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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Another year is almost behind us. Today, I would like to take a moment to thank you for your support and wish you a happy holiday season.

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It’s hard to believe that another year is almost behind us. Today, I want to wish you and yours a happy holiday season.
To those of you who we were honored to serve this year and to those who were kind enough to send us referrals, we appreciate it. We don’t take it for granted. We work very hard to exceed expectations, so we truly appreciate all of your referrals.
If you are thinking about buying or selling next year, give me a call. I would be happy to talk to you.
To that end, I hope you all have a wonderful end of the year. Happy holidays, and I’ll see you in 2017.

A Testimonial On Selling A Home For Top Dollar


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Do you want to sell your Southeast Michigan home for the most money the market will bear? That is exactly what we want for you, and we will work very hard to make it happen! See what just one of our hundreds of clients is saying about their experience with us and our exceeding their expectations.

What Buyers Shouldn’t Say During Home Showings


In Michigan, homeowners can legally record potential buyers who tour their home. As a buyer, there are a few things you should avoid saying if you want that house.

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Today I want to give some advice about what a buyer should and shouldn’t say when touring a house here in Michigan.

I should preface this by saying that I’m not an attorney; I cannot give you legal advice. That said, as of early October, it is legal in Michigan for a homeowner to record buyers who tour their homes. They can record you using video or audio tapes, so keep that in mind when you’re walking through a house.

I’ve seen people use baby monitors to record buyers, but more recent technology makes it easier for homeowners to record people in their homes.

When you walk through a home you want to buy, I recommend that you avoid making any comments that insult the house or the decor. As you look at other homes, it may come to pass that the property with the bad decor is the one you want to buy. When it comes time to make an offer, you could be in a bad position if you have offended the seller with your comments.




Don’t insult the house but don’t sound too excited, either.


 

On the other hand, you wouldn’t go into a car dealership and get all excited about the car you want to buy, right? Being too excited would impact the price you pay for the car. The same holds true for a house. If you walk through the house talking about how awesome it is and how it’s a great fit for your family, those comments will probably impact your agent’s ability to negotiate on your behalf.

Keep in mind that the seller is not doing anything illegal by capturing your feedback on tape, so be careful what you say when you’re out touring houses. If you have any other questions about home showings or the home buying process, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

The Perfect Online Tool for Homeowners



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I don’t know about you, but September and October are a few of my favorite months of the year. The sights, sounds, and flavors of fall are all things that I love. Another thing I love is not having to pay high utility bills from using a heater or air conditioner like I do the rest of the year. This reminded me of a tool I recently found.

This website is called wegowise.com, and it’s free to use. You can import your utility and power bills into the site through your online accounts and it will pull up many detailed graphs about your usage.

This site will summarize your bills per month and break things down piece by piece. You can see how much you are spending month to month, and the price per square foot that you’re paying. There are a number of different charts and graphs for you to look at, as well as what’s considered an efficient home and where you fall into that piece of the puzzle.




This is useful for anyone trying to save on their utilities.


 

For landlords and commercial building owners, you can track each unit specifically to see if you may need to make an improvement or upgrade to a piece of equipment that is more efficient.

I thought this was a pretty neat tool when I found it, and it’s something I wanted to bring up around this time of year when utility costs are lower. It’s fun for a frugal data geek like me or anyone else who’s trying to save a few extra bucks on their bills.

If you have any questions for me, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I’m always looking for new topics for future videos, so let me know what you want to learn about. I look forward to hearing from you!

A Market Snapshot for Southeast Michigan


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Through the first half of the year, sales are up a little over 3%. Average sales prices are up a little over 6%. The interesting thing is that inventory is down 19%. The fact that sales and prices are up by small margins is a large indicator that this crazy seller’s market that we’ve been in the last couple of years is probably coming to an end.

Looking at the Michigan housing affordability index, our index currently sits at 180. To provide some context, an index of 100 means that the median family can afford the median home. An index of 80 means that the median family can’t afford to purchase this same home.

Historically, Michigan’s number has stayed level at around 135. At the peak of our recession, our number reached 210. As we trickle down toward the 130 to 140 mark, what it’s going to take to get level again is interest rates in the low-to-mid 5% range and housing values to potentially increase another 10% or so. 


"This gravy train sellers have been on is 
likely coming to an end."

Another interesting point is that 89% of homes in Michigan have positive equity, and 72% have 20% equity or more.

We may have one more spring like we’ve had with competing offers and low inventory, but by and large I think this gravy train sellers have been on for the past three or four years is ending soon.

If you’re thinking about selling and aren’t sure whether it’s a good idea to pull the trigger now or to wait until next spring, give us a call and we’d be glad to help walk you through it. Until next time, make it a great day.

The Problem with Overpricing Your Southeast Michigan Home


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What’s the problem with pricing your home high if you plan to come down later? Market data shows that this pricing strategy does not pay off.

First, you should know that buyer activity is very high right now, and homes are selling very quickly. In the Midwest, home prices increased by 6.3% year over year, and there are plenty of areas in Detroit where appreciation is even higher than that.

Right now, the $250,000 to $500,000 price range is hot, and has seen a 17.5% increase in sales since last year. If you have a house in that price range, now is the time to sell. You’ll have a line of people waiting to see your property



PRICE YOUR HOME ACCURATELY
FROM THE VERY BEGINNING.



In this price range, accurately priced homes sold for 98.9% of the list price and spent only 22 days on the market. However, overpriced properties only earned 92.4% of the list price and spent 81 days on the market. O
verpriced properties took four times as long to sell compared to accurately priced ones! Avoid a stale listing and missing out on earning top dollar by pricing your home accurately.


If a house is on the market for over a month and a half, people start to assume that something is wrong with it because most good properties sell very quickly. Purposely overpricing your house is not in your best interest.

If you have any questions, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

Home Pricing in Southeast Michigan Is About to Change

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Today, I want to talk about the future of home pricing. For decades, homes have been priced the same way. Realtors look at comparable homes and run a Comparative Market Analysis.

Part of that is a necessary evil. When I meet with a prospective seller, I like to focus on absorption rates, what’s coming on the market, days on market, and other factors. These factors give sellers a better perspective and insight compared to basic questions about bedrooms, bathrooms, and price per square foot.

Home buyers have shifted their focus from bedrooms, baths, and price to lifestyle, affordability, and commute times. In recent years, buyers purchase a home to suit their lifestyles. Right now, companies are creating algorithms to calculate the true cost of ownership. These algorithms will take factors like the age of the home, features, and mechanics to figure out the cost of ownership. 



That’s just one factor these new algorithms will take into account. A buyer can search for homes based on mortgage insurance, school quality, and proximity to favorite recreational hangouts. These pricing models will allow users to manipulate the algorithms by selecting properties and adjusting for market activity in their desired area. You can also search for the cost of home ownership, projected expenses, location, market activity, and the condition of the property.

For example, let’s say you purchase a home with a new roof that will last for 30 years and plan on living there for 10 years. That’s less expensive than buying a home with a 15 year old roof that’s designed to last for 30 years. You will probably have to spend more money on roof upkeep. You may even have to replace it, raising your cost of ownership.

This technology is very new. I’m going to stay on top of it and direct you to it once it’s working well. I’m very excited about this new technology. If you have any questions, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

Are You Entitled to a Sizable Tax Refund on Your Southeast Michigan Home?

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Recently, a change in law went into effect that will impact a lot of people in Southeast Michigan. In fact, in the last few days, I was able to tell three different people that they have refunds owed to them in the amount of $2,000 and $3,000.

This law change affects anyone who has sold, or plans on selling, real property that is homesteaded in the last four years in Michigan. In late 2015, the governor signed a public act that changed what was a rather confusing exemption to a law. In Michigan, we pay taxes when real property changes hands to both the state and the county. In Southeast Michigan, it is typically paid by the seller.

To give you an idea of what kind of money we're talking about: on a $250,000 sales price, the amount paid is around $2,000; on a $500,000 sales price it's around $4,000, and so on. A further resource to seek out to get this refund is www.DoorToDreams.com/TaxRefund


A lot of people are owed a lot of money because of this law change. As I said before, in only the last few days I was able to inform three people that they were owed a refund between $2,000 and $3,000. If you've sold a homestead property recently, you want to take a look at the State Equalized Value (SEV) of the property. If it is lower in the year that you sold it than the year you acquired it, and the property was your primary residence, you could qualify for this refund.

If you're a client of ours and you have sold with us in the last four years, we will be contacting you to help you through the process. We look forward to giving you the good news that you're owed some money! Of course, if you need real estate assistance of any kind, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to hear from you!

What You Need to Know About Southeast Michigan Property Taxes

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We're in early January, and in the next couple weeks, your 2016 tax assessments will come in. Now is a great time to identify what to look for when you receive those documents.

For example, let's take a look at a summer and winter tax bill for a property here in Michigan. We pay property taxes twice a year, and each bill covers a 12 month period. If you look in the upper left-hand corner, you will see the taxable value of your property. In this case, that value is listed as $135,193.

On these bills, you can see that the summer tax bill was about $3,300, and the winter tax bill was about $1,400. This property happens to be homesteaded. If you have a vacation home, cottage, or rental, you will see school operating taxes on the summer tax bills. If you feel that should not be the case, contact me.
 


Now, if you add together the winter and summer bills, the total tax bill for the property is around $4,600. To cross reference that, go to my website, DoorToDreams.com. There will be a link that says MI Tax Property Estimator. From there, enter the taxable value of your home. If we enter the taxable value of this particular property, $135,193, the tax estimator comes up with $4,400 a year. This is a little lower than the $4,600 in taxes that are being paid on the property, but this estimator will give you a good idea of what your taxes will be.

If you're looking to buy a home, you can figure out what the taxes might be ahead of time. Let's say you're looking for a $300,000 home. The taxable value will be about half that, or $150,000. You can enter that information into my website to find out what your property taxes will be.

For current homeowners, when you receive your 2016 assessment, look at that taxable number. If you double the taxable number, that will be your home value. If you feel that your home is worth less than that, contact me and I can help you.

I know we covered a lot of information here today. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I would be happy to help you!