Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolutions

After spending the holidays with family and friends, this is a time of the year to start thinking about changes to make in our lives, both personal and in business.  We wanted to share one of ours with you.

Our goal is to become your REALTOR® for life.  We want you to think of us first when you need to buy or sell and that you’ll recommend us to your friends too.  That kind of trust has to be earned and we’re committed to helping you be a better homeowner even when you’re not buying or selling.

The strategy is simple.  A well-informed homeowner will make better decisions.  We’ll periodically offer information through articles and social media on a wide variety of home-related topics like maintenance tips, tax law changes, financing suggestions, insurance, equity building strategies, and rental property investments. 

Please contact us if you need a recommendation on a service provider.  Our experience has built a list of reputable and reasonable contractors that you can rely upon.  When you have any kind of home-related questions, I hope you’ll have the confidence to call us.

Happy New Year.  We sincerely look forward to helping you or your friends.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Avoiding Unexpected Expenses

It's common for sellers to consider offering and buyers might find it an incentive, but a growing number of homeowners are purchasing the home warranties themselves to limit the unexpected expenses of repairs and replacements.

A home protection plan is a renewable service contract that covers the repair or replacement of many of the components in a home. Some homeowners especially like the convenience that it organizes a qualified service provider as well as the cost of the items.

There are a variety of companies that offer home warranties and the coverage may differ but the majority of things will include heating, air conditioning most built-in and some free-standing appliances, as well as other specific items. Additional specific coverage may be available for other things like pool and spa equipment.

Some investors are even placing this coverage on their rental properties to limit the amount of maintenance repairs during the year. It is a viable alternative to managing the financial risk and the stress dealing with unexpected expenses.

If you're interested in home warranties, I'll be happy to send you more information.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Let Your Tenants Send Your Kids to College

Most people have lots of things to save for but not always enough discretionary income after the family essentials have been met.

A relatively small investment in a rental home can control a good home that will easily rent, generate positive cash flows and pay for itself. The borrowed funds create leverage that earn a return on the total value of the home and not just the amount of cash you have invested.

The strategy is simple. Find a slightly below average priced home that will rent well. It will appeal to a larger group of people while it's rented and when it's ready to be sold.

Rent the home and maintain its condition over the years. As the loan amortizes and the value increases, the equity will grow. When your student is ready to start college, you'll actually have several options.

You can sell the property; pay the tax on the gain at the reduced capital gains rate and fund the education. Another option would be to refinance and take the proceeds to pay for the tuition. This would allow you to continue to own the asset but would free your equity and under current tax laws is a non-taxable event.

Regardless of whether you're trying to plan for your children's education or your own retirement, rental property offers many solid investment opportunities. Contact me if you want more information.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Foreclosure Redemption Period for Larger Land Parcels Changed


QUESTION: I am representing a seller whose house was foreclosed and purchased at a foreclosure sale by the bank on February 10, 2012. Their house is on a 3 ½-acre parcel of land. It is my understanding that the redemption period for parcels over 3 acres is one year. Am I correct?

ANSWER: NO. The law has been changed. The one-year redemption period now applies to property that is used for “agricultural purposes.”

There is a presumption that land is being used for “agricultural purposes” if prior to the sheriff’s sale, the property owner provides the lender with proof that the property owner filed a federal income tax form 1040 Schedule F for the preceding year. The property owner must also record an affidavit with the register of deeds for the county in which the property is located stating that such proof has been delivered to the
lender.

This new law was applied to all sheriff sales after February 1, 2012.

Monday, December 03, 2012

FHA to Cost Borrowers More

FHA has announced a major change to its loan program which allows borrowers to cancel the mortgage insurance premium (MIP) when their unpaid balance reaches 78% of the original purchase price. While no specific date has been set for the change, sometime in 2013, new FHA loans will require the mortgage insurance for the life of the loan.

At existing rates, the monthly MIP on a $168,875 mortgage is $178.99 per month. Under the current rule with normal amortization, the MIP would no longer be required in 9 years and 9 months. However, under the new rule, it would last for the entire 30 year term.

They also announced that the annual MIP will also be increased from 1.25% to 1.35% at some point in the near future. HUD, the parent agency for FHA, is making the changes to restore the capital reserves of the program that are needed to fund failed loans.

People that can close a FHA loan before the change takes place will fall under the old rules for canceling MIP and the lower rates. Since no date was announced, it is not known exactly when the changes will take effect.

While this information will probably not make the evening news, it will have a big impact on borrowers planning to use an FHA loan. Please pass it on to anyone you know who might be considering purchasing or refinancing with a FHA loan.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

118 Acres Watson Rd, Beaverton MI - SOLD!

118.66 Acres of PRIME Hunting Acreage

SOLD!

Update from Seller for 2012 Hunt: "Jim.. This is really deer country??? SEVEN hunters, took five nice bucks the first and three does.. The second day and another buck and four more does.  so that is 6 bucks out of seven hunters. The first day they saw  a combined  137 deer and seventeen  bucks.. You must remember we have the three point rule on our property."


Are you looking for that perfect hunting property? You may have just found it. This nicely wooded 118+ acre parcel offers a fantastic habitat for deer, turkey and a variety of other wildlife. There are several established trails throughout the property and several hunting blinds. This property is located in an area of other large parcels on a dead end road. Lots of privacy. We even jumped a nice 8-10 buck in velvet, when driving through the property. Need Appointment to walk property (especially during hunting season).



Monday, November 26, 2012

Dripping Dollars

Conserving water to be green while lowering your monthly bill to save green is a beneficial combination. Little things can contribute significantly to a large water bill.

  • Leaky faucets can waste over 1,000 gallons a year
  • Leaky toilets can waste 7,000 gallons a month
  • A five-minute shower saves more water than a tub bath
  • Water running while you brush your teeth or shave
  • Sprinkler heads need to be adjusted to spray on the yard only
  • Install a rain sensor on sprinkler system
  • Pool equipment can be a hidden source of wasted water
A larger than normal water bill can be your first indication you have a leak. Then, you'll need to track it down.
  1. Turn off all the water faucets and appliances; don't forget the ice maker.
  2. Open the water meter, usually located near the sidewalk in the front of the house. You may need a water key that can be purchased from a home improvement store or possibly borrowed from a neighbor.
  3. Locate the dial indicating water usage. It should not be moving since all of the water is off. If it is still moving, verify that you have turned off anything that might be using water.
  4. If it appears to be still, make a mark with a Sharpie and wait 15 minutes. If the flow indicator has moved, you probably have a leak.
  5. Now that you've confirmed that you have a leak, you may need help in locating it. A plumber or leak specialist may be able to help you track it down and repair it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

4575 Hamilton Way, Gladwin MI - Nice Sugar Springs Home - 3 Lots

This nice home offers plenty of space!
3 BR, 2 Bath, 2.5 Car Garage

$116,222




Nice country home located in the far outskirts of Sugar Springs on a triple lot with a view of Lake Lancer and Nineteen Lake. This home features a metal roof, covered porch, large back deck, a full unfinished walkout basement and a triple lot (contiguous w/one tax bill and dues). Enjoy a large yard with a view. Great location for a family to enjoy Sugar Springs. Boat docks are just walking distance away.






Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Kehoe Realty changes hands with retirement - Gladwin County Record and Beaverton Clarion: News

Kehoe Realty changes hands with retirement 
(Click link to go to the Gladwin County Record Article)

Many of you might already know, but Mike and Don Kehoe have decided that they are going to retire from real estate on Dec. 31. Jim and Ivie Baker will be taking over as the new broker/owners of the company. Of course, they say, they’d love Don to stay on indefinitely, but he’s decided that he would like to do some traveling. He has been talking about it for years, and finally he will get his chance.

“As Mike and I were talking of selling, we were approached by Jim and Ivie. We both felt this would be an excellent fit,” said Don. “Jim and Ivie have the experience, as they have been with Kehoe Realty since 1999, and are both Associate Brokers. Their dedication, hard work, and integrity, will continue the path we have worked to establish and maintain.”

Jim and Ivie started working for Don and Mike in April of 1999. “It was one of the best career decisions we had ever made,” Jim and Ivie said. “We can’t say enough wonderful things about our relationship with Don and Mike Kehoe. They have been extremely supportive of us – and all of the Kehoe staff – over the years,” they added. “They have always been there for us when we needed help and guidance. Don has always said, ‘There is no such thing as a stupid question,’ and we never felt that we couldn't go to them for anything. They have always treated us with the utmost respect and we can truly say, that even though we are not related, we feel like they are family.”

The Bakers describe Don the way many people know him – sincere and always honest. He is a wonderful pillar of this community, they added, nothing that he has started several major projects in Gladwin County over the years. He has also served on several boards including the Clare/Gladwin Board of Realtors, Gladwin City Board, Mid Michigan Community Action Center, Knights of Columbus, and many others. Don has donated to several local charities and supported our local schools and businesses. According to Jim and Ivie, Don has always believed that we need to support the people and community, and his record has shown that he has lived by that philosophy.

“We are going to sincerely miss Don when the day finally comes and he is officially retired. However, we know that he will be frequently dropping into the office to check in on all of us and to tend his beautiful gardens around the building,” said Ivie.

“We are looking forward to our new adventure and will proudly pick up where Don leaves off.” said Jim. “We feel that Don has more than prepared us for the future with his shared knowledge and experience. We also have a wonderful staff of Realtors who will be continuing that adventure with us. They are Christine Gallagher, Melissa Castillo, Mary Moore, Lynn Bloomfield, Candi DeFore, and our new Corporate Office Assistant Kim Sturgis.”

Don and Mike Kehoe have been Kehoe Realty Inc. owners and brokers since it’s inception. “Don and I offer our congratulations to Jim and Ivie as they continue serving the Real Estate needs of Gladwin and Clare,” said Don. Jim said that he looks forward to Kehoe Realty offering the same commitment to the community as Don did.

“We at Kehoe Realty look forward to serving the community that Don loved so much. I imagine it is why Don chose the heart as our logo,” Jim said. “We will always strive to be known as the agency with a heart. And Don will be forever in ours.”

A Spoonful of Honey is Good Medicine by Dr. Rallie McAllister on Creators.com - A Syndicate Of Talent

I know this isn't real estate related, but I thought it was good information. I have been taking honey when I felt a cold coming on and I feel it really does work!

A Spoonful of Honey is Good Medicine by Dr. Rallie McAllister on Creators.com - A Syndicate Of Talent


A spoonful of honey can do more than just satisfy your sweet tooth — it might improve your health.

For centuries, the natural sweetener has served as a versatile healing agent. Folk remedies featuring honey have long been used to treat ailments ranging from the common cold to constipation.

Read more!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

News Release: Housing Statistics, Strategic Business and Vision Planning | realtor.org

News Release: Housing Statistics, Strategic Business and Vision Planning | realtor.org


Lawrence Yun , chief economist of the National Association of Realtors®, said the housing market clearly turned around in 2012. "Existing-home sales, new-home sales and housing starts are all recording notable gains this year in contrast with suppressed activity in the previous four years, and all of the major home price measures are showing sustained increases," he said.

Click the link above to read more!

Monday, November 19, 2012

What's the Point?

Pre-paid interest, sometimes called "points", is generally tax deductible when a person pays them in connection with buying, building or improving their principal residence. When points are paid on a refinance, they are not a current deduction but have to be taken pro-rata over the life of the mortgage.

For instance, if $3,000 in points were paid on refinancing a 30 year mortgage, deduction of $100 per year is allowed. When the loan is paid off or replaced by refinancing again or the home is sold and the mortgage paid off from the proceeds, the balance of any un-deducted points may be taken in that tax year.

Your tax professional needs to be made aware of any of these situations so that he can accurately reflect the deduction in your return. Currently, the most common situation is where homeowners may be refinancing their home for the second, third or even fourth time. If there are points that have not been completely deducted, they need to be treated in the year of refinancing.

For more information, see points in IRS Publication 936; there is a section on refinancing in this publication. For advice considering your specific situation, contact your tax professional.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Water Damage - Covered or Not?

A number of things can cause water damage to a home and it's important to know whether they're covered by your insurance policy. Some water damage may be covered and other may not be. Generally, you need an incident to invoke coverage rather than something gradual due to lack of maintenance.

However, some incidents are specifically exempt from homeowner policies such as floods. A flood can be described as rising water due to overflow of inland or tidal waters or unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface water from any source.

Homes in designated high-risk flood areas with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders are required to have flood insurance.

Even if you don't live in a dedicated flood zone, you could be affected by flood damage. Review your policy about water damage and call your insurance agent to get a better understanding. Ask if you need to purchase additional coverage or separate flood insurance along with other questions.

Flood insurance can be purchased for the building and the contents. The average flood insurance policy costs about $600 per year. For more information, see the National Flood Insurance Program.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

How are Multiple Offers Handled?


First of all, there really are not any defined rules. The seller is the true deciding factor on how the multiple offers are handled. The seller can accept an offer, counter some offers and not others or outright reject one or all offers.

Since multiple offers can be a complex and often an emotional experience, we put together this
Q & A page to give buyers and sellers a better idea of what they might expect when this type of situation arises.




Q & A - Multiple Offers

1. Doesn't the SELLER have to work with the first offer they receive first? 
No. They can work with whichever offer they choose.

2. Does the seller and/or the listing agent have to give notice to all parties that there are more than one offer on the table?
An agent can only disclose the existence of multiple offers only with the permission of the seller. However, it is usually to the sellers best interest to give notice to all parties so that everyone is given an opportunity to give their highest and best offer. 

3. When the seller delivers a counter a offer to a buyer and another offer comes in before the buyer responds, isn’t the seller obligated to work with the offer that is in progress before moving to another offer? 
No. The seller has the right to cancel their counter offer at any time before they receive delivery of an acceptance from that buyer. The seller can either decide to take the better offer, counter the offer of choice or notify both parties to give their highest and best offer. However, it is often common practice for a seller to deal with one counter offer at a time. It is truly up to the seller on how they want to handle multiple offers.

4. If I make an offer through a buyers agent who does not have the property listed and another offer comes in through the listing company (or other company), can the listing agent/company share my offer with the other bidder?
Yes and No. A listing agent who is not representing the buyer(s) cannot share an offer with other buyer(s) UNLESS the seller gives authorization to do so. 
(Note: In a dual agency situation, the agent cannot disclose offers to other bidders without permission of the represented buyer, even with the sellers authorization).

5. If there are multiple offers and the seller chooses to counter my offer, can I counter the offer again?
Yes, but the moment you counter the sellers counter, the sellers offer is VOID. You are basically making a NEW OFFER. The seller can then decide whether they want to accept, reject, counter your offer or move onto negotiating with one of the other offers. In some cases the seller may  ask all parties to present their highest and best offer, at that time. 

6. If my offer is not accepted, can my offer it be used as a backup offer? 
That will be up to the seller. In many cases, the seller might offer for you to hold the back-up offer, but at the same terms as the accepted offer. If there were more than 2 offers, they may decide which buyer should hold the first back up offer or decide not to offer backups at all. (Most foreclosure listings won’t accept or offer back-up offers).


Q & A - Dual Agency with Multiple Offers

7. What is the advantage of having dual agency representation (buyer and seller are represented by the same agent or firm)?
It protects the confidentiality of both parties. The agent cannot disclose confidential information about either party without consent.

8. What is the disadvantage of dual agency?
The agent cannot council either party on what to offer, what to accept or what to counter. However, if asked, your agent can provide information about similar properties that sold in the area. Then, based on that information, you’ll have to then decide what price you think is fair.

9. As a buyer, can a dual agent provide council on what I should offer?
No. However, as answered above: If asked, your agent can provide information about similar properties that sold in the area. Then, based on that information, you’ll have to then decide what price you think is fair. However, agents are still obligated to disclose any known defects of the property to the buyers.

10. When working with a dual agent and multiple offers come in using the same agent, how do I know that my offer is not being shared with the opposing bidder? 
With dual agency, the agent is obligated to all represented buyers NOT to disclose the offers of the opposing parties without authorization. However, if a buyer is not represented by the listing agent/office and the seller gives authorization to share offers with one or more parties, this can occur and it is legal. 


Disclaimer: I/we are not attorneys and these questions and answers have been complied through online research.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Credit Dos and Don’ts When Securing a Mortgage | RISMedia

Credit Dos and Don’ts When Securing a Mortgage | RISMedia

When it comes to securing a mortgage in today’s challenging lending environment, your credit rating is more important than ever before. Good credit is integral to obtaining the best interest rates and terms on a mortgage.

(Click on link above to read more).

Thursday, November 01, 2012

30 acres Townline Lake, Harrison MI - 30 acres with Cedar River

Great Hunting Camp with the Cedar River!

1 BR Hunting Cabin with 6 bunks, kitchenette, living area

$98,911




Welcome to "Camp-Wana Buck"! A perfect hunters paradise with a great mix of terrain. From the low laying cedars to the woodland ridges, to the Cranberry Creek and the Cedar River... This is the perfect environment for deer and turkey. This property features a joined trail system, 10 established binds and a hunting cabin complete with 6 bunks, a kitchenette, propane wall heater, full sized refrigerator, gas range and a path bath (affectionately knows as the "Phone Booth"). Must make an appointment and have an agent at all showings. 





Monday, October 29, 2012

What a Deal!

A 30 year fixed-rate mortgage hasn't always been the standard. As part of FDR's New Deal in 1934, the Federal Housing Administration was created to help Americans purchase homes with affordable terms.

Prior to then, many loans had an amount due at the end of the term called a balloon. Most mortgages had adjustable interest rates even though some might be fixed for a short time. While banks would loan money on a home, they retained the right to call the note due at any time which could exert considerable stress on borrowers.

FHA, during this time, introduced mortgages that offered a fixed rate of interest to the borrower for a 30 year term. This fully amortized loan provided borrowers a financial vehicle that would help them achieve the American Dream while minimizing the risk of having a loan called without the resources to pay it off. It brought long-term stability to the housing market and helped stimulate the economic recovery at a very difficult time in our nation's history.

Roughly, a third of the mortgages created in 2011 were less than 30 year terms. Many homeowners, similar to those after the Great Depression, would like to get their home paid for as soon as possible. Shorter term mortgages typically have a lower interest rate but higher payments due to fewer years to amortize the mortgage.

9556 M-18, Gladwin MI - Restaurant For Sale

Restaurant in the Meredith Area!
Shar-al's Restaurant was once known for it's great breakfasts and lunches.
Now looking for someone to make it their own and open it up for business!

$79,888




Are you looking for a restaurant that offers a nice country location with local traffic? If you want to open your own business offering some good home cookin', this may just be the place. This used to be a popular restaurant in the area. It's located on the main route between Gladwin and Houghton Lake, in a very visible location. It's clean and waiting for someone to open it back up for business. Equipment is being sold for $10,000 and it looks to be in great shape. (Mobile home is currently rented for 300 per month





Friday, October 26, 2012

40 acres Ritchie Road, Gladwin MI - SOLD!

Affordable 40 acres with the Wheeler Drain 

SOLD!


40 acres near Sugar Springs and Secord lake. Great location on a paved road, with the wheeler drain going through it. Great hunting land with lots of deer, turkey, grouse and rabbits. Mix of trees, open, wooded and wet areas.






10633 Poplar Ct, Harrison MI - SOLD!

Great Get-Away or Full Time Home in the Woods on 5 Acres
3 bedrooms, 2.5 Baths, 1 Car Garage on 5 Acres

SOLD!


Enjoy peace, quiet and seclusion. This home/get-away has a ton of potential! It sits on 5 nicely wooded acres in a private setting near thousands of acres of state land. This home has a nice fireplace and spacious kitchen. Roast marshmallows over an open fire at the fire pit area, surrounded by mature trees and wildlife. Wake up to birds singing in the morning and deer standing in your yard. Lots of "home" for the price! Hurry! This one won't last long!





Thursday, October 25, 2012

4899 East Shore, Alger MI - Secord Lake Cottage

Affordable Waterfront Cottage on Secord Lake

3 BR, 1 Bath, 1 Car Garage

$74,921




Are you looking for an affordable get-away on beautiful Secord Lake? Enjoy this gorgeous view of the lake in the more northern and less traveled part of Secord Lake. There is state land across the river to the north. Nice solid lake bottom for swimming. Well maintained cottage with several updates, such as new windows and carpet in 2004 and new rock riprap seawall 2005.