First-Time & Urban Home Buyers Guide
1. What Type of Home Fits You Best?
Before you begin to look for a home, you need to have an idea of what kind of neighborhood you want to live in and the style of house you want. The CWE has something for everyone and I look forward to showing the great variety to you.
2. Night Owls Welcome
Real estate never sleeps. If you're trying to buy a hot property, you have to move quickly, or you could possibly lose it. I'll stay awake for you and I am a full-time Realtor®
3. Sometimes You Have To Compromise
When you are looking at a home, it is good to have a wish list, but keep in mind that compromise is the name of the game. I have plenty of handymen & licensed contractors we can use to customize your new home and meet most of your wish list!
4. Not Your Style
Don't judge a book by its cover. Same goes for a home - curb appeal can be improved and new plantings can hide a lot of outdoor architectural issues on a house and you will be living inside the condo building. Go inside and look around before making a decision.
5. Get All Your Ducks In a Row
Properties in good shape are rare, and they don't stay on the market for long. I can help you be ready to make the best offer -including great lender recommendations- to obtain loan pre-approval letters that must accompany contract offers.
6. Home + Investment
When it comes to investing, the best places to invest are in an up-and-coming area - or buy the smaller, less updated home on the block... then you can even put in some sweat equity to bring up the value. The CWE still has some great pockets of potential upswing value and overall the market is very stable.
7. Location, Location, Location
You have to see past the junk and see the potential. A lot of the homes in the Central West End were building in the 1980's and 1990's and many need updating. The key is that you can change the interior but you can't change the location! My first home was in Manhattan Mews on Laclede and with just a few bathroom updates I was able to really capitalize on my investment when it came time to sell.
8. Looking For New Construction?
There is some new condo, townhome, & single family home construction taking place in the CWE. Keep in mind brand-new condos have great new amenities and features but tend to be smaller, sometimes no larger than one bedroom, while older units typically have more square footage. Just let me know if you are interested in new construction - a good agent on your side is key to making the process go smoothly.
9. Condo - PUD - Coop
Many of the homes in the CWE are condos and some are even Coops. One "complex" is made up of single family townhomes but run more like a condo using a Planned Unit Development (PUD). A condo is great in that there is an association that coordinates the majority of the maintenance and such cost are spread-out among several homeowners - one thing to keep in mind is that by participating on the condo board - you get to have more input on key decisions.
10. CWE = Complex Market
Judy and I know the pitfalls and benefits of all the key buildings and complexes here in the CWE. Some have more tenants than owners - some are working to overcome budget shortfalls - some have Special Assessments right now. We will keep you informed so you can make the best decision for you.
11. Tiny Living
We have all heard the buzz about "Tiny Living" and buying a home in the CWE might mean you might have to similarly compromise on space. But rest assured with IKEA in the neighborhood and HGTV showing us the way - we can make any home work for you.
12. Living In The Middle
We have many townhomes here in the CWE. Don't automatically dismiss a middle-unit townhome. They are often less expensive than an end unit and have features such as skylights to mitigate light concerns + you have two other neighbors helping heat and cool your home.
13. Here For You
Feelings often take over the first time you go through a house, but the second visit allows time to do a thorough inspection led by your head, not your heart. I live right here in the CWE and we can check out a home as many times as you want.
14. Home Inspections
Home inspections are an important part of the process - we have many 100 year old + homes and condos in the neighborhood. A good inspector is going look past the visible surface to the infrastructure, inspecting plumbing and looking for faulty fixtures and waste lines. They check electrical systems to make sure they aren't overloaded or a safety hazard. They also look at possible structural problems like the foundation, walls and floor joists.
Another safety factor when you buy in the City of St. Louis is that a Housing Conservation Inspection is required.
I also always work to negotiate into the contract a request for the Seller to have Laclede Gas / Spire perform a test of all gas appliances and fuel lines.
15. Final Word
The internet can only take you so far on your search. Do some preliminary work but then call me - as a top Real Estate Agent in the CWE -I can help customize & narrow down your search - saving you stress, time, and potentially money. I am here to help you through the whole process!