Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Gladwin Parade of Lights

Saturday, December 1st, was the Gladwin Parade of Lights!

If you've never gone, you need to go next year. It's worth standing out in the cold for an hour our so. There is always lots to see!








Afterwards, they do a nice fireworks show, down at the city park. I wish I would have gotten pictures of it this year, but it was too snowy out.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Need to See Foreclosures?

Kehoe Realty is constantley getting bank repos listing. Bookmark this link to keep the list of foreclosed properties with Kehoe Realty: http://gladwinrealestateagent.com/repos.html

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New Sugar Springs Maps Page!

I just put together a page with individual plat map links for each realm within Sugar Springs.

If you need to find the size of a lot, or location within a realm, you can use this resourse to find out more about the lots.

Click on the map above to go to the Maps Page.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Help Raise Money for Cancer Survivors!

Help Diane raise money for cancer survivors!

Visit Diane's web site and help her reach her goal of $2500! It's for a good cause!

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Short Sales and Income Tax! OUCH!


There is something home sellers should be aware of when it comes to taking a "Short Sale" on your house.

What is a short sale?

That's when the lender agrees to settle for a lesser amount than what is actually owed on the house. In many cases, a bank will decide to take less if the owner has been late on mortgage payments and heading towards foreclosure. Often, a bank would rather accept a short sale, than foreclose on a home.

Here was my question to my CPA:

Is it true, that if a home seller takes a short sale on their house, will they need to claim the difference they sell the house and what was originally owed to the bank... claim it as income?

This is what she said:

The answer is, yes. Of course with any tax laws, there are always "what-ifs". One key factor is the fair market value of the house being sold. The mortgage co/bank will send out a Form 1099C (Cancellation of debt) or Form 1099A (Abandonment of Secured Property) at the end of the year. Most likely it will be a 1099A.

The mtg co/bank will list all the info on the form. If the Fair Market Value is less than the balance of the debt, taxable income will result. I have seen it happen both ways, especially if recently purchased or equity loans taken out.

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That being said, here is an article I came across on the Internet, that talks about short sales and income taxes: http://www.shortsales101.com/tax.htm

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So... even if a short sale might sound like an easier way out, sellers will want to be aware that they will probably end up paying the IRS for the difference, as taxable income. So, save your pennies! However, a short sale is less of a blemish on a persons credit, than a foreclosure.

Foreclosure... BAD
Short Sale... not so bad...

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Vacation Homes Sales are the Hot Ticket! (by Ivie Baker)


Doom and Gloom in today's real estate market? Maybe, but not in vacation home sales!

We've all been hearing about it! Everyone is talking about the slow real estate market and falling prices in home sales throughout the country. There are for sale signs on the corner of every street. Many sellers are waiting longer than ever, to sell their homes. Foreclosures and short sales are now at a all time high.

Things seem pretty bleak in today's real estate market. However, this may not be the case for vacation home sales!

According to a survey done by the National Association of Realtors, existing home sales decreased by 4.1% in 2006. However, vacation home sales increased by 4.7% (over the previous year). That's good news for sellers and buyers, alike! People who can still invest, are investing!

If you're thinking about purchasing a second home, this is the time to buy. With all of the bad press out there, second home buyers and investors are taking advantage of the market.

However, there are still some things that these buyers need to know before they dive into searching for the second home or investment property. Even though it's a buyer's market, vacation home sellers are not coming down on their prices as much as many buyers may think. I've had offers come is as low as 30% below list price, thinking that today's depressed market would reflect that! However, that is not the case with vacation homes, especially if it's waterfront property.

On occasion, there may be a situation where a seller is in a distressed position and will take a substantially lesser price for the vacation property. You can often find those situations in the local newspapers, with pending foreclosures on the rise. However, in most cases, if a property is priced right, it will still sell. Vacation home investors are still out there buying and are willing to pay near asking price, if it's a desirable property.

According to the statistics I pulled up for vacation home sales in my part of Mid Michigan, sellers are still getting 90-100% (on average) of their listing price for vacation home sales. In most cases, sellers are getting 93% or better, of their listing price! AND in some instances, sellers are getting 99-100% of their list price if the home (or property) is priced right and in a "high demand" location.

What's the good news for buyers?
Prices are remaining steady or dropping slightly, and inventory is still high. In the future, these properties will continue to increase in value and even in a poor market, these properties will still be easier to sell, than normal residential housing.

While full time residential housing is still taking a bad hit, vacation home sales are still thriving in a stale market.

So, if you've been thinking about investing in a vacation home or property, now is the time to jump in with both feet! You'll get the enjoyment of having that get-away you've always wanted, along with the benefits of being one of the growing number of vacation home owners/investors throughout the country. Now is the time to catch the vacation home ownership wave!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

(((Unrelated to Real Estate!))) Mt Rock Fest 2007

You know... sometimes you just have to take a break from the craziness of work... and that's just what my husband and I did last week! We went to the very FIRST Mt Rock Fest in Farwell MI from July 19th to the 22nd!

We met CHICAGO in person!!!

Click on photo for a larger view.

I thought that the Mt Rock Fest was worthy of it's own BLOG, since I posted so many photos. Visit http://mtrockfestphotos.blogspot.com/ for TONS of photos! There's even a link to their web site. Keep an eye on the web site in September! They will have the band line-up for July 2008. I heard some inside information that they are going to try to get "Journey" to play there next summer. Wouldn't that be great?!?!

We enjoyed watching Def Leppard ~ Styx ~ REO Speedwagon ~ Chicago ~ Deep Purple ~ Grand Funk Railroad ~ Collective Soul ~ Third Eye Blind & more! Visit my BLOG for more photos!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Where do the Presidential Candidates stand on the Issues

Unrelated to Real Estate, I thought this was good information:

Where do the 2008 Presidential Candidates stand on the issues?

Find out where they stand.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Real Estate Digest Magazine Ad

The Real Estate Digest Magazine was just released today. Here is a link to the full page ad:
http://gladwinrealestateagent.com/pdf/2007_July_RE_Digest_Mag.pdf


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Monday, June 18, 2007

(Something Fun) Sand Sculptures

Sometimes I have to throw something fun and interesting on here, unrelated to real estate. I thought these were interesting.

When you get the chance, look at these. They are amazing. Hard to believe it's all done in sand!
http://www.rense.com/general76/sandcastles.htm

Friday, June 01, 2007

June Letter from the Heart

My June News "Letter From The Heart" is now available:
http://gladwinrealestateagent.com/pdf/2007-June-LFTH.pdf

(If you need to print it, it's on legal size paper, 8.5x14)

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Real Estate Seminar to be Held June 21st at 7:00 PM at the Mid Michigan Community College!
It’s a Buyer’s Market! Now is the time to buy a home!
Learn how to save money and find the best interest rates, when buying a home.
Talk to lenders, title insurance people, a home inspector, a tax assessor and
other knowledgeable people, about home ownership.

Chance to WIN a $50 Gift Certificate to the
Riverwalk Place or the Doherty Hotel/Restaurant.

Get valuable coupons to save money on your real estate transaction.

Click link for printable flier:
http://gladwinrealestateagent.com/pdf/home_buyer_seminar_flier_color.pdf

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Another Fawn on Another Day!

Another fawn on another day. I came across this one at around 11:30 AM this morning.

I guess Gladwin County is growing a huge crop of fawns this year. This is the second little guy I've come across the Meredith Grade road, in the past week. This one was on the same road, but about a mile west from where I saw the first one, (on Friday).

This one was a little sturdier on his feet and could walk and run better. This is where he landed in the woods, just a few feet off of the road.

Again, I took a stick from the ground and coaxed the little guy to run and hide a little farther from the road. About 30 ft off the road or so, this is where he settled. I pulled a young pine tree away from the fawn to take these pictures. This time, he didn't try to put his head down to hide.

Don't worry. I didn't touch him. I left him here to hide. I sure his mother was nearby.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Cute Sign of Spring!

Springtime Newborn

I took these photos around 5 pm this evening. The kids and I were coming back from checking in a family at the Chalet, and this little guy (or gal) was standing along side Meredith Grade Road. When it saw the car coming, she/he laid down in this funny position.

She/he almost looks like Bambi on ice (without the ice).

This baby instinctively laid down to hide from us. However, to road didn't provide much cover. I got out of my car with my camera and took these photos. Shortly after I took the first two photos, I let the kids walk up to see, but I didn't let them get too close or even attempt to touch it. We just looked at him.

Soon another car drove up and we pointed out the baby along side the road. Of course, out came the camera phones. Then when one of the guys got out of their car to take a picture, the little fawn got up and did a clumsy trot for the woods. When he came to the edge of the woods, he tripped and fell. The fawn laid there as still as it could and we took the next photo below.

Shortly after I took this picture, I grabbed a small tree branch that was laying in the ground and coaxed him to move away from the edge of the road. The little guy got up and wobbled away, baaing like a little sheep. I'm sure that it's mother was flipping out. I know she was nearby, because we could here her in the woods across the road.

After the baby was at a safe distance away from the road, we let it be. We got in our car and drove away. I'm sure that mom would be showing up soon to lead the awkward little baby away to better cover.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Affordable Healthcare for Your Children

Many families around the state of Michigan are finding health care insurance for their children too expensive or plainly unaffordable, leaving their children uncovered. A new affordable healthcare program, offered through the Michigan Department of Community Health, is available for children of families with no health care insurance. MAR wants to introduce MIChild as a possible solution to its members. MIChild is a comprehensive healthcare option that provides uncovered children with routine dental and medical services, sick-child visits, prescriptions and urgent care. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is just one of the participating companies, as well as three dental care plan options. Participating families use ID cards from the companies they choose when visiting their health care providers. With their card, families pay nothing out of pocket when they use their plan providers.

The cost of ten dollars per month for each family covers routine dentist appointments, prescriptions, check-ups, vision and hearing care as well as emergency care and other hospital services. With this flexibility, families who were unable to afford these services can make sure their children are updated on necessary vaccines, get the medicine they need and are covered for glasses or contacts.

To be eligible, children must be legal residents of the state of Michigan, under the age of 19, unmarried and currently receiving no other health care coverage. Families do have to apply and eligibility is also based on income. To apply, families can log on to www.michigan.gov/michild or call toll free 888-988-6300.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Changed Background for my BLOG

I just changed the look for my blog. The other "prettier" template was sort of slow to load... especially for those with a dial-up connection. So, I decided to go with a background that loads really quick. I've noticed a huge different in the load time. I hope you like it!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Walk

One last walk in the snow? I put together "The Walk" last early spring. I thought you might enjoy a walk around the woods with Angel and I.

"The Walk"


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Monday, April 16, 2007

Real Estate Roller Coaster

I thought this would be fun to post. Basically, someone took a graph for real estate home prices, adjusted for inflation, from 1890 to the present and turned it into a roller coaster. Pretty neat!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

NEWS - Governor Granholm's Tax on Services Defeated!

Last night the Michigan Senate Republicans, under the leadership of Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R- Rochester) voted down Governor Granholm’s 2% tax on services, sending a clear message that tax increases to balance the 2007 budget are off the table. The vote went down along party lines with all Republican Senators voting against the Governor’s tax proposal joined by one Democrat, Senator Glenn Anderson (D- Westland), a REALTOR® member. In speaking with reporters following the vote Sen. Bishop declared Governor Granholm’s 2% tax on services “killed for good.”

Following the vote to defeat the tax, the Senate worked into the night to pass the remaining budget cuts totaling almost $600 million. The remaining votes went down party lines as the budget was passed.

This legislative victory was made possible by those that contribute to RPAC and the members who responded to the MAR Call to Action. During the floor debates regarding Governor Granholm’s 2% tax on services, many Senators remarked about the volumes of emails and phone calls they received regarding the negative consequences of this tax on Michigan families and businesses. Our membership’s over 4,900 emails to their State Senators aided in forming their decision on this vote.

While this is a tremendous victory for the real estate community, there is still a long way to go. While he recognized the tax proposal would be defeated yesterday, Senator Michael Switalski (D-Roseville) stated that, “The issue of revenue will not go away. I’m confident we will return to revenue before this is over.”

Friday, March 09, 2007

Letter from the Heart Newletter

Ok... I was ready for a spring background. What do you think? Ready for some Spring Flowers? Me too!

The March Newsletter is now available to view at:
http://gladwinrealestateagent.com/pdf/2007-Mar-April-LFTH.pdf

I hope you enjoy the newsletter. We have lots of snow! (And we've gotten even more than what I show in the newsletter, over the course of this week!)

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

People have been asking how much snow we have...

We have this much!!!

This was the scene on our back porch after the big storm.

The trees were coated with ice.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Online Marketing: Internet Buyer vs. Traditional Home Buyer Study

Online Marketing: Internet Buyer vs. Traditional Home Buyer Study: The Real Estate World is Changing even Faster than You Think!



If you believe that the Internet is the single most important factor in your future success, here's your continuing proof that you are correct. Ms. Appleton-Young and CAR® have compiled data of such import and enlightenment that I felt some of it should be shared with you. Pages 62 - 82 of the study compare some distinctions between Internet vs. Traditional buyers and the findings are powerful. These charts show the undeniable trends and the clear preferences consumers have for the Internet approach to buying a home: since the year 2000, virtually every preference that used to favor the traditional approach has been turned upside down and the Internet approach is now overwhelmingly favored. This report is unequivocal evidence that if you are not on the Internet bandwagon and if you can't be found by people searching for homes on the Internet, you are completely "missing the boat" in the real estate business.

Here are just a few of the report's findings:

92% of Internet buyers found their agent on a web site; 63% found them through an Internet search engine; 0% of Internet buyers found their agent through brochures, flyers, yard signs or mailers to their home (does this tell you to spend more on Internet marketing and less on print?);

· In 2000, 28% of people said that they used the Internet as an important part of their home-buying and selection process. In 2006, 70% said they did;

· 86% of home buyers started using the Internet as part of their process BEFORE they started looking for a specific home; the other 14% did after they started looking, but BEFORE they contacted a real estate agent; that means that 100% of buyers surveyed started looking at homes first, agents second. When you combine that finding with the already existing one that fully 81% of Internet buyers stay with the first real estate agent they choose to contact, you can see a powerful case for being able to have consumers find you, first;

· Internet buyers spent an average of 4.8 weeks doing research before contacting an agent; traditional buyers only 1.7 weeks. That means an Internet buyer is better prepared and twice+ as less likely to waste your time;

· Internet buyers bought a home on average after spending 2.2 weeks looking for a home with an agent; traditional buyers spent an average of 7.1 weeks; How high would your productivity be if you could spend 2/3 of the time you now spend previewing with clients and could dedicate it to selling and marketing, instead?

· Internet buyers previewed an average of 6.7 homes with their agent (they had already eliminated ones they did not wish to see), traditional buyers previewed 15.4 homes; an average of just under nine fewer wasted showings per customer;

· Only 3% of all Internet connections available at the primary computer used for the home-buying process were dial-up: Internet home buyers and searchers are not sticking with dial-up, just as they are not sticking with traditional methods;

· The approximate distance between previous residence and new residence for traditional buyers was 25 miles; for Internet buyers, it was 242 miles (you can sell anywhere compared to traditional ways);

· Number of agents an Internet buyer interviewed, on the median: 1; Traditional buyers? 3. (Why would you want fewer auditions and more certain retentions?)

· 69% of Internet buyers said response time was extremely important. 83% of those buyers chose email as their favored communication method with their agent. 0% chose "in person." (The Internet is the new "office visit.")

· Internet buyers were more satisfied with their agents: 4.3 to 3.3 for traditional buyers, on a scale of 5 where 5 is "surpassed expectations."

· 35% of traditional agents listed "faster response time from my agent" as the one thing they would change, if they could, about their experience; Internet buyers? 0%!

· Internet buyers were far more satisfied in every important researched category of satisfaction than traditional buyers were; when asked the number one reason for satisfaction with their agent, 91% of Internet buyers said that satisfaction was because their agent "was always quick to respond." Traditional buyers? Their number one reason was "worked hard on my behalf", chosen by 62% of them, leading us to conclude that traditional buyers did not find their agents "quick to respond."

And, ladies and gentlemen (a little drum roll, here, please), 97% of Internet buyers said they would use the same agent again. Traditional buyers? 50%. (Twice as likely to be satisfied and twice as likely to give a referral, wouldn't you think?)

I'm not an economist, (I don't even play one on TV), but it seems to me that these data show clearly that:

Agents who sell via the Internet do not get as bogged down in unproductive chauffeuring to preview homes as traditional agents do;

Agents who utilize online marketing and have Internet buyers are more liked, more highly regarded, more likely to have a repeat sale with the client,

Agents selling to Internet buyers are likely to work only 2.2 weeks with a buyer before selling a property (vs. 7.1 weeks traditionally);

Agents committed to online marketing may be able to expand their market area to an average 242 mile radius of their location and remain effective due to online communication; people find you on the Internet, call you or email you, and use you to help them find a home in an area they may not know.

The money you may spend on brochures, ads, newspaper ads, and the like should be reconsidered and placed into Internet Marketing.

You need your own website showing your properties and you. You can get a very good one free. What are you waiting for?

Just having a website or a page on your franchise site won't cut it; you must be able to be found by people searching for homes in your considerably larger e-neighborhood. The Internet is a really big place and chances are that you and your site may be lost in its hugeness.

You must be permanently committed to "Thinking Internet." I have heard many agents say "I don't get that involved with Online Marketing; I've been successful the traditional way for 15 years." I offer those of you saying that now two things: my sincere congratulations on your past success and my sincere empathy for the frustration you will suffer as the curve gets further out in front of you. The report told us that in 2006, 63% of Internet buyers (who comprise 70-85% of all buyers today) find their agent on the Internet. We believe that within the next two years, this number will approach 90%. While this CAR® study does not report on every State in the Union, it does report on what is happening in America's biggest and most influential real estate market. No matter where you are, these data and trends are coming at you. You must get on board or you will be literally run over and left behind. Internet selling is the way, and within our lifetimes, the statistics will continue to favor online marketing of real estate in even greater proportions.

(Link to FULL Article)

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Gladwin County Michigan Photos

I thought this would be fun to share during this cold winter months. I put together a slide show of some of my favorite photos taken in Gladwin County. I took most of the photos accept for three. The deer and the geese photos were taken by Bill Rivert of Sugar Springs and the photo of the people in the canoe, was taken by one of our guests at one of our vacation rentals. The rest of them, I took. Click on the photo below to visit the slide show.

ENJOY!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Nope... This one isn't for sale

Sorry, but this one isn't for sale. I thought you might enjoy some pretty winter photos with lots of snow and ice. This is our cottage on Blue Lake in Northwestern Gladwin County.
Winter is here! I couldn't resist going out this morning with my camera to take pictures of the beautiful snow. I wish I would have taken some photos the other day before I shoveled all the snow off of the deck.


Look at all of the ice hanging off the overhangs. I tried breaking some of them off... but they're on there good!

Here is a picture of the creek that runs between our lots. It's pretty in the snow. The photo doesn't do it any justice. Imagine the sound of running water in the background as it flows over a small waterfall. That's what it sounds like here. We have a mini waterfall in this creek, but it's not in this photo.

I took a picture of the propane tank, because you can get a better idea of the actual snow sitting on the ground, by looking at it.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Winter or Spring???

Is it really Winter? It's hard to believe that it's the beginning of January!
The picture below was taken on January 3rd.
NO ICE! NONE! NOTHING! ZIP! ZILTCH! NOT'A!

This picture was taken at a private park (for the house listed below) on Wixom Lake/Tobacco River just a couple days ago. It looks like this on every lake in the area! I've never seen the lakes like this in January, before. Christmas weekend 2005, my husband and I were riding our snowmobiles across Lake Lancelot in Sugar Springs! Not this year!

Today, while showing a home on Elbow Lake in NE Clare County, I saw a frog jump into the lake and hide under some fallen leaves at the bottom of the lake. Go figure! Frogs in January!

January 19th marks the first day of Tip-Up Town USA in Houghton Lake! No Ice means No Ice Fishing! They might be out there fishing from boats this year! The show must go on!!!

I saw two people out on Budd Lake today fishing from their bass boat.

If you've been holding off on looking at waterfront cottages until spring, because you didn't think you'd be able to see what the lakes were like... you might want to change your plans. You can see the lakes just fine! Unless we get a good cold snap, the lakes will probably stay this way for a while.