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Displaying blog entries 31-40 of 90

New Disc Golf Course in Evergreen Park

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

The St. Clair Parks and Recreation Board has set  the official grand opening of its new, nine-hole disc golf course in Evergreen Park for Tuesday, June 3, at 4pm. City employees and St. Clair Lions Club members have been working on the completion of the course since earlier this spring. Fairways have been seeded with grass and some general landscaping has been done. It is a par 30 and will be open from 7:30am till dark so go check it out next month!

Community Pride Week

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

This week is Community Pride Week! In conjunction with MODOT'S "No More Trash Bash" and St. Clair's City wide clean-up, the town is hosting Community Pride Week.The Mayor is encouraging every resident to take a few minutes of their time to pick up litter in our community and place it in a designated bag and put it out by the curb to be picked up by the City of St. Clair. The designated bags will be available for pick up at City Hall and St. Clair Police Station on Monday, April 21st- Wednesday April 23rd. Call City Hall at (636) 629-0333 ext. 104 to schedule a pick up. The trash must be in designated bags or the City will not pick them up.

St. Clair R-XIII Takes A Step Up in the Technology World

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

To start off the second semester of the 2013-2014 school  year Junior High and High School students received their own Chromebook for educational purposes. Faculty and administrators received their Chromebooks before the school year started to be able to help the students more when they received theirs. Each student will have to pay a $20 insurance policy to be able to take their Chromebook home with them after the school day. If they aren't able to pay the insurance policy the student will have to check-out their Chromebook from their adviser at the beginning of the school day and are required to check it back in to their adviser before they leave the campus. The Chromebooks have the same websites and apps blocked that they did on the school computers to keep the students from using the Chromebooks unconventionally. The students have been using them for about three months now and the administrators have been able to work out most of the bugs.

In Love With Two Houses?

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

Things you will want to consider when deciding between two houses: 

  1. The neighborhoods. If the two final contenders are in different neighborhoods, evaluate the pros and cons. If you have kids and being close to a park is important, you'll want to consider that. How close are shopping, restaurants, church, and other services? Are the streets maintained? Do homeowners landscape and maintain their homes nicely? How long will your commute to work be?
  • The schools. If you have school-aged children, you definitely want to consider the reputation of the neighborhood schools. You can usually find general district information and state standardized test results online. But once you're this deep in the process, you'll want to visit the schools and receive the information first-hand from school officials. You should also talk to teachers and parents.
  • Crime. Go to the local police or sheriff department and ask about crime in your specific neighborhood. You might find theft or vandalism to be more prevalent in one area than another.
  • The houses compared to others in the neighborhood. While it may boost your self-esteem to have the biggest house on the block, it's typically a better idea to stay away from purchasing the neighborhood monster. When it comes time to sell you'll find that the lower value of your neighbors' homes will shrink your home's value.



                                                                                                                                            Michele Dawson




Why Buy A Home Protection Plan?

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

Why Buy A Home Protection Plan?

Key Points to Remember:

  • All covered systems and appliances must be in normal operating condition at the time coverage takes effect.
  • Call first before having warranty work completed.
  • Only one heating and cooling system is covered unless additional coverage is purchased.


Offers FREE, No-Strings-Attached coverage during the listing (up to 6 months) and allows you to decide, depending on the purchase offer, whether to make the warranty a permanent condition of the sale. If the warranty is included in the final sale, payment is due at the time of closing. If the warranty is not included in the final offer, the warranty cancels and no money is owed regardless if there have been repairs made under the warranty.

Affords you with peace of mind and budget protection against untimely and expensive repairs during the listing of your home.

Offers you protection after the sale. The home buyer now has a place to go for repair work to mechanical systems instead of inconveniencing you after the sale.

Gives potential buyers confidence that your property is sound and provides them with protection that they will not get with the purchase of another home.

Fills the "wear and tear" gap that is created by the exclusion to your homeowners' insurance coverage (subject to the provisions of the warranty).


Provides you peace of mind on one of the largest investments of your life. No more worrying about expensive repairs on your home's appliances and mechanical systems. One toll-free number is all you need.

Affords you with budget protection after buying a home. The most your covered repair will cost is a low service fee. 66% of homeowners report a failure of at least two major items within the first year of home ownership and the average homeowner has 1.6 service calls per year.

Fills the "wear and tear" gap that is created by the exclusion to your homeowners' insurance coverage (subject to the provisions of the warranty).

While a thorough inspection by a professional home inspector or by yourself will ensure mechanical systems and appliances are in working order on the day of inspection, no one has the ability to predict when one of the covered systems fail. Your Home Protection Plan gives you the confidence that your mechanical systems and appliances will be covered in the event of a breakage or failure.

Allows you the choice of service providers to complete the repair. A preferred servicer (if available) will perform the initial diagnostics.


Quick Fixes - Home Staging

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

Quick ways to prepare a vacant home for sale!

1. Hire a professional cleaning crew to clean the house, inside and out.

2. If you don't plan to stage the home, have the carpet deep-cleaned or replaced.

3. Give all the rooms a fresh coat of paint.

4. Put a lamp in every room with timers so lights can turn on and off at different times. That way, buyers won't need to search for light switches in dark rooms.

5. In a non-distressed property, keeps the rooms at a comfortable temperature.

6. Put at least one air freshener in each room and closet out of sight so the home smells good.

2013 Hickinbotham Real Estate Community, Customer & Client Appreciation Celebration!

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

You are cordially invited to the..

2013 Hickinbotham Real Estate Community, Customer and Client Appreciation Celebration!!

When?: Saturday, July 27, 2013- 1:00 pm until ?

Where?: 456 Lakeshore Drive (Lake St. Clair), St. Clair, MO 63077

Bring the family and your favorite beverages and join us for all the fun!



Music by Keith and Michelle Gowert (including Karaoke) from 5:00pm - ?

Home Safety While on Vacation

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

Tips for keeping your home safe while on vacation:

1. DO NOT announce on Facebook or Twitter that you are leaving for vacation.

2. Maybe leave some lights on or blinds open.

3. One could have a family member stop by and take your mail inside for you.

4. Make sure you lock all your doors and windows.

5. Set alarms and make sure the security company has a close relative's phone number in case the alarm sounds.

6. Don't leave any spare keys under door mats or on top of door frames.

7. Don't post any pictures on the beach or Disney World until you get back home.

8. Make sure you turn all electrical appliances off before leaving.

9. Make sure all prescription medications, expensive jewelry, guns etc. are locked in a safe.

10. Make sure all guns are unloaded and ammunition also locked up.

City of St. Clair to Host EEZ

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team


Missouri Department of Economic Development


Provide tax credits to new or expanding businesses in a Missouri Enhanced Enterprise Zone.

FHFA Announces new streamlined modification initiative

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team


FHFA Announces New Streamlined Modification Initiative Borrowers and Servicers to Benefit From Simplified Program

Washington, DC – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will offer a new, simplified loan modification initiative to minimize losses and to help troubled borrowers avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. Beginning July 1, servicers will be required to offer eligible borrowers who are at least 90 days delinquent on their mortgage an easy way to lower their monthly payments and modify their mortgage without requiring financial or hardship documentation.

The new Streamlined Modification Initiative eliminates the administrative barriers associated with document collection and evaluation. Eligible borrowers must demonstrate a willingness and ability to pay by making three on-time trial payments, after which the mortgage will be permanently modified. Homeowners are encouraged to continue working with their servicer to evaluate all of their foreclosure prevention options. Documenting income and financial hardship could result in a modification with additional savings for the borrower.

"The Streamlined Modification Initiative adds to the suite of home retention tools offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," said FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco. "This new option gives delinquent borrowers another path to avoid foreclosure. We will still encourage such borrowers to provide documentation to support other modification options that would likely result in additional borrower savings."

The Streamlined Modification Initiative builds on the principles of the Servicing Alignment Initiative by encouraging servicers to resolve delinquencies earlier and in a more consistent and expeditious manner to keep more people in their homes and to minimize losses to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and taxpayers. The program expires August 1, 2015.

The program is available to those homeowners with loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Since being placed into conservatorships, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have completed 2.7 million foreclosure prevention transactions, including 1.3 million loan modifications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Streamlined Modification Initiative

1. What is the Streamlined Modification Initiative?

The new Streamlined Modification Initiative is designed to help more borrowers with mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac maintain homeownership. The initiative builds on lessons learned with the Servicing Alignment Initiative (SAI) - namely that early, effective borrower outreach and engagement is critical for successful modification solutions. Under the Streamlined Modification Initiative, many borrowers who are at least 90 days delinquent will be sent a Streamlined Modification Solicitation Offer that includes a Trial Period Plan specifying the dollar amount of the new mortgage payment based upon a fixed interest rate, extending the payment terms to 40 years, and providing principal forbearance for certain underwater borrowers. Borrowers will not be required to document their hardship or financial situations to receive the Streamlined Modification.

2. Why is FHFA directing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) to launch the Streamlined Modification Initiative?

Throughout the financial crisis, one of the biggest challenges in assisting troubled homeowners has been the administrative challenge of document collection. Since the inception of the Making Home Affordable (MHA) program, FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been measuring and monitoring borrower and servicer responsiveness to borrower assistance programs to understand why many borrowers are not able to get a loan modification. Removing the administrative barriers associated with document collection and servicer evaluation should enable significantly more borrowers to access the available options for home retention.

3. When will the Streamlined Modification Initiative be available?

The Streamlined Modification Initiative will begin July 1, 2013 and end August 1, 2015. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are issuing guidance to their mortgage servicers to implement the Streamlined Modification Initiative.

4. What are the eligibility requirements?

The loan must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Homeowners must be 90 days to 24 months delinquent, and have a first-lien mortgage that is at least 12 months old with a loan-to-value ratio equal to or greater than 80 percent. Loans that have been modified at least two times previously are not eligible. Click on these links to see if your loan is owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

5. How is the Streamlined Modification Initiative different from other Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage modification options?

The Streamlined Modification builds on the success of the Standard Modification program that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae announced last year under the Servicing Alignment Initiative. Starting July 1, 2013, servicers will be required to send a Streamlined Modification Solicitation Offer to borrowers who are at least 90 days delinquent and meet the initiative’s eligibility requirements. The key difference is that borrowers will not be required to document their hardship or financial situation, but will be able to accept a Streamlined Modification Offer by simply making the trial period payments and agreeing to the terms of the modification. Borrowers will also be advised that more beneficial terms may be available if they document their financial situation and work with their servicer to pursue the full range of foreclosure prevention options.

6. How does the Streamlined Modification Initiative differ from the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)?

Borrowers can look to take advantage of HAMP as soon as they run into financial troubles, but must provide financial, income and hardship documentation to their servicer to be considered for the program. The Streamlined Modification Initiative is only available for borrowers who are at least 90 days delinquent and it does not require borrowers to provide financial or hardship documentation. HAMP enables servicers to evaluate the borrower for modification terms based on an affordable payment that is 31 percent of the borrower’s gross monthly income. HAMP may provide a more affordable monthly payment than the Streamlined Modification Initiative. In addition, borrowers may be eligible to receive financial incentive payments under HAMP.

7. Will all delinquent borrowers with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages receive a Streamlined Modification Trial Period Plan after July 1, 2013 if he or she is 90+ days delinquent?

As of July 1, 2013, servicers must identify eligible borrowers who are 90 days to 24 months delinquent and send them an offer letter that states the terms of the modification, including the monthly payment required for a Streamlined Modification. These eligible borrowers can accept a Streamlined Modification Trial Period Plan by sending the specified payment to the loan servicer.

8. How long will the Trial Period last?

Similar to the Standard Modification, the Streamlined Modification Trial Period Plan will last three months. If the borrower makes on-time payments during the trial period and meets necessary criteria, the borrower will be asked to sign an agreement making the terms of the mortgage modification permanent.

9. What happens if a borrower misses a payment during the Streamlined Modification Trial Period Plan?

If the borrower misses a payment during the Streamlined Modification Trial Period Plan, the borrower will not be eligible for a permanent Streamlined Modification. However, the borrower may submit a Borrower Response Package to the servicer and will be evaluated for other alternatives to foreclosure, including other modification options.

10. Should struggling borrowers wait until the Streamlined Modification takes effect on July 1, 2013 to contact their servicer when they miss a payment?

For borrowers struggling to make their payments, calling the servicer as early as possible is the best option to ensure they are evaluated for the most appropriate alternative to foreclosure. When the borrower documents their financial situation, the servicer will be able to evaluate the borrower for alternative modification options with more beneficial terms. Calling the servicer will not exclude a borrower from receiving the Streamlined Modification solicitation.

11. When should I expect a letter from my servicer?

Servicers will be required to begin evaluating borrowers for a solicitation on July 1, 2013. Depending on the volume of delinquent borrowers and servicer capacity and systems, letters should be sent within a timely period.

12. What steps are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac taking to discourage strategic defaults by borrowers who stop paying their loans to get a Streamlined Modification?

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have existing proprietary screening measures to prevent strategic defaulters from taking advantage of a Streamlined Modification. Additionally, only those borrowers with loans more than 12 months old with a mark-to market loan-to-value ratio greater than 80 percent and who have not had two or more previous loan modifications will be solicited for participation.

13. Why limit eligibility to borrowers who have missed three or more monthly payments?

Because many borrowers who miss one or two payments have a temporary hardship and often reinstate their mortgage to current status, it is most effective to target borrowers who are at least 90 days delinquent. Borrowers who are current or less than 90 days delinquent and have a permanent hardship should contact their servicer to submit a Borrower Response Package so they can be evaluated for a mortgage modification or other alternative to foreclosure.

14. Does the Streamlined Modification cover borrowers with delinquent Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae mortgages secured by second homes and/or investment properties?

Yes. Delinquent borrowers with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages secured by second homes or investment properties are eligible to participate in the Streamlined Modification Initiative and may receive trial period plan offers, provided they also meet other eligibility criteria.

Displaying blog entries 31-40 of 90

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