Thursday, April 29, 2010
Top 5 Advantages to Working with a Local Lender
1) Local lenders have a local expertise: Out-of-area lenders have little or NO knowledge of your market. A local lender will know more about special down-payment assistance programs offered through local government agencies and will also have a unique understanding of our local real estate market.
2) Local lenders have local connections: Let’s face it, that out-of-area lender is not going to have the inside scoop on the Who’s Who of the local real estate market. Your local lender will be a wealth of information in regard to appraisals, local laws and regulations and will probably know the agent on the other side of the transaction. Local lenders will also have the advantage of knowing the local title companies that you will be working with.
3) Local lenders have a local reputation: If you are dealing with a lender 1500 miles away, odds are they are not going to be concerned with a local reputation. Local lenders build their business on referrals, so they are going to be more attentive to details and will maintain a relationship with you long after you close on your home.
4) Local lenders can make it to your closing: Having your lender at the closing is imperative. When you see an endless heap of paper work, you will have a lot of questions for both your Realtor AND your lender. Out-of-area lenders will not have the ability to sit next to you at closing and offer you the support that you need and deserve.
5) Local lenders provide a higher level of service: The bottom line is this – when you are working with a local lender, you can walk right into their office and receive face-to-face customer service. There will be far less miscommunication and misunderstandings in regard to your mortgage application and the life of your loan.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
EARTH DAY - APRIL 22, 2010
The First Earth Day celebration was held on April 22, 1970 in the good old US of A – a mere 40 years ago! It is now celebrated around the world. The goal -- to educate and highlight the importance of the environment in order to preserve the planet. YOU are encouraged to “think green” and “act green!”
There are many ways to do this. My goal as an EcoBroker, is to educate my clients on affordable features that will provide comfort as well as a healthier environment while offering a monetary incentive for your pocketbook. The feel-good component is realized as we satisfy our needs while reducing our carbon footprints!
- There are tax credits available for homeowners who purchase qualifying appliances.
- Insulation and roofing can be eligible for tax credits as well.
- These tax credits will expire at the end of 2010.
So, what’s it all about and how do we all fit in? Get started slowly. Every tiny motion . . . every environmental act that you commit contributes to the environment’s bottom line. There is nothing that is so rewarding or provides such instant, yet cumulative, gratification:
- Project Switch -- Change your light bulbs! – to the highly efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) that last for years, use a third of the energy of regular bulbs and actually produce more light. It costs more initially, but remember -- there are two price tags: what you pay at the register and what you pay in energy costs over the bulb's lifetime. If every household in the US replaced a burned-out bulb with an energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent bulb, it would prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that from nearly 800,000 cars. It would also save enough energy to light 2.5 million homes for a year!
- Your house – not too hot, not too cold -- 42 percent of your household energy costs go toward heating and cooling. You have a lot of room to make a difference. Even small changes can make dramatic improvements in your household fuel efficiency.
- When it’s time to replace your older heating and cooling system, replace it with new efficient models. In addition to helping the environment, it can cut your annual energy costs by 20 percent. If you are not ready to replace your heating system right now, there are things you can do right now.
- Add two degrees to the AC thermostat in summer, and subtract two degrees in winter. If everyone did this, the cumulative impact would be significant.
- Make sure windows and doors are sealed. Sealing air leaks and adding insulation can reduce your annual energy bill by 10 percent. Choosing ceiling fans over air condition uses 80 percent less energy
- Tame the refrigerator monster -- the biggest consumer of electricity among household appliances -- responsible for 10-15 percent of the electricity you use each year. Older refrigerators are as much as 50 percent less efficient than the newer ones. If buying a brand-new, energy-efficient refrigerator is not in the cards you, there are things you can do:
CLICK HERE FOR MORE HELPFUL TIPS
Every little bit helps. If you feel that the contribution you are able to make doesn’t matter, multiply it. You will see that there is power in numbers and truly, the cumulative effect is what matters because WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!
Renee Badall, Realtor
Edward Surovell Realtors
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
30yr fxd – 5.25% APR – 5.29%
15yr fxd – 4.50% APR – 4.529%
10yr fxd – 4.25% APR – 4.29%
30yr fxd FHA 5.50% APR – 5.79%
Vice President Mortgage Lending
United Bank and Trust
2723 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Monday, April 19, 2010
So many homebuyers have been asking their Realtors about the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit. Most recently, the BIG question is whether or not it will be extended.
More and more, it looks like neither the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit or the $6,500 existing homeowner tax credit will be extended. While anything can happen, there are currently no bills pending in either the House or Senate to extend the tax credit.
The deadline to take advantage of the tax credit is April 30, 2010 and the eligible taxpayer must close on the home by June 30, 2010, so you still have time. As part of its plan to stimulate the U.S. housing market, Congress has passed legislation that:
· Extends the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit of up to $8,000 to first-time homebuyers until April 30, 2010.
· Expands the credit to grant up to $6,500 credit to current homeowners purchasing a new or existing home between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR THE TAX CREDIT?
· First-time homebuyers who purchase homes between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010.
· Current home owners purchasing a home between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010, who have used the home being sold or vacated as a principal residence for five consecutive years within the last eight.
· To qualify as a “first-time home buyer” the purchaser or his/her spouse may not have owned a residence during the three years prior to the purchase.
If you have specific questions or need additional information, please contact one of our Real Estate Professionals or call us at 1-877-833-3600. Edward Surovell Realtors lists foreclosures all over Southeast Michigan, including Jackson, Adrian, Tecumseh, Monroe, Manchester, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Canton, Wayne County and Livingston County.
Friday, April 16, 2010
1709 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor
This “Grand Dame” of Ann Arbor boasts exceptional architectural details showcased by it's magnificently appointed rooms. The owner has completely renovated this marvelous home to give it a more contemporary feel.
This historic home has gleaming cherry hardwood floors throughout the first and second floor. The Master suite on the second floor has its own fireplace, walk-in closet and completely redone master bath with Jacuzzi tub, and ceramic tile throughout. The Original brick wall to the house makes up a portion of the master bedroom adding to the character of the room. Embracing the allure of this home is a meticulously maintained front yard with mature trees and professional landscaping. CLICK HERE FOR A VIRTUAL TOUR.
The History behind 1709 Pontiac Trail
This Historic landmark in Ann Arbor is commonly known as the Josiah Beckley House and it is one of the top ten historic homes in the area. Constructed originally in 1835 and was
directly involved with the Underground Railroad of the Civil War Era. Josiah was related to the more famous Guy Beckley whose former residence is located at 1425 Pontiac Trail. Josiah Beckley, though not as renowned in name as his heir, was the main financial contributor to the cause and his business in Ann Arbor was used for related activities, mainly the publishing of the Signal Of Liberty paper that called for the end of slavery.
This property is not just a house or a landmark. It marks an important time in this
countries history as it relates to the local Civil Rights Movement and the struggle that was endured by people of all races to fight for the abolishment of slavery.
OPEN THIS SUNDAY FROM 1:00 TO 4:00 PM
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
15yr fxd – 4.50% APR 4.529%
30yr fxd FHA 5.50% APR 5.79%
Rates are based on a mortgage of $200,000, 80% LTV, no points and a credit score of 720 or higher.
Vice President Mortgage Lending
United Bank and Trust
2723 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
FIRST QUARTER REBOUND!
As we see more and more houses quickly go under contract, it's no surprise to learn that the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors recently confirmed that the Ann Arbor Real Estate Market rebounded in the first quarter.
The Ann Arbor Real Estate Market generated 96.7 Million Dollars in sales in the first quarter, which is up from 77.7 Million in 2009. That's up by 22%! For the Full Story from The Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors CLICK HERE.
The bottom line is this: Ann Arbor Area Homes are selling faster this year and those properties are selling at a higher price.
If you're thinking of selling, you can find out what comparable homes are listing for in your neighborhood. Get a real-time snapshot of buyer activity within your zip code. Take advantage of our Virtual Market Analysis.
SEARCH FOR ANN ARBOR AREA HOMES
Friday, April 9, 2010
The Burns Park Run is a classic Ann Arbor community event. Planned and staffed by volunteers from the Burns Park PTO and the neighborhood since its inception in 1979, the run has been popular with everyone from elite local runners to school kids.
The run, which usually draws 800 to 1,000 runners, includes three events; 10K and 5K races and a fun run around the park. The 5K and 10K cover a loop course that starts and finishes at Burns Park, winding through the streets of the neighborhood. The race course is one of the places that you sense the great community involvement. There are water stops staffed by neighbors, signs on the trees encouraging runners, and residents camped out on the sidewalks to cheer you on. Regulars look forward to hearing the theme from ‘Rocky’ as they climb the hill on Shadford.
200 of those 5K runners are usually elementary school children! How do they do this? By participating in Walk and Talk! Burns Park PTO’s ‘Walk and Talk’ program encourages exercise and fitness. Kids in the program spend their lunch-time recesses walking and/or running laps around the park. Parent volunteers keep track of the kids’ laps, each of which is a third of a mile. Children who reach various mileage levels receive coveted “toe tags” for their achievement. (The “toe tags” are small plastic feet that can be inserted onto laces on sneakers, or attached to backpacks, and are worn with pride!) There are awards for students in every grade from Kindergarten to Eighth grade.
Students are also involved in the t-shirt design. Every year, 5th grade students at the school participate in a contest for the artwork on the shirts. One lucky student has their design on the front of the shirt.
The Burns Park Run is a major fundraising event for the Burns Park PTO. A number of neighborhood and local businesses support the run. (I have been a sponsor since 2006.) Runners can raise funds for other charities as well. Check out the website for more details.
If you go, be sure to stay for the awards ceremony afterwards. It’s a party in the park, complete with music, and great snacks, including muffins baked by volunteers.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Many of us at Edward Surovell Realtors are HUGE fans of the annual FestiFools celebration that takes place in Downtown Ann Arbor every year, in the beginning of April.
The 4th annual FestiFools Parade will hit Main Street from 4-5 PM this Sunday, April 11th. The city of Ann Arbor is lucky enough to host this exclusive event, which draws local townies in droves. FestiFools is a visual masterpiece, as 14 ft puppets take to the streets and parade through the downtown area. Expect to see numerous larger than life puppets parade down Main Street, from Washington to William Sreet. These breath-taking puppets are created by local Ann Arbor residents and students. Photo by: Myra Klarman
The masterminds behind this event are local University of Michigan Art professor, Mark Tucker and UM graduate Shoshana Hurand. "It started out as a 1-time class project, although it was never intended to be a show in Ann Arbor,” said Tucker. “At first, we thought we would take it to other communities, like Flint or Ypsilanti or Detroit, but the logistics of getting my students out to those places — we ended up doing the 1st year in Ann Arbor. And then we were pleasantly surprised how much the Ann Arbor community embraced the whole concept. … So now we sort of bridge that fine line between making the stuff that’s fun and foolish and also making sure that it’s a rich educational experience for the students that are involved in it" (AnnArbor.com, McGee 04/8/10).
The FestiFools event is one of Ann Arbor's crown jewels. This bright and brilliant event even received a "Golden Paint Brush Award" (for excellence in public art) by Mayor John Hieftje in 2008.
Please take a moment to watch this promotional video so that you may better understand just how spectacular this local event is, and how important it is to the residents of Ann Arbor.
THE OFFICIAL FESTIFOOLS PROMOTIONAL VIDEO
“March was really good,” said Laura Dykstra, associate broker at Edward Surovell Realtors in Ann Arbor.
Surovell's business climbed 30 percent in the first quarter, she said.
“We exceeded our goals and expectations in terms of written business," Dykstra said. “Our expectations for April are even higher.”
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
15 yr fxd – 4.625% APR 4.628%
30 yr fxd FHA 5.50% APR 5.79%
Vice President Mortgage Lending
United Bank and Trust
2723 S. State StreetAnn Arbor, MI 48104
Friday, April 2, 2010
The curb appeal of your home begins with the front door, and the area leading up to it. This is the area where you welcome prospective homebuyers and it immediately sets the tone for your entire home. Be sure to make a positive first impression by taking advantage of the amenities that you already have. Here are the top 5 ways to add curb appeal to your front door!
1) Light Fixtures: Be sure that your light fixtures are clean, sweep away any cobwebs or debris that can leave them looking neglected. Upgrade any outdated light fixtures. There are a lot of attractive light fixtures for under $100.
2) Exterior Hardware: Shine up the exterior hardware, which includes door hardware and address numbers. A small touch up can go a long way whether you decide to clean, paint/stain or even replace the hardware to give it a new look. When shopping for new hardware, select a look that will compliment the light fixtures.
3) Exterior Finish: The entrance of your door often takes the most abuse. It’s important to address any scuffmarks or flaking paint on the door trim that can make the house look unattractive. Remember, the value of your home can be reflected by some of the smallest details. A fresh coat of paint can quickly upgrade the exterior trim!
4) Potted Plants: Soften up the front porch area by adding greenery and potted plants. A simple touch of color can add not only beauty and depth to any front porch, but it can also differentiate your home during a competitive buyers market.
5) Welcome Mat: Don’t forget to buy a new welcome mat for the front door. Throw out that dingy old doormat and purchase a neutral yet attractive doormat that invites guests inside your home.
If you're thinking of selling, you can find out what comparable homes are listing for in your neighborhood. Get a real-time snapshot of buyer activity within your zip code.