Real Estate Commissions: Beyond the Headlines and Hype – What You Need to Know Now

You’ve probably heard about these changes happening with real estate commissions, right? It’s been all over the news lately. You might have seen headlines like “Real estate commissions are being slashed!” or “Selling your house will now be less expensive!” Sounds pretty exciting, doesn’t it? And the media has a great track record, right? Let me tell you, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

Even the most informed of us agents and brokers out here are scratching our heads because the lawsuit changed gears so quickly. Nobody really knows exactly how it’s all going to work yet. And those flashy headlines? Well, they’re a bit misleading because the truth is, nobody knows for sure if commissions will go down or up. I can easily make a case for both up and down.

Here’s the deal: if this settlement gets approved by the courts, sellers won’t be able to advertise agent commissions anymore. But they can still offer them, just not in their listing. And for buyers, they’ll have to sign a written agreement with an agent if they want representation—like Missouri License Law has said for over 20 years.

But before you get too excited about saving some cash, there are a few things you should consider. For sellers, allowing your listing broker to offer commissions might still be in your best interest. And buyers, well, going it alone might not be as easy as it sounds. You’ll still have to do all the legwork and negotiations yourself AND the biggest risk in, likely, your largest transaction: you don’t know what you don’t know. Remember, unless the listing agent is hired as a transaction broker, the listing agent represents the seller first and foremost. If they are a transaction broker, they cannot give you advice.

So, while these changes could be a big deal, the reality is, we’re all still waiting to see how it shakes out. If you’re feeling curious or worried about what’s coming, your best bet is to chat with your trusted real estate advisor. They’ll be able to give you the lowdown and keep you in the loop as things progress. And it they can’t, the agents and brokers here at MORE, REALTORS ® certainly can. We’ve been covering this issue since 2019.

Bottom line? Don’t believe all the hype just yet. Real estate, in general, is a wild card. While we’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out, just know that we here at MORE, REALTORS® have been on top of this issue for years and have been adjusting accordingly. Oh yeah, remember, you can keep your doctor too. 😉

Demystifying Aluminum Wiring for Homebuyers: Insights from Industry Expert Mike Ragan

In a recent informative video, Mike Ragan, a master electrician, and owner of R&M Electric in St. Charles MO, dispels several myths surrounding aluminum wiring, a subject that often causes apprehension among prospective homebuyers in the St. Louis area. With over 18 years of experience specializing in residential wiring and troubleshooting, Ragan brings a wealth of knowledge to the discussion. He offers crucial insights for anyone considering the purchase of a home equipped with aluminum wiring, providing a fresh perspective on what has traditionally been viewed as a potential dealbreaker.

Ragan assures homebuyers, “Aluminum wiring is not necessarily a bad thing,” explaining that “if things are done correctly using the aluminum wiring, that it’s not dangerous.” He addresses the common fear surrounding aluminum wiring, which stems from its susceptibility to oxidation and the associated risks of overheating and fire hazards in older installations from the 1970s. However, he clarifies that with the correct installation and maintenance procedures in place, aluminum wiring is not inherently dangerous. Key to the safe use of aluminum wiring is the application of specific products like deoxidizing agents and the use of aluminum-rated devices, which prevent oxidation and ensure secure connections.

Moreover, Ragan highlights budget-friendly solutions for addressing aluminum wiring concerns, such as aluminum-rated connections or AlumiConn® connectors, whereby “you can significantly save money by going with the connections… less than half the cost by going through and redoing all the connections.” He strongly recommends that buyers considering a property with aluminum wiring engage a licensed electrician familiar with these issues to conduct a thorough inspection, thereby ensuring the wiring’s integrity and compliance with safety standards.

This dialogue not only educates homebuyers about the realities of aluminum wiring but also reassures them that, with proper attention and maintenance, homes equipped with aluminum wiring can be a safe, viable option. He says, “I would have no problem buying an aluminum wired house if the things we talked about were done correctly.” Ragan’s expertise offers practical guidance for navigating concerns related to aluminum wiring, empowering homebuyers to make informed decisions about their potential purchases.

Interview with St Louis Master Electrician Mike Ragan about Aluminum Wiring Concerns

Does it Matter??

Definitely a philosophical question but here we are talking about Smart Homes. Indeed, the adoption and implementation of the Matter Protocol could end up having a substantial impact within the real estate industry and all its intertwined industries. Before I get into why that is let me tell you what Matter is. In the context of smart homes, a protocol like Matter would define the rules and specifications for how smart devices, such as lights, thermostats, door locks, and more, communicate with each other over a network within a single ecosystem. So, here’s why I think it could have a huge impact in real estate:

  1. Seamless Integration: This protocol ensures that devices from different manufacturers work harmoniously together. This simplifies the marketing of smart homes, assuring buyers that their devices will seamlessly integrate.
  2. Increased Property Value: Homes equipped with Matter Protocol devices can offer a competitive edge if marketed correctly. Buyers are drawn to properties with a unified and ready-to-use smart home system, potentially leading to higher property values and lower insurance rates.
  3. Efficient Transactions: Home inspectors and buyers should easily be able to evaluate integrated smart home systems, reducing some of the transactional complexities. In fact, an ASHI certified inspector should be able to understand 5 of the biggest Smart Home technologies.
  4. Futureproofing: Matter Protocol maintains compatibility as technology evolves. In other words, no planned obsolescence. Remember when Apple got fined over $300m for slowing down your device?? This reassures buyers that their smart home investments won’t quickly become outdated.
  5. Diverse Device Selection: The protocol encourages a wider range of devices adhering to the same standard. Smart Home Certified real estate professionals can offer a variety of devices that suit buyers’ preferences.
  6. Simplified Management: Property managers benefit from streamlined smart home system maintenance. A uniform protocol minimizes operational challenges across multiple properties.
  7. Sustainability Appeal: The protocol supports energy-efficient practices, attracting eco-conscious buyers and aligning with green trends.

This protocol is backed by some of the biggest players in the Smart Home industry. Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung, et al. are all continually developing more products for this protocol. Even with these names involved, the rollout of the hardware has been slow and it’s still pretty much lighting, plugs and shades. Level Lock is the one smart lock with a little secret: it hides a Thread radio in its hardware that will support Matter. Huh? Yeah, exactly. There’s a lot to this Smart Home stuff so if you‚Äôre buying or selling a home with Smart Home integrations, hire an agent who understands what this all means to the overall transaction– the only Smart Home Certified CRS agent in the Greater St. Louis area, John Donati.*

John Donati, Smart Home Certified St Louis Realtor
About the author…
John Donati, REALTOR®
Smart Home Certified
Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR¬Æ)
Military Relocation Professional (MRP)

Smart Home, Smarter Seniors

What happens when you pair up Ted Gottlieb, Certified Senior Advisor® (CSA®) that’s a real estate broker with a real estate broker (me) that’s Smart Home Certified?  You end up with solutions for older adults that allow them to live more efficiently, for longer, in their current home by increasing safety, security, accessibility and independence. Before I get to the Smart Stuff, let me explain what a CSA® is and how rare it is for a REALTOR® to also be a CSA®. Ted is the first, and only as of this article, in Missouri to achieve this.

A Certified Senior Advisor® (CSA®) is a professional who has obtained a credential demonstrating expertise in the issues and concerns that affect seniors. These professionals are trained to provide guidance and support to seniors and their families in a variety of areas, including healthcare, financial and estate planning, and housing. This is rigorous training that allows the recipient to be well-versed in the complex issues that seniors face while avoiding conflicts of interest. 

So how do we use Smart Home technology to better serve seniors? Here are a few of the numerous benefits for seniors:

Safety and security: Smart home devices such as smart locks, cameras, and motion sensors can help seniors feel more secure in their homes by alerting them to potential security risks and allowing them to monitor their home remotely.

Comfort and convenience: Smart thermostats, lighting, and other devices can be programmed to adjust automatically to the user’s preferences, making it easier for seniors to stay comfortable and maintain their daily routines.

Accessibility: Smart Home technology can make it easier for seniors with mobility or vision impairments to control their home environment, such as using voice commands to turn on lights or adjust the thermostat.

Health monitoring: Smart home devices can track seniors’ vital signs, remind them to take medications, and even alert caregivers or emergency services in case of a medical emergency. There are even devices that will automatically dispense medications at a preset time of day.

Independence: By enabling seniors to control their home environment more easily, Smart Home technology can help them maintain their independence and stay in their own homes for longer.

Overall, Smart Home technology can be a valuable tool for seniors to enhance their safety, comfort, and quality of life. Trust and peace of mind matter so consider allowing the region’s first and only two brokers, with the specialized knowledge necessary, help your senior live smarter and more efficiently. If you’re not a senior, we can still help you prepare your current home for when you become a senior or get you into the right home now so you can live out your days more conveniently. The sooner you learn this technology the better. None of us are getting any younger…

About the author…
John Donati, REALTOR®

Smart Home Certified
Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®)
Military Relocation Professional (MRP)

About Ted…
Ted Gottlieb, REALTOR®

Certified Senior Advisor®
Seniors Real Estate Specialist®
Certified Seniors Housing Professional™
Certified Seniors Downsizing Coach ™

A Smart Home is an Efficient Home

As the region’s only Smart Home Certified broker*, I’ve been asked many times how smart technology can benefit a homeowner’s energy usage so here are a few brief examples:

  • Energy Monitoring: Smart home devices such as smart thermostats, smart lighting, and smart appliances can help monitor energy usage and identify areas where energy is being wasted.
  • Automated Energy Management: Smart technology can automate tasks such as adjusting thermostat settings and turning off lights and appliances when not in use, thereby reducing energy consumption.
  • Energy Efficiency: Smart devices can optimize energy usage by adjusting heating and cooling systems based on occupancy and outside temperature, helping to reduce overall energy usage.

The easiest way to better understand the Smart Home world is by contacting me. Allow my specialized knowledge and training in Smart Home technology benefit you in selecting the right products and systems for your needs. Additionally, when it comes to selling your home, I’m uniquely qualified to position your property in the marketplace so buyers understand the value of the tech your house has. As a buyer, I can help you better understand how to maximize the potential of any existing technology in a home and how to integrate new technologies to help your home function more efficiently.

Smart home technology can be complex and overwhelming for homeowners to navigate on their own, but it doesn’t need to be that way. Having a Smart Home Certified broker on your side can simplify the process and ensure that you get the most out of your smart home investment. Reach out to me and I’m happy to answer your questions.

Interested in knowing MORE about Smart Home tech? Contact the only Smart Home Certified CRS agent in the Greater St. Louis area*.

*Based upon actual knowledge the author has at the time of publication.

Save Big Money with Smart Tech and Reduce Risks!

Did you know that you can save some serious money on your homeowners insurance with the right combination of smart technology? Not only can you save some money, but you can make your life safer and more convenient. Did you know there are roughly 50 million households with smart tech and the number one device present in these homes has nothing to do with saving money, convenience, or safety? Weird, I know. More on that later. Today, I’ll cover a few of the smarter items that can be integrated into your home that could pay for themselves.

More than 50% of all washing machine water damage claims can be traced back to a supply hose failure. How much water might that be? In most homes, it can be about 600 gallons of water. Per hour. You might be thinking, “I always turn off the valves before we go on vacation”. That’s definitely a good practice but what about before you go to bed? How about before you go out to dinner? Grocery shopping? What about your dishwasher valve? Did you turn that one off?

Lou Darden, with Kreismann Bayer Insurance Agency Inc. says, an automatic water shutoff is a big deal. “The discount could be anywhere between 10-15% annually.” Considering the hundreds of dollars you can save if you factor that over the lifetime of a home, it more than pays for itself. In addition to the savings, the number two claim they usually see on homeowners insurance is water related damage (whether it’s a leak or back up). So, if you’re not interested in receiving a non-renewal notice or having your premium increase by about 10%, water sensors in combination with an auto shutoff valve would be a smart choice. Some of the shutoff devices don’t need a plumber to be installed but if you’re not mechanically inclined, hire someone that is. Don’t forget, with a claim comes your deductible payment and that is just more money you could have kept in your pocket.

Let’s talk smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You have them, right? Do yours report to a central monitoring station that sends the fire department when they’re triggered? Having these detectors not only save you insurance money, but they can save your life and help prevent catastrophic damage. Additionally, when the detectors are integrated with a smart thermostat, you can setup your HVAC system to shut down when the system senses fire or smoke. This feature is rarely thought of in residential settings but it’s important. You don’t want to send smoke through your ductwork to other parts of the house that might be unaffected. Plus, moving air will just help the fire burn.

You might be wondering what all this has to do with real estate. Well, the fact is insurance claims on your property also affect your property’s marketability. Some buyers don’t want a house that has had insurance claims related to water and fire. And, sometimes, too many claims lead to your home becoming uninsurable for future buyers.

These are just a few of the more important smart technologies that can get you some serious returns on your investment—unlike a smart tv which is the #1 piece of smart tech in U.S homes. To find out MORE about insurance savings, contact Lou Darden.

Interested in knowing MORE about Smart Home tech? Contact the only Smart Home Certified CRS agent in the Greater St. Louis area. *

*Based upon actual knowledge the author has at the time of publication”;

Interested in knowing MORE about Smart Home tech? Contact the only Smart Home Certified CRS agent in the Greater St. Louis area*.

*Based upon actual knowledge the author has at the time of publication

Stop! Who Goes There? A Smart Lock Knows…

How ‘smart’ can a smart home be if its locks can’t tell you who is coming and going and when they came and went? In my opinion, that’s not a very ‘smart’ house. Nowadays, we use our phones for much more than talking to other people. To name a few, we use them for directions, email, and paying for groceries. So why wouldn’t we use them to remotely lock and unlock our doors too?

From my previous articles you might remember that one of the primary requirements in a smart home is either smart temperature control or a smart security feature. A smart lock meets the security feature requirement and it’s one of the simplest additions to your house. Many of these can be installed using the standard pre-drilled holes that likely already exist in your doors. Usually, in under 25 minutes, you can go from fumbling around for the keys to your door automatically unlocking as you approach.  

Have you ever been running a little late to an appointment and get 10 minutes down the road only to wonder if you locked your door? Yeah, me too, but with a smart lock, you could just get to the next stoplight and check your phone to verify the lock status. If you did forget, no worries—just tap the lock icon on the phone app and problem solved. 

Another great feature of most smart locks is knowing who accesses the house and when. This can be done either through the assigned app or individual user codes. For peace of mind, you can track who comes and goes. 

One of my favorite features is the autolocking function that can be tied to arming your security system. You no longer need to walk around and check all your doors because the system will just lock all the doors when you arm your alarm. Of course, you’ll need a security system for this feature, but some smart locks can be programmed to lock automatically at preset times throughout the day. If you have toddlers, this is a great feature. Mine love randomly unlocking doors and not telling me, so without that feature, the door would remain unlocked until I notice it.

Do you own an Airbnb? These locks are great for creating temporary access codes for each paying guest. Just like magic, once their reservation is up the code no longer works. Overall, smart locks are a great addition to modern lifestyles and they’re an affordable addition to virtually anyone’s home security. Plus, you don’t need an engineering degree to install one.

Interested in knowing MORE about Smart Home tech? Contact the only Smart Home Certified CRS agent in the Greater St. Louis area. *

*Based upon actual knowledge the author has at the time of publication”;

Interested in knowing MORE about Smart Home tech? Contact the only Smart Home Certified CRS agent in the Greater St. Louis area*.

*Based upon actual knowledge the author has at the time of publication

Smart Temperature Control and What Are the Benefits

Smart Home Certification - Smart Home Realtors

Do you like inconvenience? Spending more money than needed? Do you like things to be more difficult than needed? Do you like not knowing how much energy you use and when you use it most? Do you desire suboptimal temperature control? If you answered ‘no’ to these questions then whether you knew it or not, you’re already convinced that a Smart Thermostat is worth a couple of hundred bucks to you.

One of the primary requirements in a ‘Smart Home’ is either smart temperature control or a smart security feature. Of these two, the one to likely pay for itself first is the smart thermostat. It may sound a little creepy but most smart thermostats are self-learning which means they adjust the temperature based on your habits and schedules. The simplest example is that they know when you are sleeping, and they know when you’re awake. They know when you’re away from the house too, and because of this intuitiveness, it can adjust the temperature accordingly. How does it know these things? Glad you asked. These types of thermostats use a combination of scheduling, geofencing, and motion detection to know how to adjust.

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What Is a Smart Home and What Does It Mean for a Homeowner?

Smart Home Certification - Smart Home Realtors

Simply put, a Smart Home means your home has a control system that connects with your various appliances, systems, and features to automate specific tasks and is typically remotely controlled. The real estate industry, in conjunction with CNET, accepted definition is: 

“A home that is equipped with network-connected products (aka “smart products,” connected via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or similar protocols) for controlling, automating, and optimizing functions such as temperature, lighting, security, safety, or entertainment, either remotely by a phone, tablet, computer, or a separate system within the home itself.”

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