Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Icy Danger Lurking Overhead

With all the snow we've had so far this year, it's the perfect storm for ice dams to form on your roof.

What are ice dams?

Ice dams are formations that occur at the edge of a roof near the gutters or soffits when snow melts and refreezes. Icicles are often a telltale sign. Once formed, water backs up behind the ice dam pooling and infiltrating your home, which can cause significant damage.

The best prevention is adequate ventilation and proper insulation of your home to prevent an overly warm attic. Additionally, the roof should have a vapor barrier under the roofing material to help prevent an ice dam.

Keep a close eye on your roof to recognize if maintenance and/or repair is required when weather permits. And stay warm out there!

Photo courtesy of melaniejo

Monday, December 22, 2008

November 2008 Market Report

It's been a crazy month with tons of economic news, and lots of it not so good. With the Detroit 3 thrown a lifeline just in time for the holidays, let's hope that the rest of the economy stabilizes soon so people start buying cars again.

The local real estate market had record sales again for the 11th straight month in 2008, with an increase of 20.5% over November 2007. Realcomp, our local MLS, reports that 2008 year-to-date sales increased 18.1% over 2007. Oakland County posted the highest percentage sales increase for November at 31.8%.

There are a couple of factors for the continued strong market activity. First, starter home sales (those valued up to $124,999) for first time buyers is up by 60% over last year. Secondly, inventory is down 17.72% and homes are priced aggressively. Lastly, interest rates are good and getting better. With the recent Fed rate cut, pressure is mounting to reduce mortgage interest rates. There may never be a better time to buy or refinance.

According to most economists, a recovery is not expected until late 2009. We're all in this together, so keep being thrifty, continue to tighten your belt, and hang on for the bumpy ride.

If someone you know is unable to keep up with their mortgage payment, have them check out HOPE for Homeowners by the Federal Housing Administration, US Dept of Housing & Urban Development for assistance options.

Here are some links to keep track of the important items that have happened this year:
Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act
Summary of Economic Stabilization Act by the National Association of Realtors
Tax Credit to Aid First Time Homebuyers by the Internal Revenue Service

Friday, December 12, 2008

At Long Last...Sheldon Road Underpass Opens

After two long years of construction and road closure, the Sheldon Road Underpass opened with fanfare this afternoon.

Sheldon Road connects Plymouth to Northville and provides convenient access to the M-14 expressway. Because of train traffic through Plymouth, it was decided an underpass under the tracks near M-14 would be the best way to alleviate traffic backups waiting for trains.

The two year road closure was a major pain in the neck for many people, including me since my office is in Plymouth. Thank goodness that's behind us!

17438 Farmcrest Ln | Northville MI 48168 Just Listed For Sale

A NORTHVILLE BEAUTY…Updated And Shows Like A Model! Hardwood Floors, Berber Carpeting, New Colors, Absolutely Perfect New Kitchen With All The Amenities * Door Wall Leads To Brand New Decking * Updated Baths & Large Library For Home Office * Professionally Finished Lower Level Adds 1000sf With Wet Bar * Newer Dimensional Roof, Recreational Area, And Sprinkler System

Property information ~ $359,900
2,626sf, 4 bedroom, 2.1 bath Colonial

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Want A $3.7 Billion Bailout for Michigan? Buy Local!

With all the bailout talk going one, here's an an idea I can get behind. Buy Local and Let's Keep Our Money in Michigan!

Buy Michigan Now challenges supporters to Think Michigan First to support and build a strong Michigan economy.

Download their holiday gift and grocery guides, and while you're there, Take the Pledge to 'think Michigan first'. Spend local to build a strong and diverse Michigan economy.

Here's a couple of stores to consider.

Michigan Made in Plymouth ships gift baskets with filled with Michigan products around the country. Those born in Michigan but living elsewhere can get a little touch of home (like Sanders).

If you're an art lover, check out the Art-is-in Market at Laurel Park Mall in Livonia, exclusively featuring the work of Michigan artists.

I'll leave you with this webvideo of Charlie Wollborg of CurveDetroit.com demonstrating how you can support the Michigan economy while food shopping.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

I've Got The Bailout Blues

I'm ticked off at the way Congress is grilling the automakers. Yeah sure, they didn't help their case by flying their private jets to Washington unprepared three weeks ago, but give me a break.

In contrast, Citibank, AIG et al practically had money thrown at them. Frankly, the stark difference in treatment smacks of cronyism. And why wasn't there an "oversight board" established to account for how they spent the money?

The auto industry drives 6 million jobs in our economy according to TheEngineOfDemocracy.com. If you think this is just a Michigan problem, think again. This is the ad they ran in the Washington Post today. Then check out their map and roll your mouse around to see what the impact is for each state.

In the end, I agree with mad money Jim Cramer...if everyone is unemployed, who are the banks going to loan money to?

Taking The Leap & Leaving The Nest

There has never been a better time to buy your first home than right now. Given the current economy, you probably think I'm crazy, but hear me out.

First of all, interest rates are still really great and there are rumbles about them getting better. Second is the first time homebuyer tax credit passed this year. And third, the mortgage is likely to be cheaper than paying rent.

Case in point, my daughter.

After she graduated from college in May, we started running some numbers in preparation for her leaving the nest. She was looking at between $600-750 per month for a small apartment. Based on what I was seeing on the market, I suggested we investigate foreclosed & HUD homes.

Long story short...we found a really great 3 bedroom, 2 bath brick ranch with finished basement, fenced yard and 2 car garage for $50K. Her payment? Under $600 a month!

Are there still great deals out there? Absolutely...and some of them are not even HUD or bank-owned. Some sellers just need to move now.

If you're been thinking about taking the leap, be sure to work with a buyer's agent who can look out for your best interests and research potential problems. And if you check out HUD homes, make sure make sure you're working with an agent whose brokerage is approved by HUD to submit electronic bids.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Seasons of Thanks and Gratitude

There is much to be thankful for this and every year, and family is always at the top of my list.

After a morning of playing with the new Grand-Kitty, a Thanksgiving lunch feast out with my honey, and an afternoon seeing "Bolt", I'm packing to fly to the Twin Cities tomorrow.

Saturday, my 77-year-old aunt from North Dakota is getting married to her 78-year-old honey from Michigan. Besides her entire family, much of the extended family will be there to celebrate and share their joy.

With a grateful and filled heart, I wish you and yours a very happy Thankgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

October Market Report

For the 10th straight month in a row, sales were up over 2007 for total of 27.7% in the MLS area. With lots of competition from bank & government-owned homes and short sales, owners are continuing to hold their homes off the market until it stabilizes so the number of homes on the market has continued to decline.

Homes priced competitively are selling and the number of starter homes (those priced under $125K) sold this year has surpassed 2007. In fact, 53% of all homes sales were below $100K!

Activity has definitely slowed with all the market chaos so next month's numbers will be interesting to see. It's still a great time to buy for first time buyers, particularly owner-occupied HUD homes which require only $500 down. For example, my daughter recently bought a home that was far cheaper than what she would be paying in rent!

Like shifting sands under our feet, it's difficult to keep up with the changes happening around us, but here are a few links to some of the important items that have happened this year:
Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act
Summary of Economic Stabilization Act by the National Association of Realtors
Tax Credit to Aid First Time Homebuyers by the Internal Revenue Service

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Big Bad "B" Words

Bush, Bridge Loan, Bailout...lots of "B" words are being bantered about the cause of our current financial crisis and possible solutions.

We here in Michigan never really enjoyed the recovery after 9/11 the way the rest of the country did. Now with the meltdown of the economy, the auto industry has taken a huge hit. Unfortunately, Congress adjourned for the Thanksgiving holiday without making a decision on assistance for the automakers.

Mixed feelings aside about what the best course of action should be, I thought Rep. Thaddeus McCotter stated Michigan's case pretty well.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No Blogging Blues...Life Is Good

It's been hard to blog lately. On a personal level, it's tough balancing business, blogging, face-to-face networking, online social networking, and a personal life. News on the national front, mortgage upheaval, and the local economy hasn't helped.

But the good news is that despite all the bad news, business is good. When meeting people for the first time who find out I'm in real estate, they feel sorry for me and ask how it's going, expecting to know the answer.

Inevitably, they are surprised when I tell them that business is good and I've had a better year than the past 2 years. I can attribute this to a beefed up internet presence and a buyer's market because of the great deals out there.

It also helps that for the first time in 3 years, I'm not scheduled for surgery at the end of the year...life is good!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Northville Veteran's Day Tribute

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the Armistice was signed ending World War I. Veteran's Day was established to honor that momentous event.

Today, the Northville VFW along with the Ladies Auxiliary and a number of other veterans gathered around the flagpole at 11 AM.

The brief ceremony honored the service of veterans past and present, ending with a 21-gun salate and taps.

Afterward, the Ladies Auxiliary provided a lunch of sausage and biscuits.

Don't Forget The Vet!

Today is Veteran's Day. Although it began as a commemoration of the signing of the Armistice ending World War I, it has evolved into a national holiday honoring and thanking the men and women who have serviced in our armed forces.

Instead of just one day a year:
  • Remember the aging veteran who needs a ride to the VA
  • Remember the homeless veteran who needs a hand-up, not a hand out
  • And particularly remember those returning from recent action overseas as they adjust to their new civilian lives

Monday, November 10, 2008

Once a Marine, Always a Marine.

Today, November 10th, 2008 is the 233rd Birthday of the United States Marine Corps.

Whether active duty or veterans, on this day Marines stop to reflect on the proud heritage we share with all those who have ever served in the Corps.

It's hard to describe the commradarie and esprit de corps felt by Marines. I think LtGen Carol Mutter said it best "It's the branding of that eagle, globe and anchor on your heart...nobody else can quite understand, who hasn't been a Marine, who hasn't earned that title".

I am privileged to be a member of this Marine brotherhood, and ask you to join me in saluting all veterans for their service to this great country of ours!

Please enjoy GoDaddy CEO Bob Parson's Marine Corps Birthday greetings. Semper Fi!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Freedom Is Not Free

A Veteran...is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America” for an amount of “up to and including my life...”
Author Unknown

This week is National Veteran's Awareness Week and Tuesday is Veteran's Day. Originally intended to celebrate the signing of the Armistice ending World War 1, we now honor the service of all veterans.

I joined the military just after the Vietnam War ended. While it was definitely not a popular thing to do, it was a great experience. The GI Bill paid for my college education and helped me buy my first home. But being in the military back then was a very different world.

Today's military members face multiple, extended deployments resulting in terrible family and financial stress, sometimes even leading to home foreclosures. Leaders are just beginning to address the serious emotional toll this extended war is taking on the warriors.

One thing that has changed from the Vietnam days, thankfully, is support for the troops. Whether or not people support the war, American citizens do support the troops this time around.

If you are a veteran, thank you for your service to your country. If you know a veteran, please express your gratitude for their sacrifice. And by the way, if you know any Marines, wish them "Happy Birthday" on November 10th.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

3979 Berkley Ave | Canton MI Condo Just Listed For Sale or Lease

Popular Chatterton Village!

Light, Bright & Neutral Two Bedroom Newer Built Condo With High Ceilings and Great Room With Dining Area * Breakfast Bar Plus All Upgraded Appliances Stay * Tons Of Storage With Balcony Overlooking Lush Landscaping * Pool, Club House, Gorgeously Maintained Grounds And Landscaping * Also Available For Lease at $1,100/mo

Property information ~ $124,900
1,300sqft, 2 bedroom, 1 bath condo

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

6781 Emily Ct | Westland MI 48185 Just Listed For Sale

Absolutely Perfect And Everything Is New!

New Roof, Windows, All New Kitchen With Cherry Cabinets, Recessed Lighting, Stone Ceramic Floor And Back Splash Plus All New Appliances * Kitchen Opens Into Family Room But Can Be A Great Gathering Kitchen * All New Baths & More * Located On A Small Cul-De-Sac Dead End Street * Stop Looking and See This Home Today!

Property information ~ $123,900
1,073 sqft, 3 Bedroom, 1.1 bath Ranch

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Get Out And Vote

I think nearly everyone will be really glad when the elections are over and the country can get on with the business of digging ourselves out of the economic mess we're in.

Here's a little comic relief from Jib-Jab (with a cameo appearance by my father) that's sure to have enough fodder to offend every political ideology, but the message is...get out and vote in this very important election:

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Downtown Halloween Festivities

The streets of Downtown Plymouth were blocked off tonight for the The Great Pumpkin Caper.

Between 3,000-4,000 kids lined the streets to trick-or-treat from store to store.

Special awards were given for the best costume, but ...
the pumpkin princess pups got my vote!

Meanwhile, Downtown Northville hosts Rock 'O Ween tomorrow evening from 3-6 PM in the Downtown Square followed by trick-or-treating in the City.

Reflections in the Rearview Mirror

Two months ago, I started using a new Blackberry Curve. Besides being a great telephone/email tool, it has a halfway decent camera. So in early September, I launched a photo blog to highlight the places and things I see in my real estate travels.

I haven't documented anything too wild and crazy so far, but I have seen some interesting things. Here are some of my favorites:
  • the two minute duck parade offered me a chance to transfer my irritation from my car being stopped into a photo op
  • catching the Sturgis or Hell sign at the Plymouth Chili Cook-off
  • finding Plymouth all a-pink in support of the Breast Cancer 3-Day
  • sharing photos of veterans and flags
  • discovering the South Lyon's Witches Hat Depot
  • and attending Northville's Victorian Festival and watching Greenfield Village's Lah-De-Dahs vintage baseball team play the Northville

Having a photo blog has been a lot of fun. A side benefit is that it's made me pay more attention to my surroundings, seeing and finding things I might never have paid attention to.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

29445 Orangelawn St | Livonia, MI 48150 Just Listed For Sale

The Seller's Job Has Moved Out Of State and She Hates To Leave This Great 2 Bedroom Condo With Basement!

Cute Updated Oak Kitchen With Hardwood Flooring, Newer Appliances, Newer Carpeting, Windows, Air Conditioning & Furnace * Two Spacious Bedrooms With Updated Bathroom * Basement With Newer Washer & Dryer * Like Living In A House With The Convenience Of A Condo Plus Short Walk To Shopping, Restaurants & Parks * Offers Are Subject To Short Sale/Bank Approval

Property information ~ $59,900
2 bedroom, 1 bath condo with basement

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Social Networking Buzz: Twitter Synchronicity

Fresh off the buzz of attending my first tweet-up, I noticed a tweet about a blogging class being given the next morning by Missy Caulk, Michigan's own online real estate superstar. Plus special ActiveRain guest Bob Stewart was going to be speaking. This was something not to be missed.

The next morning, the room was packed and overflowing. Not only were agents from her company there, but several of us from the Twitterverse were as well, including Edward Vielmetti, a well-known local blogger who 'live-blogged' the session. He had found out about it by reading a tweet just that morning!

The two hours went by quickly with everyone furiously taking notes and a few of us tweeting (including the photo to the left which appeared in my photo blog).

Many of those in attendance were just getting started and Missy's message was to be authentic, transparent, and personal. Bob demonstrated how easy it is to get started on ActiveRain.

From Edward's precise notes and real-time tweets to Missy's sage advice, the seminar was "happening". The icing on the cake was meeting people face-to-face for the first time

The Social Networking Buzz: Getting Started, Twitterland, Tweet-Beeps & Tweet-Ups

The Social Networking Buzz: TweetBeeps & Tweet-Ups

Once I mastered the Twitter basics, I set up TweetBeep (kinda like Google alerts) to email me when someone wrote a tweet on something that interested me. For example, any time a tweet included the word "Plymouth". Do you know how many cities are named Plymouth in the world? Lots.

Next, I noticed people talking about "tweet-ups". I had no idea what they meant, but had a hunch it might have something to do with getting together.

As luck would have it, one of our local agents organized one last week and five people showed up. We met at a pub, enjoyed food & drinks, and shared real estate war stories and tech tips.

It was great to be in the company of others who "get" and embrace the same technology instead of looking at you like you're nuts.

Next, a little Twitter synchronicity.

The Social Networking Buzz: Getting Started, Twitterland, Twitter Synchronicity

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Social Networking Buzz: Twitterland

I signed up for Twitter this Summer after reading about it on ActiveRain. With only 140 characters and chatty conversations between people that seemed to know each other, I totally didn't get it.

As part of the social media webinar assignment, our homework was to log in Twitter and get our feet wet. I was ready to dive in.

First, here's a quick explanation from CommonCraft:

I started slowly by searching for and following real estate agents (including Missy Caulk from Ann Arbor and Teresa Boardman from St. Paul), real estate techies and local folks.

Gradually I started participating by "tweeting" (posting) some of my daily activities and people started following me (by the way, my Twitter ID is @MichiganMoves).

The more time I spent on Twitter, the more sucked in and addicted I became. I found an application for my Blackberry (Twitterberry) as well as other websites to post status updates to multiple networking websites (Ping.fm).

Soon I built up a network of local "tweeps" and was ready to take Twitter and social networking to the next level...a "tweet up" (meeting face to face).

The Social Networking Buzz: Getting Started, TweetBeeps & Tweet-Ups, Twitter Synchronicity

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Social Networking Buzz: Getting Started

Last month I signed up for the first Social Media webinar series from the Domus Consulting Group mentioned on the ActiveRain network.

I had a website, I'd been blogging over the years, and even had profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn. What I didn't get was how to leverage that presence and take it to the next level...Web 2.0 or social networking.

What is social networking? Here's a quick Common Craft video overview:

So the shocking thing I learned in the first class? Email is for people over 30. That made me feel really old.

I was even more surprised to talk to a couple of 20-somethings and find out they don't even have email. The MySpace generation primarily relies on text mesages and notes on a friend's online wall.

First assignment: sign in and check out Twitter, something else I just didn't get

The Social Networking Buzz: Twitterland, TweetBeeps & TweetUps, Twitter Synchronicity

September Market Report

As if the Michigan economy didn't have enough challenges, the past month of national and world financial chaos certainly hasn't helped.

Even with all those challenges, the Southeast Michigan counties of Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, and Macomb all experienced higher sales volumes than last year for the month of September. Depending on the zip code, the number of September sales in Plymouth increased 48.5%, Livonia between 30-54%, Northville 15-175%, Westland 22-100%, and Canton 27-29%. However, sale prices are continuing to decline.

The good news is that between the higher number of sales and Sellers choosing to wait out the market and not putting their homes up for sale, the inventory of homes on the market was down 16.43%.

It remains a great market for buyers, especially those with good credit, first time homebuyers, or those who don't need to sell anything to buy. There are some smokin' deals out there, particularly if you want to put in a little sweat equity. Additionally, lots of investors are jumping into the market hoping to take advantage of the low prices to position themselves well for the market's turn.

With the financial bailout, auto merge rumors, job insecurity, and presidential politics, we're still in for some rough months ahead. Best to batten down the hatches, cut where you can, and hang on for the ride.

Summary of Economic Stabilization Act by the National Association of Realtors
Tax Credit to Aid First Time Homebuyers by the Internal Revenue Service

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hospital Redevelopment Slogs Along

I've written about the Northville Psychiatric Hospital redevelopment efforts for over four years now and now there's a new fly in the ointment.

A group of local residents have filed suit against the Northville Township Board alleging violation of the Open Meetings Act. The next Township Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for tomorrow night, October 16th which should be interesting.

Somehow I don't think we're going to see redevelopment on this 400+ acre parcel anytime real soon.

See also:
Annexation Plan Goes Down in Defeat
The Great Annexation Debate
Another Round, Another Deadline

Livonia Pumpkin Fest and Haunted Barn

The historic Wilson Barn is the site of Livonia's Pumpkin Fest being held Fridays through Sundays, October 17-19 and 24-26, and Wednesday and Thursday, October 29-30.

Decked out in Halloween haunting style, the barn has been transformed and children aged 12 and under are invited to journey through the spooky historical horse stalls for lots of chills and thrills.

Other activites include a pony ride, bounce house, and pumpkin patch. Cider & donuts are available in the Barn to get you in the seasonal spirit.

Held 5:30 - 8:00 PM on the above dates, admission is $.50/person/trip through the haunted barn.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Plymouth's Chili Cook-off Serves Up Crowds

The 13th Annual Great Lakes Regional Chili Cook-off and Motorcycle Show took over Downtown Plymouth, Michigan on Sunday, October 5th. Sponsored by Motor City Harley-Davidson, the event featured live entertainment, a dog costume contest, children's activities, and performances from area dancers.

Under sunny skies, the large crowd included nearly 6,000 bikers with their bikes lining several downtown streets and filling the parking lots. With all the leather in town, it was hard to tell the lawyer bikers from the true blue bikers.

Speaking of true blue bikers, check out the Big Blue bike to the right which was custom designed by Mikey and Paulie Teutul of Orange County Choppers. The headlight helmet was a crowd favorite. This was one of the many bikes on display during The Chili Bike Show.

Chili cook-off contestants competed by selling samples of their chili and hoping to garner enough votes for the chance to advance to the 2009 World Championship Cook-off next Fall. Visit the Great Lakes Chili Cook-off website for a list of winners.

All proceeds support local charities, and this year's recipient was the Western Wayne Habitat for Humanity.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Highlights from the 2008 Victorian Festival

Although the rain cancelled many Saturday activities, it didn't dampen spirits. This year's Victorian Festival in Northville was enjoyed by many, including those decked out in their Victorian finest.

I particularly enjoyed see the vintage baseball game featuring the Northville Eclipse against the Greenfield Village's Lah-De-Dahs. A kinder, gentler game played without gloves, I was surprised to learn these two teams are just a few of the many in a vintage baseball league.

Mill Race Village was in full swing with lots to see and do as the Basket Guild demonstrated basket weaving, the Country Store sold their wares, school was in session at Oak Wash School, and Victorian Teas were hosted at the Cady House.

The annual Victorian Festival celebrates Northville's past. If you've never attended this special event , be sure to put it on your calendar next September.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Plymouth All Decked Out in Pink

The Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk came through Plymouth last Saturday and Kellogg Park was awash in a sea of pink.

Even the fountain was flowing pink in honor of those whose lives have been impacted by breast cancer.

More than 3,000 participed in the 3-Day, 60-Mile walk to raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund.

Starting the trek in Farmington Hills on Friday the 26th, participants came through Plymouth on Saturday. According to the official website, Plymouth residents and business owners turned out to cheer on and support the walkers.

The Walk ended on Sunday with celebratory Closing Ceremonies at The Henry Ford.

Plymouth's Chili Cook-off Returns Sunday

This Sunday, October 5th, the 13th Annual Great Lakes Regional Chili Cook-off and Motorcycle Show returns to Downtown Plymouth.

Participants can compete in the red chili, green chili, or salsa competition. Winners from each category will move on to the 2009 World Championship Chili Cookoff next Fall.

More than 15 restaurants will be competing in the Restaurant Chili Challenge where attendees will judge who serves up the best chili. The chili sampling will be held in The Gathering across from Kellogg Park.

Besides lots of great chili, the streets will be filled with motorcycles, live entertainment, and Kid's activities.

Proceeds from this year's event support the Western Wayne Habitat for Humanity.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

37168 Vincent St | Westland MI 48186 Just Listed For Sale

This Home Shouts "Pride of Ownership" With Lovely Updated Oak Eat-In Kitchen With Tons of Cabinets With Large Pantry, Corner Carousel and Pull-outs, Updated Roof, Furnace, Air Conditioner, Baths and Vinyl Windows and Siding * Large Family Room With Fireplace, Newer 2 Car Garage With Opener Plus Nice Fully Fenced Backyard With Deck * Check It Out Today...You Won't Be Disappointed!

Property information ~ $139,900
1,479sf, 3 bedroom, 2 bath Tri-Level

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

August Market Report

Even with the news of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout, there is still strong activity and confidence in our local market as sales remain 11.7% higher than last year for the eighth straight month in 2008, according to RealComp, our local MLS. When comparing this year's results to the record-breaking sales of August 2005, sales are only down 1.1%.

Additionally, Pending sales this year are up in all counties, with a 45.1% increase in Wayne County and 25.9% in Oakland County over the same period in 2007. Compared to 2005, pending sales are actually up 19.8%!

It continues to be a great buyer's market and buyers are snapping up lower priced homes, often in multiple offer situations. To date in 2008, 17% of all sales ranged from $100,000 to $174,999. Additionally, owners who don't need to sell are keeping their homes off the market until values start to rise again, as the number of listings on the market is down 14%.

Buyers are the lifeblood of the market. First time homebuyers buy homes from move-up buyers and that momentum continues upward. That's why the tax credit was recently passed to give incentives to those first time buyers. With all the recent market upheaval, it will be interesting to see how things shake out. Let's hope it doesn't disrupt the market momentum we've experienced so far this year!

Bottom line...it remains a great market for buyers. If you know anyone who is still renting, you might want to encourage them to check into buying during this once-in-a-lifetime market.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

30553 Grandon | Livonia, MI 48150 Just Listed For Sale

ABSOLUTELY MINT MOVE IN HOME! From The Perfect Lush Landscaping Outside To The Meticulous Interior And Updated Amenities Inside This Home Is A "10" * 2 Fireplaces, 2 Full Baths, Hardwood Floors, A 4 Season Sun Room, Finished Lower Level With Bar and New Berber Carpeting Plus A Newer Kitchen To Die For…This Home Has It All! A Must See!

Property information ~ $192,900
1,211sf, 3 bedroom, 2 bath Ranch

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Laurel Park Place Hosts Passport To Safety

As a former "Officer Friendly" while I was in the Marine Corps, I'm happy to see that Laurel Park Place in Livonia is hosting "Passport To Safety" this Saturday, September 13th, 2008 from 11 AM - 3 PM. Dedicated to the safety of childen, it's an opportunity for kids of all ages to have fun while learning how to be safe.

Eight different safety stations will highlight areas such as auto safety, bicycle safety, on-line safety, Stranger Danger, Poisoning & Choking, fire safety, and how to call 911.

Besides being able to win prizes at the safety stations, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and Scooby Doo will make an appearance. Representatives from The Livonia Police and Fire Department, The Michigan State Police Computer Crimes Division also will be on hand to inform and educate the children within their respective areas of safety.

It's the perfect opportunity to introduce your children to safety prevention in a fun, non-threatening way while educating them.

Laurel Park Place is located North of 6 Mile Road, just east of I-275 in Livonia, Michigan.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The 2008 Plymouth Fall Festival Wrap-up

Last weekend was the 53rd Annual Plymouth Fall Festival. For the entire weekend, Downtown Plymouth was transformed into a car show-carnival-entertainment-eating extravaganza.

Even though it rained early Sunday, the event culminated under sunny skies with The Rotary Club's Chicken BBQ. An amazing 12,000 chicken dinners were prepared and served.

If you've never attended this wonderful community event, be sure to check it out next year!

Come Celebrate Northville's Past

Fall is in the air and Northville's 20th Annual Victorian Festival is just around the corner.

Kicking off with a Parade through Downtown Northville Friday, September 12th, the Victorian Festival celebrates a simpler time. The downtown area is transformed into a Victorian Village with period costumes, horse-carriage rides, storytellers, musicians, and entertainment.

A highlight of the event for pet owners is the Pooch Stroll and Great Dog Expedition from 9:00-11:15 AM Saturday morning at Ford Field. The event is free and there will be prizes awarded, like the best dog Victorian costume.

Other events include a Victorian Fashion Show and Tea, AAUW Sponsored Home Tour, vintage baseball all three days at Ford Field, and lots of games and contests at Mill Race Village.

This year's festivities run through Sunday, September 14th with lots of food, tons of entertainment, and fun for everyone.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

MichiganMoves Me

I love taking pictures and after I got a new Blackberry Curve, I decided to give photo blogging a shot.

I've followed St. Paul, Minnesota real estate agent Theresa Boardman and her All T All Day blog, especially enjoying her "on the street" perspective.

I'm not a native Michigander. Although I cherish my Dakota roots and love my California past, today I enjoy a nice life in Michigan. Even with our battered economy, it's a great place to live (ok, I could do with a few less months of Winter).

Some of the things I hope to do is document my real estate travels throughout Southeast Michigan highlighting property, communities, events, and the unusual, unique and sometimes downright bizarre things I come across.

Blogging and digital photography is familiar to me. Learning a new smartphone, taking photos on it, uploading to Flickr, and posting to Twitter and my new blog has been a lesson in patience and persistence (and if that wasn't enough, I just added a new Tablet PC).

It's definitely a work in progress. The pictures and resolution aren't the best, but hey, it's a camera phone!

Image courtesy of Marvin Kuo

Saturday, September 06, 2008

425 Harbor Street | Canton MI 48188 Just Listed For Sale

ABSOLUTELY THE PERFECT AND LARGEST LOT IN THE SUB Boasts An In-Ground Swimming Pool & Patio Area To Die For! Home Shows Beautifully With Hardwood Floors, Second Floor Laundry Room, Formal Living & Dining Rooms, Family Room With Fireplace, 3 Car Garage And More * Tennis Courts & Club House In Sub * A Great Family Neighborhood And Plymouth/Canton Schools * CHECK IT OUT!

Property information ~ $369,900
2,624sf, 4 bedroom, 2.1 bath Colonial

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Plymouth Fall Festivities Include Killer Chicken BBQ

Now that September has arrived, Plymouth's Fall Festival is just around the corner.

Celebrating its 53rd year, this weekend's Fall Festival kicks off Friday night with Bingo in the Gathering and a TasteFest. With over 20 local restaurants participating, the TasteFest festivities at Station 885 will have lots of great food and entertainment.

From Friday through Sunday, the streets will be lined with community and business booths, plus a variety of food booths sponsored by local organizations. There's something for everyone with antique and classic cars on Saturday and Sunday, a Sunday morning 5K Fun Run, and Carnival rides and games.

Special events include the Saturday morning Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast, Rotary Club's Spaghetti dinner on Saturday evening and their signature Chicken BBQ from 11 AM Sunday until 5 PM (or until they run out).

So when making your weekend plans, be sure to include this special community event.

324 Blunk | Plymouth MI Just Listed For Lease

Absolutely Stunning Downtown Plymouth Charmer!

Lease Furnished Or Unfurnished, Totally Rebuilt In 2005 With A Granite Cherry Kitchen And 4-Season Sunroom * Library Is Currently Used As Formal Dining Room * This Home Is A Beauty And The Newly Landscaped Yard Will Knock Your Socks Off * Minimum 1 Year Lease With 1.5 Months Security Deposit and Credit Report.

2400sf, 4 bedroom, 2.1 bath Colonial

Friday, August 29, 2008

Get Decked Out For Upcoming Victorian Festival

In preparation for the upcoming Victorian celebration, the Northville Historical Society is hosting a Victorian Festival Clothing Sale this Thursday, September 4th from 12 Noon to 7 PM and Friday, September 5th from 12 Noon to 5 PM at Mill Race Village.

Mill Race Village is located at 215 Griswold in Downtown Northville. All proceeds from the sale are used to maintain and support the Village.

This is the perfect opportunity to line up your attire for the festival held the following weekend of September 13th and 14th.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

July Market Report

According to RealComp, our local MLS, the market activity trend reflected a 15% increase in activity over the same period last year for the seventh straight month in 2008. Additionally, Pending sales were up significantly over the same period in 2007.

While interest rates have remained low, values have continued to trend downward. The good news is there were more private owner sales in July than foreclosure sales. Also fewer homes are on the market this year than in 2007 reflecting the fact that many people are sitting tight if they don't need to sell.While the news has been dominated by Olympic coverage, reports about legislation affecting real estate have also commanded a lot of attention.

In summary, The American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act includes provisions to help homeowners keep their homes.Additionally, it provides a tax credit of up to a $7,500 (10% of the purchase price) for first time home buyers. Effectively, it's a 15-year no interest loan with payments of $500 per year.

Bottom line...it's a great market for buyers!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Preserving Plymouth History

The Plymouth Historical Society has created a virtual photo library of images created by early Plymouth resident Charles Draper.

Through photographs, postcards, negatives and glass plate negatives, Draper captured images of Plymouth life and real estate from 1890-1930. With more than 500 images, this fascinating collection presents a glimpse into what life was like in Western Wayne County as the area transitioned from the horse and buggy days into the 20th Century.

Visit the Plymouth Historical Society Museum to view a special exhibit of the inaugural ball gowns of presidential first ladies, now through November 5, 2008

Image courtesy of the Plymouth Historical Society.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

3974 Norwich Drive | Canton MI 48188 Just Listed For Lease


Lovely Open Floorplan With Kitchen Open To Dining & Living Rooms With 9ft Ceilings Throughout * Great Room With Cozy Bay Window Overlooking Woods With Walk Trail * Kitchen With Hardwood Flooring, Under Cabinet Lighting, and All Appliances Are Included * Spacious Master Bedroom With Cathedral Ceiling & Huge Walk-in Closet With Organizer * Custom Ceramic Tile Master Bath and Ceramic Surround in Main Bath * 1 Car Attached Garage With Lots of Storage * Complex Boasts Pool, Clubhouse, and Walking Trails * Immediate Occupancy...No Smoking, Pets Negotiable, 1.5 mo SecDep & 1 Year Lease Minimum * With Wooded Views From Every Window, This Will go Fast!

Property information ~ $1,250/Month
1,660 sq. ft., 2 bedroom, 2.1 bath 2 story