Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mobile Blog Posts

Get ready for more regular information through Homewaters Blog! I can now post directly from my phone which means I can share my hopefully helpful thoughts as soon as they jump out of my head. Might be a view of Northern Michigan that I see and can capture on my camera phone. Could be a small bit of helpful information that hits me while I'm on the road and would otherwise forget to share. I'm looking forward to taking advantage of yet more technology to help our clients!

Buying in Today's Market: Part One, Appraisals

An enormous part of our role in helping buyers today is to help prepare them for the potential pitfalls that may be experienced with our current market conditions. Especially when it comes to unique waterfront properties, buyers need to be informed about the process before writing their first offer. There are a lot of terrific buying opportunities out there and finding the right property can be just the first part of the process.

One item that buyers of waterfront property need to be aware of is the current situation with appraisals. In years past, appraisers were able to make larger adjustments for subjective qualities like water view or property character. With banks requiring more strict parameters, appraisers are now held to quite stringent guidelines that makes it more difficult to account for those "feel" items that are often the reason one property may sell for more than another. Banks are also more strict on the age of comparables used for an appraisal. Ideally, they like to see properties sold within the last 6 months. In an area of the state where the snow begins in November and summer arrives in June, it can be very difficult, especially early in a season to find any suitable comparables. Add to this the fact that, in even the best of markets, only a handful of properties may sell on some of these bodies of water and it becomes quickly apparent that trying to conduct an appraisal that fits within the bounds of what a bank requires can be difficult.

It's important to recognize that, due to these factors, even if a property is worth the agreed upon sales price, an independent appraiser with limited data may not arrive at that number for the bank. In this scenario, the buyer would either have to bring more of a down payment or may have to seek alternate financing. Sometimes a seller will be willing to adjust price a bit to get the transaction together, but there are still a lot of cash buyers out there and the seller may be willing to wait. Most sellers are willing to sell for a fair market value and most buyers are willing to pay a fair market value. Most of our buyers who have successfully purchased their little slice of Northern Michigan understood that we don't sell cookie cutter subdivision homes and some potential hiccups may arise during the closing process. Prepare yourself for the possibility that it may take some patience, creativity and an open mind to get the one of a kind property. Most of our transactions come off without a hitch and we stay actively involved at every turn to help ensure this. It's more likely that you'll find that dream home and will stroll smoothly through the closing process, but think very hard about whether you're willing to pass on that otherwise perfect property because of a bump in the road.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Opener is Coming!!!!!

With reports already coming in of insect hatches on most Northern Michigan Rivers, it looks like it could be great fishing for the traditional trout opener next weekend. Many anglers have long standing traditions that must be adhered to, but there are a number of events taking place that may be worth checking out if you don't have plans or are looking for something to add to the mix. Here are just a few items to consider.

Thursday night next week The Northern Angler fly shop in Traverse City will be hosting a "get ready for the opener" event at the shop. Free pizza, contests, specials and more will be awaiting guests. They have a terrific fly selection and it would be a great place to stock up.

For many anglers from The Midwest, Grayling is the epicenter of all things trout and opening weekend festivities in particular. A few events of note are;

Our friends at The Old AuSable Fly Shop will be hosting their pre-opening party on Friday night complete with food, beverage, and music along the river. For more than 100 years, folks have been gathering in this spot to celebrate the remarkable fishing The AuSable has to offer.
The Trout Opener Golden Gala at The Devereaux Memorial Library. Music, food, demonstrations, speakers and much more will be available Friday evening from 6p.m. to 9p.m. This library offers one of the largest collections of fly fishing related materials in the country.

The AuSable Valley Recreation Expo will be taking place at The Ramada Inn of Grayling Saturday from 9:00 to 6:00 and Sunday from 10:00 to 4:00. This is the first year for this event which highlights not just the fly fishing culture of Grayling, but other attractions that make the area so attractive. Local legends Jay Stephan Sr., famous for the development of The Traditional AuSable Riverboat, and Jerry Regan, well know Michigan fly tying historian will be present. Plenty of other demonstrations, exhibitors, food and music will also be available throughout the weekend.

The Watershed Art Project's Spring Art Walk will also be taking place downtown Grayling from 1:00 to 5:00 on Saturday. Check out some terrific work by regional and local artists. There is an amazing amount of talent that will be on display.

The Lovells Township Museum will be hosting their annual opening day event in Lovells along The AuSable River's North Branch. Running from 10:00 to 4:00 on Saturday, this event has quickly become an opening day ritual for many anglers.

Kalkaska also puts on The National Trout Festival that weekend and offers a tremendous number of events throughout the weekend. Go to their website to see all the details.

Most importantly, this is a weekend to catch up with fishing friends and family that haven't gotten together in a while, share a few "sodas" and celebrate the changing seasons and the beginning of some of the greatest trout fishing available anywhere.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Open Water, part 2

I know I just wrote about the fact that most of the lakes are open a day or two ago, but I had the opportunity to tour a few properties on Elk and Torch Lake today and they are even almost entirely free of ice. To the left is a view of the south end of Torch Lake. The piles of snow and ice you see in the distance is right on top of the sandbar. It won't be long before that snow and ice is replaced by boats, the burger barge and more than a little fun! I always forget just how spectacular the colors are in our more clear lakes here in Northern Michigan. We truly have something special here that is just not available anywhere else on the globe!!!! The image to the right is the private marina at one of our Elk Lake listings on the North end. If you're a boater and would love a nice cottage with your own private boat ramp, marina and expansive sandy beach, click on the photo for more details!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Open Water!!

The forecast is showing clear skies and warm sunshine for the forseeable future and that should get rid of what little snow we have left and break up the ice on the rest of the lakes up here. Many lakes are already open, but the larger ones like Torch, Elk, Higgins, and the like need a little more warm weather. We've had a lot of interest in our lakefront properties over the winter, but until buyers can see the beach, they typically do not make an offer. By next week, all the lakes should be open and those that get up first to see the proeperties they've been watching over the winter will have first crack at their place in Northern Michigan!