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Enter now for the $50,000 Sweepstakes



Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices will be giving away $50,000 toward a home renovation, partnering with the starts of HGTV's Fixer Upper, Chip and Joanna Gaines.  So let's bring on the entries to make sure this lucky winner comes from happy clients! 

Clients may enter once per day, through June 15. For more information, visit

Just listed in Wyoming


I've just listed a four bedroom, 2 bath home on Flamingo Ave. in Wyoming. 

This welcoming house on a corner lot offers more space inside than it appears to from outside! Cozy home is well-maintained and features hardwood floors in many rooms. Many updates and improvements include a newer furnace, windows and interior doors throughout. Hang out in the basement family room and enjoy the convenience of a full bath and bar area. The fenced-in backyard offers a quiet place to relax on a summer evening. Bus stop conveniently located one block away. Close to 28th street shopping, restaurants and library!


Important changes regarding special assessments


The beginning of the year brought about some big changes that affect how special assessments are levied to homeowners. A special assessment essentially is a charge levied to homeowners that receive the benefit from a public project, such as the installation of new sewer lines or paved roads adjacent to a homeowner's property. 

Let's say a homeowner is levied a $5,000 special assessment, paid in annual installments of $1,000 for five years, for a new sidewalk project in front of his home. If that homeowner wanted to sell his property, he would normally have to pay off the full $5,000 assessment at the time he sold his property. The full $5,000 assessment was considered a single charge, with the benefit of being able to pay it off over time.

But as of January 2015, each annual installment is considered a separate charge. Buyers need to be very aware if a home they are purchasing has an outstanding special assessment attached to it. The homeowner that originally had the $5,000 special assessment in the example above is only responsible for the annual $1,000 installment each year, much like a tax bill. If the property is sold, the new owner will be billed each year for the remaining installments.



Planning to paint a room in your house? Get this App first!


See what that new paint color is going to look like before a drop ever touches the wall. Paint Tester (available for both iPhone and Android) is a terrific tool for trying out different colors in your own room.

Using it is pretty easy.. Take a photo of the room you want to paint and load it into the app. Choose a color from the palette or sample a color from any photo. Tap on the walls to fill them with your new color. For more detailed paint fills, use the virtual tape to tape off your paint area.

Hint: For best results, make sure the room is well lit and try to reduce shadows. Walls with less obstructions are easier to color.

Check it out!

Paint Tester App by Luminant screenshot


Report says good staging can earn you more $$$$$


Here is one of the best kept secrets in real estate: If you want to sell your house faster and for more money, make sure it shows well! Sounds simple, right? Many sellers don't take the time to properly stage their homes for showings, and a recent report says it could be costing them money.

Staging a house isn't meant to hide stains in the carpets, holes in the walls or other flaws. (A good agent should direct a buyer to take a look everywhere.. That could mean under area rugs or behind couches.) Staging is supposed to give the buyer an idea of how a room can be utilized, how much furniture could fit into a room and, of course, to dress up a drab room. 

According to a report from the National Association of Realtors, the difference in what a buyer may offer for a home that is staged versus one that is not could be significant. Thirty-seven percent of Realtors® representing sellers and thirty-two percent of Realtors® representing buyers believe a staged home can increase the value by up to 5 percent.

So where should you concentrate your staging efforts if you are preparing to sell? The living room is the first priority, normally because it provides the first impression of the home's interior. Then focus on the kitchen and master bedroom.

Staging doesn't have to be expensive. Find ideas at Affordable Home Staging Tips.

FHA lowers PMI costs


New home buyers just caught a pretty good break. This week, the FHA announced that it is reducing the cost of private mortgage insurance. PMI is normally required when a borrower has less than 20 percent to put down on a mortgage loan.

Learn more about PMI here

According to the Wall Street Journal, the move would save a typical borrower up to $1,000 a year on a $200,000 loan.

Now is a good time to contact lenders to find out if the time may be right for you to buy. 

A new year, a new buying and selling season begins


Welcome to 2015! I know that the deep freeze has many thinking that spring is a long way off, but for West Michigan home buyers and sellers, the spring season begins now. 

Why so soon? Well, for homeowners looking to sell, now is the time to get the house ready to put on the market. Make sure those repairs that you've been putting off get completed. Take advantage of your time trapped inside by getting some new paint on the walls and clearing out the clutter. Think about some small updates that could really attract buyers, such as a new tile back splash in the kitchen or replacing that worn carpet in the bedroom. But before you go overboard, talk to a real estate agent. I am happy to do an evaluation of your home to discuss projects that can add value and appeal versus those that might not have much of an impact.

If you are planning on selling, you should be talking with an agent now to find out what your home might be worth. I can prepare a market analysis that shows what similar properties in the area are selling for, based on size, condition and amenities. Before you list your home, there are a few important questions you need to answer. Can you afford to sell your home if you have to payoff your current mortgage? Will the amount of money you make from selling your home be what you need to move into your next home? Having a realistic expectation of your home's value is an important starting point.

Buyers should be starting the process now by talking with potential lenders and figuring out financing. Having a preapproval letter ready to go when you start looking at homes gives you an advantage over other buyers. Believe it or not, so many buyers don't do their homework when it comes to applying for a mortgage. Fix credit blemishes that can affect your score, have money set aside for a down payment and plan for expenses such as home inspections and appraisals.  Know what you can afford and be ready to make an offer when you find something you like. I can help you find a home that fits your budget.

I'm looking forward to a great year, hoping you are as well! 


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