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.

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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

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

Or use the confidential form below to reach me:

Bills are always a factor no matter of renting or owning, Right?

Find ways to make Thanksgiving light on your pockets inside your home and still be the host with the most! I know me for one want to make sure I provide a great experience for dinner but I also don’t want sticker shock when bills come the following month. Take a look at this great article, it gives 9 ways for you!

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Found the home of your dreams! Oh no, it needs updating?

So you’ve found that home of your dreams, except you don’t like the interior design, it’s not functional or just downright unlivable in it’s current condition.
The next big question you ask yourself is, “How do I pay for the needed updates?”

If you have the money set aside having anticipating wanting a fixer-upper. Wonderful!

But if not there is a program called the FHA 203(k) Rehab Loan.

The FHA 203(k) Rehab Loan wraps the costs of renovation, materials and labor into your mortgage or if you already own refinancing. If you want to go with a simplified name just call it a home improvement loan.

A little background first…I know I know, not the boring stuff 🙂 but I promise to keep it short and simple.

First off it’s backed by the Federal Government through the FHA insured program. Meaning essentially you would have to be within FHA limits on the final cost after renovation when the final loan amount is complied and delivered from the lender.

Your cost can be as low as $5,000 on the renovation itself but there are basic requirements such as the house itself after renovation has to meet basic energy efficiency and structural standards.Minor or cosmetic repairs by themselves are unacceptable: however, they may be added to the minimum requirement.

You could do a total rebuild if you qualify, meaning you demolish the existing house and build your own right on that land as long as the existing foundation remains in place.

I know this is a dream kitchen for most of us:

Photo courtesy of and copyright Free Range Stock

Photo courtesy of and copyright Free Range Stock

There are a few things that are definitely excluded from the renovation costs such as exterior upgrades like pools or non-essential improvements in that category.

Here is a part of the list of what can be done in your renovation (courtesy of HUD.gov):

A. Structural alterations and reconstruction (e.g., additions to the
structure, finished attics, repair of termite damage and the
treatment against termite infestation, etc.)
B. Changes for improved functions and modernization (e.g., remodeled
kitchens and bathrooms).
C. Elimination of health and safety hazards (including the
resolution of defective paint surfaces and/or lead-based paint
problems on homes built prior to 1978).
D. Changes for aesthetic appeal and elimination of obsolescence
(e.g., new exterior siding).
E. Reconditioning or replacement of plumbing (including connecting
to public water and/or sewer system), heating, air conditioning
and electrical systems.
F. Roofing, gutters and downspouts.
G. Flooring, tiling and carpeting.
H. Energy conservation improvements (e.g., new double pane windows,
insulation, solar domestic hot water systems, etc.).
I. Major landscape work and site improvement, patios and terraces
that improve the value of the property equal to the dollar amount
spent on the improvements or required to preserve the property
from erosion.
J. Improvements for accessibility to the Handicapped.
K. Related fixtures such as new cooking ranges, refrigerators and other
appurtenances, as well as general painting are also eligible, however,
it must be in addition to the $5,000 requirement.

Now that you have a better picture of how the FHA 203(k) Program could work in your favor, it might put getting the home you want within reach and at a cheaper cost than buying a completely finished, updated and upgraded home straight from the market.

If you have questions or want to know what’s on the market, click here to start your search St. Louis Real Estate

Feel free to call me Tamara Liggins @ 314.677.6104

Most importantly make sure you are choosing a lender that knows the program and can guarantee you results on financing.