Archive for February, 2009

Is An Earnest Money Deposit On Bloomfield Hills Real Estate Necessary?

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

Your Bloomfield Hills REALTOR® may say that you must provide earnest money when making an offer on Bloomfield Hills real estate. It’s usually in the form of a check, and the funds will be verified by your mortgage company prior to final approval of the loan.

This earnest money reassures the home seller you’re indeed serious about the offer you’re making.  Once the terms of the deal are worked out between you and the seller, the earnest money is placed in an account held in trust until your loan closes.  Then the money will be used for your down payment and closing costs. 

What if the Deal Falls Through?

If the deal falls through at any time, any cancellation fees are paid out of the earnest money. The remainder of the money continues to be held in trust until you and the seller agree on the disbursement of the money.  If the deal is canceled early in the process, it’s usually a simple matter of the seller signing over the deposit to you.

What if You Cancel the Transaction?  

If the transaction is canceled by you, the buyer, some sellers mistakenly believe that the earnest money is forfeited to them.  That’s not likely to happen because no buyer is going to let the seller just have the earnest money.  Because the money is held in a trust and both parties must sign a release of escrow, no one can make you give the earnest money away.  In this situation, work with your Bloomfield Hills real estate agent to help you negotiate the return of your earnest money.

What if an Agreement Cannot Be Reached?

If the buyer and the seller are unable to come to an agreement about the earnest money, the broker holding the funds in trust can make a written judgment and disburse the money.  If the broker is unable to make a determination, he or she can turn the money over to the State’s real estate commission to make a decision.  Rarely does a court of law have to be involved.

For more information on earnest money or answers to any other questions you have about buying Bloomfield Hills real estate, call me at 248-514-2640 or email

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


Should You Buy A Fixer-Upper For Your Southeast Michigan Real Estate Investment Property?

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

Are you considering buying a fixer-upper in order to get a great deal on Southeast Michigan real estate? If you are able to make a few home improvements yourself, you may be able to save thousands on the purchase price of investment property.

Several things are important to think about before you buy that fixer-upper.  The first is the condition of the house.  Some repairs are so expensive and difficult to make that you might not be able to recoup your initial investment. Basic repairs that you can reasonably expect to complete are:

  • Removing old wallpaper, patching the walls and painting the interior and exterior.
  • Replacing worn-out flooring and carpet.
  • Repairing any broken windows or light fixtures, including ceiling fans

If you venture too much farther into home improvement territory, you may find that you bit off more than you can chew.  As a rule, heating and central air conditioning repairs are expensive.  Similarly, foundation repair and re-roofing are usually too much for the average handyman to tackle.

Other projects that are often not cost-effective are complete kitchen and bathroom remodeling and replacing the main plumbing of your Southeast Michigan real estate.  Any improvement that involves building an addition or tearing out walls probably won’t have a good return on your money.

After you find that fixer-upper in just the right state of disrepair, too derelict to catch anyone’s attention, but without any repairs beyond your abilities, you’ll want to make sure that the location is good.  If the Oakland County real estate you’re considering buying, in Southeast Michigan, is near a busy highway or close to a rail yard, you may have trouble finding a buyer after you’ve fixed it up. 

To get the best return on your investment, you need to find a fixer-upper with the right combination of location and condition.  I can help you find a great buy on investment property, call me today at 248-514-2640 or email

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


Can You Stop Michigan Foreclosures?

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

If you’re looking at hard times, and have fallen behind on your real estate mortgage payments, you may already think it’s too late to save your home from becoming one of the Michigan  foreclosures.  But rest assured, you can take steps to keep your home and stop the process. 

  1. One of the most important things to do is keep the lines of communication open with your lender.  Most lenders would much rather avoid foreclosing on your Southeast Michigan real estate.  If you call your lender as soon as you miss a payment, you may be able to qualify for a forbearance, which could cancel the payment that you are unable to make.  You are unlikely to receive forbearance more than once, so make sure that you will be able to start making payments at the time the forbearance runs out.
  2. Of course, the simplest way to avoid becoming one of the Michigan foreclosure is to pay the total amount owed, including all the attorney’s fees.  But, you probably wouldn’t be worried about foreclosure if you were able to do that.
  3. If you are not able to make payments to get caught up, you still have one final option to keep your home.  In some cases, filing bankruptcy can stop the Michigan foreclosure process.  If your condo doesn’t have a lot of equity built up that could be used to pay off your debts, the courts may allow you to keep your home.  The past due and current mortgage payments are included in a payment plan designed to get you out of debt in three to five years.  The decision to file for bankruptcy protection should not be made without consulting with a lawyer.

If the foreclosure process can’t be stopped, you still have the opportunity to keep your home.  You have until the actual day of the Trustee’s Sale of your real estate to pay up what you’re behind, or make arrangements to be caught up on your loan. 

After the sale, you enter a redemption period, during which you can get your home back if you’re able to satisfy the terms of your lender.  You will likely have at least 180 days before the redemption period expires.

Do you have other real estate related questions?  As a licensed real estate broker and lawyer I’m uniquely qualified to answer your questions.  I can help you buy or sell Oakland County real estate in Southeast Michigan.  Call me today at 248-514-2640 or email me at right now!

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


What Is The Michigan Foreclosure Process For Your Real Estate?

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 15th, 2009

With all the talk of Michigan foreclosures in the news, it’s easy to get worried about the future of your home.  The good news is that you have plenty of warning from your lender before they foreclose on the property. 

Foreclosure is when the lender takes legal action to repossess your home if you default on the loan.  When you miss the first payment, your lender will call you to make arrangements to get your loan current.  It’s very important to talk to your lender at this point.  If you’re having trouble making the payment due to a temporary problem, your lender may offer you forbearance on your loan for a month or two.

If you miss a second payment, the lender will begin to call you more often demanding that you catch up on the loan payments.  You may begin receiving letters from the lender telling you to become current or they will take appropriate legal action. 

If you continue to fall behind on your mortgage, and aren’t able to make a third payment, you’ll receive a different kind of letter from your lender.  You will receive a Notice of Acceleration from the lender telling you to become current on your payments by a certain date, or the entire amount of the loan will become due and payable.  If you are unable to pay up, the lender will begin the Michigan foreclosure process on your property.

Remember, a lender would rather work out a deal with you and avoid the whole foreclosure process altogether.  Keep in contact with your lender, and you may still be able to make a payment arrangement with them and keep your home out of foreclosure.

It can take from two to three months before the foreclosure is final and your home is sold to the highest bidder.  You can pay the total amount owed up until the day of the sale and keep your home. 

Want more real estate advice and home maintenance tips?  Subscribe to my blog now.  You’ll automatically receive free real estate advice and tips in your email inbox a couple of times a week. 

If you’re interested in purchasing one of the Michigan foreclosures and want to know when you can purchase a foreclosed home, call me at 248-514-2640 or email now!

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


Southeast Michigan Real Estate – Advantages When Buying Smaller Homes

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

Should you always buy the biggest home that you can afford?  When you’re thinking of purchasing Southeast Michigan real estate you need to decide if you need a larger home that can give you room to entertain and a place for guests to stay.  On the other hand, a larger house will likely have higher property taxes and maintenance costs.  A smaller home may be just what you need to meet your mortgage budget and lifestyle.

Some advantages of buying a smaller home are:

  1. Lower sale price.  A smaller home may have a lower sale price, reducing the amount of the down payment you have to make.  The closing costs you have to pay on a smaller mortgage may also be less.  You may even be able to pay for your new home completely out of the proceeds of the sale of your larger previous home.
  2. More money in your pocket at the end of each month.  A smaller home can save you a lot of money by reducing utility bills, and you’ll save money on your homeowner’s insurance.  
  3. Lower maintenance costs.  Smaller homes usually require you to spend less on maintenance and repairs.  Less square footage can mean fewer places for something to go wrong. 
  4. Keep your free time free.  If you buy a smaller Southeast Michigan home, you could save more than just money, you’ll cut the amount of time that you will spend cleaning and maintaining the home.  It’s possible that you’ll enjoy your free time more too, having fewer household chores taking up your time, and more money available to spend on recreation
  5. You won’t have any room for extended houseguests.  This may be good news or bad news, depending on your personality.  If you like a house full of guests, then you’re likely to have already decided on the larger home.  For the rest of you, it may be a relief not to have the free space to have houseguests. 

You may find the benefits of buying smaller Southeast Michigan real estate far outweigh the implied prestige of owning a larger home.  No matter what size home you prefer, I can help you choose the best home to fit your lifestyle.  Call me at 248-514-2640 or email me at to get started!

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


Pros and Cons of Renting Troy Michigan Real Estate

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

If you’re wondering if it’s the right time for you to buy Troy Michigan real estate, you might want to think about the pros and cons of renting versus buying.  Here are a few of them, which might help you make up your mind:
Let’s first go over the advantages of renting a home

  • You don’t have to worry about finding a mortgage lender
  • You don’t lose equity as the real estate market rises and falls; then again, you don’t gain equity either.
  • You don’t have to put down as much money up front
  • You have fixed rental fees that won’t fluctuate during the length of your lease
  • All you have to do is leave when your lease is up.  You don’t have to worry about selling your home.
  • You don’t have to pay for maintenance of the home other than normal cleaning.  

Now let’s go over the disadvantages of renting

  • Your investment never goes up. You never gain equity.
  • You don’t gain an investment, in which you can use the equity for other things as you grow older.
  • You’re generally not free to do your own maintenance.
  • You can’t decorate or renovate your rental home any way you want.
  • You can’t receive some great tax breaks that go with homeownership.
  • It’s possible for the home to be sold out from under you – sometimes with little warning.

Both renting and buying a Troy Michigan home has its advantages.  Whether you buy a home really depends on your personal life, and factors like job stability and personal finances.  Some people are more than ready to have a permanent place to call their own, and others just don’t mind moving about.

One thing is sure – most Americans don’t want to spend their entire lifetime renting.  At some point, buying a home is going to be a good investment and create equity for your future. 

 If you’re considering buying one of the Southeast Michigan homes for sale, there’s no better time to do it than now with home prices and interest rates at their lowest in decades.  Let me show you some of the great home buying opportunities available in today’s Troy Michigan real estate market.  Call me at 248-514-2640 today or email now!

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


Bloomfield Hills Michigan Real Estate Golf Course Communities

Posted in Bloomfield Hills Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 5th, 2009

Are you considering purchasing Bloomfield Hills real estate in an active golfing community?  There are many areas in Bloomfield Hills that offer an upscale, active lifestyle, loaded with amenities.  Some are across the street from a gorgeous golf and country club; while many are in golf communities that offer a clubhouse, golf course, tennis courts, pool, spa, fitness center, restaurants…and much more! 

If you’re unfamiliar with the Bloomfield Hills area, Learn more about Bloomfield Hills Michigan real estate and the local community.  

Some of the top golf communities in Bloomfield Hills are:

You’ll probably need assistance in finding the type of golf community that is right for you.  If you’re looking for a 55+ golf community, keep in mind the area you choose should have residents who share some of the same interests as you do. 

When you choose a golf community to live in, you’ll want to look for a few things:

  1. Location – When looking at Bloomfield Hills homes in golf course communities, you always want to be aware of location.  For instance, are the nearby roads easy to navigate?  Is it close to shopping?  Are there arts and cultural activities close by?
  2. Security – Be sure the community is security conscious.  Often, golf course communities have the added security of a gated community
  3. Amenities – Find out what amenities the golf course community has.  Determine if they’re important to you and worth the extra cost.  Is there an indoor golf course? Do you want tennis courts? How about restaurants?  Swimming pool?  Exercise facilities?
  4. Home location – When you find the right golf course community, you need to pay attention to the homes within the community.  Think about factors like how close the home is to the entrance or to the fairways. Are you willing to risk a golf ball hitting a window once in a while? These are questions you need to ask yourself when choosing Bloomfield Hills real estate in a golf community.
  5. Rules – Another thing you should be aware of before making your purchase is the golf community’s homeowner association’s rules and regulations, often called CC&Rs, regarding home improvements, additions, etc. You should also look into golf course annual membership fees and know what they’ll be.

Many people are looking for their perfect home in popular golf communities. Living in one of these communities provides many perks such as golfing as much as you want any day of the week.  Do your research before purchasing and you won’t have any surprises down the road.

Whether you’re looking for a home in a golf community or some other type of active retirement community, I can help!  As a licensed Bloomfield Hills real estate agent and lawyer, I’ll help you find and buy the home of your dreams at the best price and terms.  And I’ll keep you from making a costly mistake.  Call me today at 248-514-2640 or email me at I look forward to hearing from you.

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


Do’s and Don’ts When Selling Your Troy Michigan Real Estate

Posted in Troy Michigan Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 2nd, 2009

If you’re putting up your Troy Michigan real estate for sale, you’re probably thinking about what you need to do to get it sold.  Here is a list of do’s and don’ts to help you along your way:


  • DO take pictures of every room of your house.  Look each picture over with a fresh eye; see what needs to be done to the rooms.
  • DO clean, clean, clean.  What may look like “family clutter” to you may turn potential buyers off.
  • DO replace hinges that are broken or worn, tighten doorknobs, etc.  Buyers going through the house will open doors and cabinets.  Having a doorknob come off in your hand is a definite deterrent to buying.
  • DO fix cracks and watermarks.  You don’t want to give buyers the idea that you have plumbing problems.
  • DO take the time to stage your Troy home before putting it on the market.  This can significantly shorten the time it takes to sell, as well as raise the asking price.  I would be happy to send you the FREE book, “Staging Tips to Prepare Your Home for Market.”  There are absolutely no strings attached!


  • DON’T spend a lot of money on major upgrades unless you have to.  While you may have to replace a water heater that’s trying to quit, you don’t have to replace a carpet – just get it cleaned.
  • DON’T get stuck on one sales price.  The real estate market changes constantly.  Having a set price may be the reason your home languishes on the market.
  • DON’T use your tax appraisal as an estimate for your home’s value.  Compare your home to those in the neighborhood that have sold for a better estimate.
  • DON’T pack until the buyer’s loan is approved.  You can begin packing then, but pack smaller things and hide the boxes or store them off site until the sale is complete and you’re ready to move. 
  • DON’T follow the potential buyers through the house.  This can cause them to feel they need to move through quickly, which lessens the chance of them buying.  So…give them their space, and if possible, arrange to be gone during the showing.

Putting up your Troy Michigan real estate for sale can be hard, especially if you’ve lived there for a long time.  However, following these tips can help make the process a little easier so you can Sleep Good at Night.


When you’re ready to sell your home, learn how you can maximize your profits by “Selling to the Max.”  I can help you prepare your Troy home so it sells faster and for top dollar.  Call me today at 248-514-2640 or email me at now!

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