Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 81-90 of 92

St. Clair Golfers Helping Young Burn Victims

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team


Meramec Lakes Golf Course will hold a Missouri Children's Burn Camp Fundraiser on October 15th, and with the price of a day of fun on the course, St. Clair golfers get to help surviving burn victims attend a very special summer camp.

The Burns Recovered Support Group, Inc. was formed in 1983 by the St. John's Mercy Medical Center Burn Care Team along with a group of young burn survivors. The goal of this wonderful support group is threefold: to assist young burn survivors, to give support to medical facilities that treat burn victims, and to educate the public in preventing injuries through burn awareness.

In 1997 the Support Group founded the Missouri Children's Burn Camp, which is a typical week-long summer camp where children and teens can go to have fun while making friends and memories to last a lifetime. They swim, do crafts, go boating and do other fun-filled summer activities. What's not typical about this summer camp is that these campers are all survivors of severe burn injuries, which means they've spent at least four days in a Burn Center or have burns that affect the face, head, hands or feet.

Survivors of severe burn injuries must be residents of Missouri or Kansas and be between the ages of 6 and 17 to attend the camp. Through the generosity of golfers and others who participate throughout the year in Missouri Children's Burn Camp Fundraisers, no child is charged to attend the Burn Camp.

If you'd like to participate in this very worthwhile event, here are the details for this fundraiser:

  • Date:  Saturday, October 15, 2011
  • Time:  10 am Shotgun Start
  • Place:  Meramec Lakes Golf Course
  • Cost:  $100/player, which includes 18 holes of golf, use of a cart, BBQ lunch and prizes
  • Format:  4-person Scramble
  • Sponsors:  Boles Firefighters Association, Wayside, Inc., Villa Ridge Foods and USA Truck & Trailer Repair

For more info you can contact Sheila at 314-413-4431, or if you're ready to register, you can easily do so online, where you'll see other ways you can donate to this worthy cause.

If you live in St. Clair or the surrounding areas, you already know what a caring community it is, and the Missouri Children's Burn Camp is just another way that we show our love for our neighbors. For anyone wanting 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.

And thanks for helping the Missouri Children's Burn Camp by participating in the Meramec Lakes Golf fundraiser!




Route 66 Farmers' Market--The Best Place to Find Local Produce in Saint Clair

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

What better way to spend a crisp fall Saturday morning in Saint Clair than by browsing the Route 66 Farmers' Market—the best place to find local produce in Saint Clair. Open every Saturday morning this year from April 30th thru October 29th, you'd better hurry because the season is quickly winding down as winter approaches.

Saint Clair's Farmers' Market is located at 855 N. Commercial in the lot in front of the Health Mart Pharmacy, and, weather permitting, is open from 7am until noon. This time of the year, you'll be able to find pumpkins for fall decorating, as well as other seasonal favorites such as turnips and winter squash.

Throughout the season, fresh eggs are always available as are baked goods, created by our own fantastic local cooks. For those wanting something a little out of the ordinary or possibly to buy as a gift, there is also pottery, local original art, honey produced by Saint Clair bees and goat milk soap created by, you guessed it, local artisans using local goat's milk! Homemade arts and crafts are also in the mix, so why not start your Christmas shopping now!

If you've never been to the Farmers' Market, you're in for quite a treat. It's always fun to see what local artists and farmers have to offer, and the food produced locally always seems fresher and tastier than anything you can get in a grocery store. It's also a good feeling when you can support your own neighbors by buying fruits and vegetables they've grown locally.

Wouldn't you like to be able to pick up fresh local produce and eat it at your very own home in Saint Clair? If you're looking for a home in our area, contact me, Scott Hickinbotham, today. I can help you find the perfect “locally grown” home for you and your family.

Historic Route 66: What a Way to Get to St. Clair!

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

If you're lucky enough to remember the TV show, Route 66, you may be impressed by the fact that Historic Route 66 runs through our fair city of St. Clair!

Route 66 was officially established on November 11, 1926, and this date is celebrated every year at various sites along what's affectionately called “the mother road”. It was decommissioned on June 27, 1985, and although a somewhat sad date, it too is remembered every year.

Cyrus Avery, known as the “father of Route 66”, was responsible for first mapping the route that would become Route 66. Beginning at Jackson Blvd. and Michigan Avenue in Chicago, the road runs through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, finally ending up in Santa Monica, California. It covers a total of 2400 miles, and was originally the “National Old Trails Highway”.

Route 66 is more than just a road, however, since it has become a symbol of our country's 20th century trek west. It embodies all the dreams, tears and trials that motivated Americans as they made the long trip west throughout the years of the road's heyday.

While old Route 66 no longer shows up on maps, anyone interested in taking a tour of Historic Route 66 may want to purchase a map or guide on the Historic 66 site. There are also great books, DVD's, and lots of other info on this site, as well as links to various photos that might be of interest to history buffs.

For those traveling Route 66 or coming to St. Clair by any other road, if you've decided this is the place you want to call home, the Hickinbotham Real Estate Team is ready to help you find the perfect spot in this beautiful countryside. Contact us online or give me, Scott Hickinbotham or Cathy Wilson, a call today at 636-399-2296/636-399-4285.





Low Appraisal Killing a Deal? Here's What To Do.

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

The National Association of REALTORS® reported that 16 percent of real estate professionals surveyed in June reported a cancelation in a sale, mostly due to a large number of low appraisals. 

Many real estate professionals are watching deals unravel, with some appraisals coming in 10 to 20 percent — or even more — below the accepted offer. 

“Over the past decade, finding ‘comps’ that accurately reflect values has been a challenge as values rose quickly during the boom and fell just as fast during the bust,” according to a recent article by RISMedia, 5 Ways to Fight a Low Appraisal. “Discounts paid for foreclosures and short sales have created a dual price structure between ‘normal’ and distress sales.”

Obviously one of the easiest solutions when a low appraisal comes in: Ask the seller to agree to a lower price. But when that doesn’t work, RISMedia offers some of the following tips for fighting low appraisals: 

Research to Back Up Your Case 

If your clients feel the appraisal was completed incorrectly, they have the right to get a copy of the appraisal from their lender and learn more about who performed it and what comparables were used. For example, your client can find out where the appraiser is based (maybe it was an out-of-town appraiser who was unfamiliar with the area). 

“If your appraisal was conducted by an out-of-town appraiser unfamiliar with your market, you have every right to demand a new appraisal,” the RISMedia article notes. 

Also, your client should evaluate what comparables were used in the appraisal. If your client feels unfair comps were used, they may ask their real estate agent to pull together a list of recent comparable sales — or possibly even pending sales too — to justify the agreed-to-sales price, which can then be submitted to the loan’s underwriter to help in asking for a review of the appraisal.

Request a New Appraisal

If your clients feel the appraisal wasn’t done fairly or accurately, they can ask their lender for a new appraisal. “Depending on how convincing your argument is, your lender has the ability to override the appraisal estimate, which is unlikely, or to order a new appraisal, which is more likely,” the article notes.

Get an Independent Appraisal

Your clients may opt to get their own appraisal. (If the loan is an FHA loan, they should ask the lender for a list of approved appraisers.) The bank will generally review the appraisal and ask the previous appraisal if they agree or disagree with the new one, the article notes. 

“If the first appraiser disputes your appraisal, the bank may request a third appraisal done by another appraiser, or they may just reject your appraisal,” according to the article. “However, if the first appraiser agrees with the disputes you present, they may adjust their original appraisal and you may get a better price.”

Read more tips from RISMedia on how to fight low appraisals. 

Source: “5 Ways to Fight a Low Appraisal,” RISMedia (Sept. 7, 2011)

Weak Appraisals Hamper Home Sales, Experts Say


Owners, Renters Favor Owning A Home

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

According to a NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® survey of 3,793 adults conducted by Harris Interactive and released in January 2011, home owners and renters agree that home ownership benefits individuals and families, strengthens our communities, and is integral to our nation’s economy.

Among the findings of NAR’s “American Attitudes About Homeownership” survey:

  • The vast majority of both home owners and renters say that owning a home is a smart decision over the long term. Even in today’s challenging economy, 95% of owners and 72% of renters believe that over a period of several years, it makes more sense to own a home.
  • Home owners are much more likely to be satisfied with the quality of their family and community life than renters. While more than half of owners (56%) are “very” or “extremely” satisfied with the overall quality of their family life, only about one-third (36%) of renters report the same levels of satisfaction. Also, 43% of home owners are “very” or “extremely” satisfied with their community life, compared with 30% of renters.
  • An overwhelming majority of home owners are happy with their decision to own a home. A full 93% of owners surveyed would buy again.
  • Most renters aspire to home ownership. The majority of renters (63%) say they are at least somewhat likely to purchase a home at some point in the future. Among them, young adults (18- to 24-years-old) have the strongest aspirations for home ownership.

The survey also confirmed that home owners and renters continue to have concerns about the economy:

  • In today’s market, many aspiring home owners face worries about job security and credit worthiness. Among renters who are “very” or “extremely” likely to buy a home in the future, three out of five consider confidence in job security or creditworthiness to be an obstacle.
  • Home owners and renters both believe that the mortgage interest deduction should not be targeted for change. 74% of owners and 62% of renters say it’s “extremely” or “very” important that the MID remain in place.

Given the strong public support of and aspirations for owning a home, we need to keep in place policies that support and encourage responsible, sustainable home ownership.

Real Estate Provisions in the 2010 Tax Relief Bill

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

H.R. 4853-Tax Bill Summary

On December 17, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4853) extending the Bush-era tax rates and a host of other expired and expiring provisions. The legislation is not "paid for," so there are no revenue raisers taken from real estate or other industry groups. The package provides temporary extensions of its numerous provisions. Some are retroactive, as well, so that the rules that had been in place previously will operate as if they had never expired.

Included in the bill are provisions that affect real estate investment and operations—such as energy-efficiency tax credits, capital gains, and more. A few key provisions of interest to REALTORS® include:

  • Retention of Bush-era tax brackets through the 2011 and 2012 tax years;
  • Retention of the capital gains tax rate of 15 percent for assets sold or disposed of during 2011 and 2012;
  • Reduction of payroll taxes for employees and self-employed individuals during 2011;
  • Extension of numerous energy efficiency credits through December 31, 2011, including: the Energy Efficient New Homes, Energy Efficient Existing Homes, and Energy Efficient Buildings credits.

Real Estate Marketing for Smart Phones

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

The Hickinbotham Real Estate Team is hard at work staying up to date with the new mobile device applications that are available for marketing online property listings via the mobile web.

There is certainly no shortage of real estate listings on the web.  Most online real estate listings are not optimized for viewing on small screens.

The Hickinbotham Real Estate Team will start marketing all of it's real estate listings through Vyoos which will enable the mobile user to view the property listings on their mobile phones on an optimized landing page.

Although Vyoos can detect and identify most devices currently on the market, their mobile landing pages are currently optimized for the iPhone and Android-based devices. They do plan on creating optimized versions for Blackberry, Nokia and other smartphones.

The Hickinbotham Real Estate Team is exploring all areas of the mobile web marketing, and are on track to utilize the most current marketing applications for the smart phones. 



2010 National Association of Realtors Convention

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

Scott and Cathy will be attending the 2010 National Association of Realtors Convention.  The Convention will take place over four days from Nov. 5th thru Nov. 8th in New Orleans.

Scott & Cathy will learn about changing issues affecting the industry, share ideas with colleagues outside their local marketplace, and see the incredible innovations that are shaping the future of real estate.

Scott & Cathy will attend several educational classes from economics, to trends, to social media.

While many have been victims of the challenging real estate market, Hickinbotham Real Estate remains strong in their 35th year of business.


TIF District Redevelopement Plan

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

It's taken about a year to go from the planning stage to the reality stage as the St. Clair Board of Aldermen agreed Monday night to allow Mayor Ron Blum to enter into an agreement for a firm to redevelop about 33 acres of property in the city.

By a unanimous 4-0 vote, the city approved Bill 2010-38, which then became Ordinance 1604. It allows Blum to enter into a Tax Increment Financing redevelopment agreement with Osage Fund LLC of St. Louis. Osage now can proceed with redeveloping 33 acres of property within the TIF redevelopment area near the intersection of Interstate 44 and Highway 47.

According to the ordinance language, the aldermen believe the redevelopment plan and the implementation of it is in the best interests of the city and "the health, safety, morals and welfare of its residents."

Last October, the TIF Committee voted to approve the redevelopment plan within the TIF district. The 33-acre parcel is adjacent to Frank Reed RV Center, 1991 N. Service Road.

Osage Fund LLC owns the land, and negotiations between city officials and Osage have continued for a year. The project is part of the I-44 East Redevelopment Area.

The original site plan shows three large retail buildings in the TIF district redevelopment plan, ample parking for those facilities and several "out lots" varying in size between about 1.25 and 1.75 acres. The "anchor" building on the plan is an 86,000-square-foot facility. Also included are a "specialty shop" structure measuring 42,000 square feet and 72,000 square feet of retail space in Building C.

City Administrator Jim Arndt said after the meeting, however, that the site plan can and will be tailored to what incoming businesses need.

"Once any leases are signed, Osage will build to specifications," Arndt said. "The makeup of the site could constantly be in flux. It all depends on who Osage gets to sign on the dotted line. It could end up being two large retailers instead of three. It just depends on who comes here.

"As far as the city, we'll just need to remain in the loop as to what's going on and how things are progressing."

One thing certain is a new road that will be built to the redevelopment site. That road is scheduled to be built in 2012, Arndt said, and will include traffic signals at the intersection of it and Highway 47 as well as land improvements. The new intersection will be in the vicinity of Angels Crossing Road north of Burger King.

"These site improvements will be done through a joint project between the city and the state," Arndt said.

The aldermen had no questions or comments about the pact between the mayor and Osage Fund LLC and wasted no time in approving the agreement.

Tax Increment Financing is a public financing method for municipalities used for redevelopment and community improvement projects. TIFs use future gains in taxes to finance current improvements which theoretically will create the conditions for those future gains.

In other business conducted by the aldermen during the meeting, they approved Bill 2010-39 which authorized the city clerk to amend the 2010 revenues and appropriations for the receipt and expense of $100,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, Iowa. This was the last disbursement of grant money to assist local homeowners with improvements.

Scott Hickinbotham & Cathy Wilson Earn CDPE Designation

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team


Scott Hickinbotham, Broker/Owner & Cathy Wilson, Broker Salesperson,  of  Hickinbotham Real Estate, Inc., located at 862 S. Outer Rd., St. Clair, MO  63077,  have earned the prestigious Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) designation, having completed extensive training in foreclosure avoidance and short sales.  This is invaluable expertise to offer at a time when the area is ravaged by “distressed” homes in the foreclosure process.

Short sales allow the cash-strapped seller to repay the mortgage at the price that the home sells for, even though it is lower than what is owed on the property.  With plummeting property values, this can save many people from foreclosure and even bankruptcy.  More and more lenders are willing to consider short sales because they are much less costly than foreclosures.

In the Franklin County area, a large number of homes are in danger of foreclosure.   It is happening in all price ranges.  Local experts say that even high-priced homes are not immune.

“This CDPE designation has been invaluable as I work with sellers and lenders on complicated short sales,” said Hickinbotham. “It is so rewarding to be able to help sellers save their homes from foreclosure.”

Alex Charfen, founder of the Distressed Property Institute in Boca Raton, Fla., said that Realtors® such as Scott Hickinbotham & Cathy Wilson, with the CDPE designation have valuable training in short sales that can offer the homeowner much better alternatives to foreclosure, which virtually destroys the credit rating.  These experts also may better understand market conditions and can help sellers through the emotional experience, he said.

The Distressed Property Institute opened in January 2008 and provides training on-site and online. The CDPE is the premier designation for Realtors helping homeowners in distress and handling short sales.

“Our goal is to educate as many people as possible so we can help as many homeowners as possible,” Charfen said.

For more information about CDPE designation or to find a certified distressed Realtor in your area, please call 1-800-482-0335.


Displaying blog entries 81-90 of 92

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