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Top 5 Excuses Not to Buy a Home: And How You Can

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Hands holding house

If you are like many young Americans, you are assuming you can't afford to buy a home. Maybe you have bad credit, or not enough savings because you're paying back your student loans.

There are many excuses we hear from young buyers - particularly in the Millennial generation - about home buying. You might be surprised how many ways there are to buy a home still even if you can't. Read on to find out more.

#1: No Down Payment

When buyers say they don't have a down payment, sometimes they mean they don't have a 20% down payment. That number seems to have a hold on the collective consciousness.

Who has that much cash lying around? If you're holding out for that big of a down payment, you probably think you will never be able to buy a house.

The good news is that there are ways to pay only 3-5% down payment. The Federal Housing Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, or grants available to those with good credit and a stable job are all ways of financing a down payment without having to wait to save that large amount.

Private mortgage insurance is available to those making a lower down payment. Once you hit that 20% threshold of payment on your mortgage, you won't need it anymore.

#2: Bad Credit History

You are not the only one with credit skeletons in your closet. Those late payments you made may have put a dent in your score. However, there are ways around that, especially if you've kept your record clean since then.

If you have paid down your credit cards and you have a steady job, your application might be approved anyway.

Other options include rent-to-own programs, financing through the home's seller or loans from private lenders. There are private mortgage insurance programs that allow for credit scores as low as 620.

If none of this works for you right now, make an appointment with a licensed loan officer to get your credit back on track in as little as a year.

However, there is one thing to keep in mind: those with lower credit scores typically pay a higher mortgage rate and require a higher down payment.

#3: No Credit History

Did you know there are other ways of building a credit history than a credit card?

Experian makes it easy to establish a history by reporting your rental payments or asking your landlord to report them.

#4: Mortgage Payments

If you are a renter, chances are good you are paying more in rent than you would if you owned your own home and paid a mortgage payment.

Typically, landlords are recouping mortgage costs, taxes, insurance, and maintenance while still trying to make a profit.

Think about whether you want to keep paying extra to live in someone else's house or invest in your own future.

#5: New Job

Many times, the thought of owning a home comes with new employment. Better job, better living arrangements!

You might think you have to work at that job for several years before lenders will consider you a serious candidate.

However, as long as your income and your field are good, a short employment history shouldn't work against you, especially if your employer will write you a letter of recommendation.

Bringing it Home

Hopefully, this list helps those of you who have despaired about ever owning your own home. I hope it also encourages those of you who have historically been against home ownership to think again.

If you have any questions about this list or anything else real estate related, please call our office. We would be honored to help!   



Top 3 Moving Mistakes to Avoid

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Family moving

Everyone seems to think they are an expert on moving. Or at least they have opinions about the best way to move even if they haven't done it in many years.

What worked for one person may not work for you. It may not work for most people. Just feel free to take their opinions with a grain of salt and try to avoid these moving mistakes instead.

#1: Trying To Find and Use Free Boxes

The myth that you can just drive to the back of any store and grab a bundle of boxes is one of the most common ones. It is also one of the most frustrating.

For one thing, all the big box stores have balers that flatten the boxes. You could park in back of Walmart for a week and never see a box.

For another thing, shipping boxes made for produce or bottles have limited use for your personal belongings. Even if you score a bundle of boxes from a grocery store or liquor store, how useful will they be?

A third reason to avoid chasing the free box myth is that it can end up becoming a wild goose chase. Moving is a marathon on its own. You don't need to add more to your to-do list by driving all over town trying to find free boxes.

Instead, buy a package of boxes made for moving. They come in standard sizes that allow you to calculate how big of a moving van you're going to need once everything is packed up. They are made to be carried easily or stacked onto a dolly. Many of them even have handles!

#2: Not Packing Absolutely Everything Before Moving Day

You might think you need to keep the linens on all the beds for one last night in your old house, or that your toiletries can stay in their places to be used the morning of the move.

But every little thing you still haven't packed when the movers come can make your moving day more expensive than you anticipated if they have to wait around for you to pack boxes.

Or, if you're going the DIY route, don't waste your friends' time by having unpacked things lying around.

The best way to maximize your time and ease your stress both before and after your move is to have everything you might need for a vacation packed in easy-to-access luggage.

Make sure you have plenty of clothes, toiletries, kitchen essentials, medicines, pet food, and school items for the kids. That way, you won't be scrambling to find what you need. Also, keep important documents with you at all times.

You never know what you will need to access at any time. Treat the last night in your old house like camping and only use what you can pack in the car the next morning.

#3: Moving on the Weekend

Friday is the best day to move from the perspective of the people moving because it gives you the rest of the weekend to unpack before real life sets in again.

The problem with that is that everyone else thinks this too and moving companies raise their prices accordingly. You can expect a rate that's 20-30% higher than a weekday rate on the weekend.

Moving companies also hire extra help for weekend moves, which may leave you with movers who have a lot less experience.


Whether you are hiring a moving company or doing it yourself with a few friends, avoiding these mistakes could save you time and money.

Top Five Worst House Pricing Recommendations

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Top Five Worst House Pricing Recommendations

People get all kinds of bad advice; the type that gets passed around and handed down whether it has been proven or not: marriage advice, car advice, parenting advice, you name it.

Some of the "best" bad advice comes from people who know and love you, and it's about how much money you can probably get for something.

As well-meaning as these friends and family are, this type of bad advice has the potential to hurt you financially, and you may never know it.

So, whether you are on the receiving end of some bad home-pricing advice, or you're about to dole out some of it, take a look at the list below and think again!

Bad Advice #1: You've got plenty of time to wait. Price your house high and wait for the right offer.

Some people erroneously think that the right buyer is out there somewhere and that you might have to wait to get the perfect high price on your home that you think it is worth.

They believe that if you have the time to wait, that offer will be sure to come in. The truth is just about the opposite of this bad advice!

Overpriced houses end up sitting there for a long time, and once they have been sitting there for too long, they start to look like there is something wrong with them, even if they don't.

Buyers end up thinking they can low-ball their offers since the house hasn't sold and sellers end up having to accept lower offers than they would have if they'd priced the home appropriately in the first place.

Bad Advice #2: Make sure you get the cost of your renovations out of your sale.

The people who know how time-consuming and expensive your new kitchen was want to see you get the most you can when you sell the house. Maybe you thought you'd get top dollar because of that new kitchen too.

That doesn't mean buyers want to pay what you paid for it. The truth is if you renovate, you need to make sure it's for your reasons and not to sell for top dollar.

Most home renovations only give you back just over 50% - if that - of what you spend on them. You need to know this going into a home renovation. Make sure you're doing it for the right reasons.

Bad Advice #3: Don't bother negotiating with a lowball offer.

Yes, sometimes offers are a little insulting. It's true that a buyer may give you a low offer because it's all they can afford and they thought they might as well try.

However, you might be surprised at the deals that will go through when an initial offer seemed way too low. There are some people out there who want to see what they can get.

You have nothing to lose by giving a counter-offer, even if your counter-offer is your original asking price!

Bad Advice #4: Add extra to your asking price so you can make a profit.

It would be great if you could make a profit on the sale of your house. If you live in it long enough, you might be able to do that.

However, it doesn't matter how much you want it; the price of your house should be based on what buyers are willing to pay.

Most buyers are being advised by real estate agents who are looking at comparable sales in your area. You aren't likely to sell your house for more than a comparatively sized home in your neighborhood sold for recently.

Bad Advice #5: You know best what your house is worth.

Sometimes no one even has to give you this bad advice. Many sellers are more attached to their homes than they realize and for a good reason.

You dug out those ugly bushes in the front yard and painstakingly painted that old wood paneling. But just as in the scenario above, your home's price should be based on hard facts and not emotion.

Buyers have their own ideas of what they want and the best person to give you an accurate representation of what your house is worth is your realtor.


The best thing for you to do is to ignore bad home pricing advice and get the help of a professional realtor today. This will give you the best chance of selling your home on time and for the best price you can get.

Call the Jamey Kramer Group today!





Upcoming Events in Northville, Michigan - March 2019

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Northville Michigan Upcoming Events

Are you looking for something special to do in March? Do you live in the Northville, Michigan area?

The charming city of Northville has a special lineup of events in March that you won’t want to miss. 

Northville Marketplace

  • Date: Saturday, March 9
  • Time: 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Location: Northville High School, 45700 Six Mile Rd., Northville
  • Free Parking
  • Admission: $2 per person

Do you love the city of Northville as we do? This town has so much to offer, and so many unique businesses and organizations run by amazing people. If you are new to Northville, are wanting to get involved, or if you want to come and find out more about the city and what it has to offer, stop by the Northville Marketplace on Saturday, March 9th.

The Northville Marketplace is the largest showcase of Northville businesses and organizations you will ever find in one place. There are more than 60 booths with exhibits including financial institutions, artisans, restaurants, businesses, retail, service, community, and educational groups. Some displays will also be selling merchandise and participating in giveaways.

In addition, Northville's best restaurants are giving away free samples at their booths, so you can taste the goodness the city has to offer!

For more information, please see the Northville Chamber of Commerce website.

Special Lego Building Contest at the Northville Marketplace

This year at the Marketplace, Northville is hosting a special Lego contest and exhibit. Did you know Lego is the largest toy company in the world? The possibilities with this toy are endless, and some of Northville's most creative kids have entered the contest, hoping to win the first place prize!

Join Ben, Lego builder who has worked with and learned from master builders, in a Lego building competition. Take advantage of the thousands of Legos at your disposal right at the Northville Marketplace to make your own creation and browse Ben's personal Lego masterpieces.

You can also look at the contest submissions while you wait for a winner to be announced in an awards ceremony at 1:15!

Maple Syrup Tours At Maybury Farm

  • Days: Saturday and Sundays
  • Dates: March 9 - March 31, 2019
  • Times: Tours depart at 1:00, 1:45, 2:30, 3:15, 4:00 pm
  • Location: 50165 Eight Mile Rd, Northville, MI

It's time for Maybury Farm's yearly Maple Syrup Tours! At this time of year, Maybury Farm is closed to visitors, so on a regular day you can't see the animals or visit the store. But maple syrup season is a magical time to come with your friends and kids to see how this delicious treat is made.

Take a wagon ride out to the sugar bush and into the woods. Find out how to tap and maple tree and see the sap drip straight into the bucket! Then a short trip to the Sugar Shack where the sap is reduced into the sweet and healthy goodness that is maple syrup! Learn how maple syrup is graded and find out how simple it is to do this at home.

Included in your tour is snack time in the Maybury Farm General Store. Hot drinks and snacks and a toasty wood stove will be your last stop before you head home full of ideas and free recipes for your maple syrup adventures at home.


Group Tours:

Group tours are available for any group of 15 or more paid admissions (over age 2). Additional tour times available during the week for group tours.  Call 248-374-0200 to book your private group Maple Syrup tour!


Enjoy Northville this March with these two fabulous events! If you have any questions about living in Northville, or buying or selling a home in the Northville area, please don't hesitate to call our office. We would be happy to help!


7 Home Buying Myths You Need to Know About

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Couple looking for a house online

Not all home buyers are first-time buyers. Some of you out there have bought and sold many homes, and you already know which pitfalls to avoid.

However, as professional real estate agents, we see some of these myths believed by home buyers over and over again, and we want to warn you about them.

Myth #1: Start by looking for a house.

I see red flags all over when I look at buyers browsing for homes before they do anything else. Yes, searching online is fun, but you might get your heart set on a house you can't afford.

Don't make any assumptions about your price range before you do the work of getting pre-approved. The bank is the only one who can tell you what kind of house you can afford.

Myth #2: You don't need an agent.

How hard can it be to find and buy a house on your own? It can be a lot harder than it needs to be if you don't have an agent.

We can search for things you can't, we have a lot more experience than you do, we can negotiate better than you can, and we can give your home-buying experience our full-time attention.

Myth #3: Go for the 30-year mortgage.

While many people do choose the 30-year mortgage option because the monthly payments are lower, other mortgage options might fit better.

The disadvantage to a 30-year fixed interest loan is that you may end up paying more for your house than if you had opted for a 15-year or even a variable interest loan.

Myth #4: You have to have a 20% down payment.

You will have to pay for private mortgage insurance, but a 20% down payment isn't necessary. You can even get a loan through the Federal Housing Administration with a 3.5% down payment.

Myth #5: You have to have good credit.

Speaking of the FHA, these loans can be the answer for those whose credit scores are low and who don't have a substantial down payment. While they aren't the answer for everyone, they are loans to keep in mind.

Myth #6: If you have a down payment, you're in business.

The myth that you only need the down payment is not true. There are several significant up-front costs of buying a home. Closing costs can be anywhere from 3% to 6% of the purchase price. Added to that are taxes, fees, inspections, credit reports, insurance, and other payments.

Myth #7: You can skip an inspection.

Yes, inspections cost money. And yes, a seller may go for your offer over others if you're willing to waive an inspection, but beware.

Not all problems are visible. You could end up paying ten times more money to fix something an inspector would have easily caught. It is important not to skip an inspection.

Bringing it Home

Avoid believing these common home-buyer myths and make an informed and supported decision. As always, we are honored to help you with any of your real estate questions and needs if you are looking in the Detroit Metro area. Please don't hesitate to call us!



Top 5 Seller's Myths You Need To Forget

by The Jamey Kramer Group

House for sale depicting seller's myths

When it comes to selling your house, many people assume they have put their hard work behind them. Yes, buying your house was hard work, and maintaining a home can be as challenging as it is rewarding.

Selling your house is no different.  Unfortunately, myths about the selling process abound. Here are the top five myths about selling your home; debunked.

Myth Number 1 - You're better off selling your house yourself.

I can't tell you how many times this one comes up for people who don't want to pay seller fees to a realtor.

Of course, you want to get as much as possible back from the sale of your home. However, it's easy to underestimate how much work it takes to market a home correctly.

Those who want to sell their homes themselves are often relying on an anecdote from someone who did it successfully rather than the wealth of data to suggest that it's best left to a professional.

If you decide to go it alone, not only will you be responsible for the online marketing - pictures, website, online tour, etc. - but you will also be the one weeding out the undesirable buyers. There can be a lot of those. There's a reason this is a full-time job (for someone else).

Myth Number 2 - Your home will sell as-is.

While your home may sell as-is, you could be missing out big-time by not making some simple changes that will boost your profits.

This is another reason to hire a realtor: we see these same improvements get positive results time after time. Pay most attention to your walls, doors, floors, and kitchen.

However, don't get too hung up on gutting and re-doing your kitchen and bathrooms. You will never see a 100% return on investment for big projects like that. It's better to freshen up those spaces relatively inexpensively.

Myth Number 3 - When it comes to pricing your house, you know best.

Unfortunately, sellers are the worst at pricing their homes. Not only do they not have access to all of the data realtors do, but they value their homes emotionally.

Even if you are excited to be moving, or you never liked your house very much, you would be surprised by how invested you can become when it comes time to sell.

It makes sense: your hard-earned cash, your sweat equity, or both went into making that place your home. The trouble comes when owners want to overprice their homes. A perfectly good house that is initially overpriced can get caught on the market for too long and then automatically get ignored by buyers who assume there's something wrong with it.

Myth Number 4 - Buyers can see past paint colors.

Do you want to paint your whole house? No? Neither does your buyer.

Of course, they know they can do it, but most buyers want a home in turnkey condition. That means fresh, neutral paint colors they can see working with their furniture.

It's up to you: you can spend about $6000 for a painter, $500 to do it yourself or lose potential buyers before they step into your house because they can't see past your cranberry accent wall.

Myth Number 5 - It's the inside that counts.

Of course, we want all of our sellers to have clean, staged interiors. However, all that work would be meaningless if the outside looked trashy.

The exterior of your house is the first thing buyers are going to see, either online or as they drive by. This is why a new coat of paint on your front door is one of the most significant returns on investment you can make. Exterior work doesn't have to be extensive, but it does need to be done. Clean up your landscaping, invest in some colorful potted plants, put up new house numbers, and paint that front door.

Bringing it Home

The best thing you can do to help sell your house is hire a qualified real estate agent. If you have any questions about selling your home in the Detroit area, we would be honored to help!


Upcoming Events for Northville, Novi, and South Lyon Michigan - February 2019

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Upcoming events - Northville, Novi, & South Lyon, MI

Beat the cold and enjoy some of Southeast Michigan's unique and exciting events! From a play at the Tipping Point Theatre in Northville to a Contractor Show in Novi, there are plenty of events to enjoy in Northville, Novi, and South Lyon, Michigan.

Northville, Michigan Events February 2019

The Last Five Years

  • February 07, 2019 through March 03, 2019
  • Location: Tipping Point Theatre, 361 East Cady Street, Northville, MI

Do you like a good love story? Better yet, do you like musicals? This is the show for you. Tony Award-winning playwright and composer Jason Robert Brown premiered this show at Chicago's Northlight Theatre in 2001. It was produced off-Broadway and won two Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Lyrics and Outstanding Music in 2002.

Come and experience the love story of Jamie and Cathy through unique storytelling and musical arrangement. It's one of the most endearing love stories you'll encounter!

Ticket Prices

  • Wednesday at 3 p.m. and Thursday at 8 p.m. - $31
  • Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. - $38
  • Saturdays at 3 p.m. - $34
  • Sundays at 2 p.m. - $34
  • To purchase tickets: Center Stage Ticketing

English as a Second Language Conversation Group

  • Days: Tuesdays through February
  • Time: 10:30 am - 11:30 am
  • Location: Northville Library, 212 W. Cady Street, Northville, MI

Come to improve your English with informal conversation in a relaxed setting! The group meets every Tuesday in the Carlo Meeting Room.

For more information, please call the Northville Library at 248-349-3020.

Monday Night Live Interactive Coaching

  • Date: February 11, 2019
  • Time: 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
  • Location: PCS Training Room, 145 N. Center Street - Suite C, Northville, MI
  • Cost: $35 per session

Get ready for dynamic personal growth with these sessions. Dr. John & Matt Swartz hold weekly gatherings.

For more information, please see Downtown Northville’s website.

Novi, Michigan Events February 2019

Contractor Showcase

  • Date: Tuesday, February 19, 2019
  • Time: 7:00 am – 1:30 pm
  • Location: Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River Avenue, Novi, MI

Are you a contractor just starting your business, or looking for more pro tips and inspiration? This is your go-to event of the season. Attend this free showcase and learn from the masters. Browse new products, new ideas, and new techniques and get business advice from seasoned contractors.


  • 7:00 am - 8:30 am: Registration, hot breakfast and vendor fair
  • 8:30 am - 9:30 am: Hardscape insights and construction seminar
  • 9:30 am - 10:00 am: Break and vendor fair
  • 10:00 am - 11:30 am: Hardscape construction, live demos, and new products
  • 11:30 am - 12:30 pm: Lunch, vendors, product displays and prizes
  • 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm: Owners and managers hardscape business conference (in partnership with LMN)

For more information and to register, please see Eventbrite.

Breastfeeding Basics Class

  • Date: Monday, February 11, 2019
  • Time: 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
  • Location: Providence-Providence Park Hospital, 47601 Grand River Avenue, Novi, MI
  • Enter through Heart Institute Entrance Conference room C
  • Cost: $45.00

Are you an expectant parent? Are you hoping to get a sense of what to expect about breastfeeding when your little one comes? This is the class for you.

Join other parents-to-be for a crash course in breastfeeding. For 2.5 hours, the class will cover how to achieve long-term breastfeeding success by showing the proper latch, different holds you can use, troubleshooting when problems arise and proper breast care during the breastfeeding months.

The class fee includes expectant mother and one support person, and you go home with a breastfeeding booklet and web access to videos and resources.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please see Evenbrite.

South Lyon, Michigan Events February 2019

Doorway to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in Detroit and Oakland County

  • Tuesday, February 19, 2019
  • Time: 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
  • Location: Lyon Township Public Library, 27005 Milford Road, South Lyon, MI
  • Cost: Free and open to the public

Come to hear lecturer Jamon Jordan, a historian with the Black Scroll Network History and Tours speak about Detroit's central position within the abolitionist movement. Detroit was an essential part of the Underground Railroad, led by the African American community in Detroit. Learn about the people and places in Oakland County who were integral in the fight for freedom for slaves.

For more information, please call the Lyon Township Public Library at 248-437-8800.

Bringing it Home

The middle of winter can be tough - especially when the weather gets colder instead of warmer after Christmas! Keep your spirits high and learn or see some new things in February in Northville, Novi, and South Lyon, Michigan!

How to Fairly Price Your House to Sell

by The Jamey Kramer Group

House for sell

One of the most significant concerns clients have is whether they are pricing their homes correctly.

It makes sense that this would be an area of anxiety because most people want to get a fair price for their home. In addition, they don't want to have to wait for an unnecessarily long time for it to sell.

It can be a balancing act to find the right price, and it often involves trust between our clients and us.

The good news is that pricing a home isn't a shot in the dark. There are some tried-and-true methods to find out the best and most efficient possible price for your home. These methods are what your realtor will use to give you a recommendation.

Comparative Market Analysis

You have probably heard of the term Comparative Market Analysis or CMA. Any real estate agent will be able to provide you with a CMA. It is a compilation of:

  • The most recent sales in your area taking into account the size of the homes sold and other comparable details.
  • How many days the house spent on the market.
  • The final sale price.

Since this information is public record, you can usually obtain a CMA from several potential agents if you are still in the interview stage of your process.

If you want to do some preliminary research on your own, you can most likely find this information yourself. Or you can hire an independent appraiser and pay a few hundred dollars to get a fair market value.

For any of these methods, you need to look at comparable houses:

  • Within ½ mile from your house.
  • Listed in the last three months.
  • About the same square footage as your house.
  • About the same age.

Learn From the Competition

The next thing your realtor will do is to look at the details of the other listings in your area. Considerations include:

  • Of the homes that sold, what was their initial asking price?
  • How many price cuts did they make before selling?
  • Did they price their home too close to the asking price of a similar property?
  • Are their homes objectively nicer or less nice than your home?

In this way, you can learn from the mistakes of your competition. If there are already several homes for sale at a similar price point, it makes sense to choose something higher or lower that will bring in a different pool of searchers.

You can also avoid making several small price adjustments - which can be more detrimental to your sale than one significant correction, and you can see if your neighbors made the mistake of pricing their home too high to begin with.

Many sellers mistakenly believe they can wait for the "right" offer to come. However, the truth is if you aren't getting an offer fairly quickly, it may end up hurting your chances of ever receiving an offer at all.

We know your home is special to you, even if you want to move on. But it helps to look at the competition with a critical eye.

Is the competition showing something a little more beautiful than you are?

Then, it is time to be honest with yourself and price accordingly - to sell.

Price for Online Searches

A majority of all real estate transactions begin online. Next to first-rate pictures and descriptions, your price is the first thing attracting buyers to your house.

You want to avoid random pricing, no matter how significant a certain number is to you. Make it a number that is easy to understand at first sight, not $234,567.

Another tactic is to avoid century pricing, but price a bit below. So, don't list your home at $300,000, but rather something like $285,000 or even $299,000.

Keep in mind, as well, that if you price your home at $305,000 you will be cutting out a large portion of people searching in the $300,000-and-under range. Better to get more eyes on your house than to try to obtain an extra $5,000.

Bringing it Home

Home pricing isn't an exact science, even with the tools explained here. That's why you have to work with your realtor and not be afraid to make a change to get your house sold.

If you have any questions about pricing your house to sell, we would be honored to help!



5 Things Your Realtor Won't Tell You But Should

by The Jamey Kramer Group

House after snow storm

Successful real estate agents are the ones who always give advice based on their client's best interest over their own financial interests.

However, this success depends upon your agent's taking the long view of his or her business rather than in trying to make the biggest dollar on each project.

You may not know the difference between these two approaches as a client, because often you only meet an agent when the action is about to happen: you're about to buy or sell a home. In many cases, the interests of all parties are aligned, and there's no problem.

But what happens if you make a bad decision? Will your realtor stop you if it's not in his interest to do so?

If he's taking the long view and he wants what's best for you, he will tell you these things. He knows that keeping your good opinion after the deal is done is worth more than what he makes on your transaction.

Here are five things your realtor may not tell you if she's just in it for the money:

#1: Staying Put Is Often The Best Option

A good realtor will ask you why you are moving. Often, moving isn't the best option.

For one thing, it's expensive. There are transaction fees, the cost of moving itself, new furniture and all that goes along with maintaining a new house. It's a better strategy to move as few times as possible in your life.

For the first few years of a new mortgage, you are paying off interest, primarily. The longer you hold a mortgage, the more of your principle you pay. Not only does staying put save you money in the short-term, but it also saves you money in the long-term.

#2: A Bigger House Almost Always Creates More Problems

A family looking to upgrade to a bigger, more expensive home does look like a good client to most realtors. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to upgrade.

However, your realtor should tell you to find the most modest house that will fit your needs and advise you to try to adjust your expectations accordingly rather than to buy the most house your budget will allow.

Homeowners find out the hard way after they buy that big, expensive house: the more money you spend on a big house, the more you will continue to spend on upkeep.

It's especially unwise to spend money on space you won't use. If your realtor has your best interest in mind, he or she won't steer you toward more home than you can use.

#3: A Great Deal and a Great House Are Mutually Exclusive

The truth is, the better a house is the less room you have to negotiate. And if you are considering whether to buy a house based on getting a good deal, you may be stuck with something much harder to sell in the long-run.

Your realtor should not play up his or her ability to negotiate to your disadvantage. He or she should be honest and tell you that if you want that great house, you probably won't get a good deal.

He or she will also tell you that what you paid for a house is public record. If you got a good deal, your prospective buyer down the road would also expect to receive that same "good deal.” It doesn't matter why you got it, whether your seller was motivated, or your realtor was skilled.

#4: Buying a House Won't Fix Your Life

Of course, it isn't the job of your real estate agent to get into your personal business or to be your counselor. But he or she should be advising you that when you purchase a new house, it's a long-term investment.

All real estate appreciates in value given enough time. Your chances of getting caught trying to sell in a down market increase significantly the fewer years you own the house.

If you aren't thinking long-term - in other words, if you're making a big decision about a new home thinking it's going to solve all your problems. Your agent should be the person letting you know the risks.

#5: Buying a House Isn't an Investment

Clients want to know whether the particular home they are considering is a good investment. Your agent should be able to tell you how well it will sell when it comes time to sell it, but it's best not to think of a new home as an investment at all.

Investments generate cash flow, whereas a house will be a constant source of expense for as long as you own it. The larger or more desirable your home is, the more of an expense it will be. It doesn't mean your house isn't the right purchase for your family; it just means you shouldn't consider it an investment.

Bringing it Home

There are many unpopular truths about real estate. A trustworthy agent will be able to be transparent about all of them, and about any potential conflicts, he or she has between your needs and financial gain. This is what makes for a long-lasting business.

If your agent won't tell you these things, it's time to think about finding someone who will. As always, we are honored to help you with any part of the process. Please don't hesitate to call us if you have any questions and we can serve your needs in Southeast Michigan!



Why It's Not Too Soon to List Your Home in February

by The Jamey Kramer Group

House for sale

There seems to be a consensus that the spring market is the best time to sell your house. Most real estate agents will tell you this. But why is that?

Problems Leftover From The Recession

The real estate market is still trying to work out the problems it has had since 2008. Homeowners who wanted to sell in 2008 or subsequent years were stuck. Either their homes were worth less than what they paid, and they couldn't sell, or they didn't want to sell in a recession.

So many owners waited until the market started to creep back to normal to sell. And when they did, they all listed their homes in the spring. As that season wore on, more and more houses were stuck on the market, not selling, and owners were forced to lower their asking prices.

As a result, one of the trends we have seen is that the spring market has been pushed back to start earlier and earlier in the year.

What often happens is that owners who come late to the market have to lower their prices to meet a moving deadline. Or, they do so to avoid being on the market in July or August - which can be a dead time for selling a house. This causes everyone else to have to lower their prices as well as more and more homes come on the market in May and June.

What You Need To Sell In Peak Season

Spring does bring out lots of buyers. However, the truth is that spring often brings out many more sellers than buyers.

In the last several years in Southeast Michigan, competition has been high, and inventory has been low. However, we're about to see a change in this pattern.

When more homes like yours - either in your neighborhood or your city - hit the market, buyers can afford to be choosy. This makes it hard on homes that aren't in tip-top shape.

If you're planning to try to list in April or May, you could be in for a big surprise when many other homes in your neighborhood are being listed as well.

Does your home have fresh carpet and paint? Is it completely clutter-free and clean like new? If not, you are in for an uphill battle.

Start Your Listing Early

This is why you may want to consider getting your house ready to list now if you're going to plan to sell by spring. It does sound very early. After all, the winter holidays have just ended.

But I'm here to tell you that it's not too early to put your house on the market in February for the spring market.


There aren't as many hard-and-fast rules in real estate anymore. Buyers start searching when they are ready. They can often begin this process from the comfort of their couches. Thus, the season doesn't matter quite as much as you might think.

This means that selling a home often requires a strategy, and it requires an expert set of eyes to watch the market and react accordingly. This, in turn, means that you as a homeowner have to be able to be flexible - as much as you can.

Listing your home in February gives you the advantage of entering the market before it starts to ramp up. There will be fewer homes for buyers to compare.

A good rule of thumb is to watch your neighborhood to see how many homes are for sale. National and regional sales statistics can tell you some important things, but it's your neighborhood that will determine when and for how much you sell.

Bringing it Home

Although the spring market for real estate is still a good time to sell, this may not be the rule to follow every time, especially as the market starts to slow down a little bit.

If you are thinking about selling this spring, now may be a good time to start getting your house ready to list. Call the Jamey Kramer Group RE/MAX Classic in Novi, Michigan today!



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