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3 tips to get ahead of the 2014 real estate market

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As the holidays approach, the housing market often winds down. Yet it would be wise to use this time of relative peace and quiet to plan for the year ahead. Families considering making a move may be wondering what kind of fortune awaits them in 2014.

Here’s the good news: The market is doing much better than it was. For a long time, St. Louisans were forced to watch as other parts of the country quickly rebounded; now it is their turn to share in the good fortune. However, the improved market offers its own perils. Here’s how to avoid them.

1. Don’t forget the checkbook.

Unfortunately, home buyers looking for a deal should have acted a year ago. St. Louis recently earned a bit of notoriety as one of Forbes’ magazine’s “priciest” forecasted markets for 2014, coming in at fourteenth in the nation for higher rents and increasing mortgage bills.

All in all, home buyers can expect to pay more ten percent more for the privilege of home ownership this year. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

2. Think outside the box.

Despite the heftier price tag in many areas, some bargains can still be found.

As the St. Louis Business Journal reports, Kirkwood and Webster Groves were 2013’s big winners. But one factor behind their success was a diverse housing stock that included everything from single-family homes to the smallest studio apartments. Other areas of St. Louis, such as Maplewood, may offer the same advantages, at a more manageable cost.

3. Act fast!

These days, a St. Louis home will spend much less time on the market than at the height of the recession. According to Movoto.com, in July, the average home was off the market a mere 62 days after its owners put it up for sale! That’s good incentive to hit the ground running in 2014.

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