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Sunday, May 23, 2010


Thinking about selling?  Feeling overwhelmed?  You should be -- there is A LOT TO THINK ABOUT!  It is, after all, your greatest asset; but beyond that, it is your HOME.  Speaking of finances, are you tempted to sell it yourself and avoid paying commission?  After all, you can put it on the Internet, place a few ads in the local newspaper (woops, Ann Arbor barely has a Newspaper anymore), print up some flyers for the take-one box . . . Hey, knowledge is power!  Arm yourself with the facts -- all of them; and remember, that neighbor or co-worker who is telling you what a positive experience it was for them would never tell you that they made a bad decision, would they?

#1 - All that money that you supposedly saved on commission may very well be used up in a lower sale price.  A professional, full-time Realtor knows their product, and they know the competition and the Buyers and Buyer Agents as well.. . not to mention their skills as a Negotiator.

#2 - Your Realtor knows the neighborhood, sales statistics, current market conditions -- the real skinny on what's going on -- not just what's being hashed out around the water cooler.

#3 - As your Realtor, I can suggest ways to improve your home's appearance in order to make it more marketable so that you receive more attractive offers.  No, it' not always granite countertops -- it's keeping on top of the neighborhood comparables and making sure that you improve, but don't over-improve.

#4 - You set the asking price, but I can guide you in setting a realistic price -- the most likely range that your home will sell in and also one that will appraise, so that the Buyer can obtain financing.  You pull the trigger on where you want to be in that range based upon your motivation and other factors.

#5 - Your Realtor knows other Realtors who have Buyer Clients that may be looking for your exact house -- or at least possesses the features they are looking for.  This is called NETWORKING -- an irreplaceable component in the Home Selling Process. 

#6 - I will screen prospective buyers to make sure they are qualified to purchase a home like yours and not just wasting your time (or other more devious activities).  I will always operate in your best interest, keeping your motivation and plans confidential while at the same time try to glean information from the Buying side in order to get you a sale at the best price and terms.  

#7 - Ahhh the paperwork . . . purchase agreements, listing agreements, change agreements, contingency removals, addendums, title work, lead-based paint disclosure.  That's my job.  One little mistake could cost you dearly, so hire an expert.

#8 - After the closing -- I don't disappear after the sale. I guarantee that questions will pop up after you leave the closing table, deposit the check and make your next move. I am the Expert who won't charge you for advise for that question you forgot to ask.   I view our relationship as a long-term partnership and will be there to answer your questions, direct you to an expert who can and even help you with your next real-estate transaction. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


ATTENTION ALL HOMEOWNERS thinking of selling . . .

When selling your principal residence (your home), you pay a sales tax – yes, a sales tax.  It is commonly known as a Transfer Tax.

  • It is $8.60 per $1000 State Equalized Value (SEV].
  • $7.50 goes to the State of Michigan [this can be waived if you meet the requirements].
  • $1.10 goes to the County [this can be waived if you meet the requirements]
If you have already lost value in your home, and will be taking a hit at closing, being exempted from paying this sales tax is welcome relief!  Michigan’s Attorney General sees it this way, too!

Answer this series of questions to see how it can work for YOU . . .

QUESTION 1:  Is the property currently claimed as a Homestead?

If "yes," continue.  If "No," STOP.  You cannot claim the exemption.

QUESTION 2:  What is the current

QUESTION 3:  Is the saleprice less than or equal to the "true cash value" of the property.
For help with this, contact a
Realtor or our local assessor.

QUESTION 4:  What was the
SEV on the date of purchase?

For help with this, contact a Realtor or your local assessor.

If the answer to
QUESTION 4 is more than the amount for QUESTION 2, you CAN claim the exemption!


In an effort to help bring stability to home values and accelerate the sale of vacant properties, HUD announces a temporary policy that expands access of FHA mortgage insurance to homes owned by sellers for less than 90 days.  This temporary policy change will take effect February 1, 2010 and last for one year.

  • HUD likes to see “homeowners” in their houses
  • Current policy prohibits buyers from getting a FHA mortgage (3.5% down payment) on homes that have been owned by the seller for less than 90 days.
  • They do this to prohibit flipping.
  • FHA research has found that it often takes less than 90 days for an investor/seller to acquire, rehab and resell distressed/vacant properties.
  • Investor/sellers are often unwilling to hold a house for more than 90 days because of holding costs and the risk of vandalism.
  • This makes the most affordable homes ineligible for FHA financing – the most affordable type of financing available to first-time buyers

Allowing these most affordable properties to be financed FHA should:
  • Stabilize real estate prices
  • Revitalize neighborhoods and communities
  • Makes an important and affordable home available to first-time buyers who often don’t have more than 3.5% down payment!
FHA logo



Chelsea, Michigan is a wonderful closely-knit community whose residents truly cherish where they live.  It began as a Village, becoming a City in 2004.  City or Village -- its quaintness remains!

Cooperation and participation pull together to make Chelsea the unique community that it is. Whether it's the multitude of events and activities organized by Chelsea's District Library (The Best Small Library in America) or Chelsea's focus on the Arts, there is always something to do in Chelsea.

Many things bring notoriety and flavor of the Chelsea community. . .just to name a few ~  

Dwight E. Beach – U.S. Army General and namesake of Beach Middle School

Jeff Daniels – a film and theatre actor.  In July, 1991, Jeff bought an old bus garage with the dream of creating a professional Midwestern theatre group with actors directors, deigners and playrights.  The focus -- middle America.

Tony Scheffler – now playing professionally  for the Denver Broncos, was #88 when he played for Chelsea High School.   Graduating in 2001, he set a school record for receiving yards in a single season (1,340) and finished the 2000 season with 67 receptions and 16 touchdowns.


Purple Rose Theatre - Founded by Jeff Daniels in July, 1991 as a creative home for theatre artists to define their collective Midwestern voice.  Ticket prices are kept reasonable as Jeff does not believe it to be an opportunity only for the privledged few.


Common Grill - opened its doors in 1991.  Famous for it's unique fresh menu,  priding itself on excellent customer service, it is conservatively the finest restaurant in Washtenaw County.  Since its opening, the restaurant has consistently received outstanding reviews and ratings from critics and patrons alike. On most any day, you will see the hands-on style of Execute Chef Craig Common - a habit that makes his restaurant the very best!

Sounds & Sights on Thursday Nights - began in 2004 as a brain child to bring more  awareness to historic downtown Chelsea and all that it has to offer.  It features music, entertainment and attractions every Thursday evening throughout the summer.  Stage locations are spread throughout the downtown area.
You're just in time!  Auditions are held in the spring of each year, and are open to musicians, singer/song-writers, jugglers, magicians, performers, dance troupes, artists, and other street arts performers. Performers are judged before a panel of local artists, committee members and merchants. Performers are paid, a priority for organizers who feel that artists should always be compensated for their work.This year's Auditions are being held Monday night, April 19th from 5 to 8 PM at the Common Grill Restaurant.

Summerfest - always a clear indicator of the middle of summer, this year's event is scheduled for July 29 - 30, 2010.  An incredibly community event, it is comprised of food, drink, music, classic cars, sidewalk sales, pet parades and fun activities for adults and kids alike!

The Pet Parade
- a part of Chelsea Sumerfest

Annual Holiday Lights Parade - Last year's was held on Saturday, December 5, 2009 beginning at 6:00 p.m, and had the town glowing with the spirit of the season. You are invited to participate in this year'sevent, simply fill out a participant application and return it to the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce by mid November 2010. 

Don't forget to stay to the very end . . .

There just might be a special guest - if you know what I mean!

Monday, May 17, 2010


Did you miss the April 30, 2010, deadline to get your offer written on that new home and fear that you have forfeited your opportunity to qualify for that wonderful Home Buyer Tax Credit?  

If you are a member of the Military, the Foreign Service or the Intelligence Community, the opportunity has not passed you by!

The Federal Government has acknowledged the unique circumstances affecting YOU and has extended the deadline for both the $8000 first-time buyer tax credit and the $6500 tax credit for repeat home buyers.

  • Served or will serve on official extended duty outside of the U.S. for at least 90 days between January 1, 2009 and April 30, 2010.

  • Must have a binding sales contract in place on or before April 30, 2011
  • Must close on the home on or before June 30, 2011

The rule that requires Buyers to repay the credit if they move out of their home within 3 years has been waived for qualified service members -- uniformed military, Foreign Service and members of the intelligence community -- IF you have to sell your home because or orders for extended duty service.

I am happy to help!  Please check out my website or contact me via email at or cell at 734.754.3221.

Friday, May 7, 2010

GREEN FLASH -- Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010

The HOME STAR ENERGY RETROFIT ACT, a/k/a "Cash for Caulkers" passed the House today.  Much like "Cash for Clunkers" and "Cash for Appliances," it is designed to give people a financial incentive to make green changes to their homes.  Of course, the bill passed by the House today must be matched by the Senate and then followed up with an Appropriation Bill to allocate funds of $6 billion for the program, but it is a good start.  

Here is why the Bill is important:
  • It will create jobs and reduce foreclosures.
  •  By giving people the means to make energy-efficient adjustments to their homes, it will lower their monthly bills and allow them to have more money to save -- an economic stimulus of sorts.
  • It will create jobs in the construction industry because some of the energy efficient improvements must be completed by professionals.
  • It will stimulate new jobs as new technologies are implemented.
 And, last, but certainly not least . . .
  •  Reducing CO2 emissions and ending dependence on foreign oil will be a good thing for this country!
As an EcoBroker, I try to bring a sustainable perspective to home buying and selling by making you aware of the environmental savings available through responsible promotion of the green features.  If this is something of interest to you, I am happy to help!

Saturday, May 1, 2010


THERE HAVE BEEN RUMORS, but recent strong housing data suggest that the credit will not be extended.  Housing data shows that purchases of new homes in the U.S. surged 27% in March as buyers rushed to qualify for the home buyer tax credit.  Perhaps the Tax Credit has done its job???

You may be thinking, "but not in Michigan," and you have a strong point; however, it is a National program.  The argument can be made that the economic recovery still is still fragile, and extending the home buyer tax credit past the end of summer may be wise.

A report by the National Association of Realtors showed that the sale of existing homes jumped 5.35 million in March -- the last month for eligibility for the tax credit.  Prices have begun to stabilize as well.  

The tax credit was originally extended in November 2009 because the Obama administration felt that as the housing market suffers, so goes the economy.  Positive indications this time around, along with a desire on the part of the Administration to rein in the debt, are combining to work against an extension of the Home Buyer Tax Credit.

So, while the tax credit has expired, there are some exceptions for certain groups who are allowed to claim the credit into 2011. 
If you fall into one of these 2 categories you have an extra year to buy a principal residence and qualify for the home buyer tax credit.  Here are the ground rules:
  • Home buyer must enter into a binding contract to buy a home by April 30, 2011
  • Home buyer must close on their purchase by June 30, 2011
If you have purchased a home and do qualify for the $8000 or $6500 tax credit, you can submit an amended tax return with Form 5045 to claim the home buyer tax credit or you can file for it in your 2010 tax return.

I will continue to monitor this tax credit for any future updates.  I encourage you to check back here often for valuable information!