Saturday, March 28, 2009

MORTGAGE NEWS – Maximizing the Housing Tax Credit and mortgage rates

The real estate market has really started to rally and part of that success can be attributed to the new Housing Tax Credit for first-time homebuyers.

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, qualifying taxpayers who purchase a home before Dec. 1 receive up to $8,000 or $4,000 for married individuals filing separately. People can claim the credit either on their 2008 tax returns due April 15 or on their 2009 tax returns next year.

For people who recently purchased a home or are considering buying in the next few months, there are several different ways that they can get this tax credit even if they've already filed their tax return.

The filing options to consider are:
  • File an extension - Taxpayers who haven't yet filed their 2008 returns but are buying a home soon can request a six-month extension to October 15. This step would be faster than waiting until next year to claim it on the 2009 tax return. Even with an extension, taxpayers could still file electronically, receiving their refund in as few as 10 days with direct deposit.
  • File now, amend later - Taxpayers due a sizable refund for their 2008 tax return but who also are considering buying a house in the next few months can file their return now and claim the credit later. Taxpayers would file their 2008 tax forms as usual, then follow up with an amended return later this year to claim the homebuyer credit.
  • Amend the 2008 tax return - Taxpayers buying a home in the near future who have already filed their 2008 tax return can consider filing an amended tax return. The amended tax return will allow them to claim the homebuyer credit on the 2008 return without waiting until next year to claim it on the 2009 return.
  • Claim the credit in 2009 rather than 2008 - For some taxpayers, it may make more financial sense to wait and claim the homebuyer credit next year when they file the 2009 tax return rather than claiming it now on the 2008 tax return. This could benefit taxpayers who might qualify for a higher credit on the 2009 tax return. This could include people who have less income in 2009 than 2008 because of factors such as a job loss or drop in investment income.

The IRS reminds taxpayers the amount of the credit begins to phase out for taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income is more than $75,000, or $150,000 for joint filers. Taxpayers can claim 10 percent of the purchase price up to $8,000, or $4,000 for married individuals filing separately. provides more information, including guidance for people who bought their first homes in 2008. To learn more about the overall implementation of the Recovery Act, visit

As always, consult with your tax adviser if you have any questions about the Housing Tax Credit and which option would be best for your situation.

30 Year Fixed 5.00% with 0 points and only $399 in lender fees
MHDC (CAL) FHA 30 Year Fixed 6.31% with 0 points
FHA 30 Year Fixed 5.00% with 0 points and only $399 in lender fees

Around St. Charles County

  • April 1: Heat Smart Safe Start: Helmet Fittings for Kids, Lake St. Louis Civic Center 4-6 p.m. -- Free
  • April 3: Flashlight Egg Hunt for 21 and older at Civic Hall at 7:30 p.m. - Admission
  • April 3: Flashlight Egg Hunt for 11-14 at Rotary Park Lower Pavilion at 7 - 9 p.m.
  • April 3-5: Missouri Tartan Day Festivities, Frontier Park
  • April 3-5: St. Charles Home Show, Saint Charles Convention Center; Friday & Saturday 11am-9pm & Sunday 11-5pm -- Free
  • April 11: Easter Egg Hunt for newborns to 12 years old and extreme hunt for 12- 18 year olds at Youth Activity Park, 10 a.m. for $5.00
  • April 15: Paws on Parade Walk, Quail Ridge Park 8:30 - 11 a.m. -- Free
  • April 18: Plein Air Painting for Kids ages 5-12, St. Peters City Centre Park, Saturday 1-3 pm --Free
  • April 18: Annual Spring City Wide Yard Sale starting at 7 am in Wentzville
  • April 22- May 3: Augusta Plein Air Art Event
  • April 24-26: Spring ArtWalk, Main Street and Foundry Art Centre
  • April 25 - 26: Earth & Arbor Day, Shop St. Peters, Crafts, games, prizes, activities Saturday 10 am - 4 pm Sunday 11 am - 3 pm -- Free
  • April 25: New Town Blues Festival, New Town Outdoor Ampitheater 6:00 PM
  • April 25: Riverlands Environmental Demonstration Area, 10 am-4 pm, free with some fees for off-site birding trips

Friday, March 27, 2009

Open House - New Construction in Foristell

We have completed another custom home and want to welcome you to come to the open house this weekend. This home over looks Incline Village Golf Resorts Lake ! Imagine every day getting a lake front view from your living room, master bedroom or relaxing in your screened in covered deck. Open house will be Saturday and Sunday, March 28 - 29, at 1:00 -4:00 p.m. and will be listed in the Friday Post Dispatch real estate section. Please come buy, tell friends or call for a free consultation.

10737 Incline Village West
Foristell, MO63348
Incline Village Golf Resort Community

  • 1700 sq ft ranch
  • Lake front view
  • 5 car garage w/ 2 driveways
  • 9' pour and partially finished walk out basement
  • Vaulted and coffered ceilings
  • Hardwood entry
  • Screened in 12x12 deck and 8x10 grilling deck
  • Double vanity and separate whirlpool in master bath

Top 10 Reasons to Build or Buy in 2009!

  1. $8000 tax credit for first time home buyers! It's your tax dollars anyway get it back now!
  2. Record low interest rates 4-5% for 30 year fixed mortgages.
  3. The cost to build is at record lows because of market competition.
  4. Paragon Custom Homes is now including FREE a 2-10 Home warranty 1 years craftsmanship / 2 year Systems / 10 year on Foundation systems. Visit for details.
  5. Every new home will come with FREE ADT Home Security System with 3 years paid Central Station Monitoring also giving 20% discount on your home owners insurance. We can also sign up any currently owned home.
  6. Any new construction custom home contract signed by July 2009 will recieve a Free 42" flat screen TV while supplies last.
  7. Pick our existing floorplans or we will work with our architect to design your dream home no matter what the size or cost.
  8. Pick every option on your new dream home.
  9. Building new is less risky than buying an existing home or forclosure. Examples new roof, furnace, water heater, plumbing, foundation problems are all avoided.
  10. We have 10 years of experience in the industry that allows you to purchase a home with and equitable situation. Your dreams in real estate is our passion!

***Call us about our turn key rental and investment property programs***

(314) 558-9225 OFFICE
(636) 946-5333 ext. 222 OFFICE

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Existing Home Sales Are Up

There’s a glimmer of hope in the housing market. Existing home sales increased in February 2009, at a rate of 5.1 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Chief economist Lawrence Yun says that first-time buyers accounted for half of all home sales last month, with activity centered in the lower price ranges. He attributes this increase to more potential homes buyers learning about the $8,000 tax credit for first time buyers.

Merle Schneider of the St. Charles County Association of Realtors notes that “locally, most of the statistics are better than the national numbers. More buyers are looking for homes and we are in the traditional spring-early summer home buying season.”

Schneider, who is co-owner of SCHNEIDER Real Estate, adds “with the stock market beginning a slight rebound, buyers and sellers have a more positive outlook on their financial futures. Home ownership has always been the core value for American security. Recent statistics show that we have begun to re-invest in housing stability.”

Monday, March 23, 2009

9 Tips for Homebuyers

As demand for homes is expected to increase this Spring, offers 9 tips for homebuyers.

Buyers have access to the lowest mortgage rates in years and an $8000 first time home buyer tax credit that does not have to be repaid if the homeowner lives in the home for at least three years. This should improved demand side for the housing market and with these nine tips, buyers should be moving in to their new home soon.

  1. Cash is king. With down payment increases from FHA and Fannie Mae, cash has more buying power than before.
  2. Negotiate everything. Home sellers will be offering more incentives to sell their home quickly. Consider asking for seller paid closing costs, property taxes, and home association fees.
  3. Save for a down payment. Set up a budget and include savings. The ideal goal is for 20% down on your new home.
  4. Determine how much home you can afford. Understand what you would like your monthly payment to be before finding out what amount you qualify for.
  5. Improve your credit score. Check your credit report for reporting errors, pay your bills on time, and do not cancel or close any open accounts.
  6. Research the local housing market. As you work with your local Realtor, search online to find out how long homes have been on the market and what they have sold for. The more you know, the better off you are in negotiating your purchase.
  7. Watch for certain neighborhoods. A Realtor will be able to help you avoid traffic issues, zoning changes, and higher crime areas.
  8. Consider foreclosed homes. With the number of foreclosed homes on the markets banks should be eager to sell.
  9. Look ahead. If you don’t qualify for a mortgage today continue to watch the market and keep up your savings.

For assistance on qualifying for your home purchase or for a Realtor referral contact us directly at or (314) 558-9225.

9 Tips for Homebuyers and Sellers in 2009
February 24, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Frequently Asked Questions about First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit in Missouri

Click the $8,000 gift to download First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Frequently Asked Questions PDF

Social Networking

When and Where:
Thursday, April 9
Time11:00 p.m.
The Columns Banquet Center
711 Veterans Memorial Pkwy
St. Charles, MO 63303
(636) 947-4729
$15 for members$17 for guests

No matter your field, today's Public Relations and Marketing has seen a drastic change. No longer can we rely on mass media in the form of Newspapers and even traditional Television to send our messages. Strategic communicator and Public Relations Society member Melissa Wilson will expose you to upcoming trends and emerging technologies and better position yourself in today's evolving marketplace. Join us to:

  • Identify Top Social Networking Sites
  • Share local demographics and usage
  • Create a plan to move yourself to the desired locations

About Melissa Wilson
Melissa Wilson, owner of Wilson Monnig Creative, provides strategic communication counsel, implementation, and reporting. Since beginning the company, Melissa has worked closely with international and local clients to spend effectively, and focus on reaching their target markets. Prior to founding her consultancy in 2007, Melissa held communications positions for a national funeral home business and international non-profit organization. Melissa is a Public Relations and Advertising graduate of Stephens College and continued her education earning a Master of Arts at Lindenwood University in the study of Communications. She is active in PRSA, selected as a judge for The Stevies Award for Women in Business, and recipient of design awards including the Davies, The Communicator, and Hermes.

About Wilson Monnig Creative
Wilson Monnig Creative, located in St. Peters - St. Charles, Missouri, is an innovative marketing, public relations, advertising, web and print design company. Award-winning talent provides cutting edge services in traditional and new media. Our client's come from a broad spectrum of industries including real estate, agriculture, automotive, folk artists, personal fitness, and entrepreneurial start-ups.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Meet the courageous individuals who live with these devastating diseases and are excited to cheer you on all the way to the finish line!

What is an Honoree?

An Honoree is someone who provides inspiration to our athletes throughout the training and fundraising period. Honorees serve as symbols of strength and motivation, support and determination. An Honoree is someone who is currently being treated for Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

Each of our Team Challenge participants is matched up with an Honoree. Honorees have the unique opportunity to connect with individuals who have committed themselves to raising funds for the fight against Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. They will share their strength and courage with participants who are training to complete their endurance event.

When participants join Team Challenge, they commit to many months of training and fundraising before completing a half marathon. They are not only motivated by their own personal fitness goals, but are truly inspired by the bravery and fortitude of each Honoree.

Meet our Honorees!

Jillian Winchell


Jillian’s mother writes: Jillian, 10, has been dealing with IBD for about five years. When she was going into kindergarten she was constantly complaining of abdominal pain. I just thought she didn't want to go to school. Every day she would cry about her pain, and everyday I would tell her she had to go to school. I finally took her to see a gastroenterologist, Dr. Brady. The first thing she did was lab work, then an upper and lower endoscopy, which showed colitis.

Jillian was started on medication, and she slowly started feeling better. We, as a family went through her highs and lows, while she was on steroids. When she was on the steroids she would get mean and violent. She would try to hit her older sisters, when she was frustrated, or mad. It was hard to try to explain it all to a 9 and 12 year old, not to mention to Jillian. We all had to take it one day at a time.

Last year in late September, Jillian started complaining of joint pain. Dr. Brady sent her to a pediatric rheumatologist, After more testing she was diagnosed with arthritis. The rheumatologist said this could be related to the IBD. She was put on another medication to help with the joint pain, and continues to take the medications for the IBD.

Jillian has had long stretches of time, when she feels great, she will have occasional abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Then there are other times when she can think of nothing else but how much her stomach is hurting, and how many times a day she goes to the bathroom. Through out it all, Jillian continues to play sports, softball is her favorite, she loves the Cardinal Baseball team, and Albert Puljols is her hero. She struggles sometimes with being at school, and her classmates wondering why she has to go to the bathroom all the time. Jillian just tells them she has stomach troubles, but always feels weird about it. She has kept her grades at a B average, and we are very proud of her.

We sent her to Camp Oasis for the first time 3 years ago, which was the best thing we could have ever done. She got to be around kids that had the same problems with abdominal pain, and diarrhea. She felt more normal than weird. She continues to grow, and always knows there are people out there that are worse off than she is.

Karen Guglielmo


This year, you might have a difficult time tracking her down between traveling to Florida, California, Hawaii, Rome and perhaps Australia, hiking county and state parks, and singing with a nine-piece band, but last year you could count on finding Karen Guglielmo in the hospital suffering from surgical complications due to Crohn’s disease.

Karen is the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s Honored Teammate for the Kona, Hawaii, and Napa Valley, Calif, CCFA Team Challenge teams and knows what a challenge Crohn’s disease can be. She was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 1985, giving her 24 years of experience dealing with the various challenges inflammatory bowel disease presents. As a seventh grader trying out for the basketball team, Karen began having abdominal and joint pain, weight loss, and extreme fatigue. After several misdiagnoses, including “growing pains,” she was referred to Dr. Joseph Fitzgerald, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Riley’s Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. She was immediately diagnosed with severe Crohn’s disease following blood tests and a colonoscopy. Within the first six months of treatment she had her first bowel resection.

Junior and senior high school were a combination of steroids, surgery and show choir. Her classmates didn’t understand why she went from 100 to 160 lbs in the span of a month. They didn’t understand why she was gone from school for long periods of time, or why she got to leave the classroom without asking. When she was able to attend school, she participated in every non-sport extra-curricular activity she could find. She studied hard, and when she was hospitalized, several teachers and even the GI staff that took care of her tutored her. She graduated with a 3.975 grade point average and an ileostomy.

Study at the University of Illinois in Champaign presented similar challenges. Starting and withdrawing from school a half dozen times due to flare ups, obstructions and ultimately four more collegiate surgeries, she took a break from school in 1996 to get married. She and her husband, Jim, moved to Southern California, where she worked for a contract agency at McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) ultimately as a graphic design project manager. It was when they moved back to the Midwest in 1998 that Karen’s Crohn’s disease reared its ugly head again.

After having another surgery, Karen started working with Dr. Joshua Korzenik at Washington University School of Medicine. She had tried steroids and immuno-suppressants, 5-ASA’s, and some nontraditional therapies as well, but Remicade seemed to be the answer. Remicade provided Karen with her longest remission since her diagnosis, seven years free of pain. She went back to school at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and completed her Bachelor’s degree in Economics in the winter of 2000.

Remicade had its limits, however, and she developed yet another obstruction in 2005 that required additional surgery. By now, Karen was running short on intestine! After another obstruction and resection in 2007, Karen only had approximately three feet of intestine left; no colon, no rectum. She began treatments for Short Gut Syndrome, which required a centralized IV in her chest through which nutrients were infused. Though she could eat, her intestines did not absorb enough calories from her food to sustain her. She also started Humira to keep her Crohn’s disease in check.

Last year she had yet another operation for obstruction, which had its own set of complications, resulting in a second surgery in October. Between a vascular necrosis (blood vessel death) of her left hip due to early and prolonged steroid use, angioplasty and stint placement due to scarring caused by her central IV ports, and ten surgeries, it would seem that there was little hope for a positive outcome for Karen.

But Karen found hope in the support that was abundant in her family and friends, and particularly in her best friend, Jim. She found humility in the dedication of high school teachers that drove the two-hour each way trip to spend an hour teaching her what she was missing in the classroom. She found inspiration in the children and adults she has had the privilege to serve as a volunteer and employee of CCFA. She was awed by God’s influence in her life. Every time she was hospitalized she met someone who was so much worse off than she that she was able to see Crohn’s disease as “doable” and her experiences as something she could use to help others. Every time one medicine failed, there always seemed to be a new medicine that became available. She saw the evolution of surgical treatments that salvaged the little intestine that she had left. She marveled at the miracle of an IV that allows her to stay nourished and hydrated so she can climb mountains and see the world.

And she is able to see hope in the future today because of the research that CCFA funds, which will inevitably find the cure for this disease.

Donate to make a difference TODAY.

Is Country Living Right For You?

For decades homeowners have been lured by big city lights, leaving small towns and rural areas for a more urban experience. The tide may be turning again, and if you are interested in country living, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a deal for you. The terms are extraordinary–no down payment, 100% financing and very low interest rates.

To revitalize rural areas, the USDA started the Rural Development program in 1991. Since then the program has grown to helping 265,000 homeowners and guaranteeing more than $24 billion in loans.

Considering the difficulties in the current housing/lending market, this program has become a very popular method to purchase a house and make a contribution to small town communities.

While the program is aimed at rural development, those areas can be quite close to urban centers. For instance, properties in some parts of St. Charles County and Jefferson County are eligible for this program. Also look to Warren and Lincoln Counties and many other counties from the eastern to western Missouri borders, excluding large urban areas.

Here are the details:
  • Properties must be located in a rural community with less than 20,000 population, or in open country not closely associated with an urban area.
  • There is no down payment.
  • The property is financed for 100% through traditional, qualified lenders, and the loan is guaranteed by the UDSA program. There is also the possibility of adding closing costs to the loan.
  • Mortgages are issued for a 30-year fixed rate with low interest rates.
  • The program requires moderate income levels with a credit history that shows a reasonable willingness to meet the loan obligations.

These days potential buyers are challenged to think creatively if they want to own a home. Going outside the normal process can bring a homeowner to a new lifestyle, a sense of pride in home ownership and the satisfaction of succeeding despite the odds.

During the past year, more than 3,000 Missouri households have turned to the USDA Rural Development program, to the tune of $277 million in guaranteed loans. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch 2-22-09) How about you? Explore the possibilities and find out if country living is in your future.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Neighborhood Home Loan Program (NHLP)

This product is designed to provide US Citizens, Permanent Resident Alien, & Non Permanent Resident Alien first time home buyers better access to home ownership.

• Same Requirements as the ITIN Loan Program above
• HUD Section 8 Home Ownership Program is an acceptable source of income

Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) Loan Program

This product is designed to provide Non-Resident Aliens first time home buyers with an ITIN in lieu of a Social Security number better access to home ownership.

  • Serves low to moderate Non Residential Alien first time home buyers
  • All applications must be taken face to face
  • No minimum credit score – there must be a minimum of 3 different sources with a minimum of 12 months continuous credit. These can include landlord, utilities, etc.
  • A minimum of $1,000 down payment must come from the borrower
  • They must be a resident in the same market as the property during the last 12 months
  • 12 months continuous employment required
  • Maximum Loan to value is 97% for a single family home and 95% for a 2 family owner occupied home.
  • No investment or construction loans allowed under this program
  • No mortgage insurance ( No MI )
  • Must complete a HUD Approved Home Buyer Education Program – a suggestion is

Help The Grant Hickman Team raise money for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Donate TODAY to make a difference!
Grant Hickman will be running 13.1 miles while helping the Foundation raise funds to find a cure for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

About Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

  • Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are painful, unpredictable diseases that attack the digestive system
  • There are 1.4 million Americans living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, two painful and unpredictable diseases of the digestive tract.
  • 150,000 (about 10 percent) are under age 18.
  • Most people develop the diseases between ages 15 and 35.
  • Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis are chronic inflammatory diseases
  • Due to the unpredictable nature of these diseases, patients never know when they might spend two weeks in the hospital, require surgery, or miss work or a personal event
  • Many patients have complications affecting other body parts – anemia from blood loss; inflammation of the eyes; joint pain; and more
  • The number of Crohn’s & colitis cases has increased 20 times since World War II
  • Approximately 20 percent of patients have another family member with Crohn’s or colitis
About the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America
  • The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s vision is a future free from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It seeks to cure these diseases, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected through research, education, and support services.
  • Instantly connect with others living with Crohn’s and colitis at the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s online community
Donate TODAY to make a difference!

At Home in St. Charles - How Simple Changes can make a difference

Just a few simple changes can give your room a whole new look without costing you a great deal. Rearranging furniture and accessories made this room more inviting. The windows in this lower level room were not attractive. Adding the horizontal molding took you eye away from the small windows and connected them to the whole wall. The paint made it a feature wall. Take a new look at your room and make some simple changes.