Tuesday, April 22, 2014

2014 US News & World Report's Best High School List

Each year, US News & World Report releases their Best Public High Schools In The Nation list ranked by state.  The 2014 report is hot off the presses and has everyone buzzing.

The U.S. News rankings include data of more than 19,400 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Schools were awarded gold, silver, or bronze medals based on their performance on state assessments and how well they prepare students for college.  Their full methodology can be found HERE.

Per Missouri, 8 out of the 10 "Best High Schools" ranked in the state are in the St. Louis area...

Other Missouri statistics...
In addition, Missouri is home to two schools awarded gold medals (Metro and Clayton in the St. Louis area)- only 2.8% of the schools in the nation are awarded this, representing the top 500 schools based on performance on state exit exams and highest college readiness. 13 Missouri High Schools were awarded silver medals (Marquette, Lafayette, Parkway West, Parkway South, Lindbergh, McKinley, Oakville, and Valley Park included in the St. Louis area), only given to 8.6% of eligible schools in the country and 126 were given bronze medals.
While locals often mock the popularity of the age old St. Louis question "Where did you go to high school?"... the question remains pertinent here due to our well-established and deeply-rooted public school system.  School District not only affects the quality of education here in St. Louis, but it is also directly correlated to property value in many areas of the Metro, as well.  While I do not  fully agree with all aspects of this list, as many of our local highly- reputable school districts sit lower in the rankings for one reason or another even with impeccable "College Readiness" scores and small class ratios...  the report is interesting and worth a share.
See all Missouri Rankings HERE.  See the FULL report and rankings in ALL states HERE.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Buyer Tip: Basic 2014 Loan Document Requirements for Home Buyers

The Spring real estate market has finally arrived, and Buyers who have been on the sidelines all winter long are beginning to act fast!

While presenting a contract to a Seller only requires a basic loan preapproval, a lender requires extensive documentation from a Buyer to actually process a new home loan upon contract acceptance.  Want to get ahead of the game?  Begin to compile these documents at the beginning of your house hunt! 

As inventory is currently at a historic low in St. Louis, often times a Buyer has to write a contract on the very same day it is listed or it is gone within hours!  This process doesn't leave Buyers with a lot of time to think or act.  Beginning to compile the documents required for verification of employment and income prior to writing a contract will save you a lot of time and headache.  You will be thankful that you did so after you find "the one", when focus is needed on important inspections and move-day details.
Below is a basic overview of the documents required of a 2014 Buyer per Andy House of PHH Mortgage (formerly Coldwell Banker Mortgage).  Depending on the complexity of the transaction, additional documents could be required.

Last 2 years W-2’s: 
If using college education as an alternative, a copy of the diploma and official transcript is necessary.
Last 2 months bank statements: 
All pages are required-  if the statement says 1 of 5, all 5 pages in required.
Last 2 months/quarterly investment account statement: 
Same as above.
If paid income by Social Security:  
Must provide the most recent award letter and proof of 2 months of income received on the bank statements.
If paid a pension or retirement:
Must provide a copy of the pension award letter and must have 3 years of continuation of the pension in order to count it.
 If self-employed:  
Must provide the last 2 years of tax returns.  All pages and schedules are required and must be signed and dated. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hidden Gem: Pint Size Bakery in South City

On Watson (near Chippewa) in South City, sits an itty bitty bakery with a large, growing reputation!  The owner is a former pastry chef for St. Louis notable Sidney Street CafĂ©, and is knocking out scrumptious delights done the old-fashioned way in this cute little stand-alone bakeshop.

Their motto:  "Small Batch - From Scratch - Fresh Daily"

While tending to business in St. Louis Hills last week, and after months of following their Instagram feed of daily temptation, I finally popped in for a visit.  A peek at the fun...

A surprise for the boys when they returned home from school...

Red velvet baseball cupcakes with cream cheese icing! 

Overall, the location is accessible, the space is cute, the staff is friendly, and the treats are creative and tasty!  What more can you ask for?  Worth a visit, St. Louis- a true hidden gem that lives up to its DOZENS of raving online reviews!

See more of my "Hidden Gems" HERE.

Nitty Gritty...

Pint Size Bakery
3825 Watson Road
St. Louis, MO   63109
(314) 645-7142

Web: http://pintsizebakery.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pint-Size-Bakery-Coffee/291199224269821
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PintSizeBakery

Monday, April 14, 2014

Under Contract: 47 Villa Coublay

This gorgeous Creve Coeur property sits on over an acre in Ladue schools and closes in May.

See the full listing and more photos of the property HERE.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Just For Fun: Mainstreet BBQ & Bluesfest in Historic Downtown Washington, MO

Yesterday, Mother Nature blessed St. Louis with sunny blue skies and lovely 70 degree temperatures!   It was the perfect day to journey scenic Highway 94 in our convertible to enjoy "Blues and BBQ" overlooking the banks of the Missouri River in Historic Downtown Washington, Missouri.
A teeny peek at our family fun...

Pop this event on your calendar for next year!  Great music and a fun and tasty BBQ competition, only an hour from St. Louis.  Connect with Washington, MO on Facebook HERE.  See more of my local Hidden Gems HERE.

Friday, April 11, 2014

St. Louis Weekend Happenings: April 11-13


Sip & Stroll: An Evening of Art in the CWE
5  - 8 pm - Central West End
Sip and stroll along the shops and galleries on McPherson in the CWE  to celebrate the openings of new art shows at Duane Reed Gallery, Philip Slein Gallery, Charlie Houska,  and the Vino Gallery with complimentary cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres.

More info:  http://cwescene.com/

Michael W. Smith with the St. Louis Symphony
7:30 PM - Powell Symphony Hall in Grand Center
Singer-songwriter Michael W. Smith joins the St. Louis Symphony to perform fan-favorites from his celebrated albums.
More info:  http://www.stlsymphony.org/ or (314) 534-1700

Cardinals VS the Cubs
7:15PM - Busch Stadium
Buy Tickets HERE


Hunt for a Cure
11AM - Queeny Park
Egg hunt for a fabulous cause!  The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society are hosting a huge Easter egg Hunt at Queeny Park.  Volunteers hide more than 50,000 eggs, and for  only $10 per family, kids can hunt for eggs.  All money raised benefits LLS.
More info HERE

Ben Folds with the St. Louis Symphony
7:30 PM - Powell Symphony Hall in Grand Center
Singer-songwriter Ben Folds joins the St. Louis Symphony to perform fan-favorites from his celebrated albums.
More info: 
http://www.stlsymphony.org/ or (314) 534-1700

Repeal of Prohibition Beer Festival
12-5PM - Schlafly Bottleworks
Celebrate the Anniversary of the End of Prohibition with live music and samples of more than 30 beer styles .
More info: 
www.schlafly.com or  (314) 241-2337

Cardinals VS the Cubs
1:15 PM - Busch Stadium
Buy Tickets HERE


Ben Folds with the St. Louis Symphony
7:30 PM - Powell Symphony Hall in Grand Center
Singer-songwriter Ben Folds joins the St. Louis Symphony to perform fan-favorites from his celebrated albums.
More info: 
http://www.stlsymphony.org/ or (314) 534-1700

Cardinals VS the Cubs
1:15 PM - Busch Stadium
Buy Tickets HERE.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Just for fun: April blooms

Tower Grove Park is officially in bloom...

I don't know which is more colorful, the Spring forsythia or the lovely century old pavilion!

My oh my, what a difference 6 weeks can make?!

Your roof may have hail damage!

We have experienced WICKED weather in St. Louis over the last week: sizable hail, lightening, and inches of rain.  It has been enough to cause every local homeowner alarm.

I spotted this during a showing in Clayton yesterday...
Evidence of mineral deposits at the base of a property's downspouts after a hail storm is a RED FLAG.

When hail impacts a roof, it degrades the shingles and loosens the granules.  If your property boasts standard asphalt shingles, you'll want to check around the downspouts for excessive granule buildup. 

If evident, there is a strong possibility of roof damage from the storm and further investigation by an insurance professional or roofing contractor is needed ASAP.

If you are in the middle of a Real Estate Transaction and a big storm hits: 

Both parties:  The Seller needs to make the Buyer aware of the damage ASAP.  The Buyer needs to re inspect the property immediately.  The Seller's Disclosure requires revision with new signatures by both parties ASAP.   An Amendment to the Contract will need to be drafted by your Realtors immediately, as dictated by the Title Companies and Buyer's Lender (who will need to review the Seller's insurance claim first)!   The document will likely address the timeframe of the repairs,  the terms of material/color selection, and the selection of the contractors who will actually complete the work.   All of these important factors of renovation must be mutually agreed upon by both Seller and Buyer. 

Buyers:  If you have a house under contract and a storm hits mid process:  immediately re inspect the property with your Realtor, verify with your Realtor that the Homeowner has filed an appropriate claim with their insurance company, and ask for an updated Seller's Disclosure ASAP.  Upon completion of the work, the Seller will submit all receipts to your Realtor, who will then submit them to you, your lender, your title company, and you insurance company for review and underwriting.  Upon completion of the work, you will also need to re inspect the property as part of your Final Walkthrough, to ensure that the work was completed as agreed.   

Sellers:  If you currently have a property listed, inform your Realtor of the damage ASAP.  Arrange a time for your Buyer to view the damage.  File the appropriate insurance claim ASAP and make a Seller's Disclosure revision immediately with guidance from your Realtor.  All terms of the repairs will need to be mutually agreed upon via an Amendment to the Contract- do NO WORK on the property until that is initiated!   Upon completion of the work, you must submit your receipts to your insurance company and your Realtor, who will pass it along to the Buyer's Realtor and your Title Company

NOTE:  Sellers, if you do not act quickly, the closing of your property could be severely delayed and/or compromised!  You risk your Buyer growing uneasy and negatively affecting their insurance and/or borrowing eligibility for your property! 

Monday, March 31, 2014

April Edition of St. Louis Magazine- All things local Real Estate!

The April edition of St. Louis Magazine just came out and it is a wealth of local real estate information! If you are in the market to move in 2014 or just take interest in the local real estate trends, it is a must-buy. The April edition announces the 2014 "Five Star Award- Best in Customer Service" recipients, only awarded to the top 7% of local Realtors (of which I am thrilled to be included for my 5th time)...

The edition also boasts fantastic articles including neighborhood descriptions, navigation advice for the current market, current inventory trends, residential tips, condo and investor market information, Buyer forecasts, area crime statistics, individual school district statistics, and more...
Pick up a copy for yourself and anyone you know who is planning to make a move in 2014.  Phenomenal resource- had to share!