Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Winter Wonderland

I visited with a client at Schuss Mountain in Antrim County yesterday and was amazed at the beauty, family fun and the abundance of visitors enjoying Northwest Michigan's Winter Season. Sometimes living here it takes an outsider to point out how fortunate we who live here are in that we truly have a 4-Season playground.
I have a client and friend who due to job opportunity now lives in San Antonio, TX but he and his family own waterfront properties here and their heart is in Northwest Michigan (sorry Texas). They travel to Michigan whenever possible and regardless of the season find great family activity every time they visit. From our morel mushrooms sprouting in the Spring waiting to be found; the Summer fun on our lakes and rivers; the Fall colors when hiking or hunting; and of course the plethora of Winter activities all within short driving distances, Northwest Michigan is truly a 4-Season playground.
Owning and investing in Northwest Michigan real estate will always provide outdoor fun only limited by one's imagination. Real estate here is at very attractive prices and there is a good selection of property in all price levels. Working with a Waterfront Realtor to help you find your Homewaters is the smart choice for all Sellers and Buyers.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Local Real Estate Sales Up in 2009

The five county region consisting of Antrim, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Leelanau and Benzie Counties show that sales of real property have more than doubled in 2009 over 2008 for the eleven months ending November 30, 2009. Both total dollar volume and units more than doubled over 2008 and are well ahead of 2007. While our sellers have had to be very aggressive in the current market in order to compete, I believe overall our waterfront properties have held up well when compared to residential and commercial properties. The sales have increased in every price category - up to $1,000,000 and over which saw 2 sales this year, none in 2008 and 1 in 2007.

Going into 2010 I am excited that the market seems to be moving at a good pace with the help of great mortgage rates and aggressively priced properties. It will still be a year of high inventory levels which will continue to keep pricing in check. Our Sellers need to make sure that there property is clean, maintained and one of the most aggressively priced if they want to sell under the current market conditions.

Friday, December 18, 2009

No Change from Fed

In a week full of major economic news, mortgage rates ended with little change. Wednesday's Fed meeting produced little reaction in mortgage markets. The PPI inflation report was higher than expected, but the more closely watched CPI report was right on target, remaining at low levels. Economic troubles in some developing nations produced a flight to safer assets, which helped mortgage markets late in the week.
As expected, the Fed held the fed funds rate steady and made no indication that it will raise this rate any time soon. Its statement contained no surprises. Of note, it described improvement in the job market since the last FOMC meeting, as the "deterioration in the labor market is abating." The Fed expects inflation to remain low. Finally, the statement reminded investors that the $1.25 trillion mortgage-backed securities purchase program will conclude at the end of the first quarter of 2010. Mortgage investors were generally pleased that there was no unfavorable news from the Fed meeting. The housing sector data released during the week was mostly favorable. November Housing Starts rose 9%, and Building Permits, a leading indicator, showed similar results. The December NAHB Homebuilders Sentiment index surprisingly dropped slightly, to the lowest level since June. Given the passage of the extension and expansion of the homebuyer tax credit, the index was expected to rise.

For a free custom mortgage rate quote please email or call 231.946.6300.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Waterfront Options in Kalkaska County

Not many people can afford some of the very expensive waterfronts available on some very impressive bodies of water. However, one can enjoy Torch Lake, for instance, by purchasing a lot in a charming private wooded area just outside the Village of Alden, build your vacation or retirement home and walk off the back of the lot to what has been described as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. This lot is listed at $29,900 and is a very affordable option to have access to great water.

Kalkaska County has 90 lakes and 3 rivers in it - there is an abundance of waterfront property at various prices and types. Little Log Lake just outside the Village of Kalkaska is a quiet lake with loons, fishing and natural waterfront views. It is a very peaceful setting adjoining state land. This charming cottage offers a half acre and 110 ft. of frontage on Little Log Lake. The cozy home is insulated for year around use and has unique custom features like a stainless steel Kitchen and Jacuzzi Tub.

There are a myriad of options for someone wanting to invest in Waterfront Real Estate at the best prices in years. Variables such as private/shared frontage; all-sports or quiet lake; river or stream; quality and size of structure. Homewaters is a great resource for all waterfront buyers of Northern Michigan waterfront property. It is my goal this year to help more people find their Homewaters.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

All market segments are not created equal

There are a lot of indicators out there that values may have hit bottom and we may be seeing a bit of a bump in some markets. Especially in the lower priced homes, we've seen a tremendous number of properties that received multiple offers and sold for more than list price. This should allow for list prices on these properties to bump up a bit.

In other market segments we're still seeing a large discrepancy between true market value and the list price of properties. Grand Traverse County's Silver Lake is an example of this. With more than 40 available properties in 2009 and only a couple sales, it's apparent that the listed prices on most of the homes is not in line with what the market will bear. Some sellers have recognized this and have made substantial price reductions. This property (click image for details) right on Silver Lake, for example, was listed for $379,900, but was reduced late this fall to $299,900 which is a more accurate reflection of actual sales prices in the area. We saw an immediate jump in interest in this property and hope to have a buyer soon. I would expect to see more sellers bring their list prices in line with market value as we move forward. Once this happens, more buyers will jump into the market and should drive values up again.

No generalities can be made about the market as a whole. That's one big reason I tend to give no weight to national sales numbers. Each segment of the market has it's own unique factors that influence values. It's all supply and demand. If you're looking to buy your first home in Traverse City because you can take advantage of the first time home buyer tax credit, you may be better served to offer list price or even higher in order to ensure you are able to get the property you've identified as "the one" because many of these homes are seeing multiple offers within days of the property hitting the market.
This terrific log home (click image for details) on The AuSable River's North Branch, for example, was listed by our agent, Mark Bear, for only 12 days and already has an accepted offer for very close to list price. I'm sure there are a number of buyers who saw this one hit the market and decided they'd look at it after the holidays. Unfortunately it's already gone!

If, however, you've been watching a market that has seen very few sales which would indicate a glut of listings and list prices probably a bit above market value, it may be time to really work on negotiating a more favorable sales price. Too many people are out there right now watching a property or two that would be ideal, but the price seems too high. They're waiting and watching for the list price to be reduced before making a move. My advice is to go a head and make an offer. You never know what the seller's mindset might be. You may be able to negotiate a very attractive price that works for your budget regardless of the list price. The risk of waiting for a list price reduction may mean another buyer more willing to write a lower offer will snatch up the property that otherwise may have been a great fit! There's no way to be able to tell what amount a seller will be wiling to take without putting pen to a purchase agreement and trying to negotiate.

One of the great advantages to working with a solid Realtor is that we have access to detailed sales information and an in depth understanding of the markets we service. We'd love the opportunity to help with your next purchase. Please contact us at your convenience to learn more about how we may be able to help ensure you end up with your dream property at a price and terms that work for you!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bullhead Lake Natural Area

Located in the middle of Long Lake Township, Bullhead Lake Natural Area is a 33-acre gem that almost wasn't. Formerly owned by a local veterinarian, this phenomenal parcel with majestic trees, rolling terrain, a small lake and with wildlife sprinkled throughout, was slated for development in the early 1990’s.

Once word of development spread, friends, family, neighbors and conservationists alike came together to form “The Friends of Bullhead Lake” in hopes of preserving this unspoiled jewel. Through their efforts as well as with the help of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund and Long Lake Township, Bullhead Lake was spared from development. The Natural Area remains home to many species of fish, birds, frogs and other critters that depend on the forest and wetlands for survival.

Utilized primarily by the residents of Gull Wing Estates, the Nature Area has also been host to many field trips by Westwood’s Elementary and Long Lake Elementary Schools.

Although inconspicuous, the trail head is located off of Edgewood Avenue. At the “fork” is a large boulder engraved with the names of the individuals who supported the project.

I consider myself fortunate to be able to literally walk out my back door and enjoy the Natural Area in all it’s splendor. Which reminds me, it’s time for my walk!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Get Social with Homewaters

We'd like to make sure that all our potential buyers and sellers can stay in the know about the market and what we're up to as a firm. No matter how you prefer to gather information, you can find Homewaters and get up to date content from all our agents and brokers. We have a page on Facebook (click the logo to the left to view) that you can become a fan of to stay in touch through that site. We regularly post information about new listings, sales in our service area, recent news important to those looking to buy or sell real estate and much more.

We also have a Twitter account (click the logo on the left to view) you can follow for quick updates and links to new listings and market conditions. We feed the Facebook page into the Twitter account as well so you'll get both updates by signing up through Twitter.

The blog you're reading now is the forum we use for more detailed insight and topics that just can't be covered easily in a very short format. You can become a follower of this blog if you want to receive updates when a new post is made.

It's sometimes difficult to keep everything straight, but we're working hard to ensure that anyone who is interested in hearing our thoughts is able to get those thoughts in exactly the manner they prefer. We also have telephones as well. I know it's a bit "old school", but we will actually answer the phone if you call and have a direct conversation with you. Our phone system is set up to directly find the agent who is most likely to help you and connect directly to them regardless of where they happen to be a the time.

Are you sitting down for this one? We will even actually get in our cars and drive to your location so we can speak face to face. I know it sounds crazy, but that's how committed we are. Whether you're a tech savvy 20 something looking for your first place or a "seasoned" veteran that actually prefers to see the person they're doing business with, our agents and brokers are committed to providing the finest experience possible in the search for your own piece of "Home Water".