Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Around St. Charles County

June 2009 Calendar of Events

Thursday, June 4-Thursday, August 27
St. Charles Municipal Band Concerts
8 p.m.
Jaycee Stage, Frontier Park, downtown St. Charles

Monday, June 8
I Need a Job!-Surviving a Job Loss presented by the Missouri Career Center
6:30-8 p.m.
Linnemann Branch, St. Charles City-County Library District

Wednesday, June 10
First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site, 200-216 S. Main St.
4-6 p.m.
History Series-Extreme Fire Starting-learn to start a fire for scratch.

Friday, June 12- Friday, July 24, 2009
Foundry Art Centre
New Exhibitions
Reception Friday, June 12, 6-9 p.m.
Gallery I and II-Photography Unlimited 4
Gallery III-Group 4 Award-Paperworks 3
Ameristar Gallery-Emerging Artist Xiaobing Liu and her daughter Snow Yunxue Fu

Thursday, June 18
Savor The Flavor Sponsored by the St. Peters Chamber of Commerce
St. Peters City Hall
5:30-8:30 p.m
Wine and food tasting of local restaurant cuisine, live music and dancing

Wednesday, June 24
St. Jean Baptiste Day Celebration
5-10 p.m. with live music from 6-8 p.m.
1800 Block of North Second St., Frenchtown
Food, music, games bonfire celebrating the summer solstice and St. Jean Baptist Day

Friday, June 26
Friday Night Flicks In Frenchtown
Charlotte’s Web
8 a.m.
Bring a chair or blanket for movies under the stars

Friday, June 19-Sunday, June 28
Shakespeare In The Park
6-10 p.m. except Sunday, June 28 at 2 p.m.
The Tempest-Set in the golden age if piracy, The Tempest provides suspense, fantasy, comedy and romance for audiences of all ages.
Entertainment precedes performance. Bring a chair or blanket and picnic. Food and craft vendors at site.
South End of Frontier Park

Have Patience and Bet On the Turtle for a Robust Housing Market

New home builders are feeling a bit peppy these days as builder confidence rose two points in May for the second straight month, according to a report by The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. This is the first back-to-back increase in builder confidence since February 2008.
The index gauges builder confidence in the market for newly built, single family homes.
CEO Jerry Howard says that the two consecutive months of gains in the index “are encouraging. We hope we are approaching the bottom and market stability is just around the corner.”

But wait. There’s the good news/cautious news scenario. The good news is the worst of the housing market problems may be over, but right now the housing market is improving at turtle speed. So, if you’re a bettor, place your money on the turtle and not the hare.

Sure, we want the economy to turn around, offer housing for qualified homebuyers and emerge from the three-year housing slump in good shape. Past experience has proven that sky rocketing growth with little control has not been favorable for our economy and the housing market.

Slowly but surely the housing market and the economy edge upward, and that’s the sensible way to recovery. We’ll see the beginning of a bounce back in early fall of 2009, but don’t expect to see the housing market equilibrium to stabilize until 2012.

Key to the housing industry is the first time homebuyer, who can take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit. This group of homebuyers is contributing stability and growth to the housing industry. Lending is another issue, but builders and Realtors hope that historic low mortgage rates, qualified buyers and lower purchase prices will encourage lenders to jump into the housing market and make lending available to worthy buyers.

Slow but sure wins the race and that’s the way to go now. There are new and existing real estate opportunities out there for you. The Grant Hickman Team understands the St. Charles market and will help you make the right choice.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Spotlight on The Grant Hickman Team

Q: Please introduce yourself?
Grant Hickman! Team members include Cary Knobbe and Lori Linhoff

Q: What is the name of your business?
The Grant Hickman Team

Q: Where is your business located?
1 Point West Blvd., Saint Charles, MO 63301

Q: Briefly describe what you/ your business does.
Buying a home, selling your home, avoiding foreclosure, or just looking into the market? Local St Charles and Saint Louis, Missouri real estate experts at The Grant Hickman Team will assist you to find or sell your home. Expert real estate services and systems and award-winning customer service are just a few reasons why The Grant Hickman Team is trusted by so many for foreclosure avoidance, relocation, home buying, investment property, home lease-up and new construction home building. Whether you are a first time or experienced homebuyer or seller, call The Grant Hickman Team for your real estate needs.

The Grant Hickman Team has a proven approach to buying and selling real estate which has resulted in their skyrocket to success and continuous achievement.
Ranked in the Top 3% of Agents –St. Charles County Agents
#1 in Sales Volume
#1 in Number of Homes Sold
#1 in Customer Service 2003 - 2008
Agent of the Year- 2002, 2003, 2006, & 2007 & 2008
Top "40 Professional Under 40" -St. Charles Magazine
"5 Star Customer Service" -St. Louis Magazine

Q: How many years have you been in business?
7 Awesome Years!!!

Q: What is your burning desire?
To continue to grow into the best Grant that I can be….it sure can be tough sometimes

Q: What’s something not many people know about you?
I played Classical Violin from grade school through college!

Q: Do you have a Website Address?
Yep, www.GrantHickman.com and www.GrantHickman.BlogSpot.com

Q: What’s the best way for someone to get a hold of you if they have further questions?
Direct: (314) 265-1531 / www.GrantHickman.com / RealEstate@GrantHickman.com

Expert Real Estate Services and Systems in St. Charles and St. Louis Missouri

Do you know your credit scores?

Banks, mortgage lenders, auto finance and consumer credit companies have always looked at credit scores as one of the factors when evaluating if and how much credit they give to someone. These companies and now insurance companies are utilizing credit scores as a much bigger factor than they were before.

For example; a year ago in the mortgage industry a person with a 650 credit score would have received the same interest rate as someone with a 750 or even 850 credit score. But with the credit tightening that has gone on for the last several months…all of that has changed.
You can still get a mortgage loan today with a 620 credit score, but it will not be the same loan or interest rate as someone with a 720 credit score.

With that in mind, it’s that much more important that you understand how credit scores are determined. Credit scores are based on five main categories, which are as follows:
  1. Payment History (Approximately 35% of your score is based on this category)
    1. Have you paid your past credit accounts on time?
    2. Are there any collection accounts, bankruptcies, foreclosures, lawsuits?
    3. How delinquent were the accounts? (60 days late, 90 days late, how many)
  2. Amounts Owed (Approximately 30% of your score is based on this category)
    1. What type of accounts do you owe on (credit cards, installment accounts, etc.)?
    2. How many accounts have balances?
    3. How much of the total credit line is being used?
    4. How much is owed compared to the original balance on installment accounts?
  3. Length of Credit History (Approximately 15% of your score is based on this category)
    1. How long have your credit accounts been established?
  4. New Credit (Approximately 10% of your score is based on this category)
    1. How many new accounts do you have?
    2. How long has it been since you opened a new account?
    3. How many recent credit inquiries have been made on your credit report?
  5. Types of Credit in Use (Approximately 10% of your score is based on this category)
    1. What kind of credit accounts do you have and how many of each?
As you can see there are a lot of factors that go into determining a credit score, so it’s not only important to know your credit scores but to also know your credit report. There are many sources of information out there to help you; so reach out to a professional if you need the help.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Are You On The Fence? Now’s The Time to Jump Off

Intrepid first-time homebuyers jumped off the fence and made an important impact on the housing market this week. Pending home sales rose 3.2 percent in March, according to the National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index. Closer to home the news is even better–pending home sales in St. Charles County rose 26 percent in March, says Karen Vennard, president of the St. Charles County Association of Realtors.

Investors liked the news too. Infused with a sense of optimism about the economy, the stock market responded with the Dow Jones Industrial gaining 214 points and the Nasdaq 44 points in one day.

First-timers evaluated the housing situation and decided that now is the time to buy. Interest rates are at an all time low, there is plenty of housing available, prices are affordable, and then there’s the 8 percent tax credit incentive for first-time buyers.

That tax credit expires December 1, 2009. The credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to $8,000. This has really moved people into the market instead of waiting to see what might happen down the line.

Because of the time limit on the tax credit, if you are a first-time buyer even remotely considering a home purchase this year, now is the time to get organized. This is excellent advice even if you don’t qualify for the tax credit.

Potential buyers should:

  • Keep saving! Cash is king and the bigger the down payment, the better mortgage terms you’ll get.
  • Investigate financing now and get pre-qualified for a loan.
  • Be very honest with yourself and determine how much house you can really afford. Do research on how much your monthly payment would be and consider expenses like utilities and taxes.
  • Check your credit report. You don’t want any surprises there.
  • Work with a SCHNEIDER Real Estate Realtor who knows the neighborhoods, schools, social amenities and has your interest as a buyer as first priority.

Sellers should:
  • Communicate with your Realtor. Pass along improvements you’ve made that would make a good selling point. Open communication is absolutely necessary for your Realtor to bring you the best qualified buyers and avoid misunderstandings.
  • Speaking of communication, make sure everyone knows your home is for sale. Word-of-mouth is one of the best marketing tools. Welcome neighbors at your open house. They in turn may very well bring your buyer to you Realtor and clinch the sale.
  • Keep your property neat, clean and inviting. Mow the grass, trim the shrubs, water those annuals and perennials. Nothing says you’re not welcome like dead flowers and overgrown grass. Potential buyers will find your listing on the Internet or in the newspaper and drive by to preview the property. You have about 45 seconds of curb appeal to convince a buyer that your home is well cared for and the right purchase.
  • Green, green, green is the way to go. The current movement toward energy savings and sustainable resources is not a fad. Buyers are looking for ecological solutions in their purchases and sellers need to incorporate these features into the home’s selling points.

While things are looking up right now, we still don’t know if the market has bottomed out and is on the way up to more robust times. Both buyers and sellers must make their own personal decisions about the housing market. Returning to a growing economy and housing market won’t be easy. But if we all get off the fence and show some confidence, we’ll get there sooner rather than later.