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Real Estate Predictions for 2018

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Real Estate Predictions for 2018

Every year, investors and financial companies like to pay attention to the housing market and make predictions for how it will do in the upcoming year. Will the trends we have seen in the previous year continue to develop or will they take an unexpected turn?

Of course, not many people see things coming that are truly unexpected. One notable exception to this is depicted in the film The Big Short with our housing market and its eventual demise.

In any case, what’s interesting is that the experts don’t agree. They are predicting some wildly different things, according to an article in Market Watch. Part of the reason for this, according to Terry Loebs, founder of Pulsenomics and cited in this article, is the housing market collapse and “messy” recovery.

Some experts think we might even still be in a housing bubble. Another reason he cites for such divergent opinions on the market is social media - media outlets sometimes report based on anecdotal evidence rather than more factually based evidence.

An example he states is reported from a few years ago that millennials suddenly lost interest in being homeowners. He says these kinds of reports can have unintended consequences. In reality, millennials are the fastest growing sector of homeowners and are much more likely to own homes as singles than previous generations.

Here are three other predictions for 2018 that seem grounded, based on how the market did in 2017:

Inventory Will Continue To Be Low

This may be crushing news to a lot of people, given that the inventory has been in a crunch for a couple of years now. This has given rise to bidding wars and rising home prices in many areas of the country.

Superficially, this can seem like good news but it just isn’t sustainable. Home prices can’t rise faster than wages forever. New homebuyers are leveraging themselves at a higher rate than they were - and will continue to do so - but it won’t be sustainable.

We may see a slight increase of inventory as some sellers will have no choice but to sell and builders are starting to swing more toward single-family homes and away from apartment complexes, however, it won’t be very big.

Mortgage Rates Will Be Around 4%

Last December, the Federal Reserve increased short-term interest rates by 25 basis points, which usually has a corresponding effect on mortgage rates. However, there were three such bumps in 2017 and two in 2016 which didn’t make much of a difference - only slightly raising the cost of a home loan.

The three bumps projected for 2018 by Federal Reserve policy makers may just have very little effect on mortgage rates. Most experts agree that by the end of this year, rates will only be around 4.5% at the highest, which is still historically low.

People Will Keep Renting In More Expensive Areas

This one has to do with the new tax law, which makes it more expensive to own a home in high tax and high price areas of the country. Home prices are rising faster than wages, salaries, and even inflation. It all adds up to mean that, for some of the most expensive areas of the country, it makes more sense to rent than to buy.

Conclusion

Even though not all the experts agree, these three trends seem to be in keeping with how the housing market is shaping up in the last few years. It certainly can be a volatile time to buy or sell a home. We hope to make your experience as pain-free as possible.

If you are ready to buy or sell, please give us a call. We would be honored to help!

248-348-7200

4 Reasons Your House is Sitting on the Market

by The Jamey Kramer Group

House sitting on the market

This past peak season of the real estate market was the best we have seen in a decade. There were so many homes being bought and sold, we published several blog articles dedicated to home buyers having a frustrating time trying to even put an offer on a house.

While this is a good market for sellers, not all homes are “flying off the shelves” so to speak. Some houses are still sitting on the market and frustrated homeowners may want to know why.

Real estate is not an exact science, but there are a few obvious reasons your home may not be selling - reasons obvious to seasoned realtors but maybe not to homeowners.

If you are trying to sell your home - with little or no interest - start with these issues first:

Price

It can be very difficult to part with a home you have loved and lived in for many years. You have likely given it blood, sweat, and tears in a literal sense so it means much more to you than it does to the person coming in trying to tell you what it’s worth.

The sad reality is, however, that even with the market being hot for sellers right now, the only way to truly predict an accurate selling price is to look at what comparable homes have sold for in your neighborhood.

Of course, the realtor you hire will do what you tell them to do with your home. However, if he or she hasn’t at least tried to give you the reality of the situation, he or she is not doing their job. In fact, that realtor is actually doing you a disservice. An overpriced house is one of the most obvious reasons it won’t sell.

Lack of Aesthetic Appeal

There is a reason we have whole television shows devoted to the buying and rehabbing of “fixer uppers.”

Most people don’t want the hassle of buying a house that looks bad whether from poor curb appeal or on the inside because of decor and finishes that are old or in need of repair.

Look at your house honestly and critically. Is there peeling paint on the outside? Does the screen door need to be replaced? Are there overgrown bushes or trees blocking the view?

Likewise, design choices inside that are more than a decade old are likely to detract. Do you have old carpeting? Do you have wallpaper that passed its prime 10 years ago?

A word about curb appeal in the era of online shopping: if the picture of the front of your house doesn’t look nice, prospective buyers will skip it and move on. Most people don’t want to mess with having to clean something up.

They want a home that looks nice when they buy it. And most buyers these days are looking at pictures of listings for a long time before they ever go to visit a house in person.

It’s Not Upgraded

We get it. The last thing you want is to buy a new set of kitchen appliances you won’t get to use. Or put a new roof on a house you are about to vacate. However, your house will stand out - and not in a good way - if those things are old.

There are always going to be other homes on the market with key items updated. Yes, replacing a roof more than 10 years old does seem like a hassle and a waste of money, but chances are good you will be paying for it one way or another.

If your home has been sitting on the market, it might be the time to invest in some upgrades.

It’s Not Clean

You may not smell the cat odor or the smell of cigarettes in your home anymore, but I guarantee a prospective buyer will. A prospective buyer will notice your clutter, even when you don’t.

We even suggest taking down everything personal as soon as you decide to sell. Family photos, collections, and even too much furniture only detract from a showing. Take the time to clear out your storage areas - especially your garage - and invest in a short-term storage solution to get rid of some of the clutter if need be.

This is also your chance to touch up paint - or repaint entirely - clean your carpets and install new outlet covers. Taking care to make your baseboards and trim look new can make a huge difference. These things aren’t going to break the budget.

And yes, we know showings are annoying. The reality of the situation is that once you list your home for sale, you have to take ownership of getting it sold. Making sure it’s clean, clutter-free, and brightly lit will go a long way. It may, in fact, be all you need to get it sold.

Conclusion

Channel your frustrations into action: listen to your realtor and fix the problems with your house. You may be looking at a sale within a couple of weeks.

If you are ready to put your house on the market, please give us a call. We would be honored to help.

248-348-7200

 

 

Hottest Design Trends to Help Sell Your House Quickly

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Design trends

Every design trend comes back around again if you live long enough to see it. Design trends in clothing tend to come and go more quickly, but even home design trends do come back around.

There are a few on this list that might be surprising for some - considering they’ve resurfaced after about 30 years and they definitely went through a “not cool” phase.

However, a whole new round of buyers is hitting the real estate market and you might be surprised what will get a buyer to see themselves in your home.

Colorful Kitchens

We’re starting off with this one because that all-white kitchen you thought was timeless a few years ago could end up costing you a sale. White kitchens look great in photos but they are hard to keep clean.

Today’s buyers like light wood cabinets, color on the walls, and matte metal hardware on the cabinets. Try brass, rose gold, and copper - with copper becoming the go-to metal tone this year.

If you don’t have wood-tone cabinets, try painting the lowers a dark color and leaving the uppers white. The two-tone look remains very popular.

Patterns!

Patterns of all different kinds are going to be popular in 2018. Floral patterns, geometric patterns, and patterned, statement flooring could potentially earn you back your investment when you sell your home.

Whether you use a geometric tile to update that small bathroom or kitchen backsplash or wallpaper a wall with floral paper, these design elements could become selling points for the right buyer.

Fixtures

Vintage light fixtures are becoming very popular in 2018, as are bucket sinks, and brass and copper elements. If you are thinking about replacing any dated lighting - think again!

If it’s old enough, it might just add resale value. Many new homeowners are into the 70s chic fad - bold colors and funky textures. In addition, if you have an original bathroom with a bucket or trough-style sink, you might just be sitting on a goldmine.

Millennial Pink

This light pink color started to become popular last year in home design and fashion, but it’s likely to keep rising in popularity. This shade is an easy way to give a trendy update to any room in your home.

Bigger Projects

If you are looking to renovate your home to sell for top dollar, here are a couple of things to think about, as they are gaining in popularity this year.

  • Multiple Generation Accommodations - that basement living area might be exactly what a new buyer needs.
  • Wider Doorways and Hallways - helpful for seniors who choose to age in their homes and need space for walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters.
  • Open Kitchen Shelving
  • Tankless Water Heaters - This is a great way to save on space, energy, and money. We are expecting to see tankless water heaters to surge in popularity.

Takeaway

While not every trend on this list can claim to be timeless, these trends are timeless enough - or potentially low enough in cost - to consider introducing before you start the process of selling your home.

If you are ready to put your house on the market, please give us a call. We would be honored to help.

248-348-7200

A New Path to Homeownership

by The Jamey Kramer Group

New homeowners

You know it, I know it. The millions of millennials out there trying to buy their first homes know it only too well.

Needing a down payment disqualifies many people from being able to buy a house.

With school debt to pay off, higher rent prices, and coming of age in the middle of a recession, there’s no way many of today’s young working professionals will be able to swing a huge chunk of change. This is hard because these people would otherwise be prime candidates for homeownership. They are able to pay their rent on time and are responsible renters.

Home Partners of America

Enter Home Partners of America. This is a rent-to-own company offering a new mortgage product to tenants that just might solve this problem. The mortgage product they are offering applies some of the appreciation of their home’s value - the home they’ve been renting - toward reducing the down payment.

If you live in an area where home prices have appreciated at all, it could reduce the down payment requirement by a lot. You may end up paying almost nothing.

Here is where it’s different from other rent-to-own schemes that end up working against you. Other companies have taken a large non-refundable deposit. However, this isn’t what Home Partners of America is setting out to do. They also aren’t out to create another housing bubble by giving homes to people who can’t really afford to pay a mortgage.

The main requirement to qualify for this program is that you demonstrate you can pay rent on time for two years. You also must be considered first-time buyers, meaning you haven’t owned a home in the last three years. This demonstrates you are:

  • Committed to staying there and
  • You are financially responsible.

Home Partners of America started five years ago. Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist yet in Michigan. However, it owns almost 8,000 homes in over 50 cities across the country and plans to offer the product to its current tenants and those who sign a lease over the next two years as a pilot program. New Penn Financial is the Pennsylvania-based lender making the loans and they will be backed by mortgage company Fannie Mae.

Other Pilot Programs

New home buyers may be excited to know that Fannie Mae has been involved recently with several pilot programs built to ease credit for young buyers. The surge in home prices in recent years has made it impossible for those who haven’t saved enough for a down payment. To mitigate this, other pilot programs are planning to try things like:

  • Paying off a portion of the student loan of a borrower who purchases a home from the Miami home builder Lennar Corp.
  • Giving a buyer up to $50,000 in a down payment in return for an agreement that the buyer will rent a room in their new home on Airbnb.

One of the most important things is that Home Partners doesn’t take a nonrefundable deposit. If you participate in the pilot program - or hopefully get a loan down the road when these products become more widely available - you won’t lose money if you need to walk away. If the house you are renting declines in value or you decide not to buy, you are free to go.

Takeaway

If you haven’t been able to get into a home yet and rising housing prices is discouraging, don’t fear. There are some new and interesting mortgage products coming your way that might make the impossible into a dream come true.

If you are ready to start looking for a house, please give us a call.

248-348-7200

Top Real Estate Articles in 2017

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Top Real Estate Articles 2017

As we are all settling into this new year and trying to stay warm, we at The Jamey Kramer Group are taking stock of 2017. We have come to appreciate this custom of reflecting on the past year and looking forward to all that the new year holds.

We’ve been grateful to serve the communities of Novi, Northville, and South Lyon in Oakland County, Michigan. We have so many valued clients and are thankful for your continued support and trust.

The other thing we love about what we do is the opportunity to build up the community through this blog. It only highlights the amazing things the community has to offer. We wouldn’t have all of the unique things to write about if the community we serve wasn’t so vibrant and exciting.

Every year, we look forward to promoting the community’s events and finding out about new ones.

Another standout from 2017 has been the exciting comeback of the real estate market after almost 10 years of slow growth. In fact, it’s been such a comeback that we’ve published many articles about the competition over new homes and the relative shortage of new homes.

Mostly, it’s a privilege to walk alongside singles, couples, and families selling or buying their homes this year. We love that we get to be part of this exciting process, and we continue to be dedicated to doing whatever it takes for you.

For that reason, we are always searching for the newest trends and news so that we can be your source for any real estate or community questions, concerns or news.

We know how hard it is to buy or sell a home - especially this last year. But we’re here to help. We like to share the knowledge we’ve gained from doing over and over again what most people only do a few times in their lifetime. We always want to know what you want to read about - and we’re always just a phone call away.

One way to find out what our online readership was especially interested in is to round up our top 10 articles for 2017 via Google Analytics. So according to Google, here’s what you all responded to the most. Hopefully, you will find good advice to revisit or a new article you haven’t read yet. Happy New Year and happy reading!

Top 10 Real Estate Related Articles for 2017

1. WHAT MATTERS WHEN APPLYING FOR A MORTGAGE

2. TOP 10 DESIGN TREND STRATEGIES TO HELP SELL YOUR HOME

3. HOW TO PAINT YOUR HOUSE TO SELL

4. 4 REASONS TO BUY A NEWLY CONSTRUCTED HOME BEFORE THE NEW YEAR

5. 5 STEPS TO TAKE AFTER YOUR OFFER TO PURCHASE A HOUSE HAS BEEN ACCEPTED

6. TOP 5 HOME REMODELING PROJECTS IN 2017

7. HOME-BUYING COUPLES: TOP 5 BIGGEST CONFLICTS

8. 4 REASONS TO BUY OR SELL A HOME DURING THE HOLIDAYS

9. CLOSING COSTS FOR SELLERS AND WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

10. PROS AND CONS OF OPERATING A VACATION RENTAL

Top 10 Novi, Northville, & South Lyon Michigan Related Articles

1. EASTER BRUNCHES IN NOVI AND NORTHVILLE, MI

2. BEST LOCAL PLACES TO EAT THANKSGIVING DINNER IN NORTHVILLE AND NOVI, MICHIGAN

3. RESTAURANTS OPEN CHRISTMAS EVE AND CHRISTMAS DAY IN NORTHVILLE AND NOVI, MICHIGAN

4. RESTAURANTS OPEN CHRISTMAS EVE AND DAY IN NORTHVILLE AND NOVI, MICHIGAN

5. EASTER EGG HUNTS IN NORTHVILLE, NOVI, AND SOUTH LYON, MICHIGAN 2016

6. THANKSGIVING IN NORTHVILLE AND NOVI, MICHIGAN

7. HOW MANY SNOW DAYS ARE MICHIGAN SCHOOLS ALLOWED?

8. EASTER BRUNCHES IN NORTHVILLE AND NOVI, MI 2015

9. IS NORTHVILLE, MICHIGAN A GOOD PLACE TO LIVE?

10. IS NOVI, MICHIGAN A SAFE PLACE TO LIVE?

Over to You

If you have a topic that you would like to see us cover, please let us know. In addition, if you are ready to buy a new house or sell your current one, please give us a call. We would be honored to help.

248-348-7200

 

 

 

4 Reasons to Buy a Newly Constructed Home Before the New Year

by The Jamey Kramer Group


new home construction

Are you considering buying a newly constructed home?

If you are, you are not alone.

The number of people choosing new home construction jumped in October 2017 to the highest level since October 2007. Many people are finding the lack of inventory frustrating and are increasingly choosing to build a new home.

This is probably a wise move. It’s not likely to start getting any better until the last half of 2018. You could be stuck looking and looking until then.

Why not hop on what could be the best possible time to build a new home now?

Here are 4 reasons to purchase a newly constructed house now that you should consider:

#1: Builders Are Motivated

At this point in the year, getting homes off the books is a top priority. Builders want to sell quickly in the next few weeks, so they are much more likely to cut a deal.

Stop by a sales office and ask about them about “featured” plans or homes. These are the homes they are trying to sell right now. Even if it doesn’t turn into a price discount for you, it could mean upgrades you wouldn’t get at any other time of year.

To get the best deal possible, don’t rely on the sales associate who talks to you when you walk in the door. Bring your real estate agent. You may not think this is worth the extra hassle. However, an agent knows how to get you those upgrades and he or she is representing you.

#2: Less Competition

As with buying an existing home during the holidays, buying a new build has the advantage of not being something most people are doing right now. Most people are shopping, traveling, dining or cleaning.

Being willing to keep at it at this season could just be your winning combination. The other advantage is that a new build doesn’t have to suffer from the same lack of inventory. You choose what you want in this case.

#3: Financial Incentives

Can you imagine it actually being cheaper to build a home than buy an existing one?

This could be true for you: builders often want you to get your loan through their own preferred lender. They often offer thousands of dollars of incentives to get you to do this. Things like closing costs and/or a buy-down of your interest rate may mean you pay 2-3% less on your sales price or loan amount.

However, make absolutely sure you understand what you’re signing. This is another good reason to have your real estate agent with you.

#4: It’s Brand New!

This is the no-brainer. A newly constructed house has never been lived in. It is exactly what you choose. The finishing reflects your own personal style - it’s every homeowner’s dream.

The truth is existing homes in your area and at your price range may need fixing up. If you are experienced at home maintenance, this may be what you want. For many people, this looks like a headache. Still, a lot of buyers have no choice but to go with the fixer-upper these days. What if you didn’t have to?

Takeaway

If you are still searching for a house this holiday season and not ready to give up the fight just yet, talk to your real estate agent about new builds today.

Give us a call. We would be honored to help you.

248-348-7200

 

4 Reasons to Buy or Sell a Home During the Holidays

by The Jamey Kramer Group

4 Reasons to Buy or Sell a Home During the Holidays

It used to be that everyone took a break from real estate during the holidays. The presumption was that homeowners were too busy hosting, cleaning, cooking, and decorating to add the burden of having to vacate their homes in order to show it. Not to mention the prospect of negotiating, closing, and moving during that busy time of year.

That particular aspect of real estate has changed a lot. If you are a buyer in this tough market - especially in Michigan where inventory is down - the holidays might just be the best time to buy.

In addition, if you have been struggling to sell your house, you might find that staying open during the holidays, so to speak, could make all the difference.

Are you about buying or selling a home during the holiday season? Here are four reasons you should consider:

#1: Technology Changes Everything

With the Smartphone technology, people are always searching. People take small moments in between gift buying, carpooling, and waiting in line to check for new house listings. You can bet that if buyers are having a hard time finding a house, they will try to gain that competitive edge by being the first to see and make an offer on a house.

On the other hand, there are always some buyers who won’t want to crowd this busy season with a housing search. Some people do take a break. If you are a buyer on the search, this could be a lighter season and you may experience less competition.

#2: Home at Its Best

The holidays are, inevitably, a time of good cheer and homeyness. Holiday decorating can be a no-brainer, even for those who don’t like to decorate. The right amount of holiday decorations can become a selling point. Prospective buyers may be able to more easily picture themselves in your house when they see it looking cozy for the holidays.

#3: A Good Time to Shift Gears

There are times when a house sits on the market - even in a hot market like this one. It could be your house has been overpriced. It could be it needs repairs. You may have had your house sitting on the market for weeks or months with no showings.

The holidays are a time when people are out of their normal routine. The market could respond positively to a change for you now. Consult a knowledgeable agent and work together to get over whatever obstacle is keeping your home from selling. And let the season do its magic. Buyers at this point are very likely to want to make a deal.

#4: Faster Mortgage Approval & Lower Prices

Buyers are likely to encounter less competition from another source: other buyers trying to get financing. Financiers are not as busy this time of year, for the same reasons the rest of the market is slow.

It’s a great time to take advantage of this. You might find you can get the whole thing done in less time than it would take during peak season. Also, typically because the market is slowest in December, home prices generally stay lower - less competition.

Pro Tip: List in January

If you truly don’t want to be bothered with having your home listed in December, wait until the first of the year. It’s typically a little slower than other times but with the added benefit of a new start.

Buyers who haven’t stopped looking through the holidays will welcome the new influx. It’s also a time when people make resolutions and do things they have been putting off. Don’t let the cold and lack of landscaping deter you!

Takeaway

While buying or selling during the holidays might seem like it won’t be worth the effort, the reality is that it could be much more rewarding than at any other time of year. Both buyers and sellers at this time of year are very motivated.

If you are looking to buy or sell a home, please give us a call. We would be honored to help.


248-348-7200

You may also like to read:
Strategies on How to Sell Your House in Winter
 

How to Buy a House in a Hot Market

by The Jamey Kramer Group

House in a Hot Market

You’ve probably heard this phrase by now - it’s a hot market.

What was a burgeoning development in 2016 has continued in 2017, and it’s only getting more pronounced. There are fewer homes on the market in every county in Southeast Michigan.

Metro Detroit has seen the largest inventory decline - 35% - since the recession and subsequent increase in house prices: 44%. The only county surpassing it in terms of percent changes is St. Clair County.

Here are the figures by percentages. You can see the changes from 2016:

Detroit

  • Sales, September 2016: 283
  • Sales, September 2017: 359
  • Percent increase/decrease: 26.9 percent
  • Median sale price, September 2016: $22,728
  • Median sale price, September 2017: $32,750
  • Percent increase/decrease: 44.1 percent
  • Average days on market, September 2016: 54
  • Average days on market, September 2017: 49
  • Percent increase/decrease: -9.3 percent
  • On-market listings, September 2016: 2,526
  • On-market listings, September 2017: 1,643
  • Percent increase/decrease: -35 percent

Wayne County

  • Sales, September 2016: 1,824
  • Sales, September 2017: 1,902
  • Percent increase/decrease: 4.3 percent
  • Median sale price, September 2016: $118,000
  • Median sale price, September 2017: $127,600
  • Percent increase/decrease: 8.1 percent
  • Average days on market, September 2016: 35
  • Average days on market, September 2017: 28
  • Percent increase/decrease: -20 percent
  • On-market listings, September 2016: 6,967
  • On-market listings, September 2017: 4,755
  • Percent increase/decrease: -31.7 percent

Macomb County

  • Sales, September 2016: 1,323
  • Sales, September 2017: 1,244
  • Percent increase/decrease: -6 percent
  • Median sale price, September 2016: $149,500
  • Median sale price, September 2017: $162,000
  • Percent increase/decrease: 8.4 percent
  • Average days on market, September 2016: 38
  • Average days on market, September 2017: 26
  • Percent increase/decrease: -31.6 percent
  • On-market listings, September 2016: 3,915
  • On-market listings, September 2017: 2,756
  • Percent increase/decrease: -29.6 percent

Oakland County

  • Sales, September 2016: 1,930
  • Sales, September 2017: 1,851
  • Percent increase/decrease: -4.1 percent
  • Median sale price, September 2016: $215,000
  • Median sale price, September 2017: $229,000
  • Percent increase/decrease: 6.5 percent
  • Average days on market, September 2016: 35
  • Average days on market, September 2017: 27
  • Percent increase/decrease: -22.9 percent
  • On-market listings, September 2016: 6,683
  • On-market listings, September 2017: 4,960
  • Percent increase/decrease: -25.8 percent

Source: Realcomp Ltd. II.

Good News

This is all good news. It’s what we in the business have been waiting for a long time. In addition, it is what you should be happy about if you are - or are hoping to be - a homeowner.

This does pose problems for home buyers, though. If you are frustrated by the lack of inventory, have been searching for a long time, or have lost a number of bidding wars, you are probably not rejoicing at this turn of events.

There are some good strategies out there, but remember this: the current market is a much better position in which to own a house. When you do get a house, your investment will be much better protected.

Strategies for Sellers

If your home looks like an “after” picture and is competitively priced, it could sell in a matter of days or hours, but don’t be fooled. Houses can still sit on the market for months. This happens when sellers believe they don’t have to keep their home maintained or can drive up the asking price too high. It’s not a fool-proof climate for sellers. The “hottest” homes are still the move-in ready ones priced right.

Keep in mind that should you sell quickly, you will be on the other end of the deal trying to compete with other buyers.

Strategies for Buyers

The two things to keep in mind are to be patient and to have flexibility. However, that is easy to say and a lot harder to do.

  • If you have flexibility on your lease end day - or closing on your own house - you have a lot more range of homes from which to choose. If you have the financial means to buy a home before selling your home, are renting, or can stay with family or friends, you have something tangible to offer a seller. Sellers very well may choose an offer with less stress for them (if they can stay for a week or month after closing, for instance) over a higher price.
  • The holiday season may be the best time of year to buy a home in Michigan. Activity generally slows way down during this season, but employers transfer their employees in and out at all times of the year. Sellers who have to get out at this time of year, coupled with a general inactivity in the market, could equal a relatively smooth home buying process. If you are willing to not take a break while others are taking theirs, it might be the way to finally get a house.
  • Everyone, everyone, everyone wants the move-in ready home. The reality is most of them aren’t. If you are determined to get that one, be prepared to get in a bidding war. If you are tired of the bidding wars, think about making a quick offer on a house that is sound and well-maintained but needs a new kitchen or flooring. There are mortgage lenders out there who offer renovation financing as part of a home purchase.
  • There are things other than high offers that are attractive to sellers: strong mortgage approval letters, larger down payments, quick closing, and short inspection periods. Consider whether you can offer them any of those things.

Takeaway

The current mortgage rates make buying still a good decision. Most mortgage payments will end up being lower than monthly rent payments. Patience and flexibility will pay off in the end and you will get the right house.

If you are ready to buy or sell, it is important that you have an experienced real estate professional by your side. Please give us a call. We would be honored to help!

248-348-7200

Pros and Cons of Operating a Vacation Rental

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Vacational rental - keys

Have you ever thought about operating a vacation rental?

The popular vacation rental website, Airbnb.com, has made an agreement with Michigan’s Department of Treasury this year. Before now, it was up to owners of these short-term rentals (30 days or less - sometimes just one or two nights) to pay the 6% tax the state levies on their own.

Now, as homeowners use Airbnb.com to advertise their extra bedrooms, basement suites, and single bedroom apartments for rent, Airbnb will collect the tax for the state.

The great news is that Airbnb sales in Michigan are way above projections from revenues in 2016. The state expected $1.5 million for the year.

Instead, Airbnb sent $960,000 to the state for the months of July, August, and September alone. Of course, these are the highest tourist months for Michigan - our state having plenty of shoreline and lakes. Tourists come from out of state to recreate and they want to do it in a place that feels like home.

According to an article published by MLive, the second most popular city destination for Airbnb users in Michigan is Detroit. Maybe more tourism dollars are to be had throughout the state of Michigan for any homeowners willing to put in the work. Michigan homeowners earned twenty-four million dollars on Airbnb this year during that time. That’s a 90% growth over the same period last year.

Although some cities are cracking down on ordinance enforcement, property owners are quick to make sure they can keep their rights to rent out their property. This is for good reason.

Real estate investment blogger, Paula Pant of Afford Anything, wrote a 4-part series on the pros and cons of operating an Airbnb rental unit in Atlanta, Georgia. She and her partner enjoy traveling and own several properties which they rent to long-term tenants in the traditional fashion.

Pant decided to use one unit as an Airbnb rental unit for a year to see if she made or lost money and what the other benefits might be. Here are a few pros and cons we’ve gleaned from her insights:

Pros of Airbnb Renting:

  • It does pay more. In the heart of Boston, priced starting at $75 a night, her one-bedroom unit was never empty and there was a waiting list. Eventually, she upped the per-night price to $155. All told, she ended up earning over twice what she would have earned with a typical investment - and that was after she’d paid herself for her time and added up expenses like cleaning and replacing soap.
  • You get to meet more people, from more places, than you otherwise would. Pant’s Airbnb rental has hosted cast and crew members from Broadway touring companies, artists, craftsmen, entrepreneurs, tourists from other countries, and many more. She says being in the same building - or in the case of other homeowners - being in the same house as many of your guests has definite benefits. Interesting people come to your home.

Cons of Airbnb Renting:

  • It’s not passive income, its hospitality. This can be a pro if you like hospitality or if you aren’t planning to travel at the same time. But it’s not a passive investment, it is work. You will have to clean, replace coffee, sheets, soap, towels, and whatever anyone broke every time there’s a turnover. In addition, if your investment is paying off, you will have many turnovers because your unit will be rented out almost all the time.
  • You will probably catch a bad apple once in awhile. Pant doesn’t get into any details, but she did have to call the police one time on one of her Airbnb renters.
  • It is hard to find reliable help. If you do leave while hosting an Airbnb property, you will need backup - lots of backup. It’s hard to find a cleaner who will come in a tight window of time. Also, if you are out of town when management issues come up (guests unexpectedly need an air mattress late at night when stores are closed), you are on the line for it.

Takeaway

Ultimately, it is up to the property owner to weigh the pros and cons of operating a vacation rental to see if it is right for them. This could be a great time for Michigan residents to earn some extra income listing properties on Airbnb.





 

Top 10 Design Trend Strategies to Help Sell Your Home

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Design trends - stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops

With summer of 2017 at an end, the hot seller’s market might be taking a quick lull. If you are thinking about selling your home in the cooler months or even just thinking about doing some home renovations with resale value in mind, here are the top 10 trends in home design right now. Luckily, most of these trends are actually quite timeless, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding something a future buyer will love too.

#1: Stainless Steel Appliances

According to Country Living, stainless steel appliances signal to a potential buyer that they won’t have to update the kitchen very much, if at all. Stainless steel tells buyers the appliances are new and they have a classic look that will complement any decor choice a new buyer might make. If you are planning to update your appliances and you haven’t already been thinking about going stainless, think again.

#2: Freestanding Tubs

A blogger and designer at DecoratingDivas.com may have a word or two to say about the size and expense of a freestanding tub. Country Living proclaims these tubs best sellers. It may all come down to the right buyer. Beware spending a fortune on a large, impractical fixture. You may not recoup your investment. If soaking is your thing, then go for it.

Would you like one easy solution? Go for a smaller claw foot version, many of which you can find for sale at antique stores. These babies have all the style, a fraction of the price, and much potential resale value.

#3: Smart Home Features

Smartphone controllable features in your home are what I call a no-brainer. Not only do these devices - smart thermostats, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and security systems - provide backup when you’re away from home, but they can all be controlled from your phone. So many of us do most of our business on our phones now, why not make sure you can control your home this way too?

#4: Light Neutral Walls

One design trend really making its way into the mainstream is minimalist decor. Twenty years ago, it was considered boring and bad taste to have white walls. However, minimalism is here to stay - at least for now. Modern home buyers want a clean palate. Most of them are looking for some type of twist on modern design.

#5: Quartz

Quartz is one of those “can’t-go-wrong” design choices when remodeling a kitchen or bathroom. It’s also called engineered stone and it’s one of the most versatile and durable things out there, not to mention high-end. Many home buyers that would be turned off by less than luxurious countertop choices will take a second look just because of the quartz countertops.

#6: Marble

Similar to quartz, marble countertops, with their timeless appeal that works with a variety of cabinet colors and backsplash combinations, offer something to design conscious buyers. New, natural and more luxurious countertops are instant home sellers. Buyers see that and know that is one place they won’t have to fork over big bucks to make it their own.

#7: Built-In Bars not Breakfast Nooks

For extras that are more fun than necessary, consider adding a bar instead of a breakfast nook. According to Redfin, breakfast nooks are on their way out. More and more home buyers want space to entertain. Built-in bars are gaining more and more traction every year.

#8: Floor Lamps

According to the stars of HGTV’s Vintage Flip, floor lamps are a bigger deal than recessed lighting. If you’re thinking about springing for those flush-mounted lights to sell your home, think again. A design-savvy buyer may not want them, and they also might be sold when they see how great your floor and table lamps look in your home. The plus side is you get to keep your floor lamps when you move.

#9: Barn Doors

Vintage Flippers Jessie and Tina Rodriguez were the pioneers of using barn doors as temporary space dividers. While they personally are starting to move away from using them as often, the trend is still at its height. “Modern Farmhouse” decor is all the rage, so if you have been longing to add one of those sliding barn doors, definitely do it now.  

#10: Hardwood Floors (Not Bamboo Floors)

Bamboo floors are on their way out and hardwood floors will never go out of style. Hardwood offers new buyers a chance to refinish to their liking and less expensive vinyl flooring can be replaced more cheaply, but bamboo just doesn’t fall into one of those categories. If you need or want a major floor change, go with hardwood.

Takeaway

Design trends come and go, so you want to be choosy when you’re spending your hard-earned money updating your home. Thinking about what will give you the best resale value could be a lifesaver down the road.

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