Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Personal Finance Review

Reveiw checklist.pngYou’ll need to earn $2.00 for every $1.00 you want to spend assuming you pay 50% of your earnings on income tax, social security and Medicare.  On the other hand, you get to keep 100% of every dollar you save on your personal expenses because the taxes have already been paid.

Periodically, review your expenditures with the diligence of an exuberant IRS agent on commission.  It’s an exercise that most people don’t feel they have time to do but the rewards make it entirely worthwhile.

  • Get comparative quotes on insurance – car, home, other 
  • Review and compare utility providers 
  • Review plans on cell phones 
  • Review plans on cable TV, satellite for unused channels and packages or receivers 
  • Review available discounts on property taxes 
  • Consider refinancing home – lower rate, shorter term or cash out to payoff higher rate loans 
  • Consider refinancing cars 
  • Call credit card companies to ask for a lower rate 
  • Review all of the automatic charges on your credit cards – consider no-fee cards 
  • Search for late fees that are regularly being paid and eliminate them. 
  • Review all bank charges for accounts and debit cards; determine if they can be reduced or eliminated.

If you don’t want to review your credit card accounts, consider reporting the cards stolen so that new numbers will be issued.  You can notify the companies that need your number.  Companies who might have your number won’t be able to automatically renew services that you may no longer be using.  You can be assured that they’ll contact you when the old number doesn’t go through and you can re-evaluate the decision at that time.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Zehnder's Snowfest 2014

We're keeping it short and sweet this week. Why?  Because it's getting busy over here! The new year has begun and that means there is a lot to do over here at Park Place Homes.
And by the way, we are absolutely loving it!

So here it is:
Looking for something fun to do this weekend?  You're in luck!
Zehnder's is hosting their annual Snowfest and the festivities run through this Sunday:

Photo Credit: Jeff Schrier | Mlive.com

- Snow Sculpting Competitions
- Professional exhibition ice sculptors
- Warming tents
- Live Music
- Photo Booths
- Face Painting
- Ice Putt Putt Golf
- Inflatables for kids
- Magic & Juggling
- Warm-food competitions
- Fireworks
- Chicken Bowling (we have no idea what that is, but would love to see it)
- Did we mention the warming tents and live music?

Click HERE for a full schedule of events.
Note that all events are subject to date and time changes due to weather.
If you do make it out to Snowfest, take a picture and post it on our Facebook wall! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Interviewing a Mover

Mover 250.jpg“I’d wish I’d know that before I made a decision.”  If you’ve ever regrettably said this to yourself, having a checklist might have prevented the issue in the first place.  This list of questions can provide you with things to discuss when interviewing a moving company.


  • What is the charge for packing?
  • Does it include boxes? If not, what do they cost and will you deliver them?
  • Is there an additional charge to deliver some items to a storage unit?


  • How is a damage claim handled? 
  • What insurance do you provide and is there a cost? 
  • Does the insurance cover items packed by the owner? 
  • Can additional insurance be purchased? 
  • If items are covered by my Homeowner’s insurance, whose insurance pays first?

Unusual Items 

  • Can you ship my car(s)? Will they be in the moving van or towed? 
  • What are the charges for shipping cars, lawn tractors, etc? 
  • What items cannot be shipped? 
  • If a shuttle truck is needed because of the location of my house or size of the drive way, is there an additional charge? 
  • If packing and loading are on different days, can you leave the beds and other basics out for us to use?


  • What dates are available for our move?
  • What date will you pack and how long will this take? 
  • What date will you load the van? 
  • What date will the van arrive at my new location? 
  • If my new home is not ready for delivery, how many days can it be delayed before there is a charge? 
  • What is the charge for additional days or weeks?


  • Are there any additional fees that I’m responsible for that have not been discussed? 
  • What are the terms of payment? 
  • Is a down payment required? 
  • When will the balance be due and who is authorized to accept it?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

4 Things You Should Know About Park Place Homes

The 2013 statistics are in and based on those numbers we have 4 important facts about Park Place Homes that you should know:

1) Park Place Homes has the highest percentage of listings sold (of listings taken) in the Midland Board. 

This means that by listing your house with us you've increased the likelihood that your home will sell by about 16%.  

2) Park Place Homes has the lowest average days on market for listings sold. 

For our sellers, this means they had 1 month fewer taxes to pay, 1-2 fewer house payments to make, and 4 fewer weeks of keeping their house ready for showings.

3) Park Place Homes has one of the lowest discounts from listing to sold price. 

This means that there is a smaller gap between the price at which you and your REALTOR decide to list the house and the price you actually receive. This translates into more money in your pocket.

4) Park Place Homes sells more listings per agent than any other office in the Board of REALTORS. 

We attribute this to our agents' depth of knowledge, their years of experience, and our office's ability to work as a team. When you list with Park Place Homes you have the whole office working to sell your home.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What Can You Expect?

crystal ball 2.pngThe two most frequently quoted constants in life are death and taxes.  Two more things would-be homeowners can expect in the near future are increases in mortgage rates and housing prices.

Interest rates have been kept artificially low for several years by the Federal Reserve in an effort to strengthen the economy. Policy is shifting to allow them to seek their own natural level and that will surely result in higher mortgage rates.  Rates on 30 year fixed mortgages are up over 1% from January, 2013.

Foreclosure activity is down, new home starts are up and prices have been increasing in most markets for two years.  Most experts agree that the cost of housing is going up.

If the price were to go up by 2% and the mortgage rate by 1% while a buyer is “sitting on the fence” making a decision, the payment would go up by almost $175.00 each and every month for the term of the mortgage.  Even if a person can afford to make the higher payments, what could they have done with that extra $175.00 a month?  Buy furniture?  Car payment?  Principal reduction?  Retirement contribution?  Save for a rainy day?

Click here to determine what the cost of waiting to buy will be using your price home.

cost of waiting to buy.png 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What Kind of Showing Was It?

Types of Showings.pngOne of the most frequent calls from homeowners to their agents is about the listing’s inactivity due to the lack of showings.  The homeowner commonly believes that the home is shown only when a buyer walks through the house with an agent.
Today’s buyers are more sophisticated than in the past due to the abundance of information available to the public on the Internet.  There are seemingly inexhaustible sites with homes for sale, valuation estimates and virtual tours.  There are extensive mapping sites with satellite images, traffic conditions, entertainment, shopping and other points of interest.
There are actually three legitimate types of property showings.  A knowledgeable buyer can view a home for sale online and make a reasonable determination of whether the home will fit their needs.  Occasionally, buyers will drive by a home to get a feel for the home and also the neighborhood which might cause them to eliminate any further examination or consideration.
The third type, the physical showing, certainly gives the buyer the opportunity for the closest scrutiny but is generally reserved for properties that have passed the inspections of at least one other type of showing.
Sellers should be aware of the different types of showings and that a sales agent’s job is to help the buyer find the right home.  The listing agent’s job is to market the home so that the right buyer finds it either through their own efforts or that of the buyer’s agent.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Spotlight Listing: 1200 Crestwood Ct.

If ever there was a "perfect family home" 1200 Cestwood Court is it! We could list the amenities and conveniences this house offers but it would be a very lengthy list and that's not very entertaining to read.  Instead, lets do a bit of a virtual walk through.

This 4 bedroom home is located on a beautifully landscaped corner lot and is walking distance from both Siebert Elementary and Jefferson Middle School. This idyllic situation allows for the 2.5 car attached garage to be tucked around the side of the house, making the walk to the front door even more charming. While admiring the curb appeal you should note that recent updates include a new roof in 2009, and new windows and siding in 2000.

The front entry the foyer area, tiled with beautiful slate floors, grants easy access to the kitchen, formal living room, family room, and the upstairs. The family room is located in the rear of the home with beautiful views of the backyard and its perennial gardens through large windows and sliding doors which lead to one of the two rear patios. The room also has vaulted ceilings and a gas fireplace.

The family room flows right into the eat-in kitchen and the formal dining room beyond. With plentiful birch cabinetry you will never lack for storage or work space. The wood floors only add to the warm atmosphere of this space. You'll notice that just off the kitchen is the screened porch, yet another room in this home that offers beautiful views of the tranquil backyard. Also off the kitchen is the main-floor laundry room and a half bath.

Before we make our way upstairs we should note the beautiful formal living room connected to the dining room and the main floor den which is currently being used as an office.  This space would be perfect for a reading room, music room, or simply another relaxing living space.

The master bedroom is a full 18x13 feet, has double closets, and its own private bath- which has new tile flooring. The other bedrooms are also incredibly spacious and offer generous closet space and plenty of light. The shared bathroom has tile floors and double sinks- a feature sure to make the morning routine a bit easier.

The little extras that round out this fabulous family home continue. The downstairs area has floors and walls painted in 2012 and offers enough space for all your toys. The newer egress window fills even the basement will plenty of natural light. And we can't say enough about the lush and tranquil backyard. With two patios and a screened porch it is perfect for entertaining or a relaxing escape just for you.

You can find more pictures of 1200 Crestwood Ct. on our website HERE and a virtual tour of the home HERE. Don't wait! Call Jill Vander Zouwen today for your private showing of this perfect home: 989-698-1100.