Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Selling Secrets

Thinking about selling your home? Here are some tips on how to make your home more appealing to potential buyers.

> Appeal to the senses. Consider how to give the entire house a warm and inviting smell. You might install a room deodorizer, brew a pot of coffee, light a soft-scented candle, or sprinkle some carpet freshener before vacuuming.

> Jazz up your curb appeal. Help make your property appear even larger by cleaning out any underbrush and leaves and trimming bushes and trees. If possible, you may want to plant colorful flowers along walkways and in flowerbeds. Although subtle, these changes can make a home much more appealing.

> Create a tidy first appearance. Nothing makes a house seem smaller and more cluttered than a room scattered with children's toys and other items. Consider boxing up rarely-used books, games and toys and storing them in the basement, in the attic or at a friend's home until the house is sold. And for those unexpected walk-throughs, make sure you have a storage bin on hand where toys and other items can be quickly gathered.

> Be prepared for inquiries. Provide your real estate professional with as much information as you can about the home. This can be turned into a fact sheet that can be handed out at open houses or during showings. Also, be sure to give potential buyers honest answers. Tell them what you love about the home and be up front if they ask about drawbacks.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Second Home Sales Soar

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), sales of vacation homes set a record in 2003. Largely fueled by low interest rates and baby boomers in their peak earning years looking for real estate investment, second homes in some areas are now appreciating at a faster rate than primary residences.

For more on the financial considerations of purchasing a vacation home, check out this CBS MarketWatch article and these strategies from

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Home Interest Rates Dip

Interest rates on 30 year mortgages this past week dipped to just below 6% for the first time in three months. Citing a 'soft patch' in the economy in June, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan predicted that growth will soon rebound and the Fed would proceed with their gradual plan to raise interest rates to curb inflation.

If you've been thinking about buying, now might be the time to lock in a great rate!

To keep an eye on the latest Federal Reserve news, check out FED Blog.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Recycle Your Old Electronics Today!

Office Depot and Hewlett Packard have joined forces in a nationwide electronics recycling program. Customers can drop off unwanted TVs (27" or less), fax machines, computer screens, printers, scanners, cell phones, digital cameras, or other handheld devices at their local Office Depot store. All electronics will then be shipped to Hewlett Packard facilities in California and Tennessee for processing into materials to make new products.

Limited to one item per customer per day, start clearing out your old electronics now, because this offer ends on Labor Day. Click Here for more information.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

How Good Is Your Credit?

Whether you're thinking of buying a house, or a new car, the first thing a lender does is pull your credit report from one of three credit reporting agencies and your resulting FICO score. The higher your FICO score, the lower interest rates you qualify for.

Do you know what your score is?

To find out more, or to estimate your score, visit FICO Credit Score Estimator. You can also purchase your credit reports and FICO score at

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Is Now The Right Time?

Deciding when is the right time to sell your home can be a difficult decision. You will probably want to sell when you will get the most out of your investment, but also when it is right from both an emotional and a lifestyle perspective. Here are some scenarios that indicate it might be the perfect time to place that "For Sale" sign out front.

> Watch your local housing market. If homes in your community or neighborhood are selling for more than you ever dreamed, it might be time to cash in on that trend. However, this scenario is only effective if you are able to downsize or relocate to an area where home prices are lower. There is no sense in selling your current home at high price if you cannot afford to purchase another one elsewhere.

> In addition to home prices, watch the available mortgage rates. Your home will be more affordable for potential buyers when rates are low. In addition, those favorable interest rates may help you when it is your turn to buy.

> If your children are grown and have moved out long ago, you may want to consider putting the family home on the market. This can allow you to move to a smaller residence, one that has less upkeep and related expenses. Also, if your current home is located in a community that boasts a strong school district, it will likely be highly appealing to families with young children. This can help to strengthen your selling price and may result in your home selling faster.

> If you take a look around your house and see numerous repairs and upgrades that need to be made, consider putting the house up for sale instead of striving to complete these projects on your home. The home can be marketed as a "fixer-upper," which may be appealing to those skilled in repairing homes. And while this will likely bring down your asking price, it will also save you the time and expense of making the repairs yourself.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Anatomy Of A Home

If it seems like mastering the lingo of real estate feels like learning a foreign language, the helpful folks at,'s parent company, have developed Anatomy of a Home: Homestore's House Guide. This helpful website briefly describes a home's structural components and refers to more detailed articles also available. Check it out!

Friday, July 09, 2004

Art In The Park

From today through Sunday, July 11th, Plymouth's famous 2004 Art in the Park features the finest selection of contemporary fine art and crafts available in the United States. Kellogg Park and several streets in the heart of downtown Plymouth will be lined with over 400 artists, entertainers, magnificent art, and wonderful food. It should be a great time!

Hours are:
Friday, July 9th – Noon - 8 PM
Saturday, July 10th – 10 AM -7 PM
Sunday, July 11th – 10 AM - 5 PM

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

First Time Buyer Q & A

You've been told buying a home is a good investment, but where do you begin? How do you know if you're ready? What can you afford?

The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) clears up these and other questions for first time homebuyers in its 100 Questions & Answers About Buying A New Home.

From the thinking phase through the mortage and closing process, this 10 part guide provides a great place to start for those seeking answers and homeownership.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Fun, Free Family Entertainment

Check out the free Summer entertainment in the local parks!

Concerts in the Park -- 7:30 PM Tuesdays in Redford in Capitol Park, west of Beech Daly, north of Plymouth Road.

Novi Kids' Concerts -- 7 PM Thursdays at Lakeshore Park on South Lake Drive across from Walled Lake. 248-347-0473.

Music Under the Stars -- 7:30 PM Thursdays in Livonia. Concerts are scheduled at alternating locations, so check their schedule.

DaimlerChrysler Stars in the Park -- 7:30 PM Thursdays in Farmington Hills at Heritage Park on Farmington Road, between 10 Mile and 11 Mile.

Music in the Air -- 7 PM Fridays in Downtown Plymouth at Kellogg Park.

Clock Concert Series -- 7:30 PM Fridays in Northville in the old fashioned bandshell by the clock tower.

Farmington Summer Concert Series -- 7:30 PM Fridays at Pergola Gazebo at Farmington Place on Grand River. 248-473-7276.

Summer Concert Series -- 6 PM Sundays in Westland at the Westland Library Performance Pavilion behind Westland Public Library, 6123 Central City Parkway, north of Ford between Wayne and Newburgh.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Celebrate Your Independence!

Start the weekend with the Northville Parade on Saturday, July 3rd. Beginning at 10 AM with the Standard Federal Singers and a medley of patriotic tunes, the parade will feature a 50-piece military band. This year's theme is "Heros Past and Present". After the parade, visit Historic Mill Race Village for old fashioned kids games, entertainment, and demonstrations.

Plymouth's "Good Morning USA" July 4th parade begins bright and early at 7:30 AM Sunday, July 4th in Downtown Plymouth. A Township picnic follows from 11 AM to 4 PM at Plymouth Township Park, corner of Ann Arbor Trail and McClumpha, between Sheldon and Beck.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Federal Funds Rate Raised

For the first time in four years, the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate by .25%. Borrowers can expect to pay more for credit, and future hikes are projected to control inflation. For a full translation of what this might mean to you, visit