ADVANTAGES OF KEEPING YOUR HOME ON DURING THE HOLIDAYS

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We sell houses all year long.  Buyers reasons for looking for a new home vary greatly.  For some the trigger to look can be anytime of the year, like expanding family, a pending job change, a substantial increase of income, etc… Should you keep your house on the Market?

  1. You have done the work to get your home ready.  Most sellers have a period of fixing, painting, de-cluttering and depersonalizing their home.  It has taken then several weeks to several months to prepare their home to list.  The work is done.  You may have to go through all or part of that process again.
  2. There are buyers looking because they need to.  They are motivated to buy.  All it takes is one buyer!
  3. Did you know the most common month for corporate relocations is January.  Your home will already be on the market.
  4. Buying a home is emotional and a home decorated for the holidays can play on home buyers emotions.
  5. Potential tax breaks for home buyers if they can close by the end of the year.  Yep, We have had buyers want to close by the end of December so they can take advantage of their tax write offs for that year.
  6. Most likely if you are selling, you are also buying.  You can get a jump on the spring market yourself as inventory levels start to climb from January on.
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ADVANTAGES OF KEEPING YOUR HOME ON DURING THE HOLIDAYS

 

So when it comes time to ask “Should I take my Home of the Market for the holidays?” there is no right or wrong on whether you should keep your home on the market for the holidays.  It rely boils down to your personal decision and timing.  However, there certainly can be some advantages to keep your home on the market!

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Inspired by http://merrimackvalleymarealestate.com/should-i-take-my-home-off-the-market-for-the-holidays/

What the Different Letter Statuses Actually Mean When House Shopping Online.

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Online house hunting has become a popular shopping method ever since the internet has declared a takeover. It has really changed the way buyers shop for a home, and why not if you have instant access to thousands of homes as soon as they hit the market,  it saves you time, saves you fuel, saves you energy, gives you the ability to compare prices, and gives you the opportunity to shop the market 24/7. One thing our team has noticed is that on the websites you are shopping,  none of them really give you a clear break down on what those different statuses  actually mean to you the buyer, seller, investor, and looker. Here is a breakdown:

A- Active- Available to you

CN- Under contract- that includes contingencies but does not include a kickout clause like the CW status.

CW- Under Contract with a Kickout-meaning they are under contract with other buyers that still have to sell their house in order to buy.   You can come in and kick the current buyers out if you do not have to sell to buy. Typically there is 48-72 hours for the first buyer to firm up or else your contract will move into first place.

P-Under Contract-  Properties will remain in this status until they close

O-Under Contract,-waiting for the buyers to get through their inspections. After inspections it will switch to CN.

T-TEMPORARILY OFF MARKET – for properties that have been temporarily removed from Active status and are still listed with intention of returning to Active status in a short period of time.

W-WITHDRAWN – for properties withdrawn from the market prior to expiration, but still under contract with the listing broker. Listings will remain in this status until they expire and move to the Expired status.

E-EXPIRED – for properties for which the listing period has expired and is no longer on the market.

S-SOLD – for all properties entered in the MLS that have been sold and closed.

C-CANCELLED – for properties that have been withdrawn from the MLS and the listing agreement with the seller  has been terminated.

CSS- Is a short sale that is under contract and is waiting for the sellers banks/ lenders approval, often you will see these on the market for months.

Are you familiar with Short Sales? A short sale is when a seller is forced to sell their house for less than what they owe on it still. They are often priced as a good deal. After they get a contract, the contract is then submitted to the bank for approval. It can take anywhere from weeks to over years to close, there is really no telling.

We are The Alexander Team, a family team of Realtors serving St. Louis for nearly 13 years and always happy to help. 314-329-9042 or Homes@AskPhyllis.com. Check out our free STL Home Search tool at http://www.AskHolliD.com today.

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Respectively: Phyllis Alexander, Jeff Alexander, Hayley Slay, and Holli Dennis

How to Win the Homebuying Game

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If you continue to be caught in bidding wars with other buyers – and lose the great homes, perhaps nobody told you how to win at this game.

The internet is great for educating potential buyers on areas and general price ranges. It’s great for letting the consumer know what to expect to get for their money…..But it’s not a great strategy for buying the house you really want. Here’s why:

You can’t go buy a home the way you decide to go buy a car. Instead, there’s deliberate preparation to position yourself as the MOST DESIREABLE buyer your potential seller has….

1 – You MUST be pre-approved by a reputable lender….in writing….on the lender’s letterhead with all his/her contact info.

2 – You really should NOT have a house to sell, especially one that isn’t on the market yet.

3 – You MUST write your best offer. If you’re still looking for a foreclosure or a “steal of a  deal” around Saint Louis that ship sailed two years ago.

Start the homebuying game by interviewing a few reputable, experienced Realtors. Choose one you feel comfortable with and trust. Ask for references on lenders and begin the pre-approval process with ONE lender. If you own a property that needs to be sold before you can buy, ask your Realtor to give you a market analysis, as well as an accurate estimate of net once you pay closing costs on the sale of that home. Be sure you’re in the right price range and have the needed funds to not only make a down payment, but pay closing costs on the new place.

NOW go shopping for a home. Your Realtor should be able to show you 5-10 of the best homes that fit your needs, saving you days and days of looking at the “junk” that might be out there. Then you’re ready to make an educated and informed offer on the one that appeals to you most. Ask your Realtor to prepare a good market analysis on the one you’re considering buying before you make your offer.

Get INFORMED advice on how quickly homes are selling in the area you want to live. Check the sales price to list price ratio to know if you can risk offering below asking price. Offer a clean sales price with an attractive closing date for your seller. Give them as little reason as possible to counter and plenty of reasons to want you as their buyer.

Then you both win and that’s the only way to buy a home.

Call the Alexander Team Today (314-329-9042) if you are ready to WIN! We got your back!

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St. Louis Foreclosure Recap for 2015

During 2015, a total of 10,391 housing units, or 1 out of 118 units, in the St Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area had a foreclosure filing, according to a report just released by RealtyTrac.  This is an increase of 38.29% in foreclosure activity from 2014.

Jefferson County had the highest rate of foreclosure in 2015 with 1 of every 114 housing units receiving a foreclosure action during the year and Warren County the lowest with just 1 of every 278 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.

Your realtors, The Alexander Team, is ready to help you find a deal since there will be so many foreclosure popping up for sale over the next year. Call us today (314-329-9042) and we can get you set up to receive a list of foreclosures in your area and even get you into some of your favorites. The Alexander Team has your back! IMG_6048003 Final

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of this information was borrowed from: http://stlouisrealestatenews.com/

Should You List in January Or Wait for the Spring Selling Season?

Sellers have been hammering us with this question over the past couple of months: Should You List in January Or Wait for the Spring Selling Season?

Conventional wisdom says wait until the warmer months to put your house on the market. Here are a few reasons to rethink that idea.

Thousands of homeowners speak to their real estate agent this time of year to consider their sale options — typically for the spring. It takes a few months for the agent and seller to plan and prep to list the home, so starting now makes sense.

Over the years, I’ve asked sellers if they would consider listing their home in January, right after the first of the year. At first, they look at me like I’m crazy. “Who sells a home in the dead of winter?” they ask.

As it turns out, many sellers not only successfully make it happen, but actually end up better off. Here’s why.

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Buyers are out 24/7/365

In the past, buyers waited for spring to start their shopping because that’s when the majority of listings hit the market for the spring selling season.

Today’s buyers look at listings all day, every day. They have apps on their phone, get listings texted and emailed to them, and don’t care about the time of year.

They’re looking for inventory, and will buy homes well before the spring. List your home in January, and you will have a captive audience.

Bonuses, inheritances and tax implications

Each year, real estate agents’ phones ring come January. Previously active buyers want to re-engage, and new buyers come out of the woodwork. What causes this yearly phenomenon?

The end of the year often brings family events, financial activities and discussions about gifting for tax implications. Conversations about inheritances and taxes, money and homeownership seem to occur at many families’ holiday dinners.

Additionally, at year’s end, people take stock of their incomes, find out about work bonuses, and start thinking about whether they want to spend another year renting. Buyers start to take a second look at the tax implications of homeownership, too.

Whether it’s a new buyer who moves quickly or a previously active buyer who re-engages, these house hunters are around in January and will look at your home if it’s for sale.

Where’s the competition?

Typical sellers wait until spring to list. There’s no doubt that visible grass, blooming flowerbeds, and a spotlight on outdoor areas make houses more inviting.

But that also means that there might be two or three similar houses for sale in your neighborhood or school district, in your price range. Thus, it changes the supply-and-demand balance.

You’re better off being the only game in town when it’s time to sell. The more homes on the market, the more the buyers spread out.

Buyers shopping in January understand that the home won’t show as well as it does in the spring and summer months. Many of them don’t care. Having photos of your home during these times of year will help them envision it in the warmer seasons.

If you’re a flexible seller — meaning that you aren’t under any time restrictions or time frames to sell, and your home is already in showing condition — consider listing in mid- to late January. You can always control and negotiate your closing deadline with a buyer. If someone falls in love with the home, they may not mind waiting until April to close.

Also, many buyers have been at it for many months (sometimes years). So, come January, they are tired of open houses Sundays and the real estate hunt. This is your target buyer and, in part, they’re why it’s better to list in January than to wait until spring.

So what are you waiting for Saint Louis, January is just days away, give us a call at 314-329-9042 and lets get your home/condo/townhouse/loft/mansion/vacation home/rental on the market!

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This article was borrowed and can be found at http://www.zillow.com/blog/list-in-january-or-wait-for-spring-187414/

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t For Sale by Owner

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Some homeowners consider trying to sell their home on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). We think there are several reasons this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.

Here are five of our reasons:

1. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With

Here is a list of some of the peoplewith whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to FSBO.

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value
  • Your bank in the case of a short sale

2. Exposure to Prospective Purchasers

Recent studies have shown that 92% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 28% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

3.  Results Come from the Internet

Where do buyers find the home they actually purchased?

  • 43% on the internet
  • 9% from a yard sign
  • 1% from newspapers

The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.

4. FSBOing has Become More and More Difficult

The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 9% over the last 20+ years.

5. You Net More Money when Using an Agent

Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $184,000 while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $230,000.   This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $46,000 more for your home as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.

Bottom Line

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, give The Alexander Team a call and see what we have to offer you. 314-329-9042!

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This article was borrowed from http://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2014/02/05/5-reasons-you-shouldnt-for-sale-by-owner/

Lets Talk Credit Scores~ Hard Inquiries and Soft Inquiries

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Hard Inquiries and Soft Inquiries

There are two kinds of inquiries that can occur on your credit report: hard inquiries and soft inquiries. While both types of credit inquiries enable a third party, such as you or a lender, to view your credit report, only a hard inquiry can negatively affect your credit score.

What is a hard inquiry?

Hard inquiries generally occur when a financial institution, such as a lender or credit card issuer, checks your credit report when making a lending decision. They commonly take place when you apply for a loan, credit card or mortgage, and you typically have to authorize them. Most important to note, hard inquiries might lower your credit score by a few points and they may remain on your credit report for two years. As time passes, damage to your credit score usually decreases or disappears, often even before the hard inquiry falls off your credit report.

What is a soft inquiry?

Soft inquiries typically occur when a person or company checks your credit report as part of a background check. Examples include employer background checks, getting “pre-approved” for credit card offers and checking your own credit score. A soft inquiry may occur without your permission. Soft inquiries may be recorded in your credit report, depending on the credit bureau, but they won’t affect your credit score.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that checking your own credit score using companies like Credit Karma will hurt your credit score. This is not the case. You can check your credit scores at Credit Karma as often as you like without affecting your credit score.

Examples of Hard Versus Soft Inquiries

While we mentioned some common examples of which financial actions result in a hard or soft inquiry, here are some lesser-known actions that may incur a credit inquiry.

Hard Inquiries
Soft Inquiries
Usually

  • Applying for an auto loan, student loan, business loan or personal loan
  • Applying for a credit card
  • Applying for a mortgage

Sometimes

  • Applying to rent an apartment
  • Verification of identity by a financial institution, such as a credit union or stock brokerage
  • Renting a car
  • Getting a cable or Internet account
  • Opening a checking, savings or money market account
  • Requesting a credit limit increase
  • Getting a cell phone contract
Usually

  • Checking your own credit score
  • Pre-approved credit card and loan offers
  • Background check, such as those done by employers

Sometimes

  • Applying to rent an apartment
  • Verification of identity by a financial institution, such as a credit union or stock brokerage
  • Renting a car
  • Getting a cable or Internet account
  • Opening a checking, savings or money market account

If you are unsure whether a financial action you are about to take will result in a credit inquiry, ask the financial institution or company. Also, if a financial institution or company informs you that they will be checking your credit, ask them to distinguish whether or not it is a hard or soft inquires.

Why Hard Inquiries Hurt Your Credit Score

While hard inquiries are necessary for certain financial actions, such as applying for a loan or credit card, they should be limited as much as possible. Your credit score may be penalized for multiple hard inquiries because applying for too much credit at one time may indicate that you are desperate for credit, or that you aren’t able to qualify for credit. While one hard inquiry will usually just knock a few points off your credit score, multiple hard inquiries in a short amount of time may cause significant damage to your score.

Keep your hard inquiries to one or two a year. Credit Karma data shows that on average, consumers with lower numbers of hard credit inquiries have higher credit scores.

How to Dispute Hard Credit Inquiries

If a hard inquiry occurred without your permission, check your credit reports to see the full details of the inquiry and determine if you should attempt to dispute it.

Note that you can only dispute hard inquiries that have occurred without your permission. If you have authorized the hard inquiries, it generally takes up to two years for them to be removed.

Conclusion

Before applying for credit, take time to build your credit score. With a higher credit score, you’ll improve your chance for approval for the financial products you want and at the best terms and rates.

To keep track of hard inquiries, check your credit scores and credit reports at Credit Karma. In addition to providing you with your free credit scores from TransUnion and Equifax, Credit Karma notifies you of any important changes to your TransUnion credit report, including any new hard inquiries.

If you need advice on who to speak with about getting pre-approved, give The Alexander Team a call at 314-329-9042. We have been in the business for a long time and have systems in place to help ensure you are getting the best care possible.  We are always happy to help! 
Respectively: Phyllis Alexander, Jeff Alexander, Hayley Slay, and Holli Dennis

Respectively: Phyllis Alexander, Jeff Alexander, Hayley Slay, and Holli Dennis

Risk Of Earthquake In St. Louis Higher Than People May Realize…

 

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With the New Madrid fault just a hundred miles south of St. Louis, it’s long been known that the region is at a greater risk for an earthquake than other parts of the Midwest. But new research indicates that St. Louis is part of an area that has seismic activity of its own.

Geologists have identified a new seismic zone stretching from St. Louis to Cape Girardeau along the Mississippi River called the Ste. Genevieve Seismic Zone. Their research indicates that the zone is capable of producing moderate earthquakes every few decades and has the potential to produce a major earthquake every 2,000 to 4,000 years. For comparison, the New Madrid Seismic Zone is twice as likely to produce a major earthquake as the newly identified Ste. Genevieve Seismic Zone.

A moderate earthquake measures about a magnitude 5 on the Richter scale. Many people  don’t realize the impact zone of the well known New Madrid fault line. Its a sleeping giant that is approximately twenty times larger than California’s famed San Andreas fault. The biggest series of earthquakes in U.S. history happened in the New Madrid seismic zone in 1811 and 1812 were felt 1,000 to 1,200 miles away. The movement of the ground was so powerful that it changed the course of the Mississippi River and it even rang church bells in Boston, Massachusetts.  The fault produced a series of major quakes that measured above a magnitude 7 on the Richter scale.

Geologists tell us that it is just a matter of time until another superquake hits the region. It is said that the heavily populated cities of St. Louis and Memphis will fall when this long overdue earthquake happens.  Based on previous analyses,  scientists have estimated the chance of having an earthquake similar to one of the 1811 to 1812 temblors in the next 50 years is about 7% to 10%, and the chance of having a magnitude-6 or larger earthquake in the next 50 years is 25% to 40%.

The point is, when it comes to buying homeowners insurance, you may want to pay the extra couple of dollars per month for earthquake insurance, even if we are a hundred miles away.

If you need help finding an insurance agent to help get your house protected with earthquake insurance be sure to call our team at 314-329-9042, we can help!

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From Left to Right: Phyllis Alexander, Jeff Alexander, Hayley Slay, and Holli Dennis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Information borrowed from:

http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/risk-earthquake-st-louis-higher-people-may-realize#stream/0, http://news.sciencemag.org/earth/2014/01/midwestern-fault-zones-are-still-alive

Free Radon Test Kits for Missourians

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What is Radon? It is a radioactive, colorless, odorless, tasteless noble gas.

Why should I test for Radon? “Indoor radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and breathing it over prolonged periods can present a significant health risk to families all over the country. It’s important to know that this threat is completely preventable. Radon can be detected with a simple test and fixed through well-established venting techniques.” ~ Surgeon General in 2005

How would it get into my home?

  1. Cracks in solid floors
  2. Construction joints
  3. Cracks in walls
  4. Gaps in suspended floors
  5. Gaps around service pipes
  6. Cavities inside walls
  7. The water supply

Curious and wondering if your home has Radon? Well Missouri friends here is a link, put out by the government, for free Radon Test Kits for Missourians!

http://health.mo.gov/living/environment/radon/testkit.php

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Introducing……Hayley Slay with The Alexander Team!!!!!!!

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Pictured is The Alexander Team. From left to right we have Phyllis Alexander, Jeff Alexander, Hayley Slay, and Holli Dennis

The Alexander Team is excited to announce the newest addition to our team, Hayley Slay. She will be handling all of the paperwork and transactions to help ensure we are  offering you the highest level of customer service possible.  Feel free to contact her at 314-329-9054 or by email at Transactions@AskPhyllis.com for assistance!