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Real Estate Guide in Saint Louis Missouri

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Back to School Tax Free Weekend Friday Saturday and Sunday

August 7th, 2009 · Uncategorized

This weekend, the first weekend in August, Missouri celebrates a back to school sales tax holiday.  Items that qualify are

The sales tax exemption is limited to:

Clothing – any article having a taxable value of $100 or less

School supplies – not to exceed $50 per purchase

Computer software – taxable value of $350 or less

Personal computers – not to exceed $3,500

Computer peripheral devices – not to exceed $3,500

In cities where the local municipality is holding a sales tax holiday in conjunction with the state program, the savings can be significant.  However, individual cities can elect not to participate. Either way, you can be assured of a savings of 4.225% which is the states portion of the sales tax and is available throughout the state of Missouri.

See for the actual details and a listing of participating municipalitites.

Now, get out there an pick up the supplies you need, every penny helps, – a penny saved is a penny earned.

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$8000 Tax Credit Program Coming to An End.

August 3rd, 2009 · Uncategorized

As of December 1st 2009, this program is history. If you are thinking about buying a home, get off your tail feathers and contact your Lender or Realtor today to see where you really stand. The loan needs to be closed by the end of November.

I personally would like to see this program extended. It has had a very positive impact on the real estate market in Missouri and we are seeing that trickle up to the second home market. One unique item in this local market that is not available in every state, is a program within Missouri that allows the home buyer to take this credit now and apply it toward the downpayment. This has been crucial as the down payment funds are often not available to the average first time homebuyer. We also have MHDC money that can be used in conjunction with the tax credit.

US News reported that Senator Isakson, a Republican from Georgia, introduced legislation to bump this up to 15k next year and it may be available to everyone purchasing a home. I have no idea if this bill will pass, but,I think it has a benefit. One thing I’m still debating in my own mind, is, are we switching from one system that did not require the homeowner to have a real vested interest in their property, to another system that does the same thing? We are again skipping the saved up downpayment, and we are again falsely inflating the purchasing power of the buyer. That is a bit scary. What about a cash for house junker program. Demolish your old energy in-efficient home and build or move in to a more modern structure and receive a tax credit. This takes out some of the old outdated supply.

If you are in the Saint Louis market and you are looking for real estate assistance, call William Frost at 314-620-6822.

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How to find a Home Inspector

July 17th, 2009 · Uncategorized

One way to find a home inspector is by looking at the various home inspection organization websites. Here is a list of some of the most popular home inspection organizations. These organizations serve as badges of credibility, host training programs, and provide informational resources to the public as well as their members.

American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

Housing Inspection Foundation (HIF)

National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers (NABIE)

National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI)

National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. (NAHI)

National Institute of Building Inspectors (NIBI)

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Housing statistics by school district for June 2009

July 5th, 2009 · Uncategorized

Area # of listings Days on Market Average Selling Price
Downtown 277 214 $226,797
Central East 873 184 $165,692
South 1623 137 $154,049
Central West 688 142 $383,793
North 522 187 $88,922
Jennings 179 139 $59,941
Riverview Gardens 379 131 $76,550
Hazelwood East 336 171 $112,245
Hazelwood Central 576 144 $174,731
Hazelwood West 385 154 $143,509
Ferguson-Florissant 3 39 $161,567
McCluer 305 125 $88,961
McCluer North 383 139 $104,952
McCluer South 71 145 $65,811
Pattonville 364 179 $182,378
Ritenour 417 117 $92,442
Normandy 270 138 $93,109
Wellston 14 235 $66,186
University City 347 113 $228,233
Ladue 410 196 $916,277
Parkway North 336 123 $297,238
Parkway Central 369 176 $447,505
Parkway West 347 145 $662,071
Parkway South 348 146 $297,812
Valley Park 108 137 $169,527
Kirkwood 534 136 $382,857
Brentwood 124 103 $226,781
Clayton 336 194 $700,204
Maplewood-Rchmnd Hts 145 139 $206,555
Webster Groves 357 119 $312,664
Affton 223 126 $194,845
Bayless 103 119 $142,602
Hancock Place 101 125 $92,861
Lindbergh 445 154 $348,569
Mehlville 558 178 $220,919
Oakville 321 236 $265,977
Eureka 537 208 $337,164
Lafayette 506 188 $563,626
Marquette 547 160 $440,542
Rockwood Summit 185 163 $350,458

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Housing Statistics by County

July 5th, 2009 · Uncategorized

St Louis City, number of listings 3965, Days on Market 201, average listing price $212,672.13

St Louis County, number of listings 10941, Days on Market  245, average listing price  $550,383.88

St Charles County, number of listings 4911, Days on Market 267, average listing price $506,425.38

Jefferson County, number of listings 3347, Days on Market  296, average listing price $337,967.25

Franklin County, number of listings 2501, Days on Market 310, average listing price $295,281.63

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Seven Questions for Interviewing Real Estate Agents

July 4th, 2009 · Uncategorized

1. What are your company’s resources, support staff and network affiliation?

2. What is your company’s history and track record in helping buyers? (ex: How many buyers did your company serve last year?)

3. What checklists and systems does the agent have to help you, the buyer, stay on track?

4. Does the agent have information to help you find the best lender, including the “Home Loan Application Checklist” and “14 General Questions To Ask All Lenders”.

5. Is the agent offering you a choice between customer and client level service?

6. Is the agent offering traditional level service only or do they have an upgraded home buying system?

7. Does your agent appear trustworthy, caring and committed to helping you reach your goals?

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Smart Decision Steps When Looking to Buy a Home

July 4th, 2009 · Uncategorized

Step 1. Look at the pros and cons of renting vs. buying to decide if there are enough benefits for your individual desires to buy. Look at your goals, timetables and desired lifestyle.

Step 2. Select a professional real estate agent to help you with information, knowledge and a road map through the maze.

Step 3. Have your agent do an in-depth “needs analysis” for you. By specifically writing down your wants, needs, goals, timetable, etc., so that you and your real estate agent will focused down the same path.

Step 4. Get financially pre-qualified and/or pre-approved. This will help you save time, energy, effort and money in the home buying process.

Step 5. Look at your marketplace objectively. View properties and analyze data with an open, but critical mind. Your agent should be a big help in keeping you on track.

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Sunday July 5th Open House Kirkwood / Webster Groves

July 3rd, 2009 · Uncategorized

Homes that will be open for display Sunday July 5th

1045 Glenbrook Ave Glendale 63122 $219,900 Sunday 1-3:00PM

12001 Berkley Manor Dr Des Peres 63131 $445,000 Sun 2:00-4:00

550 Twin Fawn  Frontenac 63131 $1,849,000 Sunday 1-3

408 Larkhill Ct Webster Groves 63119 $249,900   Sunday 1-3pm

7408 Lansdowne Ave Shrewsbury 63119 $259,900 Sunday 2-4

453 Jackson Rd Webster Groves 63119 $404,900 Sunday 1-3

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Student Loans – Income based Repayment Plans

July 2nd, 2009 · Uncategorized

Income Based Repayment (IBR) is a new repayment plan for the major types of federal loans made to students. Under IBR, your required monthly payment is capped at an amount that is intended to be affordable based on your income and family size.

Any Stafford, Grad PLUS or Consolidation loan made under either the Direct Loan or FFEL program is eligible for repayment under IBR, EXCEPT loans that are currently in default, parent PLUS Loans, or consolidation loans that repaid a parent PLUS Loan. The loans can be new or old, and for any type of education (undergraduate, graduate, professional, job training).

You may enter IBR if your federal student loan debt is high in comparison to your income and family size. While your lender will perform the calculation to determine your eligibility, you can use the Departments IBR calculator to estimate if you would likely benefit from the IBR plan. It looks at your income, family size, and state of residence to calculate your IBR monthly payment amount. If that amount is lower than the monthly payment under a 10-year standard repayment plan, then you are eligible to repay your loans under IBR.

The monthly payment amount is adjusted annually, based on changes in annual income and family size.

Most borrowers will have a monthly payment under income-based repayment that is less than 10% of gross income. This includes single borrowers with less than $50,000 in income and married borrowers with two children who have less than $100,000 in income.

More information can be found at

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Mortgage Debt Forgiveness

July 2nd, 2009 · Uncategorized

If your mortgage debt is partly or entirely forgiven during tax years 2007 – 2012, you may be able to claim special tax relief and exclude the debt forgiveness income.

Normally, debt forgiveness results in taxable income. However, under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, you may be able to exclude up to $2 million of debt forgiven on your principal residence. The limit is $1 million for a married person filing a separate return.

Taxpayers may exclude debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in a foreclosure. To qualify, the debt must have been used to buy, build or substantially improve your principal residence and be secured by that residence. Refinanced debt proceeds used for the purpose of substantially improving your principal residence also qualify for the exclusion.
However, proceeds of refinanced debt used for other purposes (for example, to pay off credit card debt) do not qualify for the exclusion.

If you qualify, you claim the special exclusion by filling out Form 982, Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness, and attaching it to your federal income tax return for the year.

Debt forgiven on second homes, rental property, business property, credit cards or car loans does not qualify for the new tax-relief provision. In some cases, however, other tax relief provisions, (for example, insolvency), may be available. See Form 982 for details.

If your debt is reduced or eliminated you will receive a year-end statement, Form 1099-C, from your lender. By law, this form must show the amount of debt forgiven and the fair market value of any property foreclosed.

The IRS urges borrowers to examine the Form 1099-C carefully. Notify the lender immediately if any of the information shown is incorrect. You should pay particular attention to the amount of debt forgiven (Box 2) and the value listed for your home (Box 7).

For more information about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, visit the IRS Web site at A good resource is IRS Publication 4681, Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions and Abandonments. Taxpayers may obtain a copy of this publication and Form 982 either by downloading from or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).,,id=205004,00.html

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