Tag Archives: St. Louis MLS

Foreclosures: Some General Information

Below is basically an email I sent to a client recently.  I thought it might be a relevant blog post.  I hope you find it helpful!  If you have more questions, let me know.

MISSOURI is a non-judicial foreclosure state.  Banks do NOT have to sue to foreclose.  I would think this makes us a better lending climate than judicial foreclosure states.  This DOES, though, mean there is a redemption period for those who have been foreclosed upon, but only if notice of intent to redeem is given within 10 days of the ‘trustee sale,’ which is the foreclosure sale.  Do they ever redeem?  Never say never, but it’s rare.  And by the time things are listed on the market for sale, that period would have passed.  Here’s the MO statute:  http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C400-499/4430000410.HTM

NO MATTER WHAT YOU BUY – foreclosure or retail or other — you must get title insurance.  If there are any issues, they will come to the forefront during the time of title examination.  For very dear friends of mine, I had an unusual situation on their Fannie Mae foreclosure purchase.  Before the home was foreclosed on, the previous owners had refinanced their loan.  The closing of that refinance was handled by a title company that was shady, and that title company did not file the release of the lien of that refinanced loan.  That old, refinanced loan was made by some bank that went belly up and was taken over by the FDIC.  Furthermore, that old, unreleased lien was for a greater amount of money than my friends were paying for the house!  As an agent, I could not in good conscience allow them to buy a house where someone could come back and try to collect on that old lien.  Likewise, they were not interested in that, either!  The likelihood of this happening?  Probably pretty slim.  But those are still odds I would not take, and neither would these folks.  The title company would not provide coverage under the title insurance policy that would include this unlikely scenario (title company wanted to leave it as an ‘exception’ to their coverage for the buyer, but they would have covered the lender completely if this happened), and it about drove us all completely mad.  I had help from the title company attorney, and I did a lot of digging myself.  Finally, we got the FDIC to release the old lien.  And everyone was happy.  Title insurance is very important, and it needs to be in good form, too!

MOST FORECLOSURES are sold entirely on an as-is basis.  SOMETIMES we can get the banks to do a little something.  Sometimes Fannie or Freddie might make minor, minor alterations, usually to accommodate inspections or an appraisal.  I have had banks do other minor things, but that has not been for a long, long time.

SOMETHING TO KEEP IN MIND is that if you are getting a loan, an appraisal will be required.  Appraisers make a note as to whether or not the water is on in the home.  If there is no water, some underwriters will reject the deal.  It is often impossible to have the water on for your inspections and appraisals if the current owner (bank/Fannie, etc.) determines the lines won’t hold sufficient pressure, and, therefore, activating the water would cause damage to the home.  This becomes a Catch 22.  Individuals would like to reap the benefits of a lower priced, foreclosed home, but they can’t because of the condition and lender requirements that the water be on at the time of appraisal.  It’s just a head banger, and another fun thing to deal with in real estate!

Foreclosure offers are made on what is known as a “Special Sale Contract,” which has removed the seller’s responsibility for getting a municipal inspection done (if one is required).  It also removes the buyer’s automatic right to do private inspections.  Well, guess what?  We agents got sick of trying to write back into the Special Sale Contract a clause allowing our buyers to inspect, and there is now a rider we include with the contract which puts all of the buyer’s inspection rights back in there.  Inspections are for the buyer’s information only, and the banks/government entities will rarely make repairs, and it is very unlikely there would be a price adjustment based on inspections.  Many banks and the government sponsored entities will require a buyer to use their own form of contract, with some sort of reference being made to the original Special Sale Contract offer.

Government owned/backed loans generally provide an exclusive period for owner/occupant bidders.  If homes don’t sell during that time, then the investors can have at them.  I am sure some investors cheat about owner occupancy, but there are huge fines and threats of loss of license, so a reputable agent will not play around with that at all.

Foreclosure listings generally will not accept a contract that is contingent upon selling the buyer’s home.

For some listings, banks will put in carpet and paint, etc., before listing them.  This is smart, but this oftentimes leaves them unwilling to negotiate much on the price at the beginning of the marketing period.

Mainly, if you are looking for a foreclosed property, you need to know that the sale will be AS IS; you can still do inspections and exit the contract if you don’t like the results (no price renegotiations); the water needs to be on if you are getting a loan; and title work should be ordered as soon as practicable in case there are any issues, including old stuff out there that will need to be cleared from title for a buyer’s protection.

There are weird things that crop up.  In this business you try to anticipate issues, but some you can’t even dream would be possible.

Many times, though, a foreclosure purchase is just as smooth as a retail one.  You just never know.  You should be prepared for a more difficult transaction, and then be grateful if it turns out not to be so.  And hopefully, at the end of the day, you’ll have exchanged a little elbow grease for equity, and will have a new happy home!

Did you read all that?  Smile




Yes, These Are Actual Marketing Remarks in the STL MLS!!!

I won’t identify them by property to protect, well, me from any retribution by the writers of these comments.  Smile 

Some are actually amusing.  Some are just confusing.  And some may be the result of boozing?!???  They were all eye-catching, for whatever reason, and that could just boil down to some good marketing – whatever it takes to draw attention to one’s listings.  They amused me, though.  I hope they amuse you, too.

Take a look: 


FIRE SALE .. the old homesite and Mobile burnt but the small outbuildings & water well are still there on this fabulous 40 Acres in the Ozarkian wilderness. National Forest Land is within a 1/2 mile from this location and there is tons of it. The Courtois Creek, Huzzah and Shoal Creek meander thru the Berryman area like Yogi’s backyard! Time has stood still here, waiting for you to really see the Moon at night and hear those Crickets. Warning …. Killer Deer are waiting for your aim and the turkey, leave behind ? marks all over, those pesty creatures. Just off the Black top by feet this property is wooded except for the cleared area around the old homesite and the old pasture land which just brings those creatures back. This historical hometown has many reason to live here but if you just want to say piss off to the rest of the world, it can be done! HEY HANSEL, GET YOUR SISTER GRETEL, THAR’S A CONTRY TAIL FOR YOUR STORY TO BEGIN.


I will tell you that ‘pi$$ off’ is NOT an often used marketing term where real estate is concerned.


2.  PRAYING FOR A REAL LIFE SABBATICAL??? wash away your day on 9+ Acres overlooking the Meramec River one of the boundaries of your fabulous Historical home. Hear the prayers of the rested Preist of the past, walking the wonderful wood plank style floors shining as a backdrop to 2 colorful stain glassed windows or toast those toes by the 2 stone huge fireplaces. Morning room, 2 Foyer, entry door big enough for a Green Giant. Huge shop host concrete floors, electric and huge bay doors + there is an attached oversized mostly finished garage with walk-up storage area accessed bya breezeway to the home. Rotunda or Gazebo sets the stage for the lush landscape/hardscape meandering thru the well groomed grounds. Banks of windows, even the bathrooms, give way to breathtaking views capature a mile of Ozarkian farmland & bottomfields. This is as custom as it gets. Beautiful Inca Stone tile, faux stone ceramic and upper end appliances stay. Sellers have worked endless & you benefit!


Do you think they’re trying to tell us this place is haunted by priests?  Commas are just so unnecessary these days, I guess.



I am only cutting and pasting……


4.  This sweet old farmhouse is the heart of life. A wrap around covered deck so your clan eyes the herd huddled in high hay. Giddy-up ride your private horse trails. Reaching for a; Corporate Retreat? Separate all your associates in beds & enjoy brain storming in the country.



That’s all for now!


Happy Real Estating!



To Photoshop or Not To Photoshop Real Estate Pictures?

Our photos need to tell a story.  They need to be good enough to get people in to see listings.  This is a huge part of our service as listing agents!!!  We MUST do a good job on the pictures!  This helps sell homes. 

Everyone edits his/her listing photos.  They may need to be cropped, lightened, straightened, etc.

But there seems to be a trend toward major filter application / Photoshop action-type applications.

Here is the most recent example I have spotted in the St. Louis MLS:

Sample Enhanced picture

Does that look anything like a real house?  Or does it look like a watercolor rendering of the home?  It sort of looks like it was plucked from the cartoon-ish RE/MAX header I switched to for my blog header, above!  Sure looks like a pretty house — I love the gingerbread façade. 

Here’s how it looks on Google Street View:

Sample Google Street View

I know, I know:  The Google car came by on a dreary winter day, and the landscaping had not yet been done, etc.

But at what point are Realtors doing a GREAT JOB of photographing their listings (or having them done professionally) v. misrepresenting what is there?  There is nothing wrong with crisp, beautiful home photos.  The photography part of this job can be fun, actually.  But at what point have we crossed the line?  With this beautiful but certainly edited photo?

Photoshopped Picture

Nah, that probably crosses no lines.  It is, perhaps, a ‘saltwater tank’ version of reality, but there’s likely no fibbing here.

Or how about this comparison – the first one is from the current listing, which is under contract, and has shopped / action-applied photos, and the expired listing photo is the second one, which didn’t sell, and appears to be a picture straight from the camera:

Kitchen Shopped                           Kitchen Not Shopped


A guilty pleasure of mine is Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing LA.   An agent on the New York version of the show ran into some hot water a few months ago by posting a Photoshop remodel of one of his listings on the local MLS.  For his shenanigans, he’s being investigated by the New York Department of State (click here to read more).    I don’t think what the agent for the watercolor listing above has done is equal to showing a house with hardwood floors when it actually has carpeting, but there still seems to be a disconnect.

What do you think? 

Happy Real Estating!