Monday, June 30, 2008

Welcome to the season!!

As is typical with our selling trends, we're coming out of one of the "lulls" of our season. As the kids are finishing up school, people are attending spring weddings and open houses and most of the area lakes are not yet warm enough to swim, there just are not many people up north until around the 4th of July. As many of you crawl along the interstate toward your eventual arrival in Northern Michigan it should be obvious that, with all these people heading North, there will be much more competition for the available Northern Michigan Real Estate. Many realtors use the first months of the year to build up their inventory of listings for the season and try to use the first handful of showings they may have to determine whether their client's properties are priced correctly and in the best possible shape to sell during the busy summer months of July, August and September. The great thing for buyers is that, by this time of year, many of these properties have made price adjustments and most of the properties that will be for sale this year will be on the market and available to show. After a tremendously strong late winter with a lot of closed transactions, we're ready to go and really jump into the fire for the busiest time of our year. Have a great time while you're in Northern Michigan and we look forward to helping you find the Northern Michigan Property that best suits your needs.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What a REALTOR® Can Do for You

The REALTOR® you work with could be one of your most valuable resources. Unlike many real estate agents who are simply licensed by their state to do business, REALTORS® have taken additional steps to become members of the local board of REALTORS® and have agreed to act under and adhere to a strict Code of Ethics. Plus...

A REALTOR® can help you determine how much home you can afford. Often a REALTOR® can suggest ways to accrue the down payment and explain alternative financing methods.

A REALTOR®, in addition to knowing the local money market, also can tell you what personal and financial data to bring with you when you apply for a loan.

A REALTOR® is already familiar with current real estate values, taxes, utility costs, municipal services and facilities, and may be aware of local zoning changes that could affect your decision to buy.

A REALTOR® can usually research your housing needs in advance through a Multiple Listing Service--even if you are relocating from another city.

A REALTOR® can show you only those homes best suited to your needs--size, style, features, location, accessibility to schools, transportation, shopping and other personal preferences.

A REALTOR® often can suggest simple, imaginative changes that make a home more suitable for you and improve its utility and value.

A REALTOR® is sensitive to the importance you place on this major commitment you are about to make. Look for a real estate professional to facilitate negotiation of a win-win agreement that will satisfy both you and the seller.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Unique Property = Unique Factors

We consider ourselves very fortunate to have created a niche that allows us to represent some of the most unique and impressive properties in all of Northern Michigan. Very often we are working with buyers who are looking for a truly exceptional property that is really one of a kind. It's important for potential buyers to realize that a truly unique property can create some interesting situations that they should be aware of. Due, in part, to drastic changes in the lending industry over recent years, it can be quite difficult to find "conventional" financing for some properties. Typically with conventional financing, the lender will order an appraisal to ensure the property's value before lending the money. Recent changes in the industry have tightened the requirements on appraisals to a point that it can be nearly impossible to conduct an accurate appraisal in some segments of the market. Some lenders require appraisers to provide at least 3 comparable properties wtihin a 10 mile radius that have sold within the past 6 months. When you're looking at unique river and lakefront property, this is virtually impossible. This problem has been especially evident when purchasers choose to use lenders that are either out of the area or are national internet based lenders. Most of these lenders just do not understand that we don't sell "subdivision" homes that are a dime a dozen. It's not as if you can just pull up the other 12 homes that sold within the development in the past year and determine a fair value. When we're talking about a 4,000 square foot log lodge on 13 acres, they aren't exactly all over the place. A piece of acreage on an all sports lake with a lot of frontage only comes up every few years in some cases.

There are other avenues of financing, including "portfolio" products that look closely at a purchaser's credit history and income to debt ratios rather than the value of the property itself. Typically rates are a little higher and the term is a little shorter, but it's often the best bet. The other option is just to go with conventional financing and be prepared to pick up the difference if the appraisal does not come in at purchase price. It's not necessarily that the value isn't there, it's just that there is not enough information available to come up with an accurate number. Either way, I would definitely recommend tying in with a local lender who understands the area and the type of property sold there. They will be better able to ensure that the appraisal is conducted by someone with a good base of knowledge in the area and can coordinate with the title company and other services that they work with on a day to day basis. It's a terrific thing to find that "special" one of a kind property, but it is important to be informed about the unique circumstance that can arise at the time of purchase. Good luck in the hunt. Hopefully we can help not only find that perfect property, but assist throughout the process to make it an exciting and smooth process.