Great weekend and good times had by all…

September 17, 2012

We had perfect weather over the weekend for the Home Tour and the Car Show. The Car Show drew a record number of cars on display and had a very good spectator turnout. The Home Tour also did well on a cool fall weekend. Some past Home Tours have been too hot, especially since many of the historic homes on the tours do not have central air conditioning. From what I could tell the Tractor Show had a good turnout, too. I didn’t get to see any of the Duck Race events, but the Rotary Club of Milford always does a good job with that.

So, now, it’s on into autumn.  Football is in full swing at all levels and the air is starting to crisp up a bit. I tend to measure the passing of another year by Halloween. I’m not sure why, but that’s the last holiday of the year where we can normally still sit or stand outside to give out the candy to the kids that come by.  Since we live in the Village, we get lots of Halloween trick-or-treaters. Many family from outlying areas in the Township will load up a van with kids and bring them into the Village to trick or treat; that’s fine with us. Hopefully we’ll have a crisp, but not cold, evening for that holiday.

We also had a birthday party over the weekend. Our only granddaughter turned 8 this year. This was the family party, since she is “too old” to have family at her real birthday party with friends. It’s funny how that happens. Her mom told us that she no longer has “play dates” with friends; now they “hang out together.” How fast they grow up!

The real estate sales data for last week is posted. I noticed a decline in sales, which had been running in the range of 70 to 80 sales a week, down to just over 50 last week. Distressed ales were generally down again, with the three markets in Livingston County that I track – Brighton, Green Oak and Hartland- showing n9t a single distressed sale. I’ve added the ability to see the sales data for the entire 9 township market on a weekly basis as the month progresses. Several markets are now running consistently above $100/Sq. Ft., which is another good indicator of the recovery that is under way.


You haven’t lived in Milford until you’ve…

September 14, 2012

gone on the Home Tour. The 36th annual Milford Home Tour is Saturday and Sunday this weekend, so this’ll be my last post about it until next year. The Milford Home Tour is organized and run by the Milford Historical Society and gives visitors a chance to go through five of our nice historic homes each year. You also get to read about the history and background of each house in a special Home Tour supplement that the Milford Times publishes. It’s a fun way to spend a day in Milford. The homes are open from 11 am until 5 pm both days. Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for seniors and may be purchased at the Museum or at any of the houses (look for the signs to the houses).

In addition to the 5 homes that are on the tour, the ticket is good to get you in several other venues on those tow days. The Museum is open both days, as well as the log cabin next to the fire station on Huron St. The Pettibone Creek Powerhouse just off Central Park is also open both days. You can get to the Powerhouse by parking in the upper parking lot at Central Park or by taking Cabinet south off W. Commerce Rd and then going east on Liberty. Liberty on that side of Main St dead-ends at the railroad tracks. Either way that you get there, it’s worth the effort to see this Albert Khan designed vestige of the Henry Ford Village Industries era. Ford built the Powerhouse to provide electricity to his Ford Carburetor Plant in Milford. The log cabin is also interesting since it is a replica that depicts the lifestyle of Milford’s earliest settlers.

In addition to the five house and other ventures, there will be a privy dig going on at the site at 119 Oakland St. Privy digsd involve actually digging up the sites of the outhouses that used to serve the bathroom needs before indoor plumbing became the norm. Past privy digs have unearthed interesting bits and pieces of history – pottery and glassware for the most part. You can observe the dig and talk to the privy diggers at the site.

On Sunday there will also be The Milford Car Show on Main St – the biggest area car show of the year – and a vintage tractor show out at the Huron Valley State Bank parking lot near the corner of S. Milford Rd and GM Rd. The cars will start lining up for the Car Show at 8 am and the show officially runs from 11 am until 3 pm. Also in Central Park on Sunday the annual Rotary Club Duck Race will take place – festivities there kick off at 11 am with events for the kids. So, you can see that there’s plenty to do in Milford this weekend.

While in Milford for the Home Tour, save some time to visit our great downtown stores on Saturday and to eat at one of our fabulous restaurants. All of the restaurants will be open on Saturday and many on Sunday. Some downtown stores will be open both days, too. Please visit our Home Tour sponsors and supporters – The Palate restaurant, Fresco Pizza (at the southwestern edge of town – close to the tractor show),The Milford House, Bar & Grill, and Tequilaritas. Your Nesting Place, Main Street Art and Acorn Farm are three merchant supporters downtown. If you want to see some of the other places that have been featured in this series, the Mill Valley waterfall in behind the Mill Valley shopping complex and the Milford Feed Company is at the end of Houghton St, off Atlantic St.

I’ll be helping out at some of the venues, so look for me and say hi if you see me. For more on the Home Tour weekend and the Milford Historical Society, go to our Web page.


Start Gettin’ Started…

September 12, 2012

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” (Agatha Christie) from the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Jack certainly has a knack for finding quotes that seem to be particularly applicable to real estate and life in general. Procrastination is perhaps the biggest roadblock to success in real estate and in life. There are many reasons for putting off getting started on things – fear of failure being one of the biggest. Other reasons include poor time management or poor prioritization of the use of your time, lack or planning or preparation for the task at hand and lack of personal accountability.

The point is that if you’ve identified something that needs to be done in order to increase your success, to get you ahead; then you should commit to get started on it. Sometimes getting started is putting together a plan and allocating the time and resources needed for the task. Not everything can just be jumped into immediately without prep time; however, you need to give yourself encouragement that the work you are doing to prepare IS part of the task. You are getting started when you have started preparing.

One thing that many personal coaches will tell you is that you should hold yourself accountable and a way to help yourself do that is to tell someone else (usually a life mate or friend) that you are going to do whatever it is that is at hand , so that you also feel a sense of obligation to get the task done, now that you’ve told people you were going to do it. That, too, is part of getting it done. I kiddingly tell my wife that I’m in the “fixin’ to” stage at that point – I’m fixin’ to do something. Sometimes I get stuck in the fixin’ to stage and she has to gently remind me that I never really got around to the actual doin’ stage. That helps me get started.

Sometimes the  big roadblock to actually getting started can be the imagined size of the task at hand. If you have a really big project that is daunting and causing you to pause before getting started, experts will tell you that a way to overcome your inertia is to break the task down to smaller sub-tasks and start by tackling a few of those small parts. Then the accomplishment of each little sub-task will feel like a win and make moving on to the next part easier. Still the real challenge is to get started. So look at your to do list of tasks and figure out the best approach to each, but GET STARTED. I’m fixin’ to do that right now.


Things are looking up in the Milford market…

September 11, 2012

I took a look back at the last three years’ worth of sales data that I’ve collected for the Milford market for the month of August. Several things jump out. Distressed sales have fallen dramatically. The size and prices of houses that are selling have greatly increased. The SEV multiplier that people are getting for homes now has dramatically increased. And the sales price per square foot has increased quite a bit. We are now back over $100 per square foot, after languishing well below that value for the last few years.

2012 August

Percent Distressed Sales – 5%

 

  Listed   Price Sold   Price %   sold/

Sold

SEV   value  SEV factor DOM Sq.   Ft. $/SF   listed $/SF   Sold
Ave

$279,530

$274,977

98

$111,965

2.4540

69

2,387

$119

$125

Med

$244,900

$245,500

97

$104,525

2.4855

49

2,153

$108

$108

 

2011 August

Percent Distressed Sales – 38%

 

  Listed   Price Sold   Price %   sold/

list

SEV   value  SEV factor DOM Sq.   Ft. $/SF   listed $/SF   Sold
Ave

$241,819

$225,044

95

$113,460

2.1348

108

2,356

$103

$96

Med

$207,450

$190,000

94

$96,700

1.9008

88

2,253

$101

$94

 

2010 August

Percent Distressed Sales – 54%

 

  Listed   Price Sold   Price %

sold/

list

SEV   value  SEV factor DOM Sq.   Ft. $/SF   listed $/SF   Sold
Ave

$125,000

$116,000

98

$96,570

1.5993

36

1,344

$93

$85

Med

$153,659

$147,200

97

$98,829

1.4779

83

1,755

$88

$83

 

What all of this points out is a greatly improved market in Milford (Village and Township). If I run the numbers from the other eight markets that I track they show similar, if still somewhat uneven, improvements. What this is telling me is that we have indeed turned the corner locally in the real estate market. Bigger houses are selling again and for better prices. The low DOM numbers are also indicative that we are in a seller’s market with low inventory. Homes are selling relatively fast and at 98% of asking price, they are selling for what the sellers want to get.

In our hey days (some might say in our crazy, real estate bubble days) Milford normal properties in good condition were selling for between $124 to $144/Sq. Ft. Luxury homes were well over $200/Sq Ft. We have a ways to go before we get back to that level, if we ever do again.

Appreciation in this market is running about 6% so far this year, which is above the historic average of 4%, but which is indicative of the tightness of the market. Demand is outstripping supply right now. That has builders putting up new-builds as fast as they can in several areas.

So, is the market back, or is this just a temporary uptick? We’ll see how thins progress as we head into the slower real estate seasons of the late fall and early winter holiday seasons. My gut feel is that there is a pent up demand that is still not being met – there are people who want to sell who are still trapped in underwater homes and there are buyers frustrated by not seeing anything that they want to buy.

As values appreciate more and more would-be sellers will reach at least a breakeven point and get on the market so they can get on with life. Then buyers will have more to choose from. Things might also benefit from getting past the uncertainties caused by the upcoming presidential elections, no matter which way it goes. I think we’ve turned a corner and I don’t see us sliding back into a housing recession; however, things need to continue to improve before we will get back to a more normal, balanced market.


Bits and Pieces to start the week…

September 10, 2012

Time to collect and comment on a few bits and pieces…

The 36th Annual Milford Home Tour is just a week away – next Saturday and Sunday. You can buy tickets at any of the houses, but tickets are also available ahead of time at several downtown Milford stores – Main Street Art, Acorn Farm and Your Nesting Place, as well as at the Milford Historical Museum (open Wednesday from 1 – 4 pm). Tickets are $15 ($13 for seniors). Make sure that you leave time to also see the Museum, the log cabin (on Huron St next to the firehouse) and the Pettibone Creek Powerhouse. There will be a map to all locations in the special Milford Times supplement that will be given with each ticket. Also plan on having lunch in Milford at one of our sponsor or support restaurants – Palate, Fresco Pizza, TequilaRitas, and Milford House. For all of the information about the Home Tour go to the Historical Society’s Web site – Milfordhistory.org.

Remember that on Sunday, the 16th, there will be a huge car show on Main Street in Milford and a vintage tractor show out at the corner of GM Rd and S. Milford Rd (in the parking lot of the Huron Valley State Bank). For information about how to get your car intot he Milford Car Show, go to the Car Show Web site.

This has been an amazing year for new restaurants in Milford. There have been five new eateries opened this year – Le Rendez Vous, Blue Grill, Tavern 131, Tequilaitas and Palate. One would be hard pressed not to be able to find a restaurant to love in Milford. There are styles/menus that span several regions from Mexican to Greek and Mediterranean to French to Italian to Thai to Chinese to American Grill. There are bars that specialize in martinis and bars with a variety of Margaritas. There are craft beers to be had as well as special teas and coffees for sipping. There are family restaurants and at least one place for adults only. Some are quiet little get-a-ways and some are teeming with noisy excitement, some with entertainment. If you haven’t been to Milford lately, it’s time to plan another trip to check out the newly expanded restaurant scene.

The stats for August are now posted on my Move to Milford web site and they show an improving market, especially in Milford itself.  Home prices are on the rise in Milford, especially in the Village, with homes now regularly selling for between $105 – 115/ Sq. Ft., and the Aug 2012 average at $125/Sq. Ft. That’s quite an improvement from Aug, 2011 at $96/ Sq. Ft. and Aug, 2010 at $83/Sq. Ft.  Much of the improvement is due to the very low inventory of homes for sale in the Village. You can check out all nine of the areas that I track on the Web site. If you want to see what your home might be worth, go to the Move to Milford Web site and click on the “What’s My Home Worth” choice on the top left corner and fill out the form. I’ll set up an appointment to visit your home and give you a market analysis.

Check into the Fall Programs at area locations. The YMCA, the Huron Valley Community Activities Program and the Milford Public Library all have published their Fall activities schedules. Links to those schedules are available on the home page of the Move to Milford web site. Check them out – there’s lots to do for the whole family.


You haven’t lived in Milford until you’ve…

September 7, 2012

visited the Milford Historical Museum.

It’s amazing to me to find out how many people who are life-long residents of Milford have never been to the Museum. I will grant you that it isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. The Museum is only open two days a week – Wednesdays and Saturdays – and then only from 1 to 4 PM. Still that affords the opportunity to visit for most families.

The Milford Historical Museum is housed in a historic building just one block east of Main Street on Commerce – 124 E. Commerce Road is the address.  I won’t steal the thunder of the Museum docents by telling you about the history of the building; however, until the early 1970’s it served as the Village Hall and Police Station. It has an interesting history before that, which you will learn on your tour through the Museum.

The Milford Historical Society (MHS) was founded in 1973 with the mission to collect, preserve and share the history of Milford, Michigan. The primary vehicle for accomplishing that mission is the Milford Historical Museum, which eh MHS opened in 1976. The MHS selectively accepts donations of historic memorabilia – pictures, historic objects, etc.  Museum volunteers catalogue the items and either store them or put them on display. Some collections of objects, such as civil war collectibles or American Indian artifacts are on permanent display and some, like historic wedding dresses, are just displayed on special occasions.

On the first floor is a replica of the inside of a typical log cabin of the pioneer days – a somewhat crude, one-room space filled with the types of objects and implements that the earliest settlers might have had with them when they came to Milford.  Most of the second floor is devoted to rooms that are furnished as they would have been in the mid- to late-1800’s. There’s a living room, a dining room a kitchen and a bedroom all set up as they might have been in that era. There are also displays of toys and other objects that might have been found in that timeframe. Along a back hallway are historic pictures taken in the area during the late 1800’s.

In addition to displays the Museum is host to a research function which helps people research the homes and families of Milford in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. As part of that research area there is a capability to go back through all of the issues of the Milford times since it’s beginning in the mid-1800’s. The Museum is one of two locations that have microfilm of all of the back issues. The MHS took on the responsibility for microfilming the Milford Times archive back in the 70’s and has been having it done ever since. The other microfilm viewers with access that film are at the Milford Public Library, based upon film that the MHS provides to them.

So, get to the Museum. You’ll have a unique two-day opportunity September 15th and 16th when the Museum is open both days from 11 AM until 5 PM as part of the Milford Home Tour. Come out to see some of the historic homes of Milford and then take in the Museum, too. There will be docetns both days conducting tours. You can learn more about the Museum and see interior pictures of the upstairs at our Web site – www.milfordhistory.org. You really can’t say you’ve lived in Milford and never been to the Museum.


When routines become ruts and ruts become prisons…

September 5, 2012

prisonerWe all get into routines. It is insidiously easy for those routines to become ruts – so ingrained in our lives that we almost can’t imagine not doing them. The ruts in our lives can start to run our lives – they become little prisons that keep us contained.

Nothing exposes the ruts in your life like a crisis. A crisis usually has some come external force involved – an accident, a sudden illness, a job loss, a death in the family, or something like that that disrupts routines and breaks down the walls of your ruts.

That something for me was an incident at the local bark park. My wife was standing out in the middle of the park when a pack of dogs that were just running around having fun ran right over her. She went down and couldn’t get up. She suffered a broken leg. That turned my world upside down and exposed all of the ruts that have been running my life.

Suddenly, most of the things that had seemed so urgent, and which had been so time consuming faded into the background. The walls of my ruts came tumbling down in light of the new demands of caring for my life mate. It was easy and clear to see where my priorities needed to be and just as easy to see how really unimportant some of my ruts really are.

We get in ruts in our work too. There are lots of daily routines to be attended to, many of them having importance in the grand scheme of things only in our own minds. For me it was Web sites that had to be updated on a daily basis, or blog posts that I had to make every day, or weekly sales statistics that had to be updated every Sunday afternoon. Well, guess what? The world did not stop when those things did not get done so that I could attend to the needs of my wife. Amazing!

She comes home from the hospital today and there will be 6-8 weeks of limited mobility and rehab. During that time I’m sure some of the old routines and ruts will try to creep back into my life. I probably will start getting back into some routines, but hopefully without the slavish devotion to them that turns them into ruts. I’ve been given a reality check about what’s really important and I need to keep that in focus. I will try to start every day by telling myself that the things that are really important in life are my faith, my family and my health. Only after those three are given priority, then comes my job with the routines that go along with it. Have you taken time to examine your routines to see if they are becoming ruts in your life?


You haven’t lived in Milford until you’ve…

September 1, 2012

Visited the Milford Feed Store. Yes, Milford has a Feed Store; it’s actually called the Milford Feed Company and it is tucked away at the end of Houghton St (south off Atlantic), just before you’d reach the river. It actually looks like a place that would be called The Feed Store and has a barn out back, too.

In the past almost every small town and village in America had a feed store, especially the towns that were oriented around agriculture, as Milford was originally. In many cases the feed store was associated with the local grain elevator. Feed stores didn’t start out to be pet food stores, either; they were the places where you could get feed for the livestock on the farm. You can still do that at the Milford Feed Store, in addition to getting lots of different and mostly all natural foods for your domestic pets.

The Milford Feed Store has been around since the early 70’s and at one time was in the building that now houses Club Pet on Commerce Rd. That building was apparently the VFW hall at one time before it was the Milford Feed Store. The store has always been owned and run by Kathleen Percy. Kathleen is a very knowledgeable person about  the food needs of various animals and about how to identify and deal with food allergies that your pet may have.  She is also a joy to talk to about your pets or anything else. Unlike a hired clerk in some chain pet store, Kathleen works with a passion about what she’s doing and shares that passion with pet owners or livestock owners who venture into her store.

The Milford Feed Store is really one of those old-fashion, small town stops that have all but disappeared in most areas. Milford is fortunate to have retained both its small town flavor and many of the unique little stores that characterized small town America for decades. I’ll be writing about more of Milford’s small-town stores in future articles. For now, try the adventure of visiting the Milford Feed Store. Plan to spend a little time looking around at things you won’t see in the typical pet food store and spending some time talking to Kathleen. She’ll want to know all about you and your pets and you’ll leave feeling better about what you’re doing to meet their food needs. If you need a chew toy or other pet supplies, she’s got that, too. Try the cow knee caps. She’ll tell you that dogs love them.