Re/Max Gold Blog

By Gina Fourell

Your weekly discussion on trends in real estate by Gina Fourell. Stay updated with us!


Buy VS. Rent

Weighing the pros & cons

3.6.2023 Buy Vs. Rent

Which is better, buying or renting your home?  The decision to rent or buy a home depends on a variety of factors, including personal financial situation, long-term goals, and current market conditions.  Here are some general factors to consider: 

Advantages of renting:

  • Renting allows you the flexibility to move if your job or personal circumstances change. 
  • Renting requires a smaller upfront investment than buying a home, as you don’t need to make a down payment or pay closing costs.
  • Renters are generally not responsible for maintenance and repair costs, which can save money and hassle.  

Advantages of buying:

  • Buying a home is a long-term investment, potentially providing financial benefits if the property value increases over time.  
  • Homeowners oversee their living space and can customize it to their preferences.  
  • Homeowners may be able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes on their taxes, which can provide significant savings.

Currently, market conditions may also impact the decision to rent or buy.  In some areas, buying a home may be more expensive than renting due to high property values and low inventory.  However, interest rates are currently low, which may make buying more affordable in the long run.  Ultimately, the decision to rent or buy should be based on individual circumstances and financial goals.  Speak with a financial advisor and real estate professional to determine what is best for your specific situation.

Smaller Home Option

When Less Is More

Smaller Home Option - 2.27.2023 

Where do you want to live when you retire?  There are options to consider.  As the Baby Boomers reach retirement many will choose between moving in with their children or remaining in their homes.  Multigenerational living is becoming more popular but may not be an option for everyone.  The third option is to sell your house and buy a smaller one, known as downsizing.

Smaller homes may fit a retiree’s changing needs, and moving could allow you to choose the ideal location.  Homeowners today have record-high equity in their homes.  Leveraging that equity to downsize to lower or eliminate your mortgage payment can drastically improve the bottom line.  

The upkeep of a smaller home is likely more budget-friendly.  Lower utilities, insurance, and property taxes can make a big difference.  A local real estate professional is a valuable resource to help you assess the equity in your current home and what support that provides for your next move.

Curb Appeal

Home Improvement

Curb Appeal - 2.20.2023

Improving your home’s curb appeal can enhance its value, make it more attractive, and give it a fresh new look. Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Clean up your yard: Remove dead plants or trees, pull weeds, mow the lawn, and rake up any leaves or debris.  
  2. Add some plants and flowers: Plant colorful flowers and shrubs and use containers to add greenery to your porch or entryway.  
  3. Paint your front door. A fresh coat of paint can go a long way in making your home look more inviting.  
    Upgrade your hardware: Swap out old doorknobs, house numbers, and mailbox for newer, more modern styles.  
  4. Add some outdoor lighting; Install path lights or a porch light to make your home look more welcoming at night.  
  5. Pressure wash your driveway and walkways: This will remove dirt and give your home a cleaner, fresher look.
  6. Upgrade your garage door. If your garage door is old or worn, consider upgrading it to a newer model that complements your home’s style.  

Remember, even small improvements can make a big difference in your home’s curb appeal. Curb appeal is the first impression your home makes on a person.  

Closing Costs

Getting to the Finish Line

Closing Costs - 2.13.2022


When buying a home, you want to be prepared. Many buyers calculate how much they need to save for a down payment, but closing costs are another calculation. Understanding closing costs can be helpful to budget for. 

Closing costs are fees associated with purchasing a home that is paid at the closing of a real estate transaction. When buying a house, you should know the following things about closing costs:

Types of fees: Closing costs typically include fees for items such as an appraisal, credit report, title search, title insurance, and legal fees. There may be fees for pest inspections, surveys, and recording the new deed.  
Amount: The closing costs often range from 2% to 5% of the home’s purchase price.  
Negotiating: It’s possible to negotiate closing costs with the seller or your lender, such as asking the seller to pay a portion of the closing costs or asking your lender to reduce or waive fees.  
Timing: Closing costs are usually due at the time of closing, when the property's title is transferred from the seller to the buyer.  
Preparing: It’s a good idea to review a breakdown of closing costs in advance to know what you will be responsible for paying.  

Consider the cost of closing when budgeting for a home purchase, as these fees can add up quickly. A real estate and mortgage professional can help you understand the closing process and costs.   


Choosing a Contractor

Home Renovations

Choosing a Contractor - 2.6.2023 

Finding the right contractor can take the stress out of complicated home renovations.  Check references for work completed in the last year to start verifying their quality of work.  Online reviews help to get a feel for the company's reputation.  

Insurance is important. Only hire insured contractors.  Insurance will protect you if any accidents or damages happen during the project.  Ask the contractor to provide proof of their insurance. You can call to verify the policy is up to date.  

Defining the project details in advance is imperative to a renovation's success.  Provide a detailed scope of work to all contractors, allowing them to give you an accurate bid.  Clarify the project timeline, when the work can begin, and when payments will be due throughout the process.

Do your due diligence and have clarity for your renovation.  Gathering multiple bids will help you understand the market rate. Rushing the process will lead to additional stress.

Adapting to the Market


Adapting to the Market - 1.30.2023

Businesses must be adaptable, and realtors are no exception.  Market conditions and the needs of consumers are moving targets, so realtors must respond quickly.  When the pandemic changed our lives, it became necessary for the real estate industry to shift, and those changes are here to stay.  

What were the trends in adapting to the needs of consumers?  Electronic documents, tech tools, and virtual meetings top the list.

Rushing a paper contract from buyer to seller became simplified using electronic signatures.  Virtual meetings made it easy to communicate with clients and the team from the location of your choice, which improved the ability to schedule appointments.  Additional tech tools like virtual and video tours of homes for sale have revolutionized buying and selling homes.

Past Recessions VS The Housing Market

What can we expect?

Past Recessions Vs. the Housing Market - 01.16.2023

Most people have heard hints of an upcoming recession.  We can look to the past as a predictor of what to expect.  How would a recession impact the housing market?  Historical data analysis detailing previous recessions proves why a recession should not cause fear in the housing market.  

Home prices don’t decrease with every recession.  Checking data from recessions going back forty years, home prices appreciated in four of the last six of them.  When the economy slows, it does not necessarily mean home values will drop.  

Many people remember the 2008 housing crisis because of the widespread impact felt across the nation.  These memories cause fear of a repeat in the housing market.  Market fundamentals are much different than they were in 2008.  Housing prices may go up or down and vary depending on the location.  Predictions for 2023 include a neutral market, not a drastic decrease like what happened in 2008.  

The cost of financing a home may be impacted by a recession.  When the economy slows mortgage rates typically fall.   The word recession does not need to cause fear for housing.  In most recessions, homes have appreciated in value while mortgage rates declined. Consulting with a trusted real estate professional is the best way to achieve your home ownership goals.  

Home Decor 2023


Home Decor 2023 - 01.09.2023

New year, new space? If you’re ready to refresh your home, it’s time to consider emerging trends.  

Maximalism will keep thriving in 2023.  Contemporary and minimal no longer go hand in hand.  If you have a collection that you want to display, do it!  Where maximalism goes uniqueness and excitement are sure to follow.  

Green, it’s everywhere.  Shades of green are finding their place in the spotlight.  From Kelly to Forest the love for green is apparent.  This could be as small as an accessory or as big and bold as the walls.

Saturation adds a unique glamour.  Bold colors for walls are just the beginning.  Designers are referring to the ceiling as the 5th wall.  Saturation brings color to not only the walls but also the trim, ceilings, and windows.  

The 80s and 90s trends are reaching outside our closets and into our homes.  Magnified and chunky furniture and neon accessories are on the rise again.  Who doesn’t enjoy a throwback?

Housing Market

A look at 2023

Housing Market 2023 - 12.19.2022 

Home prices soared to record highs, and rising mortgage interest rates are putting pressure on that once red-hot housing market.  Will the price of homes decline in response to the decline in mortgage rates?  The price of homes isn’t causing as much sticker shock, but how far will the prices dip?

Housing inventory continues to stay low, and those with low fixed-rate mortgages choose to stay.  The limited housing supply is holding back price declines, and many first-time buyers don’t have the purchasing power.

The decision to buy now or wait is individual.  There is no guarantee that late 2023 will substantially improve rates or prices.  Mortgage rates have come down since the peak in November.  

The chances of a market crash are low because homeowners have more security than in 2008.  Equity is the difference between the current market and 2008.  Home values have been boosted in the past few years, and many homeowners have substantial home equity.  

Waiting for prices to drop before buying a house could lead to disappointment.  A house that fits your needs and budget could still be the right decision.  

Friendliest Cities

For 1st Time Homebuying

Friendliest Cities - 12.12.22

Zillow analyzed the friendliest cities for a first-time homebuyer.  Cities in the Midwest dominated much of the top ten.  Mortgage rates were on the rise in 2022, weakening the power of first-time homebuyers due to the cost of homes.  

Housing affordability is difficult overall, but some markets are more welcoming than others.  In these more hospitable markets, more people will seek to purchase their first home.   These metro markets have more budget-friendly mortgage costs, so buyers will find it easier to qualify for a smaller loan.  Rent is also more affordable, which reduces the time to save for a down payment.  

Factors in the rankings included mortgage and rent affordability, inventory of homes for sale, and quantity of homes with a listing price reduction.  

Meet me in St. Louis at number 9 on the friendliest cities for a first-time homebuyer.  In our city, residents spend 33 percent of their income on rent, but those who purchase a home will use 30 percent of their income on a mortgage.  The average home cost is $246,369, there is a 4 to 1 ratio of buyers to sellers, and 25 percent of homes on the market will have a price reduction.  

How Much To Remodel My Bathroom?

Home Update Budgeting

How Much to Remodel My Bathroom? - 12.5.2022 

A dingy outdated bathroom doesn’t inspire the start of your day.  Bathrooms are one of the most popular rooms to remodel.  The average cost of a bathroom remodel can range from $6,600 to $16,650.  Factors influencing the cost include the size, current plumbing and electricity, and levels for fixtures installed.  

Larger bathrooms and those with upscale amenities will come with above-average renovation costs.  Relocating plumbing can also increase costs substantially.

Materials and labor saw significant increases in 2022.  

The National Kitchen and Bath Association suggests spending 5% to 10% of your home’s value on a bathroom remodel.  For a $250,000 home, the project could cost $12,500 to $25,000.   

Can you save money and do it yourself?  Yes, and no.

Costs are lower to do the labor yourself, sometimes even cutting the price in half.  To avoid complications, you’ll need to keep the same layout to avoid plumbing or electrical work.  If pipes or wires are in poor condition, you won’t get the same lifespan as a complete remodel.  

Rates, Rates, Rates

Mortgage Rate Increases

Rates, Rates, Rates - 11.28.2022

Mortgage rates increased this year, which cooled the previously scorching hot housing market.  The rate has doubled this year for a 30-year fixed mortgage.  This reduces the buying power of consumers, which has also led to fewer homes being sold.  

When inflation is high, the interest rates are also high.  Inflation is showing signs of reprieve, but in the meantime, the mortgage market waits to hear affirmative news.  

The Federal Reserve is attempting to decrease inflation, and when they are successful mortgage rates will come down also.  The housing market is uncertain for the start of 2023.  As policymakers implement changes and consumers adapt stability will return to the mortgage-based securities market.  

Mortgage rates will decrease, we just don’t know specifically when yet.  As we see more progress on inflation the interest rates on mortgages will follow.  When the mortgage rates decrease those prospective buyers will gain additional buying power to achieve the American Dream of homeownership.  

Flooring Ideas

Eye Catching Options

Flooring Ideas - 11.21.2022

Are you looking to add drama and excitement to your room?  The flooring you choose can be eye-catching and doesn’t have to be wood, carpet, or vinyl.  These four outside-the-box ideas can take your space from ordinary to outstanding.

Cork can warm spaces while keeping a soft feel under your toes.  Cork has a low-key appearance and a natural resistance to mold and mildew.  Cork should not be used in wet spaces because it can swell and warp.  

Tiles are an easy-to-maintain option, and mosaic glass tiles can add a sophisticated touch. Consider mosaic flooring in bathrooms, hallways, or on patios to spice up the space.  The material is an extra-hard glass and is often attached to a mesh backing that makes the installation simple.  

Concrete might already be under the finished flooring in your space.  To elevate concrete flooring, you can give it a decorative finish.  Acid staining, texturing, and polishing can achieve a sleek or shiny look.  

Plywood is often covered with a more traditional flooring choice but can be your main flooring.  This budget-friendly choice can be stained with a rich hue and sealed with polyurethane.  This is an economical way to create a new look that can be easily cleaned with a mop.  


In The Housing Market

Balance in the Housing Market - 11.14.2022 

The RE/MAX National Housing report shows the market is headed toward a balance between buyers and sellers.  Increasing inventory is fueling the shift, but days on market increases and dropping home prices are also contributors to this balance.  Hurdles in buying a home are becoming less to conquer.  

The U.S. has been a seller’s market for quite some time, which was reflective of a supply and demand problem.  A lack of affordable homes to purchase gave sellers the advantage for years.  The market was moving so quickly that buyers felt immense pressure to make decisions rapidly.  Those fast purchases meant the supply was lacking, but now the market is approaching a balance.  

Real estate is very local.  Some markets will cool or heat up faster than others.  Home sales are happening, and if you’re buying or selling a home you need a real estate professional to help you navigate the current market conditions.  

Purchase Possibility

Flipping the script

Purchase Possibility - 11.07.2022

Does buying a home feel impossible?  Maybe it’s not.  

Millennials use homeownership as a wealth-building tool, but not the same way their parents and grandparents did.  Millennials are not the renter generation as previously described in the media.  This younger group of Americans is flipping the script compared to the older generations.  An increasing number of Millennial and Gen Z buyers are choosing to buy their first home as an investment property.  

Rather than buying a home, they will personally live in, some are choosing to buy a home that will be used as a rental.   Increasing mortgage rates present challenges for affordability, and these young buyers are adapting to this market.  If a buyer wants to continue living in a city or neighborhood they love, but cannot afford to buy there, this strategy will make a way. These buyers can purchase a home in a more budget-friendly community and rent it out.  

You can live where you want while owning a home where you can afford it. This technique will generate passive income and is a win/win scenario.  The equity the home will gain will increase its net worth over time.  If you want to buy an investment property, consult a real estate professional to explore how to pursue that goal.

What Determines Your Mortgage Rate?

Rate Factors

What determines your mortgage rate? - 10.31.2022

If you plan to purchase a home (or refinance), you will try to find the lowest interest rate.  Record-low interest rates were available for a while, but recently rates have increased significantly.  A few factors can influence the rate you will receive.  

Your credit score is a big determining factor in your rate.  Those who have built and maintained strong credit are less risky for mortgage lenders.  Established credit demonstrates that you can pay back loans as agreed.  A strong credit score will lead to a lower interest rate, so sustaining a good credit score is important.

Many types of loans exist, and each has its own terms.    Conventional, FHA, USDA, and VA loans are some popular categories of loans, and each has different eligibility requirements.  The loan type you qualify for and choose will determine your interest rate.  

The term, the length of time it will take to repay your loan, will impact your interest rate.  The term will also affect the monthly payment and total interest you will pay during the loan.   

A sizeable down payment will result in a lower interest rate.  When a borrower has more stake, they are viewed as low risk to the lender.  This benefit usually applies to those able to put 20 percent or more down, and you can use the equity from your current home for this down payment.  

A trusted lender can provide the expert advice you need when seeking a mortgage.  


A Guide For Seniors

Downsizing Guide for Seniors - 10.24.22

During our lives, we accumulate many hard to part with possessions.  Settling into a new home can be difficult, especially when leaving behind a home filled with memories.  Decluttering is the first step to making the downsizing process simple.  

A patient discussion can help to explore all options.  If your loved one seems resistant, try to be patient so they don’t feel rushed.  Starting the conversation before it’s necessary allows more time for everyone to communicate their wants and needs.  

Create a calendar to prevent stalled progress and communicate the dates.  Allow enough time for packing, donations, estate sale, moving, and unpacking in the new space.  

When choosing a new home, consider mobility needs, distance from family, and budget.  Compromises are often a part of finding a solution that satisfies everyone.  When you have selected the new home, you can prepare to downsize accordingly.  Many belongings will hold a sentimental value but realizing the joy that item will bring to others can help during this overwhelming process.  Yard or estate sales can be a way to make money to cover moving expenses.  

When the time for the transition to the new home comes, try to keep the mood light and exciting.  Unpacking your loved one’s favorite items first will help them feel more comfortable in their new space.  Visit as often as you can, and don’t rush the process.  Focus on the possibilities their new beginning brings rather than an end to their old lifestyle.

Home Maintenance Tips

preserving your assets

Home Maintenance Tips - 10.17.22

Maintaining a house requires having a plan to ensure the tasks are completed on time can help to prevent costs from adding up.  Waiting to do maintenance can impair your home’s value.  Make sure to address concerns before something happens.  

A refrigerator can be one of the largest sources of electric use in your home, comprising 15 percent of the total usage.  Make sure the coils are clean to prevent inefficiency.  Vacuum the space under and behind the fridge every 6 months.

The frequency of changing HVAC filters can vary based on the number of people and pets in a household but change them every 60 days to start.  Cleaning the vents and ducts of your home each year can extend the life of your furnace and air conditioner system.  

Clean those gutters in the fall after all the leaves have fallen and then again in the spring.  You will also want to inspect the gutters seasonally for sagging, leaking, or clogs.  A stove hood or vent is frequently used and should be cleaned monthly with hot, soapy water.  You can also soak the vent in a diluted degreaser before rinsing and air drying.

Maintaining a home requires consideration, planning, and responsibility.  A home is an asset that can be passed on between generations.  Increasing your financial literacy will benefit your children.  

Prepare To Sell Your House

Tips on pre-listing

Prepare to Sell Your House - 10.10.2022

The housing market is constantly evolving.  When you decide to sell your house, you will want to prepare and plan accordingly to obtain the greatest return on your investment.  Following these tips will help you succeed in selling your house this fall.  

One of the most important factors for a buyer is the price of your house.  IF the price is set too high buyers may be less likely to make an offer.  When the price seems too low it may signal a buyer to worry about an issue with the house.

Grab the attention of home shoppers with the correct price.  More homes are available for sale than a few months ago, so pricing your home for the current market is essential.  A realtor will use their experience and market knowledge to set the perfect price for your home.  

One way to make sure your house is appealing to buyers is keeping it clean.  Showings will be scheduled without advanced knowledge, so keep things tidy.  Clutter, dirty dishes, and unmade beds may turn buyers away.  

Buyers want to envision how your house could feel like their next home.  Create a blank canvas without sentimental items to paint the picture for them.  A staging professional can prepare your space with the most appeal. These professionals can help decide what should stay and what needs to go.  

Selling a house requires strategy, and a trusted real estate professional will have the expertise to help you stand out in the current market.

Color of the Year

Blank Canvas, Behr

Color Of The Year - 9.19.2022   

Behr has chosen a color of the year, blank canvas, and this option will allow you to create a space that is uniquely you.  Coastal Grandma and its layered neutrals have been on the rise as a design trend.  This warm white color is a soothing and peaceful choice for a luxurious atmosphere.  

Choosing white opens boundless potential for design.  Adding patterns and textures is a breeze when using a neutral background.  The shade is warm and cozy for a backdrop to your style pieces.  Adding in contrast with black accents or shining brass hardware are only two examples of the unending possibilities of using Behr’s Blank Canvas.   

Hire A Pro

The importance of representation

Hire a Pro - 9.12.2022

Why is it important to have someone on your side when buying or selling a home?  A realtor who knows the local housing market, specifics, and the process bring a wealth of experience to either side of the transaction.  Agents study the current market and can communicate what those conditions mean for your unique scenario.  It is imperative to understand the value of a home in today’s market before establishing your asking price or making an offer to buy a house.

The real estate market is regulated to protect consumers.  A professional will be familiar with contracts, disclosures, and all necessary documents to keep your interests safe in the fine print.  Having a realtor on your side to negotiate on your behalf is essential to guarantee success.  Realtors will have technology at their fingertips and use tools to make the procedure painless.  A trusted real estate professional brings you expert advice throughout the entire process.  

Equity & Retirement

Planning For Your Future

Equity & Retirement - 8.29.2022 

As you contemplate retirement options and plan the next stage of your life it becomes time to determine if your current home is the right fit for your new lifestyle.  If you are seeking a different location or features, you may find yourself in a better position to move than you realize.  Equity in your home can help with purchasing power for your next move.  

Using equity to your advantage can be a positive step toward your homeownership goals.  You may dream of a dazzling destination, seek to be closer to loves ones, or choose to downsize in the same zip code, but your equity can help you hit those targets.

Buying or selling a home is made easier with a trusted real estate advisor.  A professional will have the knowledge and experience to help you find the right home to meet your needs.  

Aging In Place

Planning For Your Future Years

Aging in Place - 8.22.2022  

Aging in place describes staying in your own home as you grow older.  Planning is crucial to finding a way to continue to live independently.  Your needs, or the needs of your spouse, may change in the future.  Even if you don’t need any help now, you may need assistance with personal care, housework, meals, transportation, or financial matters in the future.  

Concerns about getting around both in your home and in-town should be considered if staying in your home is your goal.  You may need assistance from a relative, friend, or neighbor with shopping and doctor visits.  A local agency on aging is a tremendous resource for services available to help seniors.  Reach out to people you know and local community resources to inquire about services.

How you will pay for costs associated with the help you need is imperative to developing an aging-in-place strategy.  Determine what might be covered by health insurance or Medicare. Calculate if paying for a few services would be less expensive than moving into a senior care facility.  Utilize free resources and save for the other expenses so you can have your wish of still living on your own.  

College Dorm Survival

Tips for dorm dwelling

College Dorm Survival Tips - 8.15.2022

If you are helping your child prepare for their first year of college, it’s time to put thought into the best form and function.  Consider sustainability because you will want some purchases to last beyond that first year.  Keep spending on linens low as no one stays in that twin XL bed after saying goodbye to a dorm.  Select art that can be hung using command strips without making holes in the walls. Consider design that feels youthful but not juvenile.

Bring way less than you think you need.  You may not need all those extra storage tubs, plastic dressers, and appliances. The eggs benedict maker is never going to be used.  You will want a fridge and a microwave, but you can make friends in the dining hall where you don’t have to wash your dishes.  Start with less and remember you can bring more things in later.  

Siding Materials

More Options with Longevity

Siding Materials for Longevity - 8.8.2022 

Choosing the optimal siding material can be difficult.  Trends change, multiple options are available, choices are preferred by contractors, plus you want to select a material that will last.  The ideal choice will retain its curb appeal for a long time.  

Fiber cement siding is made to look like wood, but it is stronger because it’s made from cement.  Choose fiber cement because it can resist fire and insects and look great for many years.  

Engineered wood siding is lasting product that boasts a 50-year warranty.  This material can resist termites and fungus and is made of fast-growing trees. The look will mimic cedar shake, but it requires much less maintenance.  

For a choice with a modern appearance, use cement-bonded particle board.  These panels are large and resemble stone but have the flexibility of wood.  Cement-bonded panels are being used inside and out because of their low maintenance and ability to resist insects while being able to self-extinguish fire.  

Brick veneer provides the benefits of traditional brick at a fraction of the cost.  The brick material is a thin, non-structural brick is weatherproof, fireproof, and maintenance free.  

Vinyl siding has come a long way.  Modern options come in several appearances including scallops, lap, and shake. Vinyl's durability makes it a popular choice, and the range expands the appeal.  

Back to School

Morning Hacks

Morning Back to School Hacks -8.1.2022 

School starts soon, and each school year comes with a new schedule.  Try some of these tips to make each morning stress free for you (and the kids too).  

What to wear can be a difficult decision, so why not prep outfits for each day of the week on the weekend?  This will save time and energy in the morning, and the prepared clothes can be organized for the kids to dress themselves each morning.  

An organized and dedicated station for homework and school supplies can reduce a lot of mess and make it easier for the little ones.  If space is at a minimum, try a cart with wheels so it can travel to the table and return elsewhere when the work is done.  

Meal-prepping a healthy breakfast option means a simple, quick, and healthy breakfast for the family each morning.  With a previously prepared nutritious option, everyone starts the day the right way and is less likely to reach for sugary pre-packaged foods.  

Designate a drawer in the fridge or pantry with easy-to-grab options for lunch packing to make things fast, easy, and kid-friendly!

Following these steps will set everyone in the household up for success.

Paint Colors Choices

Sure to Sell Your Home

Paint Colors Sure to Sell Your Home - 07.25.22

Paint colors will have an impact when you decide to sell your home.  Exterior colors are imperative because this is the first impression for a home buyer.  Choose a neutral tone that pairs well with the neighborhood.  White or gray exteriors are sure to catch the eye of those shopping for a new home.  

In the kitchen many buyers prefer classic white or warm gray tones.  White paint in the living room allows buyers to envision themselves in the blank slate you are presenting.  White makes everything appear well-maintained, fresh, and clean.  Bedrooms are well suited with a soft beige or taupe shade that feels warm and airy.  Small spaces like bathrooms and laundry rooms can be soothing in a pale blue shade.  

Neutrals continue to be the most popular choices for color palettes.  Beige, gray, and white help to make small spaces appear bigger.  A neutral palette makes it easier for a potential buyer to see themselves in your home.  

"Where Will I Move?"

The Common Question Today For Home Sellers

Where Will I Move? - 07.18.2022

Have you been waiting to sell your house because you weren’t sure you’d be able to find the right home to purchase?  The housing market is changing, and this could be an ideal time to jump into the market. Housing supply is increasing so you will have more opportunity to find the home that will meet your needs.  

The supply of homes for sale has been increasing in 2022.  The National Association of Realtors reports inventory is growing because more people are putting their houses on the market and the speed of sales is slowing down.  Buying an existing home has history, character, and an established neighborhood. You can often negotiate the closing date to suit your schedule with an existing home purchase.  Searching for a home to purchase will provide more options, but the market is still hot so be prepared to move fast.  

New homes recently constructed are also increasing in number.  If you build a new home, you can often choose options to personalize your space.  New homes generally require less maintenance and warranty options to cover your investment. Purchasing a brand-new home might require waiting until you can move in.  

Whether you’re dreaming of a charming, lived-in home or a fresh start with new construction your options are increasing as the home supplies grow.  A real estate professional can help you weigh the pros and cons to make the decision that works best for you.  

Mortgage Rate Drop

Getting More For Your Money

Mortgage Rate Drop - 07.11.2022

The average mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage dropped last week.  This is celebrated news for home buyers, making homes more affordable.  The rate decrease was sparked by worries of a likely recession.  Throughout the year mortgage rates have been on the rise, so anyone looking to purchase a home should be excited for this downturn.  

When rates increase, you pay more for your mortgage each month, and this impacts how much home you can afford to buy.  This drop in mortgage rates means a buyer can purchase more.  That forever home you’ve been dreaming of is 5 percent more affordable than it was 7 days ago.   

Seasonal Watering

Happy landscapes

Seasonal Watering - 07.04.22 

Plants need to stay hydrated to flourish.  Warm summer days can make your plants thirsty, just like you.  When a plant doesn’t have the moisture it needs, it won’t grow as strong and is more susceptible to disease.   Seasonal changes can make it tricky to know how much water your landscape needs.  


During the spring season, rain is generous, so you may not need to add additional water.  When the summer heats up, you’ll need to water each day.  In fall plants will begin to prepare for winter by shedding leaves, so twice a week is sufficient.  Watering in the winter only needs to happen before the frost hits.  


Plants need water at the roots to flow throughout the leaves and stems.  Avoid water that is too hot or too cold, especially for new plants.  Following these techniques will help you have a robust landscape.  

Shifting Housing Market

Looking Ahead

Shifting Housing Market: Looking Ahead 06.27.22

Summer is a popular time of year to buy a home.  Parents prefer to be in their new home before the school year starts in the fall, especially if the move requires their children to switch schools or school districts. We have been in a seller’s market, but signs indicate the local market might be cooling off.  

According to the National Mortgage Bankers Association, applications for mortgages have decreased by 21% compared to the same time in 2021. Buyers are slowing their pace, which may be due to rate increases.  

St. Louis is still an active market because inventory of homes for sale is low.  Homes are receiving multiple offers, but not as many as last year.  Today is a great time to sell a house and receive an offer that meets your needs.  

Purchase terms are returning to a pre-pandemic standard.  Many buyers did not require inspections or appraisals during 2020 and 2021, but we are seeing those terms return to offers.   

Expert Pricing

What the right price means for you

Expert Pricing: What The Right Price Means For You - 6.20.22


Are you hoping to benefit from today’s sellers’ market?  Now is the time to get the deal you’re seeking on selling your house.   You can’t throw a price tag on your house and get the perfect deal you want.  Setting the correct asking price will get your home noticed by buyers.  A real estate professional is the expert you need on your side when pricing your house.  

The listing price for your house conveys more than just a number to a potential buyer.  When the price seems too low, a buyer may worry about the property's condition.  If the price feels too high, it could discourage buyers.  If the house is lingering on the market, it may require a price drop to get noticed.

The best price for your home is the one that hits the bullseye in the center of the target.  Pricing the house at the market value will increase the number of interested buyers.  More interested buyers often equate to multiple offers and a higher sale price.  Homes priced correctly sell quickly.  A real estate professional will use their industry knowledge and market expertise to set the perfect price for your home.   

Real Cost Talk

For Outdoor Improvements

Real Costs for Outdoor Improvements - 6.13.22

More time at home inspired many to improve their space, including the outdoors.  Creating a unique, welcoming, outdoor oasis that fits the budget can be challenging.  The cost of these projects can vary widely, often based on what you’re building and how the work gets done.  Starting a DIY project can keep the budget affordable while glamour and luxury from top-notch professionals may require a larger budget.  

A fire pit is an excellent backdrop for a social gathering while staying warm and cozy by the fire.

In a lot of cases, you can build a firepit yourself.  It is imperative to choose fire safe materials.  You may want a professional to lay a floor of tile or pavers as a solid foundation.  Expect to spend $850 - $5,000 for your firepit project.  

Outdoor kitchens expand your abilities to entertain guests and are increasingly popular this summer.  Most outdoor kitchens will include cabinetry, a grill, sink, and refrigerator.  The appliances you choose can substantially increase the cost of an outdoor kitchen.  Connecting the kitchen to your existing plumbing, electricity, water, and gas can help keep costs affordable.  An outdoor kitchen will cost $7,500-65,000.  

Installing an in-ground pool often comes with a hefty price tag.  Expect to spend $45,000 at a minimum for this to-do list item.  Stormwater management and yearly maintenance costs are crucial when budgeting for a pool.  Pool size, depth, and finish materials can significantly affect the total cost.  

Keep your home value in mind as you dream of outdoor renovations. Don’t overspend in the backyard if the value of your home can’t uphold the investment.  Labor and materials increase over time, so the project cost will not decrease if you wait. Investing in your dream space now gives you the most time to enjoy your investment.  

Take Back Your Garage

Manageable Tips for Getting Organized

Take Back Your Garage: Manageable Tips for Getting Organized - 6-6-2022

A little strategy is all it takes to optimize the valuable garage space and keep your essentials accessible.  A well-organized garage can be a tremendous storage solution.  Implementing some helpful storage ideas can help you get the clutter under control.  

The first step is to get rid of anything you do not use.  Sort all the remaining contents into groups.  Sporting goods, gardening, and automotive items used together should be stored together.  Collect items in bins and label them.  Stackable containers are the best.  The containers will keep your stuff clean, keep out bugs and mice, cut down on clutter, and increase your floor space.  

Be strategic when choosing placement for your belongings.  Items that are often used should be close to the door.  Seasonal items can be stashed in spots that are harder to reach.  

Organizing the garage for maximum efficiency means getting things off the floor.  A pegboard provides a plethora of hooks, bins, and clamps to hang lightweight items.  Open shelving allows you to store items in plain sight.  Cabinets make it easy to place things where you don’t see them.

Don’t forget the ceiling for hoist pulley systems to store your seasonal gear out of the way.  

Consider the safety of how you store hazardous materials.  Keep pesticides out of reach of children.  You could lock power tools in a cabinet to keep them out of the wrong hands.

Renovation vs. Moving

Factors when weighing your options

Renovation vs. Moving - 5.31.22

Many homeowners will choose between searching for a new home or renovating the one they already have.  Some homeowners prefer to improve their current home rather than purchase a new place. With interest rates rising, the cost to finance the projects is a deciding factor.

Homeowners often view home remodeling as an investment.  Renovations can be a way to personalize a home.  Some enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes from doing projects yourself.  Consider a home equity line of credit if you want to finance the improvements without affecting your current interest rate on your mortgage.

How can you feel confident in your choice?  Determine how much home you can afford.  Get quotes for the projects you have planned. Supply cost increases, material delays, and project overruns need to be included in your calculation.   After determining the costs of renovating and your buying power, consult with a professional.  Real estate professionals can tell you more about how your home improvements could affect your resale value and the current state of the market.  

Summer Paint Trends


Summer Paint Trends - 5.23.22

Painting is one of the more budget-friendly ways to transform a space.  When planning a makeover, why not choose a color trend?  

Cool blues are popular this year such as shades of aqua and baby blue.  These tones are bright and don’t have to be applied only to walls.   Fun shades of blue are popular choices for cabinets, furniture, and décor.  

Painted floors have been featured in magazines and design blogs.  Bold patterns of checkerboards and stripes are making a comeback.  If you decide to DIY a painted floor, remember to use painter’s tape for a flawless result.  

Warm colors are everywhere in summer 2022.  Rich yellows, comforting terracotta, and clay pink for personalized spaces.  These tones add character and excitement to a living space.  

Experimenting with architecture and color is trending as we distance ourselves from one-color homes.  Adding a chair rail and painting above the will add height to the room by drawing the eye up.  Tiered ceilings, wainscotting, board and batten with color contrast bring romantic drama to a space.  

Those craving comfort and calm in their home are opting for nature-inspired hues in soft watermelon tones. Soft greens, blush pinks, and pale ivory are popular choices to fill that desire for comfort.  

Flat, matte, and satin finishes make spaces feel fresh and clean.  Adding a texture can really warm up and blanket a room.  Lime wash and milk paint are trendy alternatives to traditional paint materials.  

Murals are a way to get expressive and allow artists to shine!  People are finding passion and inspiration in colors, shapes, and textures.

Who says you can’t take the creativity outside?  Painted patios and pools are striking and memorable.

The Cost of Waiting

What postponing a home purchase could mean for you

The Cost Of Waiting - 5.16.22

Will waiting a year improve the market conditions for home purchases? Renters aspiring to be homeowners and those who own a house that no longer suits their lifestyle may be facing these decisions. To decide if waiting will benefit you, consider home prices and mortgage rates.  

Home values are projected to appreciate by 5% or more this year.  A home that would sell today for $260,000 would sell for $273,000 next year.  The delay to purchase would cost you an additional $13,000 for the same house.  

Experts predict mortgage rates will rise while the economy recovers.   An increase in the mortgage rate will increase your mortgage payment each month.  Waiting means paying more for the house plus the additional interest will make a difference monthly and over the loan term.

Purchasing now allows you to start gaining equity.  The financial benefits show that buying now is more beneficial that waiting a year.  

Home Bidding Wars

How you can win

Low inventory and buyers hoping to purchase before mortgage rates increase are leading to bidding wars.  Multiple offers are submitted on most home sales.  Buyers are often bidding on several homes before having their offer accepted.  With the help of a real estate professional, you can consider these concepts to win over your competition.  

Submitting an offer above the list price is often the first way to stand out in a competitive market. Many homes sell for over the asking price because there are more buyers searching than homes available.

A realtor can help you make a realistic offer that will get accepted.

Increasing the earnest money deposit shows you have serious interest in buying their house.  This deposit will ultimately be credited toward your purchase during the closing.  The higher deposit shows you have the funds and are ready to purchase, which can catch the eye of the seller.  

Raising the amount of your down payment is another option.  With a higher down payment, the amount you finance will decrease.  A lower financed amount means a lower monthly output from you, and it also helps the seller feel like the deal is less risky.
The boosted down payment could be how you stand out from the crowd.    

Lean on your realtor for insight into what sellers look for in the market where you are shopping. You need a professional who can guide you and be a resource in this hot housing market.

Kitchen Trends


Kitchen Trends 2022 - 5.2.2022

Home design is always evolving, and new trends include exciting options.  Kitchens remain some of the hardest-working spaces in our homes.  When choosing for the kitchen it’s important to choose items that will last.  

Black kitchens are rising in popularity.  Black is bold, sophisticated, and impactful.  The dramatic flair of black in the kitchen of an open concept floorplan helps to define the space.  From Cabinets to countertops and backsplashes black is adding depth to the look of many kitchens this year.  

Kitchen jewelry is adding personality to drawers and cabinets.  Brass is the top material choice for knobs and handles to add style and bring a design to life.  Much like in fashion, the right piece can enhance a look by adding moodiness.  

Roundness has been a trend in furniture and décor and softer shapes are at home in the kitchen. The kitchen is considered the heart of the home, and arches can transform a kitchen into a space that feels calm.  Curved shapes draw inspiration from nature adding a warm feel that welcomes socialization.   

Popular Exterior Design Elements

Trending Curb Appeal

Popular Exterior Design Elements - 4.25.22


If you’re building a home soon, you may be contemplating the exterior design.  Are you drawn to classic white and timeless?  Do you find yourself curious about what trend is next on the horizon?  

Black and white exteriors are here to stay.  Warmer and softer white tones are replacing the bright white siding.  Rich, dark colors are also quite popular.  Timeless palettes are still trending, with many selecting soft neutrals.  Can’t decide?    Many choose a deep color for one section of the home’s exterior.  Color-blocking allows you to have the best of both worlds.  

The texture is one way to add depth to your curb appeal.  Wood trim, stone accents, dark gutters, and metal roofs are common choices to increase the texture of your home exterior.  These textured elements can be costly, but some options add intensity to the visual appeal of your home without breaking the budget.  

It is important to remember that YOUR home should be chosen to reflect what YOU love regardless of popular trends.   

Multi-Functional Space

Creating A Space That Can Serve Many Purposes

Multi-Functional Space - 4.18.22

Families at home during the pandemic increased the need for our homes to do much more.  Suddenly dining and living rooms became offices and classrooms.  With optimal planning, an open space can feel roomier.  Find ways to allow natural light to flow in is essential to boost the form and function of the room.  

Creating distinct zones is necessary for the design to work in unison. Evaluate furniture and place pieces to differentiate the purpose of one zone from another.   Rugs can be focal points for zones to distinguish if the space is for work or play.  Using art, rugs, lighting, or throw pillows as focal points can help anchor each area for its designed purpose.  

Open floorplans help families to feel connected with more views of the outdoors.  Furniture and cabinet options designed with hidden functions help to enhance the space.  Dining tables now offer hidden storage and power ports.  Bookcases and desks convert into sleeping spaces with murphy beds. These functions remain out of sight until needed and help make the most of the square footage.  

Ins & Outs Of Interior Design

A Look At What's Trending For 2022

Ins & Out Of Interior Design For 2022 - 4.4.22

Our homes directly influence our health and even our mood.  The top trends set their targets on making us feel peaceful.  The pandemic forced us to slow our pace and spend more time at home.  We now realize that design has the ability create energy that reflects what we are feeling.  

People are choosing elements that feel cozy and welcoming.  Nature-inspired surfaces are on the rise.  Marbles, mushroom shapes, curvy furniture, and leather are rising in popularity.  Who wouldn’t want to come home to a room that feels like a hug?  

As time spent in our homes increases, every object needs to contribute to the purpose.  Many interior spaces are now taking on double duty.   Guest bedrooms are also home offices or have exercise equipment.  

The dining room table is now the conference room table.  People want a space that will work hard for them.  

Some design trends that were once popular are on the decline.  All white minimalism is losing speed in favor of warming up spaces to feel less sterile.  Boxy sofas with square arms are making way for curvy leather sofas in rich color tones.

Dull and muted color schemes are fading in favor of vibrant colors and patterned fabrics.  Wallpaper is back in a big way, using brave textured materials that engulf you.  Bold patterns and the return of florals are setting the tone for 2022.  

The years of dim, subtle tones have given way to vivid, cheerful colors that put a smile on your face.  

A Shift From Open Concept

The Pros Of Space Division

A Shift From Open Concept - 3.29.22

Rumor has it that open floor plans are on the way out. This trend has been prominent for a decade, and many will still request this concept, as those reasons include boosting natural light, views and amplifying the sense of space in places of lessor square footage. Homes with an open floor plan have many positives, but there are several reasons why this trend may becoming less desireable. The down-sides of rooms without division could be the reason the trend is losing popularity.  

Noise is difficult to contain in a space without walls.  The banging of pots and pans while preparing meals could make it problematic to hear the tv or hold a conversation in the living room.  The higher the ceilings, the more difficult it is to alleviate noise.  

Togetherness is delightful, but sometimes the adults cherish their alone time.  A busy parent might enjoy cooking dinner in the kitchen without the sounds of Paw Patrol blaring from the living room television.  It may sound lonely to be isolated, but it can also be hard to prepare a fancy meal while your guests are the audience, or when the kids want to join in the action.  

Privacy and focus can be a challenge without defined rooms.  Remember the rise in “man caves” and “she sheds”?  It can be strenuous to work from home or have a private conversation without walls to keep us apart.  

What about the mess? Do you want the sink full of dishes to be visible from every angle in your first floor living area?  For those who can’t relax until the place is clean a small mess is a big reminder because you can see it all. Keeping one continuous space clean and tidy can be hard.  

Strategies are available to reclaim the best of open concept living.  Upholstered furniture, lined draperies, and large rugs can absorb sound.  Installing a sink or dishwasher in a butler’s pantry can contain messes and noise.  Sliding pocket doors can provide isolation when desired.  A peninsula rather than an island can help to define spaces.  

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