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Displaying blog entries 121-130 of 135

Foreclosure Rates Continue to Drop Ushering in End of National Crisis

by The Jamey Kramer Group
End of National Crisis

Do you need some good news today?

Are you still in a home you don't love because you've been underwater in your mortgage?

Michigan has been through a lot in the last 8 years. We have seen our friends lose their jobs and foreclosure signs go up in our neighborhoods. The good news is that the national foreclosure rates are dropping. In August, the number of new foreclosures filed in the U.S. was the lowest it has been since October of 2005 according RealtyTrac, a leading source for comprehensive housing data.

The report also indicates that Michigan’s foreclosure starts in August were down 55% from the previous year.

In October, RealtyTrac released the U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ which states that September was the “36th consecutive month with an annual decrease in U.S. foreclosure activity.” It also shows that “U.S. foreclosure starts in the third quarter were at a seven-year low.”

Underwater Mortgages are Dropping

According to CNNMoney, the "soaring home prices and a big decline in underwater borrowers" is what is pushing this all-time low. After the recession hit hard, many Michigan residents found themselves underwater in their mortgages. The definition of being underwater in a mortgage means that you owe more money on your mortgage than your house is worth.

This caused many people to foreclose on their mortgages or stay in a home they did not want to stay in. Many Michigan residents who didn't lose their homes grounded in and haven't looked up. Let us be the first to tell you. It's time to look up. 

Mortgage rates are low, not record low, but still low. More and more Americans are being hired and holding their jobs. Now, Americans are not only keeping their homes, but they are purchasing their dream homes. 

It's Time to Look On the Brighter Side

While many Americans all over the country are picking up the pieces still left after the foreclosure crisis, the good news is that we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel. 

Take Advantage and Buy Now

My dad always said when I was playing sports to capitalize on the amazing opportunities given to me. That is true of the housing market as well. With mortgage rates being so low and more Americans being hired and holding their jobs, there hasn't been a better time to sell or buy your home than right now. It is time to take advantage of the low 30-year fixed mortgage rates and the lower costs of homes. 

Home values are going up and so are interest rates. Right now, your dream home is waiting for you. Don't be afraid to put your home on the market or to start looking for the home you've always wanted. We are here to help. Please call our office at: 248-348-7200.

How the Government Shutdown is Affecting Real Estate

by The Jamey Kramer Group
How the Government Shutdown is Affecting Real Estate

Are you applying for a mortgage?

Have you been considering selling your home?

The government has shut down and now we are all looking at how that affects us. Much of the shutdown is affecting us in ways we don’t always notice, like the White House website with the warning, “Because Congress did not fulfill its responsibility to pass a budget, much of the federal government is shut down.” Other parts of the shutdown that you wouldn’t think mattered, like the IRS being reduced could actually affect you the most.

Today, we are going to share how this shutdown might affect you, either as a home buyer or as someone who is interested in selling their home.

Why The IRS Shutting Down is Bad For Mortgages.

Buying a home is a big process even with the government up and running. For mortgages that are backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie May, the IRS being reduced is bad news. Banks use the IRS to verify income information. That income information is what helps home buyers close on their mortgages. Without that information, Freddie and Fannie may not be able to approve mortgages.

According to an article on CNNMoney, even Wells Fargo will not be able to complete any new applications until after the shutdown is over and the home buyers’ income can be verified.

Don’t worry. If you have found your dream home, there are still banks that are continuing to lend money during the shutdown. Those banks that are continuing to lend will sell the mortgages to Fannie or Freddie after the shutdown is over and when the buyers’ income can be verified.

Government-Backed Mortgages Are Still Available

While FHA has 96% of their staff on furlough, they have promised to continue to process loans. That is great news for anyone looking to buy or sell a home.

CNNMoney has reported that FHA, the Veteran’s Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture made up about 45% of backed mortgages in 2012. FHA alone insures 60,000 loans a month.

Mortgage Rates Dropping

We have one last bit of good news to share. Mortgage rates have dropped, again. At the beginning of last week the average rate according to CNNMoney was about at 4.32%, but by the end of last week, mortgage rates had dropped to 4.22%. Now .10% may not actually seem that important, but when you’re buying a $350,000 that .10% will make all the difference.

Just because the government has shut down doesn’t mean that you cannot buy your dream home or sell the home that your family is currently growing out of. Make sure to have an experienced realtor on your side that is familiar with the shutdown. That experienced realtor can help you navigate the waters of buying or selling your home. 

Please give our office a call at: 248-348-7200

Help with Remodeling and Renovating Your Home

by The Jamey Kramer Group
Help with Home Remodeling and Renovating Your Home

Are you hoping to save money by remodeling yourself?

Are you wondering what remodeling jobs will add value to your home?

There is good news in Novi, Michigan: the summer-like temperatures are here to stay at least for the weekend. While we may be enjoying the occasional fall shower, temperatures will be staying in the high 70s. This weekend will be the perfect weekend to head out to the Novi Home Remodeling Show. 

Both remodeling and renovating have the potential to add value to your home. Today, we want to share with you some of the top places to renovate or remodel that will get you the return on your investment. With that knowledge you can head into the Novi Home Remodeling Show ready to learn how.

Remodeling and Renovating 

Last month, we shared the article, Do Renovations Increase the Value of Your Home?, that questioned whether or not renovations actually increase the value of your home. What we learned is that renovating does work as long as it is in the right place. 

The biggest winners when it comes to return on your investment are outside your home. According to the Cost vs. Value report by Remodeling Magazine, the top four places to receive a return on your investment are,

  • Entry Door Replacement
  • Fiber Cement Siding
  • Wood Deck Addition
  • Garage Door Replacement

The report just proved what realtors have been saying for a while, curb appeal goes a long way. First impressions are critical, especially when you are considering selling your home. 

The fifth highest remodeling job was minor kitchen remodeling. That's great news, because the cost to renovate isn't going to break the bank. The kind of remodeling jobs we are talking about here are changing out counter tops, adding new appliances and replacing the cabinet fronts. 

The last couple of remodeling jobs that are worth taking notice are finishing off the basement and adding an attic bedroom. These two will cost more than the previous jobs, but having that extra space may be what the buyers need to make that offer. 

The Novi Home Remodeling Show

This weekend is the perfect time to start researching any remodeling jobs that you may be considering. Here is what the Novi Patch reported on the Novi Home Remodeling Show,

"Looking to update your home? Anything and everything you need to remodel and design your home can be found under one roof at the Novi Home Remodeling Show! Browse exhibits in kitchen and bath interiors, windows and doors, flooring products, furniture, cabinetry and much more!"

The Novi Home Remodeling Show is sponsored by the Home Builder Association of Southeastern Michigan and is being held all weekend at the Suburban Collection Showplace. 

Adding space, sprucing up, and updating can all add value to your home making it a perfect opportunity to sell. If you need any assistance, please call our office at 248-348-7200. Have a wonderful weekend and we'll see you in Novi, Michigan this weekend. 

Renters Look to Buy As The Cost of Rent Spikes

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Have you seen the increase in rent?

Renters Look to Buy As The Cost of Rent Spikes

A young couple sat in my office, and they were a little frustrated. They told me about how their rent had increased again. We took a look at the numbers of the cost to rent versus buying a home in the growing area of Northville, Michigan where they wanted to live. Their frustration began to fade after they saw what kind of home they could own with the money they were paying in rent.

If you are feeling the pressures of renting, you are not alone. According to MSNRealEstate.com,

          “In June, the real-estate data firm Trulia analyzed the rent prices in 25 of the largest rental markets in the United States. What Trulia found is an average annual increase of 3.9%. This is a huge increase when compared with inflation. And, generally speaking, incomes are not keeping pace with rent increases, putting renters in an even tighter position.”

In the city of Boston alone, the rates for renting rose 5.5%. There are now many renters paying up to half of their income just to rent. Renting could seem as the safe option especially to those in their 20s, however, by renting it’s actually costing you more money.

Buying is More Affordable Than Renting

Right now buying a home is actually the more affordable option and that will continue to be the case. In fact, it will continue to be the case until the 30-year fixed interest rates rise to 10.4%. Currently, it is 41% cheaper to buy than it is to rent.

Benefits to Buying

Financial reasons are not the only benefits to buying. For many people, it is the American dream to own their home and to have a backyard for their children to play. While that dream has been threatened, many still hold out hope. The good news is that buying a home has never been so affordable.

The Good News on Mortgage Rates

Much of our country has been watching the interest rates slowly rise after being at an all time low of 3.5%. In August, the rates rose to 4.4%. As the economy comes back and jobs are more secure, more and more people feel confident investing into the purchasing of a home.

The good news is that right now, even as the interest rates have risen, you can still get a lot of house for your money.

If you have been renting, have felt the increase in rates and would like to save money by purchasing your own home, give my office a call. We would love to help you find your dream home.

248-348-7200

How To Achieve That Perfect Curb Appeal Without Breaking the Bank

by The Jamey Kramer Group
Perfect curb appeal without breaking the bank

Would you like to sell your home?

Are you looking for a way to make your house stand out without spending too much money?

Curb appeal is one of the most significant elements of a home when someone is trying to sell it because it is the buyer’s first impression. In some cases, it can actually make or break a sale. Research shows that homes with anesthetically pleasing curb appeal command higher prices and take less time to sell.

In our article, How to Amp Up Your Homes Curb Appeal for Less, we shared easy ways to really stand out by,

  • Cleaning up the Yard
  • Put toys away
  • Fix the address numbers
  • Fresh coat of paint on the door and mailbox
  • Planting flowers

Perfect Curb Appeal Without Breaking the Bank

If we are really looking to go the extra mile to ramp up that curb appeal, we have a few more ideas that might help.

Start With a Plan

Bring your realtor in and start discussing what you want to do to improve the curb appeal of your house. Next, determine how much you are willing to spend. According to Better Homes and Gardens,

        A common mistake many gardeners make is to dive into landscaping without having a plan -- which leads to plants that may not be a good fit for a particular site or landscaping features that don't work well in an overall scheme. How do you keep your landscape costs low and avoid that rookie mistake? Decide on a plan for your entire yard before you even pick up a trowel.”

Plant Drought-Tolerant Plants

Planting fresh flowers can really add a special touch a home’s landscaping. Planting flowers that are drought tolerant will add something more. Don’t be afraid to point this out to any potential home buyer because certain varieties won’t need that much water. Some drought tolerant flowers are:

  • Butterfly bush
  • Rosemary
  • Barberry
  • Lilacs

Invest in Mulch

Fresh mulch can be really eye catching, but it can also be expensive. Try asking around your neighborhood and find out if one of your neighbors is also interested in purchasing mulch and if they would be interested in going in on a bulk mulch purchase. Buying landscaping items like mulch, compost, sand, and gravel in bulk will save you money and add to your overall curb appeal.

The first impressions of your home do make an impact on potential buyers purchasing decisions. As many people start their home hunting on the Internet, sprucing up your home’s curb appeal is a wise investment. When you feel like the curb appeal of your home couldn’t look any better, have quality photos taken. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then having a variety of high quality photos available online will multiply the chances of your potential buyers deciding to visit. As your realtor, the Jamey Kramer Group will be able to help you with this by posting the pictures on multi listings and on different social media sites to draw people into your home.

Do you have any other ideas to improve the curb appeal of your home without breaking the bank?

Low Mortgage Rates and Consistent Hiring Equals Highest Homes Sales Since 2009

by The Jamey Kramer Group
Opportunity ahead

Have you been watching the mortgages rates raise?

Are you thinking about purchasing a home?

July was a great month for anyone who was trying to sell their home and today we are going to tell you why. First let me say happy Labor Day. I hope you enjoyed your day off with you friends and family. Here in Northville, Michigan, it was a beautiful cool Labor Day.

The Detroit Free Press reported that the first time since 2009, the pace of the housing market is finally associated with a healthy market. If you have been considering putting your house for sale or looking to finally buy a home, now is the time to do it.

There are two reasons why we recommend purchasing a home or selling your current home right now. Those two reasons are,

  1. Mortgage rates are rising
  2. There is consistent hiring

These two factors have influenced the housing market and have provided what it needed to recover. Let’s take a closer look at both.

Mortgage Rates are Rising

Over the summer mortgages rates have risen almost a full percent. Now even with that rise, a 30-year fixed mortgage is still historically very low at about 4.4% last month. Many of us still remember the days when interest rates were closer to 20% than 5%.

Many Americans have decided to capitalize on the low mortgage rates. As an example, let’s say that you calculated that you were able to spend $1,500 on your monthly mortgage payment. This calculation was determined when you purchased your home in May of 2013 and obtained the 3.5% interest rate.

Now the mortgage rates have risen to 4.4%. Between May and today, nothing would have changed in how much you can afford to pay monthly as it is still $1,500. However, what has changed is that you have gotten yourself more house for that $1,500 by acting back in May.

As the housing market and the economy come back, we will see mortgage rates continue to rise.

Consistent Employment

Typically when people feel confident in their employment, they feel more comfortable in making a large purchase like a house. We are now seeing more and more people feeling confident enough in their employment to make the decision to purchase a home.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of August 2, 2013

"Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 162,000 in July, and the unemployment rate edged down to 7.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment rose in retail trade, food services and drinking places, financial activities, and wholesale trade.”

While many people feel that Americans are not quite out of the woods, the point is that we are on our way. Because the economy is improving, it presents a window of opportunity that you will not want to miss.

If you have any questions about purchasing a home or selling your current home, please call the Jamey Kramer Group at:

248.348.7200

How to Amp Up Your Home’s Curb Appeal for Less

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Roof inspection checklistAre you interested in selling your home?

Picture this, a young couple drives by your home. They notice the for sale sign and right away, they fall in love with your house. There is something about the home that is drawing them in. They decide that they have to stop and see the house. You happened to have an open house that day. As the young couple strolls through your home they realized that it is just as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. They love it and they are ready to buy it.

It is going to be a beautiful day in Northville, Michigan today with temperatures in the low to mid 70s and sunny all day. It’s a perfect day for house hunting.

Today, we are sharing all about curb appeal. Curb appeal is the buyers’ first impression and with a little investment, it can make all the difference.

Investing into curb appeal doesn’t have to break your bank. It is one of the easiest ways to add a wow factor to your home. Here are a few ways that you can amp up your home’s curb appeal for less.

1. Clean Up

The first one is practically free of cost. Let’s just start with cleaning up the outside of your home. Putting bikes away, pulling weeds, and cleaning off sidewalk chalk. This first step seems simple, but you would be surprised how much this can put your home ahead in the competition.

2. Paint

A bucket of paint and additional address numbers will add that something extra to your home. Add a fresh coat of paint to your door to stand out. Don’t forget to check your mailbox to see if it needs a fresh coat as well. Also make your the address numbers on the house and in top shape and don’t be afraid to purchase some new ones if you need to.

3. Planting

I know, it may sound unpractical to plant flowers when you are planning on moving. However, this investment if done right will be inexpensive for you and will bring more people to your front door.

Zillow.com has this to say about planting when selling your home,

“Plant some flowers along your front walkway or add planters by your front door. Window boxes are another great way to add color and interest to your home’s exterior. Just be sure you tend to your flowers after you plant them. Wilted or dying pansies will not do much to enhance your home’s appeal.”

 

Purchasing container plants can add up quickly, so don’t be afraid to get your hands in the dirt and add some color to your yard. Remember that a welcome mat and some all-weather art can you a long way.

I personally and highly recommend sprucing up your curb appeal. It might make all the difference.

When you found your dream home, what was the first thing you noticed about the home?

Invisible Nightmares to Look For When Buying a House

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Roof inspection checklistDo you know what to look for when buying a home?

Is something holding you back from buying your dream house?

I sat across from a young lady who was about 27 years old. She sat there with her cup of coffee while handing her toddler an organic apple snack. She along with her family wanted to move to Novi, Michigan, but something was holding them back.

This family felt they were throwing their money away by renting and had the money to put down on a house. They were excited, but very hesitant. As a real estate agent, I was thrilled to work with them because they were in the perfect spot to purchase a home and they had already picked a great location.

When I asked her what she was hesitant about, she said that committing to a home and all the invisible nightmares kept her up at night. She said when you own a home there is no maintenance department to call when something needs to get fixed. I smiled at her because this is a common hesitancy of many potential buyers these days. I reassured her that there are a few things to look for in a house to reduce the risk of having invisible nightmares. She smiled back at me and said “good because I would love to own a house”.

Today, I’m sharing those same invisible nightmares to look for with you.

Mold Nightmares

Let’s start off with one of the scary ones. Mold is often hidden and you don’t notice it right away. Once you’ve found a home that you love, the best thing you can do to prevent a mold nightmare is to have a professional come in. They will inspect every inch of your future dream home.

Foundation Nightmares

Take the time to examine basement walls as well as the outside foundation for any cracks. Don’t forget to look for termite or carpenter ant damage. Get Rich Slowly, a personal finance company, recommends that a potential buyer should check to see if the home inspector will ensure that the house will be free from infestation for one year or more.

Door and Window Nightmares

This one is easy. When looking at the home, go around to each door and window and perform little experiment. Open and close each one.

Roof Nightmares

When looking through the home, spend time outside looking at the roof. Make sure you don’t see any missing or cracked shingles. If you do, you may have a hidden opportunity. According to Get Rich Slowly,

“If you’re willing to get up on the roof, a home with a poor roof may present an opportunity to get a credit during the bidding process (with a recommendation from an inspector) that is worth the price of a professional doing the job. You can then turn around and buy the materials and do it yourself, while pocketing the remainder of the money to apply towards your loan or other projects.”

 

For more hidden nightmares check out an article written by the Huffington Post, Hidden Home Problems To Look Before Buying A House. If you have any concerns about what to look for when purchasing a house, please call 248-348-7200 and ask for Jamey Kramer.

Choosing the Right Novi Area Real Estate Agent

by The Jamey Kramer Group

A real estate agent provides an important service to you, involving the exchange of a significant sum of money, and you need to completely trust the individual whom you rely on for information and advice concerning the purchase or sale of you Novi area home.

Sometimes people feel in a sensitive position when initially consulting a Realtor, due to the fact that they are not as familiar with the current market as a Realtor is – they rely on a Realtor's knowledge, integrity and experience. It helps to be aware that there are many strategies that can put you ahead when you are
searching for a Realtor. Arming yourself with information can make you feel more confident and at ease in your real estate ventures. 

  • Do your homework - There are many ways that you can acquire information on given Realtor, and you should familiarize yourself with the real estate market in your area before meeting with a Realtor to discuss your needs. Find an agent who knows the market, and local communities inside and out. You can also acquire information on professional licensing and disciplinary actions taken against a Realtor through the National Association of Realtors and other licensing boards in your area. 
  • Shop around - Meet with some Realtors before deciding who you will hire. This is your opportunity to discuss your personal situation with them. Find out about what that agent can offer you and what array of services they provide. Ask about their years of experience, credentials, specialties, and get to know their personality and communication style. 
  • Word of mouth - You probably have a friend or acquaintance in your area who has recently bought or sold a property, and they might be able to recommend a  Realtor to you. Accolades from someone you know and trust are a comforting source of advice when you are shopping around for a Realtor, so ask your friends and family if they are familiar with any of the Realtors doing business in your area. 

Make sure you carefully consider the options available to you before deciding on a Realtor, and understand the value of carrying out real estate transactions with a highly-skilled, experienced professional in whom you feel complete confidence. If you take the proper amount of care, and invest sufficient time in researching your Realtor's professional background, you will without question find a knowledgeable and dependable real estate authority to work with while carrying out your real estate purchase or sale.

Fannie Mae Releases Good News/Bad News GDP Estimate

by The Jamey Kramer Group

In July, the Federal National Mortgage Association, better known by its pseudonym Fannie Mae, scaled back its formerly optimistic prediction for the United States gross national product (GDP) in 2012. In its official announcement, Fannie Mae cited the unstable employment market and the seemingly interrelated factor of relatively anemic consumer spending for its abrupt backpedaling away from its original prognostication of a 2.2 percent growth in the GDP. The revised estimate was scaled down to a modest 2 percent increase.

The economists employed by Fannie Mae to calculate and subsequently disseminate this kind of data describe their findings over the recent months as a good indication of a downward skewing or decelerating growth in the United States economy as a whole.

The news coming out of Fannie Mae was not all negative, however. The association's Chief Economist, Doug Duncan, provided a silver lining by pointing out that the housing market has managed to sustain its upwardly mobile direction, even in the nation's currently impossible-to-predict economy, referring to it as a bright spot that is providing a “rare upside boost.”

During the same time frame in 2011, the mortgage and finance company reported that home sales jumped up by 9 percent, with “single-family housing starts” showing a 20 percent increase. Once again, Fannie Mae was careful to place this data into its proper perspective by providing the caveat that levels remain consistently below what it considers a healthy norm.

Fannie Mae also offered mixed reviews concerning the overall state of residential investment, saying that this area will very likely show positive growth by the end of the year, even though it is starting from a comparatively low base. Additionally, it expects this market to deliver a positive contribution to the nation's economy, which it has not been able to do since 2005.

Consumers who took part in Fannie Mae's National Housing Survey in June provided an indication that their overall confidence in the housing market is improving for two reasons: low interest rates and the belief that home prices had likely dropped about as low as they are going.

Displaying blog entries 121-130 of 135