Archive for September, 2009

Men vs. Women in the Bloomfield Hills Real Estate Ring

Posted in Bloomfield Hills Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 28th, 2009

Bloomfield Hills real estate is one of the biggest purchases anyone will make, whether male or female. And, while it’s been scientifically proven that men and women have different approaches to life, one would think that purchasing a home is pretty much the same across genders. We each have our own concerns and important issues, but they basically all add up to, “This is what I want in my home.”

Therefore, the results of a recent survey caused quite a bit of surprise. The survey pointed out places where inherent differences were clear, as well as places where there weren’t any differences at all. So, when it comes to a match in the Bloomfield Hills real estate boxing ring, who comes out on top?

Who is fastest at making up their minds on a home to buy?
Believe it or not, women grabbed the top mark at 70%. A full 8% more women made up their minds on whether to buy a house the day they walked into it. Of those that needed another visit or two, 32% were men, versus 23% of the women. Although women have a stereotype of being wishy-washy, this stereotype doesn’t hold true in the real estate market.

How close is the extended family?
If you had a choice between living closer to your extended family or closer to your job, which would you choose? According to the survey, 55% of the women would rather be closer to family, while only 37% of the men would.

What about home security? 
When it came to security concerns, men and women both agree. It may be the home of your dreams, but if it’s not safe, it’s “no thank you.” What was the percentage? Women grabbed 64%, while 51% of the men said the same. Security is something we appear to agree on.

How would you use a spare room? 
If you had an extra 12 x 12 room, how would you use it? With men and women both, we’d rather have a spare bedroom (25%), an office or study (15%), or a family room/den (11%).

Conclusion: Couples, if you’re looking to buy Bloomfield Hills real estate, sit down with your partner and lay out the rules. Find that fine line between what you each want, and no fighting, biting, kicking or scratching!

If you’re looking for the perfect home to fit what you both want, I can help! Call me at 248-514-2640 or email me at now for more information.

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


Horror Stories to Avoid When Buying Troy Michigan Real Estate

Posted in Troy Michigan Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 24th, 2009

Everybody has a horror story of some kind, when talking about Troy Michigan real estate. There are just some things most people don’t think about when searching for property to buy or sell, whether you’re the buyer, the seller or even, yes, the agent.

Exhibit A
Sheryl (name changed to protect the innocent) is exhibit A. Now, she thought she’d bought a nice house at a good price. Everything seemed to be perfect. The one place that Sheryl went wrong was forgetting to do a home inspection on that beautiful piece of Troy Michigan real estate.

After a pleasant day of moving in, she went to take a shower. Turning on the faucet, she noticed the water pressure wasn’t what it should be. Ignoring the indications of worse yet to come, she flipped from faucet to shower. Only a few lonely, sad drips came from the showerhead. To compound the issue, she discovered that the washer didn’t have enough pressure to get her clothes clean, washing dishes was an exercise in futility and if a hose was turned on in the garden the second story toilet wouldn’t flush.

After much ado, many phone calls and two plumbers, Sheryl found that the beautiful tree in the front yard that had sealed the deal had also burst the pipes. She now had to pay to have the tree removed (it couldn’t be saved), as well as the pipe dug up and replaced. In addition, she owed the water company for all the water lost through the break.

The moral: Don’t skimp on the details just because you’re under pressure.

Exhibit B
Bob, a real estate agent (again, name changed), still loves open houses. They’re a big deal for him and he makes plenty of contacts that way. However, even Bob, who has been in the industry for years, forgot to do a last walk through before a certain open house started. Unfortunately, he and the potential buyers found an unpleasant surprise in the upstairs bathroom, deposited thoughtfully by the current owner. In trying to take care of the surprise, he found the toilet was blocked and the bathroom fan didn’t work. Needless to say, the potential buyers didn’t stick around to tour the rest of the house.

The moral: A short walk-through can save a lot of embarrassment.

With any Troy Michigan real estate, there’s always the chance that you’ll miss something. A homebuyer’s checklist or home seller’s checklist is a great way to make sure you don’t. If you do, try to take what comes with a grain of salt, a lot of patience and as much of a smile as you can muster.

If you’re trying to find a great home without the horror, I can help. Call your Michigan Real Estate Expert at 248-514-2640 or email me at for more information.

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


How Can You Get Incentive Money, If You’re Not Selling Your Southeast Michigan Real Estate?

Posted in Southeast Michigan Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 21st, 2009

Not everybody is dealing with the worry of buying or selling Southeast Michigan real estate in Oakland County. Some are quite happy where they are, have no intention of moving, and selling is the last thing on their minds.

However, there are a lot of incentives out there to do something in Southeast Michigan real estate, and many are itching to dip into those incentives. So, if you’re not selling or buying, what can you do? Here are a few ideas:

Upgrades are something you can do to your home at any time. However, with the many government incentives out there, you can upgrade your home to be more energy efficient for less. For example, thanks to federal tax credits, you can install solar panels or a geothermal heat pump and get 30% back once you file your federal taxes.

Instead of just jumping in on upgrades, it’s best to start with an energy audit. An energy audit will tell you where your problem areas are in order of priority, as well as what incentives and credits are available to help you compensate for the cost.

In addition to getting you incentives and credits, these upgrades will raise the resale value of your home.  They’ll also lower your utility bills – sometimes by as much as 70%, depending on the size of the problems and the upgrades you make.

If you’ve always wanted to remodel, now is a great time to do it. Contractors and remodelers aren’t as busy as they have been. For you, this means the chance to save money. Bargains are available on materials, labor costs and overall remodeling costs. Be aware that there are some shady companies, so make sure you investigate before signing a contract with anyone.

Although home refinancing isn’t the best thing to do for everyone, it’s something to look into if you’re struggling with mortgage payments. Talk to your lender and see what your choices are. If you can get better financing than you currently have, this may be a great option for you!

Just because you aren’t selling your Southeast Michigan real estate doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the down market. Look around, investigate, and see what options you have open as a homeowner to increase the property value or get the best out of the home you do have.

If you’re looking for the best upgrades and remodels to increase your home’s resale value, 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


Troy Michigan Real Estate: Can’t Afford the Rent on Homes?

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

Not ready to buy Troy Michigan real estate now?  If you’ve looked at renting a Troy home but think you can’t afford it, you might want to take another look. This is especially true if you have a good credit history. When it comes to finding tenants, landlords have never been more willing to play “Let’s Make a Deal.”

Sitting Pretty
Why would any landlord be willing to make a deal? The reason topping the list is, of course, the economy. With so many people having lost their jobs, finding tenants who can afford the rent on time isn’t easy. Second, many renters are trying to save money by having roommates. Thirdly, because of the marketing slump there are plenty of homeowners renting out their Troy Michigan real estate rather than selling it.  Lastly, because of the first-time buyer tax credit, many potential renters are becoming homeowners instead.

All of these points add up to a high amount of vacancies, which put landlords in a pickle and have renters sitting pretty.

Taking Steps
Many landlords are trying everything they can to keep their rentals occupied to help pay for the maintenance on the buildings. The steps they’ve taken include such things as:

  • Lowering rents
  • Giving a month or two of free rent
  • Lowering deposits
  • Offering upgrades
  • Offering storage and parking at lower rates
  • Relaxing pet policies
  • Allowing more leniency for breaking the Troy Michigan real estate lease

Let’s Make a Deal
So what can you do to take advantage of the renting situation? What points can you base your bargain on?

  • Start with a good credit rating. If you have a history of paying on time, you have a chance at negotiation.
  • Pay attention to the average rent in the area. If the rents on the Troy homes you’re looking at are higher than average, you have a point to negotiate.
  • Look at one-bedroom homes first, if they will work. Many two- and three- bedroom homes are taken by individuals sharing rent and families. There may be a surplus of one-bedroom houses, so you might have a better chance of snagging one of them.

If you’re looking for an affordable place to rent or buy, 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


Troy Michigan Real Estate: Selling Your Home? There’s Still Hope!

Posted in Troy Michigan Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 14th, 2009

Many who have put their Troy Michigan real estate up for sale in the past year are still waiting to put that “Sold” sign in the yard.  If this is you, don’t panic! There’s still hope for closing the sale this year.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, home sales have risen five months in a row. Great news for everyone currently in the real estate market. Why are they rising? A few reasons:

  • Mortgage interest rates are at an all time low.
  • Home prices are dropping to become more affordable.
  • Buyers have a large selection to choose from, which encourages buyers that might otherwise have held out.
  • First time buyers are rushing to buy before the $8,000 tax credit ends, which means closing the deal before November of this year.

Here are a few tips to help you get your Troy Michigan real estate sold before the year is up:

  1. Pricing – The key for most homebuyers seems to be the price. In fact, lower priced homes are selling the fastest. Go over your pricing with your real estate agent. Discuss whether you can afford to drop your home price, and if so, by how much.
  2. Valuation – A major reason for some of the sales falling through is because appraisals were performed by home appraisers outside of the area. Unfortunately, many of them appraised homes lower than the price the buyers and sellers had negotiated. Because of this, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae push for appraisals to be done by home appraisers in the local area and appraisers who are more experienced with the local area’s housing trends and market. So, when it’s time to have your house evaluated, choose someone in your area, and ask that the buyer does the same.
  3. Competition – Because there is so much competition, it’s always a good idea to take one last look at your home. Take your Troy Michigan real estate agent with you and go over the home with a fine-toothed comb. What can you do to up the value? What can you do to make it more appealing?

Lastly, don’t give up hope! You have a great house to sell and buyers are looking. Do your best, listen to your agent and stay relaxed.

If you’re ready to sell your home, 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


Do Southeast Michigan Foreclosures Make Good Rental Real Estate?

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 10th, 2009

Even, perhaps especially, in an economic downturn, people are trying to make a living in the real estate market. “Flipping” houses used to be a great way to make a little cash, but not now. Many are now looking at long-term cash prospects, such as renting property, and Southeast Michigan foreclosures seem to be a good start. But are they? Let’s take a look.

Finding a good rental property isn’t easy. It’s not like shopping; you can’t go into a real estate store and grab the first house off the rack that looks good on you. It’s a process of investigating, gaining knowledge and being realistic. This is especially true when looking at Michigan foreclosures.

Homeowners who suffered foreclosure were unable to pay the mortgage. We all know that.  What people usually don’t think about is that the homeowners were probably also unable to pay for upkeep. This means that you, as the buyer, have a larger possibility of buying a money pit rather than a moneymaker. Keep this in mind as you look over a few tips for finding good rental property:

1. Location – Since you’re looking at foreclosed properties rather than properties that are already set up for renting, you can’t check established rental records. However, you can ask your real estate agent for a list of areas with less people moving out and more moving in. As well, look at areas with surrounding retail development. New shopping malls, theatres and restaurants will bring in more people to an area.

2. Addition and subtraction – It’s time to do the math. Ask your real estate agent for what the going rental rates are in the area you’re looking at. You’ll need to find out if the rent you can charge will take care of expenses as well as bring you profit. Figure the yearly income you can expect to make and then subtract mortgage payments and operating expenses. If your math produces a negative balance, don’t buy the property.

3. Taxes – Once you pay expenses, your income is taxable. Now, while you can depreciate rental property,  you can’t depreciate the land it’s on. Talk to a real estate agent or accountant to decide whether it’s worth it or not.

If you follow these three tips and remember to pay attention to the amount of repair needed, you might just find some fantastic deals on Southeast Michigan foreclosures in Oakland County. Take a little time to make sure renting is for you, and then get started.

If you’re looking for potential rental property, 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


Michigan Foreclosures in Oakland County, Title Searches and Title Insurance

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 7th, 2009

When you’re looking to buy a home, and especially when you’re looking at Michigan foreclosures in Oakland County or anywhere else, title searches are important.

Many buyers make the mistake of settling for a quitclaim deed without doing a title search. Unfortunately, the person who signs the quitclaim deed may not be the actual person holding the title. If there are any liens on the title, the new owner may get an unpleasant surprise at closing. With Michigan foreclosures, the possibility that there is a lien on the title is even greater.

What is a title search?
Title searches are performed by title companies or lawyers. These companies and attorneys search the public records for information on the property’s ownership. The goal is to find out if there are any problems with the title.

What kind of information can a title search give you?
A complete title search will cover such things as:

  • How many mortgages the property has
  • Any liens, such as judgments or mortgages, on the property
  • Taxes owed on the property

The purpose, other than finding current information, is to establish chain-of-title – who owned the property at what time, who they sold it to and so on. Title companies look for proof that any encumbrances have been taken care of, as well as easements, rights-of-way and anything else that can affect the title.

Why get title insurance?
Most title companies also offer title insurance. Title insurance, depending on the company, provides a guarantee that the title is clear, as well as insuring that you can’t be held accountable for forgery, fraud, defective records or incorrect signatures that occurred before you received the title. It also guarantees that there is no encumbrance or judgment on the property.

Michigan Foreclosures in Oakland County are a good bet for a great home or investment property. However, make sure you know what you’re getting by having a title search done. As well, spend the money on that one-time fee for title insurance. It may be the best investment you’ve ever made!

Thinking of buying a home?  As a licensed Real Estate Broker and Lawyer, I’m not your average REALTOR®.  I can guide you easily through the entire real estate process, from negotiating the price and writing a contract to having a title search performed to signing your closing papers.  And, I can keep you from making a mistake that could cost you thousands of dollars. 

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


Southeast Michigan Real Estate: Eco-friendly Tax Credits for Home Owners

Posted in Southeast Michigan Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 3rd, 2009

Do you own Southeast Michigan real estate?  Being eco-friendly is an important issue to most people today. Making your home as energy efficient as possible makes sense on many levels, but do you know it makes sense when it comes to federal tax credits too? They’re not small incentives either. These tax credits are another major reason to be serious about going green in your home.

Tax Credits for Existing Homes

Making your home energy efficient will benefit you whether you are planning to stay in your home for years to come or you are considering selling your Southeast Michigan real estate in the near future. Prospective buyers will react favorably to eco-friendly installations.  It will also help move your home faster and get a better price.

In 2009 and 2010, you could get major tax incentives for going green too. When you purchase certain energy efficient items, you may get as much as 30% (up to $1,500) of the cost of the item returned to you as a tax credit.  These items include:

  • Energy efficient windows and doors
  • Energy efficient insulation (primary use must be for insulation. Items such as insulated siding are not included)
  • New Roofs created with Energy Star materials
  • Most HVAC products including: central air units, air pumps, furnace for natural gas, propane, or oil, water heaters, main unit circulation fans.
  • Geothermal Heat Systems
  • Solar Energy
  • Biomass Stove
  • Wind Turbine System
  • Residential Fuel Cells and other Microturbine Energy systems
  • Hybrid Cars (hybrid gas, electric, diesel, battery, alternative and fuel cell) May have a much higher tax value between $2,500 and $7,500 based on several criteria

Tax Credits for Construction and New Homes

There are also excellent tax credits for consumers building a new home. These credits are up to 30% of cost on acceptable items with NO limit. These items include:

  • Geothermal Heat Pumps
  • Solar Panels
  • Solar Water Heaters
  • Wind Turbines
  • Fuel Cells

Protecting your Southeast Michigan real estate, making it more energy efficient, and saving money has always been important, but there has never been a better time to get started.

If you would like more information on how to take advantage of the Federal Tax Credit for Energy Efficiency, 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