Real Estate Information Archive


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Two Obstacles for First Time Home Buyers

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Winter is not usually the time most people are looking for a new home. The weather makes going out more complicated, not to mention keeping a house clean to show it, and most people don’t even want to think about moving in the winter.

First-time home buyers are feeling the pain especially - and that’s roughly half of the market. Chances are if you are a first-time home buyer reading this, you are exhausted by the search and demoralized by the competition.

You might even be one of the millions of Americans hoping to rely on a Federal Housing Administration loan and have recently been troubled by the Trump administration putting a freeze on the potential premium cut Obama had attempted to put in place. However, now could be a good time to keep looking.

FHA Loan Premium Cut

Millions of homeowners have received loans backed by the Federal Housing Authority, which offers loans to borrowers with lower credit scores or who don’t have a large down-payment. In 2015, 1.1 million borrowers obtained an FHA loan, which are often available for interest rates as low as 3.5%.

Borrowers pay an insurance premium to cover FHA’s losses in the event of insured loans becoming delinquent. The insurance premiums go to the FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, and they are what the outgoing Obama administration had attempted to cut to help FHA homeowners in 2017.

The Trump administration has put a halt on all pending policies enacted by Obama’s administration in its final days, which includes this measure that would have saved homeowners an average of $500 this year.

The Good News

The good news is that, in the grand scheme of things, $500 isn’t going to make or break your decision to buy a home. The FHA isn’t the only institution willing to offer mortgages at lower interest rates, either.

The other interesting thing is that, while interest rates rose in the weeks leading up to President Trump’s inauguration and experts say they will continue to rise in 2017, interest rates are down right now. The average rate of a 30-year fixed mortgage, Freddie Mac reported Thursday, is 4.09% down from 4.12% last week. As a result, right now is a good window to think about using if you’re ready to apply for a mortgage.

Saving For a Down Payment

The enormous obstacle for most homeowners - or would-be homeowners - right now is a down payment. It’s the reason the FHA loans can be so helpful in getting a family otherwise unable to save that much into a home. In fact, saving 20% of a down-payment is two-thirds of the average household income in this country. The fact is, housing prices are rising and income levels are not.

According to a CNN Money article, the average house costs $192,500. Twenty percent of that price is $38,500, which isn’t a number the average family can come up with in a year - or even two or three years.

The good news here is that, while housing shortages are a reality for first-time home buyers in all parts of the country, the places where this has reached a crisis level are relatively few.

In Michigan, and other states in this region, the percentage of your annual income needed for that down payment is still relatively low - around 50% - as compared with some cities in California and on the East Coast - which are at closer to 100% or more than the average annual income.

Take Away

First time home buying has obstacles. We here at the Jamey Kramer Group understand all too well what you’re facing. We’re here for you every step of the way. Please give us a call today.



Top 5 Home Remodeling Projects in 2017

by The Jamey Kramer Group

House with manufactured stone veneer

Are you thinking about selling your home this year and wonder how to best to recoup your investments toward higher curb appeal?

It’s no secret that homeowners looking to sell their homes sometimes have trouble. Their houses sit on the market for weeks and it seems inexplicable. When you are ready to sell, you want to sell fast. It puts you in a much better position to bargain from in finding that next home and, of course, puts that down payment in your pocket.

How do you get from here to there, so to speak? Any good realtor will make sure you have great pictures and provide guidance about how best to de-clutter and freshen your space for prospective buyers.

However, you might be thinking beyond cleaning and packing those family pictures away. Does your kitchen need an update? How about your HVAC? It might surprise you which projects will bring the highest return on investment, and which won’t.

Top 5 Highest Return Remodeling Projects

According to 2017 Remodeling’s Cost vs Value report for Michigan, most home remodeling projects are going to get you less of a return on your investment than last year. That means you need to be strategic about which things you choose if you are simply remodeling in order to sell faster.

Of course, every good homeowner thinks about what will add value when doing any project, but choosing something for your own sake is a very different decision process. Make sure you know why you are remodeling before you start.

According to the national data, here are the top 5 in order of percentage of return:

1. Fiberglass Attic Insulation

This is not a very visual or sexy addition to your home, but it’s understandable for this region - and especially if you are trying to sell in the winter months.

Although the return is down from 2016, adding fiberglass attic insulation is still at the top of the list. In this region, the return on investment is about 79.3% - significantly lower than the national average of 107.7%. However, it is still something to consider as it will lower your energy bills right away and give you some concrete data to show a prospective buyer.

2. Manufactured Stone Veneer

This is the one remodel which is actually up, in terms of returns, from 2016. It’s not hard to see why. According to Remodeling, stone adds to a home’s perceived value - whether it’s adding curb appeal to the front of your home or wrapping a dated fireplace.

In terms of design trend, stone lends that contemporary timeless feel that excites many buyers. If you are wary of this large or seemingly unnecessary expense, be reassured it’s very likely to get you a large return. 78.5%, according to the data.

3. Steel Entry Door Replacement

New entry doors are a great return on investment across the board. Although this one is down from last year, at 77.4%, it’s still at the top of the list. Even a new coat of paint can help with resale, but if you make one small investment to pack the most punch, this is it.

4. Fiberglass Entry Door Replacement

Only slightly less of a return for a lower price, a new fiberglass entry door - at a 74.2% return - might be the perfect thing to snag that perfect buyer.

5. Minor Kitchen Remodel

Is your dated kitchen making you nervous? You might be suffering from the same misconception as many buyers who walk into a home with a dated kitchen. According to U.S. News and World Report, when buyers walk into a dated kitchen, they think they’re going to have to spend $40-50,000.

For a savvy homeowner willing to do some work him or herself, the average cost according to the 2017 Remodeling’s Cost vs Value’s report is actually much lower at $21,303. Even a few minor improvements could recoup what you need - 72% of your investment - at a fraction of that cost.

Take Away

If you’re thinking about selling your home in the future and you want the best return on investment - consider one of these small projects this year. If you are ready, please give our office a call. We would be honored to help!


Novi, Michigan Community Events in January 2017

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Novi, Michigan Community Events in January 2017

Are you feeling cooped up in this freezing weather? After the holidays, it may be a bit daunting with the rest of the winter stretched out before us. For those who live in the Novi, Michigan area looking to get more involved, or who have kids wanting activities, or for sports fans, look no further. Check out these community events that are scheduled for January 2017:

Novi Choralaires

The Novi Choralaires - an adult co-ed choir made up of Novi and surrounding area residents - put on several concerts per year. Open auditions are held on two Tuesdays this month, January 10 and January 17 at:

Novi Middle School
49000 11 Mile Rd
Novi MI 48374

For more information, please see: Novi Choralaires

Novi Police and Fire Victory Benefit

On Friday, January 20, there’s a sure-to-be-entertaining hockey benefit game: Novi Police and Fire Benevolent Association vs. Detroit Redwing Alumni Association. Come watch former Redwings play! Admission is $10, and the game starts at 7:00 p.m. at the Novi Ice Arena.

To purchase tickets online, please see: NPFBA & Detroit Red Wings Alumni Victory 2017 Benefit

All proceeds go to the officer Harper Memorial Children’s Fund. There are sponsorship opportunities at many price levels! Spend the game in a private suite with ten other friends, sit in the penalty box during the game or perform the ceremonial puck drop, and much more!

Chili Chilly Softball Showdown

Today is the last day to register your team, so don’t waste any time! This is the city’s 3rd annual event of this name. It will take place, Saturday, January 21 at 9 a.m. at Ella Mae Power Park. It’s a co-ed event featuring one pitch per at bat and prizes for all participants and lunch: koney dogs from Kerby’s Koney Island. Eighteen years and older!

It’s a double elimination format with six inning games and the Novi Civic Center will be open for players needing to warm up. Wooden bats provided. You can register your team or be put on a free agent list. The cost is $250 per team.

For more information, please see the City of Novi’s website or call 248-347-0400

Novi Fire Department’s Free Car Seat and Booster Seat Checks

Take advantage of the Novi Fire Department’s free car seat and booster seat check at the fire station #4 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm on Saturday January 21 at:

Fire Station #4
49375 Ten Mile Rd.
Novi MI 48375 US

Alice in Wonderland Jr. Auditions

The Novi Civic Theatre program has been putting on plays, musicals, dinner theatres, camps, classes, and workshops for a long time. This is a great way for young actors to learn about and experience theatre starting at a local level. This spring, the Novi Civic Theatre program is putting on a youth musical theatre production of Alice in Wonderland Jr.

Rehearsals will be on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and also Saturday mornings, and a more precise schedule will be available after casting. A mandatory parent meeting will take place on January 30 for parents of those in the cast. The performances are scheduled for March 24-26 at the Novi Civic Center.

Auditions for grades K-8 will be held on January 21, 12-5pm at the Novi Civic Center. You may pre-register your child(ren) at no cost at: In the Mitten Productions.

Registration Price

  • Residents: $150
  • Non- Residents: $180

The price includes most costume pieces, scripts, music, cast photo, and cast t-shirt.

Rehearsals will be held: Tuesday and Thursday (evenings), Saturday (mornings) beginning February 4.

  • Location: Novi Civic Center
  • Instructor: In the Mitten Productions
  • Show Dates: March 24 at 7:00 pm, 25 at 6:00 pm, 26 at 2:00 pm

For more information, please see the City of Novi’s website - Theatre

Turning Teen

Do you have a girl, aged 8 or above who is ready to learn about puberty? Novi is offering an educational workshop by the authors of Turning Teen, Dr. Lisa Klein & Dr. Carrie Leff.

Sunday, January 22, 2017 | 12:00pm - 3:00pm

Location: Civic Center
45175 10 Mile Road
Novi MI 48375 US

For more information, please see: Turning Teen

Take Away

Don’t miss out on these great opportunities throughout the month of January in Novi, Michigan! From the Novi Choralaires open auditions and the Novi Police and Fire Benevolent Association vs. Detroit Redwing Alumni Association hockey game benefit to the auditions for the youth musical theatre production, Alice in Wonderland Jr, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Top Real Estate Articles in 2016 – Reflecting on 2016

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Top 20 real estate articles

As the New Year begins, we would like to take a moment and reflect on 2016 and what made this year special. First, we are grateful for the opportunity of serving the communities of Novi, Northville, and South Lyon in Oakland County, Michigan. It has been our honor serving our valued clients, and we would like to thank you for your support and confidence in The Jamey Kramer Group.  

We also grateful for the opportunity of spotlighting the amazing features of the communities we serve. From the historic backgrounds and amazing restaurants, to exciting family friendly events, it has been our honor to highlight Novi, Northville, and South Lyon’s attributes with you here on our blog.

The one thing that stands out in 2016 for all of us at Jamey Kramer Group has been the honor of walking beside so many families and individuals as they have either sold or bought a house. It has been an enormous privilege to walk alongside each person in these important decisions. We love seeing new homeowner’s faces as they receive the keys to their new house and sharing their joy.

In addition, we love being your reference for real estate news, questions, and concerns. The process of buying or selling a house may be intimidating. That is why we share our expertise on our blog with tips and strategies to help you in the buying or selling process. We are also here for you – just a phone call away – if you would like to talk about your specific situation.

To honor 2016, we would like to take a moment to share our most visited posts on our blog. This year, we have two categories, the Top 10 Real Estate Articles in 2016, and the Top 10 Northville, Novi, & South Lyon Community Articles 2016 according to Google Analytics:

Top 10 Real Estate Articles in 2016

Top 10 Northville, Novi, & South Lyon Community Articles 2016


In conclusion, all of us here at the Jamey Kramer Group would like to express our deepest appreciation again for all your support and confidence. We would also like to wish you an amazing New Year, and may 2017 be the best year yet!

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