Archive for May, 2012

What Exactly Are Lakefront Taxes?

I’m in the middle of a home search for a buyer transferring to Oakland County Michigan. I came across a listing that states you can get lakefront home without the lakefront taxes. In reality it’s an off the water house with a separate parcel on the water with a dock, but that’s not the issue. The issue is- What the hell are lakefront taxes??!!

Taxes in Michigan are based on the taxable value. The taxable value is based on what the state equalized value (SEV) was at the time of purchase. The SEV is supposed to equal half of market value. There is NOT EXTRA TAX FOR BEING ON A LAKE!! Your assessment may be higher than if you live in the same house off the water. MAY be higher. The same house on 20 acres may be valued higher than if it were on the lake and taxed accordingly.

At times I have buyer clients comment about paying lake taxes. I understand when someone who doesn’t earn a living selling real estate has misconceptions about how homes are taxed. However, it is inexcusable when fellow “professionals” don’t know what they’re talking about and even go so far as to publish their ignorance for all to read.

Jump ahead a day. After writing what’s above I have spoken to a few Realtors who I respect ,and a couple of them thought there was a higher tax on the water. So I called Independence Township to verify. Got laughed at and told there is no special tax for living on a lake- just an assessment to reflect the value of living on the water.

For more about calculating your new property taxes when you purchase your home

How the current taxes can affect your buying power

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Jackie Hawley, Realtor
ReMax Encore, Clarkston

Cell: (248)736-6407



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Can A Seller REALLY Enforce That The Buyer Not Resell For A Specific Period Of Time?

A lot of the bank and government owned listings specify owner occupied only for the first couple weeks or for the first month. They require the buyer to sign a document that the house will be their primary residence and that they can’t sell for the first 60 days up to a year after closing.

What law is the buyer breaking if they lie? I never realized it was against the law for buyers and sellers to lie to each other. They do it all the time- “I can’t go below X on my price.” Or “X it the very top I can afford.”

I spoke to the listing agent today of a HUD listing for a buyer who wants it as a 2nd home- her lake home. The agent told me she would have to claim it as her primary residence for the first year and change her driver’s license.

Is this enforceable? Is it legal? Once the transaction is completed the seller no longer has any interest in the home.

I’m not an attorney and don’t want to become a test case. But I am curious if anybody has heard of a bank or the government going after a buyer after they didn’t move in or if they sell too early.

Jackie Hawley

ReMax Encore, Clarkston




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Clarkston MI Home Sales Up- AGAIN!! Can we stop calling this a declining market?

I’ve been hearing on the news lately how foreclosure filings are up in the Detroit area. I wish the media would separate Oakland County from the Detroit area. What exactly is the “Detroit Area” anyway? When listening to the news it seems to range from anywhere in Southeast Michigan to all of Michigan. Sometimes I think they just make stuff up.

The “true” housing stats are as follows- at least for the Clarkston area.

Sales are up from last year. Sales are up from 2010 and 2009.

The first quarter sales for the “Clarkston area” which I define by searching the MLS for Clarkston schools with sales over $10,000 to weed out the lease sales are as follows:

2012: 129 units sold 2011: 101 units sold 2010: 106 units sold 2009: 65 units sold

The average sales price in 2012 was $180,975 The average sales price in 2011 was $178,612 The average sales price in 2010 was $170,918 The average sales price in 2009 was $164,820

The amount of bank owned sales and short sales were about the same each year but considering the total unit sales have been up, the per cent of distressed sales are down. The average sales price for the distressed sales are also down.

In 2012 bank owned sales made up 33% of the total sales and short sales made up 16% of the total sales. In 2011 bank owned sales made up 47% of the total sales and short sales made up 23% of the total sales.

The average sales price of the bank owned sale in 2012 was down to $97,745 opposed to $134,139 in 2011.

As of yesterday (May 1) there were only 164 active listings in the Clarkston school district. On Jan 5, 2009 there were 359 active listings in the Clarkston school district.

So basically unit sales are up 22% from last year and up 50% from 2009. The average sales price is up 1.3% from last year and up 9% from 2009. Distressed sales are down from last year and there is a huge shortage of homes for sale. Cash sales made up 23% of the total sales in the first quarter of 2012 and 9% of non-distressed sales were cash sales.

Thinking of selling? This is a great time- we have buyers and no houses to sell them. I’ve been showing a LOT of crap. Just because the inventory is low does NOT mean you can ask any price. Properly priced homes sell quickly – the trick is to price in a manner that you can get top dollar for this market and still sell quickly.

If you are thinking of buying a home in the Clarkston area, please don’t hesitate to call. If the right house isn’t for sale now you should be in a position to pounce when it does hit the market.

 Buying your Clarkston MI Home


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Jackie Hawley
Keller Williams Realty
Cell: 248-736-6407

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