Buying Property As-Is: How To Protect Yourself Accordingly

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 12th, 2021

Buying Property As-Is: How To Protect Yourself AccordinglyIf you are looking for a home, your agent may tell you that a home is being sold as-is. This means that there may be major defects with the home that the seller is not willing to repair before offloading the property. As a result, their problems may become your problems if you purchase that property. How can you protect yourself during the sale?

Look At All Disclosures

Even though disclosure laws can vary significantly from state to state, the homeowner may be required to disclose certain problems to you. Real estate agents should always point out disclosures from sellers, so take a look at what the seller is sharing with you. Examples could include problems with the roof, lead paint, or natural hazards such as flood zones or fire zones. 

Add An Inspection Contingency

You should always get an inspection before you purchase the home so you know what defects might be present. If you purchase a home and do not get an inspection, you might be surprised by certain defects when you move in.

Furthermore, you should add an inspection contingency to the home. This means that you have the opportunity to negotiate for certain issues to be resolved if they are found on inspection. Or, you pay a lower price for the home if the seller is unwilling to resolve them.

Ask For Help From A Lawyer

If there are major defects in the home, and if the seller is refusing to budge, you may want to reach out to a real estate attorney. This is helpful for learning more about the real estate laws in your state. You need to protect your rights, figure out how you can get the defects fixed, and how you can save money on the price of the home. Your real estate agent might be able to refer you to a real estate attorney. 

Negotiate A Lower Price

Ultimately, the best way for you to protect yourself is to negotiate a lower price. Because you will have to spend a lot of money repairing the home, the seller should be prepared to reduce his or her asking price. In a seller’s market, you may not have that opportunity, but you may want to ask for a discount. 


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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 11, 2021

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 11th, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - October 11, 2021Last week’s scheduled economic news included readings on public and private-sector jobs and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published.

Non-Farm Payrolls: Jobs Growth Dips Sharply in September

U.S. jobs growth dipped sharply in September according to the federal government’s Non-Farm Payrolls report. 194,000 public and private sector jobs were added and fell far short of the expected reading of 500,000 jobs added. 366,000 public and private sector jobs were added in August. Hiring lagged as continuing concerns over Covid kept workers at home. Less hiring at public schools reduced September’s jobs growth at a time when schools traditionally hire for the upcoming school year.

ADP reported 568,000 private-sector jobs added in September; analysts expected 425,0000 jobs added based on 340,000 private-sector jobs added in August. In related news, the national unemployment rate fell to 4.80 percent in September as compared to August’s jobless rate of 5.20 percent. Analysts expected the national unemployment rate to drop to 5.10 percent in September.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, Jobless Claims Fall

Fixed mortgage rates fell last week as the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell two basis points to 2.99 percent; rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by five basis points on average to 2.23 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by four basis points to 2.52 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages

New and continuing jobless claims fell last week as 326,000 initial jobless claims were filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 364,000 first-time claims filed. Analysts expected 345,000 initial jobless claim filings. 2.71 million continuing jobless claims were filed last week as compared to the previous week’s reading of 2.81 million ongoing jobless claims filed.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on inflation, retail sales, and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be published.


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What Are The Requirements To Sell A Home Using An FHA Loan?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 8th, 2021

What Are The Requirements To Sell A Home Using An FHA Loan?Before an owner can market a property to buyers that want to use a FHA loan, he will want to familiarize himself with the FHA’s standards. FHA won’t insure loans on just any property.

While their standards aren’t as stringent as they used to be, a home needs to be in relatively good condition to qualify for FHA financing.

Location And Lot

To qualify for FHA financing, the property has to be located on a road or easement that lets the owner freely enter and exit.

The access also has to be paved with a surface that will work all year a long dirt driveway that washes out in spring won’t qualify.

The FHA also wants the lot to be safe and free of pollution, radiation and other hazards. For that matter, it also needs to provide adequate drainage to keep water away from the house.

Property Exterior

The FHA’s requirements for making a loan start with the home’s roof. To pass muster, the house must have a watertight roof with some future life left. In addition, if the roof has three or more layers of old shingles, they must all be torn off as part of the replacement process.

The property’s exterior has to be free of chipped or damaged paint if the home has any risk of having lead paint. Its foundation should also be free of signs of exterior (and interior) damage. It also needs full exterior walls.

Property Interior

The property’s interior also needs to be inspected. FHA standards require that the home’s major systems be in good working order.

Bedrooms should have egress routes for fire safety and the attic and basement should be free of signs of water or mold damage.

The bottom line is that the FHA wants to make loans on homes that borrowers can occupy. This doesn’t mean that a home has to be in perfect condition to be sold to an FHA mortgage-using borrower. It just needs to be a place that they can live.

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Looking for an Eco-friendly Upgrade? Try These Easy Ways to Save Water Around the Home

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 7th, 2021

Looking for an Eco-friendly Upgrade? Try These Easy Ways to Save Water Around the HomeWith the impact we have on our environment becoming a matter of greater concern, it’s becoming more important for the average citizen to know they’re doing their part. While there are many simple tricks for saving water that will make you feel better about your environmental footprint, here are a few easy upgrades that will make that saving a little more automatic.

Consider a Cistern Device

With outhouses a thing of the past, flushing the toilet has become one of the ways in which household water is being overused the most, but flushing less simply isn’t a viable option. Instead of wasting water in this way, purchase a displacement device and place it in your toilet’s cistern. Without you having to do anything at all, it will instantly reduce the volume of water that is used with each flush.

Learn to Work a Water Meter

It’s ideal to help the environment by saving water, but it’s even better if you can save yourself money at the same time. If you happen to be among those who pay for their water, installing a water meter will enable you to take a closer look at where your water use is going, and can assist you in helping to trim down this expense.

Drain It From the Rain

In the event of an intense downpour, there’s often a lot of water that runs off into the gutter and can’t be absorbed by the grass or the trees. Instead of letting it go to waste, install a water butt to your drainpipe so that you can use the runoff when it’s dry outside to water your plants or even wash your car. There’s no reason that any of the moisture from a good rainfall should have to go to waste.

Invest in Water Efficient Items

From showerheads to washing machines, going energy efficient with your household appliances is becoming quite popular. The next time you have to replace a small appliance or there’s a leak with a household item, consider heading down to the drugstore to look for environmentally friendly options that will instantly reduce your footprint.

With so many options for environmentally friendly items on the market these days, there’s no reason you can’t save water at home with a few easy changes. From making use of the rain that falls to learning to work with a water meter, some simple shifts may make your house the most environmentally friendly one on the block.

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Getting Your Mortgage Application Approved As A Self-Employed, First-Time Homebuyer

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 6th, 2021

Getting Your Mortgage Application Approved As A Self-Employed, First-Time HomebuyerA significant number of people are self-employed, which means they might be relying on this income to apply for a mortgage. It is true that people who are self-employed may face additional challenges when trying to get approved for a home loan when compared to someone with traditional W2 income, these are obstacles that can be overcome. With the right qualifications and documentation, even first-time homebuyers who are self-employed should be able to qualify for the home loan they need.

Lenders Assess Someone’s Ability To Repay The Loan

First, lenders are trying to make sure the person will repay the loan. Lenders believe that someone with W2 income has a stable job and a guaranteed salary, which means they are more likely to repay the loan; however, someone who is self-employed has other ways of demonstrating that he or she can repay the loan. Self-employed individuals can use tax returns, payroll receipts, and records from financial institutions that serve as documentation of the applicant’s income or assets. This means standard W2 forms and pay stubs might no longer be necessary.

Navigating Eligibility Requirements

Next, self-employed individuals need to meet the eligibility requirements. This includes two years of self-employment, a reliable income, a strong credit score with a clean credit report, cash for a down payment, and a low debt to income ratio. It is possible for a first-time homebuyer to get a loan for less than five percent down; however, closing costs can be significant. Realistically, first-time homebuyers should plan on spending close to five percent of the home’s value to get approved for a first-time home loan.

Understanding Mortgage Options

Finally, self-employed first-time homebuyers should be aware that there are multiple loan options available. For example, there are FHA and VA loans for those who qualify. USDA loans and jumbo loans might also be an option. There are bank statement mortgages and conventional options available as well. Self-employed individuals might have to visit several of these programs to see which ones work the best. The programs vary in terms of their down payment, minimum credit score, and credit history requirements. It is prudent to work with a professional loan officer who has experience helping self-employed, first-time homebuyers get approved.

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Keep Your Home Free From Clutter With These Helpful Unpacking Tips

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 5th, 2021

Keep Your Home Free From Clutter With These Helpful Unpacking TipsThe thrill of purchasing a new home is unparalleled; however, once you close on the sale, the dreaded unpacking process begins. You probably did not realize just how much stuff you had until you had to pack it all up. Worse yet, you need to unpack it when you get to your new home. If you don’t unpack intelligently, your new home could end up disorganized and full of clutter. With this in mind, how can you unpack without leading to a tremendous amount of clutter in your home?

Get Rid Of Items You Do Not Need

As you go through the boxes, ask yourself if you are actually going to need the items as you unpack them. If you do not need them, consider donating them to a local charity. Just because you brought it with you does not mean that you need to keep them. Evaluate the items in your boxes, and discard them when not needed.

Unpack Room By Room

Hopefully, you labeled your boxes as you packed them up, so this is a perfect time to organize your items before you open the boxes. Furthermore, it is faster to carry the boxes to the individual rooms than to carry the individual items to their designated locations one at a time. If you unpack room by room, you can ensure every item has a place (and that every item is in its place).

Take Advantage Of Organizers

While unpacking your boxes is half the battle, the other half is using organizers to keep your belongings in the right spots. There are plenty of organizers you can use to keep your items in the right locations. Examples include bins, boxes, and trays. You can use them to organize your storage spaces, drawers, and closets. You can even use wire organizers that prevent your cords from creating trip hazards. Use every tool available to keep your rooms organized.

Prevent Clutter From Developing In Your Home

There are a lot of homes that develop a significant amount of clutter during the unpacking process, but your home does not have to look this way! When you start to unload those boxes, put these tips to work for you!

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – October 4, 2021

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 4th, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - October 4, 2021Last week’s economic reporting included readings from S&P Case Shiller Home Price Indices, the National Association of Realtors®’ report on pending home sales, and the University of Michigan’s final consumer sentiment index for September. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

S&P Case-Shiller Reports 4th Consecutive Month of Record Home Price Growth

July Home Prices grew at a year-over-year pace of 19.70 percent as compared to June’s home price growth rate of 18.70 percent according to S&P Case-Shiller’s National Home Price Index.

The S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index reported that July home prices grew by 19.90 percent year-over-year; 17 of 20 cities posted higher home price growth rates in September than in August. The top three home price growth rates in the 20-City Home Price Index were held by Phoenix, Arizona at 32.40 percent; San Diego, California home prices grew by 27.80 percent, and Seattle, Washington home prices grew by 25.50 percent year-over-year in September.

Craig Lazzara, managing director and global head of investment strategy for S&P Dow Jones Indices, said “The last several months have been extraordinary not only in the level of price gains but in the consistency of gains across the country.” This differed from the traditional pattern of rapid home price growth in high-demand coastal metro areas as the covid pandemic drove homebuyers to seek out less congested and less expensive metro areas.

Pending home sales rose by 8.10 percent in August according to the National Association of Realtors® and far exceeded analyst expectations of 1.20 percent growth and July’s reading of -1.80 percent growth in pending home sales. Pending home sales are sales for which purchase contracts are signed, but the transactions are not completed. Real estate pros and mortgage lenders use pending home sales to predict future home sales and loan closings.

Mortgage Rates, Initial Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week as the yield on 10-Year Treasuries rose. The average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 13 basis points to 3.01 percent; rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages also rose by 13 basis points and averaged 2.28 percent. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 2.48 percent and five basis points higher. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages; 0.60 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims increased to 362,000 first-time claims filed from the previous week’s reading of 351,000 new claims filed. Ongoing jobless claims decreased to 2.80 million continuing claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 2.82 million continuing jobless claims filed.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index rose to an index reading of  72.8 in September from August’s reading of 71.0. Analysts expected no change from August’s reading. 

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on public and private sector jobs, the national unemployment rate, and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.


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3 Autumn-inspired Decor Ideas That Will Spice Up Your Home

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 1st, 2021

3 Autumn-inspired Decor Ideas That Will Spice Up Your HomeWith the season of jack-o-lanterns and crunchy leaves under foot, there can’t help but be plenty of ways to integrate the loveliness of autumn into your home decorations. Whether you’re looking for a simple touch or a statement that will completely define a room, here are a few ideas for highlighting the best the fall has to offer.

Showcase a Seasonal Bouquet

A vase full of flowers can add a lot to any room in the house, but a great way to integrate the season outside with your home is to make a bouquet that will utilize the best of fall’s vegetation. Instead of opting for the usual bright colors, gather an array of colored leaves that strike your fancy and add a collection of branches to a vase that suits the purpose. If arranged right, this can be a striking and unique embellishment to your front entrance.

Carve Out a Candle Holder

An easy way to join the cooler weather with your inside atmosphere is to utilize the help of the season’s most familiar vegetable, the pumpkin. Instead of going for the typical Halloween carving, cut the top off of a small pumpkin, clear away all of the seeds and let it dry out. Once this is complete, you can put a candle in the pumpkin, and create a unique lighting look for your home. If you like it enough, you may want to consider doing it with several pumpkins for an even more festive display.

A Falling Light Fixture

Instead of making something from scratch, you might want to consider using the pieces you have in your home and switching them up to complement the changing season. If you happen to have a chandelier in your dining room and you also have kids who like to craft, have them put together some papier-mâché leaves and pumpkins so you can hang them decoratively from the chandelier. While this is a look that will take more work, it will be a particularly striking way to illuminate your chandelier – and your dining area!

Adding some fall inspiration into the mix for your home decorating can be a great way to better enjoy the season and have some fun with your family. From a festive chandelier to a striking autumn bouquet, there are plenty of ways to become crafty for the fair season. If autumn is making you contemplate your neighborhood and your home, you may want to contact your local real estate agent for more information.

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Top Considerations When Adding a Powder Room To A Home

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 30th, 2021

Top Considerations When Adding a Powder Room To A HomeA lot of potential buyers have a set number of bathrooms they need in their homes. Therefore, one of the possible ways to increase the value of a home is to add more bathrooms. It is possible to add a half bath to some homes. Even a small bathroom on the first floor can make a home significantly more attractive. At the same time, adding a powder room is not necessarily the best renovation project for all homeowners. What do homeowners need to think about before adding a powder room to the home? 

Consider The Space In The Potential Powder Room

Even though powder rooms do not take up a lot of space, homeowners still need to make sure the space is available. A powder room typically has a toilet, a sink, and a small mirror. Most powder rooms are approximately five feet by three feet. Homeowners must make sure they have enough space to add a powder room before they get started on the renovation project. 

Think About Where The Space Is Coming From

Homeowners also have to think about where this space is coming from. Is the space going to eat into a stairwell, impacting its integrity? Is the powder room going to take space from the foyer or the living room? The space has to come from somewhere, and homeowners need to ensure they are comfortable living without it. 

Map Out The Location Of The Pipes 

Of course, powder rooms also need to have a sturdy plumbing supply to power the toilet and the sink. Therefore, homeowners need to make sure there are pipes nearby. The closer the pipes are to the potential powder room location, the less expensive the renovation is going to be. If pipes have to be added to the area, the project will instantly become more expensive, eating into the potential profits on the sale of the home. 

Think Carefully Before Adding A Powder Room

Even though a powder room might be a good decision for some homeowners, it is not necessarily a smart decision for everyone. Everyone has to think carefully about the benefits and drawbacks before getting started. 


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Making Repairs And Upgrades To A Home: DIY Or CAP

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 29th, 2021

Making Repairs And Upgrades To A Home: DIY Or CAPThere are many people who are thinking about listing their homes, but they need to make sure they get as much money for their homes as possible. This could mean making a few upgrades and repairs around the home. There are some situations where it might be possible to DIY these projects, but there are other situations where it is better to call a professional, or CAP. When should homeowners take which path? Learn more below.

Painting And Light Work Could Be DIY

First, anything that is simple or easy around the home needs to be a DIY project. For example, if there are a few spots that need to be touched up with a fresh coat of paint, then this could probably be a DIY project. If there are easy plumbing fixes around the house, such as swapping out a toilet flapper, this could probably be a DIY project as well. It might even be easy to swap out some handles or drawer pulls. Ultimately, everyone has a different comfort level, but these are a few examples of easy DIY projects around the home.

CAP For Issues Of Safety, Time, And Money

There are larger projects that should require a professional. For example, anything that has to do with the electrical system needs to be handled by a professional. It is possible for someone to shock or electrocute themselves, which is something that needs to be avoided. Furthermore, any major carpentry projects need to be handled by someone with the right tools and training. Finally, if there is a major leak in the home somewhere, then this is something that requires the attention of a trained plumbing professional. If these projects go wrong, they can go very wrong, so they need to be fixed correctly on the first attempt.

Cosmetic Is DIY, Structural Is CAP

In the end, everyone has their own comfort level, but a great rule of thumb is that anything cosmetic should be DIY, well anything structural should be CAP. Remember that everyone has to put safety first. When in doubt, call a professional for help. That way, everyone can maximize the value of their home when they go to list it.

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