Welcome to my Blog!

This is the corridor to find helpful resources for the home buyer and seller. I hope you find this information helpful!

 

July 17, 2017

Shoreline Questions

Living on the water is considered one of the most prestigious opportunities to many. Owning on a lake, river or canal can offer a world like no other from boating, fishing, skiing, or just an alternative way to go out to dinner. However, with this also comes some very important questions to ask yourself and your realtor!

 

  1. FLOOD INSURANCE: The most common flood insurance is offered through the federally regulated program known as the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through FEMA. Most homeowners policies will cover some damage from rain, but if your home is filled with water as a result of rising bodies of lakes, rivers, streams, and oceans, it won't cover you. If you are in a flood zone your insurance can be rather costly, so check if the current homeowner has flood insurance. Only those with Mortgages are mandated to have it. So, If a homeowner says no, it’s worth checking with your insurance provider to verify or type the homes address on the FEMA SITE. You can sometimes remove yourself from the flood zone by having an elevation certificate done by a engineer, and you can then apply for a LOMA
  2. APPLY FOR LOMA: There are companies that offer services to apply for your LOMA, however, it's actually very easy to do as a homeowner and takes less than 5 Mins. All you will need is the Elevation Certificate from the surveyor, a copy of your recorded deed, and the flood map your assessor uses to determine flood zones. (Your property needs to be highlighted on the map). You no longer need to print the MT EZ forms and mail the documents in. All of this is now accessible online Here is the site to register at and upload these 3 documents. Response takes 30-60 days.
  3. ASSESSMENTS: When searching for a home on the water ask if there are any assessments on the property for canal dredging. Dredging helps irrigate the canal so it is deeper and in some cases helps water flow better. Assessments are added to the property owners tax bill and is paid over a period of time, in many cases many years. You should also call the city/twp in which you are considering to see if they have any pending assessments.
  4. BOAT PARKING: Does the property have a dock, boat hoist or well? What size does it accommodate? What size is your boat? How many boats do you own, can they all be parked? Measuring the area and determine if your boat can not only fit in the designated parking area, also make sure your boat can approach and turn within the area. 
  5. SEAWALL: Knowing what kind of seawall is in place will be very important. A new seawall can be costly and permitting can be time consuming. If the homeowner is not aware get a seawall inspector to help determine the age of the seawall, its condition and if its a steal or galvanized wall.
  6. DEPTH/DIMENSIONS: If you have a large boat, like a sailboat for instance, you definitely want to make sure you can navigate to your home. Ask the depth at the seawall, ask if there are bridges to get to the main water, determine the width of the canal or river to make sure you have turning radius. Also, Use the water level information provided by NOAA to see what the fluctuation is and how that could impact the property.
  7. MAINTENANCE: Who covers the cost to maintain your new water way? Is it an association? Is it the United States Army Corp. of Engineers? How often is it weeded, dredged, treated? Check previous SADs for the property.
  8. WAKE/NO WAKE: Many area lakes and canals have wake rules. This means a almost idle speed is required to protect other seawalls and boats from damage. or in some cases in areas of lakes where its shallow or has public beach access. 
  9. HIGH SPEED BOATING HOURS: Many lakes have rules on when a high power boat can be active on the water. Check your local jurisdiction for rules regarding hours. 
  10. PUBLIC/PRIVATE: Is your lake private or public? Many private lakes have additional rules in order to use the lake. Public lakes have at least one access to launch a boat so you may be boating or hosting others who are not familiar with all the lake rules and is encouraged to keep a sharp eye out. 
  11. ASSOCIATION: Does your water way have an association that protects the condition and use? Many times there are fees associated with its use, so find out ahead of time the fees and when they are do. Associations usually are operated buy a board of other homeowners and positions become open for new homeowners who want to protect their investment.

 

Special thank you to KenMulder from HPHA who contributed important questions to this list. 

Posted in Buyers
April 18, 2017

Chesterfield Home Sales

Posted in Home Owners
April 18, 2017

Waterfront Home Sales by Sqft

Posted in Buyers
Nov. 29, 2016

What Buyers See On Zillow

Ever take a look at Zillow? I am sure you have...

The coveted "ZESTIMATE" is something we hear about all the time, but this post is going to cover something EVERY SELLER SHOULD KNOW...

THE PRICE HISTORY!!!!

I have been in this business long enough to know that agents will try all sorts of methods to keep a home relevant in your "new listings" feed they send you. What most agents don't understand is that you consumers are pretty smart! We live in a world of the .com era and better yet, GOOGLE! We can research just about anything and get an answer in under 3 seconds.

So, this is to all you sellers out there DO YOU KNOW WHAT BUYERS SEE WHEN THEY SEARCH YOUR HOME ON ZILLOW?!! I am going to show you!

Here is a little example... when you see this PRICE HISTORY about a home on Zillow, what do you think first?

 

You immediately think...

"What is wrong with this house?!"

"It's been on for a year, on and off, several price changes, what is going on!!!"

What you may not know as a seller is that every time your agent updates the listing by price, the status to pending, removed (including expired and withdrawn) it shows on Zillow. One of the most used real estate sites online! So, although the idea of adjusting a listing to keep it at the top of a feed MAY seem like a good idea.... it really is not. Working with an agent who knows buyer trends and market activity is critical in the sale of your home. In this current market with low interest rates, a vast millennial market that makes up 42% of all buyers now, and a high demand for homes..... if your home is not sold in 15 days, it's considered a stale listing. 

Is your listing stale? There could be very specific reasons. Do you want your listing to get looked at and turned down by a buyer because of how it shows up on Zillow? A good agent knows what consumers will pay, what information they have access too and how it will ultimately affect your homes sale!

If your home is currently on the market, search it on Zillow. See what buyers get to see.

Think you may be considering a move and want the right advice the first time, let's talk! Get an instant CMA report on the homes for sale and sold in your neighborhood

EMAIL KRIS FORD

CALL/TEXT 248-687-0151

 

 

Posted in Home Owners
Feb. 22, 2016

The Home Buying Process and Checklist!

The Home Buying Process

Buying a home is one of the most exciting—and complex—transactions of your life. At Caliber Home Loans, Inc., we’re dedicated to explaining each step of the process in detail to every single one of our borrowers. While there are some individuals who will have a different process due to individual circumstances, the typical home buying process includes about 15 steps:

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Posted in Buyers
Jan. 27, 2016

OPEN HOUSE!!

50912 PINNACLE WOODS LN, MACOMB TWP

OPEN HOUSE 1/31/2106 NOON-3pm

4bdrms, 3ba with full-fin bsmt. Large fenced in yard with patio, playscape and shed.

Posted in Buyers
Jan. 12, 2016

Do I have to pay capital gains

Do I Have to Pay Capital Gains Tax When I Sell My House?

Capital-GainsI get asked this question a lot from my clients who are selling their home. Under current laws, if you sell your principal home (the home you live in) and make a profit, you can exclude $250,000 of that profit from your taxable income. And that’s just the exclusion for an individual. Married couples can exclude up to $500,000 (if both spouses each meet the ownership and use tests below). So, depending on how much of a profit you make on the sale, you could theoretically have no capital gains tax bill at all.

I say ‘theoretically’ because in order to claim the maximum exclusion, you have to pass what the IRS calls the ownership and use tests. This means:

  • You have to have owned the house for two years.
  • You have to have lived in the house as your principal residence for two out of the last five years, ending on the date of the sale.

There are a few exceptions to these rules—for instance, if you had to move before your 2-year anniversary of owning the home due to job change or because you experienced what the IRS designates as an “unforeseen circumstance,” such as a divorce or natural disaster. In these circumstances the IRS will allow you to prorate the exclusion. As always, talk with your accountant to determine if you qualify or not.

Lastly, and what some would consider the most interesting way to avoid paying capital gains, is that the two years residency doesn’t have to be consecutive—crazy huh?- you just have to have lived in your home for a total of 24 months out of the five years leading up to the sale.

Now, that’s something to thank Uncle Sam for!

Jan. 12, 2016

The 7 Craziest Laws and HOA Rules

The 7 Craziest Laws and HOA Rules

HOARULES, RULES, RULES!  They are everywhere it seems, but for goodreason. Or are they? I hunted down some of the 7 craziest local laws and HOA rules that will have you laughing and yelling at the computer!

Both governments and homeowners associations, or condo associations if you are a condo-dweller, can levy powerful—and sometimes incredibly strange—restrictions and requirements. Some can be pretty costly, as Pennsylvania residents recently found out with the potential new requirement for sprinkler systems in single-family homes.

Even celebrities such as Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson can be at odds with an HOA. Here are seven crazy examples of laws and HOA rules:

1. Can’t park your car in your own driveway.

In Odessa, Fla., a resident was fined by his board for parking his pickup truck in his own driveway because it wouldn’t fit in his garage. Not our problem, the HOA basically told him before slapping him with a lawsuit. After a protracted legal battle, he has since won the right to park his car, but only after two years and $200,000 in legal fees.

2. Don’t plant too many roses.

While foreclosure is an increasingly real threat to homeowners, few expect to lose their house based on gardening infractions. But that’s exactly what happened to a Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., resident who planted too many roses on his property. After $70,000 in fees, he lost his legal battle against the HOA and ultimately lost his home to the flower debacle.

3. Indoor drying only.

As seen in a Colbert Report expose, a Bend, Oregon, resident was shocked by her HOA’s rejection of her outdoor clothesline. Her natural drying method was dubbed a hazard, and they began levying fines that totaled nearly $1,000. She eventually took down the offending line, even after the Right 2 Dry movement got behind her.

4. No mothers-in-laws allowed.

How can you not kinda smile when you read that heading?  If you’re a married man in Iowa, the government grants you a special privilege: you’re allowed to bar your mother-in-law from your home. While certainly useful to men trying to ditch their spouse’s mom, this law does not extend to women.

5. Only use sanctioned paint.

What appears to be an inoffensive pale blue house has caused a stir recently in one Georgia neighborhood. Unaware of his HOA’s rules, a homeowner painted his house before having the color officially approved by his board. And with a $25 per day fee levied every day his house bares the offending hue, he’s already racked up $6,800 in fines on top of legal fees.

6. No service dog for the hearing impaired.

A Fort Collins, Colo., HOA fined a hearing-impaired resident for keeping Pookee, her Pomeranian service dog. The HOA even threatened to put a lien on the property. All this despite the fact that Fair Housing Act requires condo and home owner associations to make reasonable accommodations in their procedures and rules to allow a person with disability to reside in a unit. This includes allowing service animals.

Have an issue related to service animal? Contact your local HUD office or local or state human rights agency.

7. Don’t use ‘inconsistent’ shingles.

As if it wasn’t tragedy enough when a plane fell out of the sky destroying a Sanford, Fla., man’s home, his HOA then challenged his rebuilding efforts. It threatened litigation because the shingles and elevation in his new house’s plans didn’t match his neighbors’.

Bending the rules

If you fight the law, you may lose. But there are ways to work with the restrictions of a HOA and still get your way. The first line of defense is to make sure you understand the HOA or condo association rules before you purchase the property.

If, after you move in, you’d like your home’s appearance to differ from that of your neighbors, you’ll need to submit a “variance” form of request. This request can be accepted or rejected at the board’s will, so it’s good to alert them early in your planning process. One tip to gain HOA support? Understand the challenges and perspective of HOAs, follow the rules to a tee, and offer to help them gain community support for their initiatives. Maybe even run for office. If you can’t beat ‘em, you might as well join ‘em.

What’s the strangest local government or HOA rule you’ve ever heard of?

Posted in Buyers, Home Owners
Jan. 12, 2016

8 Tips For Finding Your New Home

8 Tips For Finding Your New Home.

House hunting is just like any other shopping expedition. If you identify exactly what you want and do some buyersresearch, you’ll zoom in on the home you want at the best price. These 8 tips for finding your new home will guide you through a smart home-buying process.

1.  Know thyself.

Understand the type of home that suits your personality. Do you prefer a new or existing home? A ranch or a multistory home? If you’re leaning toward a fixer-upper, are you truly handy, or will you need to budget for contractors?

2.  Research before you look.

List the features you most want in a home and identify which are necessities and which are extras. Identify three to four neighborhoods you’d like to live in based on commute time, schools, recreation, crime, and price. Then hop onto my website www.KrisFordRealtor.com to register your dream home wish list and get daily listings right in your email. This will help you  get a feel for the homes available in your price range in your favorite neighborhoods. Use the results to prioritize your wants and needs so you can add in and weed out properties from the inventory you’d like to view.

3.  Get your finances in order.

Generally, lenders say you can afford a home priced two to three times your gross income. Create a budget so you know how much you’re comfortable spending each month on housing. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to investigate financing.

Gather your financial records and meet with a lender to get a pre-qualification letter (you will need this in order to see homes and make an offer) spelling out how much you’re eligible to borrow. The lender won’t necessarily consider the extra fees you’ll pay when you purchase or your plans to begin a family or purchase a new car, so shop in a price range you’re comfortable with. Also, presenting an offer contingent on financing will make your bid less attractive to sellers.

4.  Set a moving timeline.

Do you have blemishes on your credit that will take time to clear up? If you already own, have you sold your current home? If not, you’ll need to factor in the time needed to sell. If you rent, when is your lease up? Do you expect interest rates to jump anytime soon? All these factors will affect your buying, closing, and moving timelines.

5.  Think long term.

Your future plans may dictate the type of home you’ll buy. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in the home for five to 10 years? With a starter, you may need to adjust your expectations. If you plan to nest, be sure your priority list helps you identify a home you’ll still love years from now.

6.  Work with a REALTOR®.

Ask people you trust for referrals to a real estate professional they trust. Interview agents to determine which have expertise in the neighborhoods and type of homes you’re interested in. Because home buying triggers many emotions, consider whether an agent’s style meshes with your personality.

Finally, check whether agents are REALTORS®, which means they’re members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. NAR has been a champion of home ownership rights for more than a century.

7.  Be realistic.

It’s OK to be picky about the home and neighborhood you want, but don’t be close-minded, unrealistic, or blinded by minor imperfections. If you insist on living in a cul-de-sac, you may miss out on great homes on streets that are just as quiet and secluded.

On the flip side, don’t be so swayed by a “wow” feature that you forget about other issues — like noise levels — that can have a big impact on your quality of life. Use your priority list to evaluate each property, remembering there’s no such thing as the perfect home.

8.  Limit the opinions you solicit.

It’s natural to seek reassurance when making a big financial decision. But you know that saying about too many cooks in the kitchen. If you need a second opinion, select one or two people. But remain true to your list of wants and needs so the final decision is based on criteria you’ve identified as important.

Posted in Buyers
Jan. 12, 2016

Neighborhood Speeders

Stop Neighborhood Speeding:

Afraid to let your children play outside because of the drivers who barrel down your block? Take action by exploring Road-Spikes-Ahead-Sign-K-8791traffic calming tactics that will stop neighborhood speeding for rushing commuters and harried deliverymen. I don’t mean putting road spikes down, although its crossed my mind a few times I have had to yell and a residential zone speeder, but there are a few things you can do that would be affective. Communities across the nation have been able to affect change by installing everything from raised speed humps to traffic circles designed to slow speeders. All it takes to get started is a bit of grass-roots organizing.

Begin by doing some consensus-building among neighbors. A united front can go a long way in getting the attention of the local government officials who you’ll need on your side. Just don’t expect change to happen overnight. Depending where you live and how quickly the wheels of bureaucracy turn, you could be facing a wait of six to 12 months, or more. In some jurisdictions, you may even need to dip into your bank account to help pay for traffic calming measures.

Get your campaign started

Rallying fellow residents around your stop-speeders cause is critical. A petition is a good to start. Get signatures from as many people on your street as you can. In Abilene, Texas, for example, a written request to city officials for a speed hump must come from at least five residents; 70% of the homeowners on the street must ultimately sign off on the measure. Make sure your neighbors understand that the process is a long one that can include a financial commitment.

Procedures vary by state or even community, but in general the next step is to contact the local director of traffic or transportation. If you live in a private community, reach out to your homeowners association first. Try to do legwork beforehand by writing down the dates and times you typically see speeders. Send a detailed letter outlining the problem to your HOA board or transportation director. Copy your elected officials on the letter as well.

Once the transportation director is notified, a survey is usually undertaken to determine whether a speeding problem exists. If it does, officials will develop a traffic calming plan. Public meetings may be held, so make sure to attend. Affected residents may be polled to confirm support of the plan. Once approved, the plan is implemented. In some cities, like Tuscon, Ariz., residents foot all or part of the bill. A speed hump can cost $1,500 or more.

Speed humps are tip of the iceberg

Traffic calming devices come in all shapes and sizes. The most recognized are speed humps and speed bumps, raised mounds of pavement placed across roadways that compel drivers to slow down. Bumps are steeper while humps have a gradual rise. Speed tables are flat-topped speed humps. Twelve-foot-long humps have been shown to reduce speeds by 22% in a study of 179 sites conducted by Fehr & Peers Transportation Consultants. Traffic accidents declined by 11%.

Another option is traffic enforcement. A police car on your street is an effective deterrent, but only a short-lived one. Once police move on, speeding is likely to resume. A neighborhood watch program is an alternative. Phoenix, for example, has one in which residents are armed with radar equipment to collect data on days and times when speeding is at its worst. The city then sends letters to vehicle owners urging them to slow down. Since drivers don’t get speeding tickets, Phoenix officials say the long-term impact may not be that pronounced.

The most costly and time-consuming traffic calming measures involve major design changes to roads. Roundabouts, traffic circles, curb extensions, and lane narrowing are some tactics cities can use to slow drivers. Traffic circles, raised islands placed at an intersection, are better suited for neighborhoods that don’t have a lot of traffic volume. Roundabouts are used in higher traffic areas. Curb extensions narrow the width of roadways, especially at pedestrian crossings. Roads can be narrowed by extending sidewalks, or adding bicycle lanes or parking spots. The Fehr & Peers study found these tactics to be less effective than humps at reducing speeds.

Bumps in the road to traffic calming

A quicker strategy to implement is placing signs on your street. There are simple signs like “Children at Play” that can be posted to encourage drivers to slow down. There are also electronic signs that flash how fast a vehicle is traveling. Like a neighborhood watch, the effectiveness is limited because there’s no enforcement penalty tied to either. In fact, some cities warn that “Children at Play” signs can be dangerous because they give parents and kids a false sense of security.

Don’t be surprised if some neighbors resist your traffic calming efforts. Speed bumps are often criticized because they can damage vehicles and delay emergency responders. According to the National Motorists Association, a group that opposes certain traffic calming measures, humps and bumps also increase fuel consumption and emissions because of the forced braking and accelerating. The National Motorists Association favors efforts to improve the flow of traffic on main roads so it doesn’t spill over into residential neighborhoods.

Posted in Home Owners