IT’S THE RIGHT TIME FOR MOST TO BE IN THE MARKET

Categories: Luxury Real Estate

Luxury Portfolio’s newly released white paper Luxury Real Estate: What Matters To Today’s Global Elite concludes that 38% of the world’s affluent consumers are interested in purchasing real estate in the next 3 years.  Moreover, 23% affluent consumers are interested in selling real estate in the next 3 years. 

Their research also states that luxury buyers are motivated by the emotional value of the home more so than physical features.  The report sites what is important to affluent consumers is having a life well-lived, feeling secure and having a customized environment with room for many happy memories.

Luxury buyers rank “value” twice as important as “price.”  This means getting a good value for the money and investing in neighborhoods where there is appreciation.

Janet McAfee is the exclusive St. Louis member of Luxury Portfolio International.  For a copy of the whitepaper, Luxury Real Estate: What Matters Most to Today’s Global Elite, please contact jhorlacher@janetmcafee.com.

Janet Horlacher

Luxury Listings: Expert Insights Into The St. Louis Market

Categories: St. Louis Luxury Homes

 

Are you looking to buy or sell a luxury home, or interested in the luxury market in St. Louis? We talked to Janet McAfee real estate agents, Katie Curran and Julie Lane, about everything from the state of the industry to trends and tips on how to successfully sell a luxury listing.


Take a look!


What has the luxury STL market looked like in 2018?


KC: In the central corridor communities we follow, there have been 185 luxury sales over $1 million through August 2018, an increase over last year. We find new listing drives sales. There were 435 new luxury listings which was also higher than last year. Another key indicator of market activity levels is months of inventory. August inventory levels of 6.82 months were lower than a year ago.


What are luxury buyers looking for in STL?


JL: They want the house updated—they don't want to have to do any work. Buyers today are focused on outdoor space. They want a great pool or a living area for relaxing, entertaining, and al fresco dining.  


KC: I would say they're looking for amenities. For example, buyers seek out high-end appliances, whether it be the Viking stove or Sub-Zero fridge. This is largely due to the fact that, for luxury real estate, it's all about appreciating refined finishes. People value privacy and luxurious surroundings. Luxury amenities enhance the home and create perceived value.  


What kind of timeline (if any) can a luxury seller see when listing their home?


JL: I think the luxury buyer and seller ignore housing seasonality. Generally in real estate, the spring market is full of selling and buying opportunities. But, luxury buyers don’t follow this pattern. Often, when they need to buy, they buy, and when they need to sell, they sell. Luxury buyers have different motivations. They have specific tastes, and they rarely make spontaneous decisions.


Is there anything that luxury sellers need to keep in mind before listing? Is there anything luxury sellers should do before deciding to list?


KC: How we live and how we sell are two different stories. When selling, you have to depersonalize your home. You want the entire property to look impeccable and inviting. Little things, such as making sure the roof is in great shape, the gutters are clean, landscaping is manicured and the paint is fresh, help buyers feel the home is move-in ready.


I always encourage my clients to preview a few luxury open houses. That way, they can see the difference between houses that have been prepared for the market and the home’s value proposition.


How important is physical staging when selling a luxury home?


KC: When staging, you want to make a home look and feel like spaces the buyers can envision themselves in. Often staging is less expensive than a price reduction and can give the whole house a facelift. Virtual staging is also an option. We’ve had limited experience with virtual staging, so it is too soon to draw any conclusions about which is more successful.

 

How important is social media for luxury real estate?


JL: We have a savvy marketplace as far as social media goes. We leverage professional real estate photography and videography with social posts. Both buyers and sellers want to make sure that you have a social media presence. They read our blogs, watch our videos, and engage through these channels. I think seeing our presence on social media gives them confidence.  


Are you looking to buy or sell a luxury listing? At, Janet McAfee our real estate agents are seasoned experts in the ins and outs of selling a luxury home. From how to advertise and market your home to helping stage for specific buyers, our luxury buyers and sellers truly reap the rewards of working with a Janet McAfee agent—and you can, too!



Why October is a great month for home buying?

We traditionally see a flurry of home buying activity in October.  School is in session, the weather in St. Louis is picture perfect and prices are often at their lowest.

Home buyers find good values in the Fall market.  A quick search through MLS shows a rich profusion of price reductions as summer ends and daylight shortens.  These price declines convey a seller’s motivation to put their home under contract and close before winter sets in.   Great values can be found in long dated listings which are just now reduced to compelling prices.

Also at this time of year, new listings are likely to be competitively priced.  Sellers, who don’t relished the prospect of open houses or showings throughout the holidays, feel urgency to attract a buyer in less time than their Spring counterpart.  Moreover, sellers recognize they are in direct competition with existing inventory with newly reduced prices. 

If you are a Seller with your home currently for sale or you are considering listing your home now, here are a few tips.

 

1.  Refresh your outdoor pots with Fall flowers and foliage.  Trim back summer growth on shrubs and perennials if shaggy.

2.  Make sure you have photos of your swimming pool before it is closed and the furniture stored.  Since your buyer will not be able to inspect the pool entirely during winter, ask your pool company to give you a letter stating that it was in good working condition at the time of closing.   

3.  Do you same for your HVAC.   Buyers cannot test the air conditioner when the temperature is below 62 degrees.  Having a letter from your professional will provide a level of comfort for a prospective buyer.

4.  Let the intense Fall sunlight shine through clean windows.  Pollen can cloud the beautiful clear light you want to take advantage of this time of year.  

5.  Make sure your house is set at a comfortable temperature for showings. This can be challenging when temperatures fluctuate every day.

6.  Finally, this is not the time to “test the market” with an over inflated price.  

 

-Janet Horlacher

Principal

Janet McAfee Real Estate

3 Reasons Why You Should Buy a Home This Fall

Categories: Seasonal Preparations Tips for Buying a Home

 

 

 


Often, in the minds of home buyers, spring and summer are considered to be the best time to buy a home but, in reality, this isn’t necessarily true. In fact, (surprise!) fall might actually be the best season to buy your new home.


Whether you’re not sure if you’re ready to buy a home, or if you’re thinking of buying in the near future, below are a few reasons why buying your home in the fall would be most beneficial.  

Choosing the Right Time of Year

One of the key things prospective home buyers need to consider is when it’s the right time to buy a home. Not only do home prices vary over time, but they also vary over the course of the year. While summer is the most popular time to move or put your home on the market, supply and demand is a big factor in why home prices fluctuate. So, if you’re looking to buy a home in 2018, you’d be wise to consider the timing of your purchase.

The Best Time to Buy a House for a Good Price

The best month to steal a deal when buying a home? October. Though many people think of spring and summer as the hot spots for real estate, it’s for that exact reason that makes October the better month for buying. Spring and summer are overloaded with prospective buyers creating a frenzied market, and, just like the beaches in the fall, the water has cleared making less competition for buyers.

Housing Market Signals

While we’ve explained that fall is the best time to buy a home, it’s more than just pouncing when the market is tired—there’s actual data to be considered, as well. According to 2017 data from Trulia, starter home inventory in the U.S. as a whole gets a 7 percent boost between October and December each year. As a result, we see listing prices that are about 4.8 percent and 3.1 percent lower in the winter and spring than in the summer, respectively.

 


Some other market signals you may want to consider include:

 

 

  • Mortgage rate changes 
  • Bidding wars
  • Pricing trends
  • Local housing trends
  • Times when homeowners may have trouble paying off debt (January and February) 

Together, all of these can be considered as leverage when buying a home. Most importantly, if you want to find a great home for a reasonable price, look for times when the market is soft, or when there are fewer prospects.

 If you’re thinking of buying a home in the coming months, or still unsure and have more questions, our talented team of agents at Janet McAfee are always here and ready to help you navigate the process from start to finish. If you’re looking for a real estate firm you can trust, contact us today!

Today's Affluent Home Buyer

The high end home buyer today is savvier when it comes to luxury brands, more discriminating when it comes to amenities and has more choices than ever before.   More than ever, the affluent consumer has access to an abundance of goods and services in all aspects of their lives.  Choosing a home is no exception.

 

Luxury Portfolio International, a leading opinion leader of all things luxury, has taken a deep dive into the mindset of the millionaire homebuyer.  Today’s luxury buyer wants pristine, new condition.  Only 5% are looking to renovate completely; 15% will consider buying an older home completely renovated.  55% want privacy and energy efficiency/environmental design.  Luxury buyers want a master bedroom with a luxurious bathroom (54%), walk in closets (51%), outdoor living/entertaining (49%) and an open floor plan (49%).

 

Janet McAfee is the exclusive St. Louis member of Luxury Portfolio International. 

6 Luxury Home Must-Haves for 2018

Categories: St. Louis Luxury Homes

 

 

You own a beautiful homenow, how can you make it better? Luxury homeowners all over the globe are adding amenities to their houses that increase the resale value and give homeowners an even more luxurious quality of life. Consider some of these gorgeous (sometimes unusual!) improvements to your home:

 

 

 

1. Dog Shower


Dog showers are becoming popular design features in many luxury homes. Architect William Harrison reports that he’s been asked to design dog showers for many clients. These are often designed for large dog breeds, who have difficulty bathing in a traditionally-sized bathtub. Dog showers are low to the ground, designed with extra-tough, dirt- and wear-resistant tiles and shower heads with long flexible hoses. These custom showers leave both owner and pooch happy!


2. Bathroom Fireplace


A hot bath is the perfect way to relax after a long day. The only thing that could make the experience more relaxing would be a crackling fireplace. This trend has taken over luxury homes, with many owners choosing to improve their properties with a bathroom fireplace. A luxurious, relaxing bathroom can add greatly to a home’s resale value, as well as giving the homeowner many peaceful nights.


3. Observatory


Turn a top floor room into a luxurious observatory with the addition of a telescope! This is a new trend in luxury homes and is particularly popular with homeowners who already have large skylights or glass-enclosed rooms. Companies like High Point and Frontgate make excellent at-home telescopes that can transform any home into a beautiful observatory.


4. Home Theater

 

 

 


One of the hallmarks of a luxury home is a fully-functioning home theater. Modern technology allows homeowners to have full movie screens, surround sound speakers, and luxury seating. You can even design your own.


5. Sauna


Sitting in a personal steam room is the height of luxury. Specially designed benches, custom sauna decor, and particular rocks and wood are all sold to help homeowners personalize their saunas. Saunas have been proven to have many health benefits, helping people sweat out toxins and decrease stress.



6. Wine Cellar


Tried and true, the wine cellar has been a cornerstone of luxury homes. And, this classic is as relevant as ever in 2018. Amassing a wine collection is a wonderful hobby, and storing it in an aesthetically pleasing wine cellar is a privilege that comes from owning a luxury home. Play with lighting, shelving, and even seating to create a space perfect for storage and tasting.



Any of these amenities will add beauty and value to your home. You already own an amazing house--now make it truly luxurious!


If you’re ready to start the search for your luxury home, contact Janet McAfee for access to our listings over $750,000 as part of our exclusive affiliation with Luxury Portfolio.

To My Fellow Realtors, “Buyers and Sellers still need YOU”

Just released, a 2018 Harris Insights & Analytics study reported that 90% of all buyers and sellers used a real estate agent in their transaction.  This is up from 85% in a similar study conducted four years ago.  

 

The most important factors in choosing an agent were:  “a referral from someone I trust,” “agents who had listings similar to what I am looking for,”  “looking at websites with ratings of agents” and “having a personal relationship with the agent.”

 

Negotiating the best price was mentioned by 89% of buyers and sellers as being extremely or very important.  

 

I’m not surprised by these findings.  A real estate transaction is complex and stressful.  Why wouldn’t you rely on a professional with a proven track record from a reputable brokerage to help you navigate the most important purchase of your life?

 

(Source: Real Trends September 2018 newsletter)

-Janet Horlacher

Discover the Top School Districts in St. Louis

Categories: General

 



For a family looking to settle down, a good school district is essential. The St. Louis County area offers a lot of great school districts, all with their own unique features. We’ve broken down the pros and cons of each district to make your move location easy!


School District of Clayton


Clayton, MO is the affluent, bustling business hub of St. Louis County and borders the city of St. Louis. In 2018, the district was ranked the fourth best school district in the United States and the best school district in Missouri by Niche. Several primary schools and high schools in the Clayton district have been ranked as top schools in Missouri. The School District of Clayton is one of the highest-achieving districts in the State of Missouri. Each of the district’s schools are regularly featured in Missouri's list of Top Ten Highest Performing Schools. On average, the student to teacher ratio is 11:1.


According to the 2010 census, the population of Clayton is 15,939 people. Several local universities are at least partially located in Clayton, bringing energy to the city. Being the county seat, St Louis County is the largest employer in Clayton. An active public transportation system connects the city. Clayton’s downtown features art galleries and boutiques, and it is host to the annual St Louis County Fair. For a family looking to settle down in a friendly, small town with an art scene and great public and private schools, Clayton is a great option.



Ladue School District


Ladue, MO is a suburb of St. Louis with a population of around 8,000. Ladue has the highest median household income of any town in Missouri, making it a relatively wealthy suburb.


The school district includes four public elementary schools and one public high school, as well as two private high schools. The student to teacher ratio is 14:1, and teachers are generally reported to care for and give special attention to students. Teacher salaries are above the national average, showing that just as teachers care for students, the district cares for its teachers.


Ladue residents are privileged to be near some of the finest schools in the nation. Ladue School District passes state examinations with flying colors. Ladue Watkins High School is consistently ranked among the best high schools in the state, and has often been named the best public high school in Missouri by U.S. News and World Report. Mary Institute and Country Day School (MICDS) and John Burroughs School are nationally-ranked private schools. Whether in public or private schools, students in Ladue can be assured of receiving a first-rate education.



Lindbergh School District


Lindbergh School District serves the area of Sunset Hills, an idyllic suburban municipality.

Schools in the Lindbergh District have excellent test scores, with math and reading rankings above 80 percent proficiency. Lindbergh High School, the only high school in the district, has a 96 percent graduation rate compared to the 86 percent national average. In fact, Lindbergh School District was recognized as the Number 1 district for K-12 achievement in the State of Missouri from 2010 through 2014.


Lindbergh School District is known for having very good public schools, particularly elementary and preschools, which make up the majority of the district. This makes it particularly great for families with young children.



Kirkwood School District


Kirkwood, MO is home to some of the strongest schools in the state and also serves the area of Sunset Hills, Missouri. The Kirkwood School District has the top-rated teachers in Missouri. Kirkwood’s student to teacher ratio is 15:1, and the district expends more money per student than the national average, most of which goes toward instruction.


In fact, Kirkwood boasts some of the most collegiate schools in the St. Louis area. Not only was Kirkwood High School ranked the third best high school in the state by U.S News and World Report in 2013, but Sunset Hills is also home to elite private schooling. Thomas Jefferson School is a nationally ranked college preparatory school, attracting the St. Louis community’s best and brightest young minds. With students’ average SAT scores over 2000, Thomas Jefferson School occupies a place among the educational elite.


St. Louis Public and Private Schools


The top-rated private school in the St. Louis area is John Burroughs School (mentioned above) located in Ladue. John Burroughs School is ranked as the number one high school in Missouri, as well as the top college prep school in Missouri. The school has a 6:1 student to teacher ratio, and the graduation rate is 100 percent. Families looking for strong private schools should also consider: St. Louis Priory School, ranked as the number one Catholic high school in Missouri and the number one all-boys school in Missouri; Thomas Jefferson School, ranked the #1 boarding school in Missouri and home to excellent test scores; or the Whitfield School, a tight-knit community of 440 students with excellent test scores and strong parent and student reviews.


Families looking for excellent public schools should visit Clayton High School, the top-rated public school in Missouri. It is ranked as having the best public school teachers in Missouri, with a 12:1 student to teacher ratio. Clayton High has great test scores, ranking far above average in proficiency in math and reading. Ninety-two percent of Clayton High students report that they feel happy at their school and enjoy attending. Other public schools to consider are Kirkwood Senior High School, which has excellent test scores and a beautiful campus with above-average athletic and academic facilities, and Marquette Senior High School, which is home to great test scores and above-average student proficiency in math and reading.


Ready to find a home in one of these areas? Contact Janet McAfee Real Estate to get started!

Plan For These Seven Fall Renovations Now

Categories: DIY Seasonal Preparations




With the start of a new season, fall brings the opportunity to reinvent your home! There are plenty of fall renovation projects that will make your home feel fresh and get you ready for winter. Not sure where to start? No problem! We picked out a few seasonal projects that will leave your home feeling renewed before winter arrives.


1. Seal Your Windows


An easy way to prepare your house for winter is by putting caulk around the edges of your windows. Small gaps between windows and window panes allow heat to escape and let the cold in, lowering your home’s energy efficiency and raising your heating costs. Caulk is very low in cost, and it’s a simple project that you can knock out in a weekend.



2. Update Your Outdoor Pool


Whether you’re looking for some serious repairs or just standard maintenance, fall is the best time to work on your pool. Summer is the busiest season for pool repairs, and costs are often at their highest, so waiting until fall to get repairs done ensures that you’ll face a lower price. Plus, companies will have more time in the off-season, which means your repairs will likely get done quickly.



3. Protect Your Garden


As temperatures cool down, it’s time to start getting your garden ready for winter. You’ll want to cover your flower beds to protect them from snow and cold. One of the easiest ways to do this is with dried, fallen leaves. Collect the leaves that fall in autumn and place them in a layer over your garden, which will insulate your plants for the cold months ahead.



4. Paint Your Exterior


A fresh coat of paint does wonders! Remember to add sealant over the paint to protect against snow and ice damage. While you’re at it, apply sealant to outdoor stairs, doors, and wood on porches, too.


5. Repair the Roof


If your roof has any small holes or leaks, winter will only make them worse. Heat will escape and snow will get in. Fall is a perfect time to have a roofing crew come in, take care of any small repairs, and make sure you’re ready to handle snow and ice.



6. Clean the Carpets


Summer can get carpets pretty dirty. Between mud, sand, and other pieces of the outdoors tracked in, your floors are begging for a cleaning. Fall is a great time to clean carpets because dirt from summer sports and activities won’t be coming in. It’s also generally still warm enough so that you can open the windows for ventilation while carpet soaps do their work. That means a fall day outside for you and a full cleaning for your carpets!



7. Install a Programmable Thermostat


Save money this winter with a programmable thermostat. You can set your heat to go down while you’re at work or asleep, which conserves both energy and money. Then your heat can come right back up when you get home, keeping you nice and comfortable!



Fall is a great time to do home renovations, and it’s the perfect bridge between summer and winter to refresh your house and get it ready for the cold. What home renovations are you looking forward to this fall?

Is “Maximalism” really the Luxury Home Trend for 2018?

Those who follow luxury design trends have predicted that 2018 is the year of “maximalism.”  Neutral and monochromatic color palettes will transition to bold, saturated colors.  After all, the 2018 Pantone Color of the Year is Ultra Violet, a vivid shade of purple.  Trend watchers are seeing a resurgence of wallpaper, mixed metal plumbing fixtures and layering of brightly colored and patterned rugs. 

From my perspective, I cannot confirm our St. Louis luxury real estate market has fully embraced the maximalism design trend.  I have seen elements of this new style in our finest properties.

Wallpaper is making a resurgence, but this is not your mother’s wallpaper.   The new papers are ultra-chic prints made with modern digital printing technology and textured fabric papers like silk and grass cloth.  We see luscious accent walls covered with hand painted Chinoiserie.

Brass and gold tone fixtures are making a comeback.  Last year, we outfitted our bathrooms with minimalist chrome fixtures.  Newer designs include more ornate hardware made of brushed and shiny gold fixtures or they are black matt plumbing finishes.  

Are richer bolder colors replacing neutrals?  Design trend setters claim that beiges and taupes have become boring.  Bold saturated hues are being introduced, particularly in accent roles.

What do you think?  Are we prepared to “boldly go where no one has gone before?”