Monday, September 07, 2009
If you've haven't already done it, you'll want to file for the tax credit using IRS form 5405. The tax credit is ten percent of the purchase price to a maximum of $8,000.
Even if you filed your 2008 taxes, you can file an amended return to receive the credit in the form of a check from the IRS.
Still looking for the perfect home? There's still time, but the clock is ticking. New home purchases must be completed by November 30, 2009 to qualify for the first time homebuyer's tax credit.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
The good news is home sales in 2009 continue to outpace 2008 levels. February sales in Wayne County were up 18.4%, Oakland 12.3%, Livingston 27.9% with an overall increase across the MLS of 16.5%.
Another good piece of news is that the inventory of homes and condos is way down. Last Summer I had "Search over 70,000 homes..." on my website. Today when I checked the MLS, there were less than 50,000!
Average days on the market has also fallen. However, the market remains a challenging one for sellers, which helps explain why there are fewer homes on the market. A fascinating chart by Standard & Poor's graphically shows home prices nationally have dropped 26.7%. Many values in the Metro area are at pre-2000 levels.
Hopefully with increased demand and decreased inventory, our market will start stabilizing and begin recovery. Much of that depends on our local jobs picture, and hopefully Michigan's portion of the federal stimulus will provide a boost.
The upside is that with the recent cut, interest rates are at their lowest point in more than 35 years! However the mortgage process is a bit challenging right now with all the political scrutiny of banks. I recently had a situation where the lender went out of business 3 days before our closing date!
The $8,000 credit for first time buyers has helped stimulate a strong buyer's market. Bottomline, with historically low interest rates, there may never be a better time to buy or invest.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
A. If you're serious about selling, better to price where the market is selling rather than 'chase the market down', by continuing to reduce your price. This usually results in a longer time on the market plus a perception by buyers that there is something 'wrong' with your house because it has been on the market so long.
That said, you can ask whatever you want for your home. The rub comes after you've found a willing and able buyer ready to pay your price because your home needs to appraise for the selling price. Appraisers will use the very same comparable homes that the agents have shown you.
Remember, the beauty of this market is that although you'll take a hit on your home, you'll also be paying a lower price for your new home!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
In addition to the low interest rates and great deals out there right now, the big advantage to buying before the end of 2009 is the $8,000 tax credit enacted by Congress this year to stimulate the housing market. Unlike the 2008 credit, the 2009 tax credit does not have to be paid back.
Here's a great video about the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit with answers to a lot of questions you might have:
Plus here's a matrix outlining the tax credit. And if you'd like to explore your housing options further, give me a call!
Sunday, March 01, 2009
Property information ~~ $174,000
1,421sf, 3 Bedroom, 1.1 Bath Colonial
The January statistics issued by our local MLS Realcomp indicated home sales continued their upward trend. In fact, sales increased 25.7% over January 2008.
- Freddie Mac to let residents rent homes after foreclosure
- MSNBC FirstRead's explanation of the Homeowner Afforability and Stability Plan
- A blog post with several resources for laid off workers
- Detroit Free Press article with advice for tax appeals
A. What is most important is finding a home you're crazy about in an area you like that is mechanical sound. That said, however, the advantage of HUD is that they are offering a $2,500 owner occupant incentive which is applied toward your either your closing costs, tax prorations & repairs to the home. If all other things are equal, that's pretty nice incentive.
When you couple that with the $8,000 tax credit given to first time buyers through the end of December, 2009 is a great time to jump into the housing market!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Thankfully, you can visit RemodelingCenter.com to view a slideshow showing examples and explaining the differences.
For more renovating ideas, click on their related links to tour a remodeled Craftsman-Style Foursquare or a beautifully renovated Cottage-Style home.
Monday, February 23, 2009
A. Unless specifically negotiated in the purchase agreement, it's the seller's responsibility to schedule and pay for the inspection, which is $180 for a single family residence. A City inspector reviews the major mechanical systems, health & safety items, and any issues that violate the Property Maintenance Codes.
Call the City of Westland Building Department at (734) 467-3210 (Google any "City State Building Department") to see if the inspection has been completed. If it has, you can go into their office and review the report. If it hasn't, I'd have your agent call the listing agent to find out when they plan to do it.
Since it's a short sale, if there are any issues that need to be addressed from the inspection, the seller may not have the funds to address the issues. Because the inspection period can take 3-4 weeks, it's important that it be done ASAP so that the bank is aware of any issues that need to be addressed to sell the property.
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Bay Window & Spacious Cathedral Ceiling in Living Room & Bedroom * Newer Furnace, Central Air, Roof & Some Newer Windows * Great Breezeway Adjoining 2.5 Car Garage & Patio Overlooking Backyard Surounded by Privacy Fence * Closing & Commission Subject To 3rd Party Approval
Property information ~ $125,000
1,710sf, 4 bedroom, 1.1 bath tri-level
Monday, February 02, 2009
Last week Evans sent a letter to Michigan's Gov. Jennifer Granholm requesting she declare a state of emergency in Wayne County to address the growing home foreclosure crisis.
Today Evans announced that to proceed with sales not knowing whether the homeowner has had an opportunity to modify their loan would put him in a position of violating federal law.
Evans says his office will work with both homeowners facing foreclosure and their lenders to ensure they are able to exercise their rights according to the law. Additionally, he's urging sheriffs throughout Michigan to join the foreclosure moratorium.
If you or someone you know is having difficulty making their mortgage payment, visit the Wayne County Mortgage Prevention Program's website for guidance and assistance.
photo credit: respres
Sunday, February 01, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Warmer weather on Friday probably worried organizers, but cold weather was back on Saturday....and so were the crowds!
The local economy had an impact as there were fewer ice sculptures, particularly in front of local merchants. Also missing this year were the live reindeer.
Here's some photos showing the highlights:
This Saturday, January 31st is Northville MI 4th Annual Fire & Ice Festival running from Noon to 4 PM.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Starting at Noon on Friday, January 27th and running through Sunday, January 29th, the event features ice carvers from local high schools, colleges, and professionals from around the United States and some from as far away as Japan.
Over 100 sculptures are expected to be carved, mostly from single blocks of ice weighing over 300 pounds. Several sculptures will be constructed using between 5-100 blocks of ice, and you can watch the carving process from the beginning of stacking the blocks of ice to the finished works of art.
Besides the ones filling Kellogg Park, the customized sculptures standing outside the local merchants were some of my favorites last year. From whimsical, like one on the left outside Compari's (my favorite restaurant) to corporate, there's surely a sculpture to please everyone.
One of the most popular places to visit will be "Fantasyland" with entertainment and education for the younger crowd. Each day's events include competitions and an evening light show at dusk.
It's an experience you won't soon forget!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Watching the sea of Americans on the Mall witnessing history made me wish I was there, and reminded me of an earlier family trip we made to Washington DC.
Besides the many monuments we visited, Arlington National Cemetary was our destination on Memorial Day where President Clinton was to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns and give the annual address. It was thrilling to see our President up close and in person on this solemn day.
The multitudes of people on the Mall yesterday will forever cherish their memory of being there when history was written.
Photo courtesy of Prince Roy, used with permission
Sunday, January 11, 2009
With Motown's 50th Anniversary celebration and the North American International Auto Show coming to town, the City of Detroit will be front and center.
Beginning Monday, January 12th and continuing for the next year, Motown Records will celebrate their 50th anniversary. The Motown Historical Museum is a blast from the past and a must see for any music lover. When we visited back in 2000, it was hard to imagine that all the musical talent and hits could come from such a small space!
But before Motown, there was the Motor City. Ever since Henry Ford invented the Model A in the early 1900s, Detroit and the automobile has been synonymous.
This week the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center will debut nearly 60 new vehicles and host more than 700,000 attendees, including nearly 7,000 from the international media.
The Show opens to the public from January 17-25th so check it out if you want to get a glimpse of what is the latest and greatest in auto transportation.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
In August I wrote a blog post on the importance of testing for Radon because of a recent experience with a crazy high radon reading in one of my listing.
According to a proclamation signed by Governor Granholm last year, one in eight homes in Michigan (EPA's map of Michigan radon zones) have elevated levels of radon. Homes with 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher should be remediated. Consider purchasing a radon detection kit if it wasn't part of the home inspection process when you bought your home.For more information about radon, check out these sources:
Reducing Radon Risks, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
A Citizen's Guide to Radon: The Guide to Protecting Yourself and Your Family from Radon,
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
EPA Video Radon Discussion
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
When faced with that situation, many Northville MI owners are opting to lease. Before you consider leasing, you should first check with your lender to get preapproved to make sure you can afford your next home. Also, check your existing mortgage because leasing may invalidate the terms.
I've heard homeowners with good and bad leasing experiences. Many would simply prefer not to become landlords. If you do opt to lease your home, be sure you request a credit report as well as personal and landlord references.
Then, read through the State of Michigan Tenant/Landlord Handbook to research and become familar with your responsibilities as a landlord should you go that route.
Whatever you decide to do, Good luck!
Monday, January 05, 2009
Turns out the home in question was in a new subdivision of about 70 homes so it was purchased through the builder. Upon further investigation, I discovered that after the transaction closed, only the sale of the parcel of land was recorded as the real estate 'sale' on public records. Also recorded was mortgage for over $300K. That doesn't account for how much the Buyer might have paid as a down payment.
It's become so easy to do home value research online through sites like Zillow and Trulia. However, until each municipality standardizes how new construction transactions are to be recorded, data will continue to be skewed and deceptive.
Your best resource for local home values is still a local professional real estate agent who can fill in the full picture for you.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Another provision 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 approximately $500 per year, depending on the amount of credit you claimed.
This important credit applies to homes purchased by July 1, 2009 so if you or someone you know is thinking of making the move, now is the perfect time to start looking.
Remember, a mortgage payment may well be cheaper than paying rent...and you pocket the tax benefits instead of your landlord!
Saturday, January 03, 2009
If you're thinking of selling your Plymouth home, you'll want to check out this recently highlighted video "How To Avoid the 10 Mistakes Home Sellers Make". It provides a great overview of all the areas you need to consider when getting ready to put your home on the market.
For more information or suggestions, feel free to call, email or text me.
Thursday, January 01, 2009
When I wrote my last post of 2007, I thought we would turn the corner in 2008. Boy was I wrong. An economic meltdown on a national level compounded the financial chaos (as if local Michigan real estate wasn't bad enough already). It was enough to make me say good riddance to a year that on the surface seemed like a loser.
But upon reflecting, there were some highlights that made the year great professionally and personally:
- my online efforts have yielded a substantial increase in business
- community and veteran involvement has been a rewarding experience
- my daughter graduated from college & bought a new home
I'm looking forward to new beginnings with the promise of a fresh new year. I wish you and yours a peaceful, prosperous and very Happy New Year!