The Top 10 Questions to Ask a Realtor When Selling Your Home

Selling a home could make you feel a tad overwhelmed. After all, the realtor you hire will impact the sales process, how long it takes the house to sell, and the selling price of the house. Do your research to find the best agent for you. Here’s a list of questions to ask a potential realtor and add clarity to your journey.

#1. How Many Homes Have You Sold?

The purpose of asking this question is to make sure you’re working with a realtor that has ample experience selling homes. The more recent the sales, the better. Ask to look at their real estate portfolio, a collection of real estate investment assets akin to a resume.

See what homes they specialize in selling in terms of price range and type of home, and, if you’re in a unique position, if the realtor knows what steps you’ll need to take.

#2. Have You Sold Homes in My Area?

A realtor with experience selling homes in your area will know the ins and outs of the local market, including the selling price of similar homes and the selling points that will appeal to buyers.

Yet, don’t write off a realtor that hasn’t sold in your area yet. Listen to their answer on how they plan on getting acquainted with the area, and fill them in on what they need to know about your community.

#3. Can I Cancel Our Agreement?

This one is a must-ask question, as you shouldn’t hire a realtor that doesn’t allow you to cancel the agreement. Signing this confirms you’ll work with them exclusively and pay them for selling the house, even if you’re unhappy with their services.

Some so-called top agents try to lure sellers into a contract with hopes of the home selling fast at an unrealistic price. In the end, they let it sit on the market, sell at a lower price, and get their promised commission. With an option to cancel written in the contract, you can be confident they’ll work hard to sell your house at a fair price.

#4. How Did You Arrive at the Suggested List Price?

Asking this question ensures your realtor can justify the price and that they’re not giving you an overinflated price to increase their commission. A comparative market analysis (CMA), listed by the realtor, is an estimate of the home’s value based on recently sold comparable properties in the immediate area.

Realtors usually come to the price based on the:

  • bathrooms
  • bedrooms
  • condition
  • lot size
  • road noise
  • schools
  • square footage

If they can’t justify the price, the analysis is likely to be very vague.

#5. How Will You Market My Home?

How a home is marketed affects how long it takes to sell and the types of buyers. Marketing drives demand, leading to more homebuyers and selling at a higher price in less time.

Most real estate agents will discuss using a multiple listing service (MLS), which reaches the largest audience. This database shares information about properties for sale, including a home’s data, photos, and description. This listing is then distributed to public websites like Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia.

Additional ways of marketing include advertising with flyers, brochures, print ads, digital ads, and networking.

#6. How Will You Vet the Buyer?

Having a buyer is exciting, but you won’t want to invest time in the wrong one. That’s why vetting a prospective buyer is an important process for agents to take on. The deal may fall through if the buyer is unable to secure financing or backs out during the inspection contingency period.

Realtors can prevent this by ensuring the buyer submits a pre-approved letter with their offer and contacting the loan officer to ask about the buyer’s debt-to-income ratio.

#7. What’s Your Commission?

On average, the real estate commission is 5% to 6%, but this can vary depending on the state and housing market. While these commissions are negotiable, keep in mind the value you’d be getting. A lower percentage is not necessarily best, as this could cut into the advertising budget or other expenses.

#8. What’s Your Sale-To-List Price Ratio?

Of course, before asking this question, you’ll need to know the sale-to-list ratio definition. This is a percentage found by taking the sale price of a home and dividing it by the last list price. To find the average, add the sale-to-list ratio of each home sold by the realtor and then divide by the number of homes.

If the percentage is above 100%, the home sold for more than the list price. If it is under 100%, the home sold for less.

Be leery of listing agents with a number that is much higher or lower than other agents. A number on the high end means they underprice homes. This way, they can tell other homeowners they just sold a house for more the asking price. A number on the low end means they overprice homes, likely because they overpromised.

#9. How Will You Communicate With Me?

Effective communication is key. Before signing a contract, make sure you and the future realtor agree on a primary method of communicating.

  • Do they prefer to talk over the phone, by text, or email?
  • How often can you expect to hear from them?
  • And, if they’re part of a team, will someone else reply on their behalf?

#10. How Do I Get My Home Ready to Sell?

If you plan to improve your home before listing it, spend time and money on updates that make a difference. Get two things accomplished at once by asking a real estate agent what you need to do to get your home ready to sell.

Here’s expert advice on:

Talk With an Understanding Realtor at The Massey Team

At The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties, we understand that you shouldn’t rush to sign a contract with a realtor that’s not right for you. Ask us as many questions as you need so you’re confident in your choice.

Our team is committed to providing the finest, friendliest, and most effective real estate services. We don’t just sell houses; we help others make positive life changes. Understanding your personal goals and needs is at the heart of everything that we do. Call us today at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298!

Fall Events in St. Louis

Fall is a fantastic time of year where the weather chills, leaves change color, and we enjoy all there is to enjoy about cozy sweaters, ghoulish gourds, and sweet treats.

St. Louis is an excellent city to live by during the fall. The list of fun fall activities for all ages is at least a mile long. So, to make things easier, we’ve picked some of our favorite fall festivities you can partake in this year.

Eckert’s Farm’s Applefest

Believe it or not, Eckert’s Farm’s Applefest is woven into a story of the America of old and of a time that’s hard to conceptualize.

The first Eckert Farm orchard took root in 1837 when Johann Peter Eckert immigrated to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, from Dietzenbach, Hesse Darmstadt, Germany. Johann’s son would carry on the family trade, planting his orchard near Fayetteville, Illinois (35 miles south of St. Louis). His son Henry would then go on to open his orchard in Belleville, Illinois, which now houses the Eckert family’s hub of operation.

Enjoy wagon rides, live entertainment, festival foods, children’s activities, and more at their Belleville location every Friday and Saturday starting September 2nd and running throughout the month. 

Eckert’s Belleville location is at 951 S. Green Mt. Rd., Belleville, IL 62220.

Oktoberfest at Grant’s Farm

Running through September 16-18, Oktoberfest at Grant’s Farm starts at 4:00 p.m. each day, giving you plenty of time to enjoy all the festivities. Simply purchase a parking ticket for the date you want to attend, and enjoy the live music, food and drink, and all that Grant’s Farm offers.

You can even purchase a VIP experience for yourself and your friends. Visit their website and see which packages interest you the most!

Grant’s Farm is at 7385 Grant Rd., St. Louis, MO 63123.

St. Louis Renaissance Festival

The opening day of this annual event is September 17th and runs every weekend through October 23rd (including Monday, October 10th). The admission price includes parking and all entertainment shows, like the tournament jousting and themed weekend events.

Arrive anytime between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on the day you wish to attend to see all the exciting sights you’re sure to see at this iconic event. Trust us. You don’t want to miss a minute of the St. Louis Renaissance Festival, held every year since 1976!

The festival grounds are at 2577 W. Meyer Rd., Foristell, MO 63348.

Relleke Pumpkin Patch

The Relleke Pumpkin Patch fall celebration starts September 25th and goes through October 31st.  From 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., you can pick pumpkins, eat excellent food, and have a great time!

You’ll find pumpkins in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors; you can take a wagon ride with the whole family, purchase edible squash, and participate in some crafts and demonstrations.

You can find the Relleke Pumpkin Patch at 1526 Bischoff Rd., Granite City, IL 62040.

Best of Missouri Market

Held at the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Best of Missouri Market is held from October 7th through the 9th. On Friday, the market runs from noon to 8:00 p.m.; on Saturday and Sunday, it runs from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

At the market, you’ll be able to explore nearly 100 vendors with handcrafted items, locally produced food, native plants, herbs, custom jewelry, and more! There’s even a kid’s corner with fall activities for families, crafts, llamas, alpacas, sheep, and a pumpkin patch with sustainable pumpkin decorating.

The Missouri Botanical Garden is at 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63110.

Fall Frolic

Located at Tower Grove Park in the Roman Pavilion, the Fall Frolic is a chance for you to learn more about the local flora and fauna through fall-centric activity stations and wildlife encounters.

Enjoy a day of prizes, raptor shows, animal tracking, firepits and s’mores, and much more.

This event is meant for all ages, so come by any time between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on October 16th.

FYI, costumes are welcomed and encouraged!

You can find the Roman Pavilion at 2747 Tower Grove Ave, St. Louis, Mo 63110.

Boos & Booze Halloween Party

Come dressed to the nines in your best costume to the Boos & Booze Halloween Party on October 21st at the Pere Marquette Lodge in Grafton, Illinois.

Expect creepy cocktails, live music, and a costume contest where the first-place winner receives a free night’s stay at the lodge.

On the same night, if you’re already planning on staying the night, you can also purchase an additional package for a paranormal investigation, which takes place between 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m.

This investigation includes a spooky tour of the lodge to learn the history and paranormal claims associated with the 1940s building and surrounding grounds, like their 1800s cemetery.

Ghost hunting devices will be available, but you are welcome to bring your own.

This activity is perfect for history lovers and ghost enthusiasts, and anyone between the two. So, what are you waiting for? Find something strange in your neighborhood this fall!

The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties

Fall is a beautiful time for you to get out and explore your neighborhood and all that it has to offer. You’ll make new memories, meet new people, and maybe get some tasty treats.

Are you looking for the perfect place to enjoy all these fall festivities? Contact The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties today, and we’ll help you buy your dream home tomorrow.

Contact our team today at: (618) 791-5024 & (618) 791-9298. You can also visit our website to view our current listings.

We can’t wait to help you!

8 Tips on Relocating to a New Neighborhood

Moving to a new neighborhood can be daunting. There’s unpacking a ton of moving boxes and doing chores related to the move. Add to that learning about the schools, commutes, and local hangouts.

To make the process easier for you, our expert realtors made a list of tips for relocating to a new neighborhood.

#1. Pick a Good Neighborhood

Before moving, the first step is to decide where you want to relocate. Do your research to find the right area for you.

  • What are the housing prices? Can you really afford to buy a home in one of the best neighborhoods? Use the 28/36 rule. “Your mortgage payment shouldn’t be more than 28% of your monthly pre-tax income and 36% of your total debt.”
  • How long is the commute? If you work hybrid or full-time in the office or have kids, consider how far away the new neighborhood is from where you’ll work or take the kids to school.
  • Does this place have a lot of crime? Search online for crime statistics. You’ll want to live in a safe neighborhood, after all. Once you move in, you can also install a home security device for added security.

#2. Change Your Mailing Address

Continue receiving mail without interruption by contacting the United States Postal Service (USPS) to change your address. This can be done online, in-person by visiting a USPS office and filling out the PS Form 3575, or over the phone by calling 1-800-ASK-USPS.

#3. Transfer the Utilities

Find your local providers to transfer or change the utilities, including electricity, water, gas, Internet, and cable TV. Of course, there are some utilities you may not decide to keep, like if you decide to remove cable TV to save money or switch to streaming. 

#4. Make the New House a Home

Unpacking takes time, but you’ll feel more comfortable in your new space when your familiar belongings are in sight.

  • Maximize your storage space in each room.
  • Use closets to store clothes, linens, or food.
  • Set up kitchen appliances.
  • Place bookshelves for books, frames, and knickknacks.
  • Hang up the TV and connect to the video game system.
  • Arrange plants.

#5. Secure Your New Home

It’s essential to keep your home a safe space. This includes:

  • having a fire extinguisher on each floor,
  • installing fire alarms, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors,
  • changing the locks of all outside doors,
  • checking to make sure the windows and doors close securely,
  • having exterior lighting,
  • and adding, if desired, a home security system.

#6. Meet Your Neighbors

Now that you’re all moved in, it’s time to explore the area and meet new people! Start by meeting your neighbors. They can be a tremendous help by giving you advice or useful information on how things work in the community.

Walk over and introduce yourself and maybe ask a few questions about the neighborhood to carry on a conversation. In time, you may even become good friends.

#7. Scope Out the Best Local Establishments

Whether you’re into visiting museums, seeing musical performances, or trying new restaurants, you’ll want to find the best hangouts in your new community.

Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Yelp can give you the location and reviews. If you’re feeling social, talk to your neighbors to see where they like to go for fun. Visit nearby shopping centers, landmarks, coffee shops, and diners.

If you have kids, seek out local recreation spots, like parks, swimming pools, roller skating rinks, and libraries. These locations offer several benefits, from keeping kids active and engaged to coping with boredom and helping them adjust to a new home.

#8. Join Local Organizations

Joining local nonprofit organizations is a great way to foster a sense of community. Volunteering

  • improves the lives of others.
  • makes the community a better place.
  • lets you make a direct impact.
  • can teach you new skills.
  • develops close relationships with others.

Plus, many organizations host meetings and events where you mingle with others and enjoy food, drinks, and entertainment.

Make Moving Easier With The Massey Team

The experienced realtors at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties will help you find the right home in the perfect neighborhood! We have extensive knowledge of the area and market local to St. Louis and the Metro East.

Get started by browsing our listings or talking with a member of our team at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298!

The Pros and Cons of Buying a Fixer-Upper

There are several TV shows about people restoring run-down, outdated, or abandoned houses for a living. After watching a bunch of episodes and seeing houses beautifully transformed, it’s easy to feel you can do it yourself.

This could be the chance to buy your dream home. Still, it’s important to note that buying a fixer-upper is a significant investment in time and money. So, here are the pros and cons of buying a fixer-upper.

What Is a Fixer-Upper?

A fixer-upper is a house that requires major maintenance work. The buyer has to restore the property to a comfortable living condition. As such, the price is lower than the market rate.

Pros

Buying a property that needs work can be appealing, and with good reason. Here’s why people are drawn to this option.

Lower Purchase Price

Buying a fixer-upper is certainly cheaper than purchasing a house that’s move-in ready. It’ll come with a lower listing price and down payment requirement.

Since no two houses are the same, there’s no direct comparison as to how much money you’d save. Still, this could be your way of joining a neighborhood that’s typically out of your budget.

Less Competition

There’s typically less competition when it comes to purchasing a fixer-upper. Many people are looking for a move-in ready home or they don’t have the time, energy, or resources for renovation projects.

Luckily for you, that means you’re less likely to be in a bidding war, and the deal could go quicker and more smoothly.

It’s Customizable

Once you own a home in need of repairs, you have the freedom to truly customize the space. Meet your wants and needs by remodeling the kitchen countertops, changing out the bathroom tiles, building a deck, or expanding the living room.

While it’s a lot of work, it’ll give you a sense of accomplishment.

The Value Will Increase

By choosing specific upgrades, the value of your fixer-upper will increase. If done correctly, you could flip your fixer-upper and make a significant profit. Know the value of renovations before starting, so you can be aware of what will add the most value to your house.

Cons

Also consider the pitfalls of buying a fixer-upper. While you’ve learned this strategy can be profitable, the drawbacks listed below could impact your success.

Unforeseen Problems

Fixer-upper homes often come with unforeseen problems that lead to extra costs. While setting a budget is necessary, it may not be realistic depending on if extra repairs show up along the way.

Costly Repairs

Look at the renovations required. Cosmetic repairs include replacing the windows, refinishing the kitchen, and updating the floors, paint, and siding. This minor work has the biggest return on investment.

Structural repairs, on the other hand, include fixing the cracking foundation, updating the electrical wiring, and putting in better roof support. These renovations are costly and don’t provide much of a return.

Cost of Building Materials

Lumber prices have been inconsistent, with record-setting spikes and periods of decline. According to the National Association of Home Builders’ latest estimates, the price changes between April 2022 and July 2022 are enough to add $14,345 to the price of a new single-family home and $5,511 to the market value of a new multifamily home.

This price increase in lumber, in turn, also affects the cost of renovating older homes.

Long-Term Construction

This is not a fast endeavor. Home renovations are time-consuming and it could take months or years for everything to be completed. Plus, unless you have somewhere else to live, you’ll be living in a construction zone, which isn’t necessarily feasible.

More Stress

Fixing up a house is stressful. Doing all the work yourself will easily eat up all your free time. So will finding and hiring contractors and supervising their work.

To reduce stress, ask your contractor, lender, and realtor any questions you have to make sure you understand what’s involved and that repairs are being done properly.

Work With an Expert at The Massey Team

Is buying a fixer-upper right for you? Find out by talking with the professional realtors at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties! We don’t just sell homes; we help others make positive life changes.

Our goal is to make the process of buying or selling your home as stress free as possible. Simply give us a call at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 to talk with a member of our team!

The Best Antique Shops in St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri, and its surrounding areas are full of culture made rich by deep history. Founded in 1764, more than a decade before the signing of The Declaration of Independence, this gateway to the west has much to offer, especially for collectors, antique aficionados, or people just looking to upcycle a piece from a time gone by.

So, what are you waiting for? Keep reading to learn which are the best places to go antiquing in this beautiful city. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something magical!

St. Louis Antique Mall

This 21,000-square-foot location carries over 140 different vendors, which means you’re more than likely to find something just for you. The owners, team members, and vendors are dedicated collectors and pickers, and they love to help anyone find the next “thing” to collect or the perfect item to furnish their home.

Located near the St. Louis Lamber Airport, the St. Louis Antique Mall is also extremely convenient for those traveling out of state.

  • Location: 9715 St. Charles Rock Rd., St. Louis, MO 63114
  • Phone: (314) 733-5285
  • Hours: Monday – Friday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Frenchtown Records, Antiques & More

This unique antique and music store is located in the heart of the old Frenchtown neighborhood, which encompasses Soulard, Lafayette Square, and LaSalle Park. According to its owners David and Christine Boykin, Frenchtown Records, Antiques & More is “an eccentric, fanciful, and musical trip through time.”

Inspired by the owners’ love of music and antiques, you can find anything from records, CDs, tapes, and vintage audio equipment, to antiques like jewelry, vintage lighting, fine art, and more. Not to mention, it’s also home to the Chandelier Whisperer!

  • Location: 941 Park Ave., St. Louis, MO 63104
  • Phone: (314) 630-1163
  • Hours: Tuesday – Friday 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturday 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Treasure Aisles Antique Mall

Since 1997, Treasure Aisles Antique Mall has been open seven days a week and has cemented itself as the St. Louis hub for antiquing. This 13,000-square-foot, handicap-accessible space boasts 128 different booths of any aesthetic you could think of.

You can expect to find antique furniture, jewelry, memorabilia, glassware, and more! Attracting customers from all over the region, this antique mecca even offers to deliver to your location.

  • Location: 2317 S Big Bend Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63143
  • Phone: (314) 647-6875
  • Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The Hill Antique Market

Opened in 2019, this new addition to the historic Italian neighborhood The Hill, The Hill Antique Market, has already expanded twice!

This warehouse turned antiquing gem hosts 75 seasoned vendors and artisans who carefully curate a unique vintage shopping experience. You can find anything here, from rare antiques to contemporary art and everything between, all at varying prices.

The market’s ambiance is made unique by helpful staff, groovy music, and the on-site café, Oliva Café.

Passionate about building on old traditions while setting new standards, vendors refresh their merchandise daily so you can find something new every time you visit!

  • Location: 4923 Daggett Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110
  • Phone: (314) 961-7879
  • Hours: Open daily 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Wednesday open until 8 p.m.); Oliva Café – Tuesday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Wednesday nights 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.

The Green Shag Market

This classic antique mall carries vendors that specialize in all sorts of eras. Listed as Missouri’s “Best Thrift Store” by Apartment Therapy, The Green Shag Market has the area’s most fabulous vintage, boho, mid-century, and antique finds.

With over 60 booths, you’ll never get tired of looking through all the nooks and crannies this market offers.  This place is worth a weekend visit with plenty of space for furniture and collectible nick-nacks alike!

  • Location: 5733 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110
  • Phone: (314) 646-8687
  • Hours: Friday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

TFA The Furniture Antiques

If you’re looking for high-quality, mid-century-modern items, TFA The Furniture Antiques is for you! Probably St. Louis’ most diverse scene for mid-century-modern furniture, lighting, art, glassware, and more, you’ll feel like you’re taking a step into the past once you enter its doors.

You can find anything for almost every room in your home. That’s right; it’s a one-stop shop if you’re looking for dining room, bedroom, living room, kitchen, and even garage décor.

  • Location: 6514 Chippewa St., St. Louis, MO 63109
  • Phone: (314) 865-1552
  • Hours: Monday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Friday – 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

The Brass Alligator

Located in Demun, a historic business district in Clayton, MO, The Brass Alligator offers some of the finest antiques and décor in St. Louis. They carry every aesthetic, from mid-century-modern furniture to art deco lighting, vintage jewelry, and books dating back to the 1800s. They also boast an impressive vinyl collection.

You can submit your contact information on their website to join their list of customers who become the first to know about shop news, booth updates, and information about upcoming estate sales.

  • Location: 6403 Clayton Rd., St. Louis, MO 63117
  • Phone: (314) 300-6666
  • Hours: Friday – Monday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Alton Flea Market

Located in Alton, Illinois, the Alton Flea Market is an enormous (20,000 square feet) historic location comprised of two warehouses, a front courtyard, an office building, a neat old basement, and a “safe room” all built in 1854.

The Alton Flea Market is one of the largest flea markets in the area, in-door, and hybrid, meaning it’s a combination of permanent booths and new fresh vendors every week.

Owned and run by the Holt family, this is a joyful and friendly place for family and friends to come and have fun.

  • Location: 711 Belle St., Alton, Illinois 62002
  • Phone: (618) 767-5125
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Pink Elephant Antique Mall

Established in 2005, this locally owned and operated business has been helping customers find and enjoy quality antiques, homemade candy, fudge, and home and farm décor for 17 years.

Owned by Davie and Bernice Hammond, the Pink Elephant Antique Mall supports local merchants and creates the perfect atmosphere for you and the family to spend the afternoon hunting for beautiful antiques, unique menu items, or just a good time.

  • Location: 908 Veterans Memorial Dr., Livingston, IL 62508
  • Phone: (618) 637-2366
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Alton Exchange Mall

The Alton Exchange Mall boasts over 16,000 square feet of almost anything you can think of. Along with amazing antiques, you’ll also be able to find soap, candles, incense, jewelry, Amish jams, candy, comics, books, records, and more.

You’ll be in your own little (not so little) wonderland at this hot spot in historic Alton, Illinois.

  • Location: 2990 Homer Adams Parkway, Alton, Illinois 62002
  • Phone: (618) 463-1273
  • Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sunday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties

St. Louis and the surrounding areas are rich in history, culture, and incredible pieces of art, furniture, jewelry, and more that mark each unique time period since the city’s inception. Any antique enthusiast or collector will tell you that it takes persistence and an open mind to find pieces that work for you and your home.

Now that you have a list of some of the best antique markets St. Louis has to offer, you can start your journey of upcycling. Embrace the old and make it new. Repurpose some old side tables or reframe an old sketch you find.

The fact is, there are treasures out there just waiting for you to find them. Just like your next home!

Contact us today if you’re in the market for a new home! Visit our website to see what houses we’re currently selling and give us a call at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298, and a team member can answer any questions you may have. We can’t wait to help you!

2022 Summer Garden Trends

The past couple of years has changed our lives in many ways. We spent many days staying inside, prompting many of us to undertake some DIY home renovations. But, once that was done, where else could we turn?

For many of us, the time we spent outside during the pandemic was our haven. It gave us vitamin D from the sunshine, fresh air, and wildlife that seemingly lived on unbothered even though the rest of the world seemed to be in shambles.

In many ways, our connection to nature gave us hope for better and brighter days. That’s why nearly 21 million newbie gardeners put on some gloves, picked up a shovel, and got to planting.

So, what plants and features should you be putting in your garden this summer? Keep reading to find out!

Bold, Bright Colors

The past two years have been drab and soul-sucking. That’s why, as people worldwide regain their confidence, gardens are getting pops of color! Instead of monochrome, think polychrome; you want your outdoor space to be a maximalist’s mecca.

Look for daring colors like reds, oranges, and purples. Plants like crocosmia, salvia, and canna are set to be very popular in 2022 as a result.

Also, expect low-maintenance houseplants that offer a pop of color, like the red succulent x Semporium “Sienna.”

Small Space Gardening

Whether it’s your terrace, balcony, backyard, front garden, or even your stupe, you can find a spot to place a pot of a couple of troughs to bring nature into your life. Heck, some people have turned to creating “green walls,” taking the fencing around their spaces and turning the vertical space into beautiful, green works of art that are both beautiful and good for the environment.

Small gardens can go almost anywhere as long as you have the creativity to make them work! Besides creating an aesthetically pleasing space to look at and live in, a recent RHS study found that “filling a bare front garden with a handful of plants has the same stress-reducing impact as attending eight mindfulness sessions.”

Sustainable Gardening

It’s 2022, so we don’t have time to deal with and worry about plastics and other contaminants that we could live without.

For many gardeners, climate change has been on their minds for years now, but as more people learn to garden, they too are starting to realize just how vital it is that we protect our environment.

When gardening with the planet in mind, you must consider what, how, and where you plant, alongside provenance and packaging.

As well as no-dig methods, wildflower meadows, and following organic principles to nurture soil health, you may see a rise in “free planting” (a low maintenance form of mixed planting that requires no pesticides or netting and is excellent for biodiversity).

You can also plant more native plants in your garden. Check out the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife collection!

Some people have even turned to growing preservation gardens. Did you know there are more than 4,400 endangered plant species in the United States? Use the Rare Plant Finder Tool at the Center for Plant Conservation to find out which plants near you are at-risk.

Cutting Gardens

People seemed to realize that fresh flowers can warm up any space as flower sales increased 10% in 2021. Unfortunately, with rising inflations, it’s becoming more difficult to justify the price of a new bouquet every time you go shopping.

So how do you get a fresh bouquet when you want one? Plant a cutting garden, of course!

Grow favorites like zinnias, dahlias, and black-eyed Susans. All you have to do is plant some seeds in a sunny spot, add water, and you’ll have flowers for homemade bouquets in no time. Your flowers will be locally grown, meaning that they’ll be carbon-neutral, and you can keep growing your flowers back all summer long!

Time-Saving Gadgets

People are returning to the new normal, meaning that the time they dedicate to their gardening will shrink as hybrid work weeks become more common.

Expect to see more people purchasing and using labor-saving activities and products that provide timely results (e.g., growing kits, re-planted baskets and troughs, self-watering pots, and battery-powered pruners).

These time-saving gadgets provide more opportunities to sit back and enjoy your garden by yourself or with friends and family.

Gardening for Mental Health

Gardening can do wonders for mental health.

A garden is a restorative place, or at least that’s what many modern gardeners aim to achieve. When asking designers what they want their garden to look like, more people are using moods and atmospheres to describe their to-be garden rather than a series of physical fixtures. Gardens should work as a space to help us rest and recuperate after long days being subjected to a technology-focused society.

When gardening for your mental health, try to abstain from using power tools, gloves, and fancy gadgets. This will help you be more mindful and present in the task that you are doing. It will also help you look, touch, and sense what is suitable for your growing space.

You can also introduce fragrant plants like star jasmine, sweet peas, and mock orange. You may also want to try lemon-scented roses, like Rosa “Charles Darwin” or Rosa “Vanessa Bell.”

The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties

As homeowners, we’re always looking for ways to improve our space. That includes our garden as well! Gardening is beautiful and good for the soul and the environment. All you have to do is take a little time out of your day to ensure your plants are thriving throughout these summer months.

Are you looking for a new space with a beautiful garden? We’re here to help you find a home and feel at home.  Visit our website today or call the following phone numbers to talk with a team member: (618) 791-5024 & (618) 791-9298.

2022 Summer Housing Market Trends

2022 summer housing market trends

It’s the beginning of summer. It’s a great time for pool parties, barbeques in the backyard, and selling a house. The housing market is hot, with mortgage interest rates hovering above 5%, homes selling for 10% above their market value, and a tight supply of homes for sale. Answer important questions and gather all the details with this expert guide to 2022 summer housing market trends!

Why Is the Housing Market So Hot Right Now?

This is a seller’s market, as there are more buyers than homes for sale. Homes are in low supply and high demand, and this, combined with inflation, is causing prices to rise.

Pandemic uncertainty meant fewer people chose to move out due to economic concerns. At the same time, demand is higher because people now have a greater ability to work from home and relocate to a less expensive area. Millennials are also now approaching home buying age.

Are Millennials Buying Homes?

Millennials made up the largest share of home buyers at 37% in 2021. Younger Millennials, ages 22 to 30, were 14% of home buyers. Older Millennials, ages 31 to 40, are at 37%. Additionally:

  • 2% were Gen Z buyers, ages 18 to 21
  • 24% were Gen X buyers, ages 41 to 55
  • 18% were Younger Baby Boomers, ages 56 to 65
  • 14% were Older Baby Boomers, ages 66 to 74
  • 5% were from the Silent Generation, ages 75 to 95

Are We Headed for Another Housing Bubble?

Housing bubbles start with high demand and low supply. Buyers and investors rush to purchase properties as the supply starts to drop because they predict there will be more demand for homes in the future. Plus, low-interest rates and loose credit can bring borrowers, those who take out home loans, into the market and fuel demand.

However, once demand decreases or stagnates at the same time supply increases, prices drop sharply and the bubble bursts. The housing bubble of 2008 was not that long ago. Banks and other financial institutions engaged in predatory lending practices by approving people for mortgages they couldn’t afford. Lowered lending standards, irresponsible speculation, defaults, and foreclosures also played a part.

Fortunately, we are not headed for a housing bubble in 2022. Banking regulations are more restrictive than in 2008, meaning buyers today are more qualified to purchase homes.

What Home Buyers Need to Know

Home buyers should avoid panic buying by knowing what they can afford and sticking to a realistic budget. Be patient and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you debt-free?
  • Do you have an emergency fund for 3 to 6 months of expenses?
  • Will your mortgage payment be 25% or less of your take-home pay?

If you can comfortably meet these qualifications, you’re ready to buy!

What Home Sellers Need to Know

Home sellers should present their homes in the best possible way. You can renovate your home and increase your return on investment. Cleaning, decluttering, and organizing go a long way in making your home tidy. Bright lighting will also make your home feel more spacious. These steps help buyers envision themselves as the new homeowners.

Work With A Knowledgeable Agent at The Massey Team

Make the process of buying or selling your home as stress-free as possible by working with a knowledgeable real estate agent at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties. Our team has over 45 years of combined experience and has listings in St. Louis and across the river in Illinois. Simply give us a call at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 to talk with a member of our team!

Top 3 Real Estate Trends to Watch in The Second Half of 2022

The housing market has been on fire for the past couple of years! People have been buying houses in record numbers, causing prices to increase and inventory to plummet.

So, what do the housing trends look like for 2022? Keep reading to find out!

Low Housing Inventory

The total number of unsold homes was down over 16% in November 2021 compared to the year prior. That’s partly because many people are looking to buy right now, and fewer sellers are listing their homes for sale. Unfortunately, fewer houses mean it will be harder to meet buyer demand.

How To Find a Home in a Slim Market

  • Sacrifice some wants – be willing to compromise. Give up some “nice-to-haves” for “must-haves.” Find the least expensive home in the best neighborhood you can afford and upgrade it over time.
  • Expand your search – perhaps, the location you want to buy in is too competitive. Expand your search to neighborhoods you haven’t considered. You never know what gems are waiting to be found. Work with a real estate agent who knows the area and is familiar with your budget and lifestyle.
  • Get preapproved ASAP – You must get preapproved for a mortgage before you go house hunting. This is even more vital when the housing supply is low. Competition is going to be tough. You don’t want to lose out on the home to someone simply because they were preapproved and you weren’t.

The best homes are going to be bought up first.

Near the end of 2021, most homes spent 47 days on the real estate market. That’s about ten days less than the past year, and it looks like this trend will continue in 2022, but only for a little bit.

Over the past two years, the lack of housing inventory has created a logjam of would-be home buyers. It’s going to take time to work through this logjam of home buyers, some estimate a couple of months, but as long as we’re stuck in this logjam, home prices will continue to climb up.

What Do Slim Pickings Mean for Sellers?

Sellers are going to have less competition. Meaning, that even if your home isn’t necessarily appealing to buyers, you still stand a better chance of selling it in this current market. You could also have the upper hand regarding negotiations and final sales price. So, enjoy receiving multiple offers, picking the best one, and moving at a pace that best suits your timeline.

If you buy a new home after selling your current one, you won’t be in the driver’s seat anymore. Decide on the plans for your next home before you sell your current residence.

Home Prices Will Continue to Rise… Slowly

By the end of 2021, the national average home price rose to $363,700. However, the rate at which this increased slowed toward the end of 2021. It’s expected that the prices will continue to grow in 2022, but much slower than we’ve seen in the past couple of years.

What Do Higher Prices Mean for Buyers?

In an expensive market, it’s crucial that you are entirely aware of how much you can afford. Commit to staying within that budget despite the pressure to expand it.

To help you feel confident buying a house in 2022, follow these steps:

  • Limit your house payment to no more than 25% of your monthly take-home pay – your house payment includes principal, interest, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and if your down payment is less than 20%, private mortgage insurance (PMI). Don’t forget about homeowner’s association (HOA) fees.
  • Save at least 10 to 20% for a down payment – We recommend at least a 10% down payment because anything less will leave you to your neck in interest and fees. Putting 20% or more down is better because you can avoid paying PMI.
  • Go with a 15-year fixed-rate conventional mortgage – this is the lowest cost loan. The 30-year mortgage, FHA, VA, USDA, and adjustable-rate mortgages will only charge you thousands of dollars extra in interest and fees, keeping you in debt for decades.

What Do High Prices Mean for Sellers?

Of course, rising prices are a good thing for sellers! If your home is on the market, expect a nice profit. This is excellent news if you have to buy a new home following the sale of your old one. You’ll need those extra funds to cover the rising costs.

To ensure you’re getting the most you can out of your home, wait for the best offer. If you have the time, take it. Remember, the less desperate individual always has the upper hand in negotiations.

Mortgage Interest Rates Are Still Low

A mortgage interest rate is the fee lenders charge as a percentage of your loan amount. For home buyers, it’s been nice and low.

The average rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 2.2% in January 2021. While they started rising towards the end of 2021 (closer to 2.4%), and they may continue to grow in 2022 slowly, they are expected to stay relatively low.

That said, in December 2022, a 30-year fixed mortgage rate sat at 3.11%. That rate was up to 5.27% in early May, the highest since 2009.

While still considered low compared to other years, the rising mortgage rates of 2022 will create downward pressure on the housing market. The higher rates will price out would-be home buyers, but it also means that some borrowers have lost their mortgage eligibility.

What Does This Mean for Buyers?

Low interest rates help with affordability but don’t let that pressure you into buying a home you aren’t ready for. It’s still a bad idea to purchase a home you can’t afford, even if the interest rates are low.

Remember to stick to a monthly payment limit, down payment amount, and mortgage type, and you’ll be fine.

What Does This Mean for Sellers?

Low interest rates mean buyers will be more motivated to buy your home sooner rather than later. However, if interest rates rise, expect your home to stay on the market longer.

The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties

Find your perfect home this year with the perfect real estate agent! In this market, it’s nice to have a helping hand guide you through the ins and outs of all the various trends that make it difficult to find your next home.

Contact us today by visiting our website at https://masseyteam.bhhsselectstl.com/, or call us at (618) 791-5024 & (618) 791-9298.

Fun Things to Do in St. Louis This Summer

Make the most of these gorgeous summer days. St. Louis has a variety of exciting activities to enjoy with the whole family. Check out our list of things to do in summer for sure-fire ways to have fun right here in the Lou. Plus, with so many free options, you can have a blast without breaking the bank.

Go to Museums and Art Festivals

Conveniently, the museums listed here are in scenic Forest Park. This park spans 1,300 acres and has something for everyone.

The Saint Louis Art Museum hosts a varied collection of original works of art, spanning 5,000 years and 6 continents. Visitors get in for free every day and, on Fridays, the museum has free admission to special exhibitions.

Those looking for the only free nonprofit science museum in the US don’t have to look any further. The Saint Louis Science Center is one the largest in the US and has over 700 interactive experiences throughout 10 galleries, the McDonnell Planetarium, and a four-story OMNIMAX® Theater.

Entry into the Missouri History Museum is also free, and they have a hands-on gallery for kids. This museum looks into the history of St. Louis, from present-day all the way back to 1764.

For the history of America’s westward expansion with an emphasis on St. Louis’ role, check out The Museum at the Gateway Arch. This interactive museum has galleries spanning 1764 to 1965 and talks about the Native Americans, explorers, and pioneers who made America. Entry is free, but to get a birds-eye view of the city from the top of the Arch, a tram ticket is required.

Local art festivals include:

See Theater and Musical Performances

Sit under the stars or inside one of St. Louis’ grand theaters.

The Muny, founded in 1919, is America’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theater. They have 7 world-class musicals each year and welcome more than 350,000 theater-goers over each nine-week season. That’s not all; they also have arts education opportunities for people who want to pursue a hobby or a living in theater.

Additionally, the exquisite venue that is The Fabulous Fox, opened in 1929 and has touring Broadway shows, concerts, and comedians. People can also attend seminars, private parties, weddings, graduations, or proms.

Not long after, Stifel Theatre opened in 1934 and hosts a wide variety of events, from concerts and comedies to theatricals and family shows. Their space allows people to have weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, business meetings, fundraisers, and more.

The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra was formed in 1890 and plays in the beautiful Powell Hall theater. This Grammy Award-winning orchestra is celebrated for its national and international touring activities, and commitment to educational and community outreach efforts.

Local theater and music festivals include:

Enjoy Food and Drinks

Have a taste of what the city offers with these beloved restaurants.

St. Louis landmark restaurant and music club Blueberry Hill is located in the bustling Delmar Loop. Ths bar and grill, known for its famous burgers and classic appetizers, has pop-culture memorabilia on display, live music regularly, and a legendary jukebox.

Pappy’s Smokehouse transformed the barbeque scene in St. Louis. Their pulled pork, brisket, and dry-rubbed ribs are slow-smoked for up to 24 hours over sweet apple or cherry wood, and they have three delicious sauces – Original, Sweet Baby Jane, and their spicy HooDoo Sauce.

Imo’s Pizza, nicknamed The Square Beyond Compare, is the quintessential St. Louis style pizza. The crust is thin and crispy, covered edge-to-edge with toppings and layered in Provel cheese. This popular cheese, a combination of cheddar, swiss, and provolone, dates back to 1947 when it was invented in St. Louis.

Local food and drink festivals include:

Say Hi to the Animals

Take a walk on the wild side at these top destinations for animal encounters.

Visitors of the St. Louis Aquarium, located in Union Station, are in for a splashing good time. The journey beings with the otters, sloths, and lizards that live in freshwater rivers and salt marshes, and moves to the octopus, eels, and jellyfish of the deep, dark ocean.

If you’re looking to walk through a butterfly habitat, the Butterfly House is home to 1,500 of them across 60 tropical species. Watch as they fly freely in an 8,000-square-foot glass conservatory and enjoy 150 tropical plants. The Butterfly House also has indoor insect exhibits, classes, and private events.

The Saint Louis Zoo is one of the few free zoos in the nation and is known for its innovative approaches to animal management, wildlife conservation, research, and education. This is home to over 14,000 animals. Come and see invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds, and mammals.

Grant’s Farm, operated by Anheuser-Busch, Inc., is named after former President Ulysses S. Grant, who founded and farmed a portion of this land. This is a refuge for more than 900 animals, big and small, from around the world. Enter for free and take a tram ride, feed the animals, and see the Budweiser Clydesdales.

Local animal festivals include:

Take the Kids

While you could take kids to any of the above venues, this list puts them at heart.

Kids can jump, dodge, and weave their way through Sky Zone. This indoor space has massive wall-to-wall trampolines, a trampoline dodgeball court, and a pool of huge foam squares made for daring stunts. Kids can dunk like a pro with basketball hoops of different heights that accommodate all sizes. 

Take the adventure outside with RYZE Adventure Park. Their 4-story tower, with 110 obstacles and 2 ziplines, is the ultimate jungle gym experience. Ages 4-7 can take the Little Ninja course and their parents or caregivers can watch or follow along. Visitors also have fun on the ground with their 18-hole mini putt-putt course.

Hundreds of interactive exhibits at The Magic House peak curiosity and spark imagination. Children engage in hands-on educational experiences that align with national and state academic standards. This promotes the all-important skills of creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration.

Find a Home in St. Louis With The Massey Team!

Whether you’re new to the St. Louis area or are looking to move to another part of the city, The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties has you covered! View our listings or call (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 to talk with a member of our team. We’ll help you feel right at home in our community.

7 Spring Cleaning Trends

It’s May, which means we’re well into the spring season. Spring is a time for rebirth. Flowers are blooming, fawns are taking their first steps, and you need to clean your home!

Spring cleaning is a must for everyone. It gives you a chance to purge your home of winter grime and vibes. That means cleaning the floors and changing out your drapes or throw pillows for something light and airy.

But where do you start?

Spring cleaning can seem intimidating, but it really isn’t. Look at this list of trends to help get you in spring cleaning spirit!

Make A Schedule

Think about what areas need the most work. Are there areas that you typically skip that needs some love? You should start at those places.

However, regardless of where you start, it’s paramount that you have a plan in place. Have a list of tasks that take more time and others you can accomplish in five minutes. You can complete a task every day until you’re done.

De-Clutter for Spring

Studies show that the more disorganized your home is, the more stressed out you tend to be! Clutter can raise the stress hormone cortisol, as it signals to your brain that there’s still work that you need to finish.

Because of the pandemic, we’re spending more time at home, which means it’s even more important to keep living and working spaces clear of clutter.

Go through junk drawers, closets, and dressers. Take out everything that doesn’t suit your needs any longer or is inappropriate for the season.

Go Green

Part of the purpose of spring cleaning is to make you feel better. You can’t do that if you’re spraying chemicals and toxins all over the place.

While they may clean your surfaces, some cleaners aren’t the best for you. Exposing yourself to dangerous substances is not worth it! A steam cleaner is an excellent green option for spring cleaning.

You can use a steam cleaner on your microwave, tile, hard floors, kitchen appliances, bathrooms, and outdoor spaces. They’re 100% natural and free of chemicals.

If you don’t own a steam cleaner, white-distilled vinegar, baking soda, and warm water is a natural combination that’s perfect for cleaning.

Work From Top to Bottom

It’s essential to work from room to room. However, where do you start in each room?

Start at the ceiling and work your way down. If you have dust on your ceiling, walls, or ceiling fan, it will fall to the ground. You don’t want to vacuum more than once, so make sure you start from the top and finish at ground level.

Don’t Forget About Your Walls & Windows

You probably don’t think about cleaning your walls and windows during your regularly scheduled cleaning, but they need TLC.

Use a damp towel to wipe down your walls, baseboards, and blinds (remember to start from the top). Remove and wipe down your window screens. For your windows, a steam cleaner and a squeegee can work wonders.

Keep Your Air Pure

If you haven’t recently, seriously consider replacing your furnace and HVAC filters. You can even replace a regular filter with a more robust one with a high MERV rating. This step will help keep you healthier as you welcome all the spring dust, dander, and pollen.

You can also get an air purifier for the different rooms of your home. It can help keep your air clean of allergens, odors, and indoor chemicals. These are especially useful in the bedroom for anyone that suffers from seasonal allergies.

Set A New Tone

Your space may feel dark and heavy after winter. Swap out the darker winter colors and fabrics for something that screams springtime! Add new colorful pillows, light and flowy drapes, and new bed linens. You can even swap out your towels and table linens for something that brightens your home and your day. Just make sure to clean and iron (if needed) everything before putting it out.

The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties

Are you looking for a new home this spring season? The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties is here to help. We can help you find the home of your dreams. Simply visit our website today to look at our listings, or give one of our team members a call at (618)791-5024 or (618)791-9298.