Sign, sign everywhere a sign
We all know this song, and it couldn’t be more accurate and appropriate this time of year in the Greater Oakland County area. As a Realtor the signs are not only an annoyance but also make it very hard for my buyers to find the property as the yard signs are buried around in the mass of political signs. I’m not clear if the home buyers are offended or if the political signs have any impact on their choice of neighborhoods in the Greater Oakland County area, but some ask me more details about the neighborhoods than usual and others aren’t shy about sharing their political views.
Growing up I was told never to discuss politics with anyone, now as a relator trying to avoid my political views with my home buyers and sellers is a task, for some reason this year seems especially heated so I avoid at all cost. This political season seems to resemble the Bush and Kerry election time when that was quite heated to some. The question that bothers me is “why do some home buyers choose a neighborhood based on a political view?” some buyers not wanting to live near republican’s or others that don’t want to live near democrats. Areas in Greater Oakland County such as Novi, Northville, Plymouth, West Bloomfield and Farmington Hills seem to be diverse and reserved, but something seems to be a little different this go around.
Do the signs influence the home buyers? Do the home sellers even care?
When discussing this with my home sellers they don’t seem to care much about what the buyer thinks of their signs or political views this time around, but they don’t realize that this could be detrimental to getting their home sold in some cases but their political views are so strong it’s useless to try and convince them otherwise about their signs. Some home buyers on the other hand don’t seem to care either, once they see the signs and feel that based on the signs they are not interested in the neighborhood. A seller cannot discriminate against a buyer and it isn’t even about that, it’s about political views and not getting or finding the right home based how strongly their views are either way.
It’s important for neighbors to have common values, and for the next couple of weeks at least, values and voting preferences seem to be one in the same, but in my opinion it shouldn’t matter to either Buyer or Seller. It is their choice to have a political sign In their yard and to support any candidate they wish, home buyers if they wish can also make their decision based on any reason they wish, but as Realtor s it is a fine line to walk and can be detrimental to our hard work every day to get caught up in politics when it comes to both buyers and sellers. Me for one will be happy when this political season is over and things get back to normal for a short time, but please don’t let the signs be up all winter till spring.
When it comes to pricing your home to sell in Greater Oakland County, you’ll find lots of “experts.” The neighbors may want you to set a high price, thinking it will make their homes more valuable. Your company may encourage you to set a lower price so the home will sell quickly and you can move to your new assignment. You might be thinking in terms of what you paid for your home, how much you’ve spent on it, or how much profit you want from it.
But who sets the price? When you put your house on the market in Greater Oakland County, you set the asking price. But it is the market that determines the selling price. If the asking price is set correctly, the house is likely to sell fairly quickly. If set too high, the house may languish on the market, unseen by the right buyers.
Pricing It Right
A correct asking price is crucial to a timely sale. That’s where we come in. But how do we know how to advise you on price?
- First, we look at the prices brought by similar homes recently sold in the area, and compare their features to those in your home.
- Then we survey the competition, seeing what homes are currently on the market, how they compare to yours and how long they have been up for sale.
- Next we look at how the number of buyers compares to the supply of homes for sale.
- We take stock of the direction of the market. Are prices rising or falling? Are homes selling quickly for the asking price?
- Finally, we look at the incentives other sellers are offering, such as paying some closing costs, and what conveys with the property, like draperies or washer and dryer.
As you noticed, neither how much you paid for your home nor how much money you wish to profit from the sale affect the market value of your home.
Avoid “Testing The Market”
Many times, sellers are tempted to price their homes a little high in hopes of getting more money from the sale. But often the opposite happens, and they sell – after a long time on the market – at a price below what the home would have sold for if it had been priced correctly at first. This is because most buyers look only at homes they can afford.
- If a home is overpriced, many potential buyers don’t bother to consider it because the asking price is above what they can afford to pay.
- Buyers who do tour the overpriced home see that it doesn’t measure up to others in the same price range.
- By pricing the home close to market value, on the other hand, the sellers make the most of their best opportunity to sell to the home’s true market during the highest traffic period – the first weeks after the new listing comes out. That’s when real estate agents call in the buyers they have been working with to see what’s new on the market.
“The best game plan is to price your home over market to give yourself room for negotiation if offers come in low.”
REALITY: Most homes sell within 5% of what similar neighborhood homes have recently brought. Pricing your home too high will actually scare buyers away. They’ll assume you are unrealistic and likely to be difficult to deal with. In addition, buyers who believe your home is out of their price range won’t even look at it.
The best way to deal with a low offer is by making a counteroffer or rejecting the contract outright. Having an experienced real estate agent in your corner will help you price your home to sell quickly, while netting you the best possible return.
For a 100% FREE INSTANT Home Value Report
Holy HUD Headache
Recently I sold a Home to a Client in The Greater Oakland County Mi. That was a HUD Home and boy how things have changed just in the last few years. I knew going into this was going to be somewhat of a “Pain” and in doing these in the past few years it was not really a surprise, back not so long ago as a Realtor you usually had to deal with these and Short Sales to survive in the business. Thinking, as we do, getting our Bid excepted was a milestone in the business of dealing with HUD properties but this is as far from the truth now more than ever. It can seem like a very lonely process getting the things done that need to be completed so that you have covered the bases and have given your Home Buyer the best representation as possible and they deserve. To me one of the most important things when representing your Home Buyer in a HUD property is to let them know the facts up-front and to try as best you can to explain how the process works both negative and positive aspects of purchasing a HUD Home and the responsibility they share with you to assure that the process is followed so they are protected, and if it’s the first HUD Sale of a Realtor then they need to get answers if they are unsure. Not knowing or just guessing for your HUD Buyer can have a detrimental effect on them and could possibly lead to them losing their EMD (Earnest Money Deposit) and worse for them, losing the home they wanted. As with all Home Purchases the HUD Buyer has the right to hold or have a private inspection but this is only for their own information as HUD Homes are SOLD AS IS and if the HUD Buyer backs out they will lose their EMD or forfeit it. Try to make sure your HUD Buyer puts the minimal down that’s required by HUD, this information can be found in the HUD Packages supplied by the HUD Bank once the Bid has been accepted. Another heads up. Not all HUDS are the same. They can have different contracts and contingencies just like any other home. As always, be sure to read the contract first and make sure your HUD Buyer understands.
Additionally, on the HUDHomeStore Website linked here, it states that “HUD strongly urges every potential homebuyer to get a professional inspection prior to submitting an offer to purchase”, But some HUD Home Buyers want to move quickly as to not losing the property to another Bid. In my particular situation the HUD Buyer wanted to move on her Bid and get the Inspection after it was accepted. Be prepared to have not only the City Inspectors, Building Inspectors, Plumbing Inspectors and Electrical Inspectors visit the property before closing which can take a lot of your time and especially patience, but it is your duty to be there as the HUD Buyer is not allowed to be at the property during or at any time alone, this happening can cause your buyer to lose the deal, EMD and could cost you a fine! Be prepared for the work that a great agent must do, and don’t be surprised of the little if not no help from HUD or the Listing Broker, you will seem alone but always remember your goal is for your client and doing the best you can do for them. HUD Homes are a headache but also can be a reward to you and your HUD Buyer in the long run and you may find it worth it to put and go the extra mile or in this case miles.
Other Helpful Information
• Only primary residence buyers are allowed in the first round of bidding.
• If the home is being offered as eligible for FHA financing it:
– Has an existing FHA appraisal that must be used (unless expired) AND
– The sales price has usually been based on the existing appraised value. Bidding above the sales price may result in paying the difference out-of-pocket between the bid and appraised value.
• HUD does not automatically provide title insurance. This could be an additional expense, so inquire to avoid surprises at closing. Only if HUD has agreed to pay closing costs, could the insurance be provided at HUD’s expense.
• If HUD is offering a repair escrow, this amount can be added to an FHA loan, but HUD doesn’t pay for it.
• Lender documents must be to the title company up to 10 days prior to closing date in some states. Make sure that there is enough time to meet this requirement.
• HUD signs closing packages first. Then once the loan proceeds and the title company receives buyer down payment and closing costs, the buyer is allowed to sign.
• Closing delays are common due to “title clearing” issues. Foreclosed homes can have several liens due to utilities, taxes; etc that must be dealt with before closing can take place. Discuss potential challenges, such as rescheduling of moving trucks, and possible rate lock extension fees.
10 Tips to Help You Save Home Energy – Oakland County Mi
Before you spend money on the latest energy-efficient gizmo that’s supposed to save you money, let’s look at some energy saving ideas that will really help you save home energy. The strategies that we will look at will maximize the effort you put in, and help reduce your home energy consumption.
First sit down and think about all the different ways your family uses energy around the house. Now put an approximate type and cost of energy used. You may have trouble breaking down the cost but try to do it. Now all you have to do is find ways to save on your resources at the same time cut your costs. You may have to think creatively but it can be done.
So here are some tips to get you started:
– Turn the lights off when you’re not using them. This is really simple and easy to do. Do you really need your bedroom light on when you’re in the living room? Do you leave lights on when you leave the house? Do you even need more than one light on in a room for what you are doing? Believe it or not it makes a big difference.
– Turn all electronics and other appliances off when you’re not using them. No one can do everything at the same time. Can you really listen to a radio, watch television, and use your computer all at the same time?
– Set your thermostat down a couple of degrees in winter, or up in summer, to conserve energy. And dress appropriately indoors for the time of year it is. For instance in winter, put on a sweater or some extra clothing, or may snuggle under a blanket to stay warm. In the summer, wear less and stay cooler naturally.
– Only turn an appliance on when you have a full load. This is true especially for the washing machine, dryer and even the dishwasher. It is amazing how much extra energy is used doing multiple small loads in comparison to one full load.
– Do regular maintenance on your appliances. Keeping them clean means they don’t have to work as hard. Changing filters reduces the energy needed to accomplish a task. Regular care will also mean any maintenance bills that you might come up against may well be cheaper.
– Be careful how you use your water. Like when brushing your teeth or washing your hands, use only the water you need. Don’t let the water run the entire time. Also, try and use less water if you take a bath, or control your shower times.
– Simply let your hair air dry, instead of using a blow drier every day.
– Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees F.
Don’t forget the bigger projects as well.
– Seal the cracks around your doors and windows. You are paying for your hot air that escapes through cracks all around your house. You need to make sure you are doing all you can to keep the warm air you’re paying for inside your house.
– You also need to check your house’s insulation. Though this has been done by many homeowners nevertheless you still need to do it before you pass it over. It is probably the biggest thing in reducing heating costs.
Now some of these things may seem trivial to you but let me assure you that even the small things add up over time. And really most of them you won’t even notice the difference to your life except your bills.
These tips and suggestions will make your home more affordable, and take some strain off of our world’s resources. Just think if all of us would make a few of these changes, it would make a huge difference.
by: Dave McIntosh
Buyers Beware Easements Impact, Recently I sold a HUD Home to a client in the Greater Oakland County area, a nice home not one you would picture in your mind as a HUD Home. The home was a beautiful tri-level in a fantastic area and seemed to be priced very well and a great value. The home is on a beautiful wooded lot with many trees and a wonderful waterfall pond in the yard, there was also this large shed with a canopy style roof to sit under during sunny days or warm summer nights. Inspection time, the City came out and my buyer was told that the beautiful shed had to either be torn down or moved at her own expense. The previous owners had built this shed under and around the utilities easement also without a permit from the City.Although there are many other types of Easements that can be disclosed by a private Seller, when it comes to buying a HUD Home make sure to have a City Building Inspector come to determine if there are any other easements that you are not made aware of. I want to share the importance of Buyers Beware Easements Impact on properties and have share my thoughts here for all potential Home Buyers.
Buyers Beware Easements Impact if you are thinking about buying a property that comes with an easement, be sure you understand how it could affect your life and the property’s value. An easement means a third party has been granted the right to use a defined area of an owner’s property for a general or specific purpose (see box). Easement restrictions could, for example, prevent you from building on the easement area or from installing fencing that would prevent access to or through it.
There are many different types of easements. A common one—a right-of-way easement—allows a specific person or persons to travel across a piece of land owned by someone else. This type of easement is sometimes used in rural areas so farmers or ranchers can get to a piece of property they own that does not have road frontage.
Easements may be granted as permanent arrangements that continue indefinitely or until a release is given by the person receiving the easement. In this case, the easement would normally become part of the property deed.
An easement can also be granted as a limited-time agreement—expiring at a stated time, when a specified event occurs or when the benefiting person dies. Limited-time easements are normally not recorded as part of a deed description.
Other easements you may encounter could grant the right for a utility company to run lines or poles—even high-tension power lines—over, on or under the property, or for a local government or housing development to install sewers or water mains or allow access to a park, for example.
Buyers Beware Easements Impact: Just because an easement is not being used does not mean it will never be used. Should the benefiting party decide to exercise their right, can you live with whatever impact their use might have on your property and lifestyle? Be sure to consult a qualified real estate attorney for advice. In addition, carefully consider whether future buyers will shy away from the property because an easement exists.
Other Common Easements
- Provide pathways across two or more pieces of property.
- Forbid neighbor from blocking view with a wall of trees.
- Allow neighbor to use owner’s driveway to reach neighbor’s home.
- Permit public access to beach or park through private land.
- Grant historic preservation organization rights to enforce alteration restrictions.
- Allow an individual to fish in a privately owned pond.
- Permit land owner to drive cattle over another’s land.
- Restrict development, commercial and industrial uses on a property to preserve views, habitat or other amenities of the land.
- Utilities Easements