Monday, October 29, 2018

Under Contract: 435 South Elm in Webster Groves

I adore a good love story! My Buyers stumbled in to this historic Webster Groves home yesterday and immediately knew. After an evening of negotiation, I received the accepted contract at 5:30 this AM.  Yippee!  What a terrific start to a new week.  🏡❤️

This home epitomizes classic 1902 charm from the wraparound porch and pristine pocket doors to the pink stained glass transom and the dreamy peaked walk-up attic! 

A quick peek at some of the architectural goodies...

This beauty closes escrow in November.  A warm congratulations to the fabulous F duo for a fresh start in gorgeous historic Webster.

If you are in St. Louis and contemplating a move, the market is still strong and moving with plentiful inventory and falling prices.  It is a GREAT time to be a Buyer. Let's connect...

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Rent or Buy? The numbers don't lie!

Rent or buy?
Numbers don't lie, friends.

We bought our 1st house at 22 and 26 at the urging of my (real estate investor) father and it was probably the best financial decision that we ever made! 🏡💰 We made 47k profit (more than we COLLECTIVELY made per year at the time) in addition to a little payment equity in only 6.5 years. We benefited from tax breaks and instant equity thanks to a strategic and smart buy, which ultimately set us up for a more financially healthy future.

THE FACTS: You are either building your landlord’s nest egg and financial future or your own. Stop making your landlord rich by putting equity in their pocket and pay yourself!  You don't have to wait until you can afford your forever home or the PERFECT house on the PERFECT street.  Be smart and start building wealth now!  Work your way up to that home, step by step.  It works!

In St. Louis?  I would love to help!  Let's connect:

Friday, October 19, 2018

The 2019 St. Louis Muny Show Schedule ANNOUNCED!

The St. Louis Muny, aka the oldest outdoor theater in the US, just announced their 2019 Summer lineup, #StLouis...

...and all I can say is YES, YES, YES!! ❤️  Fun fact:  During their 101st season, the Muny will be the VERY first theater in the U.S. to produce the Tony, Olivier and Grammy Award-winning Best Musical Kinky Boots!  Too fun.

New subscriptions will go on sale in March 2019, and single tickets will be available beginning May 2019.  More information can be found at

Thursday, October 18, 2018

CLOSED: 64 Conway Clove in Chesterfield

It will be an exciting weekend for my Buyers, S and A...
... as they will be MOVING! Yippee! 64 Conway Cove closed escrow this weekend, as my Buyers sink their roots in St. Louis after a move across the state.  A warm thank you and congratulations to this wonderful family on their fresh start in a new city and a very special THANK you to the D family for their kind referral!  The best part of my job is the lovely people that I get to spend my time with and this transaction was no different. 

If you are in St. Louis and contemplating a move, the market is still strong and moving with plentiful inventory and falling prices.  It is a GREAT time to be a Buyer!  Let's connect...

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Halloween Curb Appeal

Seeking a way to amp up your spooky curb appeal, Homeowners? 
Scare the “boo crew” that lands on your front porch with a little DIY Halloween front door magic!  Little touches make MAJOR impact in this quick project.  Happy Haunting!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Hidden Gem: A St. Louis Lemp Style Halloween

Nothing screams "St. Louis Halloween Spooktacular"...
... like a haunted walking history tour of the Lemp complex and Cherokee Neighborhood at night?!  Last night, Steve and I gathered with some of my Coldwell Banker Gundaker coworkers for a little Halloween fun. Ack!

If you are from St. Louis, you likely know all about the legend of the Lemp family, the unfortunate Prohibition demise of one of the largest brewers in the country, and the string of "unfortunate incidents" that resulted in the old family mansion becoming one of the most notorious in the United States for alleged hauntings!

On this tour you get to hear all about the tragic history of the Lemp Family, learn the locations of the lost Lemp Neighborhood Cemeteries, and enjoy the gorgeous Cherokee Neighborhood architecture at night as they share other spooky tales of more haunted and historical locations along the tour route.

The St. Louis Paranormal Society is actually BASED in the old Lemp Brewery complex at the base of Antique Row and offer tours several nights per week.  Check out their website for more information at or find them on Facebook HERE.

If you want to tour the Lemp mansion ITSELF, they actually offer guided tours every Monday, year round.  They also have a fabulous restaurant, offer fun mystery dinners, and have overnight accommodations for the brave at heart. Learn more at

There is also an October haunted house in the complex and trust me, IT IS FRIGHTENING! 
It involves taking an old warehouse elevator down to the caverns and um, yeah. Been there, done that (thanks to the coaxing of my teenage boys) and not sure I will do it again?!  Ha ha.  Brave?  Learn more HERE.

Whatever you choose, make sure that you round out the evening at Ted Drewes for a "Great Pumpkin" concrete...
The best! 👻

See some of my other local "Hidden Gems" HERE.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Got chills, St. Louis? Check Your Insulation!

Got the chills, St. Louis?  Slippers, warm coffee, and a steamy shower this morning!  Just 3 days ago, The Nenonens hiked (and waded) our way 5 miles through Castlewood.  In fact, we managed to hike 20+ miles over the past week thanks to lovely 80-90 degree temperatures!

Yesterday, however, in true Midwest fashion...
...Mama Nature surprised us all by taking a tumble in to brisk autumnal temperatures, abruptly ending the unseasonable Fall warm streak we have enjoyed thus far.

I have always said that my blog mimics my life, and this post is no different.  My goal here on CDN and the City is to yes, share my adventures but also educate the public on matters of the home.  Often times, that means learning from my mistakes.

I pose a question to you, friends: When was the last time that you peeked in to your attic and checked the level of the insulation?  Answer honestly, judgement-free zone here. 

Apparently in Casa de Nenonen, it has been too long! Way too long, if ever, since closing on our house.  Let's face it: Life is busy.  Homeowners tend to deal with what is directly in front of them: the garage door that needs adjusting, the lawn that needs mowing, the laundry and dishes and messy kitchen floor.  The mundane daily Homeowner tasks, sprinkled with the occasional crisis or voluntary weekend project, keeps us busy!  Am I right?

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we are currently under kitchen renovation...

In fact, a full gut! When our contractor descended from our attic this week after installing our new recessed lighting, he urged us to add more attic insulation ASAP.  Truthfully, Steve and I rarely even open the attic hatch in this house, as we have plentiful basement storage and it simply is not easily accessible.  

When I popped my head up there this week, however, I was horrified. I have been through enough career building inspections to know the importance of insulation.  I understand R-value.  Yet, I popped my head up in my own attic this week to find this...
Yep.  I am trying not to turn this in to an ashamed Homeowner confession post, but I have no excuse.  To the average person, this photo may mean little to nothing.  To put things in to perspective for you, however, this is the reality thanks to Energy Star...
Insulation's resistance to conductive heat flow is measured in terms of its thermal resistance or "R-value".  Kindergarten terms: the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness. The R-value depends on the type of insulation, its thickness, and its density.  Over time, insulation shifts or compacts and becomes less effective.   In fact, when insulation compacts, it acts more as a conductor than an insulator.

Our attic, MAYBE, is R-21 right now.  Again, no excuses people. Most local insulation companies recommend an R-49. The US Department of Energy recommends between R-38 and R-60 for the St. Louis area.

St. Louis County requires a minimum of R-30 on new construction and industry-wide, but that is considered RIDICULOUSLY and INSANELY low for our extreme Midwest temperatures.

So these are the facts: Beefing up insulation and caulking/sealing air leaks is one of the best ways to improve energy efficiency in your home. It is a simple home project that a Homeowner can do on their own and it can reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to a whopping 30%!

In addition, per Remodeling Magazine, it has one of the best ROIs (return on investment) of all home improvement projects.
In other words, THIS HOME IMPROVEMENT PAYS FOR ITSELF while keeping your family warmer on chilly days like today!  Win/win.

Our contractor has graciously agreed to bring Casa de Nenonen to an R-49 this week.  While I am thankful that he alerted us to his discovery, we should have done our due-diligence and checked it prior to this renovation.  We should have done our due-diligence and checked it years ago.

Learn from my mistake, friends.  The cost of the project is nominal compared to the money saved.  Before temps plummet any further, walk around your home and pay special attention to these areas...
Your pocketbook will thank you!  

Monday, October 8, 2018

Playful Painted Lady

Lady, you sure know how to stand out in the crowd...
This 1913 Peoria home was built as an American 4 Square with Victorian ornaments added over a century. Playful, isn’t she?  Every time I head up to Bradley University to visit my eldest, I always stop to admire her!❤️

Thursday, October 4, 2018

My house didn't sell over the summer... HELP!

Sweet October.  For most people, Labor Day is the welcomed celebratory end of Summer and threshold to cool autumn air. To a homeowner whose property remains unsold, however...  

... the passing of the Labor Day weekend can be stressful as traditionally, this holiday also ushers in the slower Fall selling season here in the Midwest.

Each year around this time, I have distressed homeowners reach out to me. Most of the time, they have been listed all Spring and Summer with another Realtor, resulting in no sale. They typically are at the end of their listing contract (and rope), unsure what to do next. Most times, the current relationship with their Realtor is strained, the line of communication is fractured, and they do not wish to renew their listing contract.   

It happens.  

Whether the unsuccessful Sellers stumbled upon my information on Social Media or they confided in a loved one or coworker who coincidentally was one of my past clients and graciously passed along my business card... they seek honesty, understanding, advice, guidance, and HELP.

Before I proceed, I will preface by stating that a good Realtor makes the job look easy. However, it is incredibly difficult to walk into a homeowner's space - their sanctuary - and list off what needs changing to make the property appealing to the masses. A number of agents find this aspect of the job unbearable, revealing to a homeowner that their house needs tidying, cleaning, rearranging, redecorating, or renovation. 

Realtors also typically face a Homeowner who clearly states what they financially expect or "need" out of the property, despite what the statistical comps indicate the TRUE market value to be. Added pressure.  As a result, some agents are not honest with their Sellers... often resulting in months on market and hard feelings.

My take?  Having these difficult conversations is the basis of a Realtor's job. A difficult part of the job, yet the most IMPORTANT part of the job. 

The fact is:  While the truth sometimes hurts, information is POWER to a Seller.  It allows them to control the process and not have the process control them.   In addition, it is during these moments that an understanding is made between Realtor and client and an open line of communication is established. Both are IMPERATIVE to a successful transaction.

Listings don't sell for a variety of reasons.  As we had a healthy 2018 season for Sellers in St. Louis, with a lower inventory and enticing interest rates, market/financing conditions can likely be removed as a culprit.  

The unsuccessful sale can typically be attributed to 1 of 3 factors, or a combination of the 3:

1) Realtor Blunder: 

  • Dropped the ball in their preparation, pricing, and staging advice. 
  • Haphazard pricing not in line with the statistical comps. 
  • Didn't honestly reveal to a Seller that their house has an undesirable odor or is dirty.  
  • Sloppy MLS entry with spelling mistakes, incorrect showing instructions, or incomplete or incorrect property information.
  • Used an inappropriate psychology of words in marketing, not focused on the targeted Buyer pool.  
  • Low quality photos. 
  • Inadequate (or lack of) staging advice prior to photos and/or showings.  
  • Poor/ inappropriate exposure across the internet and social media space.
  • Vast exposure with lackluster marketing/photos to back it up.  
  • Lack of communication with the Seller.
  • Lack of communication with the general public or fellow Realtors whose inquiries were not met with timely response if any at all.  Yes, this is quite common.
  • Didn't properly prepare the Seller with showing guidelines and expectations.  
  • Didn't share showing feedback with Seller and encourage them to adhere to it.
  • Didn't define communication expectations with the Seller.
  • Didn't keep the line of communication open with the Seller.  
  • Didn't provide the Seller with honest Buyer feedback received.  
  • Made promises that they knew they couldn't keep. 
  • Didn't defer a Seller who they knew they couldn't help.  
  • Listed at a commission that is so low it deterred Buyer's agents.

2)  Homeowner Blunder:
  • Chose to list at a challenging time of year, outside of peak market.
  • Didn't properly interview and/or ask the tough questions prior to selecting a Realtor. 
  • Didn't hire a Realtor with a proven track record and client recommendations. 
  • Didn't trust or follow the Realtor's advice when given. 
  • Wasn't realistic about value, despite statistical data given.  
  • Hired a discount Broker with shoddy marketing and representation- you get what you pay for!  
  • Didn't properly prepare the property before photos, listing,and every single showing- from clearing the sink of dishes to scooping poop in the yard.
  • Bulldozed their Realtor and insisted on controlling the process. 
  • Ignored showing feedback regarding property and price.
  • Didn't make their property readily available to Buyer's agents and their clients, even if inconvenient for them. 
  • Was problematic, disrespectful, or rude to Buyer's agents.
  • Was problematic. disrespectful, or rude to their own agent.
  • Publicly broadcasted their house woes on Social media, alienating their Realtor or snooping Buyers. 
  • Didn't give potential Buyers adequate time alone in a property. 
  • Didn't keep the line of communication open with their Realtor.  
  • Didn't keep their Realtor informed, including withholding questions or stating concerns as they arose. 
  • Was not realistic about profit potential despite comps given. 
  • Used their agent as a verbal punching bag when frustrated.
  • Refused price adjustments when the time arises or feedback/days on market reflect it to be necessary.

3) Location/Property features that are out of your control: 
  • Market or neighborhood inventory saturation (too much supply for demand).
  • Stigmatized area or property. 
  • Certain location or property features automatically reduce the Buyer pool, thus prolonging the listing period, for example: vicinity near commercial or a school, busy street, power lines, flood plane, airport, swimming pool, certain architectural styles (split foyers and slabs in St. Louis), extremely stylized decor, unusually small or large lot, strange lot topography/grading, unappealing neighboring properties, etc.


The key to recovery after a lengthy unsuccessful listing period is to pause and regroup before you sign another Listing Agreement.  Ask yourself the question: Should I stay or should I go?  Do you want to remain in the house or are you willing to do whatever it takes to sell that house, even if it means switching things up, engaging in difficult conversations, taking on some new projects, and/or taking a financial hit? 

Should you decide that selling is your preference,  it is time to seek a 2nd opinion, a fresh perspective, IMMEDIATELY.  Speak with a new Realtor (or two).  Conduct a formal interview.  Ask for professional references and CHECK THEM. Take the lessons learned from your 1st experience and seek someone who you think will be a better match and earn your trust.   Be honest about your past frustrations, admit what you could have done better, ask the tough questions that you should have asked the 1st time around, and ask them to highlight what they see as the key selling obstacle from an outside perspective.  9x out of 10,a skilled Realtor can directly pinpoint the problem just by pulling up the listing, carefully examining the current comps, and visiting the property.  

Most important:  

  • Do not panic and stay positive.  
  • Wipe the slate clean.  
  • Hire someone who you have confidence in.  
  • Be clear about what you need and expect from your new Realtor. 
  • Trust the process.  
  • Trust your Realtor's advice and do not be afraid to tap their wisdom and confide in them. 
  • As difficult as it is, try to approach your new agent with a positive attitude and with faith, devoid of the frustrations and bias caused by the previous agent.  
  • Take each day and part of the process as it comes and keep in mind- this too shall pass.  
The fact is:  every property has a Buyer.  The key is getting your property into the hands of the right person to present it on your behalf to the world.

If you are a St. Louis homeowner currently feeling shackled by your unsold property and do not know where to turn or what to do... please do NOT be afraid to reach out.  I welcome this contact. I can help you. I do not judge. 

My clients, whose praises I wear like a badge of honor, will attest... 

I am brutally honest and take my professional integrity seriously. I will not compromise either of those things. I will not lie, even when the truth may sting or is extremely difficult to deliver.  

I bring to the table over 17 years of residential real estate experience, a proven track record of success, concrete statistical data, and an unbiased opinion.  When working with a Seller, I will not sign a listing agreement until the issues of the property are well-understood, discussed, and remedied.  If a Seller is unwilling to remedy issues that I address, I ensure that they understand the possible financial consequences of not doing so. 

If I think that prolonging the listing until the Spring is advisable and/or necessary to maximize profit potential- I disclose that immediately.    If I think that I am not the match for that Seller- I reveal that and politely decline the listing.  My single goal as a Realtor is to sell your property, making it as stress-free and profitable a process as I possibly can for you.  All of my advice given will support that goal. 

I can help.  Let's connect!  Learn more about me HERE at my bio, on my LinkedIn where I have numerous professional recommendations,  or contact me directly at...

Carrie Nenonen
Licensed Realtor - State of Missouri

Selling St. Louis since 2001
8-time recipient of the St. Louis Magazine 
“5 Star Realtor Award” for best customer service

Coldwell Banker Gundaker Corporate Headquarters
#2458 Old Dorsett Road, Suite 100
St. Louis, MO  63043

314. 452. 7675   cell / text
314. 298. 5275   office

My clients are talking.  Read some of their testimonials HERE!

Monday, October 1, 2018