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Posts Tagged ‘buying’

We all know the saying:  “A picture is worth a thousand words…”  That holds true in real estate also.

In one of my multiple listing systems I only have room for around 100 words to describe a home so I especially need that adage to be true!  However, I firmly believe with regard to real estate photos, there needs to be one more word in that saying:  QUALITY.  “A quality photo is worth 1,000 words!”

There are many technical reasons why a quality photograph goes a long way – one of the most important ones being search engine optimization (SEO).  When I tell you I will market your home for a successful sale – I will do so taking all the internet sources, resources and criteria in mind.  The quality, pixels and number of photos is one way to maximize the exposure of your home on the internet.

But even still, when your home comes up in a potential buyers search, I have about 1 second to capture their attention.  In order to do that – the photos of your home have to “Wow!” them immediately!  How do I accomplish that?  By employing two tactics:  1) Professional photography and 2) Staging.

Below I will show you the difference between photos taken with a phone camera (which astoundingly is done a lot these days) and those taken by my professional photographer.  But before I get there, I’ll say a few words about Staging.

The beautiful thing about professional photography is that they have the proper equipment and expertise regarding light saturation, etc. to show every detail in a room, right down to seeing the trees outside the window. That same “beautiful thing” can also become a homes’ undoing if there are too items in a room. Many small items on horizontal surfaces become magnified.  In the television industry they used to say that the camera “adds 10 pounds” onto the actors.  In room photos, a bunch of small items sitting around have that same effect.  You may be surprised at the items I ask you to move, hide or remove for your photo shoot.  I ask for these things because I have learned over the years that our eyes catch things that our brain registers and gets distracted by – even without being conscious of it.

Remember, my goal is to absolutely capture a potential buyer’s attention.  Which one of the following photos catch your eye?

photo I took with my phone...

photo I took with my phone…

Photo by my professional photographer:

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

My phone:

As shot with my phone...

As shot with my phone…

Professional:

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

My photo:

2013-05-31 16.15.34

Professional:

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

Every home size and style benefits from quality photographs:

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Professional:

photo by Gaffan Digital

photo by Gaffan Digital

Mine:

2013-01-15 13.32.16

Professional:

photo by Gaffan Digital

photo by Gaffan Digital

 

I do not believe in just “listing” a home and snapping photos – I  believe in showcasing a home in such a way that it takes advantage of that very first moment a buyer sees your home on the internet.

– Laura

 

 

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photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

Have you dreamed of owning your own Ponderosa Ranch?  Then this is it!  The serenity of the setting and scenic beauty make this home the perfect destination after a hard day’s work.

It is one of those locations that couldn’t be better. Nestled at the very southern border of Genesee County, in rural Argentine Township, this home is only 20 minutes to Fenton, or US23 and less that 40 minutes to Flint, Grand Blanc, Brighton and Highland Township.  Plus, you will be travelling all paved roads to get there.

There isn’t one thing this home lacks for recreation.  Let’s start with the picturesque yard:

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

This can be enjoyed from the wrap-around front porch or the back deck that runs the entire length of the house and down to the pool….

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

If you would like to change things up and go to a lake, there is Lobdell Lake just down the road with a State of Michigan Parks and Rec access point, or Bennett Lake – accessible, per the Michigan DNR, through the Lobdell Lake access point.  For a day trip, Indian Springs Metropark is less than an hour away – or go tour a working dairy farm (complete with ice cream and the end of the tour) at Cooks Farm Dairy in Ortonville.

Or maybe you are looking for horse property for sale – or just enough land to have a gentleman’s farm – this can be it too.  There is a pole barn to the right of the driveway as you pull in that can accommodate horses in one end and toys and farm equipment in the other.  Behind the barn is a small goat house – and the pièce de résistance for the kids – a tree house!!

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

If that isn’t the perfect spot for a “club house” or you want a man-cave too, then finish off the area over the garage, which is accessible by the covered breezeway:

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

All that being said, there is still a beautiful house awaiting you inside with updated, durable surfaces such as tile floors in the kitchen and baths…

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

The huge living room, first floor Master, a full bath and an office round out the first floor…

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

Upstairs are two more bedrooms, plus a wonderful room currently used as an office tucked away into a dormer window space (not pictured here) and another full bath…

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

The walk-out basement allows for a whole other level of living space and is awaiting for your finishing touches!

The value and space are all here!  Come and enjoy!

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One of the first steps I recommend you take in the home buying process is to obtain a Pre-Approval Letter from a good, reputable lender.  This does take some extra effort, but here are some very important reasons why it is worth it:

First of all, a pre-approval letter is more reliable than a pre-qualification letter.   A pre-qualification letter is issued based on a phone call to a mortgage broker or lender where you provide some basic financial information.  Some web sites also offer this service.  You enter some information, click “submit” and then get a pre-qualification letter that you can print.   On the other hand, a pre-approval letter is issued based on verification of your financial information.  Rather than taking your word on faith, a lender will ask for documentation to confirm your employment and income (paycheck stubs, W-2 statements, etc.), the source of your down payment and other aspects of your financial circumstances.  There is no doubt this takes more time to obtain – and it’s hard to be patient when bit by the house-hunting bug – but the very fact all that information has been verified is why it carries more weight to a Seller when it is time to present an offer.

You’ll know how much money you are eligible to borrow.  Although you may have an idea how much you can comfortably spend each month on a mortgage, you may not know how that translates to a purchase price of a home – therefore price range to search in.  There are other factors that go into a monthly payment amount:  your down payment amount, whether you would need to buy Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), plus property taxes and insurance premiums.  All of these items are included into the calculation – with your other monthly debt – to determine the maximum monthly payment you would qualify for, therefore the maximum price of a home you can shop for.

You’ll have more leverage in negotiations with the seller.  Sellers prefer to negotiate with pre-approved buyers.  When I represent sellers, I make sure the offers presented are from financially qualified buyers.  Knowing that most agents educate their sellers in the same manner, I want to make sure you are in the best possible position for your offer to be accepted.   This is especially necessary if you are in a multiple offer situation – although it is just plain good business to do this.   When a seller accepts an offer on their home, it essentially comes off the market.  They are putting their faith in you that the purchase will actually go through.  A pre-approval gives the sellers – and you! – this confidence.

A few things to remember:

Pre-approval letters aren’t binding on the lender:  If your financial situation changes, such as a job loss, you finance or lease a car, if you open a credit card (wait on that Home Depot or Lowe’s card until after closing!), or if interest rates change – all of these can affect your credit-worthiness or buying power.

Pre-approval letters are subject to an appraisal of the home you want to purchase:  My job is to help you structure an offer for the appropriate value that will gain you the home, at an amount that is confirmed by the bank appraisal, but there is always a risk – especially in this market with the quickly changing values – that the two numbers may be different.

Pre-approval letters are time-sensitive:  They are generally only good for 60 days.

If you need the name of a good, reputable lender, please fill out the form below:

 

 

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I am a “checklist” person.  I have developed them for myself to make sure I don’t miss steps in showcasing homes on the market (I improve – and add – postings to many additional sites rather than to simply allow a “data transfer” from one site to the next) and to make sure I do not miss details in working through a Purchase Agreement for my buyers.

I also like to have all the contact information for all the parties involved in one place.  With that in mind, I provide my clients with the following document which serves as both a Contact Information sheet and a Worksheet for whom to contact in the final days before closing to arrange for home services.

PURCHASERS WORKSHEET page 1

PURCHASERS WORKSHEET

Hopefully you will find this information useful!

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photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

 

Have you dreamed of owning your own Ponderosa Ranch?  Then this is it!  The serenity of the setting and scenic beauty make this home the perfect destination after a hard day’s work.

It is one of those locations that couldn’t be better. Nestled at the very southern border of Genesee County, in rural Argentine Township, this home is only 20 minutes to Fenton, or US23 and less that 40 minutes to Flint, Grand Blanc, Brighton and Highland Township.  Plus, you will be travelling all paved roads to get there.

There isn’t one thing this home lacks for recreation.  Let’s start with the picturesque yard:

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

 

This can be enjoyed from the wrap-around front porch or the back deck that runs the entire length of the house and down to the pool….

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

If you would like to change things up and go to a lake, there is Lobdell Lake just down the road with a State of Michigan Parks and Rec access point, or Bennett Lake – accessible, per the Michigan DNR, through the Lobdell Lake access point.  For a day trip, Indian Springs Metropark is less than an hour away – or go tour a working dairy farm (complete with ice cream and the end of the tour) at Cooks Farm Dairy in Ortonville.

Or maybe you are looking for horse property for sale – or just enough land to have a gentleman’s farm – this can be it too.  There is a pole barn to the right of the driveway as you pull in that can accommodate horses in one end and toys and farm equipment in the other.  Behind the barn is a small goat house – and the pièce de résistance for the kids – a tree house!!

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

If that isn’t the perfect spot for a “club house” or you want a man-cave too, then finish off the area over the garage, which is accessible by the covered breezeway:

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

All that being said, there is still a beautiful house awaiting you inside with updated, durable surfaces such as tile floors in the kitchen and baths…

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

The huge living room, first floor Master, a full bath and an office round out the first floor…

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

Upstairs are two more bedrooms, plus a wonderful room currently used as an office tucked away into a dormer window space (not pictured here) and another full bath…

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

 

The walk-out basement allows for a whole other level of living space and is awaiting for your finishing touches!

The value and space are all here!  Come and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Come see this beautiful home for sale in the elegant, upscale family neighborhood of Chelsea Fairways.

461 Fairways Ln Old Front Exterior

Tucked at the corner of Old US 12 and Freer Roads, and flanked on the west by Pierce Lake, this community offers a fantastic location close to everything:  the elementary and high school, downtown Chelsea and the shopping south of town.  Not to mention easy access to I-94, whether you’re east or westbound.

This subdivision is flanked on the southwest side by Pierce Lake Golf Course.  The Chelsea Wellness Center is practically across the street and the Purple Rose Theater is literally minutes from your door.

We’ll begin our tour with the gracious foyer which boasts a custom tile floor:

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

The formal living room is the first to greet you:

IMG_1405

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

IMG_1416

photo courtesy of Gaffan Digital

From there you may enter the formal dining room.  Both rooms feature large bay windows to allow the sun to flow through each room.

photos courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photos courtesy of Gaffan Digital

IMG_1427

As is most convenient for entertaining, whether formal or casual, the kitchen is well place between the two areas:

photos courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photos courtesy of Gaffan Digital

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The custom island, topped in the same granite as the kitchen counters, provides the extra seating in the kitchen – where everyone ends up anyway! – and separates the kitchen from the family room.

photos courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photos courtesy of Gaffan Digital

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What I don’t have photos of is the fantastic utility entrance from the garage that rounds out the lower level.  You walk in from the attached garage into the utility hall that is wide enough for all the coats and back packs.  The laundry is at the end – with a door to shut it off – plus a large utility closet and 1/2 bath.

All four bedrooms are on the second floor.  Each of them very generous in size:

photos courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photos courtesy of Gaffan Digital

IMG_1497

IMG_1500

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The master is large enough for a king-sized bed – with side tables – plus a lounge chair, if you wish.  The walk-in closet is double the normal size of most.

photos courtesy of Gaffan Digital

photos courtesy of Gaffan Digital

IMG_1529

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I truly hope you have enjoyed your photo tour of this home.  You will be even more pleased once you tour it in person.

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photo courtesy of tampabay.com

photo courtesy of tampabay.com

When a property transfers ownership, the new Taxable Value of the property becomes what was previously shown in the property records as the State Equalized Value – or SEV.   Although these two values have equalized out in the past 2 – 3 years, depending on what township/city you reside in, the possibility still exists that the SEV is higher than the TV (Taxable Value).

Traditionally, when a lender determines your complete monthly mortgage payment – a total of the Principal mortgage amount, Interest, Taxes and Insurance (PITI for short) – they use the current amount of taxes paid on the property, as determined by the Taxable Value times the local millage rates.  The current tax bills are the amounts used for tax prorations on the HUD statement.  (Tax prorations are the amount of money you have to pay back to the seller, if the property is in a township that collects taxes on a “prepaid” basis.)  However, once the Property Transfer Affidavit is filed with the local township or city Assessing Department, this will trigger the removal of the Taxable Value “cap” so your taxes could be higher on the next tax bill.

To have a clear, accurate picture of the future annual taxes on a home, the State of Michigan has a Property Tax Estimator feature on their website.  You simply need to enter the current SEV amount, County and School District and the calculator will give you annual tax rate with and without the Principal Residence Exemption.

Click on this link to begin the process:  State of Michigan Property Tax Estimator

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