Why is it taking so long to find the perfect home?

Real estate agents not only have access to information and resources that you simply do not - they may also have a passion for what they do!

Yes, today it is incredibly easy and convenient to “shop around” for homes online. Heck, I do it myself even when I am not searching for clients of mine. I love looking at the photography, the character, the charm, the decorating, the layout, the updates, the details, the tile, the tub. I just love it. I even like to check out the backyard to see what an evening around the fire pit will be like. I think you get the point.

The unfortunate crux of working in a career that involves commission is that there is an unspoken assumption, maybe even unconscious bias, that we are out to get your business no matter what and under any circumstance. People are generally hesitant to sign with an agent until it is absolutely necessary. Heck, even agents can be hesitant to push this idea and reluctant to explain the benefits. So, even though this has been said before, it is worth noting again because every time I say this out loud - it is always someone’s first time hearing it!! Yes. Really.

You, as a buyer, do not have to pay to work with a buyer’s agent. There is NO cost to you as a buyer. Buyers pay nothing (except the cost of purchasing a house). Signing with an agent to represent you as a buyer is a fantastic idea that costs you nothing! We only get paid after you close on your new home - and - we get paid from the seller. Yes, the seller pays our commission.

So, let down your guard. Start looking online at different realtors, look at their website, their social media, read their reviews, look into the brokerage they work with… see if you vibe with them or you like their “approach”. Reach out to them, meet up with them and see if you like their ideas and their communication-style. If you do, add them to your team by signing with them right away. Let them go to work for you! I bet you find the perfect home twice as fast, if not faster. Also, you’ll be prepared to make an offer when you do.

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As a general rule, there are some basic duties that every agent *can do* to manage the process of buying or selling. After all, the process is the process. Liking and trusting your agent is what matters most, so take the time to learn more about them before they become your realtor. Talk to us and not just about real estate; we like to talk about other things too.

We could be working together for weeks, maybe months, so it is just as important to me that we are a good match for each other. Believe it or not, I don’t want to sell every house or represent every buyer. Really.

While the referral from your friend’s father’s lawyer’s golfing partner may be worth checking out so is someone else that just feels “right”.

Hi. It’s nice to meet you.

Word to the wise: Whether or not you decide to work with a buyer’s agent, never rely on the seller’s agent to help you as a buyer. If you call the name-on-the-sign in the yard or the “contact me for more information” you see on the listing online, you are contacting the agent that represents the seller! Will they have your best interest in mind as a buyer? Google the term “Dual Agency”.

Lamination Nation

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So, so many buyers are looking at homes that advertise as renovated or updated and while the gleaming solid surface countertops and backsplashes are highly appealing (and beautiful) there seems to be an overabundance of laminate flooring happening. Is it just me?!?

Of course, I can understand the decision to install laminate flooring. Cost. However, it is never as appealing as the original hardwood floors and I have frequently and recently found it a pre-requisite inquiry to showing property, "does the home have laminate flooring or the original hardwood?" 

Laminate flooring can have some positives beyond cost like its durability to scratches and it is easily cleanable but there is definitely value to keeping the original hardwood floors, beyond just monetary. Hardwood is beautiful! And I would venture to guess that there could be a high likelihood that a homebuyer might possibly prefer the idea of the original hardwood floors (over laminate) even if they need some love (& money) down the road. The majestic grandeur of neighborhoods like Shaw, Botanical, and Tower Grove, for example, are highly attractive to many buyers (understandably) and it would be really fantastic to see more of these homes retain some of their original beauty and appeal - aka - the hardwood flooring. *steps off soapbox*

What do you think?

Dear Homeowner, I love your home.

I love your home and here's why you should let me be the one to buy it! 

Do buyers really write letters to a person selling their home when they make an offer? Yes. Is this required? Absolutely not. Is it recommended? In today's market, sure! Why not? 

With us in the midst of a very strong Seller's Market, trying to find a home you love and then actually making an offer quick enough and strong enough can be a challenge for a buyer. And let's be honest, this can also be overwhelming to a seller with potentially so many offers coming in, coming in fast, and with deadlines to respond to said offers. To be clear, this is not a bad "problem" to have...albeit, overwhelming.

We are all attached emotionally to our homes, they are a part of us. So, when you are deciding to hand the keys over to someone new, usually a stranger, sometimes a love letter can go a long way. However, this should never negate the importance of considering strong offers with solid financing and agreeable terms. So, in a situation where a seller has multiple offers that are mostly comparable, knowing their home will be in good hands with someone who appreciates its beauty and charm as much as they have...can make a world of difference, even if the love-letter-writer's offer is for a couple thousand less. Yes, less.

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With that said, as a seller, always refer back to your agent to guide you through what details are most important to consider. You don't want to overlook anything- or - let your emotions make the decision for you. Let your realtor help you navigate the process, emotions aside, then sit back and soak up all the warm and fuzzies of the letter as the cherry on top. 

So, buyers, if you feel genuinely inclined & it is sincere - write the letter. Short & simple.

Seller's Market - What does this mean for a buyer?

Cafe Osage & Bowood Farms|Nursery

Cafe Osage & Bowood Farms|Nursery

I love working with buyers. I love that this is such an exciting time for them and that I can help them make their dream a reality. Also, let's be real, I love looking at properties. I am doing it almost always. So, it's a win win.

What isn't a win? When a buyer isn't aware of the current market and today that market is a seller's market. This means there isn't enough inventory for home buyers and great homes that are priced right are going within days sometimes hours of hitting the market. If you are perspective home buyer, even if you "aren't looking seriously", find an agent you like and trust. They can help you organize the process and proactively search for homes that are "coming soon". A good agent will respect your timeline, give you space, and understand your communication-style (not hound you). If the perfect home suddenly lands at your feet, you will have quite an advantage! Especially walking into a crowded open house knowing you have a capable professional in your corner, ready to make a smart and strong offer, when the time is right.

Do not depend on the seller's agent to have your best interest in mind. And do not go frantically looking for an agent last minute. Start looking for a realtor online. You should know pretty quickly if you want to work with someone. We really aren't scummy salespeople, I promise, and there is no obligation to have an agent represent you as a buyer. You should never be asked to pay them a fee, especially upfront. Lets meet for a coffee or tea on me. When you're ready!

Cafe Osage & Bowood Farms|Nursery

Cafe Osage & Bowood Farms|Nursery

4605 Olive Street  St. Louis

4605 Olive Street  St. Louis