Stifle yourself…

May 30, 2013

“Never miss a good chance to shut up.” (Unknown) from the Jack’s Winning Words Blog. I also recall one of Archie Bunker’s favorite lines to his wife Edith – “Stifle yourself, Edith.”


Do you know someone to whom you would love to just say – stifle yourself? Most people who are inveterate talkers just don’t realize how truly annoying it can be to those around them. I’ve caught myself cringing at the first words of such talkers, knowing that those are only the first of too many to come.


Most good books on sales or even on relationship building advise listening more than talking, but there are those who seem sure that the world is just awaiting their opinion on whatever topic is at hand.  There are also people who feel obligated to stop whatever conversation was happening to “make sure that you understand” whatever was just said – like you were to dense to have possibly caught the point that was just made. That’s annoying, too.


An then, I suppose, there are those who feel compelled to write about this topic instead of stifling that urge; so ……….

Memorial Day Parade – MIlford 2013

May 29, 2013

There is always news coverage of one of more Memorial Day parades in any town or city across America. This is a video that I shot from within the parade as I marched on Memorial Day in Milford Michigan.

As it states in the opening, this was not how it was when I came home from the war in Viet Nam. It is hard to describe the great feelings that one has while marching in this parade, especially since the war that we were in was so hated at the time. The man who you will see waving a flag ahead of me in this video had it made for this parade. In part it read – “Our cause was just”; so Viet Nam Vets are still defending ourselves and the war that we fought those many years ago; however, the heartfelt shouts of  “Thanks You” along the way goa long way to healing those old wounds.

Enjoy a moment that was special to those who marched…



Today I march in Milford…

May 27, 2013

marching troopsThe annual Memorial Day parade in Milford Michigan happens today, starting at around 11 AM. The first ½ hour of the parade is devoted to things like bands and military vehicles and boy scout troops and other crowd pleasing stuff, and then we get to walk by – the active duty troops and veterans of various wars. We are usually lined up 2-abreast and with 700-800 marchers, it takes a while for everyone to pass by. The crowds lining the streets stand and applaud the whole time, many shouting out “Thank You”. Along the route there are children handing out flowers that are supplied by the local florist.


Whether you are a marcher in the parade or a spectator it can be quite an emotional moment and is certainly a lot different than when I returned from my tour in Viet Nam. We had to sneak back into the towns and villages that we can from back then, hoping no one would recognize us as soldiers in that very unpopular war

When they line us up for the parade they put the ranks in order of the eras of the wars that one might have been in at the time. So, the WW II and Korean War vets go before the Viet Nam vets. Both their ranks and our group are fast thinning, as we age. I suspect that out group will be at the head of the parade before too long. At the head of each marching group a banner proclaims the era and the number of Americas who died in that war or conflict. Some marchers are not vets themselves but march carrying pictures of family members or loved ones lost in the various wars.

So, today I march. Today, unlike those many years ago, I get to hold my head high and accept the applause that was missing back then for a service that I accepted and rendered for my country. I’m thankful for all of the people who come out to line the streets and I’m thankful for all of those who gave so much more than I to defend our country and our liberties so that we can have days like today. I’ll see you there.

The May Market Report from Dan Elsea

May 24, 2013

Dan Elsea is the Presidentof the Brokerage side of the business for Real Estate One and sends out market reports to all ofhte offices each month  that use the perspective that he has of the entire Michigan market to give us better insight into what’s happening in the Michigan market overall. Here is his report for May, 2013.

The real estate market continues its wild ride into summer. This is the most active market we have seen in Michigan. The Months Supply of Inventory has dropped to 37 days for the majority of the market, not yet to the two weeks of inventory that Las Vegas has, but still the lowest we have recorded. So are we headed for another bubble? The answer is both yes and no, but mainly no.

Cash sales are near 40%, lending standards are still very tough, housing affordability is at record highs and values remain 25% off their peak. All of which serve as insulation against another bubble. The added equity being created by the rise in values is strengthening a weak economy, as opposed to overheating a strong economy (which was the case in 2006). So, we have some room to play with before there is any significant bubble.

On the “yes” side, however, values are rising faster than the economy should dictate. Because home values are so affordable, many buyers can also afford to overbid. But there will be a natural cap on a “bubble” getting too high. Looking out to late 2014/2015, appreciation rates will move down to a more normal level from the 1-2% per month we are seeing now. This is due to interest rates inevitably rising and buyer demand slowing, as the pent up demand from the past six years levels off.

The annual appreciation rate should have a bubble look as appreciation rates peak over this year and the next and then settle back down to a more typical rate.

Annual Apprciation rate in MIchigan - May 2013

Following the rate at which different housing indicators are changing is a good way to see just how quickly a market is moving. The rate of change compares the percentage change from one month to the same month the prior year. For example, new listings in February of this year might be 20% lower than last February, but the March comparison was off only 10%, which means listing inventories are still falling, but at a slower rate. The charts below follow the rates changing over the past year for new listings, pending sales, days on market and price per square foot.

We are seeing the first signs that listing inventories are starting to stabilize. On the chart below, the green trend line follows the rate of change in new listings coming on the market compared to the prior year. From June 2012 to February 2013, fewer new listings were entering the market each month. In March and April of this year, the rate of new listings continued to fall, but at a much slower rate. This shows it is getting “less worse”, which is a positive trend! Buyer demand (the blue line) has also been accelerating in March and April, absorbing any and all new listings and not surprisingly the average days on market dropped dramatically, as well. If these trends continue, we can expect inventories to continue to tighten through the summer, even if more listings hit the market, since buyer demand continues to rise.

rate of change chart for listings and contracts

Using price per square foot as a value indicator, the rate of appreciation began accelerating dramatically last summer and has leveled off some in the past few months (it can’t go up forever).

month over month rate of change in cost per sq ft

April of this year was our strongest month since June of 2006 in terms of homes sold, a solid indicator of just how far the market has bounced back. We have moved from the pan, into the fire, from the dog days of 2007-2010 to today’s wild market, each with their own challenges and opportunities. This market is much more fun, but no less exhausting!


The truth will set you free…

May 22, 2013

“Confronting the truth will always set you free.” (Valerie Harper) from my favorite blog – Jack’s Winning Words.

I have found that sticking with the truth and being as transparent as possible throughout the real estate process is tremendously liberating. I don’t have to waste time worrying about to whom did I say what or playing games in pursue of some sense of having “won” somehow.  I can instead spend my time creating win-win situations, where everyone is in the loop on everything and there are no secrets or surprises.

Sometimes the truth isn’t pleasant or what you wanted to hear. Valerie Harper is battling brain cancer and I’m sure she didn’t want to hear that; however, she has confronted that truth and her prognosis and has moved on to enjoy the rest of her life as best as she can. Confronting her situation has set her free.

Are there things in your life that you need to confront, in order to be free?

Video Market Update from our Broker

May 21, 2013

Our fearless leader and the head broker for Real Estate One – Dan Elsea – has started doing a video market update and I thought I’d share that with all of my readers. It basically adds some nice graphics and some explanation from a different source to what I’ve been sharing with you all along. This update covers data throught he end of April and goingitno May.  Enjoy…

Real Estate Market – Looking back at April…looking forward to May

May 15, 2013

As of the end of April, the local MLS reported these stats –

Highlights and Analysis:

  • · The median sale price for All MLS sales increased to $97,165 – up by 35%report with chart
  • · All MLS sales were up by 6.8% for April compared to April 2012. Even with a 21.7% decrease in Inventory!
  • · Of the 5,799 sales closed in April 8% (472) were identified as short sales.
  • · Of the 5,799 sales closed in April 44% (2,522) were identified as CASH sales

Synopsis of Inventory:

  • · Average Days On-Market decreased by 14 days, from 87 to 73.
  • · The on-market inventory declined by 22%, from 26,896 to 21,054.
  • · Approx. 14% of the on-market inventory is comprised of short sales.
  • · Approx. 13% of the on-market inventory is comprised of foreclosures.

man with questionWhat does that mean for you? Well, if you’ve been waiting to see if the market would recover before listing your house, you’ve waited long enough; the market has recovered and taken off, due mainly to the low inventory. You can take advantage of that situation to sell quicker and for more than you would if we were in a more balanced market with normal inventory. Call me today to get an updated Market Analysis for your home to see if you can (and should) sell now.

If you’re a buyer – DARN, you missed the bottom and now will have to pay a bit more. Buyers may also be a bit frustrated by the lack of homes to choose from; however, the ones on the market today are generally in better condition than those at the same price points a year or so ago. The thing you need to be aware of is the need to be ready to act, and act decisively, should you find a home that you like. You will not have days or weeks to make up your mind. Multiple-offer situations and bidding wars are the order of the day now.

Buyers have to be ready to jump and you’ll have to bid at or maybe even above asking price to get a really good home. That also means you need to be all pre-approved for a mortgage, if you are going to use one. There’s no time to say you like a house and then go try to get pre-approved – that house will be gone by the time you get through the pre-approval process. It is also better in the current market to use a Conventional mortgage rather than an FHA or VA mortgage, if you can swing it. The rates are generally running lower on conventional mortgages right now and the sellers don’t have to worry about the FHA/VA appraisal/inspection.

Buyers should also note that foreclosures and short sales have shrunk as a percentage of listings and sales, so you may need a plan “B” if that’s what you were looking to buy. There are still some out there and the fixer-uppers are still around, but while they used to be more than 50% of the market, they are now less than 20% in most area Townships.


Go to my Web site – to see all of the sold homes statistics for this area for April and year-to-date, along with historical data going back 4-5 years. I’ve already posted the sold homes data there for  first 2 weeks of May, too.

Museum Open House this Saturday – May 18

May 13, 2013


If you haven’t been to the Historical Museum lately (or maybe ever), you’re in luck.  Our museum opened for the season on May 1st and will be open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

In honor of our opening, the Historical Society will be hosting an Open House on Saturday, May 18th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.   This family friendly event will allow guests to visit our museum and see displays depicting Milford over the years.  Demonstrations will be on going thru out the day.  On our front lawn, you will be able to see candle dipping, woodworking, yarn spinner, and basket weaving demonstrations throughout the day.  Kids of all ages will be able to participate in games from long ago.

We will also have a special guest in the Parlor.  Wife of the 16th President, Mary Todd Lincoln will greet guest and give a glimpse of live in the White House.   Also on hand will be the Huron Valley Numismatic Club that will be able to answer questions from coin collector eMilford Museum interiornthusiastic. Hands on demonstration will take place in our log cabin display where kids will be able to make a cornhusk doll and in the kitchen see how butter was made.

It will be a day full of fun activities for the whole family! Admission to the museum is free and open to all; you do not need to be a member to attend. Bring the whole family out and see what life in Milford used to be like. The Milford Historical Museum – our very own time machine into the past.

It’s OK to be ignorant, just don’t be dumb about it

May 11, 2013

“Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.” (Will Rogers) from my favorite source for pithy quotes the Jack’s Winning Words Blog.

Will Rogers certainly hit the nail on the heads when it comes to explaining why there is value in working with a Realtor® on your real estate transactions. I get quite a few customers who can’t wait to tell me that they’ve bought and sold numerous houses, so they understand the real estate process. That’s somewhat true. They’ve been through a process that was similar to today’s process; however, if they haven’t bought and sold man with questionseveral houses in the last 12 months, they probably don’t understand the process as it works today.

The fact is that the process is constantly changing and evolving, due to influences like the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the many other wonderful laws and regulations that have been passed or promulgated in the last few years. Add to that the recent financial crisis and the extremely volatile local real estate market conditions and you have a very dynamic environment that even we Realtors have a tough time keeping up with. The dynamics are constantly changing. One month we may be in a buyers’ market and next have flipped over to a sellers’ market. For a while the banks weren’t lending to any but the absolute best credit risks and then they relaxed the rules. Sometimes there are zero down programs and sometimes not. Down payment assistance programs come and go or get funded and then run out of funds.

It can all be very confusing for someone whose job doesn’t involve keeping up with all of this stuff. Even the most seasoned veteran of many real estate transactions doesn’t normally have the time or inclination to keep up with all of the changes that are going on in real estate. Then there are court cases being decided all the time that impact how the whole system works. Realtors get legal updates on a regular basis to help them keep up with real estate laws.

So, I guess it’s OK to admit that real estate is one subject about which much of the general public might be ignorant. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s what you have us Realtors for. It is part of our job to keep up with all of that stuff and to keep you from making mistakes based upon your own ignorance about the process as it exists today. We are your fiduciaries . The Legal Dictionary has this to say about fiduciaries –

An individual in whom another has placed the utmost trust and confidence to manage and protect property or money. The relationship wherein one person has an obligation to act for another’s benefit.

A fiduciary relationship encompasses the idea of faith and confidence and is generally established only when the confidence given by one person is actually accepted by the other person. Mere respect for another individual’s judgment or general trust in his or her character is ordinarily insufficient for the creation of a fiduciary relationship. The duties of a fiduciary include loyalty and reasonable care of the assets within custody. All of the fiduciary’s actions are performed for the advantage of the beneficiary.

The relationship between a Realtor and his clients – sellers or buyers – is a fiduciary relationship. The clients put their trust in us to understand the real estate system – its rules and regulations and laws – and to not only keep them out of trouble with those rules and laws, but to also always represent their best interests as we negotiate on their behalf during a transaction; and that’s what we do. It’s OK to be a little ignorant about real estate, so long as you have a good agent acting on your behalf who isn’t ignorant about it. It’s also OK for a good agent to not know everything (that’s impossible), but to be honest with themselves and with you about what they don’t know and knowledgeable about how to find out what he/she doesn’t know. So, don’t panic if your agent says to you “I don’t know” in answer to a question or issue, so long as they follow up with “But, I know how to find out.”