Tracy Ellis

Tracy is also featured in Gazelle West & Gazelle St. Louis as the local Real Estate Contributor.

Are people still buying upscale homes?
1Yes, the demand for upscale homes continues to grow.  Buyers realize high-end homes are likely to be more affordable than they will be in the future.  The luxury housing market was the first to recover after the housing crisis and has been going strong ever since, benefiting from low interest rates, and an improving economy and investments.  A lot of my clients look at their luxury home purchase as an investment and part of their portfolio, as much as a lifestyle purchase.
How should my home be staged while on the market?
I always tell all of my clients that living in your home and selling it are two completely different things.  It’s rare that I go to a home for the first meeting without offering a list of recommendations before potential buyers enter the home.  Recently, I entered the
perfectly staged home at 4 St. Libory in Ofallon.  This home shows as if it were professionally staged, here are a few tips to ensure your home shows its best!
Clean! Clean! Clean—Nothing turns a buyer away more than a dirty home!  Walls should be wiped down, hand rails, doors, air return vents, floor vents, and door knobs, and basically anything you can see should be cleaned.  A grimy glass shower door can really wash out your sale. Buyers open everything, so clean your oven.
De-clutter! De-clutter! De-clutter—Less is more!  If it’s sitting on the floor and it’s not a piece of furniture, it doesn’t need to be there.  Everything in your home is taking away square footage and you want your home to appear as large as possible.  If you have chairs with ottomans, remove the ottoman.  You don’t need a table next to every piece of furniture.  Reduce your kitchen and dining room tables and remove excess chairs. Please remove all artificial plants and flowers.  If you have real plants keep them to a minimum, it shouldn’t look like a nursery in your home.  I know we all love our children, but remove all photos and calendars from your refrigerators.  Rugs define a space and make most rooms appear smaller , remove rugs and show off your flooring.
Make it light & bright—If you have ceiling fans without light kits, add one.  Lighting is very important, open your blinds and make sure your windows and blinds are clean.  If you have burnt out light bulbs replace them.
What can I do to make my kitchen show it’s best for the least amount of money?
If your kitchen cabinets are dated, instead of paying a lot of money to replace them, you can stain or paint them.  After you prepare the cabinets and remove the hardware, apply stain or paint in even strokes, going with the grain of the wood.  Add new hardware and yes, replace all the hinges if they’re visible.  Get rid of old appliances that make your kitchen look dated and replace with stainless steel.  Don’t just replace one appliance, everything needs to match.  Studies show that new kitchen appliances bring high returns for sellers.  Anything on your kitchen counters that you don’t use daily, shouldn’t be there while your home is on the market.

What types of inspections do you recommend to your buyers?
ALWAYS have a building, termite and radon inspection performed.  Depending on the home, its age and location, there are other inspections I strongly suggest to our clients.
Sewer Inspection with a camera—If there are large trees or if it’s an older home, I’d strongly suggest a sewer inspection with a camera.  This inspection could save you thousands of dollars.
Chimney Inspection—If after the building inspection there is any doubt about the structure of the chimney, you may need a chimney inspection performed.
Moisture and Mold Inspection—If you suspect any issues with moisture in the basement or possibly in the attic from a roof leak, you should definitely have this test performed.  Mold can lead to a lot of health problems.
Asbestos Inspection—If the home was built prior to 1975 you should have home tested. Asbestos can be present on insulation around duct work, water heaters and pipes.
Pool Inspection—If the home has a pool; you should have a pool inspection performed by a qualified pool inspector.

If I’m thinking of having a pool installed who would you suggest and when is the best time to do it?  If I were having a pool installed I’d call Pool Tron at 314-428- 1971.  They do an incredible job and have great customer service. It can take 2-3 months to get the pool design, shoot existing elevations, draft an approved plan, get trustee approval and file for a permit.  If you’d like to have your pool to enjoy in the summer you should start working with a company at the first of the year.  If you call Pool Tron to talk about installing a pool, some of the things that would be helpful to have available would be your survey, subdivision bi-laws, and the original plot plan for design parameters.

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