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NAR Members Gather to Build Habitat for Humanity Homes

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

Members of the National Realtors Association (NAR) from around the US, who were in California recently for their convention, also spent a day at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, framing new homes during the Habitat for Humanity of Orange County Volunteer Build Day. As a NAR member and a carpenter, I was thrilled to be able to join in this great event!                           

The vision of Habitat for Humanity is a world where everyone has a decent, safe and affordable place to live. Towards this end, they build or repair simple houses for low-income families around the world in need of a home. Along with volunteers, the homeowners themselves help with the building or repair of their homes, and may also be eligible to obtain a no-profit, no-interest mortgage through Habitat for Humanity to help pay for the home they receive.

From 8am to 3pm on Wednesday, November 9, 2011, we came together to work on framing several homes for Habitat for Humanity. Framing can be compared to building a home's skeleton, since the rest of the home's parts are built around the frame. We built many frameworks on Volunteer Build Day in the gym in the Convention Center, and they will eventually be moved to various new-home sites, where they will be used as the beginning construction for homes being put up in Orange County by Habitat for Humanity.

Take a look at the video of the Volunteer Build Day in California to see some of what NAR accomplished. As you can see, we're not only selling homes, but helping build them as well!

As both a carpenter and a Realtor®, I am so happy I was able to be in Anaheim framing with this great group of NAR members! Now I'm back here in the St. Clair, MO, area ready to help you buy or sell your home. Please contact me, Scott Hickinbotham, at 636-629-3419 or online so I can help you find the perfect home.

St. Jordan Creek Winery Now Open in Beaufort

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

In the heart of Missouri wine country, another winery has opened its doors. From now until December 31st (except for Christmas Day), the St. Jordan Creek Winery at 2829 U.S. Hwy. 50 in Beaufort will be open from noon to 6 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.                             

From 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 3rd, come and enjoy free tasting and food pairings as the winery holds its Winter Wine Party. Their newest wine, "Snowy Knight", will be released at this gathering.

Along with another new release, "Vineyard Ambrosia", "Snowy Knight" is made from the sweet vignoles grape and is perfect with light desserts or fresh fruit. A sweet Norton port called "1919" will also soon be released, just in time for the holidays. This wine is great with stews, beef and other hearty dishes.

St. Jordan Creek Winery has a wine shop where you can purchase any or all of their signature wines including the new releases, bottled water, soft drinks and beer, and munchies such as cheese and crackers. For those desiring to take home a souvenir of their visit to the winery, there are shirts and glasses featuring the winery logo.

If the weather stays nice or you come back in the warmer months, the winery also has a wine garden, where visitors can bring their own picnic lunch and enjoy it with wines purchased in the wine shop.

The St. Jordan Creek Winery is owned and operated by a 6th generation family of Bavarian agriculturalists, calling Franklin County home since 1845. They are also the ones who named the local creek after St. Jordan, who was born in Saxony (now Germany) in 1190 and converted many to Christianity.

If you're looking for a fun escape for a few hours this weekend, take a ride out to the St. Jordan Creek Winery and have a taste of what they have to offer. If you're desiring to move to this great area, or if you're already here and need help buying or selling a home, I can help! Please contact me, Scott Hickinbotham, at 636-629-3419 or online. Let's make St. Clair a great place to call home.

Should We Buy a St. Clair Home Now? Some Food for Thought!

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

 

You're probably hearing how bad the real estate market is right now. It seems to be a big topic on all the news channels. Have you also been thinking that now might be a good time to purchase a home in the St. Clair area, but you just aren't sure?

Here are six tips to give you some food for thought in deciding whether to buy a house in the current housing market.

1.  As I mentioned, the housing market is not at its best but rather somewhat stagnant at this point in time. However, the price of renting a home is on the rise. Demand for rentals has increased, due to foreclosures and little new construction, making a nice low-priced rental harder to find. Experts are predicting that the price to rent a home will increase by 5 percent through 2012. But the good news for buyers is that home prices are not increasing right now.

2.  Mortgage rates are at all-time lows. Current rates in the St. Clair area are running at 4.25 percent for a 30-year fixed mortgage and 3.57 percent for 15-year fixed mortgages. Interest rates are expected to rise slightly during 2012 and beyond.

3.  Home prices are now moving from the steeply falling prices we've seen recently to a more stable level. This means that if you buy a St. Clair home at today's prices, you shouldn't see a big drop in the home's value.

4.  Tougher lending standards will probably make qualifying for a mortgage more difficult in the coming years as the mortgage market moves out of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae's hands.

5.  Yes, foreclosures are rampant in Nevada, California and Arizona, but not so much in St. Clair, so there are more homes available as regular sales, which means no agonizing over when or if your bid on a foreclosure will be accepted.

6.  There are fewer serious buyers as your competition at this time, so it's unlikely you'll get into a bidding war trying to get an acceptance from the seller of your dream home.

Overall, it seems to me that now is a very good time to buy a home, especially for first-time homebuyers who don't already have a home they must sell. The market has great homes to offer at great prices, and mortgage rates are low, home values are not falling as they were, and your competition is more limited.

So have you made up your mind that now is a great time to buy? Do you need some help in finding that perfect home? Give me, Scott Hickinbotham, a call at 636-629-3419 or contact me online.

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Contact Information

Photo of Hickinbotham Real Estate Team Real Estate
Hickinbotham Real Estate Team
Scott Hickinbotham
862 S. Outer Rd.
St. Clair MO 63077
Scott: (636) 399-2296
Office: (636) 629-3419
Fax: 636-629-4462