Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Top Mistakes of Home Buyers & Sellers

This article from RISMedia outlines the top mistakes made by home buyers and sellers in 2005.

One of the top mistakes made by home buyers is using the same agent representing the sellers, either thinking they might get a better deal, or out of ignorance. The author notes that most states require written acceptance of this situation known as dual-agency by both parties under agent license laws. According to the article, all buyers should be represented by an agent who has a fiduciary responsibility to them. Bottom line--hire an Exclusive Buyers Agent.

Top Mistakes of Home Buyers and Sellers in 2005 [RISMedia]

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Petoskey Downtown Development Project Moves Forward

Lake Street Associates, the Farmington Hills based developers of an ambitious $50 million dollar condo-hotel project in downtown Petoskey, recently announced that they have purchased the last remaining parcel necessary to begin work on their project. A hotel, more than 160 condominium units, 25,000 square feet of retail space and a parking garage are all part of the project. The site consists of an entire city block, bounded by Lake Street, Petoskey Street, Mitchell Street and US 31. It is anticipated that demolition of existing buildings on the site will take place sometime in the Spring of 2006.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Apple Trees Foretell Harsh Winter

According to Leelanau County farmer Rex Dobson's hundred year old apple trees, we could be in for a harsh winter this year. So far, the apple trees seem to be pretty accurate in their prediction. Read what apple trees, the bands on woolly bear caterpillars and autumn flowers have to do with weather forecasting in this Traverse City Record Eagle article.

Monday, December 12, 2005

What's "Out" With Homebuyers in 2006

According to industry commentator Mark Nash, these are on the "Outs" for 2006:
- Ebony-stained hardwood floors. You're better off tearing it out than trying to sand the ebony out to refinish;
- Single-rod closets. Buyers want the most storage in the least amount of space. Organizers accomplish this;
- Dark rooms with small windows. Natural light can overrule a lot of other problems in a home;
- Wallpaper. Buyers never have the same taste as decorators. Take it down (carefully) and paint;
- Builder grade light fixtures and interior fixtures used outside. The right fixtures say quality to buyers;
- Mid-century awnings on exterior windows and doors. Buyers want to let the sun shine in;
- Mirrored backsplash's in kitchens and everywhere else. Mirrored walls and ceilings say 1980's hedonism;
- Commitment (strong, bold trendy) colors. They look great in magazines, but as one buyer said to me "I don't live in a magazine";
- Gas grills that need their own tank. Buyers prefer the gas piped from the house so they don't have to replace tanks; and
- Dropped ceilings. It might have updated a bungalow in the 1950's, but buyers want as much vertical space as possible.

And here a couple of things "On the Way Out":
- Stainless steel appliances. Word-of-mouth says the cleaning requirements aren't for everyone; - Laminate flooring that looks like hardwood. Not only can buyers tell it's not wood, the noise it makes with high-heel shoes is the deal killer during property showings.

What's In - What's Out with Homebuyers in 2006 [Broker Agent News]

Sunday, December 11, 2005

What's "In" With Homebuyers in 2006

According to industry commentator Mark Nash, here are some trends which will be popular with Homebuyers in 2006:

- Smaller square footage homes with better quality finishes;
- Quality kitchen cabinets. With the kitchen/greatroom the center of family living, buyers today are looking at furniture style cabinets;
- Bamboo wood floors. It could overtake maple as the favorite light-colored wood flooring in 2006;
- Wall space for flat screen TV's. Specify power and cable boxes close to locations where homebuyers want to place the latest in visual technology. The popular location for installation in new construction is over the fireplace;
- Multiple and high-powered phone lines. With modems, dsl, wi-fi moving into mainstream use, tech-savvy homebuyers want "wired" homes;
- Separate shower stalls and bathtubs in master bathrooms. The growing divide among "soakers" and "showers" is increasing. Not having one of each in a master bath could quelch a purchase;
- Built-in home stereo systems are a must-have for many audiophiles. Wireless hasn't quite made the pre-wired audio system home obsolete, at least not in 2006;
- Balconies and decks wider than 3 feet. Homebuyers want usable outdoor space. Big enough for a bistro table and chairs and a couple of pots for container gardening;
- Ranch or one level homes. The baby-boomers are discovering their utility in droves;
- Second Homes. The baby-boomers are also keeping this market segment strong;
- Seller give-backs. With a more balanced market in most metro markets, requests by buyers to pay closing costs have increased, and some sellers are paying them; and
- Carbon Monoxide detectors. Home inspectors red flag homes that have only smoke detectors. Inexpensive and lifesaving, install one on every floor of a home before opening to homebuyers.

What's In - What's Out with Homebuyers in 2006 [Broker Agent News]

Friday, December 09, 2005

Managing Your Septic System

Michigan State University has published a brochure explaining how septic systems work and how to keep them working properly. Many homes and even condominiums in Northern Michigan are serviced by septic systems, so it is important to understand how they work and how to maintain them. The brochure can be viewed by clicking on the link above, "Managing Your Septic System."

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Grant Approved for Walloon Lake Park

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund approved Bear Creek Township's request for a $2 million grant to help fund the purchase of land for a township park at Jones Landing, located at the end of Gruler Road on the North Arm of Walloon Lake. The Michigan Legislature still must appropriate the funds for the project. The property, consisting of approximately 3.5 acres with 333 feet of water frontage, adjoins an existing township boat launch. The township would like to develop amenities such as a parking area, picnic area, beach and swimming area, nature trail, restrooms and a bathhouse. The proposed park has generated both strong support and opposition from local residents and Walloon Lake property owners. The Walloon Lake Association actively opposed the Township's grant application.

Petoskey Chamber of Commerce Honored

The Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce was recognized by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce Executives (MCCE) with the 2005 MCCE Outstanding Chamber of Commerce Award (Mid-Size Category) and Most Outstanding Chamber of Commerce (Overall). The honor recognizes quality, innovation and effectiveness of programming in chambers of commerce across the state. Congratulations to Executive Director Carlin Smith and staff! The fact that our local Chamber of Commerce is top notch is just another reason why Petoskey is such a great place to live and work.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Christmas Tree Ship Visits Harbor Springs

The US Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw paid a Christmas visit to Harbor Springs on November 30th, dropping off 220 Christmas trees to be delivered to area families in need. The Mackinaw was enroute to Chicago to deliver 2000 Christmas trees to disadvantaged families. The Mackinaw's Christmas tree run to Chicago keeps alive the great tradition of those brave sailors who risked their lives almost a century ago to bring a little bit of the Christmas spirit to Chicago.

The original "Christmas Tree Ship", the Rouse Simmons, a three masted schooner, was captained by Herman Schuenemann. The Rouse Simmons would arrive in Chicago each year shortly after Thanksgiving fully loaded with pines, which were sold directly to residents for 50 cents to $1. Capt. Schuenemann also gave away trees to needy families. He became known in Chicago as "Captain Santa," and the Christmas season in Chicago would not officially start until the arrival of Schuenemann's Christmas Tree Ship.

In late November of 1912, the Rouse Simmons was caught in a wintry gale bound for Chicago brimming with over 5,000 fresh-cut Michigan trees as cargo. The Captain and all seventeen crewmembers were lost, but their legend lives on in books, a play, paintings and a tv documentary.