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FREE Tax Help for Adults Over The Age of 55 in Novi, MI

by The Jamey Kramer Group

FREE Tax Help for Adults Over The Age of 55 in Novi, MI

Would you like someone who has been trained to help you with your taxes this year for free?

Want to make sure your getting all your money back this tax season?

January 31st is the first day that you can file your taxes for 2013. Can you believe that the 2014 tax filing season is already here? Tax season can be very stressful, and the good news is that it doesn’t have to be.

The City of Novi has teamed with the AARP Foundation by providing a location where anyone who is over the age of 55 can get help preparing their taxes for free. The AARP Foundation is providing a free program that offers the services of trained volunteer AARP tax preparers. The program kicks off next week.

The AARP Foundation has been helping people prepare their taxes since 1968 with the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program. This program has helped almost 50 million low-moderate income tax payers with tax preparation through the years.

Below is a quote from the AARP Foundation’s website that helps to communicate their mission and why They are helping with tax preparation.

“AARP Foundation wants to win back opportunity for those now in crisis, so thousands of vulnerable low-income Americans 50+ can regain their foothold, continue to serve as anchors for their families and communities and ensure that their best life is still within reach.”

When, Where and What to Bring

Every Thursday by appointment from February 6th until April 10, you can head over to the Novi Civic Center and get help preparing your taxes. The Novi Civic Center is located on 45175 W. 10 Mile Rd, Novi, MI 48375.

Before you leave home, you will need to collect paperwork to bring to your appointment. Documents to bring include:

  • Identification that has been government issued. For example, your driver’s license or state ID.
  • A copy of last year’s tax return.
  • The social security card for you, your spouse and all you dependents.
  • Your bank routing number and account number. *Bring these for a direct deposit of your tax refund. You can find these numbers by asking your bank or bringing in your check book.
  • All W-2 forms.
  • Any unemployment compensation forms.
  • Any of the following forms, 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, 1099-B, 1099-R or a 1099-MISC.
  • Bring in something to show your home mortgage interest like a 1098 statement.
  • Receipts of anything that you have donated to charity in 2013.

For the entire list of what to bring including the documents for itemized deductions, please see the AARP Foundation’s website at: Important Documents to Bring to Your Appointment.

  • To schedule an appointment, please contact the City of Novi Older Adult Services at 248-347-0414.
  • For more information, please call Sandy Fisher, the Social Services Coordinator at 248-347-0421 or email her at sfisher@cityofnovi.org.

What Do You Think?

The City of Novi offers a number of support services to the community and providing the location for the free tax preparation service in concert with the AARP Foundation is one of them. Have you ever taken advantage of any of the services that the City of Novi has to offer?

4 Reasons Why 2013 Had the Highest Home Sales Since 2006

by The Jamey Kramer Group

4 Reasons Why 2013 Had the Highest Home Sales Since 2006

Is the housing crisis really over?

Why was 2013 such a great year for home sales?

2013 turned out to be a good year if you were hoping to sell your home. We haven’t seen numbers like this since the housing boom of 2006. There are a few reasons why the housing market made a rebound last year.

If you were wondering what some of those numbers were, the following will give us the answers:

  • 5 million previously owned homes were sold last year.
  • 9.2% more previously owned homes were sold in 2013 than in 2012.
  • 20% more previously owned homes were sold in 2013 than in 2011.

According to CNN Money,

The median price of a home sold in the year was $197,100, up 11.4% from the previous year.”

With so much good news, it may have you wondering why. Why was last year such a great year for the housing market? Today, we would like to share with you 4 reasons why 2013 had the highest home sales since 2006.

  1. Employment Is Up
    In November of last year, the U.S economy had already added 2.1 million jobs, according to CNN Money. Now, the recession isn’t quite over and the unemployment numbers are still too high. However, with more Americans being employed, more Americans felt comfortable enough to purchase a home.
     
  2. Mortgage Rates
    Towards the end of the year, we saw mortgage rates rise from the all time low that it had been at. This rise enticed many Americans to take the plunge, purchase their home, and take advantage of the low rates before they disappeared altogether.
     
  3. Home Prices Are Up
    One of the biggest obstacles that many Americans have faced over the last few years was that they owed more on their home than the home was worth. This is called being underwater with your mortgage.

    All over the country people are seeing the value of their home rise.

    In our article, Michigan Home Prices Are on the Rise, we shared the great news that home prices were making a comeback, and in fact many in the Detroit area had risen to where they were at in 2008.

    Not only that, but from October 2012 and October 2013 median home sale prices rose 42%.
     
  4. Foreclosure Crisis Coming To An End
    In Michigan, we saw foreclosures rates drop 37%. That was the lowest we have seen since December of 2005. In our article, Foreclosure Crisis Comes to an End, we covered if the crisis had really come to an end and why.

All of the above reasons make up the best year in home sales since 2006. Be encouraged, especially if you are looking to sell or purchase a home.

Why do you think 2013 was such a great year? Do you have a reason we didn’t list?

What to Do in Novi and Northville, MI This Weekend

by The Jamey Kramer Group

What to Do in Novi and Northville, MI This Weekend

Looking to get out of the house this weekend?

Is it time to create a great memory for your family?

The frigid Michigan weather has many people nestled inside. The weekend is around the corner, and it is time to get out of the house. It’s time to make family memories, and it’s time to head to Novi and Northville, Michigan. These two cities have shopping, workshops and events for the whole family. Take a look below at the different events happening for you this weekend.

Novi Ice Arena

One great family memory that you can create includes ice skating and hot chocolate. If you are looking for something to do this weekend or during the week, check out what the Novi Ice Arena has to offer you and your family.

Noon Skate: Looking to do something midday during the week? Head over to skate for only $2. From January 1, 2014 through April 30, 2014, all ages are welcome between 12:00 pm - 1:50 pm.

Public Skate: Open from January 1 through April 30th on Saturday and Sundays from 3:00 pm - 4:50 pm to take the whole family skating. For all Novi residents, admission is only $4 and for non-Novi residents, admission is $5.

Novi Home Improvement Show

Would you like to add an addition to your home or update your kitchen? Then this is the event for you. This show is running all weekend at the Suburban Collection Showplace at 46100 Grand River Avenue in Novi. Show hours are:

  • Friday from 2:00 pm – 9:00 pm
  • Saturday from 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
  • Sunday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

“Anything and everything you need to improve your home can be found under one roof. Talk to local home improvement specialists and designers about the newest products and features.”

Before you head out to the show, make sure to read our article, Do Renovations Increase the Value of Your Home?, to discover which renovations will get you a great return on investment.

Northville High School Theater Presents Lend Me a Tenor

This student led production showcases Northville High School students working together on and off the stage to bring you a Broadway-worthy comedy. The play is set in a hotel suite during the 1930s in Cleveland, Ohio. You can support the hardworking students all weekend.

Show times this weekend only:

  • Friday at 7:00 pm
  • Saturday at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm

Gorman’s Sample Sale

The furniture sale of the year is finally here. If you would like to add some beautiful pieces of furniture to your home, you cannot miss this sale. Head over to Gorman’s Novi location at 27800 Novi Rd. Novi Mi 48377. This sale is on Saturday at 12:00 pm at all the Gorman’s locations and includes items that have been marked down 40-60% off.

Summary

Whether you are looking to make family memories, to purchase the perfect dining room table, or attend a play, Novi and Northville have everything you could ask for.

What a Qualified Mortgage Is and How New Mortgage Rules Will Affect You

by The Jamey Kramer Group

What a Qualified Mortgage Is and How New Mortgage Rules Will Affect You

What is the debt-to-income ratio guideline?

Are you looking to purchase a home this year?

On January 10, 2014, new mortgage rules went into effect. The Qualified Mortgage rules that have now been implemented were designed to prevent another housing crisis. The new regulations will require banks to assure that the borrowers can repay loans.

The goal of these new regulations is to prevent another housing bubble and to provide safer loans.

What is a Qualified Mortgage?

A Qualified Mortgage is a type of mortgage that meets a new set of standards set by the federal government.

Borrowers who qualify for this type of mortgage have been deemed to have the ability to pay for their mortgage. By issuing these types of loans, the lender is protected against lawsuits if the mortgage goes bad.

Qualified Mortgage Features

The following are features of Qualified Mortgages.

  • Points and fees charged to the borrower during the mortgage process and the closing will not exceed 3% of the total loan amount.
  • Prohibits interest-only loans. An interest-only loan is when the borrower only pays on the interest and in turn defers the principal payment.
  • Eliminates negative-amortization loans. Negative-amortization loans are loans where the principle of the loan increases over time, even if the borrower is faithfully making the monthly payments.
  • 30-Years or Less. The length of these loans must be 30 years or less.
  • Debt-to-Income ratios are now limited to 43%.

Affects of the New Mortgage Rules

According to Forbes.com,

 “The new rules could affect people particularly in the middle class and Midwestern region, where home prices (and thus loan amounts) tend to be lower. The reason: the new rules effectively limit the fee a mortgage broker can charge, which in turn makes loans under a certain cap not profitable for mortgage brokers.”

Forbes goes on to report that the loans between $110,000 and $160,000 are those most likely to be affected. Don Frommeyer, president of the Association of Mortgage Professionals, confirms that this is the core of where the problem is.

Banks Continue to Issue Non-QM Loans

Some banks are reporting that they will still be issuing non-QM loans. Banks who choose to do this will not sell the loans to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Instead the bank will be responsible if the loan goes bad.

What do you think?

How will these new features affect the housing market? Do you think that they will have a negative or positive effect?

Novi Public Library Has Solutions for Cabin Fever

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Novi Public Library Has Solutions for Cabin Fever

Have you and your toddlers been inside all week?

Would you like to get out of the house, but don’t know where to go?

These past few weeks in Michigan have been cold and have left many toddlers and their mothers stuck inside with cabin fever. What do you do in the wintertime in Michigan? Today, we wanted to share with you some of the things that the city of Novi has to offer young families.

Novi was voted as one of the best cities to live in for young families. Great schools, affordable living, and a thriving city is what helped Novi to place in the top 5 spots on the list, One of Michigan’s Best Cities to Live in for Young Families. You can read more about this honor at Novi Scores as One of Michigan’s Best Cities to Live in for Young Families.

Great schools, affordability and a thriving city are not the only attributes that have many young families flocking to purchase homes in Novi, Michigan. There are also free family-friendly events that help to beat even the strongest cases of cabin fever.

Novi Public Library Free Events

The library may not be the first place you would normally think to look for toddler and children-friendly activities, but the Novi Public Library has a lot going on that will get you and your little one(s) out of the house. You may even get some adult time while you are at it. Below is a list of free events available throughout the week for your young families.

Baby Time

This group is for birth to 12 months. During the group you will sing songs, recite rhymes, and many other activities to help promote early literacy. This group meets:

Mondays from 10:15 - 10:45 am

  • January 6 - February 3   
  • February 24 - March 24 
  • April 14 - May 12

Tot Time

This group targets 12-23 month old children. In this group, you will explore stories, finger play and more. Just like Baby Time, the group is designed to help promote early literacy. Dates and times:

Mondays from 11:15 - 11:45 am

  • January 6 - February 3
  • February 24 - March 24 
  • April 14 - May 12

Tuesdays from 10:15-10:45 am

  • January 7 - February 4   
  • February 25 - March 25 
  • April 15 - May 13  

Thursdays from 11:15-11:45 am

  • January 9 - February 6   
  • February 27 - March 27 
  • April 17 - May 15  

Two of Us

If your toddler has reached the fun loving twos, this group is perfect for you. The activities will have you dancing, listening to books and will give your toddler the opportunity to socialize with other toddlers. This group meets:

Wednesdays from 11:15-11:45 am

  • January 8 - February 5   
  • February 26 - March 26 
  • April 16 - May 14  

Fridays from 10:15-10:45 am

  • January 10 - February 7 
  • February 28 - March 28 
  • April 18 - May 16  

Three’s Company

In this group, your 3 year-old will enjoy reading books along with finger play. This group meets on the following dates and times:

Tuesdays from 11:15-11:45 am

  • January 7 - February 4   
  • February 25 - March 25 
  • April 15 - May 13  

Wednesdays from 10:15-10:45 am

  • January 8 - February 5   
  • February 26 - March 26 
  • April 16 - May 14  

Fridays from 11:15-11:45 am

  • January 10 - February 7 
  • February 28 - March 28 
  • April 18 - May 16  

Starlight Story Time

If you are in need of an evening group, dress up your preschooler in their PJs and head over to the library. Don’t forget to bring your child’s favorite stuffed friend or their favorite blanket. This group features stories, music and even a “bedtime treat” and meets on the following dates:

Tuesdays from 7 - 7:30 pm

  • January 14 
  • February 11
  • March 11    
  • April 8

If you would like to sign up for any of these groups, please visit The Novi Public Library’s website or call 248-349-0720. Each group has the size limited to the first 40 participates, and the library asks that the parents or caregivers attend with their little ones.

What is your favorite thing to do during the winter in Novi, Michigan to beat cabin fever?

Tougher Lending Rules May Mean More Expensive Mortgages

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Mortgage News

Are you considering buying a home in the near future?

Tougher rules have been placed on banks all throughout the country this month, and this is only the start. The rollout will continue until March. What do the tougher lending rules mean, and how will they affect the average American looking to purchase a home with a mortgage loan? Keep reading for those answers and more.

What Do the Tougher Lending Rules Mean?

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced new guidelines last month that, along with the new federal rules going in effect, could mean rigid penalties.
These guidelines will impose stiff fines on banks that write unconventional mortgages that later go bad.

How Does This Affect the Average American Looking to Purchase?

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not offer or originate new mortgages. Instead, according to Time Business & Money, “they buy about two-thirds of the conventional mortgages that banks underwrite.”

What this all means is that the bank down the street is going to have even less ability to work with the average American Joe on his mortgage rate. If “average Joe” has a low credit score and a low down payment, the cost of the mortgage is likely to rise.

Where Will the Average American See the Cost Spike?

The average American will see a higher percentage rate for a mortgage. While it may seem like the difference between 4.5% and 5% isn’t significant, it actually means the difference of $21,697 over the length of a 30-year loan.

According to Time Business & Money,

    Fannie and Freddie have a floating grid of cost hikes for borrowers up and down the credit spectrum and for those with down payments below 20%. For example, a borrower seeking a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a credit score of 735 and making a 10% down payment would pay about .4 percentage points more—4.9% instead of 4.5%. A bigger down payment would help but even with 25% down a borrower with a credit score below 760 would pay a premium rate.

Mortgage Rates on the Rise

Last week, Yahoo Finance reported that we are already seeing a rise in mortgage rates. The rise is slight, but a rise nonetheless. These numbers were published on the 7th of January:

  • 30-Year-Mortgages:  4.39% versus the 4.38% we saw the week before.
  • 15-Year Mortgages: 3.35%
  • 5/1 ARM: 2.85%

While January isn’t normally the month that Michiganders move, it might be the perfect time to consider moving, especially if you have lower credit.

Are considering buying a home this winter? Please read our article, 3 Secrets to Why You Should Buy a Home This Winter.

If you would like to start looking for a home that is the perfect fit for you, please give our office a call. We would love to help assist you in getting into the home of your dreams.

248-348-7200

How Many Snow Days Are Michigan Schools Allowed?

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Michigan snow days

Have you ever been part of a school district that had to extend the year because of all the snow days?

We know kids love snow days, but what happens at the end of the year?

Children in the Novi Community School District in Novi, Michigan and across most of the state are finally back in the classroom after 3 consecutive snow days. Heavy snowfall and subzero temperatures had schools closing and children smiling. It’s ever kid’s dream to have a snow day and three in a row are more than any child could ask for.

With so many snow days, many parents are wondering what will happen at the end of the year. Will the school year have to be extended? How many snow days are allowed in Michigan?

The Novi Community School District has it covered. If you are a parent in this school district, you can breathe a sigh of relief and if you are not, you may want to consider moving.

State Requirements for Canceled School Days

The state of Michigan requires that each school district provide 1,098 of instructional hours within the 170 day school year. School districts are allowed up to 6 canceled school days due to weather, power outages, or anything that is unusual.

The Novi Community School District knows what Michigan’s winter weather can be like, so they schedule 1,110 hours of instruction. According to the Novi Patch, Superintendent Steve M. Matthews said in an email to Patch."

So we have a little more flexibility and could go over the 5 snow days and still meet the state requirement."

Public Act 29 of 2013

Michigan’s government anticipated the potential for inclement weather in the state. In May of 2013, Governor Rick Snyder signed a new law that could allow for longer school days to make up for canceled days instead of having to add more school days at the end of the year. This allows for schools to have 6 snow days or canceled days, and if the school needs to go over that limit, they can extend the school day instead of going into the summer months.

Novi is known for having great schools. Zillow.com has many of the individual schools in Novi ranked at either a 9 or 10 out of 10. In addition, Novi has also been ranked as One of Michigan’s Best Cities for Young Families and the 2nd Best City in Michigan.

If you are looking to move and want a great school district for your children, please give our office a call. We would love to help you find your dream home in Novi. Please call my office at 248-348-7200, use our convenient contact form, or email me at: Jamey@JameyKramer.com.


 

14 Ways to Protect Your Home in Sub-Zero Temperatures

by The Jamey Kramer Group

14 Ways to Protect Your Home in Sub-Zero Temperatures

Are you nervous about the pipes freezing in your home?

Are you planning to put your house on the market in the spring, but are concerned that your landscaping will be ruined from harsh winter weather?

There is no hiding the fact that it is extremely cold outside in the Detroit metropolitan area. According to Weather.com, today’s high for Northville, Michigan is 2 degrees Fahrenheit, and the low is 0 degrees. In Novi, Michigan, the numbers look similar with a high of 2° and a low of -1°. On top of the freezing temperatures, there is also a chance of snow today.

Michigan residents are accustomed to harsh winters, but temperatures this extreme raise a number of questions when it comes to protecting homes from damage including:

  • How do we keep our pipes from bursting in sub-zero temperatures?
  • How far should you place a space heater from something combustible?
  • How do I protect my landscaping from winter damage?

These are great questions, and we will answer them below as we provide you with 14 ways to protect your home from sub-zero temperatures.

14 Tips for Protecting Your Home in Sub-Zero Temperatures

  1. Keep your attached garage door closed as much as possible to minimize cold air from entering your house.
  2. To make sure your newly installed outdoor plumbing doesn’t freeze, shut off the water to your outdoor faucets, and then drain the water from the pipes leading to the outside faucets.
  3. Be certain that you know where the water shut off valve is in your home. This way, if a pipe does burst, you know exactly where to go to shut off water.
  4. If you plan to leave your home for an extended period of time and wonder what temperature you should set your home’s thermostat to, NBC Washington recommends to set it no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. If you are using space heaters inside your house, make sure they are at least 3 feet away from anything combustible.
  6. Don’t forget to have your local utility phone number available before you actually need it. Hopefully, you won’t have to use it, but if you do, you will not have to search for it.
  7. Let your faucets drip. If you have any pipes that are located on outside walls that you think could freeze, let your indoor faucets drip. Turn both the cold and hot water on a slow drip.
  8. Another tip for your pipes is to keep the cabinets open. This way whenever the heating system turns on, your pipes will be warmed up.
  9. Clear out your gutters. By doing this, you will help to minimize the risk of ice buildup on your roof.
  10. Check around your home on the outside and in. If you find a crack or even a hole, the Weather Channel recommends filling it in with caulk.
  11. If you do discover a frozen pipe, remember that it can be damaging to try and thaw it with an open flame. Instead, try a hair dryer.
  12. To reduce heat loss, close your drapes and blinds at night. During the day, open them to allow the natural warmth from the sun.
  13. Come spring, your trees and shrubs will thank you if you shake off any heavy snow from them now.
  14. If you have a newly planted tree or shrub, install 4 stakes around and enclose it was a burlap sack.

Bonus Tips

  1. If your car battery is dead, do not try to jump-start it while it is still frozen. That could lead to the battery rupturing or exploding.
  2. Keep your car’s gas tank above half way full to avoid freezing.
  3. If you have any pets, keep them inside.
  4. If you decide to head out outside today, dress warm and in loose fitting clothing.

When sub-zero temperatures hit, using practical tips will help you to protect your home from damage. The good news is that warmer weather is on the horizon. From all of us at the Jamey Kramer Group, please stay warm and stay safe.

Top 10 Most Visited Blog Articles for 2013

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Top 10 Most Visited Blog Articles for 2013

Did your favorite blog article make the top 10 list?

Our goal for the Jamey Kramer Group’s blog is to provide free real estate and community related information and news to help keep you informed. It was an eventful year in real estate and for the communities of Novi and Northville, Michigan.

As we start 2014, we would like to reflect and review the top news of 2013. The following are the Jamey Kramer Group’s top 10 most visited blog articles for 2013 according to Google Analytics. 

  1. 2013 Michigan Winter Dog Classic In Novi, Mi
    Michigan’s largest dog show, the Michigan Winter Dog Classic, was hosted in Novi, Michigan last year. Check out the article to read all about it.
  2. Is The 3.5% Mortgage Interest Rate Gone For Good?
    In 2013, mortgage interest rates started to climb. As the economy grew stronger, interest rates started to increase. We may never see the 3.5% mortgage interest rate again. What do you think? Do you think we see the 3.5% interest rate again in the near future?
  3. Novi, Michigan - The Origin Of Its Mysterious Name
    Have you ever wondered how Novi, Michigan received its name? While the widely accepted theory is that it was named “Novi” because it was the 6th township in the southwest part of Oakland County, No. VI, there are other interesting theories. There is even a romantic theory that you won’t want to miss reading.
  4. Trick-Or-Treating In Novi and Northville, Michigan
    In this article, we provided the hours of trick-or-treating in Novi and Northville, Michigan. This information was especially important to Northville residents since some of downtown streets were closed for the celebrating.
  5. Everything You Need To Know About Halloween In Northville, Michigan
    Northville, Michigan is one of those cities that always has something exciting going on, and in 2013, the city offered Halloween events 2 week prior to the holiday. There was the Trick-or-Treat Trail at the Mill Race Village, the Costume Parade at the Northville Community Center and a Friday Night Festival perfect for all ages.
  6. Novi Welcomes Donald Trump For Lincoln Dinner Speech
    Did you know that Donald Trump came to Novi, Michigan in 2013? He was the key note speaker at Novi, Michigan’s Lincoln Day dinner, a long-standing Novi tradition.
  7. Know When to Replace Your Home’s Window
    It is important to take care of your home and it may be time to replace your windows. New windows often times means a more energy efficient home and may even add value to your home.
  8. Where To Celebrate New Year’s Eve In Novi and Northville, Michigan
    There is a lot to do in Novi and Northville, Michigan, especially on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. From medieval princesses to romantic dinners, these two cities have it all. In this article, we shared special events for both cities on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
  9. Novi Michigan To Host The 2013 Michigan State Fair
    2013 was the second year in a row that Novi, Michigan hosted the Michigan State Fair. The fair included the Detroit Shrine Circus, Michigan beer, and of course plenty of animals.
  10. Restaurants Open Christmas Eve and Day in Northville and Novi, Michigan
    For those who would rather be relaxing on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day instead of cooking, this article included restaurants that were open in the cities of Northville and Novi, Michigan on both days.

Moving Forward into 2014

Is there a topic that you are interested in that you would like to hear more about or do you have any questions? Please call my office at 248-348-7200, use our convenient contact form, or email me at: Jamey@JameyKramer.com.

Have a wonderful New Year everyone, and from all of us at the Jamey Kramer Group, we wish you the very best in 2014.

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9