Fireplace Safety For Homeowners

Fireplace Safety For Homeowners

10 Fireplace Safety Tips

During the fall and winter months, many homeowners light their fireplaces to help keep their homes warm and cozy. Plus, as countless movies have taught us, fireplaces can provide optimal ambiance for a romantic night in with a significant other.

However, unless precautions are taken, improper use of fireplaces could lead to house fires or carbon monoxide poisoning. To help you enjoy a fireplace safely, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offers the following tips:

1. Be sure the fireplace was constructed for actual use, not just for decoration. Inspect it to ensure that it has adequate protective linings and smoke ducts and that the chimney is clear and in good repair.

2. Open the damper before lighting the fire, and keep it open until the ashes are cool. This will avert the buildup of poisonous gases, especially while the family is sleeping.

3. Never use gasoline, charcoal lighter or other fuel to light or relight a fire because the vapors can explode. Also, never keep flammable fuels near a fire.

4. Don’t use coal or charcoal in a fireplace due to the danger of carbon monoxide buildup. It isn’t a good idea to burn trash or wrappings either because coated materials can generate deadly fumes. Flying paper embers could also ignite the roof.

5. Don’t treat artificial logs like real logs. Artificial ones are usually made of sawdust and wax and have special burning properties. Be sure to read the product instructions and follow them carefully. Don’t poke artificial logs, as it could cause a flare-up, or the flaming wax could stick to the poker and drop onto the floor.

6. Don’t overload the fireplace. Large fires can lead to overheating of wall or roof materials, particularly if the fireplace is constructed of metal.

7. Always use a screen around the fireplace to keep sparks from flying out and to protect children and adults from accidental clothing ignition.

8. Warn children about the danger of fire. Do not let them play with it.

9. Keep flammable materials such as carpets, pillows, furniture or papers away from the fireplace area. During the holidays, be sure decorations aren’t close enough to be ignited by a spark.

10. Before retiring for the night or when leaving the house, make sure the fire is out completely.

Read the Original Article Here: 10 Fireplace Safety Tips

Oakland County, Michigan : Housing Market Trends Are Changing

Oakland County, Michigan : Housing Market Trends Are Changing

The housing market has taken a lot of people by storm recently. Homeowners, Realtors, home buyers, and mortgage brokers in Oakland County can probably attest to that. Residential real estate sales in cites such as Farmington Hills, Novi, Northville, and West Bloomfield have been booming. Home prices have been on the rise as has sales transactions.

Looking at the high number of homes for sale in Oakland County, MI, there may be some indicators that a homes for sale in oakland county market may be on the horizon. If you are a home seller or buyer who has been trying to time the market, there are some housing sales trends that will be of interest to you. However, like all trends, even the experts find it challenging to determine the exact timing of upswings and downturns.

What are Some of the Indicators of a Cooling Housing Market?

In a red hot real estate market, home prices tend to go sky high, and the number days that homes for sale in Oakland County, Michigan remain on the market is impressively low. Houses sell fast at their asking price and frequently above the listed price.

Never underestimate the wisdom of the rule of supply and demand. When the supply of homes for sale in Oakland County, MI exceed the demand, this is a signal that something is changing. This may or may not mean that there are many homes just listed on the market. What you could be witnessing is that homes are on the market for longer than they used to be, and the demand is not keeping up with the supply.

There appears to be some subtle undertones in the Oakland County, Michigan housing market according to some people who are watching it closely. When one piece of the puzzle waivers even slightly, it could be the beginning of a domino effect that is about to happen. If their home is not selling as quickly as expected, a homeowner reacts by lowering their asking price. If this happens enough, other sellers are forced to lower their price to be competitive in the Oakland County, Michigan housing market.

This has a negative impact on home sellers who, of course, want to get top dollar for their real estate. It does, however, open up an opportunity for the buyers. A first-time buyer may now find themselves able to purchase a home in a market that was previously price prohibitive for them as long as they can qualify for a mortgage.

The Economic Unknowns in 2021

There are many economic unknowns at this time, and more seem to come into play all the time. While many people are talking about Washington DC’s inclination to raise interest rates, it’s a bit of a mystery so far. A rise in the prime interest rate will be reflected in the rate at which a consumer can obtain a home mortgage. Uncertainty slows down many sectors, and the residential real estate market is no exception. Potential buyers in the Oakland County, Michigan housing market may be forced to take a “wait and see” attitude before they buy a house.

Many people are concerned about the uncertainty of the stock market and what this could mean to their personal erage American home buyers in Oakland County, Michigan have IRAs and 401ks they need to protect, and that will negatively impacted whether they believe they are ready to buy a new home.

Another economic uncertainty is also likely to bring on a cooling housing market in Oakland County and across the country for that matter. There is an ongoing threat that higher taxes will be imposed on businesses, corporations, and individual taxpayers. If this new tax policy was to get passed, the impact would affect people in every income level. Businesses have historically reacted to higher tax rates by laying employees off and decreasing hiring. Fear of losing their job is another reason why people put off buying a house and taking on any new financial obligations.

Another current issue that could cause a cooling housing market in Oakland County, Michigan is the rising rate of inflation that people are already feeling in 2021. People are paying more for practically everything, and their money is not going as far as it used to just a year ago. This, combined with the other aforementioned new developments, is not going unnoticed by consumers in Michigan. When consumers get “hit in the pocketbook” or wallet, they understandably change their buying habits. With so much negative economic news, however, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the real estate market in Oakland County will come to a standstill. Even if home sales slow down, home sellers should remember that it has been in quite a boom.

A boom in real estate is a trend that comes and goes from time to time. People will always want or need to move for one reason or another. Homes that are priced right will continue to sell, and buyers will continue to buy them. The days of bidding wars may be fewer and further between, but it’s always exciting when it happens! Now that school is open again after summer vacation, the families of Oakland County are hopefully all settled in their lovely new homes. Farmington Hills, Novi, Northville, West Bloomfield, and all of the other wonderful communities in Oakland County are great places to live, work, raise a family, or just live life to the fullest as an empty nester.

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Flooding Isn’t Fun—Take These Steps to Protect Your Home

Flooding Isn’t Fun—Take These Steps to Protect Your Home

With the record amounts of rainfall flooding  has been occurring in and around the Farmington Hills, Novi Mi areas and has been a challenge to many home owners. These steps provide insights on how better to protect your home.—whether it’s from a tropical storm, burst pipe, or overflowing bathtub—can cause serious damage to your property. And if you don’t want to deal with excess water damage (and all the costs that go along with it), it’s important to do everything you can to protect your home from floods.

recent article featured in REALTOR® Magazine outlined a few key steps homeowners can take to protect their homes from flooding, including:

  • Purchase flood sensors… Flood sensors alert you when water is present when it shouldn’t be—and placing them strategically around your home, in areas that are prone to flooding (for example, in the basement or bathrooms) can help protect your home.
  • …and an automatic shut-off valve. Flood sensors will let you know when flooding is happening. But if you’re not there to stop it, there’s not much you can do. An automatic shut-off valve can turn off your main water line any time a flood sensor is triggered—which can add an extra layer of floor protection to your property.
  • Invest in flood insurance. You can do everything you can to prevent a flood, but in case a flood does happen, you want to make sure your property is protected. Homeowner’s insurance policies typically don’t cover floods—so make sure to purchase an additional flood insurance policy.
Moving House 101: Helpful Tips for Making it Less Stressful

Moving House 101: Helpful Tips for Making it Less Stressful

Moving House 101: Helpful Tips for Making it Less Stressful

Whether you are moving out of the country, to another city, or five miles down the road, moving house takes time, effort, and is stressful.  A recent survey conducted by OnePoll found that 45% of respondents say moving is by far the most stressful event in life, followed by going through a breakup or divorce (44%), and getting married (33%). In this article, we are going to discuss the ways you can get ready and organized and tackle your move like a champion!

Get organized and plan ahead 

Moving is a big endeavor, with a lot of steps, so you need to get ready organized, and plan ahead. Start by making a schedule and checklist so you don’t forget anything. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:  

  • Create a moving folder (physical file or an electronic file) for all of your move-related documentation, receipts,  estimates, important documents, and notes.  
  • Create a budget for your move. Before you begin researching companies and quotes, determine how much you want to budget for your move and then estimate the costs/expenses that fit within your budget.
  • Create a move calendar to help you keep track of important dates such as move-out and move-in dates, packing schedule, closing date (if buying a home), lease termination date (if renting), travel dates, and other deadlines.

Stock up on moving supplies

You are going to need moving boxes of all sizes, packing paper, bubble wrap, packaging tape, Sharpie permanent markers, sticker labels, scissors, box cutters, trash bags, blankets (to protect furniture, mirrors, and TV), felt pads (to protect floors while moving large furniture), and plastic bins (if you plan to reuse them for storage).

If at all possible, start packing up items that you won’t be needing for the next month or so. Packing ahead is a lot less stressful than trying to get it all done at once or under a time constraint. 

Get rid of stuff    

The last thing you want to do is spend your time and energy packing and moving items you don’t actually want or need. Instead, lighten your workload by going through everything in your home and decide if it’s actually worth hanging on to or whether to donate or dump it.

Start with one room at a time. Although packing and sorting through a life’s worth of belongings and parting with possessions can be difficult for a lot of people, moving is the perfect opportunity to get rid of excess stuff that’s only taking up space and bogging you down.

Create a labeling system

Before you start writing on boxes, come up with a plan for how you are going to label them. If you are super-organized, you might even want to number your boxes and make a corresponding list of contents for each numbered box for easy access on the other side. This will save you a lot of time searching for specific items in the weeks after your move. You may even want to take photos of your items for your inventory. 

Start the process early

Leaving all of the packing, cleaning, and moving details until the last minute will likely multiply your stress tenfold. Some aspects of your move, like decluttering, can be done weeks or even months ahead of time. Others, like packing, can be done slowly over a few weeks, leaving only the essential tasks until the last minute.

Pack your belongings

Consider items you’ll need for the first night in your new place and pack those items together such as bedding, shower curtains, coffeemaker, clothes, snacks, laundry detergent, dish detergent, and toiletries. Make sure you understand how to pack items like lamps, vacuums, and small appliances such as blenders, microwaves, TVs, and computer equipment. Make sure to note if the contents inside are “fragile” or heavy. 

Pay attention to the weight of your boxes. If you make them too heavy, they become difficult to move and are susceptible to breaking. If you don’t fill them completely, fragile items can bounce around and break. It’s also a good idea to pull aside all your valuables that you don’t want to pack.

These will go with you in your vehicle, in the truck cab, or on the plane. Belongings to take with you include legal documents, family heirlooms, and other precious items you hold dear.

Don’t pack these items with other belongings 

Some items can be hazardous during the moving process, so it is best to move them separately or dispose of them before the move. For example, tools, painting equipment, and cleaning chemicals should be packed together in clearly marked boxes. You may want to use plastic totes to prevent leaks.

Pack bottles and medications together and keep them separate from other belongings. Other items to pack separately include fire extinguishers, ammonia, paint thinner, varnishes, heating agents like propane and Sterno, and auto batteries.

Plan to disconnect and connect

You will need to schedule a cut-off date for your current utility services such as electric, gas, water, internet, cable, trash, and others before you go. Plan to call about a week ahead of your move and schedule the disconnections for the day after you move just in case something unexpected comes up. You will want to provide notice and cancel local memberships like fitness organizations (gym, yoga), business associations, social clubs, etc. as well.

You will also need to research utility services for your new location, make any required down payments or security deposits, and schedule a start-date, preferably a day or so before you move in. 

Hire a professional cleaning service

Having to thoroughly clean your home on top of everything else on your to-do list, might just be the tipping point that sends you over the edge. If your budget allows, why not hire a professional cleaning service to do the move-out clean for you. After all, they are experts at efficiency and will clean places in your home that you may forget to clean or that haven’t been cleaned for years.  

Say goodbye 

Saying goodbye to your friends, family members, favorite places, and your old home can be difficult, but it’s also an important step in moving on. If you’re moving far away and it’s possible that you won’t see a lot of these people or places again, take the time to give an earnest goodbye. Let your last memories of your old home be good ones.

Be prepared come launch day

There are some necessities you are going to need easy access to on moving day, like toilet paper, paper towels, markers, scissors, disinfectant wipes, misc. cleaning supplies, the vacuum, kids’ toys (if you have any), your pet’s water bowl, energy snacks, and water bottles to get you through the day.  

Final words

I think we can all safely agree that moving is never an easy task, but if you can keep these tips in mind, you’ll be able to get through it like a boss and with a lot less stress!

Partner with award-winning Oakland County MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam   

Tom Gilliam is proud to be a trusted REALTOR® in Oakland MI for the past 20 years – offering his guidance and expertise to both home buyers and sellers. Tom understands that buying or selling a home is a significant financial and life decision and that you are looking for someone you can trust. As your agent, he will protect your interests, advocate for you, negotiate on your behalf, and guide you towards a smooth and successful transaction.   

Whether you are ready to buy a home in Oakland County MI or its time to list your your current property, feel free to reach out to Tom directly at (248) 790-5594 or you can get in touch with him by email.

Tom Gilliam, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Classic
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
Direct: 248-790-5594
Office: 248-737-6800
Email: Tom @
License #314578 

Buying a Home in Farmington Hills MI? Why You Need A REALTOR®

Buying a Home in Farmington Hills MI? Why You Need A REALTOR®

Buying a Home in Farmington Hills, MI? Why You Need A REALTOR®

If you are thinking about buying a home in Farmington Hills, MI, you will want to consider hiring a professional real estate agent to help you through one of life’s largest financial transactions. A Farmington Hills MI REALTOR®’s job is to match you with a home that fits your lifestyle needs and budget and also help you with making an offer, negotiations, the home inspection, and closing on your new place.

Some buyers may hesitate to use a professional real estate agent because they don’t want to pay the agent’s commission fee. That being said, it’s actually the seller that is responsible for paying the commission fee and not the buyer, which are typically about 5 to 6 percent of the home’s purchase price and split between the listing agent and buyer’s agent. 

Search Farmington Hill MI Homes for Sale

A Farmington Hills MI REALTOR® is a professional who works on your behalf and advocates for your interests. Because most sellers will have seller representation, you also want someone that has your back to represent you.

What You Will be Responsible for Without a Farmington Hill MI REALTOR® 

If you should decide not to hire a professional Farmington Hills MI real estate agent, you will be responsible for the following: 

1). You will have to uncover homes in the neighborhood or area you want to live in that match your budget and lifestyle needs. Although the many property search sites online can give you a sampling of what homes are currently available, you will have to research whether a seller’s asking price is justified based on comparable home sales in the area. 

Realtors also have access to even more listings. Sometimes properties are available but not actively advertised. A real estate agent can help you find those hidden gems. A local REALTOR® is also going to know the search area probably better than you ever could.

2). You will have to research information and important facts on a neighborhood, including those that a seller may choose not to disclose that could be important to you.  Researching local trends, market values, and other vital info can be daunting.

A real estate agent is equipped to know the ins and outs of every neighborhood. They’ll be able to tell you all about the school districts, zoning codes, the types of homes offered, and where to find everyday needs.

3). You will have to negotiate an offer, including the price and other clauses and contingencies in the purchase agreement. Any time you buy or sell a home, you’re going to encounter negotiations, which can easily get a little heated. Don’t you want a savvy professional negotiator on your side to get the best deal for you?

4). You will have to navigate the home inspection and negotiate repairs or credits with the seller. A REALTOR® will help draw up a purchase agreement that allows enough time for inspections, contingencies, and anything else that’s crucial to your particular needs.

5). You will have to sort through complex paperwork filled with real estate terms you might not understand. Real estate has its own language. It’s full of acronyms and semi-arcane jargon. A skilled real estate agent has been through all the paperwork before and actually knows what it means.

Questions? Concerns? Confused? An agent can clarify all the clauses, contingencies, and jargon-filled fine print as well as find hidden fees and conditions that you might have skimmed over.

Your Farmington Hills MI REALTOR® Will Run A Comparable Sales Analysis

One of the main tasks a REALTOR® will perform for you is a comparable sales analysis (also known as “comps”) of homes that are similar in size, condition, and age to the property you are interested in purchasing. 

Your Farmington Hills MI real estate agent will evaluate the prices of homes that are currently on the market and those that have sold in recent months to determine whether a seller’s asking price is in line with market data. Without this critical market data, you could easily end up overpaying for a home. 

As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts that go into purchasing a home. Hiring an experienced and skilled Farmington Hill MI real REALTOR® like Tom Gilliam can save you time, money, and possible headaches down the road.  

Partner With Top-rated Farmington Hills MI Real Estate Agent – Tom Gilliam

2020 Best of Farmington Hills REALTOR - Tom GilliamTop-rated Farmington Hills MI REALTOR® – Tom Gilliam has over 20 years of local experience and provides the kind of knowledge, skills, dedication, and personalized service you need and deserve when buying a home.

With access to the most up-to-date listings in Farmington Hills and surrounding Oakland County, Tom can help you explore your options and find your dream home. 

As your personal agent, Tom will protect your interests, negotiate on your behalf, advocate for you, and go the extra mile to ensure a smooth and successful transaction. 


Search Farmington Hill MI Homes for Sale

If you or someone you know is interested in buying a home in Farmington Hills or Oakland County, MI, please give Tom Gilliam a call today at (248) 790-5594

Tom Gilliam, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Classic
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
Direct: 248-790-5594
Office: 248-737-6800
Email: Tom @
License #314578

Selling Your Home Safely During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Selling Your Home Safely During The COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought much of the country to a screeching halt. But, just because people are stuck at home doesn’t mean your home sale has to come to a screeching halt, too. You can sell your home in the midst of this challenging time—as long as you’re safe.

Now more than ever, it’s important for home sellers to be flexible with shifting market dynamics. While some sellers are deciding to pull their homes off the market during the COVID-19 crisis and try to sell at a later date, that may not be an option for everyone.

If you are planning to move forward with selling your Farmington Hills home during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some things you can do differently during this current market while keeping everyone involved as safe and healthy as possible

recent article from outlined steps homeowners should take to sell their home safely during the COVID-19 crisis, including:


  • Embrace virtual showings. You don’t need a bunch of potential buyers walking in and out of your house; it’s not safe for you or them. Instead, have your real estate agent vet buyers and give them virtual tours of your home.


  • Practice safety measures for in-person showings. If your real estate agent has a buyer who they’ve vetted and is extremely interested in the property, they may want to see your home in person. Before you allow anyone in your home, make sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect all surfaces to protect potential buyers—and then make sure to do the same after the in-person tour to protect yourself and your family.


  • If possible, close remotely. Many states have remote notaries and many lenders offer fully virtual closings. Do your research and see if you can close your home sale remotely to avoid any unnecessary contact.

The coronavirus pandemic is changing the way people buy and sell homes. But with the right safety measures, there’s no reason it has to derail your home sale!

To find out more about buying or selling Farmington Hills real estate, please contact Tom today at 248-790-5594 or you can get in touch here.

Tom Gilliam, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Classic
29630 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills 48334
Call: 248-790-5594
Office: 248-737-6800
Email: [email protected]
License #301741

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