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.