Friday, October 30, 2009

Calendar of Events

Month of November
Native American Heritage Month
St. Charles Community College celebrates Native American Heritage Month Festivities with concerts, documentary films, panel discussions, and a luncheon event, “The True Story of the First Thanksgiving.
For schedule, go to
Or call 636-922-8544 FREE

Wednesday, November 4
Medicare Update 2010
10-11 a.m.
Progress West HealthCare Center Community Room
CLAIM is a Medicare and insurance counseling program that provides free confidential and unbiased counseling. Learn changes in Medicare for 2010, how to access services, Medicare Part D. To register, call 636-344-2273.

Tuesday, November 10
Back In Time: Explore History
St. Charles :Les Petites Cotes
7 p.m.
Kathryn Linnemann Branch, St. Charles City-County Library Don and Dianna Graveman will discuss and sign their new book. In 1769, French Canadian fur trader Louis Blanchette built a cabin on the Missouri River in what is today St. Charles. He called the settlement Les Petites CĂ´tes, or the little hills. Today St. Charles hosts many annual events to celebrate its history and transport visitors to the past.

Wednesday, November 11
Veterans Day Memorial Service
11:00 AM
At the Veterans' Memorial at Bishops Landing along the riverfront.

Wednesday, November 11
McClay Branch, St. Charles City-County Library
10:00-2:00 p.m. Honor the veterans who have served or are serving in our Armed Forces. Make a thank-you card for a veteran and enjoy coffee and doughnuts. Supported by the Friends of the Library.

November 27-December 26
St. Charles Christmas Traditions
Historic South Main Street
Opening ceremonies at 11 a.m. at the Gazebo at 400 S. Main Street (Kister Park) with Santa’s arrival and hanging of the greens.

Holiday festivities include Santa Parade every Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 p.m., carolers, special shop hours, ice skating, fife and drum corps, carriage ride

November 27-December 30
Celebration of Lights
Fort Zumwalt Park, O’Fallon
Hours: Sunday, Tuesday-Thursday 6:30pm-9pm & Friday and Saturday from 6:30pm-10pm
Holiday light display of more than 1 million lights and a 1-mile display of holiday scenes.

First-time homebuyers are looking at the real possibility of a tax credit extension into 2010

Lawmakers are also considering tax credits for repeat buyers to enhance local economies

With the first-time homebuyer $8,000 tax credit set to expire at the end of November, both the Senate and House of Representatives are busy working through agreements to extend this popular program, and keep in place the loan limit for U.S.-backed mortgages at $729,750 for two years, thereby holding down interest rates.

More than 1.4 million first-time buyers have benefited from the $8,000 tax credit and that incentive helped to increase home sales in St. Charles County by 10.6% this September, compared to a year ago. St. Louis County saw an increase of 5.8% during the same period. The median home price has declined during the same time frame, by 3.4% in St. Charles County and 0.7% in St. Louis County.

To keep the up tick in housing sales going, legislators are trying to extend the tax credit incentive through June of 2010 for homebuyers who have a contract on a house by the end of April. Also proposed is up to $6,500 in tax credits for repeat buyers who have owned their home for at least five years, and an income increase to $125,000 a year for individuals and $225,000 for couples.

The Senate is expected to look at the extended tax credits next week (it’s been bundled with legislation to extend unemployment insurance) and then the House will have it’s chance to pass the legislation.

Without a doubt, the tax credits, decreased interest rates, various home ownership program assistance have helped countless qualified buyers purchase a home, and have provided more jobs for Americans in desperate need of jobs.

No doubt, this has been a rough patch for our citizens, our economy and our state of being. With extended housing incentives, we’ll be that much further to recovery and a positive outlook.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Putting your yard “to bed” in October means less work in the spring

Taking good care of your lawn at the end of the season makes good sense

While it may not be as rewarding up front as planting new spring flowers, getting your lawn and gardens ready for winter will be a real time saver come next year. Here are some tips to help you organize a fall clean-up.

Dead-head perennials. Remove spent annuals after the first frost, but resist the urge to prune perennials to the ground as this can invite insects and fungal infections. Always wait until spring when the first new growth appears before cutting perennials back.

Dig tender plants such as canna lily, dahlia and annual geraniums right after the first frost. Air dry plants and store in a cool dry location for the winter.

Don’t forget to water trees and shrubs, especially evergreens. The general rule is one inch of water per week. So check your rain gauge.

Collect soil samples from several locations in your lawn and around your trees. Have both samples tested. If lawn samples indicate a low pH apply lime now. Fertilize trees if soil samples indicate a deficiency.

If you are planning on reseeding or over seeding your lawn be sure to do it in October.
  • Cool season grasses benefit from fall applications of fertilizer. Nurserymen recommend three applications during the fall months. Cool season grasses include bluegrass, fescue and rye grass. Warm season grasses include zoysia, buffalo and Bermuda grass.
  • Broadleaf herbicides can be applied now to control cool season weeds.
  • For those who garden organically and shy away from herbicides and petroleum based fertilizers, a lush lawn is attainable. Organic fertilizers are available. Bradfield Organics, a local company, produces organic fertilizers specifically designed for lawns. If you choose an organic use a 3-1-5 fertilizer in the fall.
  • Rake your lawn to help keep it healthy. Your grass can actually be smothered when covered by a deep layer of leaves.

By Jeanne Baker, MLA, Landscape Designer

Monday, October 19, 2009

Seniors are still buying homes and want an active lifestyle

Healthcare, cost of living, recreation and education are high on the list

Where are the most affordable places for the 55+ crowd to retire and own homes? U.S. News & World Report highlighted the top 10 places attractive for seniors to begin a second life. The cities chosen are based on a criteria of median home prices, affordable cost of living, good healthcare resources, and recreational activities.

Another very important factor is the availability of jobs and a low unemployment rate. Seniors aren’t “re-tired”; they still want an active professional life as well.

Let’s look the best affordable places for 55 plus homeowners to retire: Ann Arbor, MI, Ashville, N.C., Aurora, CO, Columbia, S.C., Columbus, OH, Eugene, OR, Fort Worth, TX, Jacksonville, FL, Kansas City, MO, and Tucson, AR.

One common theme for these locations is the presence of a college or university. The cultural, academic and sports opportunities offered by an educational institution do attract seniors who don’t settle for an inactive retirement.

St. Charles County and the St. Louis metro region have many characteristics to attract senior homebuyers too–colleges and universities, healthcare, easy access to cultural events and plenty of sports, both professional and amateur. If you are considering selling your home, what would attract a senior buyer, in addition to the regional amenities?

The good news is 90 percent of the 55+ homebuyers are moving in the same general area or from a different part of the state, according to a survey by conducted by The National Association of Home Builders and the MetLife Mature Market Institute. Smaller, single family homes are preferred by 79 percent of the respondents, and open kitchen/family rooms, a washer and dryer plus lots of storage.

The 55+ age group is tuned into technology. They was special places for computers, advanced security systems, built-in wiring for flat screens and programmable, but easy to use thermostats. Energy efficient appliances are musts for 79 percent of the respondent group while other green concepts include solar heating, a water filtering system and chemical-free building materials.

Keep these tips in mind as you consider selling your home. Remember, every size home has a potential buyer out there.

Written by Myra Vandersall

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

We Welcome Elias Trace

Elias Trace is the newest member of the Grant Hickman Team. He honed his real estate skills at Retail Realty Group, LLC, in Chesterfield, Missouri, and is excited about using his skills to help St. Charles County families buy or sell their home. Because he lives where he works, in St. Peters and St. Charles County, Elias knows this market and community. As do all the members of the Grant Hickman team, he treats his clients with dignity and integrity.

When he's not helping clients with their real estate needs, you'll find Elias cooking, woodworking and following his love of the outdoors. He's also a recent graduate of Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, where he earned his bachelor's degree in commercial music.

Meet all of our Experts in Real Estate Services and Systems!

October planting for spring sale

October is the time to garden for now and for a spring sale
Look to the future when planning your fall garden. Putting in some extra work and planning now will pay off in ready–made spring blooms

By Jeanne Baker, MLA, Landscape Designer

Fall is officially here. The nights are cool and the trees are starting to change. There are beautiful flowers that wait to bloom until the temperature drops and the days shorten. Take advantage of this opportunity to add color by planting fall blooming perennials in containers, flower boxes or perennial beds. Containers are the perfect way to extend the growing season and bring color to your entrance. Remember to plant a mix of different species in your container and play with color. Choosing plants with contrasting color and form will stand out from a distance inviting a closer look.

Excellent container plants are chrysanthemums, asters (‘Purple Dome’), pansies, ornamental kale, purple fountain grass and Japanese blood grass. To plant, partially fill your container with potting soil or Styrofoam and insert plants still in their nursery pots. Protect your containers from an early frost by covering or moving them to an unheated garage. This will typically allow you to have beautiful plantings through Thanksgiving. Once the weather turns and an extended period of freezing temperatures is predicted, remove potted plants from their container and place pots in holes in the garden, water well and mulch heavily. Plants can over winter and be planted in a permanent home in the spring or repotted in containers.

Work now to insure a vibrant spring sale
If you want to sell your home next spring, now is the time to get a head start by planting spring flowering bulbs. The more planning you do now, the less work you’ll have come March and April. Pairing bulbs with compatible perennials will keep your beds looking neat even when after your bulbs have bloomed and their foliage have started to droop and yellow. The key is picking bulbs and perennials that require similar growing conditions, such as sunny/dry, moist or shady. Plant the bulbs with their companion perennials so that spreading plants will grow in over the spent bulbs. Suggested combinations:
  • Sunny/dry locations – pair daffodils, tulip and/or hyacinth with peony, cranesbill or lamb’s ear to cover. You can plant dianthus in front of bulbs/perennial companions.
  • Moist locations – pair Spanish bluebell, fritillaria and/or quamash with astilbe, cardinal flower or brunnera to cover. Can plant mazus and/or coral bells in front of bulbs/perennial companions.
  • Shady locations – pair wood hyacinth, windflower or toad lily with hostas, celandine poppy or ferns to cover. Can plant sweet woodruff in front of bulbs/perennial companions.
Don’t have the time or the budget to plant everything at once? Plant the bulbs this fall and fill in with the perennials in the spring. Bulbs need the cold weather in order to bloom so be sure to get them before winter.
For more on bulb/perennial companions go to:

Fall is the perfect time to plant new trees and shrubs
Give the new plants time to start acclimating to their new environment during their dormant period before spring and the demands of new growth. Be sure to follow planting instructions carefully. The top of the root ball of a B&B plant should never be below ground level. Water thoroughly and apply 3 inch layer mulch. If you haven’t yet selected a tree/shrub the Missouri Botanical Garden (MOBOT) has excellent online references to help you decide.
Try using Plants of Merit if you are looking for something different that you aren’t likely to see in everyone’s garden. Plants of Merit have all been tested by MOBOT and local horticulturalists and have proven to be reliable performers with excellent plant characteristics but are underutilized in our region.

Want to browse and look at all the trees there are to choose from that like a wet and shady location? Use Plant Finder Search. Plant Search is the garden’s most extensive plant database search engine. It allows you to search by plant type; cultural requirements, such as sun, water, and planting zone; plant characteristics, like height, width, bloom color and time; uses for plant; features of flowers, leaves and fruit.

With a bit of planning, some imagination and digging power, you can enjoy your fall garden now and potential buyers will enjoy your efforts next spring.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A big thank you goes out to our valued clients

SCHNEIDER Real Estate ranked in the top 10 real estate companies in St. Charles through third quarter of this year. SCHNEIDER agents brought the company to the eighth slot in closed transactions in St. Charles County. SCHNEIDER's 42 agents are very proud of this accomplishment, but we are even prouder, and sincerely thankful, for the clients who trusted us with their homes to sell or purchase.

We work hard to earn your trust and in return give you the best personal service and advice. We support you, whether you are buying or selling, and try to find the very best fit for your family’s needs at the very best price.

We’ve been here since 1975, growing as the St. Charles region grows. Our family thanks you and your families for the privilege of serving your real estate needs.