Got My First Deer

On Nov. 11 I got my first deer. A pretty good sized 4 point.

dead deer

Nov. 22 I got my new car. A deer hunting tip- it’s cheaper to bow hunt than to use your car.

new car

If you are looking for hunting property, please don’t hesitate to call Jackie Hawley with ReMax Encore.

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


Lake Orion MI Home Sales- Market Update

Unit sales are down and average and median sales prices are up. Or are they?

Lake Orion, MI is recovering from a housing crisis that lasted close to a decade. Statistics show that prices started dropping in 2006. I felt it in 2005. In 2009 the amount of distressed sales (foreclosure and short sales) surpassed the amount of non-distressed sales. Distressed sales were the norm for 3 years. 3 years where Lake Orion MI had more foreclosure and short sale closings than regular old fashioned sales. And when you have that many distressed sales it affects the prices of all sales.

In 2012 there was a drastic reduction in distressed sales but they still made up 39% of total sales. 23% of the sales in 2013 and thus far in 2014 (first 3 quarters) 11% of total sales.

lake orion mi home sales



So I think to just compare unit sales this year vs unit sales last year is not an accurate measure of the market. Same when comparing prices. Or time to sell.

All residential sales in Lake Orion, MI through Sept (1st 3 quarters):

Unit sales are down 7%, the average sales price is up 6% and the median sales price is up 1%.

Non-distressed sales in Lake Orion, Mi for the same time frame:

Unit sales are up 8%, average sales price is down ½% and the median sales price is down 1%.

Non-distressed sales data is better than it sounds. The average sales price is up 12.5% from 2012, the median sales price is up 12.3% and unit sales are up 36%.

The average sales price so far this year is $265,008 and the median sales price is $246,000. The average sales price in 2003 was $260,252. I can’t pull the amount of distressed or non distressed sales in 2003 or 2004 or 05…. It wasn’t a search field in the MLS at that time. But it is pretty safe to assume that prior to the end of 2005 foreclosure and short sales were minimal.

lake orion mi home sales

There were 384 non distressed sales in 2013 vs 543 sales in 2003. If we stay on track of an 8% increase over last year we should have about 415 non distressed sales this year. Less than 2003 but not that far off considering that distressed sales still make up 11% of our market.

However you look at the numbers, if you are buying a home in Lake Orion MI, prices are on the rise and interest rates won’t stay this low forever.

If you are considering selling your Lake Orion, MI home, we have been in a recovering housing market for a few years, interest rates are low, so this is a good time to sell.

Call Jackie Hawley, Realtor
Remax Encore

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3600 Orion Oaks, Lake Orion MI – Open Sunday from 2-5

Custom home on a one acre wooded lot. Instead of writing a book about all this outstanding home has to offer I embedded a video below. Your host will be Marcia. Agents- send your buyers; we won’t poach.

BTW- The song is performed by the sellers’ daughter. Beautiful voice.

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


Jackie Hawley, Realtor
ReMax Encore

Customer Service…. What doe is mean to you?

I have been selling real estate for a touch over 23 years and it still amazes me sometimes how little effort other “professionals” put into a transaction.

A little background without names or exact location. One of my listings is supposed to close this Friday. The sale was subject to the closing of the buyer’s current house, and that house was supposed to close today. A little after 11 o’clock last night (after I was sawing logs – sleeping) the buyer’s agent sent an email to me, the buyer, and the loan officer letting us know his house wasn’t going to close today. She forwarded an email from the buyer’s agent on that transaction which was a forward of an email from that lender. The initial email was after 7 pm.

The gist of the original email was they weren’t ready to close because they were waiting on an IRS transcript they had expected the previous week. Except the buyer filled the form out wrong and the IRS rejected it. So the loan officer filled out a new one for the buyer to sign and expected the transcript this  morning. Planning on closing next week instead of today.

This so far is about the underlying sale.

BUT the seller, who is the buyer for my listing, was pre-approved to buy without selling. So I hit reply all on the email and asked if our closing was still on for Friday. If the buyer was able to buy without the closing of his house or did he need to go back through underwriting since the conditions changed. The only answer I got was from the buyer asking his lender if that was possible. He was still willing to close on Friday and close on his house next week.

No response.

I follow up 4 or 5 hours later asking if anybody had heard back from the lender. I got an email from the buyer’s agent stating he needed money from the closing on his house to close on ours. I asked if this had been verified by his lender since he was willing to close. And I asked if she had spoken to the lender for the underlying sale (her listing) to confirm they received the IRS transcripts.

No word. The buyer called me directly. He hadn’t heard from anybody either.

Since this is Wednesday night I figure we are not closing Friday and will close after the underlying sale closes. But if nobody gets back to me by tomorrow morning I am going to do what those directly involved seem to have a problem with. I am going to actually pick up the phone and make a call. Maybe the lender on the underlying sale will be surprised enough to hear it ring he might pick it up out of curiosity. That hasn’t worked with the lender on our sale thus far; I think she may have it go directly to voicemail when my number shows up.

What amazes me about this very long story. The buyer’s agent on the underlying sale was upset because their loan officer had told the buyer they were clear to close on Mon. The agent didn’t verify himself. Neither agent actually communicated with that loan officer to verify the buyer was clear to close. The lender on that sale sent a form to the IRS without making sure it was filled out properly. The listing agent on that sale (aka buyer’s agent on my sale) didn’t pick up the phone and call the loan officer to make sure they actually received the transcript today as anticipated. Just assumed they got it. She never picked up the phone and called the loan officer on our sale to find out if we could still close Friday as scheduled. Never picked up the phone and updated her buyer/seller. The loan officer on the underlying sale notified everybody last night after 7 o’clock. Well after business hours. And via email.

What is the aversion to actually calling people involved in a six figure transaction? Short, vague emails and text messages with little detail and no verifications of any facts. Is this what passes for customer service these days?

For real service, whether buying or selling your home or vacant land, please don’t hesitate to call (or email if you prefer) Jackie Hawley at ReMax Encore. I’m old enough to know what customer service is, and still young enough to be tech savvy.

Choosing a Buyer’s Agent

Homes For Sale


Jackie Hawley, Realtor
ReMax Encore

How to make your Oakland County Michigan VA offer stronger

VA offers are not what makes a seller’s heart flutter. Too many things can go wrong. In my experience you tend to get poor appraisers who are not local. The appraised values tend to come in low.

One of the primary reasons a buyer goes VA is because it is 100% financing. Good for the buyer. Not for the seller. Zero down buyers tend to be weak buyers. VA buyers typically ask for the seller to pay for their closing costs and there are some fees the buyer isn’t allowed to pay and those usually get picked up by the seller.

So from the seller’s perspective- Why would they look at your VA offer?

If VA is the only financing option for you, there are a few things that can strengthen your offer.

Don’t ask for the seller to pay for your closing costs. Check with your lender, but I believe you can finance the 4 or 5% by paying a slightly higher interest rate. When you ask for a seller to pay your closing costs, you are asking that seller to take 4 or 5% less than the appraised value.

Don’t ask for anything that isn’t being offered. If the seller isn’t offering to leave the appliances, don’t ask for them. Don’t ask for the lawn mower. Don’t ask the seller to pay for a home warranty.

Don’t ask for less possession after the closing than the seller is asking for. There is a reason a seller is asking for 30 days or 45 days. You may even want to offer that possession time free of charge.

Don’t use your home inspection as a “honey do” list. You are buying a used house. Minor repairs and maintenance items are a part of home ownership.

Offer full price or even over. Especially if you are in a multiple offer situation. Also, that low appraisal may come in closer to the asking price than an offer that is right at asking price.

Obviously, if you can go conventional that is ideal. Many lenders are offering 5% down conventional mortgages

If you are considering buying a home- VA or not- please don’t hesitate to call Jackie Hawley with ReMax Encore.

Why VA?

The Job of a Buyer’s Agent


Choosing a Buyer’s Agent

Why VA for your Oakland County Michigan Home Purchase?

When I receive an offer on one of my Oakland County listings, and the financing is a VA loan, my first question to the buyer’s agent is “Why?” The usual answer is “because they can” or “because they qualify” or “earned it” or some other vague non answer.

On the surface it can seem like a good loan for the veteran. No down payment needed and some other perks I’m not going to get into on this post.

The problem in reality– The appraisals usually suck. The appraiser is usually from out of the area, and their values tend to be low. Almost every VA sale I have been involved in had a low appraisal- some ridiculously low.

You ask- Isn’t this good for the buyer? Doesn’t the seller have to reduce their price?

The answers are “no” and “no.”

It doesn’t do the buyer any good to pay for a home inspection and then pay for an appraisal and then not get the house they want.

At this point the house has been held off the market for a month or so.

So, if a house is salable- what is the incentive for the seller to take your VA financed offer?

Buyers- if you can come up with the 5% down payment, you may want to see if you qualify for a conventional mortgage. Your offer will be stronger and you have a better chance of the transaction actually closing.

If you are considering purchasing a home- VA or not- please don’t hesitate to call Jackie Hawley with Remax Encore.

If you really HAVE to go VA

The Job of a Buyer’s Agent