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Turning your home into that “dream house”

Most Oakland County home buyers come to us with expectations for a home that exceed their budgets. Most people aren’t buying their “forever home” (too much time on pet finder with dogs looking for their forever homes). Many settle for something they like, build some equity and sell in 6 or 7 years and upgrade.

But some are buying that forever home now. Or at least plan on living there long term. I fall into this category. I plan on retiring in my house and living here until I die. The house is less than perfect. The property was less than perfect, too. But both had the potential to become as close as my budget allows to my dream home.

The only thing that concerned me on my home inspection was the ability to add a second story over the rest of the house. It’s a farm house with an upstairs only over half the footprint. I haven’t added the 2nd story, yet, but have made significant changes. I built a pole barn. Added a couple ponds and a “wildlife habitat” next to the ponds- 5 acres of prairie grass and wildflowers. Planted hundreds of pine trees, lilacs, rose of Sharon bushes…

The point is, if you go into your home purchase with a plan, you can more easily achieve as close a proximity to dream home status as your budget, imagination and handyman/landscaping skills allow.

Why List Jackie

Choosing a Buyer’s Agent

www.Search-The-MLS.net

Jackie Hawley, Realtor
Jackie@JackieHawley.com
(248)736-6407

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Why Zillow is a Good Thing

They are well optimized so my listings get good exposure.

And their Zestimates are SOOOOOOO wrong!!

The first is a no brainer. Free exposure with a pretty decent format. My listings are attractively displayed with multiple photos and a good description. I can edit the photos and text, and it allows me to link a virtual tour.

Many agents belly ache that we are giving our listing data over too easily just for Zillow to sell leads to other agents. This is true, but there is nothing I can do about that. Most sellers would not be happy if I excluded Zillow from displaying their listing. And I don’t blame them. So for now I take the free advertising.

Many agents have also been whining lately about the inaccuracy of Zillow’s Zestimates or estimated house values. And they are correct. Most of the estimated home values on Zillow are crap. From my perspective this is a good thing. It bolsters my belief that sellers and buyers still need us. If a computer program can accurately price a home, it greatly reduces the need for real estate agents and appraisers.

So in my mind Zillow is a good thing- further proof for the need of a real estate professional and free advertising on a highly ranked web site.

Thinking of Selling

Thinking of Buying

www.Search-The-MLS.net

Jackie Hawley, Realtor

Cell: (248)736-6407

www.MiRelocation.com 

When High Tech is just an excuse for laziness

This post is NOT a criticism of electronic signatures, Twitter, Facebook… nor of agents who utilize these methods in their real estate business.

This post IS a criticism of agents who criticize those of us who choose NOT to use any of the above in our real estate practice.

I was in a class a couple weeks ago when electronic signatures was brought up. The main (only) reason many agents gave for using e-signatures was it’s easy. Great- if easy is important then do what’s easy. I choose to meet with my clients to discuss offers and counter offers. I choose to actually watch the person penning the signature I’m going to witness. I think there is a reason most banks won’t accept an electronic signature. I also know it wasn’t that long ago that a 14 month old bought a car on eBay with her dad’s smartphone.

Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media- Again I think the primary motivation for this form of advertising is that it’s easy. And social. If it works for you then fine. I choose to understand SEO, SEM and a sprinkling of good old fashioned print advertising. I choose to maintain 2 highly ranked web sites optimized for key words I researched for potential results. I know that Clarkston MI real estate gets searched more on Google than Clarkston Michigan real estate. I don’t Tweet, I barely ever log onto Facebook. The closest thing to social media advertising I use is blogging.

Use whatever works for you. But please don’t criticize those of us who don’t jump on the same so called High Tech bandwagon you did.

www.Search-The-MLS.net

Paperless is NOT green

I’m getting pretty tired of listening to agents boast about being paperless thus calling themselves “green.”

First of all- something is substituted for paper. Usually a device that is electronic – more than likely built from petroleum products and run (charged) with coal.

I have no problem with plastic and electronics- But I don’t call myself “green.”

Secondly- Paper comes from trees. New growth trees with flat leaves (not pine trees) gobble up carbon monoxide and expel oxygen. Tree farms are good for the environment and economy.

Green is a lifestyle. Green is also a word that is bandied about, often by those who don’t live a lifestyle anything remotely close to green.

Disclaimer – I am far from paperless and don’t call myself green. I recycle, compost, grow and raise most of my own food (shredded paper is great mulch) and have set aside 6 acres of my own property as a waterfowl habitat in conjunction with my county.

Choosing a Buyer’s Agent

www.Search-The-MLS.net

An early attempt at video. I’m getting better but have a long way to go.

Clarkston MI boasts an excellent location with I-75 intersecting the township twice – M-15 and again at Sashabaw. It is the fourth largest township in Oakland County with a population of approximately 32,000 residents. Independence Township can be characterized as a growing residential community. Shopping centers and professional services have sprung up along the main thoroughfares to provide all local conveniences. Listed in the Michigan National Features Inventory are the extant buildings of the old Henry Ford farm used for testing tractors. Independence Oaks County Park, DTE outdoor music theatre, the Pine Knob ski area and an extensive public recreation program provide recreational opportunities.

Clarkston has a downtown business district which has been designated a national Historical Site. The charm of the downtown conveys a nostalgia and picturesque setting that everyone enjoys. With numerous homes on the historical register, the City of the Village of Clarkston is a lively small town surrounded by a rapidly growing area.

In the 1990’s and early 2000’s the Clarkston area (Clarkston, Independence Township and Springfield Township) was just booming. New construction was going in, lake cottages were re-built into large year ’round homes. Prices soared. Then the economy tanked and like every place else, Clarkston was hit. We have had and still have our share of foreclosure and short sales. Prices tumbled.

The good newsPrices are on the rise as the amount of distressed sales have been declining.

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More good news– All those beautiful subdivisions that were created during the good times are still there and between the low prices and the even lower interest rates, homes in those neighborhoods have become more affordable. Area amenities that always come with growth are still there. And the physical location is still great as far as access to expressways to go to Detroit, Flint, Auburn Hills, Troy, etc. The proximity to state and county land. City and township parks. Lakes for both fishing and playing with public access for both beach and boats. Shopping, eating, just about anything one can ask for in a home town.

Clarkston Lake Homes For Sale

Deer Lake

Lake Oakland/Woodhull Lake

Maceday/Lotus Lake

Is My Listing REALLY Overpriced?

It seems lately the explanation that comes with a low ball offer is that the house (my listing) is overpriced. I guess soooo grossly overpriced that your buyer chose it as their favorite. I understand a buyer submitting a low offer trying to see what they can get it for. I don’t agree that is the best way to get the seller to his/her bottom line, but I understand it. But many of these offers are coming in 15%-25% low and negotiations inevitably end with buyer and seller not coming to terms and about 5%-8% apart. That translates to $10K or $20K apart.

I get the feeling the asking price was over those buyers’ purchase abilities. So the agent ends the negotiations with something along the lines of “good luck getting it sold” followed up with something derogatory about the house.

Guess what- prices are going up. Inventory is low. Those houses DID sell within a month or two of your so called offer for the same or more than our lowest counter. And they appraised. And they closed.

At $3.50/gallon, I hope you aren’t still driving those buyers around, writing low offers on “overpriced” houses.

Buyer’s agents need to educate their buyers.

Prices in North Oakland and Lapeer counties have been increasing- sharply. What you can buy for $200,000 today will probably get $210,000 or even $220,000 this summer.

Interest rates are good, and the longer you wait to buy the more you are chancing an increase in interest rates.

Houses are selling on average within 2%-3% of the asking price.

Inventory is low and has been for quite a while. If you’re good at $120,000 today but don’t like any of the houses out there for $120,000, or can’t get anybody asking $140,000 to come down $20,000, you may be forced to buy a house this summer for $120,000 that would sell for $110,000 today.

If a house is slightly overpriced today won’t be this summer. Not every seller has the same motivations. Some want to sell quickly. Some want to sell for top dollar and we are now in a market where patience can be profitable.

Thinking of Selling? –Professional Home Evaluation 
Buying? Choosing a Buyer’s Agent

Search the MLS

Jackie Hawley, Realtor
Cell: (248)736-6407

Jackie@JackieHawley.com

www.MiRelocation.com