Columbia Real Estate Blog

Agent Spotlight - Renee Roller Operations Manager

Meet the Team:  Renee Roller Operations Manager
I have officially fallen head over heels in love with plants. That’s right, you heard it. I love them all - any size, color, shape, prickly, not prickly, ugly, not ugly, hard to care for, easy to care for. Okay, you get it. Completely smitten. Not ashamed. Loud and proud plant lover right here.
My Mother was a Master Gardener. A master gardener, she certainly was. I felt like she just knew intuitively how to care for plants. If she didn’t know, she read and researched it until she knew it. Sadly, my Mother passed away in April 2020 from metastatic breast cancer. When my siblings and I were going through her things, I decided to hold on to a few items. There was one that I was especially excited about keeping though. It was her jade plant. I took it home and from that day on, it sparked a fire in me. That day was when it all began. Plants soon became a hobby and passion of mine. When I am tending to my plants, I feel like my mom’s presence is with me. I truly believe that her love flows through me into each and every plant that I care for.
Her love fuels my passion. I have lost count on how many plants that I now have. I mean - okay - I don’t have thatttt many. I’m just too lazy to go count. “Where do you get your plants?” you ask. Well, I am quite fond of Strawberry Hill Farms! It’s a local family-owned farm and you should definitely go see it. There’s so many beautiful plants and flowers that I almost feel like I could somehow get lost. If you haven’t been there yet, you must go! Then there’s Helmi’s Gardens in the south side...

Jefferson City: 25+ Things To Do In Missouri's Capital

Jefferson City: 25+ Things To Do In Missouri's Capital

Named after the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson City is a busy, vibrant city. It is a bike-friendly city that recently constructed new bike lanes to encourage and support active transportation. In addition, there are hiking trails, museums, theatres, and libraries situated throughout Jefferson City.

The busy city is home to several tourist attractions that are rich in history and feature impressive architecture. Jefferson City is home to the historic Missouri State Penitentiary and the Governor's Mansion. Residents can find spectacular views of the Missouri river and luscious green mature trees throughout the city. There are many great things to do in Jefferson City. It is a busy city with many exciting things to take in. Whether you're moving to Jefferson City or already living there, check out these 25+ things to do in Missouri's Capital.

View All Homes For Sale in Jefferson City, MO >>>

1. Tour Missouri State Penitentiary.

The Missouri State Penitentiary was an operational prison from 1836-2004. It remains owned by the state and offers several different guided tours of the building. Dive into history, explore beautiful photo opportunities and get spooky with...

15 Things to Know Before Moving to Columbia, MO

15 Things to Know Before Moving To Columbia, MO

Welcome to CoMo! That’s what the locals call this college town, but it is so much more. The Show-Me state’s fourth most populous area with just over 126,000 residents has a lot going for it. Since 1821, this town rose from small forts to impressive architectural buildings. One of the best places to live in Missouri, it is located in the center of the state, is equidistant from the big cities of St. Louis and Kansas City and lies 29 miles north of the state capital of Jefferson City.

1. College Town

Columbia is home to the University of Missouri, Stephens College, and Columbia College. Kids attend the Columbia Public Schools, where there are numerous elementary and middle schools and four public high schools.

2. Sports

College football fans will love having the Missouri Tigers play in their backyard. Home games in the fall bring over 70,000 fans to Faurot Field. There are basketball, baseball, and volleyball games at both the University of Missouri and Columbia College for the rest of...

Lake Of The Ozarks: 17 Reasons To Move To This Missouri Gem

Lake of Ozarks

One of the most beautiful places in the country is the gorgeous area of the Lake of the Ozarks Missouri. So many people love living in Lake Ozark MO and it has so many amazing things going for it. If you’re thinking about making a moving to Lake Ozark, check out some of these amazing features of this gorgeous area.

1) The location

The area is situated near the famous Ozark area which makes it a great place for anyone that enjoys the great outdoors. The city is situated about a 2.5-hour drive to nearby Kansas City and about a 3-hour drive to St. Louis.

2) The water

Many of the homes in the area are situated right on the lakefront or they’re close enough to give you an amazing view. Nothing beats living next to the cool, fresh air and being surrounded by nature.

The Water

3) The people

The population of Lake Ozark is around 2,100 and the community is very friendly. Residents in the area love to cater to the tourist season in the fall and there are plenty of activities for locals and visitors to enjoy.

4) The real estate

The median home value...

Keeping Your Home Safe: Identifying 5 Common Safety Hazards

Home Safety Tips

If you're like most people, then part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle includes keeping your home in good condition. Some parts to consider are cleanliness, safety hazards, and decoration. You know that there are aspects of these categories that require attention every day, but have you considered the severity of some safety risks? From unneccessary clutter to hard-to-spot mould, there are many things you don't want happening in your home.

Let's take a look at 5 common safety hazards that might be hiding in your house right now.

1. Fire Hazards

Fire Safety

A fire hazard doesn't always mean that there's a lit candle somewhere or leftover ashes in an ashtray. It can also be something as simple as clothing, paper, and food scraps that have been left near a heating vent. To best protect yourself from fire hazards, be sure to properly maintain your smoke detector and keep up with the required battery checks.

2. Unneccessary Clutter

Unnecessary clutter can be dangerous if ignored. It might seem like harmless memorabilia taking up space, but it's crucial to keep your home neat and tidy. Unneccessary clutter can lead to slip-and-fall accidents, fire hazards, or heavy items falling and causing damage. Make it a habit to always throw out things you know you don't need, and be aware of how it could affect your safety.


Work From Home: 7 Tips For Productivity

Productivity Tips

Working from home can be a great way to earn a living and have the freedom of being self-employed. However, it does mean that without a designated workplace, one's home office can easily become just another room in the house, or even a distraction.

Here are 7 tips for staying productive while working from home:

1) Designate a room in your house as your office

These days, more and more people are working from home. Having a designated room as your office can help keep you focused and on task. It will also be easy to close the door and avoid any distractions. With the increased amount of people working from home, a lot of homebuyers make a home office space a priority when they're shopping for a new home. In fact, a designated home office can actually increase the value of your home when you're looking to sell.

2) Make a schedule and stick to it

Whether you work in a traditional office or from home, having a schedule will help you accomplish more and stay focused. Just because your work day is flexible doesn't mean that your schedule should be too. Keeping regular hours--especially if they're early hours--will allow you to focus entirely on the task at hand, and reduce distractions.

Make A Schedule

3) Get dressed

If you've ever gone to work in your pajamas, then you know how distracting it can be. Getting dressed for work, even if it's just a t-shirt and jeans,...

The Ultimate Guide To Living In And Moving To Wentzville, MO

Moving To Wentzville

If you’re looking for a new home in the St. Louis metro area, look no farther than Wentzville. The city is located about 40 miles west of downtown St. Louis and has consistently grown over the last few years. In fact, Wentzville is one of the fastest-growing cities in all of Missouri.

Wentzville offers affordable housing options that cater to a wide range of lifestyles and demographics. One of the best features of the city: it’s usually sunny here! With lots of outdoor activities like fishing, hunting, golfing, and boating available nearby as well as plenty to do inside like shopping at antique stores or checking out live music performances at local bars, there really is never a dull moment in this St. Louis suburb.

Real Estate in Wentzville, MO

The Wentzville Missouri Real Estate market is experiencing growth. The housing choices are diverse and growing with new construction homes being built all the time. There are dozens of exemplary builders currently in the area building new homes and communities.

The majority of homes for sale in Wentzville are single,...

The RBRE Group 20 Fun Facts About Thad

Here are 20 Fun Facts about the RBRE Group's in house ninja and master of all things real estate. Thaddeus (Thad) is an integral part of what makes our team work so well and brings a bit of comedic relief around the office.
1) My wife and I bought our first home a week after our wedding. Instead of a honeymoon we went house hunting.
Thad Usovsky
2) I was born at Boone Hospital in Columbia and have not stopped loving and living in Columbia since!
3) I’m the youngest of 3 kids. My brother is 7.5 years old and my sister 5.5 years older. They think I’m perpetually 5 years old and treat me as such.
4) I’ve wanted to be a realtor since I was 12. Before I had my license, I would make my mom or dad drive me to the builder’s parade of homes, drive through established and new neighborhoods, all while constantly repeating that I would be a realtor “when I grow up”. It only took me until I was 29 to make the dream reality.

20 Fun Facts about Holly

The RBRE Group

20 Fun Facts about Holly

  1. I love Lakota coffee and I always order a 4-shot iced white chocolate mocha.  Did I say Love? I meant addicted.  My day cannot start until after I've had one.
  2. I eat Tabasco on everything.
  3. My family is from an island called the Seychelles. It is on the east coast of Africa above Madagascar. My mom came here from the island in 1982.Secheles Islands
  4. I have a beautiful little girl named Monroe; she lights up my life.
  5. I love to laugh. 
  6. I love my little girl Monroe’s laugh. Her laugh is contagious and her face lights up. It makes me smile and feel a love I never thought was possible. Monroe smiling
  7. Christmas is my favorite holiday, I love the spirit of the season, the gathering, the decorating, and the Christmas music.Holly and Monroe
  8. I love to make fresh floral arrangements. I enjoy picking up fresh flowers from Gerbes on Broadway on my way home.  Arranging them, adding a pop of color and the scents around the house makes me smile.Flower Arrangement Holly...

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day from a safe sneeze distance!

Did you know that when Aurther Guiness opened his brewery in Dublin City, Ireland in 1759 he signed a 9000 year lease for about $65 a year?

That was some serious planning and foresight.  The value of that commercial property today is probably a few dollars higher now.

When you are ready to look for your forever home, whether it's for the next 90 or 9000 years, I'm here to help.

Enjoy scrolling Facebook and looking homes for sale online while cozy in quarantine.  Hope you are stocked up on some liquid Irish gold and can enjoy it without getting pinched. Call or text me if you are interested in looking at homes or properties once the quarantine is lifted.

Don't let the leprechuans see you, wear green and skip the Guiness.



The Story of ShowMeRosie

My Story

By Rosie Apparatus

1969 American Apparatus Pumper Truck

6 Cylinders - 1000 Cubic Inches of Sass - 4 Speed - Seats 20

 The day Rosie  came home SMC

First of all, I ain’t old ‘nuff to be retired. That’s what I told them folks at the firehouse anyways. They said to me, “Rosie, you’re older than erry body here, ‘cept the chief, and he ain’t went on a call since most of us was just a twinkle in our daddies’ eyes.” Of course I made a fuss, but it ain’t do no good.

Next thing I know I’m gettin’ all gussied up for some parade by a buncha ol’ men wearing those funny-lookin’ hats with the little tassels a hangin’ off ‘em.  It was the silliest thing I ever saw, I tell you what.  Caught my reflection in a storefront window during the procession, and I’ll be darned if them boys didn’t have me a shinin’ and lookin’ good as I ever did.  Them Shriners in St. Louis is some pretty skilled folk.

That’s how it went for ol’ Rosie for quite a spell. I’d lay low in the garage a few months, get all shined up by the blue hair brigade, blow my sirens for the kids a linin’ the parade route, and then get tucked back beside Viola, my ’49 ladder truck roommate.


Have You Saved Enough for Closing Costs?

Have You Saved Enough for Closing Costs?

There are many potential homebuyers, and even sellers, who believe that they need at least a 20% down payment in order to buy a home or move on to their next home. Time after time, we have dispelled this myth by showing that many loan programs allow you to put down as little as 3% (or 0% with a VA loan).

If you have saved up your down payment and are ready to start your home search, one other piece of the puzzle is to make sure that you have saved enough for your closing costs.

Freddie Mac defines closing costs as:

“Closing costs, also called settlement fees, will need to be paid when you obtain a mortgage. These are fees charged by people representing your purchase, including your lender, real estate agent, and other third parties involved in the transaction. Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price.”

We’ve recently heard from many first-time homebuyers that they wished that someone had let them know that closing costs could be so high. If you think about it, with a low down payment program, your closing costs could equal the amount that you saved for your down payment.

Here is a list of just some of the fees/costs that may be included in your closing costs, depending on where the home you wish to purchase is located:

  • Government recording costs
  • Appraisal fees
  • Credit report fees
  • Lender origination fees
  • Title services (insurance, search fees)
  • Tax service fees
  • Survey fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Underwriting fees

Is there any way to avoid...

Selling in the Winter Attracts Serious Buyers

Selling in the Winter Attracts Serious Buyers

A recent study of more than 7 million home sales over the past four years revealed that the season in which a home is listed may be able to shed some light on the likelihood that the home will sell for more than asking price, as well as how quickly the sale will close.

It’s no surprise that listing a home for sale during the spring saw the largest return, as the spring is traditionally the busiest month for real estate. What is surprising, though, is that listing during the winter came in second!

“Among spring listings, 18.7 percent of homes fetched above asking, with winter listings not far behind at 17.5 percent. While 48.0 percent of homes listed in spring sold within 30 days, 46.2 percent of homes in winter did the same.”

The study goes on to say that:

“Buyers [in the winter] often need to move, so they’re much less likely to make a lowball offer and they’ll often want to close quickly — two things that can make the sale much smoother.”

Bottom Line

If you are debating listing your home for sale within the next 6 months, keep in mind that the spring is when most other homeowners will decide to list their homes as well. Listing your home this winter will ensure that you have the best exposure to the serious buyers who are out looking now!

The study used the astronomical seasons to determine which season the listing date fell into (Winter: Dec. 21 – Mar. 20; Spring: Mar. 21 – June 20; Summer: June 21 –...

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying Your Dream Home

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying Your Dream Home

If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are probably getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interest at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market.

Ask yourself the following 3 questions to help determine if now is actually a good time for you to buy in today’s market.

1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?

This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with money.

For example, a recent survey by Braun showed that over 75% of parents say “their child’s education is an important part of the search for a new home.”

This survey supports a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which revealed that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money. They are:

  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of that space

What does owning a home mean to you? What non-financial benefits will you and your family gain from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

2. Where are home values headed?

According to the latest Home Price Index from CoreLogic, home values are projected to increase by 5.3% over the next 12 months.

What does that mean to you?...

Is Getting a Home Mortgage Still Too Difficult?

Getting a Home Mortgage

There is no doubt that mortgage credit availability is expanding, meaning it is easier to finance a home today than it was last year. However, the mortgage market is still much tighter than it was prior to the housing boom and bust experienced between 2003 - 2006.

The Housing Financing Policy Center at the Urban Institute just released data revealing two reasons for the current exceptionally high credit standards:

  1. Additional restrictions lenders put on borrowing because of concerns that they will be forced to repurchase failed loans from the government-sponsored enterprises or Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
  2. The concern about potential litigation for imperfect loans.

What has been the result of these concerns?

6.3 Million Less Mortgages

The Policy Center report went on to say:

“It was so hard to get a mortgage in 2015 that lenders failed to make about 1.1 million mortgages that they would have made if reasonable lending standards had been in place. From 2009 to 2014, lenders failed to make about 5.2 million mortgages thanks to overly tight credit. In total, lenders would have issued 6.3 million additional mortgages between 2009 and 2015 if lending standards had been more reasonable.”

In an interview with DSNews, Laurie Goodman and Alanna McCargo of the Policy Center further explained:

“Our Housing Credit Availability Index (HCAI)* measures the probability that mortgage borrowers will become delinquent...