Archive for November, 2009

Does Your ARM Increase Mean You’ll Become One of the Michigan Foreclosures?

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 30th, 2009

With the current Michigan foreclosure woes, and the strains of the economy these days, many people are worried about what they’ll do when their ARM (adjustable rate mortgage) resets.  Here are a few suggestions to help you weather the current financial storm:

What is an ARM?
ARM refers to a mortgage loan that has a variable interest rate.  The amount of the monthly payments will change several times over the life of the loan.  ARMs usually have a lower introductory interest rate than a fixed-rate mortgage.  After a period of time, the interest rate is recalculated, resulting in a higher interest rate and monthly payment.

Get Out Your Loan Paperwork
Many homeowners are worried about what will happen to their monthly payments when the ARM resets.  Foreclosure is a real worry.  The best way to avoid Michigan foreclosures is to know exactly what the terms of your loan agreement are.  Look for the date that the interest rate is set to change.  Find out what the cap is on each interest rate adjustment, and what the cap is for interest increases throughout the life of the loan.

After you have gathered that information, you can calculate what your ARM will reset to.  It’s best to know what the worst-case scenario payment could be when your ARM adjusts.  This information can help you determine if you are going to need help getting your loan payments manageable.  The next step is to make a detailed list of your current and future income and bills.  This will give you a better understanding of your financial status

Call Your Mortgage Company
If, after you make this list, you can see that you are going to have trouble making the difference in the monthly payments, call your mortgage company.  It’s best to call them before you miss a payment.  They may be able to renegotiate the terms of your loan for you.

If you’re ready to sell your home, I can help. Call me at 248-514-2640 or email me at for more information.  Ask me about a Short Sale.

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


Troy Michigan Real Estate for Sale? 6 Tips for Selling Now

Posted in Troy Michigan Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 26th, 2009

If your Troy Michigan real estate for sale isn’t selling, you’re probably wondering if you’re missing something. Well, here’s a list of things you might not know that could make all the difference:

1. If the location of your Troy Michigan real estate isn’t great, the price and terms are the only thing that will sell it. Make them outstanding!

2. Attractive, competitive terms may help you get a higher price. For instance, if you’re allowing the option of owner financing, and also allow a smaller down payment (say, $20,000 – $30,000), you may be able to sell your house for a higher overall amount.

3. Because of the current high competition, your home has to be in the best condition at a competitive price. Check out the competition, accept that yours might need work, and get to it.

4. You can’t set a limit for home improvement. If your home needs something done to beat the competition and you can do it, do it! You aren’t just spending money; you’re investing in the sale of your home. Although you may not get all your money back, you just might get a quick sale at full value.

5. Staging – you’ve heard of it; tons of agents are talking about it. If you want to get your house sold, either invest in staging services or do your homework and stage the home yourself. It’s all about presentation.  I’ll be happy to send you the FREE book “Staging Tips to Prepare Your Home for Market.” Order yours now!

6. Remember that you are no longer the host/hostess of the house. You are a business person, and your business is getting that house sold. Don’t let your emotions get in the way of a solid business deal.

Putting up your Troy Michigan real estate for sale is a daunting prospect. If it’s been up for a while, it can be an exercise in frustration. However, keep the above points in mind, listen to the experts and put what you learn to work for you.

If you’d like to get your home sold, 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


2009-Another Bad Year for the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Seller

Posted in Southeast Michigan Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 23rd, 2009

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released the results of its annual suvey of homebuyers and sellers and they once again confirm that it makes little sense to try and sell your home by yourself.

In 2009, the FSBO seller had a 6% chance of selling to someone that he or she did not already know. Add to that the fact that, on average, he or she would have sold for 25% more had they hired a REALTOR, you have to wonder why anyone would even try. The most important reason given by the FSBO sellers to try to sell by themselves was to avoid paying a commission. So, those that succeeded, ended up netting 19% less assuming they “saved” a 6% commission.

The most difficult tasks reported by the FSBO sellers were, among other things, setting the right price, understanding and preparing the paperwork, selling within the needed time, attracting buyers, having enough time to devote to the sale and helping the buyer obtain financing.

If you’re thinking about selling your Southeast Michigan real estate, I can help you get top price.  Call me  today at 248-514-2640 or email me at for more information.

Lee Morof sells North Woodward Homes in Oakland County Michigan

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


Troy Michigan Real Estate for Sale: Are You a Competitive Seller?

Posted in Troy Michigan Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 23rd, 2009

Do you have a competitive nature? Do you always have to have the last say? Do you always feel you have to win? If you have Troy Michigan real estate for sale, you may have “competed” yourself right out of a buyer. Please, read on to find out how NOT to make this mistake.

Who Calls the Shots?
You’ve probably heard “it’s a buyer’s market” many, many times already. With the number of people who have Troy Michigan real estate for sale, this is something you can’t afford to ignore. This is especially true considering that the longer your house sits on the market the more it depreciates.

A competitive nature is all well and good, but, when dealing with potential buyers, you have to rein it in. Winning, in this case, is not getting the last word, but selling your home. As you enter into negotiations, keep in mind that the end goal is to sell.

Buyers know they have the market. While this doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll try to walk all over you, it does mean that they may try to negotiate:

  • On price
  • On closing date
  • On inspection period
  • On closing costs  
  • On anything

Now, just because they’re trying to negotiate doesn’t mean they aren’t qualified buyers. You may have a very qualified potential buyer trying to negotiate with you.

Warning: at this point, your competitive nature may try to rise up and crush the negotiating potential buyer. Restrain yourself – strenuously if you have to.

While dealing with offers, counter offers and counter-counter offers, ask yourself if you’re being competitive, silly or surprisingly realistic. Are you turning down their offer because it isn’t an exact fit for you? Do you have a legitimate reason for the counter offer, or are you trying to “one-up?” Will a requested change really make that much difference to you?

Although I’m not suggesting that you take the first offer that comes along without looking at it, or that you take an offer that is less than you can afford to take, I am suggesting that you remember there are plenty of people with Troy Michigan real estate for sale. As you look at the offers, keep this in mind. Shut down that competitive nature and remember that the only way you really win is when you sign the papers and hand over the keys.

Ready to get your home sold?  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


National Foreclosure Trends and Michigan Foreclosures

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 19th, 2009

Everybody wants to know how the housing market is doing, especially if they own real estate in Oakland County, Michigan. I try to keep the newsy pieces to a minimum and spend most of my Internet space on helpful pointers, but a lot of readers have asked about the market. In response to high demand, here’s a peek at the current national foreclosure trends and how it looks for Michigan foreclosures:

Foreclosure Trends
It’s a wonderful thing to own any kind of real estate (although I’m partial to Oakland County, Michigan, of course). Unfortunately, many people have lost their homes due to foreclosure since the housing crisis started; there have been over 7.8 million since 2007. California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Illinois and Michigan foreclosures have been topping the count, adding up to 62% of the nation’s foreclosures.

California’s numbers reached 349,435 foreclosures last month, and it was feared that those numbers might escalate. However, there’s some good news there. Even though homeowners are still teetering, lending institutions are caving in under government pressure to work with those homeowners. For that matter, they may even be working with the government to stem the deluge of foreclosures. conducted a survey of homeowners that shows we may have as many as 25 million foreclosures before everything is said and done, mainly due to homeowners who are tired of watching housing prices fall. Such a glut of the market could cause some serious repercussions for the economy. However, again, there are some positive points.

For instance, current mortgage interest rates are ranging from as low as 4% to 5.5%, cut almost in half from the “housing boom” years. While housing prices may be dropping, the fall is slowing down. As well, lower prices mean more affordable homes. While this may not be a good thing for homeowners, it’s an excellent thing for home buyers.

As prices drop and homes become more affordable, the glutted housing market of foreclosed and for sale homes is slowly shrinking. As the reserve market (the number of houses per capita that are for sale) shrinks, consumer confidence will build up (something we desperately need). Housing demand will rise, surplus will shrink, and prices will stabilize.

Of course, in the meantime, while you’re waiting for things to stabilize, hold on to Oakland County real estate. Take advantages of the tax breaks available to upgrade your existing property, maybe get the renovations done you’ve always wanted. There are still opportunities in this market – you just have to find them!

If you’re a buyer looking for a great home, act now to find amazing bargains on Michigan foreclosures or 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


Bloomfield Hills Real Estate: Let’s Get a Little Down to Earth About Thanksgiving in Your Home

Posted in Bloomfield Hills Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 16th, 2009

Yesterday, I was driving through the city, wondering if a potential buyer was going to show up to look at some Bloomfield Hills real estate I’m showing. I’d had a bad day; the car didn’t want to start, what I’d planned to wear was dirty, I’d run out of milk and so on, and so on. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the best of moods.

As I stopped at a light, grouching because the light would make me late, I happened to look over and see a woman with her daughter. The little girl had holes in her coat, a ragged hat, torn up shoes and a teddy bear missing an eye that she clutched as she smiled up at her worried mother – who had a “Please help” sign in her hands. As I drove on to show the Bloomfield Hills real estate, and further throughout the day, that little girl’s smile stuck with me.

Last night, I came across a news broadcast about a family of five living in a one-room apartment after losing their house and I remembered that little girl. All of this comes down to one thing…

It’s coming up on Thanksgiving, people are searching turkey recipesdecorations are being pulled out… and the current problems in the world make it hard to find something to be grateful for. However, they’re there if you only look.

If you have a home and you’re trying to sell it, it’s understandable that you might be upset if it’s not moving. As hard as it may be, however, remember that at least you have a home to sell.

If you’re looking for a home to buy and you can’t afford the fancy one you wanted but you can afford a slightly smaller one, remember – at least you can afford something.

If you’re upset that your job isn’t paying enough, you’re working long hours or not enough, remember the millions that no longer have a job.

Whatever your problem that may be weighing you down when Thanksgiving rolls around, remember that it truly could be worse. It is worse, for so many people.

I’ll even start the list: I’m grateful for all of my clients. I’m grateful that I have Bloomfield Hills real estate to show and potential buyers that want to see them. For my readers, my friends, my family and my own home… Happy Thanksgiving, and may you always have something to be grateful for!

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


Southeast Michigan Real Estate Homeowners – Get Your Fireplace Ready

Posted in Southeast Michigan Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 12th, 2009

For Southeast Michigan real estate homeowners, winter is almost here and few things are as comforting as the smell of wood burning in the fireplace of their home.  Before you light the first fire of the year, there are a few things you need to do.  Here is the short list for fireplace safety:

Clean Out the Chimney
Everyone wants to get out of the cold weather, including birds and squirrels.  Have a chimney cap installed at the top of the chimney to keep out small animals looking for shelter.  The cap will also keep debris from clogging the chimney.

Have a professional clean out any creosote residue.  Creosote is the build up of carbon from burning wood.  It is flammable and needs to be removed every year.

Creosote is hazardous to your health.  It can cause respiratory problems, so don’t try to clean it out on your own.  Some home improvement stores sell a creosote removal log that you burn in your fireplace, it may clean your fireplace incompletely, so it’s best to go with a professional chimney cleaning company.

Prepare the Surrounding Area
Southeast Michigan real estate homeowners, before you light your fireplace, make sure that the area around your fireplace is free from clutter.  You’ll want to make sure there is at least two to three feet of cleared space around the fireplace. 

Invest in a fireplace screen so that nothing is accidentally knocked into the fireplace.  It will also help to prevent burning embers from flying out.

Each time you get ready use the fireplace, clean out the ashes from the previous fire. 

Light the Fire
First, open the fireplace damper so the proper airflow can occur.  Then, start with paper or kindling placed on top of the fireplace grate.  Use seasoned firewood cut to the right length for your fireplace.  A couple of logs will be enough; you don’t want to add too many or the fire will suffocate. 

Following these fireplace safety instructions can help you enjoy this winter season without worry.  So, if you’re a Southeast Michigan real estate homeowner, feel free to light that fireplace and soon the aroma of burning wood will fill your home.

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


Owning Troy Michigan Real Estate – Has the American Dream Died?

Posted in Troy Michigan Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 9th, 2009

Some people who are supposedly “in the know” believe the American dream of owning a home has died.  They spout “facts” that say home ownership – not just for Troy Michigan real estate, but also across the nation – is no longer on the minds of the majority of Americans.

Additionally, according to some of these individuals, suburban sprawl is the reason for:

  • the housing bubble burst,
  • the breakdown of social mores,
  • global warming (due to commutes, of course)
  • and more.

It’s amazing that the nation’s suburbs can cause so many problems, isn’t it?

Is the American dream of home ownership really dead? The number of people buying Troy Michigan real estate homes versus renting them points to a definitive… maybe. However, in newspapers and on the Internet, we’re seeing tons of “if you can’t sell your home, rent it out” information. We’re seeing potential homebuyers being told that renting may be the best option. Why?

The economy, of course. While there are plenty of want-to-be homeowners, those same people choose to rent rather than own for a wide variety of reasons. The main reason, however, is that they think it will be cheaper.

When you first think of buying a home, it sounds like an overwhelming prospect with lots of money involved. However, while the down payment is much more than it would be for a rental property, it’s time to really look at the cost. Instead of example numbers, let me point you to’s Rent vs. Buy a Home calculator

Now, before you start plugging in numbers, remember that the national average for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is around 4.5% – 5%. The national averages for mortgage rates in general range from 3% to 5.5%. Of course, every situation is different, but think about it and really do your research before you decide whether to rent or purchase Troy Michigan real estate.  Don’t just assume it’s better to rent; renting may not be the cheap option you think it is.

If you’d like to find your piece of the American dream, 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


Waiting for Prices to Plummet on Royal Oak Michigan Homes for Sale May Be a Mistake

Posted in Royal Oak Michigan Homes for Sale by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 5th, 2009

If you’re looking at Royal Oak Michigan homes for sale, want to buy a home and are waiting around for better prices, you might want to rethink your strategy.

If you’re a market watcher, soaking up the information overload across news media and Internet websites, you’re probably overwhelmed with confusion by now. Is the housing market getting better? Is it getting worse? Was there really, when it gets down to it, a housing bubble collapse? And, if so, who popped it?

First, the quick answers. Yes, the housing bubble collapsed, and everybody had a hand in popping it: the government, the lenders, the investors and the general public. Now the hard answers: it’s getting better – and worse.

The truth is that market predictors are all on the fence. With the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) giving first time homeowners some incentive to buy Royal Oak Michigan homes for sale and elsewhere, there has been a steady increase of sales. However, once the tax credit deadline hits at the end of this month, the numbers are once again expected to drop.

Again, though, it’s better and worse. While the housing market is still dropping in some areas, such as the southeast in Mississippi, Alabama and so forth, there are definitely some strong markets in the country.

For instance, Boulder, Colorado holds 60% of the share of increasing home values. The average value is about $350,000, but there’s a limit in place on the amount of homes allowed in the area. In Binghamton, New York, the average value of a home is around $112,000. They also have a housing limit, which means a small supply, so prices probably aren’t going to plummet.

Just because this is a buyer’s market, doesn’t mean you’ll get the exact price you’re looking for. If you want to buy a home and you’re waiting around for the prices of homes to plummet into a “sweet deal,” make sure you don’t wait yourself into an expensive mistake.

Instead of checking market forecasts, potential homebuyers need to look at things the way we always should have. Do I want to buy a house? Can I afford one of the Royal Oak Michigan homes for sale the way things are now? By researching, crunching numbers and answering the important questions, you’ll find the sweetest deal you could ever have: a wonderful house you can afford.

If you’re looking for a place to call your own, 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


Top 3 Real Estate Calculators for Buying Royal Oak Michigan Homes for Sale

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

If you’re looking at one of the many Royal Oak Michigan homes for sale (and especially when reading about buying a home), you’ve probably already read articles that ask, “How much house can you afford?” and “Can you really afford the mortgage for a new home?” From beginning to end, to get a good estimate, you’ll need to figure monthly payments, loan qualification guidelines, closing costs and much more. Frankly, all those calculations can set your head to reeling.

To cut down on some of the frustration, save a few trees from the paper you’d use up and help give you a better guestimate, I’ve decided to go looking for the best real estate calculators I could find on the Net. Here are my top 3 picks I’ve come across:

#3. Real Estate Calculator Suite – This product seems to be an excellent choice for anyone, whether you’re a homebuyer, seller or even, yes, a real estate agent like me. Sixteen different real estate and mortgage calculators can help you figure out refinancing costs, amortization schedules – even whether it’s better to rent or buy one the Royal Oak Michigan homes for sale. Although it’s $40.00, which might seem rather expensive to many, it could more than make up for the time you’d spend staring at a sheet of paper and numbers. To top it all off, it even includes a home inspection form and to do list for movers, tying your buying or selling experience up nicely.

#2. Yahoo! Real Estate Calculators – You can’t beat a search engine for information, and the Yahoo! Real Estate really does a thorough job in collecting a fantastic amount of calculators. Budgeting and finance, mortgage refinancing, deciding fixed or adjustable rate mortgages and more are all available on this one page. The major upside as compared to the Real Estate Calculator Suite is that it’s free.

#1. – CNN isn’t a worldwide news network for nothing, and they’ve taken their complete coverage to calculators. On one page, you have over thirty calculators to figure out everything. Compare costs of living for any area, figure out how much house you can afford, calculate the gain or loss on your home and more. As a bonus, it’s all free, too.

I ranked as the top due to the amazing amount of information you can gain in one place. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t try one of the others, or even all three. If you want one of the Royal Oak Michigan homes for sale, get to calculating, get informed and see what you can accomplish.

Or, you can contact me, and I’ll do the figuring for you.  Call Lee Morof, the 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


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