10/29/2013

Local Parks In Oakland & Macomb Counties

Enjoy Your Local Parks All Year Long!


·         Oakland County

o   Springfield Oaks Golf Course
§  12450 Andersonville Road
§  Davisburg
§  248-625-2540

o   Groveland Oaks County Park
§  Holly
§  248-634-9811


o   Waterford Oaks Waterpark
§  1702 Scott Lake Road
§  Waterford Township
§  248-858-0918

o   Woodland Hills Nature Park
§  26655 Farmington Road
§  Farmington Hills
§  248-477-1135





·         Macomb County



o   Red Oaks Golf Course
§  29600 John R Road
§  Madison Heights
§  248-541-5030


o   Addison Oaks County Park
§  1480 W Romeo Road
§  Leonard
§  248-693-2432


o   Wolcott Mill Metropark
§  Ray
§  586-749-5997


o   Stony Creek Metropolitan Park
§  1480 W Romeo Road
§  Leonard

§  248-693-2432

10/26/2013

What to Consider When Selling Your Home




Costs of Selling Your Home

Selling your home is about getting you the best possible price.  There are some expenses you can expect: 


Mortgage Balance
This is the remaining balance on your original home loan. You will need to pay off your mortgage in its entirety when your home is sold.


Home Equity Loans (2nd, 3rd Mortgages)

Any other loan on your home  will also need to be paid in full when your home is sold.


Prepayment Penalties

The bank or lending institution that currently owns your mortgage title may assess a pre-payment penalty. You should speak to your lender now, ask if they plan on assessing a pre-payment penalty, and figure out exactly how much that amount is. You may be able to negotiate with your lender to reduce or waive the pre-payment penalty, if there is one.

You’ll also want to submit a formal pre-payment  notice to your lender.


Pre-Sale Preparations

In most cases, it’s not advisable to make major investments in your home right before a sale. There are however, a few things that can be done to increase your home’s curb appeal, fix minor problems, and otherwise make your property more attractive. Together we can identify what items should be addressed and can create a budget for these pre-sale preparations that are sure to produce a significant return on investment.



10/24/2013

Best Halloween Tips


I) How To: Not Eat the Candy



Are you dieting, fasting, counting calories, or otherwise avoiding sweets? Use this tip to avoid gorging on the goods. Instead of handing out your favorite candies, buy something you don't like! That way you won't be temped to eat it. If that idea doesn't appeal to you, then buy the candy on October 31st so you cut down the temptation time.



 II) How To: Be a Super Safe Trick-or-Treater


• Some towns set a curfew for trick or treating which makes it easier for townsfolk to know who's coming to their door. Make sure and stick to the curfew times and stick to subdivisions and areas with a lot of homes so your kids can get in as much trick or treating as possible in a few hours time.
Plan a safe route so parents know where their older kids will be at all times. Set a time for their return home. Make sure that your child is old enough and responsible enough to go out by themselves. Make sure that they have a cell phone
Instruct your children not to eat any treats until they bring them home to be examined by you. This way you can check for any problem candy. 
Let them know that they should stay together as a group if going out to Trick or Treat without an adult.
•  Make sure your child carries a flashlight, glow stick or has reflective tape on their costume to make them more visible to cars.



III) How To: Take Good Halloween Pictures


If your kids wears a mask, take two shots - one with the mask on and one without so that in future years you'll be able to identify the little devil behind the mask (and you may be able to use the picture for your Xmas card). And don't forget fido. Put a mask or silly hat on the family pet, and shoot - but fast. Fido or Cleo will be too embarrassed to suffer this indignity for more than a few seconds.

10/23/2013

Seven Ways To Transform Rooms


Seven Ways To Transform Rooms
 

1.       A bedroom that is too small to you could be perfect for an extra closet or another bathroom.

a.       Get a couch for when someone stays that isn’t there on a day to day basis.

b.      Open up the wall to make a different room even bigger.
 

2.       Too big of a hallway or space under your stairs? Use it for a place to store more things. Even areas in each of your rooms that isn’t already used and is just there could be converted to a space for more storage.


3.       If you do not use your dining room, or if you have a dining room and a formal dining room, turn one into an office. When are you ever going to use both a dining room and a formal dining room at the same time? Wouldn’t an office be more efficient and effective? If you don’t want an office, make it into a playroom for your kids or a small gym for yourself.
 

4.       Breakfast nooks that are not used are wasted spaces. Put a small desk in the space and use it to pay bills or have your computer on for the whole family to use.
 

5.       Great rooms are barely ever used by anyone. If you have one and don’t know what to do with it, change it into a playroom or another room that you or your family will use. Again, a great room could be half of a playroom for little ones and then half a gym for the older ones in the family.
 

6.       Basements that are half finished and half unfinished could even be the laundry room on one side as well, can be turned into many things. Put a small half bath in to take up some space and put in a little more value to your home. Have it become a mudroom instead. Have a combination of many things so that the space can be used.
 

7.       Another great thing to turn any space that you or your family doesn’t use into something… Turn it into a library if you like books. Or a small movie theater! Anything is possible if you put your mind to it!
 

10/22/2013

How To: Show Your Home





Showings / Open Houses


Remember, buying a home is a very emotional process, and it’s sometimes hard for prospective home owners to imagine themselves living in a particular place when the current resident is still inside. We will work with you and the real estate professionals who will be showing your home, to schedule and supervise the listing appointments that will be made when your house goes on the market.
You may be asked to have an Open House at your property. Open Houses are usually most effective on the weekends during several hours in the afternoon.
An aggressive showing schedule will help us to sell your property quickly, which is our ultimate goal. 




Home Staging: 



According to the Real Estate Staging Association, a properly staged home can:

Increase a property’s value

Help a listing’s competitiveness in a down real estate market

Drastically reduce the Days on Market (DOM) of a property

In fact, their 2010 study on both vacant and occupied homes showed that staged properties spent 67% less time on the market than non-staged properties.

Home staging is designed to market and sell your home in a way that is appealing to the largest buyer audience possible.

Whether we choose to professionally stage your house or not, here are some simple practices that will help us keep your home looking open and appealing.

  

 

  • If it’s smaller than a grapefruit it needs to be put away. Anything nonessential should be put away during showings.
  • Limit the number of items on any surface to 3 or less.
  • Beware of odors: especially bad ones and strong ones. Any smell that is strong should be eliminated. Check garbage cans, disposals, sinks, and bathtubs. Do not rely on air fresheners to mask smells, these can often be just as offensive to some buyers. Instead, clean or remove the source of the odor, and keep windows open when possible to allow fresh air inside.
  • The only exception to the smell rule is chocolate. Baking chocolate before a showing can help a buyer envision living in your home.
  • Remove pictures of your family—it may seem counter intuitive—but it helps buyers see themselves in the home.
  • Remove personal items like trophies, pictures of names, or school flags. Buyer’s can’t see themselves in a home when they are constantly reminded that it is someone else’s.
  • Put away unsightly laundry or cleaning products.
  • Try to position furniture to make rooms look larger and more appealing.
  • Stage the outside of the home. Never underestimate the power of “curb appeal.” Buyers want to be proud of the home they are buying, and its place in the community they are moving to.




10/16/2013

Moving With Pets


Moving With Pets

1.    Make a moving schedule so that you can work around their times that are needed to eat and take walks.







2.    Before buying or renting anywhere, make sure that the area, even a home, is pet friendly.

3.    Board your animal for the moving day so that you know they won’t be in the way and they are being cared for. If you don’t want to board them, maybe you could ask a friend or family member to take care of them as long as they are not helping you move.

4.    Make sure that if you are moving far away, you either have airline accommodations set up for your animal or if you are driving, you have chew toys and treats for them to have something to entertain them during the drive.
5.    Make sure you are giving your pet attention during this time because it is as stressful on them as it is on you sometimes.

6.    Once in your new home, bring items that would be familiar to your animal so that they can feel at home as soon as possible and be less stressed.

7.    Take time to give your pet attention before, during, and after unpacking so they know that they are loved.

8.    Update the ID tags if they have them to represent the new address.

9.    Make sure your outside pets cannot escape if you leave them out in the yard by themselves.

10/12/2013

Best Bet Home Improvements


Getting Your Home into Selling Shape



Step 1: Fix it
Anything that is in a state of disrepair and can be easily fixed should be addressed before the home goes up for sale. We’ll want to pay particular attention to the front exterior and the most important rooms in the house: the kitchen, master bedroom, and the living room.



Step 2: Clean it
Clean, clean, and more clean. From the inside out, a clean listing is a happy listing. And remember, it’s not good enough to just put things away. Potential buyers will—and do—open closets and drawers throughout the house when they’re looking at your listing.
The more organized you can be—the better!
 

Step 3: Open it
Making your house appear as attractive as possible is largely about allowing potential buyers the opportunity to imagine their lives in your property. Professional staging services can help in selling your listing by using design principles and tricks that emphasize space. Creating the appearance of openness and space is key to getting your property sold.


10/02/2013

The Look for Less 2

Highlighting some interesting ideas for decorating the interiors and exterior spaces of your home. These ideas are off the beaten path, so to speak, but add culture and flair to a space. Let's take a look at some overlooked and underappreciated projects.

DIY Roman Blinds for Windows
 



The basic method is easy, but time consuming.
• Select a fabric that has a pattern or color you prefer, and make sure the material will hold up (fade and wrinkle resistant, heavy and /or thick enough to provide shade or deter light).
• Buy inexpensive, standard blinds and remove most of the horizontal slats (leave only about 1 every 5-8 inches depending on size, weight of fabric, etc).
• Alter the length of the blind as needed.
• Sew the material around the blinds, and install!
For detailed instructions, I suggest referring to an in-depth tutorial.


Climbing Ivy





















We have been warned that climbing ivy is dangerous to a house, and that is true. So try using ivy elsewhere to add mystery and beauty to a backyard.
Do your research before purchasing and using any type of ivy! Some species are considered invasive, and can cause real structural damage.
Keep in mind the following:
• Do not use on wood, stucco, or anything with seams.
• Before applying to brick, inspect the walls and mortar for soundness.
• Consider that ivy can ruin your walls, and trap dirt and moisture.
• It can harbor insects.
• Applying ivy to trees greatly increases risk of them falling over.
That being said, applying ivy to an archway, fence, or other design structure in you landscape can be an amazing way to spruce up a yard! Keep in mind that ivy will have to be trimmed periodically to prevent it from spreading.


Rugs for Outdoor D├ęcor
 

To transform an outdoor area consider laying down a rug or two. They will anchor an area, and make an instant impact. Remember that a rug will hold moisture so they work best on concrete, stone, or brick surfaces. If you want to throw one on your deck then purchase one made specifically for that purpose, and use proper care when it rains or snows.
Feeling creative?  Pick up an old rug at a thrift store, or a plain discounted rug, and make your own design with fabric paint.
Pair your rug with some tall vases or plants for more impact. If you have an outdoor sitting area toss a rug down between the chairs for an exotic escape.

10/01/2013

Credit Scores

Credit Scores

       Credit scores are very important to everyone. You need a good credit score in order to finance a home, whether it is your first home or your retirement home. If your credit score isn't great, your expectations might have to be changed to find a home within your price range. Your credit score shows people what kind of credit history you have. Have you paid your bills on time? Do you have a lot of debt that you need to pay off? Can you afford another payment? A house payment is one of the larger payments we have over the course of our lives.
        The lender looks at your credit score and decides how much money can be loaned for the home you want. If the bank doesn’t think that you are capable of paying your loan, making your full monthly payments, and/or making your payments on time, you are most likely not going to qualify for a loan.



        The Fair Issac method is used to calculate your credit score.  Scores can range from 300-850. About 35% of your score is determined by your payment history. 30% is weighted toward the debt that you owe right now (school loans, car loans, etc.). 15% is the amount of time that you have had credit under your name. 10% is new credit. The last 10% is the type of credit that you have under your name right now.
The more credit you have that is different in all aspects, the better. You don’t want to have three different car loans, no school loans, and no home loan because you be viewed as having diversity in your credit. If you have one of each of these loans, your credit score will be higher because of the diversity.
        Most lenders also look at the money that you have sitting in the bank and how much you make at your current job. Another thing that they look at is how long you have been employed with your current employer.

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