Monday, June 28, 2010

July 2010 Calendar of Events

Saturday, July 3 – Sunday, July 4
Fourth of July celebration
Frontier Park
This Independence Day celebration includes fireworks at 9:20 p.m. both nights, food and beverage booths, beer garden, crafts, games, carnival rides, live music on the Jaycee Stage and the Music Tent, parade.
For more information call 1-800-366-2427

Saturday, July 3-Sunday, July 4
Fair St. Louis
Gateway Arch grounds on the Riverfront
10 a.m.-10 p.m. both days
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fair, the air shows return, plus spectacular fireworks displays both days, and free music performances. Saturday night John Legend entertains and on Sunday night the B-52s close the fair. For a full schedule, check out the Fair website.

Sunday, July 4
Fourth of July celebration
Progress Park, Wentzville
The theme for the Wentzville Fourth of July celebration is “The American Dream.” The parade begins at 3 p.m. on Pearce Blvd to Wentzville Holt High School. The celebration includes live music, games, food and fireworks at 9:05 p.m. For more information, call the Wentzville Parks and Recreation Department at 636-332-9236 or visit the website.

Friday, July 9 and 23
Friday Night Flicks
7:30 p.m.
4th and Clark
Friday Night flicks in Frenchtown continue with the movie Shorts playing on the 9th and Evan Almighty on the 23rd. Bring a lawn chair for comfort. The movies being at dusk. Sponsored by the Historic Frenchtown Association.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tour of the Little Hills
Registration: 7:30 am - 9 am
Foundry Art Centre, 520 N. Main
Become a modern day explorer and climb the “little hills” of St. Charles. This urban bicycle ride has routes of various distances along flat to rolling terrain that is moderately hilly with a few big hills and is recommended for experienced cyclists. After the ride explore the fine arts gallery that hosts juried exhibitions and features 20 working artists’ studios.
Fees: $8 Trailnet Member, $12 Non-member, $3 Children under 13
For more information call 314-416-9930 x114

Tuesday, July 20
Organic Foods: Scrumptious or Scam?
Middendorf-Kredell Library Branch
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Are organic foods really worth the extra money? A registered dietician will discuss which foods to buy organic and how you can save money. Participants will taste test organic and conventional produce.

Tuesday, July 27-Saturday, July 30
St. Charles County Fair
Rotary Park, Foristell
The St. Charles County Fair is everything an old-fashioned fair should be–4-H exhibits and livestock competition, a queen and her court, baby contest, carnival rides, a rooster crowing contest, pony rides, tractor pull, midway food, and much, much more. This is a chance for kids to experience a nostalgic tradition with an updated twist. For schedules, admission fees and other information, go to the fair’s HYPERLINK "" website or call 636-970-3000.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Lower interest rates now eclipse savings on the $8,000 tax credit program

Because interest rates have gone down since April 30, homebuyers can still be ahead of the game in the long run

In looking back over the past year, did you really miss the opportunity of a lifetime by not buying a home and taking advantage of that $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit? The program did increase home sales and nudged people off the fence if they were considering a home purchase, but some potential buyers just weren’t ready to take the plunge.
But, with interest rates lower now and no sign from the Feds that rates will rise dramatically any time soon, the opportunity for a good buy is definitely there. In fact, this might be the best time to buy.

Here’s an exciting scenario for those of you who didn’t buy: interest rates have gone down so much since April 30, the end date for the tax credit program, that the buyer of a $350,000 home, financed with a $280,000 mortgage, would have seen quite a savings by waiting until May. With April’s average rate of 5.34 percent, a homebuyer would have locked in a 30-year fixed rate loan with a monthly payment of $1,561.82.

If that buyer waited for May to roll around, with a 30-year fixed rate loan at 4.625 percent, monthly payments would be $1,439.50. Computed on an annual basis, that’s a savings of $1,467. Over the 30 years of the loan, that’s $44,003 in savings. That’s an incredibly huge incentive to jump into the housing market and really diminishes the tax credit in the long run.

But for those of you who did take advantage of the tax credit and have found it difficult to close before the June 30 deadline, there may be help. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Harry Reid (D-NV) have offered an amendment to a house bill that would extend the closing deadline to September 30, 2010. The proposed amendment only extends the deadline to close, not to purchase. If passed, this would help a lot of buyers to still receive the tax credit and buy a home.

Written by Myra Vandersall

Monday, June 14, 2010

Native plants show a respect for our environment and reduce the homeowner’s labor

Missouri is blessed with a burst of colorful native plants that will increase your curb appeal and show off your eco-friendly property.

Missouri is a wonderfully diverse state, with flat plains to the north and the craggy Ozarks to the south. With different terrains come a cornucopia of native plants that will do quite well in your landscaping plans and require little maintenance once established.

The first look a potential buyer has of your house is the drive-by, or curb appeal. If the buyer doesn’t like the outside, most likely the interest goes down, almost regardless of how wonderful the inside is. Enhance your property and show off the beautiful Missouri native plants, whether you are selling now or planning on staying for a while.

From a small balcony garden to acres and acres of land, planting native has distinct advantages:
Once established, native plants need minimal watering, reducing your water bill and the time it takes to spray the plantings.

Because the plants are acclimated to grow in Missouri soil, they establish quickly and don’t need pampering.

Native plants have already dealt and adapted to the problems of pests and weeds. This reduces the need for commercial fertilizers and pesticides, thereby saving you money and reducing your chemical footprint.

Birds and butterflies thrive on native plants, giving you a garden paradise and hours of entertainment watching those in flight coming and going.

Missouri native plants adapt well to sun or shade. For your sunny garden, the Missouri black-eyed Susan is a sure hit. Found in the Ozarks, this tenacious flower can handle rocky areas with well-drained soil. Another winner is the Missouri primrose, or the glade lily, which also does well in rocky areas. The lemon-yellow flowers open in the afternoon for nighttime pollination. The prairie blazing star is another sun worshipper and blooms into October to keep your garden colorful. Butterflies love these purple plums.

On the shady side, there are plenty of choices, all attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. The crested iris is an impressive ground cover in partial shade and just right for landscape borders. The columbine, with its red tubular flowers, is a popular nectar source for hummingbirds and flowers from April through July in average to moist soil. Very common but still spectacular and tough is the purple coneflower. Well into October, the purple blossoms will provide flowers for cutting bouquets.

Including native plants in your yardscape is a gradual process, one the demands planning and patience, but you’ll be rewarded with a low maintenance, natural garden. To learn more about planting native, visit and for a downloadable guide, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation website.

Written by Myra Vandersall

Monday, June 7, 2010

Existing Home Sales Are Up 15% in St. Charles County and the Median Home Price Is Up Too

Affordable, reasonably priced homes are waiting for new buyers

The St. Charles region is in real estate bounce back mode with sales of existing homes up 15 percent during the first quarter of this year as compared to the same time last year. The median home price rose to $169,000, a $2,000 increase, beating the national media price of $166,100. This increase mirrors the price increases in nearly 60 percent of U.S. cities during the first quarter with double-digit increases in 29 cities.

Joe Sahrmann, president of the St. Charles County Association of Realtors, sees the market rebounding from the challenging times of the last few years. “We haven’t seen homes this affordable in years.” he says, “The selection is wide and varied for different income levels. Mortgage rates are staying low for now, and St. Charles is nationally recognized as a great place to live.”

And, even though the homebuyer tax credits have expired, it’s still a great time to buy a home, he says. 26 percent more homes are under contract during the first quarter of this year than compared to the same period in 2009.

Some of the increase was fueled by the government’s income tax credits for first-time and returning homebuyers. About 2.2 million households participated in the tax credit program, which cost the government $16 billion, according to the Internal Revenue Service. And, sales in March surged following a three-month decline attributed in part to harsh winter weather.

What does the near future hold for real estate? The industry is an integral part of the American economy, intertwined with employment and finance. If those factors stabilize and increase, the National Association of Realtors predicts prices will increase modestly in the second half of this year.

Slow but steady wins the race, and that axiom is certainly true for the real estate market these days. As buyers become more confident in their spending patterns and realize the market value, we’ll climb back to a robust St. Charles County.

Written by Myra Vandersall