STL Realty Views

News and Views from top producing St Louis REALTORS.


April 16, 2018

Chosing a Listing Agent: Your Most Important Business Decison

finding a listing agent

Your Major Business Decision

Recently we helped a family sell their home and “buy up” into a larger, more expensive home.   Like most transactions these days, the purchase was smooth.   The agent that brought a buyer to our listing was a professional.   They understood the business and led their client through the transaction.   


On the flip side, it was more challenging. 


Once we found the right home at the right price, we acted quickly.   One quick ‘red flag’ was that the agent appeared new.   When making an offer, I research everything I can, including the agent with whom I may be working.  (Poor representation can be a deal killer!)  So we pull up the agents license number (often times an indicator of their experience) and their sales in the MLS, then I have a conversation with the agent.  


In this case, the agent had a license number from 2016.   The MLS showed three sales and no other listings, and in this case, another ‘indicator’ is that the agent was related to the seller.  I called, and in conversation, the agent came off like they had other things they’d rather be doing.   With most experienced or strong agents, that’s not the case. 


The transaction eventually closed, but throughout the entire process, the sellers andhiring listing agent business decision their agent were in reaction mode about everything.   At closing we got a call from the agent asking us to reduce our fee because the seller “just found out” their proceeds from the sale weren’t enough to cover all the expenses.  This should always be front and center during pricing and negotiations.   The inspection discovered a lot of items that are normally discovered during the agents initial walk through of the property.  To top things off, right after the ink was dry on our deal, a similar home nearby went on the market for almost $25,000 more and sold immediately.  When it was all over, I really felt bad for the sellers.   


The choice of representation should never be taken lightly.   Often times home seller’s select their listing agents with non-business related factors.   Things like family ‘obligation’, loyalty to a friend,  or to help a new agent start their career.  Most likely not the same criteria they would use for a heart surgeon!  


The act of “giving” a listing to someone, rather than making a business decision stems from the general public being misinformed about the real estate industry on many different levels.  


Successful agents know how many homes they sell per year, what it takes to sell homes, and what they do to sell homes.  Selling lots of homes matters, because in real estate, really knowing how to sell homes comes from the experience of doing it lots of times in succession, not from classes, being in a busy office, or being in the business a long time.  


In almost every company, the Realtor is not an employee, but is a free agent contractor.   Each Realtor is its own business.  Each Realtor has their own standards on things like getting an education, how many homes it sells, how much money is spent on marketing, how hard they work and how they go about marketing a home.      Because much of the general population is unaware of this, they often times view all Realtors as being essentially the same, and doing the same things to sell homes.   This couldn’t be further from the truth.   To help people understand our business, we developed a list of things we do to market and sell homes.  We talk about it whenever we meet with a seller.  When people read our reviews, the unspoken truth is that we have 6-10 people working full time each week with the common goal of finding a buyer for our listings, and finding homes for our buyers.  Inactive agents or part time agents working other jobs that just so happen to have a real estate license couldn’t compete.   


One time we had a client that didn’t like the news we delivered, so in response, they went to their local Schnucks store and spoke to a cashier that happened to have a real estate license to see if what we were saying was true!   Comparing a real estate team that spent hundreds of hours per week in real estate with someone pushing groceries over a scanner!


We know human nature, and understand when people want to ‘give’ us business.   In our case, we feel we can back up anyone’s decision based on our hard work, determination and experience.   In selling a home, or buying, the important key is to remember that it is a business decision.   Make it accordingly!


Jan. 24, 2018

Help Wanted: Service Providers

Premier Realty Exclusive Service Provider Network

service provider network

Helping clients in hiring the right contractors and other service providers to meet the challenges of preparing, updating, and repairing a home is part of what we do to assist our clients.   This is an important part of our job as a FULL SERVICE REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL.   

The real estate sales process -- whether with buyer's or sellers', demands that RELIABLE service providers can be accessible to resolve problems that come up during a home sale and inspection process, or other types of providers. This is in addition to the main types of services:  lenders, inspectors, home stagers, photographers and title companies. Selling a home can be overwhelming and stressful, so having assistance when you may otherwise not need help can be an unexpected necessity.   

Relocation buyers and sellers are frequently caught up  in this trap.    Ever have to coordinate repairs in your hometown at the same time as shopping for houses across country, or vice versa?   This is where a competent real estate professional can step in to help save the day.   

Having Great Service Providers isn't a Piece of Cake......

Change is the one thing inherent to the job of the full service real estate agent.  Over the years, many service providers have assisted clients in the past.  Some retire, some relocate themselves.   Sometimes contractors just get busy, or even lower their standards for some reason.   We've even had contrators that close up shop and start working for a bigger company.   

There are many things that can happen, so we're ALWAYS LOOKING for great workers!

In looking at our some of our BEST, most reliable contractors and service professionals, the Premier Team has gotten many of these referrals from our clients, then have shared them with so many others.   This is a WIN-WIN situation.   Who wouldn't want to reward GREAT SERVICE by referring someone to a busy realtor?

If you know someone, fill out the form below and we'll be in touch soon to thank you!!!

Dec. 31, 2017

2018 Real Estate Market Predictions

2018 St. Louis Real Estate Market

Media outlets looking for stories usually visit this topic at this time.  What will the housing market be in the NEW YEAR?  Broker's and other experts weigh in and analyze trends, get out their wish lists and let it rip.   

In everything I've read about natural disasters, climate, cost of living and the new tax plan, all I can say is St. Louis has it pretty good.   

Predictions are out there claiming that due to the higher home prices of some markets:

  • migration will increase to areas with more affordable homes and lower cost of living  St. Louis Victory
  • largest general buying group will be millenials St. Louis Victory
    • looking for lower cost housing St. Louis Victory
    • looking for urban, or semi- urban St. Louis Victory
    • looking for lower taxes  St. Louis Victory (despite having a state income tax, Missouri benefits from lower property tax rates than neighboring Illinois).
  • Migration to areas with warmer climates St. Louis Loss
  • Migration away from areas with high insurance costs and likely natural disaster areas St. Louis Victory

So as a rule, St. Louis seems to be in a favorable position into the future.   Obviously there's work to do in Ole St. Lou, but looking closely at the continual efforts and momentum we have into developing St. Louis City, the fact that we still are a World Class City with increasing opportunity, and considering the largest sector of home buyers will be looking for a home type that we happen to have in greater abundance than most other cities, we're looking good.  

Projects like Ballpark Village, Defense Mapping Agency, Choteau Greenway, and of course, the Gateway Arch Grounds are working to continue the face lift on our urban core, as we see positive results from Great Streets Initiatives throughout the City in places like South Grand and the Grove.   

One economist predicted that home price appreciation and rising wages will be set to line up, meaning home price appreciation will slow to a 2-4% stable increase, while the historically low unemployment rates will fuel wage increases.  This economist predicted that this convergence will add to home affordability and inrease home sales in 2018.

All in all, 2017 was a fantastic year in St. Louis real estate, besting an already great year of 2016 in sales volume with an increase of about 2% in units sold for the County and 4% increase in units sold in the City.   Throughout the year, most professionals knew the market would be even better if inventory wasn't so low. 

So here's to an AWESOME 2018.   HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Dec. 12, 2017

What is a Conventional Loan?

Making Sense of the Home Mortgage

One thing the mortgage crisis confirmed for me was that mortgages should be left to mortgage professionals.   Among other problems going on during the early part of the 21st century, there were real estate agents trying to work as the agent and the lender in their transaction.   Stupid!   At the time I didn't like it and the idea still frustrates me.   As a real estate professional I'm constantly asked about loans.   Here's where I tell home buyer's, "To get a complete understanding of loan products available, consult a qualified lender on our preferred lender list, and let me know what you find out."   I go on to explain that mortgage rules can change as often as some people change clothes, and only a skilled mortgage professional will know how to answer these questions.   Having said that, sharing the basics can help.

Conventional loans are non-goverment sponsored loans available from banks. The normal conventional loan is called an 80/20 loan, meaning the buyer puts 20% down, the bank finances the rest.  Nowadays, there are all kinds of options to put less than 20% down using mortgage insurance (PMI or MI).  After the mortgage crisis, it appeared that the only way to get conventional financing was to put 10-20% down.   This made government sponsored loan programs like FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans very popular in those days.  The further we got from the crisis, the more we're seeing conventional loans competing with government loans by offering 5%, 3% and even in some cases 100% financing.   

Typically conventional loans have the best rates and terms.  

The two types of conventional loans are CONFORMING and NON-CONFORMING.   This pertains to the FANNIE MAE guidelines for the secondary mortgage market.   Essentially conforming loans comply with these Fannie Mae Guidelines and the loans can be sold to Fannie Mae on the secondary loan market.   Many other secondary lenders use the same guidelines.  

Non-conforming loans are loans such as JUMBO loans (loans made above the Fannie Mae limit), and loans on Non-Warrantable Condominiums.


Oct. 30, 2017

A Place to Stay

st. Louis real estate

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal's real estate section had, as usual, a real estate critical piece about some NAR data being released.   

The Wall Street Journal was the original biased newspaper, strongly criticizing anything that would compete with the good ole stock market.   

The article discusses how National Association of Realtors numbers indicate a 30 year low with regards to people moving, and that people are just staying put too long.   Instead of switching houses like undergarments, they're just staying too long in one place.  

This provokes lots of thoughts for me, as I work every day in the world of helping people find their dream homes.  I also own rental properties and know that my places aren't the Taj Mahal and that people will eventually move to find themselves something better.  

Here are the top 6 areas where I think the WSJ writers have it wrong with regards to real estate:  

1.  Despite the clowns (lender and real estate data analyst) in the article don't seem to understand that the goal of every Realtor is to find their clients homes WORTH STAYING IN!  Lots of home owners have gotten smart, and realized that it doesn't pay to be running around looking to buy up, unless they really need to move.   

2.  Since NEW CONSTRUCTION is lagging in units delivered since the great recession struck over 10 years ago, many of the new home builders have vanished, or have changed focus to building high value homes which are often times out of reach of the average home buyer looking to move up.

3.  We still talk with home seller's that got stuck before the great recession in areas that may or may not be purely market driven which precludes their ability to buy until their financial situation is resolved.   a.   paying over market for homes in the 2003-2007 years.   and b.   'cash out refinancing' or 'reverse mortgaging' their home far beyond its actual worth due to the unscrupulous practices of the lending and appraisal industry.    Both problems were not market driven, yet their impact in many markets is still felt today, keeping people in thier over leveraged homes.  

4.  Our company has always focused on helping people MAXIMIZE THEIR HOME VALUE, so helping people put tasteful updates and market savvy additions helps them modernize their home, get more use out of it, and add value for when they do choose to sell.

5.  Despite the notion that the authors choose to suggest, there's nothing wrong with the shift we've seen lately where inventory is tightening up.   With all the factors previously mentioned, the fact that home values are rising is a good thing -- indicating the full recovery the housing market has experienced. 

6.  Cost.   The authors don't mention anything at all about the cost to move.   Instead they lament about people just staying put, not doing enough moving to get better jobs.   That may be so, but I've watched people move in years past to get  a better job in a market that costs more and take a loss on thier property to boot.   Crazy!  I'd like to think people are smarter today, and instead choosing where they want to be before chasing a job.  Paying to move and sell the home takes a bitw of 5-10% of the homes value, if not more.   If the home isn't marketed properly, or at the optimal time, it could be even greater.  


All and all, the American homeowner should be commended for this entirely logical and rational trend.   And lastly, if these journalists want insight on the real estate market, they need to find a Realtor!


Jan. 15, 2017

Welcome Medical Residents

Time To ChooseSt. Louis medical residency

Today is the day that Medical residents all over the country are making their selections on which residency programs they would like to attend, in order of preference.   

Having helped many residents in the past in both buying, and eventually selling their homes, we were initially surprised by the high level of organization, level of recruiting, and how decisions are made.   We've worked with many physicians that expected to live in St. Louis, but ended up being "matched" with a program elsewhere, and vice versa.   One client of mine had a house picked out in another city and was ready to make an offer when he found out he was moving to St. Louis.   

Some physicians have family members who are also in some type of residency or fellowship and the whole deal has to work for everyone in order for them to locate here.   

This hear, the official match day is March 17, 2017 and several of the steps begin today.  Between October and January, incoming residents were able to visit programs and invited to interview.  Both the new residents and the residency programs essentially prepare their wish list, and an algorithm performed by the National Matching Program sorts residents out into their respective programs.  What would concern me, if I were applying, is that as of last year, it appears that there is a deficit of approximately 15,000 first year residency positions available, so after going through medical school, some MD's aren't able to become physicians.   YIKES!! 

St. Louis is fortunate to have several residency programs listed below by institution.   Our pages include some of the "just listed" homes in proximity to the location.   

Helping all clients to find the perfect home for them is lots of fun, but especially challenging for residents!   Knowing how far of a drive to the hospital is always a factor, and resale of the home in 3-5 years is something residents consider more than the typical buyer also.   

Medical Residency Relocation Support

Mercy         St. Louis University     St. Lukes      St. Mary's     Washington University / BJC    


Sept. 13, 2016

Top 10 Reasons to Join Keller Williams

Premier Realty Exclusive powered by Keller Williams

Why the Change?

A couple weeks ago, the owners of Premier Realty Exclusive made the business decision to partner with Keller Williams St. Louis, the highest producing real estate office in the St. Louis area, and largest real estate company (by agent count) in the nation.  

Since the change was made public, many people have asked why.  The question makes sense, particularly for someone not understanding our business goals and the challenges we face in the real estate industry as an independent brokerage.

In short, the change just made sense.   

A longer answer is covered by the following Top Ten Reasons To Join Keller Williams Realty

Looking for a career in real estate?   As decade long broker owners, we've traditionally consulted with people, usually assessing their goals and making suggestions based on their needs.   Check in--let's have a coffee and discuss your future!

Posted in The Premier Team
March 7, 2016

Grand I-44 Interchange Open House

Tower Grove exit Grand BlvdResidents of Tower Grove South, Tower Grove East, Shaw, Compton Heights, Botanical Heights and any other south city neighborhood would benefit from the open house TODAY from 4-6:30 at the Carpenter Branch Library at Utah and Grand.


Work will be started this summer, and planning for the changes might be helpful.


While another long construction project is a pain, I think about how badly its needed almost every morning when I take my kids to school.   A little more functional designwork and space will be fantastic! 

Dec. 21, 2015

GREAT NEW MLS Search Features!

Home Searching Tool has updated its search to allow the public superior searching tools on mobile devices and the use of mapping features.  Pick out areas of interest and search block to block unlike never before!  

These features have come about through Premier Realty Exclusive's collaboration with the Realgeeks interactive web resources.  

For more information or assistance, visit the home search page at or contact the Premier Team at (314) 772-4868

July 7, 2015

6 Factors on Insuring a New Home Purchase

                 Insuring a new home purchase properly can involve a lot of factors that a buyer may not be aware of. One important distinction is difference in valuation between the market value and the replacement cost of the home. In newer homes, built after 1990, the replacement cost and the market value can be very close, but in older homes there may be a sizable disparity between the market value and the replacement cost value of the home.

   When purchasing a home insurance policy you should only consider policies that are offering replacement cost protection. The reasoning for this is that when you purchase a market value insurance policy you can inherit certain coverage pitfalls that could create a negative claims situation. Market value home insurance policies have a tendency to be set up on a depreciation schedule. Meaning that an insurance company will assign a certain depreciated value to each year of age for the home. In the event of total or partial loss there is no way to guarantee that a claim will be paid properly and the homeowner’s asset will be protected.

                  Depending on the carrier that has written your market value policy, you may also be subject to certain exclusions of insurance coverage not written into a home insurance policy with a replacement cost valuation. Market value insurance has a tendency to written on a stated perils basis. This means that a loss could only be covered if the policy says that there is coverage for the specific cause of damage, whereas on a replacement valued and covered policy the coverage is written on stated exclusions basis. The distinction being that with a replacement coverage policy, coverage will be in place unless the policy states that coverage will not be awarded. A few good examples of something that might be excluded from a replacement cost policy are earthquake and surface water.

                  There are limitless options available to consumers when it comes to finding an insurance policy for your home. In the same way you would trust your realtor to guide you towards a home that will satisfy your needs. You will also want to find an insurance agent that will educate you on the coverage needed to properly protect your new home purchase.

Kevin Butz is the Operations Manager at Crawford Butz Insurance and is a licensed insurance agent in Missouri.