you may get lucky. While low balling is common in today’s market don’t go overboard. Making an insulting low offer may upset the seller which may result in any offer you make on the property unacceptable

Understand The Local Market It’s really easy to listen to all the doom and gloom about the Real Estate market but savvy buyers need to be paying attention to the market area they are considering making a purchase. What’s happening in one area may be the total opposite in another. Remember, an individual market is not the same as a national market. Again hiring an experience local Real Estate Agent will insure you’re well educated about the market you’re shopping.

Buy For The Long Term As home prices continue to decline 2009 will not be the year to make a return on your investment. Actually your new home may continue to loose value throughout 2009. But, eventually home prices will rebound. Any home you purchase in 2009 you should plan on living in for at least 3 years

2009 is the year to purchase a new home if you know where to look, how to look and when to look. Contact The H Team today to begin looking for your new home

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Now Is The Time To Buy

Why Now Is The Time To Buy A Home

YES, now is the time to buy a house for a number of reasons. Regardless if you’re a first time home owner, an investor or a move up buyer. If you don’t get on the boat soon, once it leaves port, you won’t be able to get on board. It will move that fast. Just why do I and a lot of other professionals think 2009 will be the start of the rebound?

1. Low Prices Home prices are at a record low. The median price in St. Louis, MO., is now at $179,900 down from $200,000. With a decent credit score payments are going to be affordable once again.
2. Low Interest Rates FHA rates as of today are 5.125% on a 30 year fixed and as low as 4.750% on a 15 year fixed with only 3.5% down-payment required. My friends in the mortgage business tell me applications are up.
3. New White House The new White House is beginning to talk stimulus once again. Car manufacturers are reducing required credit rating requirements to get people back into the showrooms. Once the population starts spending money again Americans will get use to spending money again.

Once people start spending money again our economy will begin moving very fast. Interest rates will go up; sellers will want more money for their homes and will receive multiple offers on their homes.

Getting on board today by getting pre-approved, signing a buyer’s agency with a full time Realtor and beginning to look you can be sailing away in your new home at a great price with a low interest rate before the rush.

For a list of available homes that meet your criteria contact The H Team today. For free pre-qualification or to determine your buying power contact Christy

Frank J. Helderle

Friday, January 02, 2009

It's 2009 "Happy New Year"

I got up this morning and it suddenly dawned on me it’s a New Year, and a New Year means “New Business” Think about it for just a few moments; after the parties, the noise makers, the party hats there are a million different kinds of calendars out there. What a way to remind a client or potential client that it’s a New Year and maybe time for a New Home?
Yes, I know we all do the promotional calendars but like the one I sent my number two brother, “Hot Rod Cars” or the one I sent to my Doctor “Joke For A Day”, it’s better than a picture of me hanging on their wall. Who would of imagined how many different calendars are out there and guess what, you can get them for 50%. A twitter friend from Connecticut suggests appointment books also.

A New Year also brings resolutions and new goals. Looking at Amazon. Com. Three of the top ten best sellers deal with health or financial well being. I’ve noticed on television over the last two days at least 3 ads for weight loss surgery and at least 5 for gym memberships. I long for the political season to return. Those ads at least were comical.

Putting your financial and health goals on the front burner is great to start with, but another great goal for 2009 is to purchase a new home. Regardless of what the boo-hoers are saying now is the greatest time in 20 years to buy a home. Inventory is up, sellers are motivated and interest rates are at a historical low. Why not consider moving up and getting that extra bath and bedroom you’ve needed for so long. Or as many first-time home buyer’s have discovered home ownership is still the greatest investment they can make. And with a basement or extra bedroom they could purchase my hardly ridden exercise bike and start their own in home gym.

As a Realtor it’s time to get out there and start drumming up that “new business”. Everyone else it’s time to consider getting that new home, setting goals and staying on track towards those new resolutions.

To begin the search for that new home visit The H Team and search the MLS.

Happy New Year