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5 Ways to Refresh Your Front Yard

Monday, July 16, 2018

 

After this year’s unusually long winter, it’s understandable that not everyone has had a chance to get outside to give their yard some much needed upkeep. However, a well-kept yard shows you care about your property as well as your neighbors and neighborhood. If you’re looking to sell your home in the near future, a well-maintained yard will add value to your property.


Even if you haven’t been gifted with a green thumb, that doesn’t mean you can’t still create a beautiful yard for your home! Luckily, we’ve gathered a few tips to get you started toward the landscaping you and your home deserve.


Keep a Manicured Lawn

Just as a fresh haircut can make you feel renewed, mowing your lawn regularly will create a crisp, clean face for your home. Without any changes to your home itself, your property will look like new again with just this quick, simple fix.


Make Sure Sprinklers Work and Run Regularly

Sprinklers are the easiest way to keep your lawn alive and green under the hot summer sun. If you don’t have sprinklers built into your lawn, you can purchase some from Home Depot or any other home and garden store to easily integrate into your yard. If possible, set your sprinklers on a timer so that they can run at night, which minimizes evaporation and ensures you don’t waste any water.


Complete Landscaping Projects During the Warmer Months

Why not take advantage of the warm summer weather? For example, take a weekend to plant in-season plants and flowers - not only will they thrive in the heat, they’ll keep your yard looking bright into the fall season. Other summer projects might include laying new stonework or mulch, or clearing paths and walkways to get the most out of your yard space.


Replace Your Lawn with Other Plants

If maintaining long stretches of grass isn’t for you, that’s perfectly fine, too. Replacing some or all of your grass with shrubbery or flowers can create a more modern look, and will also cut down on the time that would have been spent mowing or fertilizing your lawn.


Install Window Boxes in your Apartment

If you live in the city or in another area without a lawn, there are still plenty of things you can do to brighten up your space. For example, you can add flower boxes or even potted plants to your windows to make your home feel tuned into nature.


Not only will these changes make your home look better, but they can make your home easier to sell down the line. If you’re getting ready to sell your home and looking for more ways to give your home some much needed curb appeal, our agents at Janet McAfee are always here and ready to help.


Category: Summer Home Tips

Luxury Collection Exceeds Expectations

Monday, July 16, 2018

Janet McAfee is honored to present the finest collection of luxury homes for sale in the St. Louis area.  Our luxury collection spans a variety of architectural styles, geography and age.  If a panoramic river view is on your bucket list, then we invite you to discover our Saint Albans listings, perched on the bluffs overlooking the Missouri river.   In the stylish neighborhoods of the Central West End, you will find elegant turn of the century mansions with terrazzo floors and lavish millwork.  Executive style townhomes of newer construction are situated on urban lots in “tony” Clayton.  Magnificent estates grace the pastoral neighborhoods and equestrian communities of Huntleigh and Ladue.  There simply has never been a better time to purchase a luxury home in St. Louis. 

Is the Market Heating Up?

Monday, June 25, 2018

Is the real estate market as HOT as our temperatures have been?  Every month, we monitor key statistics for all homes in our MLS as well as specific geographies.  Here’s a snapshot of all homes in the MLS this year through May 31, 2018 compared to last year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closed Sales Dollar Volume          Up 6.5% 

Average Sold Price                       Up 4.3%

 

Average Days on Market               Down 3.6%

% List Price to Sale Price              Up .4%

 

New Listings                                Up 1.2%

Available Listings                         Down 3.6%

 

Our collection of fine listings has never been better. 

 

Janet Horlacher

How to Make the Most of Your Outdoor Living Space

Monday, June 25, 2018




One of the biggest perks to becoming a homeowner is the freedom; the freedom to tweak, design, and customize your living space down of the very last tile. Living space in this instance—especially with warmer weather on the horizon—extends beyond the walls of your home. It encompasses the front yard, backyard, and every outdoor cranny in between.


Creating the ideal outdoor living space for your home comes down to both your needs and the space itself. How can you effortlessly extend the square footage of your home into the outdoors? And more importantly, how can you make the most of your outdoor living space in a way that’s both beautiful and usable?

Furniture that’s Flexible

The furnishings of your outdoor living space should be reflective its intended use cases. For example, if you enjoy entertaining large groups, you may opt for a design that prioritizes ample seating. This doesn’t have to translate to your standard four-legged chair, however. Consider the use of large ground cushions, benches, or even swings if you have the right infrastructure to work with.


In addition to seating, consider investing in furniture that’s light, multi-functional, and easy to rearrange. Doing so will prove to come in handy should you need to do some last minute prepping for those summertime barbecues.

Account for Shade

Making the most of your outdoor living space is as much about your time spent reading in the shade, as it is basking in the sun. Be mindful of every outdoor moment you might want to account for and prepare accordingly. This could mean investing in a large, outdoor umbrella or simply positioning furniture to account for light pattern changes throughout the day. Especially on those hot summer days, you’ll be thankful for a little reprieve from the elements that don’t require you to stay cooped up inside.

Be conscious of traffic patterns

Whether entertaining guests or navigating solo, it’s important to establish some sort of common pathway from the outdoors to the inside and everywhere in between. Doing so will allow you to decorate around walkways sensibly and keep your flora free from being trampled. Lay down a simple stone path or illuminate with a lineup of outdoor sensor lights.

Organize your tools and accessories in one place

Inside, outside, it doesn’t matter — not being able to locate something you need to get a job done is frustrating. For this reason, consider centralizing all of your outdoor tools and accessories in one place. If you’re an avid gardener or handyman, maybe this means setting up a small shed out of the line of traffic for storage. Or perhaps you’ve designated a place in the garage for those needs. Wherever it is, keeping your outside organized will make it more enjoyable to spend time outside.

Zone your space

One of the easiest ways to approach designing an outdoor living space is to map it out by zones. This translates to the sectioning off of spaces in your backyard by function. There could be a zone for dining, lounging, gardening, grilling, kid’s activities; however you choose to categorize your spaces, make sure they’re reflective of your household needs for intended use.

Create a sense of privacy

Regardless of how much you may enjoy the company of your neighbors, there’s nothing wrong with establishing a bit of privacy. Consider investing in a fence, partitions or awnings. A little seclusion can go a long way in making your outdoor living space feel like an extension of your indoors.


On the hunt for the home (and backyard) of your dreams? Check out our newest listings of homes for sale in the greater St. Louis area today!




Category: Seasonal Preparations

Top Interior Design Trends for Summer

Friday, June 15, 2018


Summer brings sun, the beach, waves, heat--and a chance to brighten up your home! A new season is an opportunity for stylish updates to your home’s interior design, with decor as hot as the weather.


Pops of Color

Summer is the most colorful time of the year, with flowers in full bloom and the sun lighting everything up. Bold color pops--adding an element of color to an otherwise neutrally colored room--can especially bring your home up-to-date with the season. Rooms can be colorfully accented with bright pillows, embellishments like vases or decorative bowls or even wall hangings. Warm colors in the red, orange, yellow and pink family are particularly popular for summer color pops.


Plants, Plants, Plants

Nature is out in full force, so bring some of that greenery into your home! A popular summer trend is to arrange potted plants in your home, warming and softening your space. Try succulents like jade plants, aloe vera, or potted cacti for greenery that needs little maintenance or attention. Try anthurium, ferns, or English ivy for leafy plants that will give your space a garden effect. Accent your rooms with green pillows or wall hangings to highlight your living greenery even further.


Decorate Your Fireplace

If your home has a fireplace, it’s safe to assume you won’t be using it until the weather cools down. Fill your fireplace with flowers, coral, or artfully stacked wood until its needed again. This can brighten up a room and subtly convey the idea of warm weather. A fireplace decoration can double as a room’s pop of color!


Let Curtains Flow

Replace heavy winter curtains and window insulation with long, light, flowing curtains. These will flutter in the breeze and let sun in, keeping you connected to the outdoors and summer. Choose curtains in light colors like white and warm pinks, yellows or oranges, to give your space a light, airy feel. If you live in a buggy area, these curtains can double as shields against mosquitos if you spend long summer days with the windows open.


Feature Fibers

Put natural fibers at the forefront of your summer space. Wicker light hangings are a great way to bring some of the outdoors, indoors, and make your home feel ready for the season. Wicker furniture is a large-scale way to bring your home up to date for summer; make smaller changes with woven wall hangings, picture frames, or hangings for potted plants.



Summer is a great chance to freshen up your space! Whether you’ll be hosting open houses or just seasonal gatherings, make your home more welcoming, airier and more lively.


Ready to list your home? Contact Janet McAfee Real Estate to get started!


Category: Seasonal Preparations

What 5 Factors Determine The Best Places To Live?

Monday, June 11, 2018

When I think about what makes a city a great place to live, I think of these five factors.  And when you compare St. Louis to just about any other place, I think we stack up favorably.  

Proximity – The grocery store, dry cleaners, coffee shop and place of worship are within easy reach by foot, bicycle, car or metro.

Trees and Green Space – We are home to mature tree lined boulevards, parks of all sizes and location and beautifully landscaped neighborhoods.

Great Schools – St. Louis has earned a reputation for academic excellence from early childhood development through our internationally acclaimed universities.  Choices in elementary and high school include public, charter, private independent and religious based.

Fitness and Community Swimming Pools – Many of our municipalities and neighborhood have community rec centers with pools, tennis, gyms and enrichment classes.  

Easy Commuting – Let’s be honest, most of the “in” cities have bumper to bumper traffic with hour long commute times.  In St. Louis, you can easily travel to and from work in less than 20 minutes.     

 

All in all, I can’t think of a better place to live!

 

Janet Horlacher 

9 Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent When Listing Your Home

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


From a new job to a newborn, there may be a number of potential drivers behind your decision to sell and seek out that new home of your dreams. And while it can certainly be a time full of excitement, the change can also result in its fair share of stress and worry. Luckily, having the right real estate agent by your side throughout the process is a surefire way to curb anxieties from the get-go.


With all of the realtor options available, how do you even begin to decide upon the right real estate agent for you? Conducting interviews with relevant candidates in the area is a great place to start. Here are nine questions to ask your real estate agent when listing your home.

What’s your experience when it comes to listing homes?

Representing a buyer versus a seller certainly falls within the same wheelhouse, but there are differences in approach when it comes to finding success with each. Because of this, it’s important to gauge any potential agent’s experience for each. This is not to say that more experience in one over the other should be the sole driver of your decision, but having someone that can thoroughly speak to the process from experience has its advantages.

How do you determine my listing price?

A good agent will be able to walk you through their thought process when it comes to the listing price of your home. Price it too high, and you risk turning off potential buyers. Price it too low, and that’s less money in your pocket. Since listing price will be heavily influenced by the state of the market, you’ll want an agent with a good grasp on how it impacts your bottom line.

Do you work with buyers in the same range as my listing price point?

The answer to this question may be a good indicator of how knowledgeable an agent is about your potential buyers. In turn, this will influence the ways in which they market to them and eventually approach negotiations.

Are you familiar with this community?

Working with a real estate agent that’s familiar with your particular neighborhood can be an advantage when it comes to your home’s marketability. When building out your listing, they’ll be better equipped to develop relevant local messaging and comment on schools, new developments, and any other areas of community interest surrounding your home.

How do you plan to market my home?

A home for sale without any kind of marketing plan behind it certainly has an uphill battle ahead. From the right staging and quality photography to online virtual tours, there are a number of ways to enhance the online presence of your listing in order to extend its reach beyond just those who may see that ‘For Sale’ sign in the yard.

How do you track online activity for listings?

Traffic to your online listing will inevitably ebb and flow depending on both the market and marketability of your home. Most of that traffic will flow in during those initial weeks, but it’s important to keep tabs on how it may fluctuate throughout. This will allow you to make smarter decisions as a seller from beginning to end.

How should I get my house ready?

If your real estate agent has had experience selling homes in the past, they should have a solid list of to-dos for you to follow when preparing your house for market. They’ll also likely be able to help organize and/or provide references for relevant expertise in home staging and contracting.


Getting your home ready to sell is as much about the positioning of your furniture as it is having the right real estate agent to represent you. Put your trust in someone who knows the industry inside and out. Contact our team at Janet McAfee for more tips on how to list your home to sell.




Category: Home Selling Tips | Selling You Home

8 Questions to Ask Your Agent When Starting Your Home Search

Friday, May 18, 2018


Whether it’s your first or your fifth, making the decision to purchase a house is one fueled by emotion. Maybe you’re fueled by excitement at the thought of upgrading to the home of your dreams. Or perhaps that excitement is overshadowed with anxiety over leaving behind a place you’ve made countless memories in.


With the ebb and flow of feelings in tow, it only makes sense that’d you engage a real estate professional you can trust; someone who’s both empathetic and cognizant of your needs. As with any major life decision, put in the due diligence and ask the right questions before signing on the dotted line. You’ll often find that the more selective you are, the more enjoyable and successful the experience will be.

Are you a part-time or full-time agent?

Be mindful of how devoted an agent may be to their line of business. If they’re currently dipping their toes in real estate as a part time job, you may not receive the same level of attention you’d find from a full-time agent or agency.

How many clients are you currently representing?

There’s not necessarily a right or wrong answer to be given in this instance. However, there’s a big difference between five and 20 buyer clients when it comes to the amount of attention you’re hoping to receive. Get a feel for the real estate agent’s level of engagement and how often they’ll be available to respond to questions or concerns as they come up.

Will you representing me exclusively, or both the buyer and seller in the transaction?

While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, it’s important to understand where the practitioner’s obligations lie. A good practitioner will explain the agency relationship to you and describe the rights of each party. It’s also possible to insist that the practitioner represent you exclusively.

What type of support does your real estate agency offer?

Having resources, such as in-house support staff, access to a real estate attorney, or assistance with technology, can help a real estate professional sell your home. Get a feel for how an agent will go about aligning your home needs with what’s available on the market to ensure any goals you might set are actually attainable.

Can you recommend service providers for obtaining a mortgage, making repairs on my home, staging, etc.?

Keep in mind here that real estate professionals should generally recommend more than one provider and should tell you if they receive any compensation from any provider. If they’ve been in the business for a while, this will most certainly be the case and be reflective of their ability to network within their community.

How will you keep me informed throughout the home purchasing process?

Again, this is not a question with one correct answer, but one that reflects your desires. Do you want updates twice a week or don’t want to be bothered unless there’s a hot opportunity? Do you prefer phone, e-mail, or a personal visit?


Looking to start your home search off on the right foot? ContactJanet McAfee Real Estate—if you’ve got questions, we’ve got the answers.


Category: Tips for Buying a Home

Does Timing Matter?

Monday, May 14, 2018

Yes.  There is seasonality in residential real estate and the time is NOW.  We are in the peak of the real estate selling season.  In fact, May, June and July are the peak months in our St. Louis metropolitan area.   I looked at closed transactions over the past five years and discovered that the month of June has 32% more closed sales than an average month.  Remember, a closed sale typically occurs 40-60 days after an offer has been accepted, which means contracts written in mid-May produce the closed sales the end of June and contracts written in June close in late July.   As we say in real estate “time is of the essence.”


Category: Seasonal Preparations | Selling Your Home

Spring has sprung … Hooray!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Finally, Spring is here!  It’s sunny, in the 70’s and the residential real estate market is in full bloom!  In the St. Louis Central Corridor, 309 listings were put into MLS in the last 7 days.  235 listings went under contract (both new and existing) and 188 sales closed.  In the same period for the luxury market (over $1 million), there were 18 new MLS listings, 6 went under contract and 2 closed.

STL Central Corridor MLS Listings

All Prices

Over $1 M

New Listings

309

18

Option & Contingent

235

6

Sold - Closed

188

2

My advice to our sales agents is “don’t delay.”  Do everything you can to take advantage of this robust time of year.  Be aware that service professionals are busy-busy so we must be persistent and resourceful in scheduling painters, plumbers, roofers and contractors.  When working with buyers, prepare them to act quickly when they find the home of their dreams.   You know the Benjamin Franklin adage “an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure.”  

 

Happy Spring Selling and Buying!

Janet


Category: Real Estate Market | Selling Your Home

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