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Hickinbotham Real Estate Team


Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 92

Get your home ready to sell

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team


Bright breakfast nookWhen preparing your home for sale, a number of simple cosmetic changes often provide the biggest return on investment. Here are three tips to upgrade your house without breaking the bank:

  • Bring in the light. The right light creates the right mood. Adding lights to dark rooms can make your home feel warm and inviting. Bring outdoor light inside by opening curtains and installing economical sun tubes.
  • Create Space. Many of today's buyers are looking for open rooms. Consider removing unwanted walls to make your home feel more spacious. Buyers will often pay a premium to get a bit of extra room.
  • Replace Flooring. Get rid of that old carpet in the den and replace it with today's newer hardwoods and laminates. You don't have to spend a lot to make a big impression!

These simple tips can help you sell your home and take advantage of our today's market. Please contact us if you have any questions about selling your home. We are here to help!

October 2016 Sales Report

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

Sales of existing homes slowed a bit in August for a second month in a row even with mortgage rates near record lows. According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), higher home prices and inventory shortages kept some buyers on the sidelines. The Northeast was the only region with a monthly increase in August closings, partly owing to relatively better inventory t.

Total existing-home sales (measuring transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops) dropped 0.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.33 million in August from 5.38 million in July. Following August's decline, sales sit at their second-lowest pace of 2016 -- but are still slightly above (0.8 percent) one year ago (5.29 million).

Existing Home Sales By
Region NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said that recent job growth is not translating to higher home sales. "Healthy labor markets in most the country should be creating a sustained demand for home purchases," Yun said. He added, "however, there's no question that after peaking in June, sales in a majority of the country have inched backwards because inventory isn't picking up to tame price growth and replace what's being quickly sold."

Housing Data Takeaways

  • The median existing-home price (all housing types) in August was $240,200, up 5.1 percent over August 2015 ($228,500). August's price rise marks the 54th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.
  • Total housing inventory by August's end dropped 3.3 percent to 2.04 million existing homes for sale, and now sit 10.1 percent lower than a year ago (2.27 million); inventory has fallen year-over-year for 15 consecutive months. Unsold inventory at the current sales pace shows a 4.6-month supply, down from 4.7 months in July.
  • First-time buyers represented 31 percent of transactions in August, down from 32 percent both in July and one year ago. For all of 2015, first-time buyers drove 30 percent of sales.
  • According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.44 percent in August for a second month in a row and stayed at its lowest rate since January 2013 (3.41 percent). In 2015, the average commitment rate  was 3.85 percent.

NAR President Tom Salomone, of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida, says in today's fast-moving market, a Realtor® who knows about down payment options and their target area is essential to a successful buying experience. But buyers also need to have their ducks in a row according to Salamone. "Home shoppers serious about buying need to be ready with a pre-approval. This allows a Realtor® to hone in only on homes within the buyer's price range and ensures any offer presented to the seller is taken seriously."

September 2016 Sales Report

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), stubbornly low inventory in many areas of the United States hampered sales of existing homes. In fact, sales slowed in July and fell year-over-year for the first time since November 2015. During July, the West was the only region to see a monthly increase in closings.  

Nationally, total existing-home sales (measuring completed transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops), dropped 3.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million in July, down from June's 5.57 million. For only the second time in the last 21 months, sales now sit below (by 1.6 percent) a year ago (5.48 million).

Existing Home Sales By
Region NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said the number of existing-home sales dipped in July after climbing throughout the last four months. “Realtors® are reporting diminished buyer traffic because of the scarce number of affordable homes on the market, and the lack of supply is stifling the efforts of many prospective buyers attempting to purchase while mortgage rates hover at historical lows” Yun said.

Key Data Takeaways

  • July's national median price for existing homes (all housing types) was $244,100, a gain of 5.3 percent over July 2015 ($231,800). July’s price increase makes 53 straight months of year-over-year gains.
  • July's total housing inventory moved slightly higher (0.9 percent) to 2.13 million existing homes available, but is still 5.8 percent below a year ago (2.26 million) and has fallen year-over-year for 14 consecutive months.
  • The share of first-time buyers nationally was 32 percent in July, below last month (33 percent) but higher than 28 percent a year ago. 
  • Based on data from Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell from 3.57 percent in June to 3.44 percent in July. Mortgage rates have now declined for five months in a row and in July were the lowest since January 2013 (3.41 percent)

August 2016 Sales Report

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team


Propelled by the biggest percentage of sales to first-time buyers in almost four years, sales of existing homes in June kept an upward arc, growing for the fourth month in a row, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

Total existing-home sales in June (counting transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops) grew 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million from a downwardly revised 5.51 million in May. After this gain, sales are now 3.0 percent higher over June 2015 (5.41 million) and represent their highest annual pace since February 2007 (5.79 million). 

Existing Home Sales By

NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said that the four month streak of sales gains through June showcased a solid first half of 2016. Yun noted, "Existing sales rose again last month as more traditional buyers and fewer investors were able to close on a home despite many competitive areas with unrelenting supply and demand imbalances." Yun added that, "Sustained job growth as well as this year's descent in mortgage rates is undoubtedly driving the appetite for home purchases." NAR's economist added a cautionary note: "Looking ahead, it's unclear if this current sales pace can further accelerate as record high stock prices, near-record low mortgage rates and solid job gains face off against a dearth of homes available for sale and lofty home prices that keep advancing."

Key Takeaways

  • June's median price for existing homes (non-new builds) for all housing types was $247,700, up 4.8 percent over June 2015 ($236,300). June's increase represents a 52nd straight month of year-over-year gains.
  • Total housing inventory by the end of June fell slightly 0.9 percent, to 2.12 million existing homes available for sale. Unsold inventory now sits at a 4.6-month supply at the current sales velocity.
  • First-time buyers generated 33 percent of transactions in June, 3 percent higher than seen in May and a year ago -- in fact this is the highest since July 2012 (34 percent). 
  • Freddie Mac data shows the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell from 3.60 percent in May to 3.57 percent in June. Mortgage rates have now dropped for four consecutive months, and June's rates were the lowest since May 2013 (3.54 percent). The average commitment rate for all of 2015 was 3.85 percent.

Scott's Real Estate Update

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team


A Day in St. Clair, MO

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

A day in St. Clair, MO:

Start your day with breakfast at Lewis Café. Located on Main St., Lewis Café was established in 1938 and has become a staple for the community. After breakfast, take a stroll down main Street to visit local shops before taking a break to sit down at Main Street Park, home of the Frisco Caboose.

Take a picnic lunch to Orchard Park and sit under one of the multiple pavilions. This park is equipped with a soccer filed, two handball courts, a basketball court and playground equipment. Visit this park on the fourth of July to see the fireworks display or at the time when a park plays host to a community event! After lunch visit Evergreen Park. Home to a 9 hole disc golf course and the spray park.

When dinner time rolls around visit one of our multiple restaurants: Lewis Café, Tres Toritos, New China, Blondies or Gibby’s just to name a few.

After dinner, visit the Old Bus Stop Coffee Shop & Gallery. This cozy gallery is filled with works by local artists. Or if you would prefer dessert, visit Dana’s shaved ice for ice cream or shaved ice!

While visiting St. Clair, consider taking a drive through our beautiful country side or making a stop at one of the river accesses.  

St. Louis to be Nation's Second Hottest Real Estate Market in 2016

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

According to, which places the St. Louis metro area at No. 2, ahead of not just San Diego but top-10 markets Sacramento, Atlanta, New Orleans and Charlotte, the hottest real estate markets in 2016 are going to be Providence, St. Louis, and San Diego. It also shows St. Louis real estate inventory moving faster than the U.S. overall, online listings getting more views than other markets, and demand increasing as the local economy continues to improve.

"Next year looks to be the best year St. Louis has had in quite some time," says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for "We've been seeing strong demand in St. Louis, and if anything, it's starting to heat up even more." predicts that single-family home sales in the St. Louis area will increase by 8.6 percent compared to 2015 — with median home sale prices up 10 percent.

The website's analysis looks at a variety of factors, including mortgage rates, household income, and new housing starts. "There is no national real estate market," he observes. "There are 1,000 local housing markets. So we're looking at every individual market in the country."

St. Louis also finished third in the website's analysis of a market's success with "young Gen-X homebuyers," finishing behind only Atlanta and Denver, and just ahead of Charlotte, in terms of its 2016 prospects with those between the ages of 35 and 44.

Indeed, Smoke notes that, of all mortgages made in the St. Louis area this year, 42 percent are for buyers ages 25 to 34. That's something you're not seeing in California or New York.

"It's an extremely attractive market from the affordability standpoint," he says. "It's a great opportunity for anyone looking to start a family, or especially Gen Xers, who were most negatively influenced by the last housing downturn." They bought their first home at the peak of the market, Smoke notes, and subsequently suffered the largest share of foreclosures.

Now, in St. Louis at least, Gen Xers are showing they're ready to try again. And with the area poised to see job growth and household income rising at a pace faster than the national area, the housing market overall could be hot, hot, hot.



Sarah Fenske, Wed., Dec 2, 2015

Residential Leases vs. Triple Net Leases with Option to Purchase

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

Have you ever wondered the difference between a residential lease and a triple net lease with option to purchase? While every lease is different and before signing any legally binding document one should read over it carefully and/or consult a legal professional, here are some of the basic differences between a residential lease and a lease with option to purchase.

·   Typically, when it comes to a residential lease the owner/landlord is responsible for maintenance, repairs, and updates. Whereas when it comes to a triple net lease with option to purchase these responsibilities fall on the tenant/lessee.

·   Taxes and insurance are typically paid by the Lessor in both cases; however, on a triple net lease with option to purchase, the Lessee typically pays extra either monthly or when taxes and insurance are due to cover these costs.

·   When entering into a triple net lease with option to purchase contract, the Lessee is working toward ownership. Each month a portion of the amount paid to the Lessor goes toward interest and a portion toward the purchase price of the home. When entering into a residential lease, you are NOT working toward home ownership.

So, why do people choose a residential lease over a triple net lease with option to purchase? There are many reasons. Possibly the most common is maintenance on the home.

Why do people choose a triple net lease with option to purchase over a residential lease? Again with many reasons to choose from, possibly the most common reason is home ownership. For one reason or another the individual(s) are not ready to purchase at the time (this could be due to needing to raise their credit score, relocation/new job or numerous other reasons); however, they do not want to miss out on the home or they would like to have a head start in working down some of the purchase price.

Which one do you think is right for you?

P.S. Please remember that all leases are different and should be read carefully and fully. Do NOT be afraid to ask your Landlord questions regarding the lease (at the time of lease signing, OR before OR even after signing the lease). It is best that all parties are clear of expectations. When it comes to leases, don’t forget to have any/all special agreements detailed in writing. This is for everyone’s benefit!


Outdoor Living Ideas

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

4 Ways to Use Your Outdoor Space More

1. Go overboard on Comfy 

  • Patio Furniture as cushy as your indoor furniture.
  • Put down outdoor rugs so you're comfortable walking around barefoot.
  • Create natural privacy with shrubs and bushes.

​​2. Create a Broadband Paradise

  • Wireless outdoor Wi-Fi antennas provide an extra boost so you can stay connected.
  • A solar USB charging station will keep your gizmos powered.
  • Wireless speakers make it easy to bring your music outdoors.

3. Light the Way

  • Add sconces or pendant lights to make evening entertaining, grilling, and reading easier.
  • Illuminate walkways, rails, and steps with landscape solar lights.
  • Hang fairy or string lights to set an enchanting tone.

​​4. Make Your Outdoor Area Fun for Everyone

  • Add an outdoor playhouse for the kids.
  • A chalkboard fence is a fun accessory for both kids and adults.
  • Add a doggy door to the patio door and/or a doggy window in the fence.​
  • A fire pit for a small bonfire to cook s'mores and hot dogs.







Read more: 


Spring Cleaning 101

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team
Spring Cleaning 101
It's time to bust out the vacuum parts you never use, the ladder, the hose, and your pristine cloths and
How to Clean Your Kitchen


1. Declutter. Do a search and destroy mission in your cabinets and drawers. Donate or toss anything you don’t need. Wipe down drawers and cabinets. And clear your countertops of everything except items you use daily.


2. For  dirt and stubborn grease deposits, use a microfiber cloth.


3. To combat stains, use vinegar and baking soda  — plus a little elbow grease. They’ll clean and disinfect for a fraction of the price of commercial cleaning products.


4. Clean your smelly sink drain. Pour in a quarter-cup of baking soda followed by an equal amount of vinegar. Leave it overnight, then flush with boiling water.


5. To clean your oven, coat it with a paste of baking soda and water. Leave it to sit overnight, then wipe it down.


6. Wipe fingerprints off stainless steel appliances with a mixture of natural dish soap and warm water.


7. Combine equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle clean countertops.


8. Tackle once-a-year chores like vacuuming refrigerator coils (unplug your fridge first), and tossing expired food from the back of the pantry.



How to Keep Your Home Clean Longer


1. Defy dust by keeping your home’s humidity level between 40%-50%. That’ll eliminate static while decreasing dust mite growth.


2. Keep glass shower doors free of soap scum build-up by coating them with a rain-repellant product made for car windshields.


3. Use a wet pumice stone to scrape dirt and grease from your oven. It works much faster than an oven-cleaning product and doesn’t give off fumes.


4. Re-seal natural stone countertops twice a year.















Displaying blog entries 11-20 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