Top 5 Features St. Louis Home Buyers Want that Aren’t in Marketing Pictures

Home buyers searching through homes on the internet, trying to decide which homes to visit in person, see a lot of pretty pictures (and terrible pictures!). But often the things that get a buyer to make an offer aren’t in those pictures.

Here are 5 of the top features St. Louis home buyers want, but you need to tell buyers you have them since they can’t simply tell by looking at pictures.

1.  Hi-efficiency heating and cooling

Green features and energy saving features that will save homeowners money are very popular with buyers. If you spent the money to put in a high efficiency feature, make sure you tell potential home buyers.

While you might assume that everyone will recognize the difference between a regular furnace and the high efficiency furnace shown above, they won’t.
Instant hot water heaters are still pretty rare in St. Louis, so most of your buyers will have no idea that the picture above probably replaced the big round water heater tank they are used to seeing.

2.  Wood floors are really popular

While buyers might overlook bad pictures, they can’t read minds. If you have hardwood floors under your carpeting but you don’t tell buyers, they won’t know.

Even if you love your wall-to-wall carpeting, there are many buyers out there that really want wood floors. Let them know they can remove your carpeting and get the floors they want, and they’ll probably come take a look at your home.

3.  Gas stoves (or the ability to change the stove to gas)

It’s rare to find a buyer who says they want an electric stove.

While some buyers won’t care, most want gas stoves or the easy ability to change a stove to gas after closing.

The problem with online pictures is that the kitchen pictures often don’t make it obvious the stove is gas. Close-up pictures can solve that problem.

If the stove isn’t gas, but there is unfinished basement space under the kitchen and a gas furnace/water heater in the house, be sure to remind buyers that it will be easy to convert the stove from electric to gas.

4.  Newer roofs and systems

If you replaced ANYTHING in the last 5 years, be sure to tell home buyers. Most buyers really care about the age of systems and assume things are old if you don’t tell them when they were installed.

You don’t need to write the date on your systems, but be sure to place special feature cards around the house to tell buyers the age of systems. You might have written the age of everything in the marketing remarks for the online listing, but they won’t remember those details while they are walking around the house.

5.  No ladder required

Buyers don’t peek into attics or climb on roofs. And even if they did, they usually won’t understand what they are looking at. Or why it is a big deal.

If you spent the money in places they can’t get to on their own, tell your potential home buyers or they won’t know it’s a benefit to buying your home.

Some homes even have attic fans that work. But they are tucked out of sight in the attic. Make sure you buyer understands you have one and it will allow them to avoid using the AC in the spring and fall, saving them money on their utility bills.
While the roof will get inspected after a buyer is under contract, having a newer roof or one with premium features could be the thing that makes a buyer pick your house over another one they are also considering.
If you are ready to sell your St. Louis home, the agent you choose really makes a difference.

VIDEO TIP: Do All Home Buyers Really Want the Same Thing?

When I’m helping sellers prepare to sell their home, my goal is to make the house appealing to the most likely buyers. Sometimes that means we are painting homes gray because that’s what “everyone” seems to want.

Other times, it makes sense to ignore the trendy style and focus on buyers who are more likely to want a house like the one being sold.

But when I’m working with buyers, none of that matters. The focus needs to be on what they want. Of course, if they plan to move again, we will talk about resale. But since they will probably be redoing flooring and paint before they move, it doesn’t really matter what everyone likes…it just matters that my clients like it.

Of course….if my clients don’t care about the latest trends, the house should also be priced to match the updates (or lack of updates)!

I’ve got more behind the scenes help coming soon. Be sure to subscribe to the Arch City Homes weekly email and the video tips will be delivered directly to your inbox weekly.

Every Buyer is Unique:

I’ve been helping buyers find St. Louis area homes for a long time. Over the years, here are some of the things my buyers wanted that didn’t match what realtors and sellers claim “everyone” wants:

  • a totally wooded backyard so it wouldn’t need any mowing
  • a basement that had to be unfinished so it could accommodate the train setup
  • a finished basement that was NOT a walk-out basement, so the teens couldn’t go in or out without using the front door
  • a QuickTrip on the way to work so the buyer could swing through to grab a cup of coffee without having to make left turns into traffic
  • a room that could be dedicated to the iguana
  • a house with walls separating the kitchen from the living space rather than an open floor plan

These requirements were real…and I found homes with each of these things for those clients!

When I work with clients who need to buy a home, my focus is on what they want, not what everything thinks they should want.

Are You Thinking About Moving?

I specialize in selling St. Louis homes regardless of whether they will be the hot listing to hit the market or if they have a challenge that makes it much harder to sell.  I also work with buyers who want to find the home of their dreams, but don’t want to overpay.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in the St. Louis area, give me a call at 314-265-8073 and let’s talk about your options.

SELLER TIP: How Important is Curb Appeal?

If you research how to sell a home, you will certainly be told to focus on curb appeal.

I agree that curb appeal does impact how buyers react to homes online, and could increase showings. However, once at the house, very few buyers will purchase a home with curb appeal if it doesn’t live up to their expectations INSIDE the house.

Watch the video below to learn more about how important curb appeal is (or isn’t) in St. Louis.

I’ve got more behind the scenes help coming soon. Be sure to subscribe to the Arch City Homes weekly email and the video tips will be delivered directly to your inbox weekly.

Major Points in this Video:

  • how does curb appeal impact photography?
  • where should you focus your efforts outside so home buyers will enter your home with a positive attitude?
  • will improving your curb appeal get your home sold?

How Does Curb Appeal Impact Showings?

While curb appeal does not have as much impact in person as online advice might suggest, it does have a big impact on the number of showings you will receive.

It IS important that your home looks good in exterior photography. As I shared in the video, small imperfections won’t show up in the photography. However, colorful flowers, trimmed bushes and mulched flower beds can make a big difference in how a home looks in pictures. Painting the front door a contrasting color or adding a bistro set to the front porch really make a difference.

Take a look at these pictures of my listings with good curb appeal achieved inexpensively.

Are You Thinking About Moving?

I specialize in selling St. Louis homes regardless of whether they will be the hot listing to hit the market or if they have a challenge that makes it much harder to sell.  I also work with buyers who want to find the home of their dreams, but don’t want to overpay.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in the St. Louis area, give me a call at 314-265-8073 and let’s talk about your options.

Find FHA Approved Condos in St. Louis

Did you know that the majority of condo communities in the St. Louis area are not approved for FHA loans?

They aren’t.

Years ago, if an HOA (homeowner’s association) for a condo community opted not to go through the process of getting approval for FHA loans, lenders could arrange a spot approval for a single unit so the buyer could purchase with an FHA loan.

But changes to the FHA loan rules eliminated FHA spot approvals years ago.

Most buyers have no idea that they are restricted to a small portion of local condos if they are getting an FHA loan.

When I work with buyers who plan to purchase using an FHA loan, I confirm FHA condo approval before I schedule an appointment to see the condo.

If I am representing the owner who wants to sell a condo, I check to see if FHA loans are allowed before I put it on the market. If they aren’t allowed, I let other agents know in the MLS listing so my clients don’t end up getting an offer from someone who won’t be able to get a loan.

And if FHA loans are allowed, then I make sure to advertise that buyers can use an FHA loan. With so few FHA approved condos available, it would be a big mistake not to let FHA buyers know they should come take a look.

Does your condo community allow FHA loans?

Check for yourself to see if your community is listed on the FHA list. Or contact me and I can easily check for you.

Here is a sample of results for the 63119 zip code.

All of the photos on this page represent condos that I listed for sellers in the last couple of years. None allowed FHA loans.

There are some complexes that do allow FHA loans. When I work with buyers who want an FHA approved condo, I identify complexes where they can purchase and can even send mailings to the complex owners to find them a condo that isn’t already on the market. 

If you are ready to buy or sell a condo, the agent you choose really makes a difference.

VIDEO TIP: Searching for Homes in the Rain

In the last couple of weeks, I could have recorded this video every day. And while I’ve been getting wet showing homes lately, I’d rather get wet now then get a call from my client weeks after closing to hear that the basement got wet the first time it rained.

Watch this short video on househunting in the rain and don’t forget to subscribe to the Arch City Homes weekly email and the video tips will be delivered directly to your inbox weekly.

What can you do if the basement is wet?

Sometimes there is an easy fix to water issues. Keeping the gutters clean is the first thing you can do to prevent water in the basement.

Another culprit that causes water to leak into basements is grading issues. If you see water pooling near the foundation when it rains, you need to modify the grading so the water drains away

VIDEO TIP: Searching for Homes in the Rain | Arch City Homes

Don’t let water puddle like this around your house. Taken on the way to show properties in March 2018.

But if gutters are clean and the grading is directing water away from the house, you might need to add a drain tile system with sump pump around the perimeter of the basement. A drain tile system with sump pit will funnel the water into the sump pit instead of letting it run across the basement floor. Then the sump pump will pump the water out and dump it into the yard via a PVC pipe.

If you aren’t willing to install an expensive drain tile system in the basement, shopping for homes in the rain is one way to avoid buying the wrong house.

Are You Thinking About Moving?

I specialize in selling St. Louis homes regardless of whether they will be the hot listing to hit the market or if they have a challenge that makes it much harder to sell.  I also work with buyers who want to find the home of their dreams, but don’t want to overpay.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in the St. Louis area, give me a call at 314-265-8073 and let’s talk about your options.