Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Going Swimming in Torch Lake?

While Torch Lake has long been recognized as one of the most scenic lakes in the world, not many people realize what an amazing fishery the lake offers. From Atlantic Salmon to Smallmouth Bass to panfish and even giant Muskie, Torch offers truly world class fishing. A great example of this is the new state record Muskie that was caught just a couple days ago by a local angler who's been chasing them for about 7 years now. He apparently has taken about 70 of the huge fish over those years, but none larger than this new state record. It weighed in at a staggering 50lbs, 80z and beat the old record by 2.5 lbs. Just one more reason to consider Torch Lake as your place to vacation or retire! Prices have fallen steadily over the past couple of years making properties on Torch priced within reach for a lot more buyers! Click the photo to view all the available properties on Torch Lake.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

SEV vs. Market Value

In today's volatile real estate climate, buyers are working hard to educate themselves to ensure they make a wise purchase decision. One of the most available sources of property valuation is the County SEV or State Equalized Value of a given property. While I understand that buyers look to this number as a valuable source of information, it's very important to recognize that it's not usually a very good indicator of actual market value. It's simply impossible for a local assessor to individually evaluate each property and take into account many of the factors a potential buyer may see as vital. Quality of view, forest type, level of privacy and condition of the buildings are just a few items an assessor does not have the benefit of knowing when valuing a property. They're using raw data on paper to weigh properties against each other. I recently pulled the data of all the sales on The Upper Manistee River for a client who is placing an offer on a property there. The findings did not surprise me, but I think it's worth sharing with potential buyers.

SEV, Assessed Value (SEV x 2), Actual Sales Price, Difference
$94,900 $189,900 $120,000 -36%
$66,200 $132,400 $133,000 +.4%
$84,400 $168,800 $185,000 +9.5%
$86,300 $172,600 $227,500 +31.8%
123,000 $246,000 $325,000 +32.1%

The property that sold for only $120,000 and had an SEV of $94,900 was a manufactured home that needed a new roof system and had some interior water damage. I have no idea how they determined it's value to be higher than that of almost every other property that sold for more, but it's a perfect example of the inexact science that goes along with determining an SEV. I'm not saying these numbers apply to all market segments or that it will always be the case, but it hopefully provides some insight that should be taken into account as you go through this process. Good luck in the hunt for your property! Please get in touch with us if you need any assistance.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Crystal Clear Inland Lakes in Kalkaska County

The Northeast corner of Kalkaska County has three of the top five cleanest lakes in the State of Michigan. All-sports Big Blue Lake, Starvation Lake and Bear Lake all boast clean clear water with clarity beyond one's wildest imagination. These lakes are popular not only because of the clean water but they are all located in a great recreational area where year-around activity boasts snowmobiling on the Blue Bear Trail, cross country skiing and snowshoeing on a vast amount of state land. Because of the thousands of acres of state land surrounding these lakes one experiences a true "Up North" feel of serenity and peacefulness as soon as you arrive. Campfires, smores, story telling, fishing, boating, or just plain relaxing, this is an ideal place to purchase your Homewaters. The weather has been beautiful and Fall color is just weeks away. Great time to shop and see what is available. There is no better time to buy than right now.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Traverse City Named Top 3 Places to Retire by Money Magazine

In case you did not catch the latest results from Money Magazine's Top 25 Places to retire, Traverse City was listed at number three. This is something we have known for quite some time. For an active lifestyle, lower cost of living and wonderful arts and entertainment, Traverse City is the place to be. One thing to consider for selecting your retirement community is Health Care Services and Munson Medical Center is ranked among the top 100 hospitals in the country. International events such as the Traverse City Film Festival and world class fishing within an hour of the city limits make this a wonderful place to live and retire.

My spouse is from Traverse City and we have lived in the area since 1997 and have chosen not to retire to the Traverse City area, but to live and raise our family in this wonderful town in Northwestern Lower Michigan. We live about 12 miles from downtown, nestled between Duck and Green Lakes in the small town of Interlochen.

Most of my service area is within 45 minutes or less from Traverse City and if you are interested in seeking a retirement home, seasonal cottage, or are looking to relocate, please call me and I will be happy to work with you to find a property that will suit your needs. There are some wonderful values on the various waterways I service. Contact me via

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Worth 1,000 Words

What are you waiting for?

On a recent trip to The Torch Lake Sandbar, we had the opportunity to bring a couple of the neighbor kids along for the ride. This is a shot of Brendan Endres taking a leap of faith off the back of our boat into 3 feet of water. Take a close look at his expression. You'd think he just cliff dove off a 100' sheer face into inches of water. This photo is perhaps the best example I can find of why most people are really looking to buy property in Northern Michigan. With so much focus on finances and the economy, it's easy to lose track of the real purpose of having your own piece of Homewater. While many people wait to time the elusive "bottom" of the market, their kids are getting older and may miss their opportunity to feel the rush Brendan is feeling in this shot. Prices have steadily declined throughout this season and it's spurring a lot of late season deals. As more inventory is removed from the market, it's sure to drive more competition and prices will indeed begin to increase. Just keep in mind the real reason for your search as you're going through the process and decide how long you're willing to wait on moments like these.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Homewaters in Michigan Blue Magazine

When it came time to do research for their upcoming Sporting Life edition, the Co-Publisher and Editor of Michigan Blue Magazine spent a few days touring Northern Michigan with our Broker and Owner, Chad Brown. The article appears in the September issue which is on news stands now. Click the image to read an expert from the article. Thanks very much to Lisa Jensen and Randy Prichard for allowing me to give them a glimpse into our world of riverfront real estate! We also arranged for them to stay at Rayburn Lodge on The AuSable River which is a spectacular B and B on The AuSable River that we sold a few years ago and the lodge is also featured in the article. If you haven't read Michigan Blue yet, it's a phenomenal lifestyle publication that includes regular features about all things related to waterfront living in Michigan.

World Record Brown Trout Caught in Manistee River

A little while back, I did a blog entry about the tremendous quality of the fishery on The Manistee River. I didn't realize then that a new world record would be caught there this year. A Rockford area man hooked and landed this monster trout of more than 41 lbs while fishing for salmon in the lower Manistee River. It surpasses a slightly smaller trout taken in Arkansas' White River years earlier. It eclipsed the previous state record by more than 4 lbs. Click Here for a local news story and video. There's no doubt that Michigan is among the nation's great fishing states and when it comes to trout, we now have the world record to prove it!!! Contact our friends at Schmidt Outfitters or The Northern Angler to book your trip on The Big Manistee and a shot and becoming the next world record holder!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

$30K Price Reduction-Close to Crystal Mountain, Bear Lake-30+ Acres, Pond, Creek, Newer Ranch, Barn and Much More

Here is a fantastic deal on a 4 year old ranch with a barn, pond, creek and backs up to state land. The owner says he wants it gone and has reduced the price to $209,900.00 for 30 acres. Priced well below SEV and recent appraisal value. Close to Bear Lake, 7 miles to Crystal Mountain, bring the horses or snowmobiles as this property backs up to state land with trails. This is an incredible value in Northern Michigan Real Estate. Would make a great getaway, retirement home, or year round home for you or your family.

If this property doesn't meet your needs, give me call and let me know what you are looking for, as I will be happy to work hard to find you the ideal property. Contact Brian Pitser at 231-342-9133 or