Tuesday, October 6, 2015

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.

The material for my blog has always been inspired by my weekly interactions/experiences and this post is no different. 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 "need" out of the property, despite what the 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 2015 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) The Realtor and things that could have and should have been done better:  

  • Dropped the ball in their pricing and staging advice. 
  • Haphazard pricing not in line with the comps. 
  • Didn't honestly reveal to a Seller that their house has an undesirable odor or is dirty.  
  • Used an inappropriate psychology of words in marketing, not focused on the targeted Buyer pool.  
  • Poor photos. 
  • Inadequate (or lack of) staging advice prior to photos and/or showings.  
  • Poor/ inappropriate exposure.
  • Vast exposure with lackluster marketing 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 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)  The Homeowner and things that could have and should have done better:

  • 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 every showing- from clearing the sink of dishes to scooping poop in the yard.  
  • Didn't make their property readily available to Buyer's agents and their clients, even if inconvenient for them. 
  • Was problematic or rude to Buyer's agents.
  • 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) The Location/Property features that are out of your control as a current owner: 

  • Some properties just take longer to sell. 
  • Certain location or property features automatically reduce the Buyer pool, thus prolonging the listing period: vicinity near commercial or a school, busy street, power lines, 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 almost 15 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. 

Carrie Nenonen
Licensed Realtor - State of Missouri

Selling St. Louis since 2001
6 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!

Friday, October 2, 2015

St. Louis Weekend Happenings: October 2- October 4, 2015

Best of Missouri Market

Venture out to the Missouri Botanical Garden for their popular Best of Missouri Market, an event that attracts more than 25,000 people annually. Over 100 vendors offer local flowers, food, baked goods, jewelry, and handmade goods over the course of three days. Enjoy live music, crafts, and kids' activities as you welcome the arrival of Fall.

October 3rd and 4th from 9am-5pm at the Missouri Botanical Gardens, with a special preview "First Look" on Friday night.

$12 adults (ages 13 and over)
$5 children (ages 3–12)
$5 Garden Members
Free Garden members' children (ages 3–12)

For more info:

Print the official 2015 program guide HERE.

Lemp Haunted Walking Neighborhood Tour

Everyone has heard of the infamous haunting of the Lemp mansion, but few know that the Lemp Mansion is one haunted house in a cluster of hauntings! Join members of the St. Louis Paranormal Research Society and walk through "America's Most Haunted Neighborhood" EVERY Friday night in October!  Hear the tragic history of the Lemp Family, learn the locations of two lost Lemp Neighborhood Cemeteries, and see the foundation stones of the first Lemp Mansion as you tour the area and they share other spooky tales ofmore haunted and historical locations along our tour route.

Every Friday, starting at 9pm. They meet inside the Lemp Mansion Museum. The tour lasts approximately 2 hours and is 3/4 miles in length. 

$20 per person. Refunds will be offered if we cancelled or rescheduled a tour, and tours will run rain or shine. 

For More info:

10th Annual GroveFest
No one knows how to throw a street party like The Grove in St. Louis!  GroveFest is an outrageously eclectic street festival in the Grove, a vibrant commercial district  in St. Louis.  Last year the festival drew over 12,000 attendees, was likened to funky New Orleans street festivals, and was praised for the diversity in programming and turnout. This year’s GroveFest is the 10th annual, so they are going above and beyond with live music, kids' stations, amazing food, and more!

Saturday from 2-10pm in The Grove along Manchester between Kingshighway and Vandeventer 

For more info:

Taste of Trucktober

Come celebrate food on wheels in West County, where the food is the STAR! This family-friendly festival hosts an array of gourmet food trucks including Mission Taco, Pie Oh My, Pi, The Meltdown, Steak Louie, Sarah's Cakestop, Pyro Pizza, and MORE!  Complete with live music, games, and karaoke... it is foodie fun for the whole family.

Saturday, October 3rd from 12-5

FREE Admission

Chesterfield Amphitheater
631 Veterans Place Drive
Chesterfield, MO 63017

For more info:

Shaw Neighborhood Art Fair

The Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Association (SNIA) has hosted the very popular Shaw Art Fair each Fall since 1993. Located on the tree-lined parkway of beautiful Flora Place at Tower Grove Avenue, the Historic Shaw Art Fair is one of the premier fine art and fine craft fairs in the St. Louis area. It is highly rated by art fair magazines and participating artists. Roughly 135 top caliber artists and craftspeople from around the country are selected each year to participate in the professionally juried event.  You will also enjoy live music and local cuisine.

Saturday, October 3th from 9am to 5pm
Sunday, October 4th from 10am to 5pm

Blocks of 4100-4200 Flora Place, St. Louis MO 63110

$7 per adult, which is good for admission to both days. Children 14 and under are free with an adult. Bring a non-perishable food item to receive $1 off admission—benefiting Isaiah 58 Ministries.

For more info:

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Welcome October!

Our fresh front porch pumpkin topiary at Casa de Nenonen...

 ...is accented by brand new blooms on the hydrangea. 

Hello October. Only in St. Louis.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

New Client Recommendation on LinkedIn

As a St. Louis native and a former relocation counselor, there is nothing more rewarding to me than introducing people to our city for the first time.  I never grow tired of it!  My client, Harrison, was kind enough to write this client recommendation on my LinkedIn recently.  

Our cross-country adventure, while tricky at times, was an absolute blast!  The final result?  A lovely house in a spectacular neighborhood!  Thank you, THANK YOU to the Gabel Family for allowing me the opportunity to assist in your big move to St. Louis and for sharing such a kind testimonial.  St. Louis is super lucky to have you!

Connect with me on LinkedIn HERE or read more of my client testimonials HERE.

Friday, September 18, 2015

St. Louis Weekend Happenings: September 18 - 20, 2015

There is a lot going on this weekend, St. Louis! If looking for fun and affordable family-friendly events, below are a handful of my local favorites happening this weekend...

Taste of St. Louis 2015
The 11th annual award-winning Taste of St. Louis is a celebration of the best food, art, music, and culture that our great city has to offer. Chris Jansen and the Well Hungarians play this year, while notable local chefs battle it out in high-pressure cooking competitions.   There is something for everyone at the event, as the array of activities and participants continues to grow each year. 300,000 patrons enjoyed Taste last year.

Friday, September 18 from 4:00pm - 10pm
Saturday, September 19 from 11am - 10pm
Sunday, September 20 from 11am - 7:00 pm

FREE Admission

Chesterfield Central Park
16365 Lydia Hill Dr
Chesterfield, MO 63017

For more info:
http://tastestl.com/ or 314.534.2100

43nd Annual Forest Park Balloon Glow and Race
The oldest and most well-attended free hot-air balloon event in the WORLD is this weekend! The Balloon Glow will be on Friday evening on Central Field (the site of the Race) and will be a walk through event only -- not a drive through event. The Balloon Race will take place on Central Field by the Jewel Box in Forest Park, on Saturday afternoon. The Great Forest Park Balloon Race is free, open to the public, and welcomes over 130,000 visitors every year.

September 18th and 19th 

Print/view the full 2015 program here: 

Forest Park- Central Field
5595 Grand Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63112

FREE Admission

For more info: 

Collinsville Italian Fest
For over 25 years, Collinsville IL has been celebrating the Italian culture and heritage that the city was built on. Dance, stomp grapes, Bocce, and "mangia bene" during their annual Italian Fest in downtown Collinsville, Illinois.  Plenty of parking is available throughout downtown Collinsville, but please note that the festival closes the streets from Morrison (IL-159) to Seminary.

September 18-19

Full weekend schedule here: http://www.italianfest.net/schedule.html 

FREE Admission

For more info:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

CLOSED: 1112 Arbor Creek Drive Unit# 2D in 63122

A warm congratulations and THANK YOU to my friend/client S on closing her first home today, a gorgeous move-in ready condo in 63122!  The deal was seamless, you were a total joy to work with, and I am SO excited for your big move.

Congratulations, lady!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Garden Tip: Attract Monarch Butterflies with this plant

Don't mind me...

I am just in Monarch Butterfly heaven here in Town and Country. Wow! If this doesn't convince you to introduce native Liatris to your garden, then I don't know what will. Beautiful.

Purchase this native hearty perennial HERE at Missouri Wildflowers.

Friday, September 11, 2015

St. Louis Weekend Happenings: September 11- September 13

Hey, hey St. Louis!  The weekend forecast predicts cool Fall temperatures and our city boasts a calendar packed with family-friendly outdoor events. Three of my favorites this weekend...

Saint Louis Art Fair in Downtown Clayton

Friday:  5-10p
Saturday: 11-10p
Sunday: 11-5p

The Saint Louis Art Fair (SLAF) is a family-friendly and FREE free 3 day celebration of the visual and performing arts, held  in Clayton's central downtown business district. The Art Fair presents fantastic art in numerous mediums, live performances, hands on activities for children, and showcases some of St. Louis' top restaurants. The Art Fair collaborates with over 20 local not-for-profit arts organizations giving them the opportunity to generate earned income and access to over 130,000 potential patrons.

Learn more here:  http://www.culturalfestivals.com/

LouFest 2015

Saturday and Sunday in Forest Park

Loufest returns to Forest Park this weekend for an exciting 6th installment, delivering a weekend of activity, amazing food, and live music including headliners like Umphrey McGhee, Billy Idol, and Ludacris. A peek at last year's fun...

Tickets are required.  Learn more here:  http://www.loufest.com/

Schlafly Art Outside Festival

Friday:  5-10p
Saturday: 10-10p
Sunday: 12-4p 

Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood
#7260 Southwest Avenue

Schlafly's Art Outside is a 3 day juried alternative art fair featuring over 50 local artists, live music, and the brewery's finest brews! Hosted at the Maplewood location, this popular event attracts over 15K people each year! 

Learn more here: 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Homeowner Tip: Got demo? Get Bagster!

Bagster Bag came to the rescue once again here in Casa de Nenonen, this week hauling away our tedious weekend project of cleaning out the garage and basement prior to Autumn!

If you have never used a Bagster for home projects, click HERE for more info including prices, requirements, and my personal testimonial. Absolutely brilliant Homeowner solution, total lifesaver. ‪

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Every house deserves the perfect backyard tree swing, don't you think?

Thinking back on my childhood, hour upon hour spent swinging on our backyard swing remains one of my favorite childhood memories! I was charmed by this one in West County this morning.