Monday, December 5, 2016

Staging Matters!

Which house do you think would sell on the first day, with multiple offers, over list price?
While a professional stager's services with paint consultation may cost a Seller between $3-5,000, typically the results pays off at the closing table!  What a terrific makeover.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Happy Birthday, indeed...

This morning, I woke up to this on the breakfast table...

And this in my inbox...

November 30, 2016 - you certainly know how to make a girl feel special. ❤

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Tablescape Inspiration

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, which means that we have switched into full-speed-ahead prep mode at my house.  We always host Thanksgiving, as both Steve and I adore the holiday. While the table is formal, the mood is always casual here in Casa de Nenonen.  For us, Thanksgiving is a day to to slow down, reflect, spend time together, and give thanks for friends, family, and the blessings in our life over a lovely meal.

In my opinion, a pretty table sets the stage and mood for the meal/day. I typically forgo a traditional centerpiece in lieu of natural elements including leaves, pumpkins, gourds, apples, pine, pomegranates, wood, nuts, cranberries, and pine cones to celebrate the Harvest time...

The photos above were my table a few years ago, when my centerpiece incorporated birch, nuts, magnolia leaves, and peacock feathers laced with the warm scent of orange, clove, and cinnamon.

Seeking creative inspiration this morning, I reached out to the Internet.   Here is a peek at some of the lovely photos that I found online. Who wouldn't LOVE to sit at one of these tables? Gorgeous...

See my Thanksgiving Pinterest board here:   

Thursday, November 17, 2016

CLOSED: #1210 Wicklow Rd and #1117 Windyoak in Ballwin

Contingent contracts can be challenging...

... but this transaction went off without a hitch!

#1210 Wicklow Road, H and #1117 Windyoak close today, as a wonderful family bids farewell to their condo in lieu of a more spacious happily-ever-after in their fabulous new house!

A warm congratulations to the H family for their exciting new beginning and a sincere thank you for trusting me to assist your family in the big move.  It was such a fun journey with your fantastic foursome (plus family), and I will sincerely miss our showing adventures.  That being said, I am so happy for you!

I know that this move was a long-time-coming.  Thank you for allowing me to help you make your dream into a reality. ❤

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Smoke and Mirrors- choose your Buyer Agent wisely!

My new client, a corporate relocation from the Northwest, seeks a historic home in South City. When this property rolled across my laptop screen through our search, I found myself sucked in to the beauty...
I have never denied the fact that I am an old house lover.  Needless to say, this property made me swoon.

Late 19th century with the perfect balance of original architectural integrity and modern day amenities. *clutching my heart*  Period fixtures, perfectly preserved woodwork in the original state, lovely original stains, carvings galore, unpainted pocket doors that function, historic murals, new kitchen designed to be in line with the original aesthetic, perfectly functioning original trim-adorned triple-sash windows leading out to a balcony (SO VERY RARE ), original clawfoot, stunning century old marble, a sizable detached garage, fenced lot, etc.  The works!

St. Louis, you never cease to seduce me with your beautiful historic architecture and a sincere "Bravo!" to a Homeowner who leaves the original goodies untouched.💓

All of this for only $350K.  My client immediately responded to the MLS auto-search email and wanted to see it ASAP as it was the perfect match on paper. That being said, after doing my homework as a Buyer's agent (further down in post)... my client chose not to tour the property after all  So leads into the discussion of the difference between the role of a Listing Agent and a Buyer Agent.

Most Realtors in St. Louis work with Buyers and Sellers.  While most of us have our personal preference, we balance both sides of the business.  That being said, these two distinct roles utilize very different professional skill sets!

A Listing agent's job is to make a property shine, to emphasize the jewel features of a home to draw Buyers in and make it a must-see!  When representing a Seller, a Realtor's role is to help our client thoroughly prepare the property and then market it in a way to make a Buyer react emotionally and fall in love.

The goal is seduction, smoke and mirrors: Gorgeous photos, flowers, strategically placed accessories and scents, fresh paint.  Staging is about manipulating a Buyer, drawing their eye towards what you want them to see, and causing them to react emotionally. Welcome home, fall in love, plant your roots, live happily-ever-after in this wonderful home rather than focusing on the cost and logistics of the purchase.

The agent for the property above did a stellar job!  Lovely professional photography with the right closeups allowing the original architectural goodies to sell themselves and a thoughtful description. It sold me, that is for sure!

So why did my Buyer choose not to visit?  I expediently sent him what I found "behind the curtain"

This photo angle was not used in the marketing of this listing for a reason.

My Buyer is primarily focused on resale as he does not know definitively how long he will be in St. Louis.  The Golden Rule of Real Estate to ensure a profitable resale regardless of the current market conditions or financial climate?  Location, location, location.  FACT: Close proximity to a noisy highway and/or a multi-unit building can negatively affect resale in most neighborhoods in St. Louis. Upon receiving these screenshots, he swiftly changed his mind.

I feel compelled to say that there is a Buyer for every property on the MLS and I purposely protected the location of this one so as not to negatively affect the Seller's efforts.  Some Buyers aren't as focused on location. Sometimes the price or features of a property make up for the location deficiencies for certain Buyers.   Priorities vary from client to client.  That being said, in this case, I did what I felt necessary to protect my client and he thanked me profusely. Either way, it is about making an informed decision and purchase!

In my opinion, this scenario perfectly summarizes the importance of Buyer's agent representation. Buyers: interview and choose wisely! Your representation is free of cost to you, paid for by the Seller in St. Louis, though you should still be picky.  You are trusting this Realtor with your money and financial well-being.  Choose carelessly and it will cost you!

Be clear about your purchase priorities:

  • What you want versus what you need.  
  • Your future goals and plans for this property.  
  • Your future concerns that you wish to avoid. 
  • Your preferences and expectations as far as agent guidance. 
Then ask yourself: 

  • Is this agent focused on making a quick buck commission or are they focused on ensuring that I make a smart buy?  
  • Do I trust this Realtor's knowledge of the inventory and local market?  
  • Have I asked for several professional referrals and followed through by contacting them?
  • Do I trust that this agent not only has the knowledge, but the strength and professional integrity to advise me against making a financial mistake? 

My rule of thumb when acting as a Buyer's agent?  Warn a client if I would be nervous to purchase the property for myself and make them aware of possible future resale obstacles.

I view a Buyer's agent role as an investigator.  I also take my plight to maximize future profit-potential seriously. Just as I did above, I must remain level-headed and remove my own rose-colored glasses to see through the Listing Agent's seduction techniques and reveal the facts accurately to my clients.  When a Buyer reacts emotionally, and they should when they finally find "the one", I have to remain grounded throughout the transaction to ensure favorable negotiation on their behalf.

If there are elements of a property that will directly affect resale, particularly external or functional obsolescence, I let it be known.  Not to say that my advice is always taken, it isn't, but this practice allows me to sleep at night while enabling my Buyer to make an informed purchase.  It also gives me peace of mind that when a client contacts me down the road to sell the property...  they are well-aware of the possible obstacles and hopefully have a huge profit margin ahead!

Often times, a home is a Buyer's future retirement, their nest egg.  Do not hand the responsibility of protecting that to just anyone without doing your homework first, friends.  It will cost you dearly!

For this client, I am back to the drawing board...

Friday, November 11, 2016

A trip to Fellenz Antiques in the Central West End

This AM, I introduced a client of mine to my favorite architectural graveyard in the city... 

If you have an older home that has lost original architectural elements over the years...  reintroduce some historic charm via Fellenz Antiques in the Central West End. While I would obviously prefer to see lovely 100 year old architectural goodies in their original HOMES, Fellenz is an excellent resource for old home lovers and owners!

Visit them at:
Fellenz Antiques
439 N Euclid Ave, St. Louis, MO 63108
(314) 367-0214

See my other St. Louis Hidden Gems HERE.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

CLOSED: #2719 Sundance Court in Wildwood

It was an exciting morning for my Buyers...
...Sundance closed! 

As part of my job, I tour a lot of properties.  That being said, there is something special about this private retreat tucked into the hillside of several wooded acres in Wildwood.  A huge congratulations to the fabulous W family for this exciting purchase and a warm THANK YOU for allowing me to represent you!

On a side note, I was a lucky text recipient of the unique "we're moving" announcement that they created for their family and friends...
Isn't it fantastic?  Love it.  I had to share!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

St. Louis Ghost Story: the house that inspired "The Exorcist".

Who doesn't adore a handsome traditional two-story brick home...

Built in 1942, this lovely 3 bedroom, 3 bath property boasts hardwood floors, a wood-burning fireplace, almost 1,700 sqft, and an interesting reputation...

YIKES!!  Happy Halloween week, St. Louis.  Yes, the 1973 cult classic movie "The Exorcist" is rumored to be a St. Louis real life ghost story.

In real estate, a "stigmatized property" is one that buyers shun for reasons that are unrelated to its physical condition or features, most often related to death, murder, suicide, serious illness, or belief that a house is haunted.  Some of the most notorious?

The "Amityville Horror" house...

Jon Benet Ramsey's house...

Jeffrey Dahmer's house...

And yes, one of the most stigmatized properties on the planet...

"The Exorcist" house, located less than 15 minutes from the St. Louis Arch, is nestled in a quiet Bel-Nor neighborhood near the campus of UMSL.

Even though the current Homeowner has encouraged the property's wicked reputation by willingly hosting numerous spooky television shows over recent years like "The Ghost Hunters"  and "Exorcism: LIVE", I won't post the address out of respect to their privacy. That being said, the property is the backdrop of "selfies" from the around the world as spook-seekers have hunted down the address and ventured to this unassuming house to document their visit.

While the movie itself contradicts and embellishes much of the detailed 26 page diary accounts of a St. Louis priest who participated in the actual exorcism itself, most of the rumored locations have been verified by local historians.  THIS interesting NPR article gives the historical accounts of this real life St. Louis ghost story.

So the question is, locals:  would you be interested in attending a Open House or submitting an offer if this one were to hit the market again?  The last sale was in 2005.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Golden Rule of Renovation: It must get (far) worse before it gets better!

As the weather cools and our renovation focus shifts back to the interior of our house for a bit... 
While our basement was already finished, a little makeover project kicks off in Casa de Nenonen this week with a LOT of inspiration from Pinterest.  Eventually, the full project overview will make it to the blog, but in the meantime, this is one of the plans that I am most giddy for.  

Farewell to the dark, useless closet under the stairs.  Hello light, storage, and practical use of space!

Who knew that the love for demolition is genetic? 😉