St Louis Ranked Seventh In Number of Completed Foreclosures In 2014

St Louis had 6,215 completed foreclosures in 2014 putting it 7th on the list of metros in the U.S. in terms of the number of completed foreclosures.  As the table below, which lists the 25 top metro areas for foreclosures, shows, Tampa saw the most foreclosures with over 18,000 being completed during 2014, according to newly released data from Corelogic.

According to the Corelogic report, there were  563,294 completed foreclosures in the U.S. during 2014, the lowest total for any 12 month period since November 2007 when it was 589,570.

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Over Half Of St Louis Foreclosures Are Zombies – Highest Rate in Nation

Over half (51%) of the foreclosures in St Louis are “Zombies” meaning that the owners have abandoned or vacated their home prior to their lender completing the foreclosure process, according to a report released this morning by RealtyTrac.  Just like the number of St Louis foreclosures is down significantly from a year ago, the actual number of Zombie foreclosures has declined 59% from a year ago.

The chart below shows zombie foreclosure data for the 10 metro areas in the U.S. with the highest percentage of Zombie foreclosures.  Beneath that is a table showing the 10 metro in the U.S. with the most number of Zombie foreclosures which shows New York leads the nation with over 19,000 zombie foreclosures as well as a chart showing the States with the highest number of Zombies.

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St Louis Ranked As One Of Top 50 Markets To Rent To Millenials

The city of St Louis made the list of the top 50 markets to rent to Millenials, published by RealtyTrac.  In determining the best markets in the U.S. for renting to millennial (most of whom are in their 20’s or early 30’s), RealtyTrac looked at rental markets where the gross annual yield on rentals was at least 9 percent, where Millenials make up more than 22 percent of the market (the national average) and where the Millenial population had increased at least 5% from 2007 through 2013.

For the city of St Louis, as the table below shows, the Millenial population grew 18% from 2007 to 2013 and in 2013 accounted for over 28% of the market.

St Louis One of the best cities to rent to millenials

Source: RealtyTrac

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St Louis Homeowners with Negative Equity Improves by Over 20 Percent in 4th Quarter of 2014

There were 119,936 St Louis homeowners with negative equity, or in a seriously underwater condition on their mortgage meaning they owe more than the current value of their home, in the St Louis MSA during the 4th quarter of 2014 which is a 21% improvement from the prior quarter when there were 152,025 St Louis homeowners seriously underwater, according to a report just released today by RealtyTrac.

As the table below shows, for the immediate St Louis, MO area, the city and county of St Louis had the highest percentage of underwater homeowners at 22% and St Charles county had the lowest percentage at 6%.

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Missouri Foreclosure Filings For 2014 Down Seventy Percent From Peak in 2010

Missouri foreclosure filings during 2014 occurred on a total of 9.762 properties in Missouri which is down over 70% from 2010 when foreclosure activity in Missouri hit an all-time record high with foreclosure filings occurring that year on 33,120 properties, according to data just released by RealtyTrac.  Below is a complete table showing Missouri foreclosure filings for each year, from the real estate “boom” year of 2006 through 2014, for all counties in Missouri which reveals that in most counties in Missouri foreclosure activity peaked during 2010.

Foreclosure filings in the Missouri counties that make up the St Louis MSA occurred on a total of 5,310 properties during 2014, down 68% from 2010 when foreclosure activity hit a record high in the Missouri counties of the St Louis MSA with foreclosure filings taking place on 16,588 properties that year.

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Institutional Investors Own Only About 1 Percent Of Homes In St Louis

The bursting of the real estate market bubble back in 2008 led to opportunities for investors to buy up homes at attractive prices throughout the country and even attracted some large firms backed by Wall Street such as Blackstone, American Homes 4 Rent, Colony American Homes and Fundamental REO.  While institutional ownership of commercial real estate, apartments and land has been very common, and in fact, predominant, since entering the business in 1979, firms like this investing in single family homes has not.  The best I can tell, St Louis has not attracted any of the four largest institutional investors (although it is hard to tell because they could own property in LLC’s not easily identified to be them) however, there has been plenty of investor activity here, including some by institutional investors.

So, what is an “institutional investor”?  Well, for the purposes of this article, and the data below, we’ll consider it to be an entity that buys at least 10 homes a year thereby separating them out from the small and/or occasional investor.  One such investor that has been active in St Louis is BLT (Building Land & Technology out of Connecticut) which, at this time, appears to own around 700 single family homes in the St Louis area. However, as the table below shows, ownership of homes in St Louis by institutional investors is pretty minimal, with those types of investors having acquired over the past 3 years (the most active period for this type of investment) at total of just over 6,000 homes or, just over 1 percent of the total housing stock in the five-county core St Louis market.

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Program To Help Short Sellers and Foreclosed Owners Buy Again

As a result of the real estate market crash in 2008 and the subsequent downturn in the economy, many homeowners with prior stellar payment records on their mortgages ended up losing their homes in foreclosure or being forced to do a short sale to get out from under it.  Most of these former homeowners then became renters but have the desire to buy a home again once back on their feet.  However, depending upon just how severely their credit was impacted as well as whether they had a foreclosure, short sale or bankruptcy, they may have to wait as long as 7 years to obtain a home loan again.  However, thanks to an FHA program called “Back to Work”,  which, surprisingly,  has received little attention, there is hope for these homeowners including the opportunity to obtain a home loan again without the normal waiting period if their problems were related to a job loss and they meet certain criteria.

The Back to Work program allows borrowers that may be otherwise ineligible for an FHA-insured mortgage due to FHA’s waiting period for bankruptcies, foreclosures, deeds-in-lieu, and short sales, as well as delinquencies and/or indications of derogatory credit, including collections and judgments, to be eligible for an FHA-insured mortgage if the borrower meets certain guidelines, which include:

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St Louis Distressed Home Sales Drop Thirty Percent In November From Year Ago

St Louis Distressed Home Sales ticked up slightly in November 2014 rom October but declined over thirty percent (30.8%) from November 2013, according to data just released by RealtyTrac.   As the table below shows, all the counties in the St Louis core market except one saw an increase in distressed home sales in November from the month before and all saw a decline in November from a year ago.

On a national level, distressed home sales in November 2014 accounted for 12.6% of all home sales, down from 13.7% in October and from 14.8% in November 2013.

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Copyright 2014 – St Louis Real Estate News – Data Source: RealtyTrac

 

St Louis New Home Sales Up Over 12 Percent In November From Year Ago

St Louis New Home Sales in November 2014 increased 12.5% from November 2013 and, as would be expected given the time of year, decreased about 8% from the month before.  New home sales in St Louis out performed new home sales in the Midwest Region as a whole as the region saw 4,000 new home sales in November 2014, the same as a year ago, and a decrease of 20% from the month before, according to the latest data available from the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD.

The median price of new homes sold in November 2014 was $235,900, an increase of 15% from the month before when the median price was $205,000, and was up about 1% from November 2013 when the median new home sale price was $237,450.

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St Louis Distressed Home Sales Down Dramatically In Past Year

St Louis Distressed Home Sales continue to have less impact on the St Louis real estate market paving the way for sustainable home appreciation, according to the latest data available from RealtyTrac.  According to the chart below, short sales in St Louis accounted for just 1% of the overall home sales last month, a 10% decrease from the month before and a decrease of almost 68% from a year ago.  Nationally, short sales accounted for 5% of all home sales last month.

St Louis REO’s (bank-owned properties obtained through foreclosure) declined slightly in October from the month before and dropped over 30% from a year ago.

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St Louis Distressed Home Sales - St Louis Foreclosures - St Louis Short Sales - October 2014 vs October 2013

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Told To Allow Foreclosed Homeowners To Buy Their Home Back

Today, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) told Fannie May and Freddie Mac to change their policies to allow foreclosed homeowners the opportunity to buy their home back at the property’s fair-market value, just like any other purchaser can.  Currently, if a foreclosed homeowner wanted to buy their home back from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac they would be required to pay the entire amount owed on their previous mortgage although a non-related purchaser, not buying the home for the benefit of the former homeowner, only has to pay the current fair market value.

“This is a targeted, but important policy change that should help reduce property vacancies and stabilize home values and neighborhoods,” said FHFA Director Melvin L. Watt.  “It expands the number of potential buyers of REO properties and is consistent with the Enterprises’ practice of requiring fair-market value for those properties.”

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Property Flips In St Louis Down Over 50 Percent From Year Ago

Property “flips” in St Louis slowed during the 3rd quarter of this year to just 234 properties flipped in the St Louis MSA during the quarter making up 2.6% of overall home sales for the quarter, a decline of 20% from the quarter before and a decline of 55% from the third quarter of 2013, according to data just released by RealtyTrac.  Property flipping is a term that has been loosely applied to a variety of real estate transactions but, for the purpose of this report, was considered to be when a single family home sold in during the third quarter had been sold within the previous 12 months.

Back in 1979, when I entered the real estate business, my focus was on buying property to resell and a “flip” at that time referred to a property I had under contract to buy that I managed to sell, or “flip” to someone else (often a competitor) with the closing of both my purchase and my sale taking place on the same day, hence a “flip”.  So, in the last 35 years a flip has went from being a property bought and sold on the same day to one bought and sold within a year…hmm…

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Property Flips In St Louis- 3rd Quater 2014 -

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Will The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 Be Extended?

UPDATE December 17, 2014 – Congress has passed an extension of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 through December 31, 2014 – It is part of a bill that has been sent to President Obama for his approval.  This falls short of the two year extension the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), among other groups, was pushing for which would have covered next year as well, but is at least some relief for those affected this year.

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 provided relief for homeowners that receive forgiveness on some of their mortgage debt (such as is the case on a short-sale) in the form of removing their obligation to pay income tax on the amount of their debt that was forgiven by their lender.  Originally, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, was to expire at the end of 2012 but was later extended through the end of 2013 and on April 3rd of this year the Senate Finance Committee approved a bill that, if passed, would reinstate a bunch of tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013, including the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 , through December 31, 2015.  Thus far, the bill has not passed and now many are concerned that it may not which will leave all the people that did short sales this year, or had debt relieved in some other manner, possibly owing income tax on the forgiven debt.

The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) have issued a call to action to it’s 1 million plus members asking them to urge their Member of Congress and Senators to act on “The Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act” before the end of 2014.  Apparently, the stumbling block to getting this extended has been politics…shocker, right?  The Democratic Majority Leader of the Senate, Harry Reid, according to the NAR website, “refused to allow an open amendment process” which then, in turn, the Republicans “exercised their rights to prevent the bill from moving to a vote.”

Should the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 be extended?  

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St Louis Foreclosure Activity Increases In October But Down Overall

St Louis Foreclosure Activity was on the rise during the month of October with a big spike in foreclosure activity from the month before in St Charles and Franklin Counties as well as the St Louis MSA as a whole, according to newly released data from RealtyTrac.  As the table below shows, St Charles County saw an increase of over 3,000% in foreclosure activity during the month of October from September, and over a 400% increase in activity from October 2013, however, this is the result of a large influx of REO property in October.  When you look at the second table below, showing year-to-date foreclosure activity, you will see that St Charles County foreclosure activity is actually down 13.6% in 2014 from the same time period in 2013.

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Missouri Supreme Court Strikes Down St Louis County Foreclosure Mediation Ordinance

Yesterday, the Missouri Supreme Court handed down it’s decision in the case “Missouri Bankers Association, Inc., and Jonesburg State Bank v. St. Louis County, Missouri, and Charlie A. Dooley” ruling in favor of the Appellants (Missouri Bankers Association and Jonesburg State Bank) and against the Respondents (St Louis County and Charlie A. Dooley) by reversing an lower courts decision that ruled the Banker’s suit was moot.  The original suit was filed after St Louis county enacted its “Mortgage Foreclosure Intervention Code” which, among other things, required mediation prior to a bank or other lender proceeding with a foreclosure on a deed a trust.

In it’s decision, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the ordinance passed by St Louis County known as the “Mortgage Foreclosure Intervention Code” was “void and unenforceable” because the county exceeded its charter authority when enacting the ordinance.

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Zombies Are Becoming Scarce In St Louis

Halloween may be just two days away however zombies are getting harder to find in St Louis, or at least “foreclosure zombies“. That’s right, according to the latest data from RealtyTrac, during the 3rd quarter of this year St Louis had 481 zombie foreclosures (homes in the foreclosure process, not yet foreclosed upon and the owner has vacated) or about 33 percent of the St Louis foreclosures.  This is down 40 percent from the quarter before and down 70 percent from a year ago.

This is good news as zombie foreclosures quickly become a nuisance as well as an eyesore for the neighborhood as the owner has left and is no longer maintaining the property however, the lender has not yet foreclosed and therefore is typically not maintaining the property either.  The zombie ends up kind of in “no man’s land” until the foreclosure is finally complete and the lender’s asset manager takes control.

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St Louis Distressed Home Sales Continue To Decline

Distressed home sales in St Louis accounted for 7.97 percent of all home sales during the 3rd quarter, down from 9.84 percent the quarter before and down a whopping 40 percent from a year ago when distressed sales accounted for 13.6 percent of all homes sold in the St Louis MSA, according to the latest data from RealtyTrac.  State-wide for Missouri, distressed home sales made up 7.12 percent of home sales during 3rd quarter, lower than the rate for St Louis however, at the other side of our state, in Kansas City, distressed home sales share of home sales was 9.2% for 3rd quarter, about 15% higher than St Louis.  The table below shows the breakdown of distressed sales by short sales, REO’s and foreclosure auction.

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St Louis Distressed Home Sales 3rd Quarter 2014 - Missouri Distressed Home Sales

St Louis Area Foreclosures Plummet In 3rd Quarter Except in Franklin County

Foreclosures in the St Louis area fell dramatically during the 3rd quarter of this year with 1,529 total foreclosure actions on property in the St Louis MSA, a decline of 28.05 percent from the prior quarter and a decline of 53.04 percent from the same quarter a year ago, according to the latest data from RealtyTrac.  As our table below shows, during the 3rd quarter of this year all the counties in the core area of the St Louis market saw double digit declines in foreclosure activity from both the quarter before as well as the same period a year ago with the exception of Franklin County.  Franklin County saw foreclosure activity increase over 300 percent from the quarter before and almost 50 percent (48%) from a year ago.

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HUD Releases Fair Market Rent Amounts for 2015 For Missouri

Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released it’s Fair Market Rent amounts for 2015 which are used for several purposes including computation of section 8 rents in a given area.  The table below shows the fair market rents for 2015 for all Missouri Counties as well as Missouri Metropolitan Areas.

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Best College Towns For Renting and Flipping Property

If you are one of the many parents of college-bound kids that is considering investing in a property to provide housing for your college student rather than waste money or dorms or rent, then this newly released info will help.  Below is a list of the best college towns for renting property as well as the best college towns for flipping property, as compiled by RealtyTrac.  St Louis didn’t make either list, actually nothing in Missouri did, however, many of the colleges and universities listed have plenty of kids attending from this area.

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St Louis Short Sales

St Louis short sales are definitely fewer and farther between than they were a couple of years back however, they are still out there and still often offer a great opportunity to a buyer.  A short sale is where a home is being sold by it’s owner at a price less than the current mortgage on it in the hope that the lender will agree to accept the proceeds from the sale and release the loan since the equity is simply not there to sell the home and pay off the loan.  Of course, there has to be some hardship with it as well and the owners have to prove they are in no position to pay the loan off in full otherwise it would not make sense for the lender to accept less than the full balance of the loan.

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St Louis Foreclosures & Serious Delinquencies Fall In Past Year

The St Louis Foreclosure rate in July 2014 was 0.78 percent, down almost 30 percent from the same time last year when the St Louis foreclosure rate was 1.08 percent, according to data just released by Corelogic.  The foreclosure rate for the state of Missouri in July 2014 was .64%, down from .89% a year ago.

On another good note, the serious mortgage delinquency rate (90+ days) for St Louis in July 2014 was 3.33%, down from 3.85% in July 2013.  On the state level, the Missouri serious mortgage delinquency rate for July 2014 was 3.06% down from 3.52% the year before.

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Home Builders Optimism Regarding New Home Market Hits Highest Level In Almost 9 Years

The new home market is improving and home builders indicate they have more confidence in the new home market now than they have had since November 2005, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today.  According to the HMI, home builders confidence is presently at 59, the highest level the index has been at since November 2005.

The HMI is comprised of several components including builder’s opinions of current sale conditions, buyer traffic and future sales.  The response from builders indicate they feel optimistic about current sale conditions and very optimistic about future sales, but not as pleased with current buyer traffic through their displays.

Looking at results of the survey on a regional basis, the Midwest region registered the highest on the index with a 59, followed by the West with a 58, South at 56 and Northeast at 41.

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St Louis Foreclosures Rise Slightly In August; Up over 100 Percent In Outlying Areas

For the first time in a long time, there was an increase in  St Louis Foreclosures with 497 foreclosure actions in August, equivalent to 1 foreclosure action for every 2,511 housing units, an increase of 2.47 percent from the month before.  While up from the month before, St Louis Foreclosures in August 2014 were down 58.41% from August 2013.  As the table below shows, St Charles County had a big decline in foreclosure activity in August and the city of St Louis a modest decline, but Jefferson County and Franklin County both saw increases in foreclosures over over 100% from the month before.  With the exception of Franklin County, all the counties listed had a double digit decline in foreclosure activity from the year before.

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A Look At The Ferguson Real Estate Market

One month ago yesterday, officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown and suddenly Ferguson, the little city where I grew up and began my career in real estate in 1979, became the focus of national news and headlines for days and weeks ahead.  Unfortunately, the coverage of the shooting has cast Ferguson in a very negative light and no doubt will hurt the progress the city has made over the past several years to revitalize its city and make it an attractive place to live, work and start a business.  This website is about real estate, so while I think this is a tragic event and have prayed for the Michael Brown family, Darren Wilson and his family as well as the community as a whole, and continue to pray that all the facts are revealed so justice will prevail, the focus of this article is the Ferguson real estate market and the impact this has had, and will have, on it.

Ferguson Home Prices Have Been Recovering From The Trough…

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Almost Two-Thirds Of St Louis Foreclosures Sold Were Cash Sales

The number of St Louis Foreclosures  (bank and government owned) continues to decline resulting in just 335 St Louis Foreclosures being sold during the month of August 2014 in the St Louis Core market, a decline of  44% from August 2013 when there were 598 St Louis Foreclosures sold.  What hasn’t changed though is the fact that nearly two-thirds (62%) of the foreclosures sold were cash sales for both periods.  For the St Louis real estate market as a whole, cash sales made up for fewer of the home sales in August 2014 with just 22% of all homes being sold on a cash sale, down from 26% a year ago.

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St Louis Real Estate Cash Sales August 2014 -

Property Flipping In St Louis Trending Downward

Property flipping, which is basically buying a property and then reselling it immediately, or shortly thereafter, is occurring less frequently now in St Louis than it was, according to a report released today by RealtyTrac.  According to the report, there were 289 houses flipped in the St Louis metro area during the 2nd quarter, down 44% from the first quarter and down 17% from the 2nd quarter of 2013.  During the 2nd quarter of this year, 3.3% of all St Louis home sales were “flip” deals which, for the purpose of this report, were homes that were bought, then resold within a 12 month period.

The average gross profit on the properties flipped during the 2nd quarter of 2014 was $20,122, down significantly from the same period a year ago when the average gross profit was $36,858.  Before you get too excited, I should point out, this is just the gross margin, the difference between the initial price paid and the resale price and does not take into account any repairs, improvements or other expenses related to that property or the transaction.

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Fair Housing Act Violations Cost Landlord $550,000

Today, the owners and operators of the Alger Meadows Apartments in Grand Rapids, Michigan, agreed to pay $550,000 in damages as well as terminate their property manager to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit that was filed against them by the U.S. Department of Justice.  

With the increasing popularity of rental property as an investment, there are many new investors and landlords getting into the business and they need to realize the importance of being familiar with the laws and regulations that may affect them and their business in order to avoid problems.  Even though, according to the press release issued by the DOJ, the property manager is the one that was alleged to have committed the sexual harassment, the DOJ also included the owners of the complex and alleged they were liable for the property managers actions.  So, just because you, as a landlord, may use a property manager, that does not necessarily mean that you are in the clear or not liable for what goes on in your behalf. Therefore, the better informed you are as an investor and landlord, they better off you will be!

I have bought and sold 2,000 homes and have owned and managed apartments and rental homes and enjoy using this experience to help new, as well as seasoned, investors not only find good deals to invest in, but get educated on the things they need to know about such as Federal Fair Housing Laws.  If I can help you, please contact me.

 

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St Louis Foreclosure Activity Down Fifty-Nine Percent In Past Year

St Louis foreclosure activity was on the decline again in July with a total of 485 foreclosure actions taking place in the St Louis MSA during the month which equates to foreclosure activity on 1 of every 2,573 housing units, according to data released this morning by RealtyTrac.  This represents a decline in St Louis foreclosure activity  of 19.57% from the month before and a decline of 59.0% from July 2013.  As the table below shows,  with the exception of Franklin County, all of the major Missouri counties of the St Louis MSA saw a decline in foreclosure activity from both the month before as well as a year ago.

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Rental Vacancy Rate Falls To Lowest Level In 20 Years

The rental vacancy rate in the U.S. was at 7.5% for the 2nd quarter of 2014, down from 8.3% the quarter before and at the lowest level in 20 years, according to data just released by the U.S. Census Bureau.  The U.S. rental vacancy rate has not been this low since the 4th quarter of 1994 when the rate was 7.4%.

Here in the Midwest region of the U.S., the rental vacancy rate was 7.5% during the 2nd quarter of 2014, the lowest rate in 16 years!  The last time the Midwest Region of the U.S. saw rental vacancy rates as low as this was back in the 2nd quarter of 1998 when the vacancy rate fell to 7.3%.

Perhaps it’s time to expand your rental portfolio or, begin building your portfolio?

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