Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland and Livingston County Real Estate News

April 23, 2018

4 Great Online Resources for Patio Furniture

If you’re in the market for some new outdoor patio furniture, you might find yourself overwhelmed by all the options. Maybe you don’t have time to stop at every garage sale and hunt for the hidden treasure, or maybe your fingertips are starting to get sore from scrolling through furniture sites.

Don’t worry – we’re here to help. Here are 4 great online resources for outdoor patio furniture.

1. Pinterest

Pinterest is so popular for the DIY scene that we almost needn’t mention it. You probably have several boards dedicated to outdoor decoration. The problem is that you might not know how to make your fantasy Patio Board and your DIY Patio Furniture Board intersect. Get ideas from your various Pinterest boards and then start looking into DIY projects to customize your patio furniture or you can purchase the items you've saved to boards. Pinterest is great about linking you to discount furniture stores or craft stores you might not have thought of before.

2. Buzzfeed

Buzzfeed also has a great DIY section. Instead of “pinning” the things you like, you can peruse the patio furniture that others have posted to get ideas. Many of the people posting furniture on Buzzfeed are artists or in-the-know writers who know great patio furniture when they see it, so the items you're looking at will be trendy and/or unique pieces that will make a statement. 

3. Garage Sale Locators

Are you tired of driving through your neighborhood looking for garage sales? Are you sick of screeching off the road every time you see a yard sale sign? There’s a better way shop for gently used patio furniture items. You can check out online forums that list what is being sold at different garage and yard sales.

Here are some great garage and yard sale locating websites we recommend:

But there are plenty of more out there! Just try a simple Google search and see what comes up.

4. 5mile App

Let’s say you find the perfect garage or yard sale – one that actually has the kind of patio furniture you’re looking for – but it’s 50 miles away. It would cost more in gas to get there than it would to buy the furniture. With the 5mile app, you know you’re shopping for used items that are reasonably close to you. Better yet, each item is photographed before it’s posted, so you get to see the item for yourself before deciding to drive out there and buy it.

What online resources do you use to find great furniture? We'd love to hear from you!

Posted in Buyer News, News
April 23, 2018

Worried About Overpaying on Your Next Home?

Follow these six important strategies to help keep from overpaying on your next home

1. Research the comps. To know what the right price should be for a home, you first need to know what similar properties are selling for in that area. You will want to look at homes that are similar in size and condition. The comparable sales data or comps will give you recent sales information. Make sure to find at least three relatively similar properties in the neighborhood that you are interested in - your Realtor will be able to assist you in finding the correct data.

2. What is the right price for you? The right price for each buyer is going to vary. We all have different thresholds for which we are willing to pay and different amenities that are important to us. Sometimes paying a little more will make sure that you don't lose out on your dream home. However, always keep your bottom line in mind.

3. Shop around for your mortgage. Fees and interest rates vary from lender to lender. Take the time to compare before you decide on the lending institution. This could save you considerably each month on your mortgage payments.

3. Research current events. Find out as much as you can about the neighborhood, the town and the city. It will make a significant difference in the price of a home if there are plans for new schools or if there are negotiations in the works to put a highway overpass close by. You will want to make sure that you don't have any surprises. Also, if applicable, look into the Homeowner's Association, its rules and fees.

4. Have an appraisal. If your appraisal comes in lower than the negotiated price, an appraisal contingency will ensure that you aren't overpaying. You may need to renegotiate the price with the seller or you will have to come up with the difference.

5. Always have a Realtor. A professional real estate agent who is representing you as a buyer will have first-hand, expert knowledge of the local housing market. Realtors' expertise in market conditions and knowing what constitutes a fair price and their ability to represent you in a bidding war could be invaluable.

6. Avoid a bidding war! Don't get trapped into a price guessing game with other buyers for the same property. Don't change your bid. Instead, be preapproved for your mortgage and make a strong initial offer.

While buying a home can be an exciting challenge, you don't have to overpay. Contact me today for more information about the home buying search and what your local market is saying. 

Posted in Buyer News, News
April 23, 2018

6 Ways to Make Your Home Gym More Inspiring


For many, resistance is more than an elastic band used to build muscle. It's a very real force that keeps us stationary and out of the gym. During this time of inertia, resistance gets stronger, and we get softer, in the literal sense.
A good solution to the home gym struggle? Add a little inspiration. Here are some popular ways to make your home gym more inspiring.
1. Change your perspective from the equipment. If your view from the seat of the stationary bike or treadmill has been the same since you set up your gym, move the machinery, or weights, around the room to form a new arrangement. This undertaking might be a hassle, but so is shopping for bigger pants.
2. Add a view of some sort. Even if you have a window or glass wall to gaze at, a new focal point will keep your eyes and mind occupied. This tactic is especially poignant for those of you training for a race or event. Find a picture of a finish line or your upcoming race route and use that image to keep you motivated throughout your workout.
3. Create a new soundtrack to accompany you during your workout routine. Recycle some old classics or ask your friends for new suggestions. Music can get the blood pumping or help settle you into a new routine. Either way, music is an outside stimulus that can inspire you to reach beyond your comfort zone or get you back in the habit of exercising.
4. Phone a friend for some company and accountability. Make a date with a workout partner and stick to it. This strategy is especially powerful when your friend is at a fitness level that you seek to attain. Conversations flow, ideas are exchanged and the time quickly passes with your buddy on board. Plus, their new energy livens up your workout zone.
5. Shake your tail feathers! Exercise doesn't have to occur on a machine that counts calories or output levels. Get back to basics and dance your way into a new groove. Dance is fun, freeing and expressive. It also gets you in touch with your body through muscle control and balance. Plus, as the saying goes, "Dance like nobody's watching," and here's your chance.
6. Get visual with inspirational videos or training sessions. YouTube has millions of fitness videos you can use as prompts or inspiration to reach new levels. Take your pick from all the yoga, Pilates and Zumba options available online. It's free, so if you try it and hate it, all you will have lost is a few minutes of your time.

Use these tips when revamping your home gym; doing so will give you a whole new perspective on the way you exercise. 

Posted in News
April 23, 2018

Are You Aware of How Much Equity You Have in Your Home? You May Be Surprised!

"U.S homeowners with mortgages (roughly 63% of all the properties) have seen their equity increase by a total of $908.4 billion since the fourth quarter 2016, an increase of 12.2%, year over year.”

Price Appreciation = Good News for Homeowners

Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, explains:

“Home-price growth has been the primary driver of home-equity wealth creation. The CoreLogic Home Price Index grew 6.2 percent during 2017. The largest calendar-year increase since 2013. Likewise, the average growth in home equity was more than $15,000 during 2017, the most in four years.”

He also believes this is a great sign for the market in 2018, saying:

“Because wealth gains spur additional consumer purchases, the rise in home-equity wealth during 2017 should add more than $50 billion to U.S. consumption spending over the next two to three years.”  

This is great news for homeowners! But, do they realize that their equity position has changed?

A study by Fannie Mae suggests that many homeowners are not aware that they have regained equity in their homes as their investment has increased in value. For example, their study showed that 23% of Americans still believe their home is in a negative equity position when, in actuality, CoreLogic’s report shows that only 4.9% of homes are in that position (down from 6.3% in Q4 2016).

The study also revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have “significant equity” (greater than 20%) when in actuality, 83% do!

Are You Aware of How Much Equity You Have in Your Home? You May Be Surprised! | MyKCM

This means that 46% of Americans with a mortgage fail to realize the opportune situation they are in. With a sizeable equity position, many homeowners could easily move into a house (either larger or smaller) that better meets their current needs.

Fannie Mae spoke out on this issue in their report:

“Homeowners who underestimate their homes’ values not only underestimate their home equity, they also likely underestimate 1) how large a down payment they could make with their home equity, 2) their chances of qualifying for mortgages, and, therefore, 3) their opportunities for selling their current homes and for buying different homes.”

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many Americans who is unsure of how much equity you have built in your home, don’t let that be the reason you fail to move on to your dream home in 2018! Let’s get together to evaluate your situation!

Posted in News, Seller News
April 23, 2018

Do Antibiotics Cause Fatigue and Lethargy?


People are usually most familiar with the bothersome effects that antibiotics can have on the digestive system. For example, azithromycin (sold under the brand names Z-Pak, Zithromax and Zmax) most frequently causes upset stomach, diarrhea and vomiting. But, a lesser known side effect of azithromycin and other common antibiotics, such as amoxicillin and ciprofloxacin, is serious fatigue.

While the exact reason for this side effect isn’t fully understood, it could have something to do with how antibiotics alter the balance of microbes in our bodies. These medications often alter or kill off good bacteria in the body along with the bad. This can cause changes in the digestive system that affect nutrient absorption and can contribute to fatigue and lethargy.

If there is a specific medication, whether it is an antibiotic or not, that affects you or your aging loved one adversely, it’s important to take note of this and report it to your doctor. The physician has weighed the risks and benefits of this drug and prescribed it for a reason, but it is important to follow up with them if it is causing serious side effects. It could indicate an adverse reaction or that it isn’t the right drug for the “bug” that is responsible for the initial illness. Even if it is just a bothersome side effect, the doctor should be able to add this to the patient’s notes for future reference and suggest a different drug.

Antibiotics are incredibly helpful for fighting dangerous infections, but it is important to only take them when they are needed and follow the prescription instructions exactly. Overuse and misuse of these drugs can cause more harm than good.

Posted in News, Senior News
April 23, 2018

The Best Time of Year to Buy Household Items


Who doesn’t love a deal? I loved this article at Realty Times, which recently revealed the best time of year to buy certain household items in order to score the biggest bargains, based on research from AARP and LifeHacker.


January: Furniture, new flooring, and bedding and linens

FebruaryAir conditioners and older model televisions that will soon be moving out for newer models

March: Gardening tools, china, and flatware

April: Vacuum cleaners

May: Barbecue equipment, patio furniture, and home office furniture

June: Tools

July: Kitchen appliances, such as refrigerators and ranges

August: Linens and storage containers

September: Grills and lawn mowers

October: Appliances and clearance patio furniture and outdoor items

NovemberElectronics, appliances, and tools

December: Televisions, electronics, and small appliances like toasters and blenders

Posted in News
March 31, 2018

3 Floor Plan Fads You'll See More Often

BUILDER recently weighed in on some of the hottest fads that could impact more floor plans in 2018, including:

1. Flexibility for multigenerational households. More homes are being built to accommodate multigenerational households, such as with a main-level bedroom suite or even an in-law unit to offer privacy to cohabiting relatives. Flexible layouts that can accommodate a variety of living arrangements are growing in demand, builders say. In 2014, 60.6 million Americans resided in multigenerational households, according to the Pew Research Center. Homeowners may not need the extra space quite yet, but they desire to use it one day. The extra bedroom on the main floor may be outfitted as an office or study until it’s needed.

2. The modern farmhouse. White farmhouses are in high demand. These homes are characterized by large windows, simple roof lines, and bright white siding that may be paired with dark windows. “The modern farmhouse aesthetic seems to have struck a chord with the American home buyer because it relates back to a more bucolic era while also embracing all the needs of modern life,” says Jonathan Hyman, architectural department manager at Donald A. Gardner Architects. “The simplicity and clean lines, along with a little nostalgia, help the modern farmhouse create a relaxing environment in our chaotic contemporary lives.” Some designers are experimenting with adding more color to the farmhouse look, like in soft pastels of light green or soft tan colors.

3. Greater storage options. Storage is getting more emphasis on floor plans. Mudrooms and laundry areas are showing up on more home layouts as separate spaces rather than combined areas. Homes with open layouts are finding more need for storage to tuck away items. Mudrooms are popular as drop zones for backpacks, coats, and shoes. Also, the placement of this storage is getting more consideration in regards to homeowners’ lifestyles. For example, some layouts from the Nelson Design Group in Jonesboro, Ark., feature master bedroom closets that open directly into the laundry room. Pets are also getting more thought. Design Basics, based in Omaha, Neb., includes “pet centers” in some of its floor plans, which feature dog-washing stations and other storage.

March 31, 2018

6 Secrets to Getting Approved for a Loan

Even if you are a strong loan candidate on paper – you have good credit and lots of savings – this still might not lead to an approval. Sometimes, it may be as simple as timing that is not right, or you could be working with the wrong lender. Don’t seek out a home loan without reading these six industry secrets to boost your chances of approval.

Your loan officer doesn’t approve your loan

Although the banker is the one you meet with face-to-face and give all your documents to, he or she is not the one who makes the final decision on whether or not you get approved for a loan. That’s the job of the underwriter. However, you still want to impress the banker so he or she will vouch for you with the underwriter. Having a good relationship with your lender means that person ought to fight harder for you.

Find a lender who is persistent 

You want a lender who won’t give up if the underwriter comes back with a no. If that is the case, the lender should be asking whether there are a few simple changes you can make that will get you approved. Maybe if you pay off a credit card or improve your FICO score, it will make you a better loan candidate. The long and short of this is that your lender shouldn’t assume his or her job is over just because the underwriter rejected you. 

Who is the lender recommended by agents? 

In order to find a lender who is persistent and informed, you should do a little research to find out which lender is recommended by some of the top real estate agents in your area. It’s more common than not that these people will give you a name of a lender with a reputation for getting clients approved for a loan.

Make sure the lender actually gives loans for the type of property you’re interested in

Also included in your research should be whether or not a lender even gives out the type of loan you need. That means checking that the property type, location and condition qualify you for a loan with a certain lender. Some lenders don’t lend for properties that are fixer-uppers, or they may give loans only for commercial property. 

Play the waiting game

Part of being savvy when it comes to securing a home loan is knowing when to hold off. It may be necessary to wait for the right financial climate to secure a good mortgage loan. If interest rates are high or you haven’t put enough money away in your savings, your best bet might be to hold tight. Although this is frustrating, it’s all part of the approval process strategy. 

Ask for a second opinion 

If you’re not feeling the warm and fuzzies from the lender you chose, there is nothing stopping you from working with someone different. If you don’t think that lender is invested enough in you or will help you put together a stellar loan application, it’s best to part ways. You could even go to another lender if you got rejected after working with someone else. However, if you get rejected again, especially if it’s for the same reasons, this may be an indicator that there is something in your profile that you need to fix – like a high-interest credit card or student loans. 

Pro tip: If you get rejected, ask follow-up questions. This way, you know what you need to work on to get approved next time. 

Think you’re ready to take the plunge? Contact us today for more information about what you need to do to get approved for a home loan.

Posted in Buyer News, News
March 31, 2018

Looking for the Neighborhood That's Just the Right Fit?

1. Time the commute to your job

Perhaps you have been spending hours stuck in traffic to and from work and are looking for a much shorter commute. Just because a neighborhood is closer does not mean that you will get there faster. Time the commute from the different neighborhoods you are considering.
2. Meet the neighbors
Want to get a feel for the neighborhood? Talk to the neighbors. Just by walking around the neighborhood you'll get a vibe, helping you determine whether it's the right place for you. Are the people a little standoffish? Are they hesitant to make eye contact with you?
Are people friendly and neighborly? Maybe a little too friendly? Take a walk around and strike up a conversation with your potential future neighbors to get a feel for the community.
3. Go for a walk and/or drive around the neighborhood

One of the best ways to pick the right neighborhood is to take your time walking around. Go for a walk and/or drive through the neighborhood on the weekend and on weekdays. Do the same thing at different times of the day. Note where there are areas that look a little unsafe or dilapidated. How will that affect your quality of life there?

4. Attend a local festival or event

Kill several birds with one stone by attending a local event or festival. You'll meet people from the neighborhood and get a sense of the type of community that it is. Is it tight-knit? Young? Old? A little too country? Local events can tell you a lot about the spirit of a neighborhood.
5. Go out to eat at a local hot spot
While you're checking out properties, go to a popular eatery in the neighborhood. Check out the vibe and take note of people's behavior. Do they look at you suspiciously? Is the customer service lousy? Are diners happy? You can glean a lot about a neighborhood by simply people-watching.
6. See a play or game at a local school

If you have kids, the quality of the local schools in your neighborhood may be priority No. 1. Before you buy a house and enroll the kids, visit the school. Go to a school play or watch one of the school's sports teams to get a feel for the level of community support for the school's art and athletic programs.

7. Read about the local job market and/or main industries

Having a job today does not guarantee that you'll have one tomorrow. And even if you do, it's important to know whether you are moving into a neighborhood that is growing and thriving or one that is crumbling. Get a local paper and read about the main industries in the area and the state of the local job market.

To ensure you find the best neighborhood for your lifestyle, give us a call today and we'll help you navigate the home-buying process.

Posted in Buyer News, News
March 31, 2018

5 Upgrades to Add Style and Value to Your Home

Outdoor Outlets 
Whether you want to be able to hold outdoor parties in your backyard or use an electric grill for summer barbecues, adding outdoor outlets increases your home's entertainment value. When you hire DJ's or put up holiday lights, you don't need yards and yards of extension cords. These handy outlets provide you with your outdoor electricity needs.
Radiant Heating                   
Think of the type of warmth that you feel standing in front of a warm oven. That is similar to the type of heat that fills your home when you install radiant heat. Instead of relying on air that is blown out of vents or using furnaces to heat your home, hot stone slabs are laid on your floors and heated with either hot water (more energy efficient), electric (less energy efficient) or air radiation.
Walls and ceilings can also be heated but typically use electricity instead of hot water to prevent the danger from potential water leaks inside the walls. While it negates some of the energy efficiency, in combination with radiant heated floors, the savings can add up to thousands of dollars per year.
Central Vacuum System
For anywhere between $100 and $2,000, you can install a central vacuum system throughout your home. Tubes are installed in your walls in each room of your house and connected to a wall vacuum outlet. Kits come with a vacuum head that connects to the wall outlet so that dirt and dust in the air are carried out of the house and through a HEPA filter. It is great for people with allergies and can improve the indoor air quality of your home.

Energy-Efficient Appliances and Equipment
Energy savings are on everyone's minds and when you can boast to potential homebuyers the number of energy efficient appliances and equipment that power your home, you have a better chance of selling at the price you want. Add new energy efficient windows, storm doors, HVAC systems and kitchen appliances for an excellent cost-effective upgrade.
Outdoor Oven or Fire Pit
Even if you live in a warm climate, a backyard fire pit can improve the aesthetic of your home and makes enjoying the night air more comfortable. Particularly if you live in a state that gets cool weather, a fire pit allows you to hang outside with friends even on chilly nights.
Outdoor ovens also add style and pizzazz to your outdoor landscape as well as a practical feature that increases entertainment value. Backyard parties are more fun with an oven to cook on.

Posted in News, Seller News