Melissae1, Home Buyer in Ballwin, MO

Relocating to St. Louis area (west county) - rent first or quickly buy?

Asked by Melissae1, Ballwin, MO Thu May 9, 2013

We are relocating from FL to the St. Louis area this summer for my husband's job. We are most interested in the Ballwin/Chesterfield area (Rockwood School District as my daughter liked it best of the ones we looked at.) It looks like the market there is turning around and we've been told there are more buyers than sellers right now.

Normally we would rent for a year and then buy after getting to know the area, but it looks like buying might be a good choice right now. Marketwise, should I try to buy immediately when my husband gets there in June (tough, since I can't get up there until then either) or rent for a year and hope the prices don't go up too much?

As an aside, where in the world are the reasonable rental properties? We see very few at all, and most of them are priced much higher than a mortgage on a comparable house.

Thanks for any insight!

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Dale Weir, Agent, Chesterfield, MO
Thu May 9, 2013
Right now, the prices are still lower based on the market over the past few years. On an average, we are expecting a 1-2% increase in home values per year in the greater St Louis area, however the West County area typically is considered a premium area and values are expected to rise faster there then in the overall metro area.

As of June 3rd, the cost of an FHA mortgage is going to rise dramatically due to an hefty increase in the mortgage insurance portion of the monthly payment. It is expected to add $100-200/month to a buyer's monthly mortgage payment. In addition, the mortgage insurance payment will REMAIN with the loan for the life of the loan (ie 30 years or until the home is refinanced into a conventional loan). In the past, a homeowner could request removal of the payment after they had 20% equity in the home. That will no longer be the case. This will result in a buyer's buying power being much lower after 3 June, then it is before 3 June. To avoid the increased cost, a buyer will have to have their loan locked in (which requires an accepted contract) prior to the 3 June cutoff.

As noted by my colleagues, the Rockwood School District area is a Wonderful place to live and schools are a very important consideration in choosing where you wish to live. You may also want to consider commute times to work.

If you would like additional information on the greater St Louis area, please go to You will also find information on my website
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Debbie Dutton, Agent, chesterfield, MO
Thu May 9, 2013
You're right. You will pay more in rent than you will for mortgage, insurance and taxes. The landlords want to make a profit on their investment. If you're in a position to buy, I believe you should at least give buying some serious consideration.
Buying can be a little scary when you're moving to a new area that you don't know. But a good agent can help you find the right house, especially since you have already narrowed the area down. As I work with my clients, I determine what is important for their lifestyle. Do you want to be by a park, close to shopping, near highways? What kind of commute do you expect? Do you like a wooded setting, small yards, neighborhoods? As I learn about your needs, wants and desires in a home and it's setting, I can narrow your search down further. A lot of that can be done long distance, but of course there's nothing like seeing the house for yourself.
I can offer you some tools that will be helpful as you look for your new home even before you arrive in St Louis-- whether you rent or buy. Please give me a call if you would like some help.

Debbie Dutton
Coldwell Banker Gundaker
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Judy Brown-R…, Agent, St. Louis, MO
Thu May 9, 2013
This is a great question, and one that many people just like you are asking. Because the market is accelerating, but interest rates are staying low, it would seem to be an excellent time to purchase a home. I do believe that prices will rise, as will interest rates. So if you are in a position to purchase, I think the benefits out weigh the risks. After 40+ years in real estate in St. Louis, I can tell you one thing for certain...there is no absolute right answer!
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Cait Donohue, Agent, Frontenac, MO
Thu May 9, 2013
Why don't you hook up with an agent that can help you make this decision. Whether you should rent or purchase is a decision you shouldn't make lightly. If you can answer a few questions, this would help guide you. What year would your daughter be in school? How long are you planning on living in St. Louis? If you are planning on living in St Louis for five years or more, purchasing may make more sense. Likewise if your daughter has a few years left in High School its likely she would want to stay in the same highschool.
Feel free to contact me if you would like, I'd be happy to assist you,whether you decide to purchase or lease. 314-660-4968
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