Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hunting for Land

Deer season is still several months away, but if you're interested in buying hunting land you should start looking now!

Park Place Homes has numerous listings with acreage perfect for hunting. Whether you're looking for a dream house on a spacious lot or wooded vacant land, we can help you be the envy of all your hunting buddies this year.  Here are just a few of the listings available to you right now:

Park Place agents have firm roots in the Great Lakes Bay area and can help make your search for the perfect hunting spot an easy process. With over 70 listings in our area offering more than 10 acres, and over 40 listings with 20 or more acres, we're confident we can find you a great piece of land. The hunting season will be here before you know it, so call a Park Place Homes REALTOR© today and start your search!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Will the "Good Life" Be Ready When You Are?

Life of Riley Index.pngThe Life of Riley was a TV show from the 50’s starring William Bendix but the title’s origin came from an expression meaning that a person was living the “good life.” Most people envision themselves living the good life by retirement but don’t really have a plan to get there.

There’s a rough rule of thumb used to estimate how much net worth a person would need by the time they retire to generate a certain income. The target annual income is divided by a safe, conservative yield to determine the investable assets needed.

A person who wanted $100,000 annual income generated from a 5% investment would need investable assets of $2,000,000. If a person had $500,000 now, they would need to accumulate $1.5 million more by the time they retire. If it was estimated to be 15 years away, they would need to save about $100,000 a year, each year until retirement.

It is a sobering example that could be depressing without a plan. It might be easy to say, “I should have started sooner” which may be true but there is still hope.
Gradually, over the next several years, accumulate rental property and allow the tenant to retire the debt for you. The equity in each property will grow from the amortization of the loan each time a payment is made. It also grows as the property increases in value due to appreciation.

Single family homes as rentals offer the investor an opportunity to meet their retirement and financial goals for the following reasons:

  • The ability to borrow large loan-to-value mortgages
  • At fixed interest rates
  • For long terms (easily up to 30 years)
  • On appreciating assets
  • With significant tax advantages
  • And reasonable control not offered by alternative investments.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Memorial Weekend in Midland

If you haven't already made plans for your holiday weekend, we figure you may be looking for something to do.  Allow us to shed some light on a few of the many wonderful things happening in our community.

It is supposed to be sunny and warm all weekend; so why not head out to a local market?  The Midland Area Farmer's Market is a great place to grab fresh flowers, vegetables, baked goods, and even meats! The market will be going on this Saturday, 7am till noon, at the end of Ashman St. in downtown Midland- right near the Tridge.

If you're not a morning person, but you like a good Market, then head over to Unity Park in Bay City (across the street from the Planetarium) and browse the East Bank Market- open Saturday from 10am-4pm.

What would a holiday weekend be without Fireworks?  You have multiple opportunities to catch them this weekend.  The Great Lakes Loons take on the Dayton Dragons all weekendbut you won't want to miss the fireworks at the Saturday game starting at 7:05pm.  If you prefer racing to baseball, then you're in luck! The Tri-City Motor Speedway will also be having a fireworks display this Saturday.  You can hit up the raceway on Friday night to see Figure 8 races, too!  Make sure to sit in the Park Place Homes section of the grandstands!

Finally, end your weekend with the Memorial Day Parade starting at 10am in downtown Midland.

As always, if you're looking for something fun to do in the Great Lakes Bay area visit our website for local links to attractions of all sorts.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Breathe Easy

iStock_000020770516XSmall.jpgThe benefits of regularly changing the heating and air-conditioning filters are obvious to homeowners; the real challenge is creating a system to make sure it gets done. 

A reasonable schedule would be to replace it with a new one-inch pleated filter every 60-90 days. Households with shedding pets should consider replacing them every month. Some people change their filters every month when they pay their electric bills.  A simple system would be to set a recurring appointment on your calendar like Outlook or Google.

Filters trap dust, mold and bacteria which can directly affect the air quality and play havoc with your allergies. When a filter is dirty, it prevents proper airflow and allows dust, dirt and allergens to blow through your home. Changing your filter regularly helps to avoid maintenance, improves equipment life and produces increased energy savings.

When shopping for filters, it’s understandable to look for the best bargain but the cheapest price may not be the best choice. When purchasing, recognize that HEPA-rated and HEPA-type filters are not the same thing. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. A HEPA filter meets or exceeds standards for efficiency set by the U.S. Department of Energy. Most HVAC contractors recommend HEPA filters.

Some filters need to be changed monthly and other types have manufacturer recommendations of every three months. An alternative to disposable filters are the permanent, washable types. These will cost more initially but because you can clean them and re-use them, eventually, you’ll recapture the cost and realize savings.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Spotlight Listing: 1517 Glen

1517 Glen has all the charm you could want and all the flexible functionality you need.  
It is full of possibilities!

This great home is seated on a corner lot in a small subdivision just west of downtown Midland.  Beyond the generous yard, there is a detached 2 car garage with extra storage space, and a 30 24 ft. Pole barn. This building is sectioned into two separate areas- one perfect for the storage of your camper or other outdoor toys, and one that is insulated and perfect for more climate controlled storage or a work room. 

Inside the house you’ll find 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths, newer windows and roof, central air, and endless possibilities.  The full bath was recently updated and is a great picture of this home’s make-over potential.  Beautiful built-in storage separates the living room (complete with corner windows!) from the dining area; and just through that space is the kitchen.  You’ll never run out of storage because, in addition to the abundant surrounding cupboards, there is a bonus room with additional cabinets and space.  This room could be used in so many different ways- a mud room with storage for coats and shoes, additional kitchen prep space (it has a double sink), or even a quiet spot for a desk.  And if you’re looking for the perfect space to enjoy your morning coffee, a good book, or just a place to relax then you’ll love the enclosed front porch.

The partially finished basement also offers the perfect opportunity for creative use of space.  The extra wide stairwell would make moving furniture a breeze! Along with the living space in the basement, there is also a very large laundry room, with more cabinet space and another double sink.  And the opportunities continue with the work room downstairs.  Looking for a spot for carpentry or fix-it projects; or maybe a craft room with a place for all your materials?  This space would be perfect.

Whether you’re looking for a space you could creatively transform, or simply a place to settle down 1517 Glen is waiting for you.  It is your perfect opportunity.

Contact REALTOR Brad Vander Vliet at 989-698-1100 to schedule a private showing!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Whose Commission Is It?

home price.pngOne of the most common reasons buyers want to deal directly with the seller is because they feel they can save the commission. It’s a valid consideration but interestingly, it’s the same reason the seller isn’t employing an agent.
Both parties cannot save the commission. The buyer feels they have earned it because they’ve had to find the home, determine its value and negotiate with the seller. They had to arrange their own financing, title and inspections.
The seller equally feels that they have earned the commission because they too have had to research value, financing and title work.  They have incurred all of the marketing expenses and have invested hours upon hours to be available to show the property, hold open houses and answer inquiries. 
There is certainly value in all of the things that buyers and sellers are willing to do.  However, only one person can save the commission assuming the buyer and seller can reach a written agreement.
The Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers survey reports that 14% of sales were For-Sale-by-Owners in 2003 and 2004 compared to just 9% in 2012. The trend shows that agent-assisted sales rose to 88% in 2012 from 82% in 2004.
The three most difficult tasks identified by for-sale-by-owners is attracting potential buyers, getting the price right and understanding and performing the paperwork. When surveyed, sellers most value the home selling in an anticipated time frame and for an expected amount.
Experienced, third-party advocates helping buyers and sellers is a valuable contribution to the transaction which may determine whose commission it is.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Trend with Caution

There is a lot of pressure on sellers today to have their homes looking like something straight off an HGTV show (watch REALTOR Shelley Park’s interview to hear her take on this).  This leads a lot of people to think they need to decorate in the latest trends in order to stay ahead of their competitors.  While it may be true that an updated house is a plus, an exceedingly “trendy” house may simply make it hard for buyers to envision themselves in the space- especially if they aren't hip to the latest trends.
We've compiled a short list of current d├ęcor trends that you should approach with caution if you’re thinking about, or are in the process of, selling your home.

Chevron and Stripes.  Sure it's a fun pattern, but not everyone may be crazy about it.  Instead of installing chevron back splash or painting an entire wall in stripes, stick to a pillow.

                                                    Good                                      Not so good

Wall Decals.  Always kiss me goodnight… yes, that’s sweet but it doesn't appeal to the masses.  Neither does that whimsical little tree, or your favorite NFL star.  If you’re going to sell, decorate with art that it a little less permanent looking.

                                                Good                                            Not so good
 Photo Source:; - Brittsfineart

Ombre Painted Stairs.  Let’s be honest, ombre wedding cakes are cool and Lauren Conrad and Sara Jessica Parker pulled off the hairstyle pretty well; but taking it to the stairs may be a bit much, especially for your average buyer.

                                                        Good                            Not so good

Photo Source:; Real Simple Magazine March 2013 

Owls and Peacocks.  As a rule of thumb when staging a home, less is more.  Keep those owl figurines to a tasteful number, no need to display a 15 piece collection.  And peacock feather patterns are lovely, but an entire room done in it may be a bit overwhelming.

                                               Good                                              Not so good

Neon and Bold Colors.  Don’t misunderstand us here, we love color (we have red couches in our office) but emerald green, cobalt blue, and fuchsia pink walls can be hard to look past.  Keep your color to removable accent items.

                                                       Good                                Not so good

Remember, style is wonderful but it is also personal. Keep it simple and subtle if you want to attract buyers!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

"Please take our offer..."

iStock_000005895710XSmall.jpgIt’s interesting that the housing climate has changed so quickly. Some buyers, who think they’re still in the driver’s seat, find the market is now going up and they’re losing the home that they really want.

Multiple offers are increasingly more common and buyers are frustrated because even full-price offers don’t guarantee that they’re going to get the home. In an effort to personify a contract offer and add emotional appeal, buyers are including a personal letter to the seller.

In most cases, the seller wants to maximize the net proceeds from the sale by getting the highest price with the least expenses and an assurance that the home will actually close on time without surprises. When a seller is faced with multiple offers that may be close to the same net, an emotional appeal might make the difference in them accepting a particular offer. That’s where the letter comes in play.

It should be a relatively short letter that gets to the point. The tone of the letter should be humble while positive and definitely, shouldn’t mention that you may have lost other homes due to multiple offers.

  1. Try to identify a common feature or characteristic of the home that is important to the seller and you.
  2. Don’t criticize the home or tell them about all of the improvements you need to make to justify your offer.
  3. Do verbalize why living in this home is important to you and your family.
  4. Assure the seller that you can indeed qualify for the home and that if they accept your offer, the sale will be consummated.

After writing the letter and eliminating the non-essential parts, read the letter a few times to your spouse or friend. Polish the verbiage and check the spelling and grammar. If your handwriting isn’t attractive and easy to read, print it. Use nice paper to appeal to the tactile senses. Attach the letter to the offer so they’re considered simultaneously.

Being pre-approved with good credit, adequate financial resources, good employment, sufficient earnest money and a reasonable offer with minimum contingencies will favorably position you. A personal letter might be the deciding factor in your favor.

Friday, May 3, 2013

It's Your Move!

Park Place Homes’ approach to Real Estate packs a punch.  
Our agents work together to sell each other’s listings and help find the perfect home for their buyers.  Park Place Homes offers you a whole office of highly knowledgeable, technologically advanced, and creative REALTORS®.  

Even beyond our 50+ years of Real Estate experience, our agents have specialized training in areas ranging from Short Sales and Foreclosures to Senior Resources to vacation homes and relocation.  Regardless of your price range, life stage, or current situation Park Place Homes can help make your home ownership dreams a reality.

Our performance in just the past four months speaks to our expertise and enthusiasm for Real Estate.  Since January first of this year, houses sold by Park Place Homes were on the market for an average of 89 days.  Those houses sold 38% faster than the Board average in Midland.  What’s the benefit to you?  Your house may spend two fewer months on the market, which translates into fewer house payments and taxes, as well as two months less time preparing your home every day for possible showings.

One of the ways we achieve fewer days on market is by preparing your house to sell.  The first impression of a home is critical, whether it is online or in person.  We take great care to photograph our homes with a sense of style so the photos and virtual tours online really shine.  We also offer a staging service to ensure your home is presenting at 110% from the moment it is presented to the public.  This helps to guarantee buyers will fall in love with your home when they open the door (or open the web page).

Additionally, houses listed with Park Place Homes sell 5.7% closer to original list price than the Board average in Midland.  This comes from a combination of factors:  Park Place REALTORS® know that pricing your home correctly when it is originally listed will make it more likely to sell, sell quickly and closer to the listing price.  Park Place REALTORS® are also expert negotiators who know the Midland market and will work to get you the absolute best price possible.

Park Place Homes’ seven agents were responsible for 10% of listings sold in the past 4 months.  Because of the use of the internet-based Multi Listing System (MLS) all listings can be seen by any local REALTOR®.  A larger office no longer means better service; in fact we guarantee you’ll appreciate our personalized approach.  We make a point to have ALL of our agents tour all of our listings; each of the agents will intimately know your home to help sell it on your behalf. 

The listed homes inventory in our community is down 5.4% from this time last year, and the average sales price is up 16.71%.  These market trends indicate a recovery. If you’re even considering a move, let us know.  We’ll be happy to meet with you, explain the process, and even do a free Comparative Market Analysis to tell you what price you could get for your home.