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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Home Renovations That Pay Back

Whether you’re putting your home up for sale or planning to live in it for the foreseeable future, you may be considering home renovations. When the time comes to sell, it will be valuable to know the home renovations that pay off and those that don’t.  Also, knowing which home renovations pay back may help you make better decisions on which renovations you choose to make now.

Earlier this year Remodeling Magazine came out with their 2015 COST VS VALUE REPORT. This annual report is highly regarded and referred to throughout the remodeling industry. They’ve put this information online in a format that can be sorted so that you can make best use of the information.

The Cost Vs Value Report compares average cost for 36 popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 102 U.S. markets.
Snapshot of the 2015 Cost Vs Value Report


As the 2015 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report makes clear, large-scale jobs aren’t likely to return sellers their full cost. But there are improvements worth doing in anticipation of an upcoming sale.

In the article 2015 Remodeling Cost vs. Value: Less Is More, Stacey Moncrief of Realtor.org writes, “Simpler, lower-cost projects tend to return greater value.”  

For example, steel door replacement is the least expensive item on remodeling cost vs. value list yet offers the most payback. Other projects expected to top near 100 percent payback include: the midrange garage door replacement, the upscale garage door replacement, the midrange wood window replacement, and the minor kitchen remodel.  

The headline of an article written by Jim Gallagher at StLToday.com sums it up, Remodeling: The payback is in happiness, not home value.

He writes, “In a new study of 36 types of home improvements, only two raised the value of a St. Louis home by as much as the job cost. A mid-range kitchen remodel would just barely pay for itself. So will replacing windows with mid-priced wooden ones. Every other job was a money loser.”

While you need to resist the urge to over-renovate, if you do, you should prepare yourself to not take it personally when you don’t get out of a project what you put into it. Although you put your heart and soul into designing it, your dream master suite addition may fail to add a big boost to your home’s appeal. Ultimately, you should be happy in your home. If you make a major renovation that is highly customized to you, enjoy it. It might just take a little longer to find the perfect buyer who will love those same customizations. 

Want to purchase a home that doesn’t need any renovations? Or do you need help selling a home that could use renovations? Contact The Boehmer Team. Our real estate expertise and resources for contractors and handymen will help.  

Update: The day this blog was published the National Association of Realtors released their own 2015 Remodeling Impact Report. You can click the link to the 49 page report. We found that the data is similar to the Cost Vs. Value Report referred to above but thought we should share this newly available information.

 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Preparing Your Home to Sell in the Winter Real Estate Market


The winter is a great time to sell your St. Louis or St. Charles area home. People do buy homes in the winter; in fact, buyers are more serious and more motivated during this season. Also, your home will have less competition in the marketplace. Even so, there are some things you can do to make your home stand out in winter real estate market.

Prepare for the Cold

When prospective buyers walk into your home in the winter they should feel cozy. Take time now to seal up any cracks or fix any windows that are damaged. Make sure you have a shovel and salt ready to keep walkways cleared of any snow or ice.

Check the Roof

If your roof needs any repairs do so before it is covered with snow and ice. Double check that there aren’t any leaks to repair. Make sure that by the end of the fall the gutters have been cleaned out of any leaves or debris.

Paint

Does any of the paint on the outside of your home need a touch up? What about the inside? You won’t want to paint outside in the cold and you may want to open some windows when you are letting interior paint dry. So painting before deep winter sets in is a good idea.


Clean and Organize

Deep clean your home. When the holidays come around you may be too busy or unable to complete some cleaning tasks, like cleaning out the garage or washing the windows. Make a list of things that need to be cleaned and organized and do the things that must be done before the St. Louis cold makes it unbearable.  You might even consider moving some things into storage (or a friend’s basement) before it gets too cold in order to make your house look and feel even bigger.

Take Advantage of Holiday Décor

Use mums or poinsettias to dress up a porch or foyer or hang a fresh pine wreath on the front door. In the winter you can make use of the season with Christmas lights to make your home for sale more inviting. Nothing feels like home more than a festively decorated house with all the touches of the season. But don’t go overboard, too many decorations and your space will feel cluttered.

Sell My St. Louis or St. Charles Area Home

Are you thinking of selling your St. Louis or St. Charles, Missouri area home this winter? Contact The Boehmer Team for more helpful tips to get you prepared for the winter market today. The Boehmer Team has been awarded St. Louis Post Dispatch highest selling agents and they would love to give a great home selling or buying experience to you.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Staging a Home to Sell


Staging a home for sale is beneficial for both sellers and buyers. According to Realtor.org: 37 percent of Realtors® representing sellers and 32 percent of Realtors® representing buyers believe that buyers most often offer a 1 to 5 percent increase on the value of a staged home. Additionally, 22 percent of Realtors® representing sellers and 16 percent of Realtors® representing buyers said the increase is closer to 6 to 10 percent.

Staging for a great first impression.
Meanwhile Realtors® on the buyer side believe that staging makes an impact in several ways; 81 percent said staging helps buyers visualize the property as a future home, while 46 percent said it makes prospective buyers more willing to walk through a home they saw online.

RESA (The Real Estate Staging Association) provides on-going statistics relating to home staging.  The most recent statistics show that staged properties sell 73% faster than properties that are not staged.
We asked our favorite local St. Louis area stager, Liz Connolly, of INhance IT! Home Staging some questions to help clarify the home staging process for sellers. 

What Homes Benefit From Staging

The Boehmer Team: How do you determine if a home can benefit from staging? 

Liz Connolly: Just about any home will benefit from staging.  The lower the price of the property the more it will benefit from staging.  Staging creates a vision of a lifestyle.  It draws the eye to the big picture minimizing flaws and accentuating the positive aspects of the property.  There are times, however, when the owner is not willing or able to make necessary repairs or there are just too many repairs to be made.  We encourage these sellers to list the home “as is”.  There is no point in staging a home if it is not in great condition.  In fact, we will not stage a vacant property that has not had the necessary repairs.  Staging can do a lot for a property, but can’t hide bad paint colors, dirty carpet, bad smells, etc.

Staging to update a space.

The Home Staging Process

The Boehmer Team: How long is the process of staging a home?

Liz Connolly: Once a client agrees to the staging we get them on the schedule and arrange to preview the home.  We are typically at least 2 weeks out as far as booking the install.  The home preview takes about 15 minutes – we walk through the home taking notes and photos and then go back to the office and create the “design plan”.  The actual staging process takes anywhere from 2-4 hours max.  We bring in a team of 5 professionals to stage the key living areas of the home:  living, dining, kitchen/breakfast, family/hearth, master bedroom & bathrooms.  We provide furnishings, area rugs, artwork, lamps, plants and accessories.  When we are finished the home shows like a display home and is ready for professional photography.


Staging an Occupied Home

The Boehmer Team: How does staging work when the home is occupied?

Restyle by staging for an inviting feel.
Liz Connolly: On an occupied property one of our stylists meets with the homeowner to assess everything that needs to be done prior to marketing the property.  This consultation takes about 2 hours and the seller is provided with a booklet outlining everything (curb through basement) that should be addressed prior to photos.  The stylist can come back and assist the seller with these projects, provide contractor contacts for completing necessary projects, and return to the property to prep the home for photos.


What Stagers Recommend to Home Sellers

The Boehmer Team: If you could recommend anything to a home seller when selling their home, what would you recommend? 

Liz Connolly: The 3 C’s:  Clean – hire a professional to give your home a top to bottom deep cleaning.  Clutter – edit your collections and belongings and pack away any personal collections and items that might distract the buyer.  Color – paint the key living areas (at least) a neutral color.  Something in the beige or gray family. 


Home Staging Style

The Boehmer Team: Does INhance IT! Staging decorate with a specific style?

Liz Connolly: Our staging style is transitional.  This is a style that translates well to almost any property and appeals to the widest range of buyers.  It is clean lined, neutral and elegant.
Staging shows what is possible so buyers don't have to imagine.

The Boehmer Team: How often do you turn your staging inventory to keep it current and in style?

Liz Connolly: We continually purchase new furnishings to the tune of around $400K per year.  As items become worn, dated or damaged they are donated to charity.  We partner with area realtors and organizations to furnish homes for those in need. 


Sell Your Home for the Most Money

When you sell a home with The Boehmer Team, not only do you get a team of real estate professionals, you receive the best help in the area for staging, handyman services or any other home-related services from our tried-and-true list of professionals.  We know the best professionals in the area to help you sell your home for the most money.

We would like to thank Liz Connolly from INhance IT! Staging for her home staging expertise. INhance IT! Staging is a full service staging company offering merchandising services for builder displays, spec homes, condominiums and re-sale properties.  They have staged homes priced from $42K to over $4million throughout the St. Louis & St. Charles County metropolitan areas. INhance IT!’s statistics this year are averaging 9 days from home staging to contract. Learn more about INhance IT! at INhanceITstaging.com.

Thinking of selling your home? Contact The Boehmer Team today.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What to Know When Getting Homeowners Insurance


Part of buying a home in St. Louis or St. Charles areas of Missouri is procuring homeowners insurance. While we recommend that everyone shop around, we turned to our favorite homeowners insurance expert, Craig Phillips, owner of Craig Phillips Agency at American Family Insurance, to get an expert opinion on the process.


Homeowners Insurance Mistakes to Avoid



The Boehmer Team: What is the biggest mistake that homebuyers make when procuring homeowners insurance?


Craig Phillips: More times than not, homebuyers do not take into account the cost of homeowners insurance or whether or not they can even buy homeowners insurance into their thought process when beginning the home buying process.  There are many factors that contribute to insuring their dream home and the cost they will pay can vary widely from one person or from one property to another, which could lead to them not getting the home they love.  They really should contact our agency the moment they consider buying in order to get prequalified per se.



How to Get Homeowners Insurance


The Boehmer Team: What is the best process by which homebuyers should go about procuring homeowners insurance?

Craig Phillips: All homebuyers, whether it is there first or last home purchase, should meet with a local reputable insurance agent in order to discuss the type and amount of protection they will need for their dream home.  Contrary to popular belief, all insurance companies and definitely not all insurance policies are equal.  The first step is to establish a face-to-face relationship with that local agent and go through the necessary steps to determine how much coverage is needed to protect their home, which by the way, isn’t equal to the purchase price of the home.  Coverage is the key.  Don’t let yourself be underinsured.



What to Look At When Getting Homeowners Insurance



The Boehmer Team: What is the main thing (or things) that people should focus on when obtaining homeowners insurance?


Craig Phillips: There is a lot to buying and maintaining insurance for your family.  There are few things that a homebuyer should do in order to protect their dream home the best way.  First, create that face-to-face relationship with a local reputable insurance agency like ours and go meet with them in person.  I know, that is contrary to what the internet world we live in says to do, but personal relationships do matter, especially when it comes down to protecting what may likely be the largest investment you will ever make.  Second, don’t get so hung up on finding the cheapest price that you sacrifice coverage or a relationship.  If you can’t afford the insurance, then you should really be shopping for a less expensive house.  Third, don’t forget to discuss life insurance with your agent and buy an adequate amount of life insurance outside of insurance obtained at work to protect this dream home for your family.  Tragedy can strike at any time to any family, so be prepared and your family will be able to maintain the family home for years to come.



The Craig Phillips Agency



The Boehmer Team: What makes Craig Phillips Agency at American Family Insurance stand out from other homeowners insurance companies?


Craig Phillips: At the Craig Phillips Agency, we believe your insurance is more than just a transaction between you and American Family Insurance.  We believe in providing you with best in class customer service and the peace of mind that you have the necessary financial protection in place to provide for you and your family in the event of a tragedy.  We put the customers’ needs first above anything else and always focus on protecting your family the best way we know how.




The Boehmer Team would like to thank Craig Phillips for his expert opinions on obtaining homeowners insurance in the St. Louis and St. Charles areas of Missouri. It is always good to shop around, but if you would like to contact Craig you can find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/craigphillipsagency or by calling or emailing him at 636-947-4080 or cphilli3@amfam.com. If you are currently looking for a new home, search on our website www.TheBoehmerTeam.com.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Help Kids Fighting Cancer When You List Your Home


The Boehmer Team would like to shine some light on one of their favorite charities, Sunshine Kids. Sunshine Kids is a non-profit organization dedicated to children with cancer. 
 
Established in 1982, they are committed to providing positive group activities and emotional support for young cancer patients. Sunshine Kids provides a variety of programs and events, free of charge, for kids who are receiving cancer treatments in hospitals across North America. These programs provide an environment where kids can have fun, connect to other kids battling cancer and heal.

Our company, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties, provides an excellent opportunity to support the Sunshine kids by participating in the Sunshine Kids Listing Program. When you list your home with The Boehmer Team, we make a donation to Sunshine Kids. Our clients are also welcome to make the donation of their choice if they desire.

In addition to helping Sunshine Kids, the listing program provides marketing opportunities to a home listed with us that make it stand out. This includes the Sunshine Kids logo on our website search results and the Sunshine Kids logo displayed in the Your Next Home Magazine advertising for our listings.

For the past seven years The Boehmer Team has been recognized as the top-contributing agents to the Sunshine Kids for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties. This has helped contribute to Select Properties being recognized as top 10 contributors nationwide to the Sunshine Kids Foundation for the past seven years.

Throughout the year, The Boehmer Team, other Select Properties members, our friends and our clients can participate in many fundraising activities including golf tournaments, auctions, trivia, and listing programs. These programs, among many others, help support The Sunshine Kids.


We would like to thank all those who have listed with us or who have made donations to Sunshine Kids. We encourage those that are thinking of listing their home to list with The Boehmer Team to take part in the Sunshine Kids Listing Program and benefit from the additional marketing features while helping the kids.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Defend Your Home Against Its Worst Enemy: Water


Water is essential for your home’s landscaping, but is also your home’s worst enemy. Water damage can hit at the core strength of your house, eventually causing serious structural damage. As years go by a house's foundation wears down and water can seep into the walls and cause mold or dampness. If your basement has a water problem, or if it hasn't but you intend to finish the basement and you don't want your work ruined, it is well worth the effort to ensure the basement stays dry.

Preventing water damage is a whole lot cheaper than paying for repairs. Here are some ways to ensure that your home is defended from water.

Gutters:

Make sure your gutters are in working condition and not clogged. One downspout should not drain more than 35 feet of gutter. The downspout should drain water at least 3 to 5 feet away from your home’s foundation. Adding an extension on the bottom of gutter downspouts is another way to direct water away from the foundation.

Grade:

The ground should slope away from the foundation of your home at least 6 inches over a distance of 10 feet. You can build up the grade around your home by adding a soil and rock (or sand) mixture. But make sure that you leave at least 6 inches of your foundation exposed for inspection, to get air and for any repairs.

Proper Grade

Flower Bed Design:

Make sure borders on flower beds have openings to allow rainwater to drain away from the house. Are you using wood in your landscaping? Stone or brick options are better for landscaping borders than wood. Damp wood invites termites and carpenter ants; plus, it causes mold and mildew.

Plant Choice:

Azalea Bush
Certain plants, shrubs, trees, and ground covers that grow very slowly will soak up more water than other species. Rhododendrons, azaleas, ornamental holly trees, and certain types of boxwood work best. If you know the foundation of your structure has moisture present, these types of plantings can help you control it naturally.

Landscaping Maintenance:

Trim them back trees, bushes, and shrubs: so there’s at least a body’s distance between the plant and your house, to promote airflow. Also, hard soil or mulch won’t let water drain slowly, so turn soil or mulch near the house yearly.

Drainage:

Install footer drain, French drain or a sump pump and check that it is functioning properly on a regular basis. Another option is to use a rain barrel to collect the surge of water when it rains and then slowly drain the barrel over the next day by having it hooked to a hose leading to a garden or flower bed. Air-conditioning units can also create unwanted water-logged areas. Consider extending your unit's drain pipe to direct extra water away from the foundation

Waterproofing:

Try to waterproof your foundation walls with a product such as Drylok or Xypex if you have minor, intermittent leaks. Drylok is a waterproofer not a water sealer. It expands as it dries to become part of the wall.

Check for Leaks:

Check for dark spots under pipes inside sink cabinets, stains on ceilings, toilets that rock, and of course drips. At least once a year, inspect your roof. Repair missing, loose, and damaged shingles. Repair any cracked caulking and check for leaks around flashing.

Don’t Depend on Insurance:

Did you know that regular insurance doesn’t cover flooding? Doing the above should help keep your home safe from water damage. If you live near any flood prone areas speak with your insurance representative about your options.


The Boehmer Team understands how important your home investment is. Do you have more home repairs and updates needed than you have time and money for? Maybe it is time to look for a new home. Visit www.TheBoehmerTeam.com to find great homes on the market today.


http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/foundations/how-to-prevent-water-damage/

 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Buy Versus Renting a Home

The choice between buying a home and renting is often dependent on the marketplace in which you live as well as your current circumstances. Here is a list of factors that will help you determine what is best for you.

Do you plan on staying very long?

Those who plan on putting down some roots in a location for a while will fare better to buy, as any upfront fees will be spread out over many years. But if you’re not ready to commit to an area, think you might need to move in the near future, are considering a job change, or expect a pay hike or pay cut, renting may be a better choice.

What is the Economy Like?

The price of homes, rents and stocks can impact the outcome of when you decide to sell a home. Unfortunately, these are some of the hardest things to predict. But in general, even in down markets, a home is a good investment if you plan to stay for a while.

What is the Price of Rent?

What is the price of rent each month versus the cost of monthly mortgage payments? If you live in a city where making mortgage payments is less than rent, it is better to buy.  Currently in the St. Louis, MO area it is less expensive to make mortgage payments than to rent.


Taxes

You can deduct mortgage interest as well as property taxes on your home at tax time. The higher your marginal tax rate is, the bigger the deduction. In addition, if you work from home you may be eligible to take deductions home office and a portion of utilities. Renters do not get this privilege.

Maintenance and Decor

If you live in a house, you can decide how to approach maintenance, either doing it yourself or picking your own contractor. Also you have creative control. Paint things how you like and hang as many pictures as you want.

Equity

Renters are paying their landlord’s mortgage and adding equity to their property.  When you buy a home you increase your degree of ownership with every payment. A general rule is that if you intend to stay in your property for at least five to seven years, the costs of purchasing the home are more likely to be offset by accrued equity and increased housing value. Enough equity in a home can be used as capital to make major purchases like funding a second home or your child's education.
                                                                       

Credit Repair

If you have bad credit it can be difficult to obtain a mortgage loan to purchase a home. However renting and making consistent on-time payments will help rebuild your credit.

Find a Home to Buy or Lease

We hope this article helps you make an informed decision on whether renting or buying a home is right for you. Search homes for sale and for lease in the St. Louis and St. Charles, Missouri areas at our website,  www.TheBoehmerTeam.com.  

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Boehmer Team Welcomes Pat Bastunas To Their Award Winning Team


The Boehmer Team, the number one real estate team in St. Charles County and the number three team in the country for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, welcomes REALTOR Pat Bastunas to their team.

Bastunas, a previous Rookie of the Year for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties, will assist The Boehmer Team with residential transactions and client communication for smooth closings.

Top row: Kelly Boehmer, Linda Boehmer, Jacob Gould, Nancy Hitt, Pat Bastunas 
Bottom row: Joan DeSplinter, Sharon Henthorp
“I couldn’t be happier to have Pat join our team,” said Kelly Boehmer. “She is an excellent communicator and has extensive industry knowledge, both are of upmost importance when assisting people with one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives.” 

Linda Boehmer said, “Pat’s abundant industry knowledge and kind professionalism make her a great fit for The Boehmer Team.  It is a privilege and an honor to have someone of Pat’s caliber join our team!”

Bastunas will be joining award winning team founders Linda and Kelly Boehmer along with Jacob Gould, Nancy Hitt, Joan DeSplinter and Sharon Henthorn on The Boehmer Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties St. Charles County Office.

Pat Bastunas, REALTOR
“Being able to give my past and present clients the opportunity to work with some of the top agents in the country is a great honor, said Bastunas. “Having a strong partnership with the Boehmer Team, I look forward to building continued success in real estate as a team in a way that will serve my clients better than ever.”

Like Linda and Kelly Boehmer, Bastunas is a long-time supporter of The Sunshine Kids, a charity that assists children with cancer. Together they will continue their support for this great charity.

Bastunas, originally from Hazelwood, Missouri, currently lives in Lake St. Louis with her husband, Jason, their fourteen-year-old son, Tyler, and dog, Buddy. When not working in real estate you can find Bastunas cheering on Tyler at his select team baseball games or working in the garden.

Learn more about the team at:  http://theboehmerteam.com/about/meet-our-team

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Radon in Missouri Homes

What is radon and how does it affect my home? 


Radon is a chemical element (Rn). It is produced via the natural breakdown of thorium and uranium, their decay product radium, which creates its decay product radon. It is a colorless, odorless and tasteless radioactive gas that is considered a health hazard due to its radioactivity. 
 
Studies have shown a clear link between breathing high concentrations of radon and incidence of lung cancer. Thus, radon is considered a significant contaminant that affects indoor home air quality worldwide. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, radon is the second most frequent cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking.


How do you find out if you have radon in your home?


For Missourians there is a FREE RADON TESTING KIT you can order. Click the following link and fill out the quick form to receive your testing kit in 8-10 business days: http://health.mo.gov/living/environment/radon/testkit.php

What if you find radon in your home?


If you have performed only a single test, the US EPA recommends a follow-up test before fixing your home. Radon levels fluctuate naturally and it is important to know if the initial test was an accurate assessment of your home's average radon level or whether the high levels could have been caused by unusual weather.


What if you discover radon and plan on selling your home?


If you are involved in a real estate transaction, the EPA recommends fixing the house prior to sale if the average of your original and follow-up tests are 4.0 pCi/L or higher.


How to mitigate radon in your home:


  1. Hire a qualified licensed residential radon mitigation contractor.
    You can find a list of qualified licensed residential radon mitigation contractors for Missouri at: http://www.radongas.org/mitigation_template/MO.shtml
  2. Do it yourself:
    To install a DIY radon system requires a variety of skills and some very special knowledge. Yes a radon mitigation system is really quite simple by design, but a poorly installed system could actually make your level worse. Here are a list of books to help you install a home radon mitigation system correctly: http://www.radonattahoe.com/doityourself.htm    


Find more information on radon in Missouri at http://mo-radon.info. This site contains county levels, inspectors, mitigators and more. Or talk to The Boehmer Team about their preferred radon inspectors for your area.