Archive for December, 2010

Here in Southeast Michigan– specifically North Oakland County Michigan– home prices have been creeping back up and inventory is much lower than this time last year. In fact in many areas we are looking at a 4-6 month supply of active listings.

This week we had yet another appraisal come in low. And again the appraiser states twice in the appraisal that the subject property is in a declining market and actually subtracted value off the comparable sales due to closing dates.

The facts are:

Subject property is in Springfield Township

Median sales price in Springfield Township in 2009 was $145,500. Median sales price so far in Springfieldwhat are the appraisers drinking Township this year is $166,000. UP 12.3% from last year. Springfield Township has been averaging 12.4 sales per month and there are currently 82 homes on the market or a 6 1/2 month supply.

Since Springfield Township is not heavily populated I decided to check the surrounding townships. In fact, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, prices were UP in every township in North Oakland County I checked.

So what are these appraisers drinking? The Kool Aid the media is handing out? Are they spending their time at the bar drowning in their sorrows because they have to give up a portion of their fees to the appraisal management companies? Maybe they need to spend a bit more time learning their market. For North Oakland County the facts are as follows:

Independence Twp/Clarkston:
2009 median sale price: $150,000
2010 median sale price: $163,000
5.1 month supply of active listings

Waterford and Keego Harbor:
2009 median sale price: $70,000
2010 median sale price: $72,000
6.2 month supply of active listings

Brandon Twp/Ortonville:
2009 median sale price: $110,000
2010 median sale price: $129,750
6 month supply of active listings

Orion Twp/Lake Orion:
2009 median sale price: $150,000
2010 median sale price: $153,950
4.2 month supply of active listings

2009 median sale price: $140,000
2010 median sale price: $158,000
4.3 month supply of active listings

And the same trend for Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township, Addison Township and Leonard.

Some may just look at this as appraisers being conservative. Buyers look at this as often times not being able to get the house they want. Often times these buyers have looked a many were in a multiple offer situation on the house that didn’t appraise and know the value is there.

Sellersmay be able and willing to come down and don’t understand why, since there were 3 other people willing to pay more than the appraised value. Or the sale may just die– hopefully the low appraisal wasn’t an FHA appraisal that will stick to the house for the next 6 months.

If it does close at the lower value the neighbors just got told to grab their ankles since the value of their homes were just reduced because of a “cautious” or “conservative” appraisal.

The government needs to remove the shackles from the appraisers so they can do their jobs properly. In the meantime, more appraisers need to do their job and learn their market. A declining market in 2009 does not mean a declining market in 2010.

The numbers above include all sales- short sales, bank owned homes as well as regular sales. I also found the trend to be the same in specific neighborhoods and subdivisions. The links below will take you to more detailed market data.

community values

Lake Orion



The Preserve, Lake Orion MI

Round Tree, Lake Orion MI

Rolling Meadows, Lake Orion MI

Lake Lapeer lakefront sales

Lake Orion lakefront sales

Read Full Post »

The Preserve, Lake Orion MI- Are Prices Rebounding?

the preserve lake orion miThe Preserve is a very nice neighborhood in southern Lake Orion with easy access to I-75. Some of the many amenities that make The Preserve desirable are city water and sewer, sidewalks, subdivision lake, club house with a swimming pool, tennis courts and play ground area. The sub is also surrounded by woods which added value to the perimeter lots when build jobs were sold; value that seems to have stuck to the homes even in the current housing market.

The home values in The Preserve were hit hard just like the rest of Lake Orion. Many of the homes sold new in 1996-1998 with prices ranging at that time throughout the $200’s with an occasional home selling in the low $300’s.

In 2005 home prices ranged from $287,000-$372,000 and in 2003 and 2004 a couple homes sold in the low $400’s. This year prices have ranged from $155,000-$285,000.

So now you may be asking yourself- “Where does the title of this blog post come from?”

After 2005 prices were on a downward trend all over Lake Orion and The Preserves was no different. Prices steadily declined every year after 2005….. Until 2010. It appears that in many neighborhoods prices are starting to stabilize and the same is holding true in The Preserve. In fact, due to the lack of foreclosures in The Preserve, home prices may actually be arching the other way.

First let’s compare 2008 and 2009 home sale prices.

In 2008 there were 4 sales in The Preserve ranging from $255,000-$275,000. All selling for pretty close to what they sold for new. None of the 4 sales in 2008 were bank owned or short sales.

Prices dropped hugely from 2008 and 2009 with 6 sales in 2009 ranging from $211,000-$260,000 with no bank owned sales and 1 short sale.

Now comes 2010. One of the differences in 2010 was there was 1 bank owned home and 2 short sales. The 3 distressed sales in 2010 were of course the 3 lowest priced sales ranging from $155,000-$211,000. Now let’s compare the non-distressed home sales between 2009 and 2010.

There were 5 non-distressed home sales in The Preserve in 2009
There were 7 non-distressed home sales in The Preserve in 2010

2009 sale prices ranged from $211,000-$260,000
2010 sale prices ranged from $215,000-$285,000

2009 price per square foot ranged from $89/sq. ft. to $110/sq. ft.
2010 price per square foot ranged from $91/sq. ft. to $108/sq. ft.

A little deeper look at prices show that in 2009 there was only 1 home that sold for more than $100/sq. ft. where as 5 houses broke the $100/sq. ft. price point in 2010. Even the 3 distressed sales in 2010 ranged from $82/sq. ft. to $96/sq. ft.

The price differences in the non distressed sales in 2010 seem to be the same as in the past- location within the sub a primary factor in sale price and walk out basement also adding to value.

As of December 24, 2010 there were no sales pending and one active listing with an asking price of $299,900. If you currently live in The Preserve you can only hope they get pretty close to that price.

If you are considering buying in The Preserve you might want to get off the fence and contact your agent (preferably ME) and start a daily update for new listings. As agents we are able to check individual neighborhoods on a daily basis. Personally, I check ALL new listings and status changes for Lake Orion on a daily basis. Knowing my market is part of my job.

For a detailed breakdown of home sales in The Preserve please visit The Preserve page of my web site.

Search The MLS

Oakland County Michigan Neighborhoods

Oakland County Michigan Lakefront Homes for Sale

Oakland County Michigan Lake Information

Read Full Post »

The past few weeks I have been showing houses in North Oakland and Southern Lapeer Counties, all on at least an acre and many with pole barns. My brain knows prices are way down, but for some reason I’m still amazed when I show houses.

These particular buyers found a house in Dryden Township in pole barn oakland county lapeer michiganSouthern Lapeer County– less than a mile off Rochester Rd. Over 2600 sq. ft. which doesn’t count the finished walk out basement. It’s a bank owned home in excellent condition on over 2 1/2 acres with a pole barn. The asking price is $206,900.

We looked at several houses in the Ortonville, Oxford, Metamora, Dryden areas and there was a handful of houses– all around $200,000 – that were quite nice. We lost out on a house that was a bit under 2000 sq. pole barn oakland county lapeer michiganft. on a couple acres in Dryden to another offer. Very nice, newer home with a pole barn. There was one house that could have used a bit of sprucing up (carpet, paint, update the baths) that was on 10 acres with a pole barn for around $220,000.

There was a lot of crap out there, too. But if you would like to live in the country with a bit of property, you are able to get a pretty nice home on a couple acres for a decent price. And with today’s low interest rates, and dropping property taxes, a $200,000 house isn’t nearly as  high of a house payment as it was just a few years ago.

For more information about buying a home on acreage in North Oakland County or Lapeer County, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Jackie Hawley
cell: (248)736-6407
email: Jackie@JackieHawley.com

Oakland County MI Homes for Sale

Lapeer MI Homes for Sale

Search the MLS

Read Full Post »

Rolling Meadows, Lake Orion

Rolling Meadows, Lake Orion real estate sales are a bit strongerrolling meadows lake orion real estate this year than in 2009. In 2009 there were 16 closed sales in Rolling Meadows and 4 leases with sale prices ranging from $153,000-$247,000 and lease prices ranging from $1500-$1800/month.

In 2010 there have been 14 closed sales in Rolling Meadows as of Dec. 24 with sale prices ranging from $164,505-$237,000.

In 2010 there have been 5 foreclosure sales
In 2009 there was only 1 foreclosure sale

In 2010 there have been no short sale closings
In 2009 there were 2 short sale closings

In 2010 there were 4 closings under $200,000 and all were bank owned
In 2009 there were 5 closings under $200,000- 1 was bank owned, 1 was a short sale

In 2010 there were 6 sales of $220,000 or more
In 2009 there were 2 sales of $220,000 or more

If you take out the distressed sales in Rolling Meadows, Lake Orion the price per square foot in 2010 ranged from $79/square foot – $111/square foot.

In 2009 the price per square foot for non distressed sales in Rolling Meadows ranged from $78/square foot – $97/square foot.

In 2010 of the 9 non distressed sales in Rolling Meadows, Lake Orion

  • 3 sales so far closed for over $100/square foot 
  • only 3 non distressed sales closed for less than $90/square foot
  • 3 closed for over $90/square foot but under $100/square foot 

In 2009, of the 13 non distressed sales in Rolling Meadows 

  • none of them exceeded $100/square foot
  • only 5 sold for over $90/square foot
  • leaving 8 non distressed sales in Rolling Meadows selling for less than $90/square foot

There are currently 2 houses pending short sale approval so we won’t know the prices until the short sales are approved and the homes close.  And there are currently no homes for sale or lease in Rolling Meadows, Lake Orion.

If you are considering making a move to Rolling Meadows, you should contact me with what you are looking for and I will do a daily update so that when a house hits the market in Rolling Meadows you have the opportunity to jump on it immediately.

Jackie Hawley
cell: (248)736-6407
email: Jackie@JackieHawley.com

Rolling Meadows, Lake Orion

Lake Orion Homes for Sale 

Read Full Post »

lake orion michigan lakefront homes long lakeLakefront home sales in the Lake Orion school district for 2010 are up from last year with 53 lakefront sales in 2009 and 59 lakefront sales so far in 2010 (as of Dec 20).

2010 Lake Orion lakefront home sales ranged from $29,900 for a house on Square Lake to $483,600 for a house on Duck Lake. 2009 prices ranged from $55,000 to $1,200,000. One interesting fact: the highest price sale each year was on a NON sports lake.

So far, lakefront home sales in Lake Orion are as follows:

  • 12 lakefront homes leased
  • 59 lakefront home sales
  • 18 bank owned (foreclosures)
  • 9 short sales
  • 3 lakefront sales under $100,000
  • 25 lakefront sales in the $100’s
  • 12 lakefront home sales in the $200’s
  • 13 in the $300’s
  • 6 in the $400’s

Surprisingly there have been no closed sales on Voorheis Lake so far this year.

  • 23 sales on Lake Orion ranging from $101,000-$370,000
  • 7 lakefront sales on Long Lake ranging in price from $132,500-$432,000
  • 4 lakefront sales on non-sports Lake Manitou ranging from $166,000-$370,000
  • 3 sales on non-sports Indianwood Lake ranging in price from $159,000-$430,000
  • 5 sales on non-sports Duck Lake ranging in price from $355,000-$483,600

Closed sales are up a bit this year, but the current inventory is low– only 33 active lakefront listings for sale as of yesterday.

If you are thinking about moving to the lake in Lake Orion MI or buying a lakefront cottage in the Lake Orion area, please don’t hesitate to contact me at:

Jackie Hawley
cell: (248)736-6407

Lake Orion Michigan Lakefront Sales Data



Read Full Post »

Sometimes I come across a buyer who wants to live in Oxford or Lake Orion, but what they want in a home really isn’t in their budget. I usually follow up with a question along the lines of: “Is Lapeer too far of a drive?”

Often time the response is along the lines of “What is there to do in Lapeer?”

This post is one in a series covering the numerous amenities both the City and County of Lapeer have to offer.

Smack dab in the City of Lapeer (just outside of the “downtown” area) we proudly boast the City of Lapeer Community Center, a 50,000 square foot community center that offers a plethora of activities including both youth and senior activities.

The Lapeer Community Center features a state of the art swimming pool, indoor track, a gym for basketball and volleyball, a weight fitness area, two official size racquetball courts and several multi-purpose rooms.

Children can begin swimming lessons as young as 6 months old and tumbling and gym activities for children as young as 12 months.

For adults there are a variety of group fitness programs as well as basketball and volleyball leagues.

Therapeutic message, cholesterol screenings, bone density checks and flu shots are all offered.

For a much more complete list of the offerings of the Lapeer Community Center you need to go to their web site which also gives you a list of fees (very reasonable fees).

For more information about purchasing a home or vacant land please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Jackie Hawley
ReMax Encore
cell: 248-736-6407
email: Jackie@JackieHawley.com

Metamora-Hadley Recreation Area

Lapeer County Homes for Sale

Search the MLS

Read Full Post »

When buying a home in Oakland or Lapeer County Michigan a standard contingency is financing (the buyer obtaining a mortgage for the house). Normally, part of the financing process is an appraisal, and the cost of the appraisal is born by the purchaser.

  • So is this the purchaser’s appraisal?
  • And is the appraisal for the protection of the purchaser?

The answers are no and no.

If it really was the buyer’s appraisal, the buyer would get a say in who the appraiser is. Or at least the buyer’s loan officer would get a say.

Loans mortgage appraisalsThe appraisal is for the protection of the lender. The lender loans money to a purchaser, and that money is secured by the house and, rightfully, the lender wants to make sure the value is there.

Because of some of the asinine changes in the mortgage process over the past couple years, the loan officer is no longer able to hire, or even speak to, the appraiser. The lender (loan officer) contacts an appraisal management company who then assigns an appraiser. And like in anything in life, there are good and bad appraisers.

So you the consumer can interview and choose the best real estate agent to work with. Interview and choose the best loan officer to work with, choose the best home inspector, best insurance agent, best title company … But no say on who appraises the home you are trying to buy.

Appraisers themselves are finding themselves under scrutiny because some want to blame them for the housing mess we are currently in. And the result has been overly cautious appraisers. And many inconsistencies in appraisals.

I had a sale earlier this summer where 2 appraisals were ordered from the same appraisal management company, for the same property within a few weeks of each other. The contract price for the house was $380,000 and it was one of multiple offers. So the free market pretty much set a price of $380,000. One appraisal came in with a value of $300,000. The other appraisal came in at a value of $362,000. Both were local appraisers.

I had another sale where I was on the listing end (a short sale) and it was another property with multiple appraisals. Between the buyer and the lien holders there was a total of 5 appraisals. 5 appraisers came in with 5 different values.

horse racing first and last equalOne of the main problems I’m seeing on the appraisals is the appraisers aren’t giving value for quality. Everything is size and location with very few adjustments, and those adjustments are for things like walk out basement vs standard basement. Maybe a few thousand for a finished basement vs an unfinished basement. If the comparable sales are in the same sub you may see an adjustment for location within the sub.

What I’m not seeing is when the house isn’t in a subdivision is credit for a more desirable neighborhood. In the first example above, that house was on a lake in Independence Township with Clarkston schools. Part of that lake is in Waterford with Waterford schools. Homes in the Clarkston school district have always garnered a higher price than Waterford schools- but not according to the appraiser.

I’m also not seeing credit given for quality. Top of the line Anderson or Pella windows will get zero value. Wood interior doors as opposed to the typical builder’s grade plastic feeling doors will get zero value. Upgraded cabinets, counters, light and plumbing fixtures will get ZERO value.

Now take 2 houses in the same or similar neighborhoods, and house a has builder grade everything and house b had the same floor plan built but upgraded everything mentioned above– should both those houses sell for the same price?

From a buyer perspective you may be thinking “Great! I can get $50K mattress money extra downpayment if house doesn't appraiseworth of upgrades for free.” Maybe not. You may find the perfect house and are willing and able to pay for quality. You spend $300+ on a home inspection. You spend $300+ on an appraisal, and the appraiser comes in $30K lower than the agreed upon price. The seller does not have to come down on price. If  the seller won’t come down, and if you still want the house, you would need to come up with the extra $30,000. If you don’t have it, you won’t get the house. You may have to settle for mediocrity in order to get a mortgage. Or in the case of the lake house above, maybe a lesser school district.

By the criteria many appraisers now feel they need to use, with the value determined solely by size and location, that is the same as saying the first place horse in the Kentucky Derby has the same value as the last place horse in the Kentucky Derby- all the same age, about the same height and all the same class of horse.

When I represent a buyer, I will perform a market analysis on the house you want to offer on. I will give you my opinion of value and back that opinion with comparable sales. I will also give my opinion on what I think the appraised value will be, and if there’s a difference, you will need to prepare yourself to possibly lose the house you want or pony up the difference. And if you are a person who feels that quality has value, be prepared to come up with additional down payment.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me about buyer representation if you are considering purchasing a home in North Oakland or Lapeer County.

Jackie Hawley
cell: (248)736-6407
Search the MLS

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »