Attention Luxury Realtors: Perseverance Pays Off

Every day, I read an article about the duality in our real estate market and the uncertainty of luxury home sales.  Yes, it’s been true for some time that mid and lower priced homes are selling fast and furiously, while million dollar listings take longer to sell and require more marketing support.  

Just because the market may be slowing, doesn’t mean that we are slowing.  We sell homes every day of the year.  In fact, Janet McAfee sales are up significantly this year.  Perseverance is paying off.  Discipline, consistency and executing proven strategies will deliver results.  If the market gets tough, I’m up for the challenge … are you?

-Janet Horlacher

How to Sell a Historic Home

Categories: Luxury Real Estate Selling Your Home St. Louis Luxury Homes


For some unique luxury buyers and sellers, the history of a house or property plays an important role in their home search. But, finding a real estate agent who knows how to navigate the historic housing market can be equally as important—if not more. Experienced Janet McAfee luxury real estate agent, Kevin Hurley, shares his advice about how best to sell an historic luxury home.


Is there anything luxury sellers should do before deciding to list?

I think the key for anyone selling a home, and especially an historic home, is to make sure the house is in great condition. Luxury buyers are critical buyers and expect a certain level of condition and presentation.


In the end, luxury homes are significantly different from most listings in that you must make a significant time investment to document the heritage, detail amenities and updates, and address lifestyle considerations.


What are luxury buyers looking for in historic homes?

I mostly list historic homes in the Central West End near Forest Park. There, buyers looking at one-hundred-year-old homes or older are generally looking for architectural integrity. They're looking for homes that have been well-maintained, updated to a certain degree and also enjoy a good location.


The West End that has a limited amount of these unique homes which are impossible to replicate. So, it's a very special buyer—one who likes history but enjoys today’s modern amenities.


What kind of updates are luxury buyers looking for in the Central West End?

Kitchens and bathrooms. More specifically, an updated master bath is typically the first thing on the list. But for the most part, they just want a home that’s in good condition because they’re buying these homes for the historic details and often have the resources to customize the updates.


Tell us about a recent luxury sale that you have made. How did it sell?

First of all, you have to have professional photography because that's how a home is first presented to a potential buyer. Then, it’s important to have good marketing materials, brochures, etc., especially because these are very complicated, extensive listings.


Luckily, I've lived in an historic house in the West End. I’m well-aware of both what people's concerns are and what attracts people in the area. It’s important to counsel potential buyers about those considerations.


Is there anything unique about the way homes in your area sell? How do your clients find you?

I've lived in the West End for 40 years.  I have a network of agents who regularly call to ask questions about my listed homes and see if there is anything else coming up. I place print advertising in the West End Word, I promote my listings on social media and I send out postcards of newly-listed and just sold properties. This helps solidify my reputation in an area.


I have former neighbors who refer me to clients with interests in the area. I am lucky because I've been in that specific area for quite some time which helps because I can keep my eye out and reach out to people when I know something’s coming up.



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

Thankful for these 5 Kitchen Luxuries

With Thanksgiving feast fast approaching, which kitchen appliances are you

most thankful for? Here are a few luxuries which would make any cook

happy.

1. Warming Drawer – With oven space at a premium, what better solution

for keeping our favorite recipes deliciously fresh and warm?

2. Wine Refrigerator – This saves me from running down to the basement

every time we need to open a new bottle.

3. Task Lighting – When guests arrive and naturally want to congregate

in the kitchen, I can dim overhead fixtures and pendants while still having

light to work.

4. Glass Washer Drawer – A true convenience eliminating long nights spent

hand washing delicate stemware.

5. Recycle Cabinets – The easiest way to separate waste from recyclables.

What’s on your wish list for best kitchen appliance?

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

-Janet

How To Choose a Luxury Real Estate Agent

Categories: Luxury Real Estate St. Louis Luxury Homes


Before deciding to buy or sell a home, finding the right real estate agent to guide you through the entire process can be the most important first step. Real estate transactions are complex and stressful. A good agent will help. Find out what Janet McAfee luxury real estate agents Julie Lane, Katie Curran and Kevin Hurley have to say about finding the perfect luxury agent for you!


How do buyers and sellers typically find a real estate agent?


KC: Referrals from satisfied clients are my best source of business. In addition to referrals, you need to be active on all marketing channels. Research shows that 95 percent of home buyers begin their search online. Having an online presence and being active on social media is crucial. I also do direct mail, promotion of my listings, and print advertising.  


What is the most important factor to consider when looking for a luxury real estate agent?


KH: You need an agent with experience selling luxury properties and knows today’s luxury market.

They need to have first-hand knowledge of the neighborhoods and the houses and know how to work with luxury sellers on how to price and market their luxury homes. These same factors are important when working with luxury buyers.


The best example is my experience with the Central West End. I have personally sold many of the homes on the private streets four to six times. This gives me a tremendous competitive advantage.


What other attributes are important in a luxury real estate agent?

 

JL: Besides experience, an agent must have strong communication skills, a verifiable record of activity and performance, and a vast social network. I work hard to be accessible to my clients 24/7 through call, text or email. I want to be communicating consistently throughout the home buying and selling process. I publish my sales history, my client profile, my geographic focus and my listing performance on my website. I also am involved with my community. I am in frequent contact with other Realtors as well as donating my time and talents to community organizations.


With that, is there a benefit to choosing Janet McAfee over other agencies?


JL: Definitely. We have a really good social media presence, but we also have a great network. The reason why I've always been with Janet McAfee is that they know everything that's happening and have their finger on the pulse of what's going on in the market. As an agent, you want to be able to give your client that competitive edge, whether they're buying or selling, so it helps to be able to know what's out there and what might be coming so that they don't miss out.


KC: We're definitely a boutique company, and our name is the best in St. Louis. From our brand to our team at Janet McAfee, everyone is a team player and incredibly knowledgeable. Anytime I turn a corner in the office, I can ask someone a question or bounce ideas and get great advice because everyone wants each other to be successful. A lot of times we do in-house deals because someone will say, “Oh my gosh, I have a buyer for that!” and we'll do what's called a ‘one-shot transaction’. That happens a lot in our office, and I love that.


In an office, lots of information is constantly going in and out, and in an area like St. Louis, everyone knows a little something about the market. Whether it’s from word-of-mouth at a country club or being on the board of a charity— we’re always in the know and constantly getting information on what’s going on in the real estate market.



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

Interest in Real Estate Growing Among Affluent Consumers

Interest in Real Estate Growing Among Affluent Consumers

Luxury Portfolio’s newly released white paper Luxury Real Estate: What Matters To Today’s Global Elite reports “the population of affluent consumers continues to grow, as does their interest and emotional relationship with real estate.”

Interest in purchasing luxury real estate remains high for both financial and emotional reasons.  In most cultures, purchasing a home is a barometer of success.  Individuals consider investing in real estate to be a smart financial investment and an important path to creating wealth.   The study reveals affluent buyers seek 1) security and privacy, 2) the ability to grow as a person, 3) having personalized/customized space and 4) a place that facilitates happy memories with family and friends.   

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

 

-Janet Horlacher

Luxury Homes: Hear From an Expert in Kitchen Renovations

Categories: Luxury Real Estate


Luxury kitchen design and amenities can be the true selling points of a home. For deeper insights, we talked with Chuck Schagrin, a luxury kitchen design professional and founder of Amherst Corporation, to take a look at the latest design trends and important elements for kitchens in today’s luxury market.


Can you give us a quick one-minute bio about yourself and what you do?

I’m Chuck Schagrin, and I have an masters in architecture. I don’t practice as an architect, but I apply the design skill from my masters and renovate numerous kitchens and custom projects driven by clients.


How many kitchen renovations do you do in one year?

Many of my kitchen projects are either kitchens for newly-built houses or remodels to existing homes, and I work on about four to six of these custom kitchens per year.


What defines a luxury kitchen?

Luxury is in the eye of the beholder. Typically, it involves high-end appliances and materials such as granites, marbles and even some of the new synthetic quartz materials. Luxury also includes valves, sinks and how the lighting is distributed. For example, there is a new home on Clayton Road with a beautiful luxury kitchen that has custom cabinets handmade by a carpenter and finished with a custom glaze.


How important is hiring a designer for a luxury kitchen?

I’m a firm believer that hiring a designer for a luxury kitchen truly pays off for homeowners, in multiple ways. First, the designer is in a position to take the thoughts and ideas of a client and lead that client to review options and make a final choice. Further, an interior designer or design professional is able to work with other materials and designs in the home and tie those into the kitchen so that it all comes together in a cohesive way. There is a world of choices and opportunities that the homeowner alone could never have access to—so having a designer will help immensely.


Why would someone choose to redo their kitchen?

My work is a mixture. One type that’s not in this mix is someone who wants to update their kitchen in order to sell their house. Instead, a number of my kitchens are in newly-purchased homes/condos. The other type I’ve worked on are with owners who have lived in their houses for 12+ years and want to update their kitchens because their appliances are outdated. Lastly, I do projects in new houses that are still being built.


How important is the layout in a kitchen?

The layout is critically important for several reasons. It needs to be user-friendly—both for someone who does a high-volume of cooking and someone who is a more casual kitchen user. A layout is also important because of the flow of guests and how you want to interact with them while you’re in the kitchen. Finally, it’s important to the design style. You can’t have a kitchen where the layout doesn’t complement what you’re trying to accomplish.


How do you help customers balance what is trending now vs. a more timeless look?

It comes down to the client’s personal preference—but again, a design professional is extremely important to understanding what a client wants and how to accomplish it.


What is the most common issue with kitchens in older homes?

Kitchens in older homes often have more structural restrictions. Whether it be with the lines, plumbing, etc., all of these issues can obviously be addressed, it just comes with more of a price.


What is your favorite part of designing kitchens?

Personally, my favorite part of designing is when a client comes in with a shopping list of ideas for their kitchen, and at the completion of the process, the client says: “That is exactly what I wanted.” Part of this process is giving them the information they need to understand the choices that are being made, then watching them have that ‘aha’ moment and seeing that this is exactly what they wanted.



Are you looking to buy or sell a luxury home? At, Janet McAfee our real estate agents are seasoned experts in the ins and outs of selling a luxury home. From advertising and marketing your home to staging, our luxury clients truly reap the rewards of working with a Janet McAfee agent—and you can, too!






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

Categories: Luxury Real Estate

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

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

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

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

Janet Horlacher

Luxury Listings: Expert Insights Into The St. Louis Market

Categories: St. Louis Luxury Homes

 

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


Take a look!


What has the luxury STL market looked like in 2018?


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


What are luxury buyers looking for in STL?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


How important is physical staging when selling a luxury home?


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

 

How important is social media for luxury real estate?


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


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



Why October is a great month for home buying?

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

-Janet Horlacher

Principal

Janet McAfee Real Estate

3 Reasons Why You Should Buy a Home This Fall

Categories: Seasonal Preparations Tips for Buying a Home

 

 

 


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


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

Choosing the Right Time of Year

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

The Best Time to Buy a House for a Good Price

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

Housing Market Signals

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

 


Some other market signals you may want to consider include:

 

 

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

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

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