St. Louis Real Estate Blog

Price Reduction!
17121 Elm Trail Drive, Eureka
4 BRs, 4 BAs, 3769 SqFt, .240 Acres
Rockwood School District
Maris Link

Posted by Administrative Manager MelanieCooperTeam on June 21st, 2016 3:54 PMLeave a Comment

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What a beautiful time of year!  Snow is finally melting, plants are flourishing and radiating with color, and the birds are singin' that spring time song.  But, it's not all roses.  Spring time may bring water leaks and drainage nightmares!

Here are some great tips to make sure your home is ready for spring!

Check your sump pump.
Get into the habit of frequently checking your sump pump. Most people don’t realize their sump pump failed, until there are a few inches of water in the basement. Periodically lift the float and ensure the float adjusts freely and turns the pump on. Make sure that lime and calcium build-up isn’t preventing the float from moving. If you’re unsure of when the last time you replaced the sump pump was, it might be time for an update. Replacing your sump pump can save you thousands of dollars and provide some peace-of-mind!

Look for standing water outside.

Walk around the perimeter of your home and search for standing water and unusually wet ground. This is sign there is a soon-to-be problem. Standing water has to go somewhere, you don’t want it in your basement. Make sure the ground around your home slopes away from the house. If it does and you still see standing water, consider calling a professional to examine your drainage system.

Clear gutters and downspouts.

Over the fall and winter, leaves and other debris can clog gutters and downspouts. Examine all the gutters and spouts on your house to ensure they drain properly. Also be sure that downspouts are either tied into your drainage system or empty far enough away from your home. If your downspout empties right next to your home, you’re asking for water problems.

Consider foundation waterproofing.

If you’re battling a damp basement with mold or mildew, it may be time to consider foundation waterproofing and a more effective drainage system. This will help pull water away from your foundation and ensure it doesn’t seep into your basement to cause a whole host of issues.

The best thing you can do is be prepared.  If you are worried about leaks or drainage problems in your home, give The MelanieCooperTeam a call! We would be happy to refer you to a Qualified Professional.

The MelanieCooperTeam
54 The Legends Parkway, Suite 156
Eureka, MO 63025

Posted in:General
Posted by Administrative Manager MelanieCooperTeam on April 29th, 2016 12:06 PMLeave a Comment

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February 11th, 2016 2:56 PM
?Home Selling Tips
Safety when selling your home

You have enough to think about without worrying that your home isn’t safe, or that your things may be stolen. Open houses and showings mean strangers will be in your house. A few safeguards can lessen your worry:

Remove things that matter
: Store jewelry, fine art or collectables with a friend or family member. If that’s not an option, find a place to hide valuables in your home or keep them with you in a suitcase and take it with when you leave. The same applies to personal papers with account numbers and/or social security information. And medicine cabinets are often a target.

Secure your home: Keep doors and windows locked. Prospective buyers will often open windows or doors. Some will even do that to return later to steal things. Others may even visit several times and bring an accomplice to distract the agent. So double-check doors and windows when returning after a showing.

Consider an alarm system: It may seem impractical to install a system when you’ll be moving, but it will not only deter burglars, but may also be a strong selling point.

Make it look like you’re home: If you’re aren’t currently living in the home, think about installing motion sensors or timers to automatically turn on lights.

Reach out to your neighbors: Ask them to keep an eye on your place. Introduce them to your agent so they know things are okay when the agent is on the premises.

By taking these extra precautions, you can feel safe and secure during a home sale.

Showing Your Home

Consider staging a vacant home for sale

In today’s market, it’s tough to get the right price for a home, and sellers can’t wait while their homes are on the market. They may have a new job, have already bought their next house or need to move so the kids can start school.

Buyers understand that vacant homes can suffer from a wide variety of ills due to neglect and deferred maintenance. They pose unique showcasing challenges because buyers can’t see beyond the empty home. They’re looking for a “home,” not a “house.” Without furniture, wall art, rugs, lighting and décor, there are few emotional connections. A buyer will be on the lookout for imperfections such as floor scratches, nail pops, chipped grout and other imperfections.

The easiest fix for a vacant home is to bring in a home stager. They can give the property a comfortable, lived-in look. Potential buyers can better visualize how they integrate into the home. When a buyer perceives flaws and can’t visualize a home’s potential, there will be fewer offers, greater price reductions, more days on the market, higher carrying costs and less profit.

A vacant home can also hurt your negotiating power. If buyers know that you are already out and most likely paying another mortgage, they figure you are more motivated and will likely present a lower offer.

Staging will allow you to create a proper vision for the property and achieve a quicker, more profitable outcome.

Home Improvement Tips
Homesellers: Check your home for storm damage

It’s been another crazy year of weather damaging houses throughout the country. Home sellers should take a close look at their property for storm damage and make appropriate repairs. There are several key areas of concern:

The roof: After a powerful storm, check for damage. Ensure there are no missing shingles or cracks around skylights. Inspect the attic for discoloration of decking or plywood surfaces.

Flashing: Also look for light penetrating around plumbing vents or the chimney. Your roof’s flashing may need repair.

Rain gutters: Inspect for damage and clear leaves and debris. Holes, cracks or sags are easily fixed. For holes, clean the area and cut a piece of gutter material slightly larger than the hole. Use gutter-repair compound to affix the patch. Covering the patch with another layer of compound will ensure a good seal. For minor sags, add a new bracket to the sagging area.

Trees and shrubs: Limbs can wreak havoc with your roof, siding and stucco during heavy winds. They can also come crashing down under the weight of snow. Pruning can ensure their health and safeguard your home.

Windows: Inspect windows, fencing and decking. They all can take a beating in storms. Seal and repair any damage. Sometimes storm damage is unavoidable. But making quick repairs can help ensure your home is safe, sound and ready for sale.

Financial Tips
Tax considerations for buyers and sellers

Buyers and sellers need to be informed about tax considerations before entering a transaction.

If you have purchased or sold a home last year, there are a number of tax deductions for which you may qualify. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:

Profitability: According to the IRS, if you have a gain from the sale of your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from your income as a single tax filer, or $500,000 on a joint return in most cases.

Interest: Currently, much of the interest paid on a mortgage is tax-deductible. A married couple filing jointly can deduct all of their interest on a maximum of $1 million in mortgage debt secured by a first or second home.

Selling costs: Broker commissions, title insurance, legal fees, advertising costs, administrative costs, and inspection fees are all considered selling costs and currently may be used to reduce one’s taxable capital gain by the amount of the selling costs.

Refinanced mortgage points: They may be deductible, but not all at once. Homeowners who refinance may be able to immediately write off the balance of the old points and begin to amortize the new points. Interest paid on a home equity loan or similar line of credit may also be deducted.

Points/origination fees: On a home loan, if points or origination fees are paid during the purchase of a home, they are currently generally tax-deductible for the year in which they were paid.

Repairs/remodels: Qualifying capital improvements may be able to be deducted, including costs of a new roof, fence, swimming pool, garage, porch, built-in appliances, insulation, heating or cooling systems and landscaping.

Relocation expenses: If you move because of a new job, you may be able to deduct some of your moving costs. To qualify for these deductions, you must meet several IRS requirements, including that your new job is at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your previous job. Moving-cost deductions can include travel or transportation costs, lodging expenses, and fees for storing your household goods.

Property taxes: Currently deductible from your income. If you have an impound or escrow account, you can’t deduct the money held for property taxes until the money is actually used to pay your property taxes. City or state property tax refund reduces your federal deduction by an equal amount.

First-time buyer credit: For those buyers who took advantage of this credit within the past two years, remember that if within 36 months of the date of purchase, the property is no longer used as your principal residence, you are required to repay the credit.

Another important tip for those moving into a new home is to make sure you update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service to ensure you receive refunds or correspondence from the IRS.

Tax laws change every year, and certain tax deductions become available while others phase out. Speak with a professional tax consultant about these and other considerations.

January 26th, 2016 3:16 PM
Existing home sales bounced back while new home construction fell off, and lay-offs took an unexpected jump. 

Existing Home Sales 

Sales of existing homes enjoyed a rebound in December, with completed transactions of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, growing a solid 14.7 percent to hit an annual rate of 5.46 million for the month, the National Association of Realtors reported last week. December’s existing home sales were 7.7 percent higher than a year ago, and capped off the best year of existing home sales since 2006. 

“While the carryover of November's delayed transactions into December contributed greatly to the sharp increase, the overall pace taken together indicates sales these last two months maintained the healthy level of activity seen in most of 2015,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. “Additionally, the prospect of higher mortgage rates in coming months and warm November and December weather allowed more homes to close before the end of the year.” 

Prices continued to rise, with December’s median existing-home price for all housing types hitting $224,100, a 7.6 percent increase over December 2014’s $208,200. This marked the 46th consecutive month of year-over-year gains. 

Looking at supply, December’s housing inventory fell 12.3 percent to 1.79 million existing homes for sale, which was 3.8 percent lower than December 2014’s 1.86 million. This put December’s housing inventory at a 3.9-month supply, which was down from November’s 5.1-month supply, and the lowest since January 2005’s 3.6-month supply. 

New Home Construction 

In related news, construction permits for housing units issued in December fell 3.9 percent to an annual rate of 1.23 million, according to last week’s report from the Census Bureau. That said, permits for the month were still 14.4 percent higher than December 2014. Also, permits issued for single-family homes grew 1.8 percent for December to hit a rate of 740,000. 

Similarly, starts on construction of private housing dropped 2.5 percent in December to an annual rate of 1.14 million, but were still 6.4 percent higher than December 2014. Construction starts on single-family homes dropped 3.3 percent to a rate of 794,000. 

“Builders are extremely cautious to increase spending for fear of over-extending themselves in case there’s an economic downturn,” Chief Fixed-Income Strategist for Janney Montgomery Scott LLC Guy LeBas told Bloomberg. “We’ll see continued demand for new housing and prices will move higher, but builders aren’t accelerating new construction.” 

Initial Jobless Claims 

First-time claims for unemployment benefits filed by the newly unemployed during the week ending January 16 hit 293,000, the Employment and Training Administration reported last week. This marked a 10,000-claim increase over the previous week’s total of 283,000 and was the exact opposite of what the market expected, which was a 3,000-claim drop. 

The four-week moving average — considered a more stable measure of lay-offs — hit 285,000 claims, an increase of 6,500 claims over the previous week’s average of 278,500. 

“The recent uptick in jobless claims is a negative at the margins,” Chief Investment Officer at Plante Moran Financial Advisors Jim Baird told the Wall Street Journal. “But even at this modestly elevated level, claims remain in a range that is still consistent with moderate growth.” 

This week we can expect:
Tuesday — Consumer confidence for January from The Conference Board.
Wednesday — New home sales for December from the Census Bureau.
Thursday — Initial jobless claims for last week from the Employment and Training Administration; durable goods orders for December from the Census Bureau.
Friday — Fourth quarter gross domestic product (advance) from the Bureau of Economic Analysis; consumer sentiment for January from the Thompson-Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers.

Credit: Economic Advisor Movement Mortgage
1610 Des Peres Rd, Ste 360
Des Peres, MO 63131

Posted by Administrative Manager MelanieCooperTeam on January 26th, 2016 3:16 PMLeave a Comment

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January 15th, 2016 3:29 PM

As a homeowner, sometimes it feels as though the constant stream of repairs, upgrades, and replacements is never-ending. But when something breaks, immediately calling the professionals may not make the most sense. Before you pick up the phone, check out this list from for some money-saving DIY home projects:

1. Off-season repairs
A few repair items have fluctuating prices depending on the time of year. With the arrival of fall, furnace maintenance calls are at an all-time high; the same for gutter cleaning. Why not have these items checked and repaired in the summer, during the slow season? You could score a discount, and you'll feel like a rock star for dealing with them well in advance.

2. YouTube
Often, a bit of research into a DIY repair issue can save you hundreds of dollars. The plethora of instructional videos on YouTube is mind-boggling; furnace repair has more than 90K videos. Chances are, you're going to find what you're looking for. When you find an instructive and helpful video, consider subscribing to the channel. Next time you take out your tool belt, finding the perfect video will be a snap.

3. Salvaged material
Building and repairing items with salvaged materials is not only a money saver, it's also environmentally friendly. From lumber to doors, windows, vanities, and light fixtures, pretty much everything can be purchased for a fraction of the price secondhand. Familiarize yourself with the return policy in the event your purchase is not in great working order.

4. Rent/borrow tools
DIY is the American way, but the cost of tools can be a huge out-of-pocket expense before you even get started. Rather than buying a tool you're going to use only once, consider renting. Big home improvement stores have a large selection of rentable power tools, all properly maintained and ready to go. Or post a notice on your neighborhood group and ask if anyone would be willing to lend out their shiny new circular saw for your next project.

5. Purchase materials and labor separately
When hiring a contractor, inquire upfront about material cost. Specifically, ask if there will be a markup or if they will be sharing their contractor's discount. If the former, ask for a list and buy the materials yourself. Not only will this probably save you money, but you'll also know exactly what you're getting rather than coming home to a lovingly installed 1970's avocado-green toilet.

6. Manufacturer's rebates
If you're purchasing major appliances or materials for your home, check the manufacturer's website or store fliers for rebates. Some manufacturers offer rebates on surplus items as well as out-of-season items. Energy-saving appliances also come with additional money-saving opportunities: utilities costs. Utilities cost savings are the gift that keeps on giving; every month, you can reap the benefits of a lower water and electricity bill, something you will be happy about if you decide to refinance. Bonus: Check the IRS' website to see if you're eligible for an energy-savings tax credit/deduction.

7. Preventive maintenance
Regular maintenance can extend the life of your home's major systems. Simply changing the filter on your furnace regularly can make this expensive appliance last longer. Also, the occasional deep clean, debris removal, and visual inspection can keep your home in working order and eliminate many costly home repairs. If you notice a small issue during routine maintenance, deal with it immediately rather than giving it time to become a larger, more costly one down the road.


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