Real Estate Information Archive


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5 Strategies to Avoid Buying a Money Pit

by The Jamey Kramer Group

5 Strategies to Avoid Buying a Money Pit

One of the worst nightmares that a new homeowner can face is buying a house and discovering the hidden horrors that lay beneath the surface. Sadly, that is exactly what happened to Steve and Michelle Hicks.

The couple bought a two-story, mid-1920 Dutch colonial on three-quarters of an acre in Millburn, New Jersey in 2012.  Soon after moving in, the disasters underneath started to reveal themselves. The problems included pipes that weren’t insulated, heating that didn’t heat the upstairs past 46 degrees, and walls that were torn down that should have been supported. The Hicks did have an inspection of the house prior to closing on it and small hints came to the surface, but they were not enough to drive them away from buying their dream home.

Homeowners know that when they buy a house, there is the risk of it possibly turning into a money pit. However, no one thinks it could actually happen to them. Every wise homeowner wants to do whatever they can to avoid this possibility. To help to keep this from happening to you, here are 5 ways to avoid buying a money pit.

  1. Be Willing to Walk Away After Inspection

Every buyer should get a home inspection done before they close on the house. The home inspection should check basics including electrical, plumbing, mold, etc. If you feel any concerns after the inspection, don’t be afraid to ask additional professionals to come in and examine the house to help answer any questions. If red flags begin to come up, check into them. Most importantly, be willing to walk away. That can be the hardest part.

  1. Have Realistic Expectations

When buying an older house, a new homeowner needs to be prepared for unexpected costs. Having money set aside is important. Items that you want to be aware of causing problems include plumbing, electrical, insects, mold, and asbestos.  If you don’t want a money pit, a newly constructed house might be a better decision. Buying an older home is an investment and one you need to be prepared to put money into.

  1. Ask for a Home Warranty and Understand What it Covers

Depending on the market where you buy a house, the buyer can request that the sellers pay for a home warranty. This can be helpful for items that break down in the first year such as a washer, dryer, water heater, or the furnace. However, it might not cover other costly issues, so reading the fine print is important to make sure you understand what exactly is involved. 

  1. Understand Your Homeowner’s Insurance

Homeowner’s insurance is different from your home warranty. This is something you work out with your insurance company before you move in. Each policy covers different things, so again, it is important to understand the fine print of what is specifically covered. Typically, you can expect that theft or vandalism, damage caused by such perils as fire, windstorms, hail, and lightning will be covered. Additional homeowner’s insurance for floods and earthquakes are not included and would need to be bought at additional cost.

  1. Ask the Neighbors

If the house you are buying has the potential to flood, ask the neighbors in the area about their experience. Check to see if they are aware of any flooding that may have happened to the house that you would like to buy. Another option is to put the house’s address in a search engine on the Internet and check to see what might come up.

Take Away

When buying a house, it is almost impossible to know every possible detail and problem. However, these five strategies are ways to ensure that you can walk into your new home with your eyes as wide open as possible.

Having an experienced real estate agent by your side is also essential. An experienced realtor knows the warning signs of a potential money pit. The Jamey Kramer Group would be honored to help you find the home of your dreams. Please call our office today.




Summer Camps in Novi, Michigan 2016

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Summer Camps in Novi, Michigan 2016

Summer is approaching and you might be looking to fill up your family’s schedule with fun events and camps. There is great news if you live in the Novi area, because there are endless amounts of options for you to check out. There are a wide variety of upcoming activities, and you are sure to find something in an area that fits your family.

Whether you are looking to offer your child engaging activities while you are at work, or ways to help offer your kids a fun break from the normal summer schedule, you are sure to be satisfied with what Novi has to offer, and your kids will have a great time.

Here are some highlights to give you an idea of what is offered:

Day Camps in Novi

Day camps are a great option for a child who isn’t ready to stay away from you yet, or are simply a great option that works better with your schedule. Day camps are offered Monday – Friday from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm to coordinate with parent’s work schedules. There are a number of different day camps offered including:

  • Camp Lakeshore
  • Camp Powerplay
  • Novi Travel Camp

If an entire week seems too much, there are one and two day options.

For older high school students there is the Camp Lakeshore Counselor in Training option that will help build leadership skills.

The Great Campout is an option for families to enjoy camping together.

Another day camp option is Carousel Acres for campers to experience life on the farm.

A Youth Police and Fire Leadership Academy is another option for teens to get an inside look at local law enforcement.

Bricks 4 Kids Camps

Does your kid love to do Legos? Bricks 4 Kids offers a number of different options that are sure to be engaging for your child. Your child can choose from between creating remote control Lego vehicles, learn about the history of the Olympics using Lego kits, or combine their favorite Minecraft with Legos to create models, and key elements to the Minecraft game.  

Horseback Riding Camp

Want a great way for your child to build physical fitness and confidence? Then the Wildwind Equestrian Center’s Horse Camp or the Tiny Tot Horse Camp might be great options. Camps are offered as young as 4 years of age to 16.

Sports Camps

Sports camps are offered all summer long for children starting from age 4. Sports that are included are baseball, golf, tennis, soccer, basketball, football, lacrosse, and even a creative Olympic option.

Theatre and Dance Camps

There are acting, theatre, princess ballet, and auditioning camps offered in Novi that help give the campers experience in the world of theater and dance. These activities start at age 8. For the little ones, Novi offers a Princess Ballet Dance camp that is designed to help bring out the inner princess in all little ones. The ages of this camp is offered as young as 3 years old.

Art Camps

The Novi Art Camps are offered at Township Hall. There are a number of are camps that you can choose from including art fundamentals, intro to art, drawing and print making, and art around the world. Classes are offered to ages as young as four years old.

Jeanne Clarke Teen Summer Center

The Novi Summer Teen Center is a drop-in center that offers engaging activities for teens including arts, crafts, and field trips. The center is open Monday – Thursday from 12:00 pm to 5:30 pm and is located at the Novi Middle School cafeteria.

Novi Ice Arena Camps

Is you child interested in ice skating? Novi offers camps for your child that wants to learn to ice skate or play hockey.

Take Away

Novi summer camps offer something your child is sure to love. The wide variety of options help to fill in your summer schedule in a way that is engaging and fun for your child. To find out specific times, prices, and dates for each of these camps, please visit the City of Novi’s website.

3 Essential Steps to Take Before You Buy a House

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Dreaming of your next house or even your first home is an exciting thought. You might have pinned favorite features of certain homes on your Pinterest board, or cut out favorite kitchens from a magazine. Imagining all the great aspects of a home is helpful to do, but when the time comes to really start to take that dream to a reality, doing a few steps will make the process go a little bit more smoothly.

House hunting can be intimidating and exciting all wrapped up together. Taking these three steps can help with the intimidation piece and leave you feeling confident about the house hunting process. Here are three steps to take before you head out house hunting.

Step 1 – Get Your Finances Together  

When searching for a house, one of the big key questions you will ask yourself is, “How much house can I afford?” This will help you narrow your search as you look online and before you ever step into a prospective house.  Getting pre-approved for a mortgage means that you have talked with a mortgage broker, that you have given him or her your financial information, and he or she has given you an idea of what the price range that would be healthy for you to afford.

It is important to remember that everyone’s threshold of what they can afford might be different than what a broker states. In addition, make sure you are looking at the entire monthly mortgage payment and not just the list price of a house. Features of a home could impact the monthly cost of a home. For example, does the house have a pool? The home insurance might be higher. Is the home in a flood plain? There might be mandatory flood insurance required. Real estate taxes can vary greatly, so when you are looking at a house and before you walk in, know what the estimated monthly mortgage payment will be.

Step 2 – Make Different Lists

When you are looking for a house, it is a great idea to sit down and think through what it is that you want. Come up with a list of must-haves, wishes, could live without, can’t live without, etc. A staff writer at Zillow broke down questions into four different categories: financial, location, structure, and lifestyle. She came up with 20 questions that flow into one of these categories. Examples she lists include:

  • Could you live in a one-story, two-story, townhouse, or condo?
  • Do you need any special features for your pets?
  • Do you need wheelchair access or limited stairs?
  • Are the school systems important to you?
  • Are you willing to do extra renovations?

Step 3 – Find an Experienced Realtor

Having a realtor to help you in your house search can be the key to your success. This is especially true if you are a first time home owner. There are many details that first time home buyers might not be aware of and having an experienced advocate can make a huge difference as you search. In addition, a realtor can be extra helpful when you are new to the area. They can help guide you into what is best for you and your family. Having your list thought through will be helpful for them when they help you look for houses.

Our Invitation

If you are looking a buying a house in Northville, Novi, or South Lyon, Michigan, we here at the Jamey Kramer Group would like to help you in your process.  We have the experience and would be honored to help you find the perfect home for you and your family. We invite you to call today:


Northville, Michigan Upcoming Events for May 2016

by The Jamey Kramer Group

We would love to take a moment to wish all mothers a happy Mother’s Day. We hope it was a beautiful and restful day for you. As we enter into this next week, we can continue the Mother’s Day celebration by going to one of Northville’s fun events happening this May.

This thriving city just outside of the Detroit’s city limits is not lacking in upcoming events. We thought we would take some time to highlight the fun events happening within the next few weeks. So, if you and your family are looking for ways to spend this nice spring weather, get ready to mark your calendars.

Northville Farmers Market

  • Thursdays, May 5 – October 27
  • Hours: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Northwest corner of 7 Mile and Sheldon Rd, Northville, MI

Every Thursday from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm from May 5 to October 27, you can make your way to the corner of 7 Mile Rd and Sheldon Rd to experience Northville’s Annual Farmers Market. Each week, you will see seasonal offerings by Michigan growers, vendors, and crafters. You will find flowers, produce, honey, plants, hand crafted items, baked goods and more depending on the season.

There will even be special events at the market including Chefs at the Market starting on June 2. The Master Gardener will be back to answer all your gardening questions. You can find the tent located near the white market shed and the Master Gardener will be there until 12:00 pm. In addition, the Ann Arbor Symphony will return for the Taste of Music happening on June 18. These are all amazing must experience events. If you are interested in learning more information or becoming a vendor yourself, please see Northville’s Farmers Market.

1st Annual Marquis Theatre Gala

  • Friday, May 14
  • 7:00 pm
  • 123 E. Main Street, Northville, MI
  • Cost $30.00

Happening this Friday, May 14 is the 1st Annual Marquis Theater Gala. This event will start at 7:00 pm at the Marquis Theatre located at 123 E. Main Street. Tickets to the event are $30 and can be purchased in advance. All proceeds will directly benefit the ongoing preservation of the Marquis Theater. The theme for this year is a 1920’s Tribute with live performances, special guests, music, appetizers, dancing and raffles. Find your best 1920’s outfit to have a great night.

Rouge River Rescue

  • Saturday, May 21
  • 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Mill Race Village at 215 Griswold St, Northville, MI

Northville is a town committed to helping make the town and earth a cleaner place. The Rouge River Rescue is just one of many ways Northville works to help the community. From 9:00 am to 12:00 pm people gather to clean up the Rouge River. Head over to the Mill Race Village at 215 Griswold St in Northville to join in this event on Saturday, May 21.

Farm Fest at Maybury Farm

  • Saturday, May 21
  • 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Maybury Farm, 50165 8 Mile Rd, Northville, MI
  • Admission: $4.00 per person. Children 2 and under free

On May 21, 2016, the Northville Community Foundation is operating a day long festival at Northville’s famous Maybury Farm. You can check out all the action at located at 50165 8 Mile Road from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Activities will include sheep and llama shearing, meet the baby animals, face painting, story time, and more. For more information, please see Maybury Farm’s Farm Fest.

Relay for Life

  • Saturday, May 21
  • 12:00 pm – 12:00 am
  • Ford Field, 151 Griswold St, Northville, MI

On May 21 at 12:00 pm, there will be an American Cancer Society fundraiser at Ford Field in Northville. You can register a team, or provide donations at the American Cancer Society. For more information and to sign up online, please see the American Cancer Society – Relay for Life.

Billy Joel and Elton John Tribute from Las Vegas

  • Saturday, May 21
  • 5:00 pm
  • Cost: $35.00 (Show Only)
  • Marquis Theatre, 123 E. Main Street, Northville, MI

Check out this great show at the Marquis Theatre located right downtown Northville at 125 E. Main Street. You can call the theater’s box office to purchase tickets at 248-472-7777. For more information, please see Northville Marquis Theatre’s website.

Sand Dunes, Sawdust & Shipwrecks – Stories from the Sunset Shore

  • Wednesday, May 21
  • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
  • The church at Mill Race Village, 21 Griswold St., Northville, MI
  • Cost: Free. Donations will be accepted at the door.

On May 25 from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm you can head over to Mill Race Village at 21 Griswold St. to hear a riveting lecture of all the true and unusual stories of the heritage of Lake Michigan’s sunset shores, sand dunes, and shipwrecks. If you love Michigan and love history, you won’t want to miss these stories told by dynamic storyteller and author, Larry B. Massie. To find more information, please see Mill Race Village’s flyer.

Memorial Day Parade

  • Monday, May 30
  • 10:00 am
  • Downtown Northville, MI

The Northville annual Memorial Day Parade will take place at 10:00 am on May 30. This special event honoring our veterans attracts thousands of people each year.

Take Away

There is so much happening in Northville this May, and we hope you get a chance to experience some of these events. If you have any questions about the town of Northville, please give us a call. We would love to answer any questions you might have.


Should You Rent or Sell Your Home: 3 Aspects to Consider

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Sell or rent

Making the decision to rent or sell your home is a tough decision. Renting can have a lot of financial benefits and can provide a nice profit. However, to make the decision on finances alone is a mistake.

Trying to make such a decision comes down to many different factors such as: financial, personal, and even economical. Each person’s situation is different. All of these aspects need to be considered to help you make the best decision for you and your situation.

This past week, a friend’s brother was facing this exact situation. He is trying to make the decision on whether he should rent or sell his home. He feels torn. His family has outgrown his current house, and he is in the process of building his next home. Financially, they would like the equity they have in the current house to put towards their mortgage on their new house. However, they bought their current house at the height of the market in 2006, and they know that selling today means taking a substantial loss. He is considering if the benefit of waiting to sell and renting instead is worth the trouble.

To make sure you are making the best decision for you, here are 3 considerations to help you feel good about whatever direction you choose.

  1. Evaluate Your Property as an Investment

According to one professional, “Determining whether a property is a good investment takes research and analysis, and it is wise to take your time in making a decision because it’s a major one.”

Do a comparative market analysis to help you determine what the current market is looking like in your area. Rent prices are soaring high in many places, and choosing to rent versus selling might make a lot of sense. If you are not sure how to do this, ask a real estate agent or broker for their insight and advice. They can help you conduct a market analysis on your home.

In addition, it is wise to take into account how much money you will have to spend to get the house to market standards. These are all ways to help you evaluate your property. If you fear you will have spend a great deal of money to keep the property in good condition such a replacing pipes, or anticipating a new roof for example, it might impact the decision to determine if this property is worth hanging onto.

  1. Evaluate Your Long Term Situation

Determining the value of your property and how much money you will have to invest to keep the home at market standards is just one step. Having a good idea of the area in the long term is another wise aspect to consider.

Take time to evaluate the neighborhood and school system. Is this an area where you see the value of the home improving over time? Or, do you see the beginning of a declining area?

Take into account how much you will be paying per month to keep the property running. That means calculating mortgage payments, real estate taxes, insurance, association fees, and any other assessments. This will help you determine how much you will need to charge for rent to make a profit. If you are caught in a high mortgage and interest rate, renting might not be the best decision for you. It is also wise to compare this monthly rate to the market in your area. Will you be able to make enough profit to cover the possible expenses along the way?

  1. Ask Yourself Tough Questions

When it comes to renting out your house, there are not just financial aspects to take into account. Emotional and personal aspects need to be considered. Ask yourself questions like, “What happens if something breaks?” Do you have the cash flow to make the repairs? If not, are you willing to go into debt? Is taking on debt worth it for the long hall?

Renting out property takes personal time. How will you handle getting calls late at night because a pipe has burst? Are you handy or do you plan on hiring someone to make the repairs? What will happen if your tenants don’t or can’t pay rent? It is important to evaluate the personal cost versus the financial benefit.

Wrapping Up

Weighing in all these factors will help you make a great decision: evaluate your specific property, look at the long-term situation, and ask yourself the tough questions.

For my friend’s brother, he is still analyzing all these considerations and what is right for his family. Take your time and feel good about whatever direction you decide.  It is a personal one only you can make to determine what is right for you, but it is one you can be educated and feel great about.

Having an experienced real estate agent share their insights will be of additional help as you make this decision. If we can be of any help, please call today.



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