Archive for December, 2010

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

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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
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One of the perks of living in Lapeer County Michigan is the abundance metamora hadley recreation area fishing boatingof state land and parks. The Metamora-Hadley Recreation Area accounts for 723 acres of that state land.

Located in Hadley Township in southern Lapeer County, Metamora-Hadley Recreation Area is bordered by Ritchie, Baldwin and Hurd roads with an entrance on Hurd Rd. as well as hunter parking on Hurd Rd.

Metamora Hadley Recreation Area snowmobilingMetamora-Hadley Rec Area features 80 acre Lake Minnewanna in the center with a beach area, 214 campsites and 6 miles of trails. The campground offers modern restroom facilities with flush toilets and hot showers. Each site boasts electricity, fire pits and picnic tables. A camp store is located at the entrance of the campground. The is a marked swimming beach, concession area, boat and Metamora Hadley Recreation Area winter activitiespaddleboat rentals, picnic shelter  and a universally accessible fishing pier.

Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities including camping, hiking, boating, fishing, hunting, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.


Please visit my web site for a map and contact information for Metamora-Hadley Recreation Area.

Lapeer County area information

Lapeer County lake maps

If you are considering a move to Lapeer County Michigan, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Jackie Hawley
cell: (248)736-6407 

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When a buyer comes to me already pre-approved by a loan officer they like and intend on using, I never try to sway them away and toward the lender I prefer they would use. I wouldn’t appreciate it if a loan officer tried to get one of my clients to switch real estate agents, so I try to show the same respect to other professionals a buyer chooses to work with.

Then there comes a transaction that should be smooth as silk, and we come to a point where I really really miss my preferred lender. I have a closing scheduled for tomorrow and everything has been going fine- until I receive an email from the title company today that they are still waiting on HUD approval. The return emails earlier from the loan officer are vague and he won’t answer if there is a problem. He isn’t returning phone calls. And right now it’s 6:30 the night before an 11:30 am closing and I’m still waiting.

So I figured instead of kicking the dog or mixing up a Tom Collins I would list the reasons any home buyer should be using my preferred vendors (and this applies to other vendors such as home inspector, title company, etc).

  1. He is knowledgable
  2. He is honest
  3. He returns phone calls (quickly)
  4. He returns emails (quickly)
  5. He’s honest – this one is important enough to list twice
  6. He’s personable and gets along with the listing agent which is important if we need an extension
  7. He’s available even when he goes up north fishing
  8. He attends closings
  9. He’s honest – ok it is worth mentioning 3 times
  10. Because I recommended him
  11. And since I used honest 3 times I’ll throw in a number 11- he’s experienced

He is not the in house lender at my office and I receive no financial incentive (kick back) if my clients use his services. What I DO get is piece of mind that my buyer will get the best deal possible and I know there will NEVER be a breakdown in communication.

So- for a great loan officer (and honest) contact Corey Roediger at Elk Financial. His blog is linked below.

Corey’s Blog 

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