My Blog

Marquette and Houghton in Top 100 Cities for Remote Workers!

4/26/2022

Recently we found out that Marquette and Houghton both made the top 100 list for best cities for remote workers! We have certainly noticed a trend since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic with many people buying properties near Marquette from out of the area. With the year round playground that the Marquette area boasts, it makes sense that people want to live here! 

Check out the article here.

1031 Exchanges

3/16/2022
In the past year I have had a few investor clients utilize a 1031 exchange in the sale and purchase of investment properties. I have also had several other people inquire about 1031 exchanges and how they work. I am by no means an expert, but yesterday I attended a fantastic training to learn more about 1031 exchanges. This will allow me to better serve my clients and help them make informed decisions with their properties. There are several options and opportunities to roll proceeds from the sale of one property to the purchase of another. If you have questions on a 1031 exchange, call me! I'd be happy to discuss this with you! 906-236-3750

Self Storage Business is Booming!

2/17/2022

Storage unit owners are seeing rapid growth as a result of the pandemic. As more people have reorganized their homes to find extra space, they need a place to put their things and more and more are renting storage units. Some trends seem to show that GenXers and Baby Boomers are the most likely to use self-storage. Millennials are showing increased interest as well. The most common items stored seems to be furniture, following by clothing, home appliances, sporting items and hobby gear, and then business items.

Downsizing seems to be the main reason Americans rent a storage unit. Whether due to rearranging a current home or moving into a new home, Americans are finding a need to place some of their possessions in storage. In Marquette County, we are notice new storage units being built seemingly quite often. Clearly this is meeting a demand! 

Governor Whitmer Signs First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account into Law!

2/10/2022

There is now a First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account Program in Michigan! This is the state's first dedicated savings vehicle for a new home purchase. Account holders can deduct up to $5,000 for a single return or $10,000 for a joint return on their annual state income taxes for contributions into the account. Any accrued interest will also be exempt from state income tax, as long as the money was used for a first time home purchase. Account holders can choose the savings account that is right for them, whether it is an interest bearing savings account or a brokerage account. 

The definition of first-time home buyer is also important. First-time home buyer means an individual who is a resident of this state and has not owned or purchased, either individually or jointly, a single-family residence during a period of three years prior to the date of the purchase of a single-family residence. Spread the word! This is a great savings opportunity for Michigan residents to purchase their first home!

Winter Home Improvement Tips to Save Money & Energy

1/27/2022

The cold weather isn't going away real soon and there are still things you can do to help your home be more comfortable and energy efficient. The best way to get your home operating at its maximum efficiency is hire a professional BPI certified energy rater to evaluate your spaces and conduct an "energy audit". This person can generate a detailed report highlighting where your home's issues are and allowing you to target and prioritize what you need to do. 

If hiring out for an "energy audit" isn't in the budget right now, read on for some tips that will address common problem areas seen in all types of homes. 

  1. Seal your home's can lights. Recessed lights in the ceiling can be culprits for air leaks. Many old can lights were vented on purpose to keep from being overheated by the lightbulb. Because warm air rises, an unsealed can light below a roof can be a problem. If you use LED lights now, it is a good idea to remove the existing ring of this can and seal the can's perimeter with caulk. The inside of the can should be sealed with either caulk or aluminum tape to keep your home's heat from escaping into the attic space. At this point, it is important that you do NOT an incandescent bulb in the can. This could overheat the fixture and that has the potential to cause serious problems.
  2. Check and tune-up your heating system. Call a heating company to have your heating system looked over thoroughly and tuned up. It is important to replace the furnace filter annually as well. A tune up should be high priority and is a good way to cut down on energy, prevent carbon monoxide leaks, and keep the air inside your home safe and healthy for your family.
  3. Install a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats allow you to control the device from your phone or computer and can alert you if there are significant temperature swings. This allows you to easily adjust the temperature setting for different situations, seasons, or times. Programmable thermostats can offer the same thing, but smart thermostats tend to be easier to use and adjust as needed. When used correctly, these can save the average household about $180 per year. 
While there are expenses to each of these items still, they can help save your household more money than what it would cost to complete these items. Stay warm during the winter months and save as much money and energy as you can!

Down Payment Misperceptions

1/20/2022

The majority of buyers finance their home purchase. However, some buyers may delay purchasing believing that they need a certain amount saved for the down payment. While it might be ideal to have 20% of the purchase price (or more) available for a down payment, it isn't always necessary. Lenders have many options for mortgages and different down payment amounts can be accepted. According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, the average down payment for first time home buyers over the last three years ranged between 6% and 7%. 

If you, or someone you know, is looking to buy a house, please have them reach out to me. I am happy to get buyers in touch with great local lenders who can help fit them to a mortgage that is right for them. Buyers may be ready to buy sooner than they realized. Even if they discover it would be best to save additional funds, it is good to know this sooner rather than later. It is always good to have an established relationship with a lender! Call me today and I'll connect you to lenders who can help you to get ready to purchase a new home! 906-236-3750

Six Ways to Prep Your Home to Sell

1/13/2022

If you are thinking of selling your home in the spring or summer, don't wait to get it ready! If you think you are ready, it might be in your favor to list it now when inventory is low and buyers are just waiting. However, if there is work that you need to get done, don't delay. Don't be fooled into thinking that inventory will stay low forever. Here are six tips to get your home ready to list in late winter or early spring. These items could be done in just 30 days.

  1. Paint rooms. This is an inexpensive way to spruce up rooms in your home. Getting a fresh coat of paint on walls will brighten them up and make everything look like new. 
  2. Curb appeal is as important as ever, even with the snow. Keep driveways and walkways cleared of snow and as snow begins to melt in the spring, remove any dead leaves, branches, or weeds that may be showing through the snow. 
  3. Make small fixes. If you have a broken railing or leaky faucet, it can give the impression to buyers that not everything in the home was well cared for. Now is the time to repair any small projects you have been putting off. Replace missing tiles, fix torn screens, or touch up holes or cracks in walls. None of these repairs will cost a lot of money, but they will have a huge impact on a buyer's impression of your home.
  4. Brighten up! Replace low wattage light bulbs with brighter ones and actually changing some fixtures out completely can brighten up a room instantly. It makes a home feel cheerful and bigger.
  5. De-clutter. The less you have, the larger your home will appear. This doesn't mean getting rid of everything, but it does mean organizing and removing much of your stuff. Rooms often have too many pieces of furniture and simply removing one piece can give the impression of more space. Reduce the number of books in shelves and take down and personal photos. Buyers like to envision themselves living in a home, not just see the seller's life there.
  6. Clean like you've never cleaned before. Cleaning the house before it goes on the market is one of the most essential tasks you can do. Dedicate more than one afternoon to getting your home to sparkle. Set aside a few days to clean rooms from top to bottom. The kitchen and bathrooms should be immaculate. Cleaning windows is another great way to allow more light into a room. A bright, spotless house makes your home much more appealing to buyers. 
Call me and let me know if you are even considering listing your home at any point this year. I can provide a free comparative market analysis and give you an idea of what your home will sell for in the current market. If it is something you have been considering, this can help you decide if this is your year. I'm here to help whenever you are ready!

Happy New Year!

1/6/2022

I certainly hope 2022 is off to a great start for you! All indications show that 2022 will still be a great year for real estate - both for buyers and sellers. Despite rising home prices in the past 18 months, interest rates are still in a buyer's favor and sellers are thrilled with prices they are getting for their home. Research shows that owning a median priced home is still more affordable than renting. This is such a unique market where it benefits both buyers and sellers.

If you are considering buying or selling this year, now is the time! Sellers especially can benefit greatly from listing during the winter months when the inventory is lower and there is less competition with other houses for sale. For buyers, let me start the search for you and if needed, get you connected to fantastic local lenders who can help find the right loan to fit your needs.

I look forward to working for you or anyone you may know! Call me today at 906-236-3750.

Loans that Barely Ding Your Credit Score

7/7/2021
Credit scores are very important for qualifying for a mortgage, financing a vehicle or anything else, and snagging the best rates. What consumers do with their finances leading up to applying for a loan can have a big impact on how high, or low, their credit score gets.

Home prices have been rising over the past year and some homeowners are sitting on a significant amount of equity. Instead of purchasing a new home, some are tempted to tap into that equity to pay for remodeling projects, medical expenses, or something else. After researching hundreds of home equity loan requests, research has shown that many borrowers do see a decrease in their credit score after taking out a home equity loan. However, the decline seems to be fairly small and the consumer's credit score usually recovers in less than a year. If you are looking to remodel or upgrade your home to meet your current needs/desires, this may be a more affordable option for you. Call your local lender to determine what your options are!

Top 10 Kitchen Trends for 2021

6/24/2021
Social media allows predictions to be made for future trends based on what is going viral and getting the most "likes." Based on what is trending in kitchen Instagram posts, the top 10 predictions of hottest kitchen trends for 2021 are:

1. Granite countertops
2. Pantry cabinets
3. Quartz countertops
4. Kitchen islands
5. Eco-friendly
6. Brass faucets
7. Copper hardware
8. Mosaic backsplash tiles
9. Induction countertop
10. Farmhouse sinks

In terms of color schemes, white still reigns supreme. Black mono-chrome kitchens came in second, followed by cooler colors like green and blue colored kitchens. Modern kitchen styles with super clean designs are definitely trending!
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