STL Realty Views

News and Views from top producing St Louis REALTORS.


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.  

March 19, 2015


Resident Physician Heading to St. Louis?

March 20th is the day that many medical residents will find out that they are relocating to St. Louis for one of the many fine medical residency programs in the St. Louis area.   

Having worked with many residents over the years, seeking a home in an unfamiliar area, needing to live within 15 minutes of the hospital but not having any idea about the areas REALLY needs the help of a buyer's agent experienced with serving the needs of medical residents.  This is an extremely stressful process that a specialist in residency relocation can make substantially easier than an average agent.

Unlike most other clients, medical residents usually have a limited time period to find the PERFECT HOME, need someone that knows the real estate market and all communities, and someone who's willing to clear the schedule for a few days to make sure they make the most of their time here in St. Louis.  They also need broker's with encyclopedic knowledge of the banks that offer PHYSICIANS LOANS, and what banks have the best products.  

We've experienced this so much, we've created a special page just for resident physicians and their families as they navigate the St. Louis real estate market.

Medical Resident Home Page

We've had the most experience helping residents find homes near Washington University Medical School / BJC, but also have helped residents at St. Louis University Medical School, Mercy, and St. Lukes.   

Feb. 1, 2015

Don't Try To Time the Market, but......

Time for the Selling Process!

Super Bowl Sunday

As a St. Louis Realtor, lots of questions get thrown my way.  Whether they're from prospective clients, or someone we run into at the bus stop, we're always talking about real estate.

Today we're talking about that #1 Question:   When is the best time to sell your home?

I first heard from stock market analysts that it can be ineffective to try to 'time the market' with stocks.  There are illustrations that establish that by the time people figure out they should be investing, the best growth opportunities pass them by.  That's true in real estate as well.  When the real estate market was at its low point in 2011 -2012, we weren't getting lots of calls from investors, but the ones who did in some cases have already sold and made large profits. 

Timing the market for selling is similar but different.

The main thing to keep in mind is that in a supply / demand economy, selling in the spring time may be a time when competition increases and the balance between listings and buyers shifts into a bit of a buyer's market.  Even if the balance still good, often times the spring market brings home seller's with a more favorable equity position that can price their homes for less and generate a quick sale, undercutting their neighbors that owe more.

Another problem, with real estate sales being highly influenced by weather, the big time to sell can happen during warm spells in January like last week.  We have been writing and receiving lots of offers lately, way before people anticipate.

Cut to the Chase.......

So with all that said, I have my work cut out for me today, because I tell people all year round, if they want to try to time for the spring market, call your Realtor (Preferably one at Premier Realty Exclusive) on Super Bowl Sunday to plan for an early spring launch.

Since we hire the best real estate photographer in the business and there's lots of staging, painting and work that can be done to bring TOP DOLLAR on your home sale, a month may be needed to get things together.  

Get your home value here