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)