Archive for August, 2009

Bloomfield Hills Real Estate: How to Attract High-End Buyers

Posted in Bloomfield Hills Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 31st, 2009

There’s at least one good thing about the drop in the dollar and it’s boosting the real estate market.  Many high-end Europeans are now looking toward the U.S. for a vacation home or permanent resident, and that could mean big hope for your Bloomfield Hills real estate in Southeast Michigan.  However, this also means a different way of selling. 

Stage a Benefit
No open house for high-end buyers.  Host an event instead – maybe even a benefit dinner for a worthy charity.  Let people come and view the property, but give them an avenue to mix and mingle as well.  In addition, they get to see how the house handles a bunch of guests.

Showcase a Chef
If you have a gourmet kitchen (or two), check with chefs that would like to showcase their cooking abilities.  This creates an entire “house-buying” experience for your guests.  Again, they see what that featured kitchen can handle as well as being able to enjoy the culinary arts of a professional chef

Host a Private Tour
If your Bloomfield Hills real estate has beautiful gardens and a large landscape, add a private concert or tour of the gardens.  A wine cellar and large sitting rooms can turn the event into a stylish wine tasting event

The biggest trick in attracting high-end buyers is showing off the house’s best features.  If the event is hosted at night, you can show how attractive the home is with an overall “candlelight” appearance.  You might even go so far as to set the time for when the sky is at its best and frames the home just right.

First impressions are everything, so pull out all the stops.  Don’t let any great feature go undiscovered, from indoor swimming pools to music rooms and manly dens.  Let your Bloomfield Hills real estate shine!

If you’re getting ready to put a high-end home on the market, I can help.  Call me at 248-514-2640 or email me at for more information.

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


How Do You Price Your Royal Oak Michigan Home For Sale?

Posted in Royal Oak Michigan Homes for Sale by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 27th, 2009

Are you thinking about adding your home to the list of Royal Oak Michigan homes for sale?  If you’re looking for the right price to list your home for sale, you may need to call on a real estate professional.  Pricing your home to sell in this buyer’s market is part research and part experience.

You don’t want to overprice your Royal Oak Michigan home for sale because you don’t want it to sit on the market week after week.  A home that is priced too high for the area will not attract as many buyers as a more reasonably priced home.  If you price your home below market value, you’re likely to receive several offers that will drive the sale price up, so you don’t have to worry about getting less money for your home than it’s worth.

A good way to get an idea of the current value of your home is to get the sale prices of homes that have recently sold in your area.  Your real estate agent can gather that information for you. Look for homes similar to yours in size, location and condition. 

When setting the price of your home, you may also want to take a look at the listings that have expired in your area.  You may find that the homes were overpriced for your neighborhood or that some homes remain on the market because the home wasn’t updated or in good condition.  Try to learn what caused the listing to expire and work to avoid the same mistakes.

You should not list your Royal Oak Michigan home for sale at a price that you aren’t comfortable with.  Explain to your agent the concerns that you have about the home’s sale price and ask for his or her professional opinion about the price that you have chosen.  Click to learn FREE Home Pricing Tips.  

Want help pricing your home correctly?  Let me put together an analysis of current home prices in your neighborhood.  It’s free and at absolutely no obligation.  To get your analysis, call me today at 248-514-2640 or email me at

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


FSBO vs. Hiring a Southeast Michigan Real Estate Agent – 7 Points to Ponder

Posted in Southeast Michigan Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 24th, 2009

Selling a home isn’t easy, especially now.  Yet some homeowners believe they can stick a “for sale” sign in the ground and have the house off the market within a few days. 

While FSBO (For Sale By Owner) sales do occur, four out of five homeowners still use a Southeast Michigan real estate agent in Oakland County.  Why?  Because selling your home on your own is hard work, and even more importantly, statistics prove that real estate agents get homes sold faster and for more money than FSBOs. 

If you’re not sure what you should do, here are a few things to think about:

Sometimes, for sale by owner purchases are a good deal for the homeowner.  That doesn’t mean you should just jump in, however.  FSBO might be a good thing for you if:

1. It’s a seller’s market 
2. You don’t care how long it takes
3. You are unwilling to pay the typical Southeast Michigan real estate agent commission
4. You have a good attorney who can keep you protected for the legal aspects
5. You have the time to learn how to do it, answer the phone and provide open houses
6. You’re comfortable negotiating
7. You’re confident you can price your home correctly

Real Estate Agent
Although you will have to pay your agent a commission, there are some definite benefits to hiring one:

1. A good agent can help you price your home correctly.
2. They have an abundance of resources to help find buyers, get the best price and get your home sold.
3. They make sure the potential buyer can actually afford it.
4. They’re good at negotiating and aren’t emotionally invested in the sale.
5. If for no other reason, they’re interested in getting the highest price possible because of their commission.
6. They put in several hours a day, that you may not have available, to get your home sold.
7. They have advertising resources, such as real estate magazines, that you may not be able to touch (or afford).

A Southeast Michigan real estate agent may not be the best way to go for you.  On the other hand, you may not have the necessary information and time required for FSBO.  Before going one way or the other, take the time to really look at both sides and decide which works well with what you expect from the sale of your home.

If you’ve tried to go the FSBO route, and it didn’t work out, or if you know FSBO isn’t for you, I can help.  Call me at 248-514-2640 or email me at for more information.

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


One of the Possible Michigan Foreclosures in Oakland County? All is Not Lost!

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 20th, 2009

Thanks to President Obama’s ambitious plan to improve the housing market, being on the list of Michigan foreclosures in Oakland County doesn’t necessarily mean that foreclosure is inevitable.  You have options, and the President’s loan modification program makes keeping your home even more possible. 

Overview of the Plan
The President’s plan to reduce Michigan foreclosures is based on the thought that struggling homeowners wouldn’t sell their houses if they could only make the monthly payments.  Due to this belief, participating lenders are required to reduce monthly payments for homeowners who qualify until they’re no more than 38% of the homeowner’s monthly gross income.  After that, the government lends a helping hand.  Between the lender and the government, the mortgage payments would be dropped to no more than 31% through various means (extension of the loan, reduced interest rate, etc).

Even with the 31% threshold, many are afraid that’s not enough incentive for homeowners to keep up payments on a depreciating home.  They speculate that homeowners may default on the loan anyway.  To cover this possibility, the administration is offering cash incentives to lenders and struggling homeowners.

Each lender that participates will receive $1,000 per loan modification.  Those lenders will also get an annual $1,000 for up to three years as long as the homeowner keeps their payments up.  For homeowners facing Michigan foreclosures in Oakland County, the good news is that borrowers can get their principal lowered by $1,000 per year for up to five years.  Again, however, it depends on whether they keep their payments up.

You May Qualify
This is fantastic news for many.  If you’re facing foreclosure due to financial hardship, you may qualify for loan modification under the administration’s plan.  If you live in the home, the principal balance still owed is less than $729,750 and you received the loan before January 1, 2009, you’re eligible.  Be aware, however, that you have to prove that you live there, that it’s your primary residence and that you’re having a financial hardship.

If you’re behind on your mortgage or facing foreclosure, I can help you figure out your options.  Time is of the essence, so give me a call now at 248-514-2640.

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


Troy Michigan Real Estate: 9 Questions to Ask Your Potential Condo Association

Posted in Troy Michigan Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 17th, 2009

Thinking about buying Troy Michigan real estate?  If you’re looking at condos you need to be aware that there are condominium associations that oversee condo developments just like there are homeowner’s associations that oversee subdivisions.  However, they may not work the same and can vary widely from condo to condo.  Here are a few things you need to ask the association before signing that contract: 

1. What’s the ratio of owner-occupied to tenant-occupied units?  More owner-occupied units means better marketability if you want to resell.

2. Do the assessments rise with inflation?  This doesn’t sound like a good thing, but matching assessments with the rate of inflation means the ability to build reserves for any future repairs.

3. What does the assessment cover (trash collection, condo maintenance, etc.) in the Troy Michigan condo?  Some association assessments may not cover recreational facilities, for instance, while other condos’ assessments may cover a broad range of areas.

4. What is the turnover in the building?  If it’s high, that’s an indication of issues you may not be familiar with.

5. How much of the assessments do they keep in reserve and for what?  How do they invest the money?  If you’re paying fees and assessments, you want to make sure they aren’t spent frivolously.

6. Are they involved in a lawsuit?  If the condo is in litigation, those reserves can disappear quickly.

7. How reputable is the builder?  If you can, visit other projects and ask the residents how they feel about their place.  Get an engineer’s report to find out if the building is in good shape.  Any problems that are there when you buy are yours once you sign the contract.

8. What are the condominium’s bylaws, restrictions, covenants and grandfather clauses?  You want to make sure you can live with them.  In addition, you’ll want an attorney to look over the documents with you.

9. Is more than one association involved?  The larger the development, the more likely that there are umbrella associations.  Several associations can mean several assessments.

When you purchase Troy Michigan real estate and select a condo, it can be a dream come true if you choose well.  Make sure you do your homework! 

If you’re looking for a condo that perfectly fits your lifestyle and needs, I can help.  Call your Michigan Real Estate Expert today at 248-514-2640 or email Lee at for more information.

Lee Morof – Michigan Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


Michigan Foreclosures vs. Short Sales: The Consequential Facts

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 13th, 2009

Michigan foreclosures in Oakland County are a sad fact of life.  The truth of the matter is that, for many, even loan modification isn’t an option.  When faced with foreclosure or short sale, how do you decide which is best?  While short sales have been pushed by many as a viable option, it’s hard to know what’s best for you.  Here are some facts about the consequences of both:

Your Credit
While both Michigan foreclosures and short sales will affect your credit score, the differences are wide.  A foreclosure can affect your score for as long as three years or more, and lower it as much as 300 points.  The foreclosure can remain on your public history for over ten years.

However, only late payments show on your credit with a short sale.  Your score can drop as little as 50 points and be affected for as short as one year.  In addition, it isn’t reported on your history; it will show that the mortgage was settled and paid in full.

Your Job
On its own, a short sale generally doesn’t affect your employment.  However, a foreclosure is a different story.  Some employers regularly check their employees’ credit records.  As well, many require credit checks for new hires.  A foreclosure on your record can jeopardize your current position or future opportunities, as well as cause the revocation of a security clearance.

In the event of a foreclosure, many banks have the right to try and get a deficiency judgment, stating that you have failed to pay the entire amount of the mortgage.  With short sales, however, lenders will normally agree to give up the right to that judgment and put it in writing.

Lastly, keep in mind that Michigan foreclosures generally close below the price they would get from a short sale, so the remaining balance might be significantly higher with a foreclosure.

If you want to stay out of foreclosure through short sales, I can help.  Call me at 248-514-2640 or email me at for more information.

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


3 Major Things to Look at When Buying Michigan Foreclosures

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 9th, 2009

If you’re looking to get a good deal by buying one of the Michigan foreclosures in Oakland County, keep in mind that many of the homeowners not only didn’t have money for the mortgage, they probably didn’t have money for the upkeep of the house either.  If you’ve found a home you’re interested in, here’s a short checklist to follow even before you decide to contact a home inspector.  

For some Oakland County Michigan foreclosures, structure is a definite issue.  Pay close attention to the following, as they may indicate more severe problems:

  • Are the interior walls in good condition?  Any cracks and stains?
  • Are the floors in good condition?  What are they made of?  Some floors are made of substandard materials, unsafe for more than casual use.
  • Is the roof in good repair or are there missing/curled up shingles?
  • Are the gutters, downspouts and flashing in good condition?
  • Do the doors and windows stick or glide freely?  When closed, do they block out weather or is there a draft?

Look for these possible water problems:

  • Is there mold and mildew on the basement walls or a dark, scaly surface?  This can indicate too much moisture, and can mean a leak in the foundation.
  • Is the ceiling bubbling, have brown spots, patches or new paint?  New paint might be a sign of covering up stains from water leaks.
  • Are there drainpipes around the foundation?  Do they lead away from the foundation?  Are there cracks or a lot of weeds around the area? 

Inside Hazards
Many older houses haven’t been updated or may not be up to code.  Here are some of the more common issues:

  • Is there asbestos around exposed pipes for the furnace, heating system or water heater?
  • Can you see any signs of vermin or insects?  Mice, termites, cockroaches and bats all leave signs of habitation behind.

If everything else is good, have the house tested for radon, carbon monoxide and lead-based paint.

Although there are many other things to consider when looking to purchase one of the Michigan foreclosures, these three are essential to a healthy living environment.  Most importantly, make sure you’re an informed buyer. 

If you’re looking to buy a foreclosed home, I can help.  Call me today at 248-514-2640 or email me at for more information.

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


3 Big Tips on Staging Royal Oak Michigan Homes for Sale

Posted in Royal Oak Michigan Homes for Sale by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 6th, 2009

What is home staging and how will it help you sell your home?  Staging Royal Oak Michigan homes for sale is, quite literally, setting the stage for buyers.  You want the home to look good, you want it to have the right atmosphere to attract buyers, and you want the first impression to blow them away.

Staging a home can mean sprucing up the paint job, eliminating clutter, moving furniture around – practically anything that makes your home look better to the buyer is staging.  Whether you decide to do it yourself or hire a home staging professional, it can, and will, help you sell your home. 

Here are a few pointers on how to stage your home and how each suggestion can help sell your home faster or for more money:

1)  Style – Although the decorating styles of Royal Oak Michigan homes for sale range widely, you want to make sure your home doesn’t have too much of a good thing.  Too much decorating style overwhelms the potential buyers’ senses and doesn’t allow them to imagine adding their own personality to the home.  Try to look at your home from a buyer’s point of view and design it to sell.  

How it helps: Furnished homes with just a hint of style help buyers see possibilities they can bring to the home such as a different wall color, new curtains or hardwood floors versus carpeting.  The easier you make it for the buyers to see themselves living in the home, the better chance it has of selling.

2)  Clutter – In real estate terms, “clutter” is any personal touch that makes it obviously yours.  Remember, you’re trying to sell your home, not show people what a great decorator you are.  Before you start with open houses, pack up all your personal pictures, knick-knacks and bric-a-brac.

How it helps:  Removing your personal clutter lets potential buyers see it as their own.  No matter how much you love the items, leaving personal touches is, invariably, a turnoff to the buyer.  It makes it darn near impossible to see the house as anything but yours. 

3)  Cook – Before an open house, start baking chocolate chip cookies or an apple pie – something that smells good to most people.

How it helps:  Royal Oak Michigan homes for sale should feel, well, homey.  Anything they can see, smell, touch or feel should be set up for maximum selling affect.  Baking smells are an excellent touch. 

Home staging will help get your home ready to sell, and set you well on your way.  If you need help staging and selling your home, I’ll send you a FREE book, “Staging Tips to Prepare Your Home for Market.” If you want more information about how I can market your home to sell for top dollar, contact me at 248-514-2640 today.

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640


Do Royal Oak Michigan Homes for Sale Need Roof Inspections?

Posted in Royal Oak Michigan Homes for Sale by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 2nd, 2009

If you’re worried about the condition of the roof on one of  the Royal Oak Michigan homes for sale you want to buy, you may need a roof inspection.  Although some states don’t require that a roof inspection be included in the real estate contract, it’s often better to be on the safe side and get the roof inspected.

Just what is included in a roof inspection?  Here’s a short list:

What Is The Roof on the Royal Oak Michigan Home Made Of?
Roofs are commonly made of composition shingles, wood shake, or clay tiles.  The material the roof is made of can determine the life of the roof.  Tile roofs can last as long as fifty years, while wood shake has an expected “useful” life span of forty years.  Roofs made of composition shingles can last twenty to forty years, and are often under warranty for that amount of time.
How Many Repairs Have Been Made?
The roof inspector may also get a count of how many layers are on a roof.  Some states require that the roof be completely removed and replaced at certain levels.  The inspector will verify that previous roof repairs were done correctly and with the right materials.

Is There Any Roof Damage?
When inspecting roofs of Royal Oak Michigan homes for sale, the inspector will look for any slight movements that would indicate loose shingles or tiles.  He’ll look at the ridges of the roof and around the edges to gauge any damage.
The added expense of a roof inspection may seem steep, but it’s worth the cost to ensure that your roof is in good condition.

Thinking of buying?  Let me help you find one of the Royal Oak Michigan homes for sale (and roof) that’s in excellent condition.  Give me a call today at 248-514-2640 or email me at

Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes
Birmingham, Michigan
Call:  248-514-2640