Archive for February, 2011

Deer Lake, Clarkston Michigan, Lakefront Real Estate Sales

all sports deer lakeDeer Lake is 137 acre all sports lake in Independence Township (Clarkston MI) just minutes from I-75 and downtown Clarkston. Deer Lake Beach is located at 350 White Lake Road and is open to residents of Independence Township from Memorial Day to Labor Day (weather permitting). A fee is charged for use of the beach and for the boat launching facilities. Swimming lessons are available throughout the summer. Park rules are posted at the entrance.

Lakefront housing on Deer Lake sells for a premium. “Back in the day” lakefront houses on Deer Lake would sell for over a million dollars easily. Even last year when half the sales were distressed sales, the highest priced sale in Independence Township was on Deer Lake and closed for just under $1.7 million. One of the things that makes Deer Lake unique to the area is the availability of homes on acreage. Most lakes in North Oakland County are either areas of converted cottages OR developed to get the biggest bang for the developer’s buck. The house that sold for a million seven in 2010 was on over 7 1/2 acres. Even the lower price homes tend to be on good sized lots- even an acre or two.

There is currently 1 sale pending on Deer Lake (2-23-2011). A bank owned home, over 4000 sq. ft., on 12 acres.

On Feb. 23, 2011 there were 3 homes for sale on Deer Lake ranging in asking price from $699,000-$2,400,000.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you are considering buying or selling a home on all sports Deer Lake.

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

Oakland County Lakes

Lake Oakland and Woodhull Lake

Maceday and Lotus Lake

Sylvan Otter Lake

Lake Orion

Long Lake

photo from Flickr courtesy Themarzo

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How Not to Buy a House

buying your dream homeIf you read my blog on even a semi regular basis, you know there is a major lack of housing inventory in North Oakland County and Lapeer County Michigan– specifically, Lake Orion, Oxford, Clarkston, Brandon/Ortonville, Lapeer, Metamora and Hadley areas. Prices were up last year but so were unit sales and with inventory as low as it is right now (about a 3-5 month supply depending on the specific area) it is not unusual to make an offer on a house and be in a multiple offer situation. In fact, if a home is properly priced, there is an excellent chance there will be multiple offers on it immediately. Especially if that properly priced home has the added attraction of being a normal (non distressed) sale. A listing that doesn’t come with all the headaches that can come with a bank owned or short sale.

Case in point:

Last Friday I listed a sweet 4 bedroom home in Clarkston, MI and carefully priced it so it would be attractive to buyers and still be able to appraise for the buyer’s mortgage. The listing hit the MLS with all 25 photos allowed about 10 pm Friday night. Saturday we had 3 showings. Sunday we had 12 more showings and 2 more scheduled for Monday. By Sunday afternoon we had 4 offers. All 4 buyer’s agents were informed that they would be in a multiple offer situation.

So wouldn’t you think all 4 buyers would put their best offer out there? I don’t know if there were 3 weak agents or 3 hard headed buyers who wouldn’t listen to their agents, or a combination of the two.

Let me backtrack for a minute. We have had major appraisal problems in Clarkston MI for quite a while now. And when a buyer is asking for closing costs, they are basically inflating the purchase price in order to finance a portion of their closing costs. Secondly, the sellers were asking for 45 days post closing possession because the house they are buying needs 30 days possession. Thirdly, the house is in a site condo community which means there are by laws that the buyer needs to approve.

The offer the sellers accepted was over asking price, gave the 45 days possession the sellers asked for, didn’t ask for anything the sellers weren’t offering (appliances, pool table, etc), didn’t ask for help with their financing (seller concessions),and had read and approved the by laws prior to writing their offer. It also helped that they were 20% down, conventional buyers who were pre-approved for a much higher priced home.

The offers the sellers didn’t even consider ALL asked for seller concessions– 2 of the agents told mebeat out the competition they weren’t neededbut the buyers wanted them. Hmmm- and if the appraisal came in at the net amount was the buyer going to want to re-negotiate the price?

NONE of the 3 rejected offers met our request for 45 days possession. 2 asked for immediate possession and 1 offered 26 days possession. 2 of the agents told me we could work with the possession time. If they could work with the possession WHY NOT JUST PUT IT IN THE OFFER???!!!

None of the 3 agents requested the by laws in advance of writing the offer, and even though they didn’t make approval of the by laws a condition, by state law the buyer has a 9 day back out time frame after receipt of the by laws.

1 buyer asked for the pool table and foose ball table. 1 asked for the seller to pay for a home warranty. None of the 3 rejected offers were full price after subtracting the seller paid concessions.

Bottom line– Had we not received the 1 clean offer we would not have been able to accept ANY of the other 3 as written. Even if the sellers would have been happy with the prices offered, we would have had to counter things like possession, concessions or appraised value.

If you find a house you really want to buy, write as clean an offer as possible. Give the seller as much of what they’re asking for as you can, and save your negotiating for items you NEED. And if you are in a multiple offer situation, you may need to find another way to come up with those NEEDS (gift from a parent, double move to accommodate possession, etc.).

If you would like to work with a buyers agent who will not only look out for your interest but offer expert negotiating advise when you find the home you want, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Don’t be one of the 3 buyers above who will be out making an offer on their second choice.

Jackie Hawley
Keller Williams Realty
cell: (248)736-6407

Highest and Best Aren’t Synonyms

Buying a Fixer

The Difference Between Downpayment and Deposit

Choosing a Lender

 color drawing courtesy Firts Ahlefeldt

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Do You REALLY Want to Buy a Fixer?

Sweat equity is a GREAT thing. Buy a cheap house and fix it up and WALA! Instant equity! Sounds great?

News Alert!

GREAT does not equal EASY

If it was easy everybody would be doing it. There are some very cheap when buying a fixer you need CASHhouses out there. In fact just the first 6 weeks of 2011 saw the closing of 14 homes under $50,000 in Lake Orion, Oxfordand Clarkston. All but 1 have at least 3 bedrooms and the one 2 bedroom home was a lakefront. All were fixers. And 12 of the 14 sold for CASH. No mortgage. No land contract. Cash.

There are 3 things you need for a successful outcome when it comes to buying a fixer:

  1. Talent
  2. Time
  3. CASH

Not all fixers need to sell cash, but the cheaper they are the less likely they will be able to mortgage. There are loans to accommodate the fixer, but you will need to use a licensed builder– now you’re paying for someone else’s sweat and there’s no profit in that. Even if a house is mortgageable with conventional financing and is just a fixer to a lesser degree than the 12 cash sales I mentioned above, you will still need cash to do the repairs.

I’m not saying that nobody should buy a fixer; I’m just saying you should think long and hard before rushing in and taking on a job you may not be prepared for. Some questions you should ask yourself:

  • What are my skills? Carpenter skills, plumbing skills, electrical skills, drywall skills…
  • How much cash will I have after the closing?
  • How much time will I have to devote to working on the house? 

 After you honestly answer these questions you can assess if a fixer is right for you, and if it is to what degree. Carpet and paint is not a fixer- that’s just a cosmetically challenged house. The need for a roof 5 or 6 years out is not a fixer- that’s maintenance and part of home ownership. Houses aren’t perfect and most won’t be decorated to your taste. There will always be small things a house can use once it’s your home. When I say fixer I’m talking about a house that has non cosmetic NEEDS that should be addressed immediately.

For Buyers

Buying a Foreclosure

Search the MLS 

photo courtesy freephotosbank

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Ortonville Michigan Steals!

Normally I try to check new listings, price reductions, back on the market listings, etc on a daily basis, but I have to admit that today was the first time in almost 3 weeks I checked my updates for Ortonville MI (Brandon Township). Maybe because the list was longer than when I check every day or two, I was amazed at the amount of great deals that have recently hit the market.

$135K can get you a bank owned new construction brick ranch with a garage and basement- complete with appliances.

$134K gets you a 2000 sq ft all sports lake front on 1/2 acre, built in 1997.

For only $126K you can buy a totally updated 3 bedroom ranch on 5 acres. Not a huge house and it doesn’t appear to be anything special- a basic ranch with a garage and basement on 5 acres.

$600,000 gets you a 3600 sq. ft. contemporary with over 500 ft. of all sports lake frontage, 7 acres and horses allowed. Who would have dreamed of being able to have your horse property AND lake property all in one for that price just 5 or 6 years ago?

I saw a 2 year old home with granite counters- photos showed like a model. $160K.

1900 sq. ft. house on 2 acres backing to 5500 acres of state land and a view of a 40 acre lake. House was updated and features granite counters, stainless steel appliances. Basement, garage and pole barn. $140,000.

There were a handful of homes on 2-5 acres that appeared to be in very good condition for under $150,000.

Admittedly the inventory is still low and the houses I wrote about above aren’t the norm. The point is, if you have a diligent agent who checks for new listings (and price reductions) on a regular basis, there are great deals to be found. I have a sale pending right now that I sent to my buyer client the day it hit the market and we were able to look at it and make an offer before we got into a multiple offer situation. I wrote an offer last night for another buyer client of mine who I sent a listing to the day it reduced into her price range. And hopefully our offer will be accepted before other offers come in.

Jackie Hawley
Keller Williams Realty
cell: (248)736-6407

For Buyers

Buyer Expectations- Price and Condition

Buying a Short Sale- It May Not be The Best Option for You

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Lake Oakland and Woodhull Lake

Maceday Lake and Lotus Lake

Lake Orion

Long Lake (Orion Twp)

Silver Lake

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Search the MLS

Mortgage Calculator

For Buyers


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Maceday and Lotus Lakes– Houses Were More Expensive in 2010 Than in 2009

all sports lakeMaceday and Lotus Lakes are all sports lakes in northern Waterford MI and spilling over into Clarkston MI. The 2 lakes are connected for a total 419 acres. There were 12 sales on Maceday and Lotus Lakes in 2009 ranging in price from $76,000-$590,000. In 2010 there were 13 sales ranging in sale price from $100,000-$475,000.

A little bit more detailed breakdown of the sales for Maceday and Lotus Lakes:

2009 there were 3 bank owned sales
2010 there was 1 bank owned sale

2009 there were 3 short sales
2010 there were 7 short sales

2009 76% of the sales were under $200,000
2010 38% of the sales were under $200,000

2009 8% of the sales were between $200,000 and $300,000
2010 32% of the sales were between $200,000 and $300,000

2009 16% of the sales were over $300,000
2010 30% of the sales were over $300,000

2010 sales data for maceday and lotus lakes

2010 Sales Data

2009 sales data for maceday and lotus lakes

2009 Sales Data


Are home priceson Maceday Lake and Lotus Lake on the rise? Or were there just nicer houses for sale in 2010? I think it may have been some of both.

On Feb. 11, 2011 there were 4 sales pending ranging in asking prices from $204,900-$789,877 and only 1 of those was a distressed sale (1 short sale and 3 regular sales).

On Feb 1, 2011 there were 9 active listings on Maceday and Lotus Lakes ranging in asking price from $200,000-$3,800,000- 1 short sale, 0 bank owned listings with the rest being regular sales.

Maceday and Lotus Lakes are all sports lakes- great for the water skier or jet skierin the summer and snowmobiler in the winter.There is a public access site at Williams Lake Rd just east of Maceday Lake Rd.

For the fisherman, Maceday Lake is a designated trout lakeand was stocked last fall with 1,000 lake trout with some of the fish being up to 18 inches long and ranging in age from 2-4 years. Maceday Lake was also stocked with 12,000 rainbow trout in 2010 and another 12,760 rainbow trout in April, 2010. It was stocked with 15,000 splake (brook trout/lake trout cross) in March of 2009 and 13,300 in April of 2010.

In 2005 sale prices on Maceday and Lotus Lakes ranged from $245,000 – $1,150,000.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you are considering buying or selling a home on all sports Maceday Lake or Lotus Lake.

Jackie Hawley
Keller Williams Realty
cell: (248)736-6407


Oakland County Michigan Lakes

Oakland County MI

Search the MLS

Waterford MI Lakefront Homes for Sale

Clarkston MI Lakefront Homes for Sale

from flickr courtesy flyfshrmn98

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