Archive for January, 2011

independence oaks county park clarkston miIndependence Oaks County Park, Clarkston MI Offers Something for Everybody Year ‘Round

The last couple summers I took my continuing education (6 hours/year for license renewal) at Independence Oaks County Park with another real estate office. There is no better way to learn dry legal updates than in the middle of 1100 acres overlooking a lake.

Independence Oaks County Park is located at 9501 Sashabaw Rd, Clarkston MI about 2 /12 miles north of I-75 exit 89.

Independence Oaks consists of 1088 acres with 68 acre Crooked Lake, about 10 miles of marked natureindependence oaks county park clarkston mi and ski trails, overnight camping area, boat launch (non motorized boats) and boat rental. Picnic areas, ball field, sand volleyball courts, playground. horseshoe pits…

For the bird lover Independence Oaks boasts an extensive bluebird trail and from March through August you have a good chance of seeing both bluebirds and tree swallows. More than 150 species of birds have been sighted here.

Independence Oaks also offers restrooms with flush toilets as well as port-a-johns.

independence oaks county park clarkston miThe Lewis E. Wint Nature Center offers exhibits and year-round educational programs conducted by park naturalists. The Cohn Amphitheater accommodates 150-200 guests, and the Rubach Sensory Garden boasts a gazebo and water garden. 

Independence Oaks County Park is just one of the many attractions that makes living in Clarkston MI and the surrounding areas a desirable proposition. You can “vacation” after work or on the weekends and never really leave home.

Independence Oaks State Site

Independence Oaks County Site

Clarkston MI Homes for Sale

Oakland County MI Area Information and Homes for Sale

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Getting Your Oakland County MI Home Ready for Sale

oakland county mi real estateWe are not currently in a market where it is worth gutting your kitchen or baths before selling your house. Those things will make your house easier to sell, but dropping the price by the amount of the cost of a new kitchen or baths would do the same thing and your house will have an easier time appraising. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to better show off your house without spending a fortune.

Unless you live a fairly spartan lifestyle at home you probably need to de-clutter your house. Rent a storage unit and put everything in it you don’t need for the next few months. I like to read. I have hundreds of books. If I were going to put my house on the market today, I would keep the next 6 books I plan on reading and put the rest in storage. If it’s winter, put your summer clothes in storage. Stop buying food other than what you will be eating in the near future- stop buying the 46 roll package of toilet paper and hold off on buying a side of beef!

Clean your house from top to bottom. Clean the windows, steam clean the carpet, look at the switch plates on the light switches- they are probably dirty and cheap to replace. Pull out your appliances and scrub the floors. If you’re handy with a paint brush it might be a good idea to paint the interior of the house– at least the entry level. If you’re not much of a painter, labor has gotten much cheaper in this economy. It might be worth the few hundred dollars; a bad paint job doesn’t help sell a house.

If your carpet is worn you might want to replace at least some of it. The living room is an important room to a buyer. It’s typically where family and visitors gather and if the living room along with the kitchen and baths show well you are well on your way to getting that house sold in a timely manner.

If it’s winter, keep you walk ways and porch shoveled and the driveway clean.

If it’s summer keep the lawn mowed, flower beds clean and if there isn’t much color invest in a couple flats of annuals.

These things aren’t going to make your house worth more. Appraisers don’t give value for being clean. But a buyer has to want to buy your house and a buyer will either by pass a house that doesn’t show well or low ball. Buyers make their decisions partly on emotions and often times cosmetics will become “it needs.”

Give me a call or email and I can get you coupons for PODS, Lowe’s and Sherwin Williams. I would also be happy to meet with you prior to you putting your house on the market and give you my professional opinion on what you need to do prior to listing your house.

For Sellers

What to Expect on the Listing Appointment

About Title Insurance

Jackie Hawley
Keller Williams Realty

cell: (248)736-6407



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Commonly Asked Questions About the North Oakland County and Lapeer County Home Purchase- Why are the Buyer and I Both Paying for Title Work/Insurance?

who pays for title insuranceWhen you get your closing statement you will probably notice charges to both you and the buyer for title. A very over simplified way I’ve explained this in the past is that the seller is paying to supply clean title to the house and the buyer is paying to supply clean title for the mortgage company. For example- if the buyers has an IRS lien it can attach to the house and would have first position in front of the bank.

This morning I went to the web site for the title company I prefer my clients use- First American Titlewww.FirstAm.com. They have a much more detailed explanation than the one I’m going to offer here.

There are two types of title insurance when there is a purchase with a mortgage. The company the buyers is borrowing the money from for his mortgage (whether that is a bank, credit union, etc) will require what is called a Loan Policy which protects their interest. The cost is based on the loan amount and is less than the Owner’s Policy which is the part the seller typically pays for.

The Owner’s Policy is usually for the amount of the sale price and protects the buyer, if a covered title problem comes up later. Some of the hidden title problems that would be covered can include errors or omissions in deeds, mistakes in examining records, forgery, undisclosed heirs- basically insuring the buyer’s ability to be able to pass on clean title when he goes to resell later.

So basically the seller is insuring that he has clean title to the house he’s selling and the lender’s policy protects the bank the buyer gets his mortgage through.

For Sellers

Free Market Analysis

What to Expect on the Listing Appointment

Closing is Set- What’s Next?

Jackie Hawley
Keller Williams Realty

cell: (248)736-6407



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Oakland and Lapeer County MI Home Seller- What to Expect on the Listing Appointment

When a potential seller makes an appointment to meet with me about selling their Oakland or Lapeer County home I am typically asked “how long will this take?” and “are you going to take pictures?”

There are two ways a listing can happen. The 1 step approach or 2 step.

On the 1 step listing, I have comparable sales pulled in advance. When I get to your house I go through the house measuring rooms and taking notes. Then we sit down and discuss how I market a home, my experience, we go over comparable sales and discuss price, discuss your motivations and time lines, and then I answer any questions you may have. At that point if you decide to list your house with me I fill out the listing agreement while you fill out the disclosures. Then I take photos. I take photos of every room and multiple photos of the exterior.

A 2 step approach involves all the above except for the paperwork and photos. It may not include a discussion of pricing either if a) I didn’t have enough lead time to work on pricing in advance and b) your house is so unique that I need to go back and pull different comparable sales.

Both approaches work for me. Often times a seller wants to interview multiple agents then make a decision. Sometimes sellers want to discuss if they are still going to sell- especially after hearing an honest value for their house.

You should schedule anywhere from 1-3 hours for the appointment. If you plan on listing at that appointment the house needs to be clean and de-cluttered for photos. If you have your old title policy that may get you a discount on the new policy. Your old mortgage report (survey) can come in handy along with dates of any improvements such as new roof, well, furnace, etc. Copies of your utility bills, copies of any warranties that would transfer with the house and your current mortgage information (name of lender, contact number and loan number(s)).

If you are thinking about selling your North Oakland County or Lapeer County MI home please contact me, Jackie Hawley at:


Email: Jackie@JackieHawley.com

For Sellers

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Oakland and Lapeer County Home Seller- The Closing is Set- What To Do Now?

real estate oakland and lapeer county miNow that all the contingencies have been met or waived and we have set the closing both buyer and seller have a few items to take care of prior to the closing.

If there is possession after the closing there isn’t a whole lot for either side to do. Seller– you need to let your insurance company know when you are closing and find out if you need to convert to renter’s insurance. Buyer– you already have homeowner’s insurance as a condition of the mortgage so the only thing for you to do is your pre closing walk through.

If possession is immediate (keys turned over at closing) there are a few things both sides need to take care of prior to closing.

First is to make sure the switch of utilities goes smoothly. If the house is on natural gas, the seller needs to call the utility companies to let them know the day possession will pass and give the name of the buyer. The buyer needs to do the same and get the gas and electric in their name. This way the house won’t be without power or heat and there will be no re-connect fee for the buyer. Here is a link to a page within the DTE web site. Just type in the city or township name and it will get you the contact info for both the gas and electric companies that service that house.

If the house is heated with either propane or oil the seller will need to either bring proof of ownership of the tank to the closing or the contact information of the company that owns the tank. It would also be nice to bring the contact information for the company you currently use if the tank is owned.

If the house is on city water and sewer the buyer doesn’t need to do anything. The bill gets sent to the house and within 45 days after closing the buyer will be filing the property transfer with the township. The seller or your agent should order a final reading of the water meter and eliminate the need for a water escrow.

Seller– you will need to cancel your homeowner’s insurance effective day of or day after closing.

Jackie Hawley
cell: (248)736-6407
email: Jackie@JackieHawley.com

For Sellers


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