Making Your Home A Haven

We all hear nothing is more fulfilling than becoming a home owner. At least that’s what I heard growing up.

However that can take some work once you get in!

Can you take an honest hard look at your home and say I love everything about it?

I know I don’t like my front door, I don’t like the carpet in my living room, I don’t like the carpet tiles in my basement. The list can be endless but there’s an end road seriously. That can mean a renovation big or small. Even the tiniest update can return a reward.

Here’s the door I would love to invest in for a few reasons I’ll cover:

SteelPrehung

Sanibel Full Lite Primed Premium Steel Prehung Front Door

 

 

Pretty right? Pricey too, almost $1300 at my last check and that’s not even including the hardware (handles). Which me being who I am, I know it has to be a smart lock included, I love being keyless as much as possible and always have my phone with me. This particular door blocks you seeing in unless you consider a blur seeing much, not only that but it has the iron in front the glass (another security block).

That’s the joy of making small changes though, there’s a Rate of Return that you could receive back for putting the money upfront. That’s a steel door, highly recommended as an upgrade. This article on HouseLogic, points out some of the same things I know. SECURITY!!!! Sometimes we forgo the look we want because we may not know that tempered glass is a reinforcement and looks great. This also would make for a great tax deduction (check with your preparer or CPA).

Paint, Paint, Paint! I can not say that too many times. This is true unless the house was freshly painted when you bought it. However that doesn’t mean you don’t want your own colors especially if everything was neutral and bland. Go with what fits the style of room and your decor.

Window oh Window, so many of you! Windows the bane of your existence? Doesn’t have to be, simple window treatments can make a room stand out. If you have pre-existing rods already something light like sheers or fabric can add a pop of color and change a rooms decor.

We’ll follow up, drop a comment on things that you’ve changed or want to change, sites like Pinterest can always be a place for inspiration.

The Winter Months Are Coming….

As the fall rolled in, the weather stayed pretty nice across the US, may have ushered in some rain in some places but it was definitely needed in most. Halloween and all it’s frightful delights may brought some bellyaches, startled reactions and fear to name a few things. But winter for most means turning on the fireplace, gather up with a book, pull up the heavy blankets and turn up the thermostats. Most of all winter starts are wheels to moving on what we plan to change for the next year, what type of New Year’s Resolution we didn’t hit this past year and makes it back on our list for the coming year.

Many of us also think of the winter months as a time to plan a move either renting or buying, most do it over the summer when it affects kids and school in any case. Winter may mean driving in slushy conditions, putting on those fabulous shoe booties to cover your feet when entering someone’s home or leaving your shoes at the door altogether.

I know my plans include a lot of winter driving, ushering my buyers from home to home until we find that match that ticks off all or most of their wishlist.

Winter Landscape

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you thought of what the winter will bring to you or the change it would cause?

All New Interactive Site for your St. Louis Home Search

I did it, yes I did! Did what you may be asking? 

I created a new interactive website www.liggins.realtor (no dot com on the end) that’s geared to be more user friendly and offer more visuals. We all want to see big pictures of the homes we find online. I’m making that happen. Details are important for any home search. You want to know the square footage, how many bedrooms, how big is the lot the home sits on. I’m aiming to make that search mobile friendly overall. Not only that I don’t want you to find a home that’s under contract and that’s the one you have your heart set on. When starting your Saint Louis Home Search nothing is more frustrating than calling your agent only to hear a home is under contract but appeared online on another website you’re using. That’s why my websites are directly tied to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), so you know that you’re only seeing what’s available to purchase.

Let’s be honest I want you to search how you like when you like, that’s why you can also search right in my mobile app if you choose. Just click this link and it will open the app store right to my dedicated app on both iOS and Android devices: Tamara Liggins Real Estate Mobile App.

I also have other sites that you can search and sign up for home alerts that you can drill down to show and send you only what you want to see Real Estate St Louis Now Home Search

Haunted Houses? Do They Really Exist?

Recently I was out showing a home to a buyer client, not only is she a client, but has been a friend since elementary school. This is where it gets a bit hairy.

We were laughing upon entering the house and she made a comment regarding it looked like someone left in the middle of packing. I laughed because indeed it did and there was a big notice on the door to make sure you actually lock the door when you leave.

We continued on through the tour of the house and instead of going to the 2nd floor level we decided to head to the basement since that’s one of the requirements on her wish list. It needs to be livable or able to be finished without much repair.

As we’re walking through the basement, there was this one odd door. I asked if she was going to look she said no really quickly. So of course, me being the agent I decided to be the one to take the look. There was a weird like altar in the room, naturally I closed the door after she peeked and she made a beeline for the basement steps.

We were joking coming out of the basement when it felt like she got a little too close for comfort. But I looked behind me and there was space between us. We passed back through the kitchen on the way to one of the set of steps that lead upstairs. I was leading the way discussing some of the features of the house and the price was set to move the house in the current market.

I had a weird situation after the feeling on the basement steps, however I didn’t say a word about it and trooped right on. Another hairy turn/feeling? I placed my foot on the first step on the upper set of stairs, there suddenly was a large dragging and then a drop. I don’t know what but I had the urge to run and run is what I did. I turned to look and she was running right on my heels.

I slammed the front door the moment she cleared it and started putting the key into the lock. It took about 2 to 3 minutes to get the lock to click into place but she pointed out we didn’t have the box to lock the key back in (Referencing the interior box of the Supra). I suddenly got a sick feeling in my stomach that now I had to unlocked this door and go back in. Then I remembered, ha I never take the box all the way into the house, I usually place it right on the inside floor next to the door.

I opened the lock and door back up and stuck my hand in just enough to grab the box and it felt like a presence was in front of the door. I quickly snatched the box and locked the door after again a 2 to 3 minute struggle with the locks.

We’re finally backing off the front porch of this house and getting into my truck. I knew I couldn’t drive off too quickly, least we crash. I had to take a moment and compose myself, I took a look over at her and she was physically shaking all over.

She asked something then and I was terrified for real. “Do you see the window curtains are now open on the 2nd floor?” I looked up and they most certainly were, I put my truck in reverse and got the heck out of there so fast.

This by far was a showing appointment that left me feeling unprepared and shaken and I keep getting an odd feeling about the house. Enough to know I’ve never felt this feeling in my life and comparing notes afterwards with my client/friend, something was indeed in that house and it wasn’t a person just hanging out.

Do you believe that homes or buildings can be haunted or ever had a feeling that you weren’t alone?

I know it’s far from Halloween however this felt like being in one of the scary movies or books that I love so much.

St. Louis Condos! Is Condo living for you?

The most common thing I hear from potential condo purchasers, “I love the ideal of low or no maintenance on the exterior.”

Is that really all there is to condo living though? Condos boast a community within a community inside of a neighborhood. Yes I said it!

There are many things that you have to account for with most if not all condos in St. Louis. Just a short list:

  • Homeowner’s Association
  • Covenants and Restrictions
  • HOA Fees
  • Bylaws for Community/Coop/Villa
  • Common Grounds
  • Lot/Land Ownership
  • Limitations on Pets
  • Limitations on Vehicles
  • Parking Assignment if there is no Garage on the Condo

With each of the items on the list, when condo shopping you want to keep these in mind, overall a lot of home buyers do not look over all of the information that comes with purchasing a condo.

Some condos units have lesser restrictions but may also not be covered by all mortgage products.

I also want to point out because the terms condo and townhouse are often used interchangeably. They do not have the same terms, layout or Association Rules. One of the most common forgotten expenses as mentioned in the short list of condo terms is the Homeowner’s Association Fee.

The Homeowner’s Association fee is not included in your monthly mortgage payment. The fee can be deemed annual or monthly according to the rules of the Association.

Call me at 314.660.9709 or email me tamara@realestatestlouisnow.com

Don’t forget you can look up your next St. Louis Condo online or right from your mobile phone.

 

 

St. Louis City, County and St. Charles Condos Sold: The Market as of December 2014!

Fast Fact as of January 15, 2015 there are approximately 997 condos/coops/villas for sale on the St. Louis Market. The lowest priced unit available is listed at $11,900 and it’s 1 bedroom 1 bath in Hazelwood and just to blow your mind, the highest list price is $3,299,000 and located in the Chase Park Plaza and the Penthouse suite.

If you’re in the market for a condo, this information serves to show the list price in comparison to sold prices. In all markets just about all sales were sold for less than the list price. This makes it great for buyers wondering how contract pricing worked. It doesn’t provide all data such as repairs, closing cost paid by seller for the buyer, etc. but it does give a brief overview of how December condo sales performed.

If you are in the market for a condo, you can begin your search on my MLS connected website

Real Estate in St Louis

During the month of December 2014 approximately 227 listings were sold in St. Louis and surrounding areas in the market.

This chart represents Condos/Coops/Villas sold and closed in St. Louis County in December 2014.

This chart represents Condos/Coops/Villas sold and closed in St. Louis City in December 2014. Presented in a little different format since the dataset is smaller.

St. Louis City Condos Sold December 2014

This chart represents Condos/Coops/Villas sold and closed in St. Charles County in December 2014. Presented in a little different format since the dataset is smaller.

 

St Charles County Condos Sold December 2014

Exciting news for Potential FHA loan Borrowers From a Real Estate Agent Perspective

You may have heard recently in the media or even read it on a news, mortgage or real estate website.

HUD also known as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced new lower premiums on the common fee of Mortgage Mortgage Insurance or to some often referred to as PMI.

Just a little rundown. If you take out a FHA Loan to secure the financing on your home, you have what’s referred to as MIP aka Mortgage Insurance Premium attached to your loan on a annual (it’s broken down monthly in your mortgage payments) basis and upfront fee.

Essentially, the upfront fee was 1.75% of your loan for loans issued on a 30 year note. This amount can be paid at closing by you, the borrower along with your other closing costs associated with your loan including your down-payment funds or it can be rolled into your loan (at lender discretion) instead. So to give you a rough estimate of that amount. Let’s say you are doing a loan for $100,000 and on that your down payment would be 3.5% or $3,500 on a FHA loan. With the MIP upfront fee of 1.75% (current rate prior to change effective January 26, 2015), that would leave you having to bring $1688.75 + 3500 for a total of $4,688.75 to closing and that’s before any other closing fees like appraisals, title work, home warranty, or escrow funds. And on your monthly loan payments say at a 4.75% Annual Percentage Rate, that tacks 1.35% or for the example given $108.56 on to your Principal & Interest would be $512.20, and that total doesn’t include your Taxes and Home Insurance which all comprises your mortgage payment. Those totals so far monthly would be $620.76 again not including your taxes and insurance that would be required as part of your monthly payments.

Confused much? I hope not this is just a rough estimate to show you the effect of the current 2013 MIP Upfront and MIP Annual fees on your mortgage payment each month and closing on your loan.

WHO WANTS THAT?

Now with the proposed announced change, that fee has now been changed to 0.85% on the annual MIP amounts. So for that same loan in the example above your Principal and Interest would be $512.20 but now your monthly MIP would be roughly $71. So under the proposed new changes your payment would $583.20 before taxes and insurance. That new $38 difference can mean a lot to FHA borrowers especially when you look at it over the life of the loan or on a 30 year basis. That would be essentially saving roughly $13,680 over 30 years in a fee that doesn’t apply towards the principal balance of your overall loan.

Dramatic Difference in Payments Right?

That now makes the FHA more affordable to first time home-buyers and those holding loans issued in the last 36 months. And it could result in reductions for those existing FHA borrowers serving to put money back in their pockets each month or they can take a hint and apply it to their principal each month and pay down their mortgages quicker.

Take a look at this past post I did as well regarding money and home purchases.

If you are interested in purchasing a home using the FHA low down-payment program of 3.5% down for St. Louis Real Estate email me at tamara@realestatestlouisnow.com or call me at 314.660.9709

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