Archive for July, 2009

Want the Best Price on New Construction? Bring Your Personal Troy Michigan Real Estate Agent

Posted in Troy Michigan Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 30th, 2009

Even with all the homes up for sale, some people just have to have new construction.  It’s clean, it’s new and nobody else has lived in it.  Understandable, but a word to the wise.  If you go for a newly constructed home, bring your Troy Michigan real estate agent.

Why?  Isn’t there a site agent on hand to help you?  Well, yes… and no.  Here are a few good reasons why a personal agent, or buyer’s agent, is a good idea:

Conflict of Interests

While the builder has an agent on site, that agent is not working in your best interests.  Consider, if the site agent got a better deal for you (which takes money out of the builder’s hands), would they still have a job?  No.  However, your own agent is there to make sure you get a good deal.  End of story.

Being Informed

A builder’s agent doesn’t have to tell you about the negatives of a deal.  They’ll push the positives and even sometimes use high-pressure tactics to get you to sign the contract.  Having your own real estate agent is having a professional you know is on your side.  It’s knowing the drawbacks of the transaction as well as the positives.  Learn more about Lee Morof, an experienced and knowledgeable Troy Michigan real estate agent. 


Agents get around; they go everywhere.  As a result, they tend to gather a lot of professional contacts and information.  If you’re choosing a builder with a bad reputation, your agent might have heard about it.  Your agent will have contacts to good home inspectors to go through the house when it’s finished.  Your agent will know if the builder’s lender is reputable, and if not, your agent will be able to recommend a highly regarded lender to you.  In short, your Troy Michigan real estate agent is a rolodex of home buying and selling resources.

If you’re looking at new construction and need a personal real estate agent, 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


Troy Michigan Real Estate: Is There a Home for Sale Your Pet Will Love?

Posted in Troy Michigan Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 27th, 2009

Some pet owners love their pets like children and, if you’re one of them, when you look for Troy Michigan real estate you’ll be understandably concerned about choosing a home that your pet would be comfortable in.  There are definite ways to make sure you get just that; here are just a few of them:

1.  The features of the home are particularly important.  Before you go shopping for a pet friendly house
make a list of things your pet likes.  Also make a list of things your pet might destroy.  For instance, many cat owners find their pets ripping up the carpet.  A home with wood floors might be ideal.  If you have a dog, it’s probably important to have a fenced yard.  Many things are easy to overlook, but you’ll be sure to consider them if you make a list first.

2.  The home’s layout might be hard on your pet.  If you have an older pet who has a hard time climbing stairs, a one story Troy Michigan real estate home would be easier on your pet than a two-story home.  Low windows or window ledges are perfect for cats, as well as an out of sight place to store a litter box.  In addition, remember your pet’s size.  The larger the animal, the more yard or bigger space you might need.

3.  The Home Owner Association (HOA) may not allow pets, and those that do allow pets usually have pet restrictions.  Before deciding on a home, make sure that the HOA allows your particular pet.  Don’t take it for granted!  You may end up with severe penalties.

4.  County and City code restrictions may also be an issue.  Several cities also have restrictions on the number of pets, the species and the type.  The pit bull ban is a very good example. 

5.  A pet friendly neighborhood is the best place for you and your pet.  Look around the neighborhood and see if the neighbors are walking their dogs or have cats sleeping in windows.  Consider if the way they seem to take care of their pets is similar to yours.  If it isn’t, you might want to find another Troy Michigan real estate home for sale.

If you’re looking for a home that’s perfect for you and your pet, 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


4 Places Bloomfield Hills Real Estate Agents Say, “Don’t Go Cheap!”

Posted in Bloomfield Hills Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 23rd, 2009

As most Bloomfield Hills real estate agents will tell you, remodeling, decorating or repairing your home can go a long way towards getting it sold.  For that matter, it can add value to your property in case you want to sell later – that is, if you don’t choose the wrong places to buy cheap:

  1. Windows – Never buy a window based on which one is cheapest.  You want windows that look good, and, as most Bloomfield Hills real estate agents will recommend, you want energy-efficient windows.  During 2009 and 2010, you may be eligible for a Federal Tax Credit for Energy Efficiency of up to $1500 when you purchase Energy Star windows.
  2. Paint – Paint is one of the biggest places people skimp when it comes to cost, and a big no-no.  Cheap paint may take several coats to look right; those several coats can end up leaving blotches and runs.  In addition, cheap paint has a tendency to peel or wash off under light cleaning.  If you’re going to add painting to your remodeling or repair work, quality is always better.
  3. Doors – Whether it’s for a shower or a screened-in porch, the door you choose can make all the difference.  A rickety shower door falling off the railing is a big “don’t buy” sign.  While you don’t want to blow your whole budget, the doors throughout your house should be of quality material.  Likewise, a solid front door adds to the curb appeal and security of your home.  Some exterior doors also qualify for the Federal Tax Credit for Energy Efficiency.  Find out if your exterior door qualifies for an Energy Star Rebate or Tax Credit. 
  4. Flooring – Unless it’s expensive carpet on sale, cheap flooring never looks like anything but cheap flooring.  Low cost carpet and wood flooring seldom has high durability and is likely to wear out before you’re ready to replace it again.  Take the time to find quality flooring at a price you can afford – don’t go cheap!

Many Bloomfield Hills real estate agents will push quality, but the biggest point they’ll push these days is – go green!  It may not be the cheapest option, but the benefits in efficiency and property value more than make up for the cost.

Want more tips on remodeling or repairing your home?  Subscribe to this blog.  Two or three times a week, you’ll get information like this automatically sent to your email for free.  Or, if you’re ready to buy or sell, give me a call today at 248-514-2640.

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


4 Troy Michigan Real Estate Investment Ideas from the Pros

Posted in Troy Michigan Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 20th, 2009

Real estate investments are still going strong and will probably continue to be a popular method of financial gain into the future. Real estate is solid. It is a tangible product that is attractive to both beginning investors and experienced pros. The most important part of getting started in Troy Michigan real estate investing is knowing what you’re getting into and what to watch out for. Here are 4 top tips from real estate investment professionals:

Understand the Realities

Real estate investment, like any form of investment, is risky. Do not use money you cannot afford to lose. Careful study, understanding the market, and practice help alleviate a lot of the risks but things happen in the best of situations so don’t play with what you can’t afford to lose.

Research is a Constant

Research in real estate investment isn’t something you do once. Research is constant. It is a daily part of your efforts and should always be at the forefront of your mind. From changing banking methods to market changes, researching and learning must be ongoing to be a successful Troy Michigan real estate investor.

Know the Property

Research isn’t limited to financing and the real estate market. You need to thoroughly investigate each property before you buy. Fill out an investment worksheet to see if all the costs associated with the purchase will allow a satisfying profit.

Learn About Personal Protection

Taking risks with the money you have set aside for investment is one thing.  Taking risks with your family’s savings, property, and other assets is another. Consider starting an LLC. You can choose from a single LLC to cover all of your real estate holdings, or having a separate LLC for each property purchased. 

Learning the tricks of the top real estate investors allows you to profit from the experience of those who have gone before you.  If you would like more expert advice on Troy Michigan real estate investments in Southeast Michigan, 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


Can’t Sell Your Troy Michigan Real Estate?

Posted in Troy Michigan Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 16th, 2009

If you watch the real estate market, you probably know it’s finally showing a little bit of upswing, with national home sales going up by 2.4% in May.  While lower mortgage rates and more affordable home prices, along with an $8,000 tax credit for first time buyers, has made selling a Troy Michigan real estate home easier, you may still end up holding on to that house for quite awhile.  Instead of selling straight out, consider renting to own. 

Called a “rent-to-own” or “lease-option,” these deals normally require paying around 5% of the overall purchase price in up-front fees.  In addition, buyers are usually required to pay extra rent each month.  This is a win-win situation for both the buyer and the seller.

For you as the seller, you have regular rent that goes into your pocket, either to pay down the mortgage you still have on your home or to go toward your new home.  In addition, you keep the property profitable as well as get it off the over-stuffed Troy Michigan real estate market.

For the “rent-to-own” buyer, the additional rent payment knocks down the selling price.  Properly drafted, a lease option agreement can help buyers having trouble arranging financing or money for the down payment. 

Typically, lease agreements are written in 12 to 36 month increments.  If the buyer decides they don’t want to buy after all, you can:
   a) Put the house back on the market to sell straight out.
   b) Put it back on the market as a rent-to-own. 

This is also a plus for you, as you can have the contract state that you keep the deposit, as well as the extra rent they have paid.

Don’t think this is just for home sellers, either.  Many condominiums are offering the option as well.  Some developers are even offering to apply 100% of the rent toward the purchase of the condo.

There are some possible drawbacks to this option, but it is something to consider if you’re trying to sell your Troy Michigan real estate and can’t get it off the market. 

If you’d like to sell your home, I can help.  I specialize in solutions that get your home off the market fast and give you the most money in your pocket.  Call me now at 248-514-2640 or email me at

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


5 Tips on Choosing the Perfect Piece of Southeast Michigan Real Estate for DIY

Posted in Southeast Michigan Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 13th, 2009

If you’re a do-it-yourself kind of person who really likes getting your hands dirty, now is a great opportunity to find a piece of Southeast Michigan real estate you can enjoy.  As an occasional DIYer myself, I know how hard it can be to find that perfect piece of fixer-upper real estate, but here are a few tips on what to look for:

1.  More ground than house – Almost every do-it-yourselfer I’ve ever met enjoyed puttering in a garden and beautifying a yard.  Not only can it be relaxing, but done right it can also up the value of the place if you decide to sell later.  Having a beautified yard increase the value of the property is much easier to do if you have a large amount of ground to work with.

2.  Expansion possibilities – If it’s a small house (or even a large one), estimate how much room there might be for building an extension.  Sunrooms, an extra bedroom, widening small rooms – everything is a possibility if you have the land and skills necessary.

3.  Wear and tear – While you probably don’t want a piece of Southeast Michigan real estate that’s falling down around you, a little bit of wear and tear isn’t bad.  Walls that need to be painted, ceilings that need spackling and little things like this give you plenty of room to get dirty without wiping out your budget.  A warning, however.  Make sure you get a place with a little wear and tear, not a money pit.

4.  Lots of small rooms – Nobody likes a small room.  However, if there are a lot of them, you have the option of being able to knock down non-load-bearing walls to expand.  The nice thing about this is that you can rearrange the inside of the house to fit you.

5.  Sloped ground – While you’ll want flat ground around the Southeast Michigan real estate itself, sloped ground farther out is ideal for building rock walls or terraces without having to buy a lot of backfill.  Done correctly, terraces can make a beautiful, somewhat inexpensive project.  The trick here is to find large rocks from construction sites.

DIY can be a blast and having a house you can turn into a dream house makes the finished product all that more satisfying! 

If you’re looking for that perfect piece of fixer-up 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


Checklist for Moving When Facing Michigan Foreclosures

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

If you’re one of the many people dealing with Michigan foreclosures, you will probably be moving to a smaller, more affordable place.  When it’s time to move you don’t want to leave the important things behind, but you may not have room for everything, either.  Here’s a checklist to help you get the important stuff taken care of within the last month:

  1. Change of address – With the rate Michigan foreclosures happen, you want to make sure your change of address is one of the first things you do.
  2. Find a moving and packing company.  
  3. Clean out your safe deposit box and transfer it to the new area.
  4. Get your family’s medical records, school records and other important papers.
  5. Change your insurance policies for your home.
  6. Get a fire resistant safe and put all records, cards, birth certificates, etc.  Make sure you have it with you during the actual move.
  7. Pack less used items.
  8. Arrange to have the utilities disconnected/changed over.
  9. Plan your remaining meals so you can pack the nonperishable items you don’t need.
  10. Make a list of everything you’re personally taking with you.
  11. Walk through and decide what you really need to take.  Hold a garage sale or call a charity to get rid of the rest.
  12. Let your friends and family members know where you’re going and how they can reach you.
  13. Confirm arrangements with the moving and storage companies.
  14. Check the yard and sheds for left over items.
  15. Take apart any furniture or other items for packing.
  16. Start a “survival box”, which includes anything you might need for overnight or for a few days.
  17. Defrost the refrigerator and freezer.
  18. Close bank accounts if needed.
  19. Do a last walk through before leaving to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.  Be sure to look through the attic, basement, closets, etc. 
  20. Drop off your keys with the bank or new owner.

Being one of the Michigan foreclosures isn’t fun; it’s stressful and you’re more likely to forget things in this type of situation.  Make lists to keep track of what you’re doing and then use them!

When you’re ready to buy your next home, let me help you find one that fits your lifestyle, budget and needs.  Call me today at 248-514-2640 or drop me an email me at for more information.

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


Helpful Hints to Avoid Michigan Foreclosures

Posted in Michigan Foreclosures by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 6th, 2009

Foreclosure is a dreaded word at any time, but the present economy makes it a common dread, one that many homeowners share that normally would never enter their minds. There are new government aid programs as well as tried and true methods for combating Michigan foreclosures and every homeowner should know them.

Nip It in the Bud

Procrastination is never a good thing but when it comes to foreclosures it is a death sentence. Most homeowners know when they are on shaky ground and starting to have problems paying their mortgage.

Because it is usually the biggest monthly expense, mortgages are often the first thing to suffer when things get tight. Waiting to talk to your mortgage company about problems until you actually begin missing payments doesn’t leave much time to correct the situation, and believe it or not, most mortgage companies would prefer to work things out than have a “dead” non-performing asset on their books.

Call your mortgage company and talk to them about solutions to your problems. When you call, be prepared to explain the situation that is causing your difficulties to prove that there really is a hardship. Most lenders will send you a pre-foreclosure package that guides you and shows you what you need to do to prove you are under financial strain.

HOPE for Homeowners 

HOPE is the HUD program that helps homeowners avoid imminent Michigan foreclosures. The government program refinances at a lower rate to help people stay in their homes when all other avenues of solution have failed.

Don’t Give Up Without Exhausting All Means

Your home is important and worth the effort it takes to keep it. With the help of the stimulus plan, banks are able to do more than they used to be able (or willing) to do to provide solutions to homeowners to avoid Michigan foreclosures.

If you would like more information on what to do in the event of possible foreclosure, please give me a call at 248-514-2640 or email me at today.

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


Bloomfield Hills Real Estate – Why Rent When You Could Buy Your Very Own Condo?

Posted in Bloomfield Hills Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 2nd, 2009

If you’re tired of renting but don’t want a huge home to manage, consider purchasing a condo. You can enjoy the benefits of home ownership and leave your renting days behind you when you own Bloomfield Hills real estate.

By owning a condo, you can:

Build equity
When you make payments on a condo you own, you are constantly building equity in the property. With renting, you pay for years and own nothing.

Avoid payment increases
Unlike renting, when you own your Bloomfield Hills real estate condo and have a fixed mortgage rate, you can feel confident that your monthly payments will remain the same. No more surprise rent hikes. You can just sit back, relax and plan your finances around that peace of mind.

Make upgrades
As a renter, you probably never had the pleasure of painting the walls any color that suited your style. Your only choices were white and builder beige. As a condo owner, you have the freedom to do what you want to the interior of your home without worrying about penalties from the landlord.

Break away from landlords
Now’s your chance to escape the watchful eye of your landlord and start living life the way you please. As a property owner, you call the shots. And best of all, you don’t have to be concerned with your landlord selling the property and leaving you without a place to live. Now you can secure your future as condo owner.

There is an array of benefits to owning Bloomfield Hills real estate. All you have to do is get out of the renter’s mindset and step out on your own. You’d be surprised how great you’ll feel once you do.

Search for Bloomfield Hills Real Estate condos (and homes) for sale now!  Or, let me do the work for you.  I’d be happy to send you a list of available properties that meet your criteria.  Just give me a call now at 248-514-2640 or email me at

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