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Hickinbotham Real Estate Blog

Hickinbotham Real Estate Team


Displaying blog entries 41-50 of 92

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.

Home Buying Checklist

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

Once you've made the decision to buy a home, it's time to start thinking about what comes next. every buyer needs a checklist that will guide them through the process of searching for the perfect home, evaluating their choices and making a purchase.



When you set out to buy a new home, you will need to familiarize yourself with various real estate terms, conduct research on the market value of homes in the area in which you intend to shop and learn the art of negotiation. This information will help as you browse homes, talk with REALTORS® and get further into the buying process.


Every 12 months, you are entitled to request a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. You should make this request before you begin looking at homes in order to allow yourself enough time to identify and dispute any inaccuracies in your credit file(s). When you approach a lender, you will need to make sure that everything is correct and up-to-date.


Pre-qualification is different than pre-approval in that it gives you a possible price range that you can afford, but does not guarantee you the loan. Pre-qualification is important because it will help you narrow your search to include only homes that you can afford. Knowing what you can pay beforehand will save you both time and disappointment in looking at homes that do not fit your budget. In today’s real estate market you should not begin your search before you have been pre-qualified.


Nobody knows the real estate business like a REALTOR®, so let them help you to find your new home. Based on your specific requirements, a REALTOR® can locate a home that will suit you at a price that’s within your budget. When he/she finds one or more possible candidates, you will be invited to tour the home. At this point, you should take a camera for the purpose of later reviewing each house with visuals instead of relying solely on memory.


Once you find the perfect home, make an offer that’s less than you are actually willing to pay. This way, the seller can make a counteroffer that would hopefully still be within your budget. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the art of negotiation so that can learn how to get the best deal without insulting the seller. If you have not yet been pre-approved, make sure that your offer is contingent upon your being able to obtain the necessary financing.


Once you and the seller agree on a purchase price, you may be required to provide an earnest money deposit that will secure the home as you obtain a loan (if applicable). A lender will require a home inspection and appraisal for the property in connection with your loan application. In most cases, you will know within a few weeks whether or not your application is approved, but the actual closing will not occur until the inspection and appraisal are complete.


Now that the papers are signed and you have the keys to your new home, it’s time to get moving – literally. Remember to decorate your new home and add all of those special touches that reflect your personality. After all, a house is only a house until you make it a home.

How to Survive A Heart Attack When Alone

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

In case you didn't know this could save your life!!

Let's say it's 6.15pm and you're going home (alone of course),
...after an unusually hard day on the job. You're reall......y tired, upset and frustrated. Suddenly you start experiencing severe pain in your chest that starts to drag out into your arm and up into your jaw. You are only about five miles (8kms) from the hospital nearest your home. Unfortunately you don't know if you'll be able to make it that far. You have been trained in CPR, but the guy that taught the course did not tell you how to perform it on yourself..!!


Since many people are alone when they suffer a heart attack, without help, the person whose heart is beating improperly and who begins to feel faint, has only about 10 seconds left before losing consciousness.
However, these victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and very vigorously.A deep breath should be taken before each cough, and the cough must be deep and prolonged, as when producing sputum from deep inside the chest.

A breath and a cough must be repeated about every two seconds without let-up until help arrives, or until the heart is felt to be beating normally again. Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating.
The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it regain normal rhythm. In this way, heart attack victims can get to a hospital.



Have A Fun and Safe Holidays!!

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team
  • Lock all doors and windows when you leave your home
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash
  • Keep presents out of view
  • Don't drink to excess
  • Do as much shopping as possible in advance of crowds
  • Park in well-lighted areas
Have a fun and safe Holiday!!
Hickinbotham Real Estate Team
"Serving all your Realtor needs since 1976

How to be safe on the job

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

In Real Estate it can be easy for a realtor to let their guard down. This business can very easily put realtors in dangerous situations no matter what area they are in. Never ignore your instincts. There are many precautions a realtor should take.

One way to be safe and be knowledgeable about who you are meeting would be to go online. These days you can find out pretty much everything about a person by just searching their name on the internet. ZabaSearch,com is a recommended site to find information on clients. Another good idea to stay safe would be to investigate unfamiliar neighborhoods by looking them up on Google Maps to see if there are any other homes near by. It would also be smart to searching the neighborhood's crime rate.

To find more important information, tips and strategies for staying safe on the job visit

Opportunities for those who are NOT delinquent on their mortgage to obtain a Short Sale

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

Revised rules from Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac may assist homeowners who are NOT delinquent on their mortgages to become eligible for Short Sales.  Read more from Realtor Magazine at:

Hickinbotham Real Estate has a proven track record of success with short sale listings, and we would love the opportunity to assist you with your home!  Call us today!  636-629-3419 or by email -



Our congratulations goes out to Lindsay Bauer, Robert Wright and Blake Womble, recipients of the 2012-2013 Floyd C. Hickinbotham Memorial, Clarence & Gladine Laubinger and St. Clair Rotary Scholarships.    "These young recipients show much promise in their future studies and career pursuits and we are happy to be a part of helping them achieve their life goals", said Scott Hickinbotham, Hickinbotham Real Estate, Inc.  "Our family is very proud to be able to assist these young people."  For more information on these scholarships, or East Central College Foundation - you may call Alice Whalen, Development Specialist at 636-584-6505. 

Elite Credit Services

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

Scott Hickinbotham Real Estate has teamed up with Elite Credit Services, a local leading credit restoration company to benefit your future. We know that cleaning your credit will not only improve your chances of obtaining financing for your home, but it will also decrease the amount you pay in interest on your mortgage, car loans, and credit cards. Your credit can also affect what you pay in insurance as well as what job you get.


Elite Credit Services uses the law in your favor to get any information on your credit report that is inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable removed from your credit report which improves your credit score. In addition to credit repair, a 24 four week education email course on credit and a dvd money smart training system is included in the program to educate clients on how the credit system works and how to maximize credit scores by adding positive information to their credit profiles.


We are requesting that all current clients in lease options call to schedule an appointment for a free credit repair consultation. Our lease option program is truly designed to help you become a homeowner and cleaning your credit will help you get pre-approved and on the road to home ownership.


Please call Elite Credit Services for your FREE credit consultation today 314-322-8740!


Missouri Mortgage Settlement

by Hickinbotham Real Estate Team

Some updated information is available to those who have been foreclosed upon, and for those who are 30 days late (or more) behind in their mortgage.  Go to  This is Attorney General Chris Koster's website and it outlines the National Settlement (that Missouri is a part of), and options that may be available to you.  There is also special assistance available for Military Service Members.  You may get more information by calling the Missouri Attorney General's Office Toll Free at 1-855-870-7676.

Displaying blog entries 41-50 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