St Louis Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

April 25, 2024

Exploring Multi-Generational Living: Is It the Right Choice for You?

Is a Multi-Generational Home Right for You?

Hey there! Donna from the Donacy Realty team, your friendly neighborhood Senior Real Estate Specialist, here to chat about something that’s been on a lot of folks' minds lately: multi-generational living. Ever considered sharing a home with your grandparents, parents, or other loved ones? Well, you’re not alone. Let's dive into why more and more people are hopping on this trend and see if it might be the perfect fit for you too.

Why People Are Choosing Multi-Generational Living According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there are a few standout reasons why buyers are leaning towards multi-generational homes these days. And two biggies are all about family.

A whopping 27% of buyers are opting for multi-generational homes to make caring for their aging parents a whole lot easier. Plus, another 19% are in it for the quality time. After all, who wouldn't want to be closer to the ones they love? If your parents are hoping to age in place with a little extra support, a multi-gen setup could be just the ticket.

But it’s not just about love and care—it’s about dollars and cents too. About 22% of buyers are attracted to multi-gen homes for the money-saving perks, and 11% are drawn in by the potential for pooling incomes to afford a bigger, better space.

Pooling resources like mortgage payments and utility bills can seriously lighten the financial load, especially for first-time buyers navigating today's market.

As Axios puts it:

“Financial concerns and caregiving needs are two of the major reasons people live with their parents (and parents’ parents).”

How an Agent Can Make Finding Your Dream Home a Breeze Finding the perfect multi-generational home is like solving a puzzle with extra pieces—tricky but totally doable with the right guidance. That’s where your trusty real estate agent comes in.

Ready to Dive into Multi-Generational Living? Whether you’re looking to save some cash or create a cozy nest for your loved ones, a multi-generational home might just be the answer you’ve been searching for. Want to chat more about it? Let’s connect and explore your options together!

Posted in Buying a Home, SRES
March 21, 2024

Understanding How Proposed Changes in Real Estate Commissions Will Actually Impact You as a Buyer or Seller

You’ve probably heard the news that there are changes coming in terms of how real estate commissions are paid.

This might sound exciting and like a potential game-changer for you as a home seller or buyer, with headlines proclaiming things like:

  • “Real estate commissions are being slashed!”
  • “Selling your house will now be less expensive!”
  • “No more paying 6% to real estate agents!”

But you’re also probably not sure exactly what it all means, how it will work, or how you’ll benefit from the changes.

Unfortunately, even if you ask the most informed agents on the planet, you probably aren’t going to get many answers. It isn’t because agents don’t want to answer your questions; it’s because they don’t even know exactly how the changes are going to work.

The settlement happened seemingly overnight. There was no advance warning or discussion with agents. They found out by reading a bunch of headlines you probably saw at the same time they did.

On top of that, most of the headlines are misleading, because nobody knows exactly how things are going to play out. Any claims that the media makes that commissions will be cut in half, or any specific number of dollars will be saved by consumers, remains to be seen. The changes might reduce commissions. On the other hand, they could increase them. As with many things the government or court system touches, there’s always the possibility that it could create more issues than it solves.

But, for the time being, as much as you might want or expect your local agent to be able to give you specifics, please understand that they can’t. For starters, it’s a proposed settlement, not yet accepted by the courts, and if it’s approved, the changes won’t start until July.

Here’s What Matters to Buyers and Sellers in a Nutshell

Unless you’re in the business, you probably have no desire to read through all of the court documents or proposed settlement. You just want to know what changes will possibly impact you. So here’s an excerpt from a National Association of REALTORS® press release, highlighting the changes that will most likely affect you:

“In addition to the financial payment, NAR has agreed to put in place a new MLS rule prohibiting offers of broker compensation on the MLS. This would mean that offers of broker compensation could not be communicated via the MLS, but they could continue to be an option consumers can pursue off-MLS through negotiation and consultation with real estate professionals. Offers of compensation help make professional representation more accessible, decrease costs for home buyers to secure these services, increase fair housing opportunities, and increase the potential buyer pool for sellers. They are also consistent with the real estate laws in the many states that expressly authorize them.

Further, NAR has agreed to enact a new rule that would require MLS participants working with buyers to enter into written agreements with their buyers. NAR continues, as it has done for years, to encourage its members to use buyer brokerage agreements that help consumers understand exactly what services and value will be provided, and for how much. These changes will go into effect in mid-July 2024.”

Again, unless you’re in the business, that may not even be all that clear of an explanation. So to put it in simpler terms:

  • Sellers and their agents won’t be allowed to offer a commission to buyers’ agents within their listing.
  • However, that doesn’t mean that a seller isn’t allowed to pay buyers’ agents a commission. It just can’t be published in the listing.
  • And buyers will now be required to sign a written agreement with an agent in order to work with them, which will likely require them to agree to a certain amount of compensation. That doesn’t necessarily mean the compensation has to be paid out of the buyers’ pocket; it could be an agreed upon amount that will be negotiated into the purchase price paid for through the proceeds of the sale.

Basically, it allows sellers to choose to not offer or agree to pay a commission to buyers’ agents when they list their house for sale, and allows buyers to choose to not work with a buyers’ agent when they buy, in hopes of saving money. But before you do that, there are some things you should keep in mind.

Here Are Some Things to Keep in Mind if You’re Selling a House…

  • It doesn’t mean that you can’t offer a commission to buyers’ agents.
  • Although you can’t publish how much you’re willing to offer or agree to on your listing, in most cases, it will still benefit sellers to offer and be willing to offer commissions to buyers’ agents in order to get the most exposure for their home, and ultimately the best offers possible.
  • There’s a good chance that buyer agent commissions will likely still be paid through the proceeds of the sale, as they have been for many years.
  • If you’re selling to a buyer who doesn’t have an agent representing them, they’ll likely expect you to drop your price accordingly since you’re not paying another agent. In other words, if your house was worth $300,000, and buyers perceive that a buyers’ agent commission would have been 3% — even though it rarely was in reality… but that’s what the public and media have often perceived it to be — then the buyer will want a $9,000 reduction on your price below what they already want to negotiate as the fair market value.
  • It could cause more risk and lawsuits that may directly involve you and your property. Dual agency, which is when an agent represents both the buyer and the seller, is one of the leading causes of lawsuits in the industry. This new way of doing business could create a lot more situations where consumers don’t have their own independent representation, which could lead to either the buyer or seller feeling like their interests weren’t entirely represented.

Here Are Some Things to Keep in Mind if You’re Buying a House…

  • The way buyers’ agents have been paid is a result of originally trying to protect buyers decades ago. Years ago buyers didn’t have an agent dedicated to representing their interests, and were often unaware that the seller’s agent didn’t actually represent their interests as well. So rules and laws were passed to change that, and listing agents were compelled to offer buyers agents a percentage of the commission if they represented a buyer on a house they were listing. This gave buyers more choice in who represented them, and the ability to compensate their agent without having to pay out of pocket. So, for many buyers, this isn’t that great of a change for you unless you cherish the idea of representing yourself and figuring out how to do everything that needs to get done, or just trusting that the seller’s agent will be able to truly represent your best interests as well as the seller.
  • You will now have to choose a buyer’s agent and sign an agreement with them. This has always been an option, and it could be argued that it should always have been required, but most buyers’ agents didn’t want to seem too pushy or aggressive, so they never asked for one. Now you’ll need to sign a contract to work with them.
  • Don’t expect agents to be willing or able to work for a much lower commission than they’ve been working for in the past. According to recent data from the National Association of REALTORS®, the average agent earns between $44,951 and $58,528. And they work long and hard to even earn that much. There is rarely a day off, let alone a vacation, and they easily work more than 40 hours per week. Will you be able to find an agent who will work for lower rates? Perhaps. But as is the case in any industry, sometimes going with the lowest cost option ends up costing you more in the end.
  • While you may expect sellers to drop their price because they don’t have to pay a buyers’ agent, don’t be surprised if they dig in their heels and expect to get as much or more than similar houses have recently sold for. They will still be basing the market value of their house off of data that had buyer agent commissions factored in.
  • If you go it alone, go in knowing that finding the right house, understanding market values, negotiating the best deals, and handling everything involved throughout the process from contract to closing isn’t as easy as it may sound. There is more to buying a house than just finding it online, making an offer, and then going to a closing. You will have to do the work your agent would have done, and know what needs to be done in the first place. The sellers’ agent won’t be doing the work of the non-existent buyers’ agent.

While it’s impossible to predict exactly how everything will play out, those are a few things to keep in mind whether you’re buying or selling.

The best thing to do if you’re curious or concerned about the coming changes is to reach out to your local agent and ask them for their perspective, insights, advice, and to keep you in the loop as the changes get finalized.

The Takeaway:

While the headlines about changing real estate commission structures might sound exciting and like a potential game-changer for you as a home seller or buyer, they are misleading, because nobody knows exactly how things are going to play out. While it’s true that commissions may shift, the details remain uncertain.

If the proposed settlement is accepted by the courts, sellers won’t be able to advertise agent commissions, however they will still be allowed to offer them, just not within their listing. In many cases this will still benefit the seller to do so in order to get the most exposure for their house, and sell it for the most money possible.

Buyers will be given the option to not work with a buyers agent, however that could come with some unexpected downsides and difficulties, and may not produce the savings they anticipate. Fortunately, you will still be able to hire your own representation, and have an agent looking out for your interests and helping you through the process.

Sept. 2, 2023

Economic Insights

August/September 2023 Economic Insights

June 1, 2023

Ignoring Problems Around Your Home Can Impact Your Insurance Coverage

Do you have loose or missing shingles on your roof? Are your gutters pulling away from the house, leading to water pooling at your foundation? Are annoying leaks in your kitchen or bathroom becoming a daily occurrence? Or have you noticed a bit of mold on your bathroom ceiling due to those relaxing, steamy showers?

Ceiling issue

If any of these issues or others are lingering in your home, you're not alone. Many homeowners find themselves living with these problems, promising to address them eventually. There are various reasons for this procrastination:

  1. Lack of Time: Life can be hectic, leaving little time for home repairs.
  2. Lack of Skills: Not everyone has the ability to fix things on their own.
  3. Financial Constraints: Home repairs can be costly, and some may not have the funds available.
  4. Contractor Challenges: Finding a responsive contractor willing to take on smaller jobs can be challenging.
  5. Prioritization: Some homeowners prefer to invest in projects that bring immediate satisfaction, like kitchen or bathroom renovations, rather than less exciting maintenance.

However, ignoring these smaller issues can lead to bigger problems than you might anticipate.

Insurance Covers the Unexpected… Not Neglect According to Simply Insurance, over 95% of U.S. homeowners have homeowner's insurance. While it's a smart move to protect against large losses, it's also typically required for those with mortgages.

You might think that since you have insurance, delaying repairs until they cause more significant damage could work in your favor. You believe you can file an insurance claim and have the work paid for that way.

However, this strategy might backfire. Delaying repairs can put your homeowner's insurance policy at risk. Insurance companies review several factors when investigating claims, including whether policy conditions were followed. Beth Riczko, president of Nationwide's P&C Personal Lines, warns:

"As a homeowner, it's important to protect your property from further damage when there is a known issue. When a claim is filed, there are many factors reviewed during the investigation that may impact whether the claim is covered, including if the insured followed policy conditions. For example, when shingles are damaged on a roof and aren't repaired, causing interior damage, there could be coverage impacts."

In other words, your insurance may not only refuse to cover the roof shingles you ignored but also the interior damage caused by the delay. They might even demand immediate fixes or threaten to cancel your coverage now that they're aware of the issue.

So, if you spot issues in your home that your insurance company could reasonably expect you to have noticed and ignored, take care of them before they escalate. Here are some tips on tackling these issues:

  1. DIY: If you're handy, allocate some time to fix the problem as soon as you're aware of it.
  2. Learn: If you're not handy, consider learning through online tutorials and how-to videos.
  3. Hire a Contractor: Find a trustworthy contractor or handyman in your area through recommendations from friends or local forums.
  4. Consult Your Realtor: Reach out to your favorite real estate agent for recommendations and insights on adding value to your home during repairs.

The Takeaway: Don't ignore minor issues in your home; address them promptly. Otherwise, your homeowner's insurance may not cover more significant damage resulting from neglecting these smaller problems over time.

Posted in Articles
Sept. 6, 2022

Buying a home vs Renting

Buying a Home May Make More Financial Sense Than Renting One

Buying a Home May Make More Financial Sense Than Renting One | MyKCM

If rising home prices leave you wondering if it makes more sense to rent or buy a home in today’s housing market, consider this. It’s not just home prices that have risen in recent years – rental prices have skyrocketed as well. As a recent article from realtor.com says:

“The median rent across the 50 largest US metropolitan areas reached $1,876 in June, a new record level for Realtor.com data for the 16th consecutive month.”

That means rising prices will likely impact your housing plans either way. But there are a few key differences that could make buying a home a more worthwhile option for you.

If You Need More Space, Buying a Home May Be More Affordable

What you may not realize is that, according to the latest data from realtor.com and the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it may actually be more affordable to buy than rent depending on how many bedrooms you need. The graph below uses the median rental payment and median mortgage payment across the country to show why.

Buying a Home May Make More Financial Sense Than Renting One | MyKCM

As the graph conveys, if you need two or more bedrooms, it may actually be more affordable to buy a home even as prices rise. While this doesn’t take into consideration the interest deduction or other financial advantages that come with owning a home, it does help paint the picture that it may be more affordable to buy then rent for that unit size based on nationwide averages. So, if one of the factors motivating you to move is a desire for more space, this could be the added encouragement you need to consider homeownership.

Homeownership Also Provides Stability and a Chance To Grow Your Wealth

In addition to being more affordable depending on how many bedrooms you need, buying has two other key benefits: payment stability and equity.

When you buy a home, you lock in your monthly payment with your fixed-rate mortgage. And that’s especially important in today’s inflationary economy. With inflation, prices rise across the board for things like gas, groceries, and more. Locking in your housing payment, which is likely your largest monthly expense, can provide greater long-term stability and help shield you from those rising expenses moving forward. Renting doesn’t provide that same predictability. A recent article from CNET explains it like this:

“...if you buy a house and secure a fixed-rate mortgage, that means that no matter how much prices or interest rates go up, your fixed payment will stay the same every month. That's an advantage over renting since there's a good chance your landlord will raise your rent to counter inflationary pressures.” 

Not to mention, when you buy, you have the chance to build equity, which in turn grows your net worth. It works like this. As you pay down your home loan over time and as home values continue to appreciate, so does your equity. And that equity can make it easier to fuel a move into a future home if you decide you need a bigger home later on. Again, the CNET article mentioned above helps explain:

Homeownership is still considered one of the most reliable ways to build wealth. When you make monthly mortgage payments, you're building equity in your home that you can tap into later on. When you rent, you aren't investing in your financial future the same way you are when you're paying off a mortgage.”

Bottom Line

If you’re trying to decide whether to keep renting or buy a home, let’s connect to explore your options. With home equity and a shield against inflation on the line, it may make more sense to buy a home if you’re able to.

Posted in Buying a Home
Sept. 2, 2022

Importance of Hiring a Professional Realtor

If You’re Selling Your House This Summer, Hiring a Pro Is Critical

If You’re Selling Your House This Summer, Hiring a Pro Is Critical | MyKCM

It can be tempting, especially with how hot the housing market has been over the past two years, to consider selling your home on your own. But today’s market is at a turning point, making it more essential than ever to work with a real estate professional.

Not only will a trusted real estate advisor keep you updated and help you make the best decisions based on current market trends, but they’re also experts in managing the many aspects of selling your house.

Here are five key reasons why working with a real estate professional makes sense today.

1. A Professional Follows the Latest Market Trends

With higher mortgage rates, rising home prices, and a growing number of homes for sale, today’s housing market is showing signs of a shift back toward more pre-pandemic levels. When conditions change, following the trends and staying on top of new information is crucial when you sell.

That makes working with an expert real estate advisor critical today. They know your local area and follow national trends too. More importantly, they’ll know what this data means for you, and as the market shifts, they’ll be able to help you navigate it and make your best decision.

2. A Professional Helps Maximize Your Pool of Buyers

Your agent’s role in bringing in buyers is important. Real estate professionals have a large variety of tools at their disposal, such as social media followers, agency resources, and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to ensure your house is viewed by the most buyers. Investopedia explains why it’s risky to sell on your own without the network an agent provides:

“You don’t have relationships with clients, other agents, or a real estate agency to bring the largest pool of potential buyers to your home. A smaller pool of potential buyers means less demand for your property, which can translate into waiting longer to sell your home and possibly not getting as much money as your house is worth.”

3. A Professional Understands the Fine Print

Today, more disclosures and regulations are mandatory when selling a house. That means the number of legal documents you’ll need to juggle is growing. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains it best, saying:

“Selling a home typically requires a variety of forms, reports, disclosures, and other legal and financial documents. . . . Also, there’s a lot of jargon involved in a real estate transaction; you want to work with a professional who can speak the language.”

A real estate professional knows exactly what needs to happen, what all the paperwork means, and how to work through it efficiently. They’ll help you review the documents and avoid any costly missteps that could occur if you try to handle them on your own.

4. A Professional Is a Trained Negotiator

If you sell without a professional, you’ll also be solely responsible for all the negotiations. That means you’ll have to coordinate with:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who will use their expertise to advocate for the buyer
  • The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find concerns with the house
  • The appraiser, who assesses the property’s value to protect the lender

Instead of going toe-to-toe with all these parties alone, lean on an expert. They’ll know what levers to pull, how to address everyone’s concerns, and when you may want to get a second opinion.

5. A Professional Knows How To Set the Right Price for Your House

If you sell your house on your own, you may over or undershoot your asking price. That could mean you’ll leave money on the table because you priced it too low or your house will sit on the market because you priced it too high. Pricing a house requires expertise. NAR explains it like this:

“A great real estate agent will look at your home with an unbiased eye, providing you with the information you need to enhance marketability and maximize price.”

Real estate professionals know the ins and outs of how to price your house accurately and competitively. To do so, they compare your house to recently sold homes in your area and factor in the current condition of your home. These steps are key to making sure it’s set to move quickly while still getting you the highest possible final sale price.

Bottom Line

Whether it’s following local and national trends and guiding you through a shifting market or pricing your house right, a real estate agent has essential insights you'll want to rely on throughout the transaction. Don’t go at it alone. If you plan to sell, let’s connect so you have an expert on your side.

Posted in Market Updates, Sellers
May 6, 2020

Town and Style Highlight

I recently had the opportunity to be featured in Town and Style Magazine and wanted to share with you all the kind words they had to say!

'  “Each interaction with someone, however small, can make a difference,” says RedKey Realty Leaders agent Donna Calamia. It’s a business philosophy she carries over from her 16 years as owner of Persimmon Woods Golf Club, one of the most successful private golf courses in St. Louis, and the only one with a female majority owner.

Specializing in luxury listings, Calamia treats all of her real estate clients as if they are members of a private club. “In that industry, members’ customer service expectations are very high,” Calamia says. “I brought the same mindset to the real estate realm.” It’s a practice that has led her to be ranked in the top 5% of all St. Louis metro realtors, with more than $8 million in sales last year from happy client referrals.

Calamia got her start in the world of real estate in 2014 by rehabbing houses. “It was something I always wanted to do, and I just jumped in and bought my first house and figured it out as I went,” she says. She’s since rehabbed 16 homes, getting her real estate license along the way. “As soon as I did, someone asked me to help them sell their home, and that started a fire in me to focus on real estate,” Calamia says.

She made it her full-time job and hasn’t looked back. Joining the RedKey team was a no-brainer once Calamia met owner Jill Butler and learned the company’s motto of ‘Love, Service and Fun,’ which, she says, aligns perfectly with her own life philosophy. As a business owner herself, she also appreciates being part of another woman-led company.

“Everyone is into helping people achieve their life goals outside of the business,” she says of staff at the boutique agency. “It’s about building relationships, not selling houses.” Giving back to the community she serves is also a key part of Calamia’s business. She donates 10 percent of her real estate income to local charities, predominantly to the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis, of which she serves on the board. One of her two daughters has Down syndrome, so it’s a cause that is near and dear to her heart.

Calamia’s favorite part of the job? “My clients,” she says. “I love working with all of my clients; each one brings a unique experience. Handing a first-time buyer their keys is just as exciting as a SOLD sign in the yard of a $2 million home.” '

 

If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell, reach out today!
(314) 368-0279    donna@rrpstl.com

 

Posted in Articles
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

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Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

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You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates