BUYER TIP: Must Know Information for Condo Buyers [VIDE0]

Buying a condo is different than buying a single family home, and you need an experienced condo Realtor© to help you if you are buying a condo. Someone who knows what to ask and how to write a condo contract.

I’m one of those agents who knows what I’m doing when it comes to condos.

I’ve been licensed for 17 years and have sold 47 condos for sellers and another 28 with buyers. And those haven’t all been in the same complex (meaning I only know how one or two condo communities do things!). I’ve sold homes in 58 different condo communities.

Some of these ‘condos’ may have actually been villas. The biggest different from an owners’ perspective is that if it is a condo, the HOA owns all of the land and the unit owner is assigned a particular unit. If it is a villa, each owner actually owns their land and their part of the building, but there are still HOA indentures which cover maintenance for shared elements or things that would impact visual uniformity. Both have rules and monthly fees. 

In the video below, I share a few things that you need to know before you buy (or sell) a condo. Or you pick an agent to help you with the process.

I’ve got more tips 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.

What’s in the Video:

While there are other things you need to address when you buy (or sell) a condo, it’s important to pay attention to the indentures and rules.

  • What is covered by the condo indentures?
  • When should you get a copy of the indentures and HOA rules?
  • What type of rules do condo associations make regarding pets?
  • What type of rules to condo associations make regarding swimming pool usage?
  • Yes, I lived in a condo!

There are other things you need to know if you are buying a condo. Call me if you need an agent to help you buy or sell a condo.

And stick around for more of my videos!

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.

Transform your Kitchen with a New Backsplash

Home buyers searching through homes on the internet, trying to decide which homes to visit in person, often don’t realize how easy it can be to transform something they dislike into something they want.

When buyers look at kitchens that feel plain, they often think it means they will have to completely redo the kitchen.

But sometimes changing paint, counters and adding a back splash can completely change the look of a kitchen.

Transforming a Rental Home Kitchen:

When my clients John and Rita called me about selling one of their rental homes, we needed to transform the home from plain to special, without spending much money.

The kitchen was in good condition but felt plain.

This kitchen took on an entire new look by adding stick on vinyl squares that look like glass tile.

New Backsplash and Trendy Paint:

There was a time when red kitchens were everywhere. But trends change quickly, and today’s home buyers get excited by gray walls.

When you add new paint and staging to the new backsplash (plus properly lit photography!), a kitchen can be totally transformed.

Kitchen Backsplashes:

Kitchen backsplashes can change a plain kitchen into one that offers a luxury look. While backsplash styles change quickly, as long as the style fits what people were installing in the last few years, St. Louis home buyers will be impressed.

If you are thinking of selling your home, adding a backsplash may be just what you need to do to get a higher sale price.

Don’t Go It Alone:

With both of these kitchen transformations, I provided a few suggestions to my clients that would give them the look I was describing. I went to a local big box store and texted them pictures (with prices) of backsplashes that would make their kitchens appealing to buyers. Then they went shopping. Both sent me texts of pictures of the items they planned to purchase before pulling out their credit cards.

While many real estate agents might suggest clients make changes before putting a home on the market, I go the extra step of helping my clients from start to finish. I want my clients to be confident they are putting in features home buyers will like.

The end result is my clients can get the price they want for their home…which is the only reason they made the updates in the first place.

Not Moving?

Give me a call and I’ll help you figure out which updates makes sense. Whether you are moving next year or in 20 years, I’m happy to help.

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.

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.

VIDEO TIP: The Practical Way to Get a Tiny House in St. Louis

You don’t have to look far to find articles and videos promoting Tiny Homes. Many people, especially younger people without kids, get caught up in the idea of buying a house that is inexpensive and under 500 square feet.

But very few people would actually like living in such a small space. Imagine living in a camper, and that’s about what you get with a Tiny House.

But there is a practical way to keep your mortgage low and simplify your life. Watch my video below that I recorded just before the weather turned cold outside. I was sitting on the screened porch of my own tiny home.

While many real estate agents dream of working with clients looking for expensive homes and huge footprints, I can totally relate to my clients who don’t want to buy more than they need.

Moving forward, I’ve got more real estate tips for you. Be sure to subscribe to the Arch City Homes weekly email and the video tips will be delivered directly to your inbox.

Major Points in this Video:

  • trends going from McMansions to Tiny Houses
  • how can you find a practical tiny house in St. Louis
  • consider a starter home as your tiny home

St. Louis Tiny Homes:

Over the years I have lived in 2 homes that would be good options for buyers who dream of a tiny house and I’ve sold many others. Here are just a few of the ones I’ve sold in the last few years.

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.