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The Pros and Cons of Buying for the School District

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Bus in neighborhood

People have many different priorities when considering buying a home. These include proximity to a job, amenities, location within a city, the number of bedrooms, and interior finishing. The list goes on and on.

When making a decision about this huge purchase, there are so many factors to weigh. Not the least of which is, where will your kids go to school?

Will you be able to sell the house when you move, and for how much? Will you get a good return on your investment?

The common wisdom for buying a home has been “buy in a good school district, even if you don’t have kids.” And there is good reasoning in this approach - especially if you have kids.

However, there are also some good reasons not to let the school district influence your decision.

Do You Have Kids?

The biggest factor for buying a home in a good school district is, of course, whether you have kids under the age of 18. The truth is, when you buy a sought-after home in a good school district, the value of that home is reflected in the price. You will be paying more up-front. But then, your children will benefit from the education a good school district provides.

The alternative is living in a bigger or better home in a less-desirable school district. At that point, you must factor in the cost of paying for a private school education or making a lifestyle-altering choice like homeschooling your children. Some families are able to do this. However, most families will want to benefit from a high-quality public education.

Private schools, as many people know, can run into the thousands per year for each child. The average tuition cost for a private school can run up to $10,000 per year. That is the same as paying around $900 per month in extra mortgage payments.

Tip: The age of the schools, the condition of the facilities, student to teacher ratios, and standardized test scores are all things you can find online about a public school district. These are the factors used in determining the value of the school district.

If you are childless and not planning to have children, or have children over 18, buying an expensive house in a good school district may not be for you.

As mentioned above, the value of the school district does tend to be reflected in the price of the home and the property taxes. If you are paying this without reaping the benefits, it’s no deal for you. You can always pass that inflated price on to the next buyer, which makes this option seem like the safe bet. However, your home isn’t going to appreciate in value as much as a home in an area with bad schools.

It’s true! You can look at the data provided by Zillow to see the home appreciation values for the last 20 years in any area. The reality is that home values have gone up faster and higher in gentrifying areas than in those with good school districts.

What does this mean?

In the economics blog “Up From Wage Slavery”, the author makes a good case for why this trend is changing. Here are some of his reasons:

  • Government policy can affect school district changes quickly.
  • The growth market is in gentrifying cities. Small towns with good school districts appreciate, but fewer people are choosing to move there.
  • People moving to cities are increasingly either childless or waiting until they are older to have children.

Conclusion

It’s not a bad investment to buy a house in a good school district. In fact, it can be one of the safest investments to make. If you are directly benefiting from the schools in your area, it’s a no-brainer.

But if you are looking at buying a home for its appreciation value, the truth is in the data: homes in gentrifying cities (many of which have less desirable school districts) are appreciating faster and higher.

If you are interested in looking for a house and live in Southeast Michigan, please give us a call. We would be honored to help!

248-348-7200

May 2018 Events for the City of Northville, Michigan

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Northville Michigan Upcoming Events

Spring has arrived in Michigan and so have a whole bunch of new events and activities in the City of Northville. There are running events as well as one-time spectacles for all ages. Read below to find fun for your friends and family.

Recurring Events in May

Farmers Market

  • Thursdays in May
  • Time: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Location: Northville Downs
  • Northwest corner of 7 Mile and Sheldon Rd, Northville, MI

All through May, come visit farmer stands to buy fresh produce and flowers as well as a whole array of food, crafts, and handmade goodies. Get advice from master gardeners!

ESL Conversation Group

  • Tuesdays in May
  • Time: 10:30 am - 11:30 am
  • Location: Northville Library
  • Address: 212 W Cady St, Northville, MI 48167

Are you learning English? Want to improve your language skills? Drop in at our informal conversation group to learn in a kind and comfortable environment.

Sporcle Live Trivia Night

  • Wednesday Nights in May
  • Time: 7:30 pm & 8:30 pm
  • Location: North Center Brewing Company
  • Address: 410 N Center St, Northville, MI 48167

Do you love trivia? Two chances every Wednesday night to win gift cards will bring fun and camaraderie to your life. You might even find out you’re smarter than you thought!

Running Events in May

The 19th Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition

  • May 4 - 19
  • Location: Northville Art House
  • Address: 215 W Cady St, Northville, MI 48167

Are you a young artist? Do you want to support growing artists? Northville Art House has put on this juried exhibition since 1999 and has, in the past, had over 100 participating middle and high school students from local schools.

This exhibit gives students a chance to feel what it’s like to work in the world of art and gives them a place to display their work from school in a celebratory space. If you are passionate about fine arts in education, this is your chance to support that work in the community. The Northville Art House encourages all young students to display their art and get feedback.

For more information, please see Northville Art House’s upcoming exhibit.

Northville Spring Carnival

  • May 10 - May 13
  • Location: Northville Downs parking lot
  • Address: 301 S. Center Street, Northville
  • Presented by Elliott’s Amusements

Come one; come all to the annual spring carnival in Downtown Northville. Buy wristbands and make the most of the weekend or stop by for a quick funnel cake and ride on the carnival rides for a night. There are midway games and food, big and small rides and prizes for every age.

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

One of a Kind Events

History of Northville Police and Fire Departments with Hugh H. Jordan III

  • Monday, May 7
  • Time: 7:00 pm -9:00 pm
  • Location: Northville District Library
  • Address: 212 W Cady St, Northville, MI 48167

Explore Northville’s past through the eyes of a retired firefighter and member of the community, whose family has served for a total of 166 years. Learn about historical emergency events from the perspective of first responders. Not to be missed!

I Love The 90’s Trivia Night Part 2

  • Tuesday, May 8
  • Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
  • Location: Northville District Library Carlo Meeting Room
  • Address: 212 W Cady St, Northville, MI 48167

Love trivia? Love the 90s? Continue this fun game night in round 2. For more information and to register, please see the Northville District Library’s website.

Conclusion

Northville is one of those communities that have it all: beautiful, historic surroundings, not-to-be-missed events, and the wonderful people who make it all happen. Join up with friends and family for one or all of these fun times.

Real Estate News: Seller’s Market - Buyers Are Paying More

by The Jamey Kramer Group

House with sold sign

According to USA Today, 2018 is shaping up to be a seller’s market more than ever before. This is especially true for anyone selling a “starter” home.

The lowest point of the housing market was in 2012, and we’ve seen it steadily get better over the last six years. Now, many people have jobs but the inventory is still tight, so buyers are getting creative to afford homes.

One-third of buyers are spending more than the upper limit of what they thought they would spend to buy a home - an average of over $16,000 - according to an Owners.com survey. This is for two reasons:

  • Home prices went up 6.2% on average between January of 2017 and January of 2018.
  • Bidding wars are driving up prices because of the low inventory.

Guess who is paying the most over their set budget?

The answer is Millennials.

Put it another way: Millennials are the “most likely to splurge” to the tune of $25,000 on average. Not all of them, but around 40%.

Compare this to 34% of Gen Xers by $13,000 and only 19% of Baby Boomers by $8,000 on average.

The fact is that Millennials are still first-time home buyers. They are coming from a rental or living with relatives, compared to their older counterparts, who can stay in the home they are in until they find something in their price range. In addition, they are also unpracticed at buying a home, so less likely to know what constitutes a realistic budget.

Good News for Sellers

This could be great news for sellers, although it doesn’t mean your house will automatically attract a bidding war. A home priced too high for its area is still likely to sit on the market unless it has clear amenities and updates the other homes around it don’t have.

And there are concrete things buyers are looking for this year when they are looking for an updated home. The top answers might surprise you.

According to a Zillow survey of 4 million home sales in the last two years, here is a list of amenities that made homes top sellers (that is, the homes with these amenities sold for this percentage above asking price):

  • Steam shower (29%)
  • Professional-grade appliance (29%)
  • Pizza oven (26 %)
  • Pet shower (25%)
  • Outdoor kitchen (25%)
  • Entertainer or prep sink (25%)
  • Shed or garage studio (24%)
  • Heated floors (24%)
  • Meditation room (24%)
  • Wine fridge (22%)
  • Chef’s kitchen (21%)
  • Craftsman style (21%)
  • Herringbone or parquet floors (21%)
  • Free-standing tub (21%)
  • Solar panels (21%)
  • Coffered ceiling (20%)
  • Outdoor fireplace (20%)
  • Carrara marble (19%)
  • Home theater (19%)
  • Farmhouse sink (19%)

That’s right; buyers these days are looking for wellness-related features like heated floors and free-standing tubs, outdoor cooking spaces, and mudrooms with pet showers.

These things signal to potential buyers that your home is recently updated and will not need any changes or remodeling. It also helps buyers to be able to see themselves living and entertaining in the space.

This desire could translate into more money for you on the other end - and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Investing in some paint and simple staging could change a bedroom into a meditation room in a day.

Takeaway

With inventory low and more buyers willing to pay more, you could be looking at a nice profit on your home if you were thinking about selling this year. Some minor updates could be all you need!

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

248-348-7200

 

How to Use Your Tax Refund to Help Buy a Home

by The Jamey Kramer Group

New house concept

We are approaching what most people think of as the peak housing season - the season when most homes are listed and most people who are looking for a home start that process.

Interestingly enough, the peak season for Midwesterners starts in May - ahead of the rest of the country. All other regions start in June.

Getting a jump on this year’s busy season could be important - especially if you’ve been waiting extra long to find that perfect house.

So, how can tax season be helpful?

It’s not hard to figure out how having extra money could be helpful, and I’m sure there are a few different purchases you could make.

Don’t we all look forward to that tax return? Tax return season tends to be when prospective buyers get approved for a home loan more easily for this reason.

Tips on Using Your Tax Refund to Buy a Home

Down Payment

The down payment can be the biggest hurdle. First-time homebuyers are more than ever saddled with school debt. Did you know you can apply for a low down payment mortgage program if you’re a first-time buyer?

There are also down-payment assistance products to help you pay 3.5% all the way on down to nothing down for a first home. A tax refund could be used for a down payment or the return can be used before you’ve received the money to get pre-approved for a loan. Once the money is in your account, it can be used for closing.

If you get approved for a no down payment loan, a tax return can help with closing costs or help to pay the insurance.

Improve Your Credit Score

You may not be approved for a no down payment loan - or even a low down payment loan - because of too much debt. Your debt to income ratio may be too high - meaning the repayment of the mortgage would take too much of your monthly income and the bank thinks you wouldn’t be able to do it.

You can use that tax return to pay off debt in order to qualify. Paying off credit cards or other lines of credit with high-interest rates can dramatically increase your credit score as well, making you a better candidate for mortgage qualification.

It would be helpful to talk to a mortgage loan officer before deciding which debt to pay off if that’s what you’re hoping to do. You want to pay off the debt that makes the most impact and doesn’t jeopardize your loan approval.

Asset Reserves

An underwriter wants to see assets - money - in your bank account. If you have a lower credit score, a high debt ratio or some other problem standing in your way, you may still receive an approval if you have asset reserves like a big tax refund in the bank.

If it’s 2-6 months’ worth of monthly mortgage payments, that’s the most ideal. Talking to a loan officer should help sort out what is best to do with your tax refund if you think it may help you buy the home you’ve been waiting for.

Conclusion

Tax season is upon us. If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, you may be surprised at how much it could help you buy a first home this season. Make sure you talk to a financial advisor to work out how best to use this asset.

If you are ready to start looking for a house and live in Southeast Michigan, please give us a call. We’re here whenever you need us!

248-348-7200

April 2018 Events in the City of Novi, Michigan

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Novi, MI events April 2018

Spring is finally here - at least in name - and Novi has an array of fun community events to both fill those rainy spring weekends or nights and bring you outside a bit to enjoy the season warming up. There’s something here for everyone - adults, kids, families, and seniors.

Euchre Tournament

  • Saturday, April 7
  • Time: 4:00 pm
  • Location: Novi Civic Center, 45175 W 10 Mile Rd, Novi, MI 48375
  • Registration: $7 resident /non-resident $8.50

They say Euchre is a Michigan game. If so, Michigan is a genius because this game never gets old. This 8-round tournament comes with gift certificates for the winners and dinner included for everyone. There will be sub sandwiches, cake, pop, and chips as a break in the middle of play after 4 rounds. Make sure to bring quarters for euchres and reneges.

Novi CARES

  • Saturday, April 21
  • Time: 9:00 am – 11:00 am

Every year, Novi demonstrates its commitment to the Earth and to our community with these five events centered around environmental responsibility and community togetherness. Each of the letters in CARES stands for a community event inspired by caring for the earth - and two of them fall in April this year! Bring your kids, bring yourself, and have a fun time while learning something.

Earth Day

  • Saturday, April 21
  • Time: 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
  • Location: MSU Tollgate Farm / Education Center Center, 28115 Meadowbrook Rd, Novi Mi 48375

Plan to celebrate Earth Day by doing something positive to help. This working event is in partnership with MSU Extension Tollgate at the Harvest Garden. Please plan to bring shovels and garden gloves, and wear gardening shoes.

Arbor Day

  • Saturday, April 28
  • Time: 9:00 am – 11:00 a.m.
  • Location: Rotary Park, 22220 Roethel Dr, Novi, MI 48375

How would you like to teach your children about Arbor Day first hand? Come out to plant, mulch, and weed the trees in Rotary Park.

Mom and Me Tea

  • Saturday, April 28
  • Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm
  • Location: Novi Civic Center, 45175 W 10 Mile Rd, Novi, MI 48375
  • Ages 4 and up
  • Registration ends April 14th $10/$12 non-resident per person

A beautiful time to learn and play together as female family members - mother, grandmother, aunt and daughter or niece! Learn how to decorate cakes, how chocolate is made and how good it is for you! Chef George Rapitis, an instructor at Schoolcraft College for the culinary arts, will teach all this. There will also be plenty of time for tea, punch, and sweets.

To register, please see online registration.

Novi Half Marathon

  • Saturday, April 28
  • Time: 8:00 am
  • Location: Start and end at Novi Middle School, 49000 W 11 Mile Rd, Novi, MI 48374
  • Cost: Prices Vary

It’s not just a half marathon; it’s a 5K, 10K, and 1 Mile race through the City of Novi. The course is flat with a scenic view of Island Lake and horse farms. A DJ will provide encouragement and fun at the start and finish area. Get a high-quality Tech Shirt for participating and a medal for completing the half marathon and 10K. Proceeds go to the Novi Parks Foundation and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute

Visit www.springrobinraces.com for more information and to register.

Senior Events in April

A Taste of Poland Luncheon

  • Thursday, April 5
  • Time: 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
    Age: 55+
  • Price: Res. $7.50/Non-Res. $9
  • Location: Meadowbrook Activity Center, 25075 Meadowbrook Rd, Novi, MI 48375

Pierogi, paczkis, and kielbasa... the best of Polish comfort food well beloved in Michigan. But there’s more to Poland than just those foods! Debra Willbanks of Armchair Travel will present a travel log of Poland to fill your senses and make you feel as though you have been there yourself.

Island Escape - A Senior Socialite Event

  • Thursday, April 26
  • Time: 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm
  • Age: 50+
  • Price: $8
  • Location: TBA
  • Ticket Deadline: Apr 19 or until sold out

There’s nothing more inviting than an Island escape in the middle of April in Michigan. We have all been longing for more warm weather! Warm weather is on the way, but why not escape for an evening to the tropical beaches brought right to you?

You can almost smell the fresh flowers, the warm breeze and hear the island music. Come to enjoy the Hawaiian food, learn about island culture, and hear some excellent island music by Melanee Hirvela. Not only that, but this event is put on in cooperation with neighboring communities Livonia, Northville, South Lyon, and Wixom so you never know who you might meet!

For more information on older adult events, please see special events.

Takeaway

From a Euchre Tournament and Mom and Me Tea to special events for older adults, there is something for all ages in the City of Novi in April. If you would like to learn more about purchasing a home in the family-friendly city, please give us a call. We would be honored to help!

248-348-7200

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