Posts Tagged ‘lapeer county michigan real estate’

It’s no big secret that Michigan residents in general have been going through some rough economic times. I say in general, because not everybody is hurting. But with unemployment/underemployment at 20% or more many Michiganders have felt a financial pinch.

Some of that financial pinch shows in many of the houses that have sold in the past few years. Not as well maintained and some foreclosures are downright destroyed. For those who have taken advantage of our buyers’ market, you will more than likely need/want to make repairs and improvements on those homes. And while making those repairs and improvements you may want to consider the fact that the cost of energy has been on the increase with no end in site at this time.  Personally, my electric use is down, but my electric bill is higher than for the same period last year.

We can only tackle the cost of power itself with constant contact with Congress people (Cap and Trade, etc) and in the voting booth this fall. But we DO have some control on the amount of electricity and gas we use and get some of our tax dollars back in the process via tax credits and rebates.

There are Federal tax credits that don’t expire until 2016 for items such as Geothermal Heat Pumps, Residential Wind Turbines and Solar Energy Systems- 30% of cost with no upper limit.

And there are Federal tax credits that expire December 31, 2010 for 30% of the cost up to $1500 for items such as “biomass stoves” known to the rest of us as wood stoves (or corn, or pellets), central air, heating, water heaters, insulation, windows, doors, and roofing. You should go to the federal government web site for details and exclusions and consult with your accountant before purchasing anything.

Not covered are items like ceiling fans, CFL’s- those swirly light bulbs made in China (the last American light bulb factory just closed down), toilets, electric furnaces/boilers (like we all have natural gas available), clothes washers and dryers….

You state may have it’s own credits or rebates. Some of the rebates for the state of Michigan have run out of money (but there is sill money in the budget to promote breast feeding), but there is still some money left for the purchase of refrigerators, clothes washers and dishwashers. Check this web site for details.

If you are getting ready to sell your curent home, some energy efficient improvements may help when competing against the rest of the houses on the market.

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Michigan Tax Legislation Now in the House of Representatives- Good News for Home Buyers and Sellers

A brief explanation of how Michigan property taxes work. We have what is called the homestead exemption for a person’s primary residence in The Great Lakes State, which basically means if the house is your primary residence you get a break on the millage rate- up to 18 mills. On a house valued at $200K- or a taxable value of $100K- 18 mills equals $1800. Not chump change.

The way the law currently works is if you buy a house that isn’t a primary residence, such as a bank owned home, you must close and file your homestead exemption with the township prior to May 1. If you file after May 1, you will pay the higher rate for the remainder of the year. So if you close on your house in June, you will have both the summer and winter tax bill at the higher rate.

Today I received an E-News Special Alert in my in box from the Michigan Association of Realtors letting me (and everybody else in their e-blast) know that Senate Bill 77 passed the Michigan Senate today with a vote of 36-0 and now moves to the House of Representatives. The email states that “This legislation would provide for an additional principal residence filing date of October 1st.” It goes on to state an amendment was added to move that date to November 1 for 2010 only. It wasn’t specific as to whether you have to file ON Oct. 1 or BY Oct. 1. As I find out more details, I will update you.

In the meantime you may want to contact your state rep to let them know how you want them to vote. I have also found when I need more details on a piece of legislation, my rep has had no problems in the past emailing me the complete text of a bill. Remember- our representatives work FOR us.

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The Foreclosure Process in Southeast Michigan

Many of the numbers the media likes to spout about homes going into foreclosure are a bit exaggerated. When you read about the number of homes in foreclosure the stats often quoted are the notices of foreclosure that have been served- not the new bank owned listings. There are also companies like Realty Trac that publish specific houses as foreclosed homes. And technically while that that may be true, those houses are not for sale and may never come up for sale.

Below is my attempt to dispell the myths floating around about foreclosures and explain as simply as possible how the foreclosure process works in Southeast Michigan.

Typically a person needs to be behind on their house payment by 3 months or more before they receive a notice of foreclosure. That notice of foreclosure will have a date for the sheriff’s sale– usually a couple months off. The bank (or first lien holder if there are multiple loans on a house) will buy the house back at the sheriff’s sale for the amount of the mortgage or fair market value or someplace in between.

After the sheriff’s sale the owner has what is called a redemption period to pay off their mortgage(s). Most homes will have a 6 month redemption period. Homes on 3 plus acres will have a year to redeem. During this entire time the owner still has full rights of use and has the ability to sell. But the media will still call these homes bank owned or “in foreclosure” during this period.

Many of these homes will never go back to the bank. Some people will catch up before it ever gets to the sheriff’s sale. Some will sell during that time; some people still do have equity in their homes and others may be willing and able to bring cash to the closing. Others will sell via the short sale route. Many times a lender will delay the sheriff’s sale if the owner is in the process of a short sale. Some will even extend the redemption period if necessary rather than take the house back and sell as an REO (bank owned) property.

I’m finding that the amount of true bank owned sales in North Oakland County are on the decline and a major increase in short sale closings. For very detailed sales statics please click the links below for very dry and for many boring sales data for Lake Orion, Oxford and Clarkston Michigan.

Lake Orion Michigan sales data

Oxford Michigan sales data

Clarkston Michigan sales data

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Oakland County Michigan Seller- You Accepted the Offer. Now What?

When we go over an offer to purchase from a buyer, I will go over price and terms as well as any contingencies. Typical contingencies are mortgage contingency, inspection contingency, subject to clean title, must appraise for at least sale price. And there are time frames for each contingency.

A normal offer will give 30 or 45 days to get a mortgage and the buyer must apply within 5 days. Usually 7 days for a home inspection and clean title prior to close. So let’s use these time frames to explain what happens next.

The buyer will call his/her loan officer and apply for the mortgage (formal mortgage application) but instruct his/her loan officer to not order the appraisal until after the home inspection. In the meantime I send a copy of the purchase agreement and pre-approval letter to our title company to get rolling on the title work.

Within the first week the buyer will need access to your house for approximately 3-4 hours. They may need to make 2 trips, depending on how many inspections they will have (radon requires the inspector to come back. Septic or mold inspection may require a second inspector). If everything is fine with the inspection, we should hear from an appraiser within a week or so. If there are problems with the inspection, the buyer will probably either back out of the offer or ask you to either make repairs or lower the price.

Assuming we get past the inspection ok, the appraiser will come out to the house. He/she will only be there around 15 minutes to maybe a half hour. Within a week or so the lender will get the appraisal back. An FHA appraisal may require some repairs. It will be addressed in the purchase agreement who is responsible for the repairs. An appraisal for a conventional mortgage is pretty much just justifying the sale price. For this example we are going to assume the appraisal comes back ok. A later post will address low appraisals.

So now your house has cleared the inspection and appraisal contingencies. We are probably at least 2 weeks into the transaction at this point. Your title work should be back and clean since I order pre-title at the time of listing and any problems can be taken care of at that time.

Now we just wait until the lender finishes approving the buyer and we set a closing. The buyer will probably walk through the house prior to closing to make sure it’s in the same condition as when they wrote the offer. If possession is at close, they will also want to make sure you have moved out.

You will need to call the utility companies and let them know when you will be moving out and the name of the future new owners. It would be a courtesy to leave any manuals for appliances, or furnace, etc. for the new owner.

Then we all proceed to the closing and it’s a happy happy day for all!

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Southeast Michigan home sellers, you need to check your MLS sheet shortly after the house hits the MLS. Ask to see the agent and buyer version. We all make mistakes and no agent is going to know your house as well as you do.

southeast michigan real estateI’ve been showing houses a lot lately, and really too many listings are incomplete and sometimes plain inaccurate. A couple things I’ve noticed- about 20% of the lakefront listings don’t have the name of the lake in the “waterfront name” search field. Which means if a buyer’s agent searches for a particular lake those 20% won’t show up. The alternative is for the buyer’s agent to search ALL lakefront houses in that township. I showed 9 houses yesterday and 2 left the agents remark section blank. One house I didn’t show didn’t come up in my lakefront search at all- the lakefront search field was left blank.I found the listing accidentally in another search. It would be unreasonable to expect an agent to search every listing in that township to find that one house.

The above examples are pure laziness, and I don’t like to complain about other agents, but this kind of negligence is adding several unnecessary hours to my work week. Or taking time away from other business. So please ask to see your MLS sheets and look them over thoroughly.

Agents are human and sometimes we make mistakes – missing a feature or typos. Once I accidentally typed an “i” where I meant to type “e” when commenting on a listing’s decking. We could miss something or accidentally check the wrong box- it’s easy for an agent to miss your sump pump or accidentally check electric water heater when you have a gas water heater.

When I list a houseI send the consumer version of the MLS sheet to the seller immediately and print a hard copy of the agent version and bring it back with the fliers. It is in everybody’s best interestto make sure the listings are accurate and to honestly display our listings in the most favorable light.

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And Pretty Pretty Please don’t suggest alternate times that would work better for you. Hopefully, when you turn away a showing, it’s a fluke. I like to fantasize that ANY other time is good for you- that this specific time just happened to be bad.

Let me start out by telling you about the reason for this post. Yesterday I was setting appointments for tomorrow and for a different buyer/client on Sunday.  Tomorrow’s client is in Michigan for one day– Saturday. This is a cottage, a second home- an extremely strong buyer. Doesn’t have to sell to buy. Can wait forever for a short sale to get approved. Since it’s a second home he will have a good down payment- not a shaky buyer by any means. One of the sellers found a Saturday late afternoon appointment to be inconvenient. It’s a holiday weekend. Yes it is. It’s a holiday weekend for both the buyer and myself, too. Do you think he is a serious buyer?

If you’re having a party- so what? We may grab some BBQ and a beer while we’re there. If my buyers like your house, you may want to offer them a spin around the lake. If you’re gone because it’s a holiday- so much the better. That’s what the lockbox is for.

Sunday’s appointment- I’m showing somebody 2 houses. He was just approved to purchase without selling, so he too has time to wait for short sale approval. One of the two sellers has to work and has dogs, so would Monday between 9 and 1 work or sometime Tuesday or Wednesday? It was bad enough that I couldn’t get in when is convenient for both the buyer and me, I was expected to call the listing office back with which of those days would work. I may be a little unreasonable, but that’s the part that pissed me off. I know the seller didn’t mean it the way I took it, but I was still torqued.

seller and her dog

I do understand that you have dogs and don’t want to cage them. I have a dog and would never cage him; I didn’t crate train my dog and to start caging an adult dog is on the mean side. If you can’t make arrangements for someone to either be there for showings when you can’t or someone to take your dog, please don’t throw out alternate times. For some reason that is more irksome than being told I can’t show the house.

If you want to sell in any market you need to let the buyers in to see it. It may not always be under optimum conditions, but you will never sell if it’s never shown. You won’t be inconvenienced for long. If you’re getting showings you should sell. If you’re grossly overpriced, you probably aren’t getting showing requests to turn away.

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

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Attention Southeast Michigan Home Owner! Behind on Your House Payments? You MUST Read This!

I read about this on another blog, written by a real estate agent from another area. So I decided to follow the link from his post to the US Department of the Treasury, Comptroller of the Currency Administrator of National Banks to verify. And sure enough- his post was accurate!

If your mortgage and your checking account are with the same bank, and you are behind on your mortgage, the bank can takesoutheast michigan short sale home information oakland county michigan lapeer county michigan the payment from your checking account to pay your house payment. Without asking your permission or even notifying you! It is called the Right of Offset.

The agent whose post I read last night was relaying a story about a client who was going through a short sale and their bank drained their checking account shortly before approving the short sale. Soooo- if you’re going through a short sale or foreclosure in Southeast Michigan, you may want to consider moving your accounts if they are with the same bank that owns/services your mortgage.

For more detailed information, go to the US Department of the Treasury web site.

Jackie Hawley
Keller Williams Realty
cell: (248)736-6407
buyer blog: http://SoutheastMichiganRealEstate.wordpress.com

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