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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

Deep Cleaning Checklist to Sell Your Home Fast

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Deep cleaning checklist

There’s nothing like walking into a home you know has been taken care of. You may not realize it has been deep cleaned just by walking into it, but you know a clean house when you experience it. It smells nice, it feels nice.

In fact, this one single thing is more important than almost anything else you can do to get your house sold fast.

Not everyone deep cleans their house every spring and fall, so you may be playing catch up in this area when it comes time to sell your house. Trust me, though. You will be so glad you put in the work up front.

Taking the time to deep clean, purge and make your home inviting helps to keep it clean during the selling process and makes moving that much easier.

We realize not everyone has a good idea of how to deep clean a house. These days, with both parents working and families moving more frequently, you may not have been called-upon to deep clean a house.

Even if you elect not to deep clean your house yourself before selling, a checklist is a good idea to give a house cleaner to make sure you’re not paying for something you’re not getting.

Deep Cleaning Checklist

Basic Tips

  • Carry all supplies in a tote you can easily carry with you from room to room.
  • Make it green by carrying clean rags and a bucket for dirty rags.
  • Always clean left to right, back to front and top to bottom.
  • De-clutter every room before cleaning - throw out useless items and donate things you haven’t used in 6 months.
  • Create a filing system and small storage system for papers, keys, and things that would normally fill up a junk drawer.
  • Create a mail sorting system to avoid piling.

Deep Cleaning Room by Room

Every Room

  • Wash windows, sills, and screens. You’ll be amazed at how much cleaner this makes a room feel.
  • Clean all light fixtures and bulbs. Replace burnt out bulbs. Your home may be much brighter than you’re used to by now.
  • Light switches.
  • Ceiling fans: blades and lights.
  • Using a hose attachment, get all cobwebs from corners and the joints between walls and ceilings.
  • Dust the tops of everything: doors, cabinets, trim, appliances, etc.
  • Clean under and behind all furniture.
  • Remove all trinkets to clean and dust, around and underneath.
  • Polish the furniture.
  • Wash all rugs and mats.
  • Clean switch plate covers and door knobs.
  • To clean walls: Grease, smoke, and dust build up on your walls over time. Resist the urge to spot clean, as it can make the rest of your wall look dingy in comparison. Instead, wash walls using a general-purpose cleaner with hot water. Start at the top of the wall to avoid drips and in a corner so that you wash one wall at a time. Use a clean mop. Rinse the mop head frequently in clean water. Press lightly, as flat paint doesn’t absorb much water. If a wall needs serious scrubbing, you may want to consider re-painting. This may also be a necessity if there is smoke damage - or you have smoked inside your home for any length of time. If this is the case, all drapes and upholstery will need to be steam-cleaned as well.
  • Empty and clean all trash cans
  • Vacuum or lint roll lampshades
  • Vacuum upholstery

Entry

  • Hose down/scrub around front door and light fixture.
  • Polish exterior light fixtures and door hardware.
  • Clean up your yard and landscaping.

Kitchen

  • Clear off countertops, scrub.
  • Polish faucets and sink.
  • Deep clean inside of fridge and freezer - make sure to take out and clean the drip pan.
  • Take your stove apart, remove knobs, scrub thoroughly with degreasing cleaner.
  • Clean the inside of your stove and oven door along with the broiler drawer and ledges.
  • Inside/outside of the microwave.
  • Clean chairs/barstools
  • Wipe cabinets inside and out.
  • Wipe baseboards.
  • Vacuum and mop floors, paying special attention to corners and cracks along cabinet bases.

Bathrooms

  • Wash all walls and tile. You may need to use a grout cleaner for mildew or discolored spots in your tub or shower. Use an old toothbrush to get the corners and cracks. Hair products do tend to coat the walls and build up over time just as with grease in the kitchen.
  • Clean towel racks and toilet paper holders.
  • Use an old toothbrush and whitening cleaner on sinks, toilets, tubs, and showers.
  • Bleach shower pan if necessary and remove drain cover and scrub clean.
  • Clean glass shower doors.
  • Scrub and disinfect every surface of the toilet.
  • Wash and polish all mirrors.
  • Clean or put away all items on the countertop.
  • Wash and replace all linens in use - towels and area rugs.
  • Scrub floors and baseboards.

Laundry Room

  • Clean washer and dryer. Remove lint and knobs and wipe down inside and out. This is a good time to clean the lint from under your dryer drum.
  • De-clutter the top of your dryer and all surfaces, corralling all products into one cupboard or basket.
  • Scrub floors and baseboards.

Garage

  • Make sure everything is well lit, well organized, and clean.

Closets

  • Vacuum the floors.
  • Dust the walls and the shelves.
  • Consider not only categorizing, ironing, and straightening all hanging clothes but also investing in matching hangers for a uniform look. Make sure all storage items are stacked neatly and shoes are all clean and lined up nicely or on a rack.
  • Place cedar blocks in the closet to freshen the air and prevent moth

Extra tips

To eliminate smells:

  • Wash the inside of your fridge with baking soda and water.
  • Boil lemon juice in your microwave.
  • Add lemon juice to your dishwasher.
  • Put lemon rinds down your garbage disposal.
  • Put activated charcoal in the fridge to keep bad smells away.
  • The best smell for your home is clean - don’t attempt to cover up bad smells with heavy air fresheners
  • Have your carpets professionally cleaned before showing your home and put large rugs at the front door to control dirt tracked in. You can also ask those viewing your home to take their shoes off when they tour the house.
  • The best time to wash windows is on an overcast day. 1 part vinegar to 8 parts water and two drops of dishwashing liquid make a great window cleaner. Spray on and wipe with newspaper.

Takeaway

It's a common fact that clean homes net more money. If your home is squeaky clean, you will not only sell your home faster, you will make more money.

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

248-348-7200

How to Buy a Home Even if Debt Has You Worried

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Young couple that bought a home

It used to be that no one even considered buying a home if they had any other debt to their name. This was when you could pay for college by working full-time while you studied, and whole families existed on one income.

In this country, credit has become such a huge part of our lives that we hardly think about it anymore. Until we get those bills piling up, right?

Of course, you shouldn’t buy a house if you are deeply in debt and are not able to pay the bills you already have. If you have abused your credit cards in the past, rest assured that you are like many Americans.

However, you may also need to reduce your spending drastically until you can get your debt to income ratio under control. The highest recommended debt to income ratio is 43%. That is usually the rate under which you have to fall in order to qualify for a home loan.

Rent or Buy

You have heard that it makes more sense to own a home than to rent. This is true even if you have to borrow money to buy it. Most people do have to borrow. Every payment you make on your purchased home goes toward building equity in your property, and it will increase your net worth.

When you rent, you are paying someone else and they get all the equity. It makes the idea of a home loan sound more attractive.

It can be good, in this situation, to think about why you are longing for that home. Are you taking your cues from the home renovation shows which make owning your dream home easily attainable? Are you simply hoping for a way to be on your own and to build credit? Do you want to increase your family size?

Even with school debt, it can be doable. There are two main ways to think about owning a home despite being in debt.

Going Small

So many options exist for this, but it may be necessary to think outside the box. Once you have convinced yourself that you must go small, you have much more freedom to consider the possibilities.

Are there smaller homes in your dream area that you overlooked before? Maybe the kids could share a bedroom and you can jump on that minimalist bandwagon. A big backyard could be a potential place to add a bedroom down the road when things aren’t so tight.

Maybe you have a relative with a large property or want to live in an area with available plots of land. In most cases, you can get the zoning to have a tiny house built right. The tiny house movement is becoming more and more popular as they are both environmentally sustainable and economically easy.

In any case, a small home is cheaper to maintain, heat, and cool than a larger one, so you will also save on utilities once you live there.

Becoming a Landlord

Another way to afford a home with a restricted budget is to buy a home with an accessory dwelling unit, or ADU, or the potential to create one. If you can rent out a basement or attic space, you can use the rent to help with mortgage payments.

Another Helpful Option

An FHA loan is a good option for some potential homeowners. These loans commonly allow you to pay a small down-payment, only around 3% of the home’s value rather than the more common 20%.

Conclusion

Just because you have some debt may not mean you can’t afford to buy a home. By re-thinking your idea of what buying a new home means or looking for something with a potential rent-able spot, you could potentially afford to be owning your own home and building your own equity.

When you are ready, please give us a call. We would be honored to help!

248-348-7200

How Bitcoin Could Revolutionize Real Estate

by The Jamey Kramer Group

Bitcoins and real estate

Most of us have heard of the term Bitcoin. We may not totally understand what it is or how it functions, however, we know it’s been making the news because of its value.

In addition, that value is rising. Right now as I write this, one Bitcoin is worth over $10,000 in US currency.

What does this have to do with real estate?

Bitcoin - whatever else we understand about it - is not “real” in the same sense as a building, a house or a piece of land is real.

First, let me break down some of these terms to be more understandable. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency. A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is encrypted or secured, using cryptography. And we know from watching spy movies that cryptography is simply writing code.

In this case, the encryption techniques used to secure and verify the transfer of transactions is powered by a public ledger. Anyone can see these transactions. They are recorded and validated chronologically using this highly sophisticated encryption. That public ledger is called the Blockchain.

As far as real estate goes, that is all you need to keep in mind about Bitcoin and the Blockchain. Understanding Bitcoin can be tough. While it is an asset that can be used for many types of transactions - mostly financial - the language around it is highly technical.

Bitcoin is reaching the mainstream

It can get confusing very quickly. It is important to know is that nine major banks, including JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, are in partnership to develop Blockchain technologies. So this technology and currency have reached - or is reaching - the mainstream.

In fact, cryptocurrency is entering the stock market. And here is where you and your property could eventually enter into this. Some initial coin offering (ICO) issuers have a vision of the future where “tokenized pieces of property could be tracked and traded via a shared database.”

A token is simply a representation of a particular asset - say, your house - that resides on top of another Blockchain. A token can represent any asset that is fungible and tradable.

The tokenization of real estate would allow for fractional ownership of property. You could, conceivably, “split up” your home and sell off equity stakes on the Blockchain. That equity would go on being freely traded until the home is sold - at which point the homeowner and equity owner(s) would benefit from the gain in the home’s value.

How soon is this coming?

There are four ICO issuers right now having to do with real estate:

  • BitRent - which is a way to finance construction projects;
  • Etherty - real-estate management through equity access;
  • Caviar - a fund that makes loans to real estate projects in order to temper its crypto investments;
  • Trust - this is already doing what I mention above - tokenizing equity in real estate and other assets.

I think it’s fair to say that this is coming. How soon, it’s hard to tell. For one thing, real estate laws are highly complex and record-keeping isn’t uniform state by state.

Right now there are places in Cook County, Illinois and in Vermont, as well as others, who are updating their laws in accommodate cryptocurrency. You may see individuals putting land titles on the Blockchain sooner than you think.

Conclusion

The concept of Bitcoin can be confusing. Its language is full of technical terminology and its inner-workings resemble the machinations of the stock market which few ordinary people truly understand. However, handled wisely and understood well, cryptocurrency as the future in real estate could end up being a very exciting time for homeowners.

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

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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

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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

 

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