Help is within reach…it is within you…

February 17, 2014

Nicole MerlineI get to spend time in one of my Chamber of Commerce groups and at Chamber events with Nicol Merline, M.A. CHt, owner and practitioner at MTU Hypnosis . What a fascinating lady and what great stories she has to share of the successes that she’s had with helping people overcome problems through hypnosis.

The basis of hypnotherapy is the ability to get to the subconscious mind through hypnosis and to use the power of suggestion with the subconscious mind to make dramatic changes in the patient’s conscious life. It turns out that most of what we need to help ourselves is already within us, in the power of the sub-conscious mind.

Nicol’s range of patient successes goes well beyond the typical smoking cessation or fear of spiders types of things. She has concentrated more on helping people remove their mental roadblocks to success in sports or in academics and other pursuits in life. She has been successful in areas such as pain management and stress management, as well as the relatively new field of Virtual Gastric Band as a weight loss aid. You can view some great videos of customer testimonials at her web site. The point is that there are many more uses for hypnotherapy than you may have imagined.

Nicol is board certified in advanced hypnotherapy and is a member of the International Association of Holistic Providers. Her credentials include:

• National Guild Of Hypnotists

• International Association of Counselors and Therapists

• International Hypnosis Federation

• Hypnosis International Board of Registration

• American Board of Hypnotherapy

• Michigan Association of Counselors and Hypnotherapists

• Wayne State University B.S.

• Eastern Michigan University M.A. – Educational Leadership

The real reason for going through all of the above is to hopefully let you know that Nicol is a serious option for you to consider when you have an issue that is driven by fear or anxiety, anguish or pain, doubts or concerns.

I posted to this blog recently about asking for help. Once you get to that state of mind where that is possible, sometimes you need to know whom to ask. There are obvious choices around (friends, relatives and clergymen come to mind); however, sometimes you need someone with expertise and training on how to understand and deal with your issues. Sometimes that may be a trained physiologist or counselor, sometimes the issue may require a healthcare professional and sometimes the answer is within you and alternative care professionals like Nicol can help you find it.

There is a growing appreciation in the healthcare industry for the contributions that can be made by alternative approaches to care. Approaches like chiropractors, acupuncture, yoga, massage therapy, hypnotherapy and others are now being acknowledged to have great positive impact. Many studies have shown these alternative approaches can have as much positive impact as traditional medical practitioners may have with drugs that they prescribe to treat symptoms. Some modern medical practitioners, such as Doctors of Osteopathy, even embrace and combine some of these alternative approaches with what is called “modern medicine.”

So, if you have issues that you’ve been unable to deal with alone, give Nicol Merline a call at 248-568-0831MTU Hypnosis logo and schedule an appointment. That initial consultation is free and she will tell you afterwards whether what she can do for you is a good likely solution or whether you need to seek other help. I can pretty well assure you that if it has anything to do with your self-esteem, your self-confidence or your desire to overcome a fear, a phobias or just a bad habit; she can probably help you.  A large percent of the issues that we think we have in life is all in our minds anyway; so let Nicole help you get that part straightened out and the rest will take care of itself.


Divorce and real estate – it takes a team

January 30, 2014
Divorce

Divorce

When things go south in a marriage and divorce seems to be the only way out, the people involved may think of calling their priest or pastor and they may call friend s to commiserate; they may even have already called a lawyer; but, they seldom think of calling a Realtor® and they should.

Divorce is an extremely emotional process, filled with remorse, doubts, regrets and sometime (maybe too often) distrust and hate. It is a time of great vulnerability for all parties involved and a time when there are many decisions to be made, none of which should be made in haste or in hate and without professional advice.

While it may not be top of mind at the time, making good decisions about the single largest asset that most married couple have – their home – is critical for the future of both parties. Make bad or hasty and ill-advised decisions and they might haunt you for years, as you try to rebuild your life.

There is so much complexity surrounding the real estate (and other assets) that may be involved in a divorce that you really need to assemble a team to help you and your Realtor can be the person who does that for you. On the team, you’ll need a good divorce lawyer, your Realtor, your insurance agent,  a tax/financial adviser, an appraiser and a mortgage adviser. Your Realtor can probably make recommendations or assemble the rest of this team.

Why all of those folks? Well, each one will either be providing you with advice about products that you already have (insurance, for instance) or products that you will need to get (a new mortgage) in order to move on with life. You need to understand your current homeowners policy – who’s listed as the policy owner (s) and who as the beneficiaries? What happens to that insurance when the divorce is final? Who needs to be listed then and who will be paying for it? As for the tax adviser or financial adviser (it probably will take two people for this), you need to understand the tax consequences of the divorce and make sure that you can file for your fair share of things after the final decree. You may need a good value appraisal if the family home is to be sold as part of the decree. You also need to understand the consequences on any long-term financial plans or policies or shared assets that you had in place. And, when the dust settles, you may need to get a new mortgage, in order to move on with life. How will this divorce leave you in terms of qualifying on your own for a mortgage? Can you do anything until your name is off the old mortgage or that mortgage has been discharged? Where will you go may be an easier question to answer than how will I afford it?

So, why I’m I writing about this? Because I care, for one, and because I have the team members already in mind to be able to help, from one of best family and divorce lawyers that I know, to a great insurance person, to a very thorough financial adviser and a great tax accountant and a mortgage rep that can make it possible for you to move on in life. These are people that I’ve worked with and trust to advise you on the aspects that go beyond my real estate capabilities. More importantly they are people that I trust with your fragile emotional state during this very trying time. I can introduce you to a team of professionals that will work with you through this process in a caring, respectful and empathetic way that will lift a lot of burdens from your shoulders and let you start the healing process.

So let’s start off by agreeing that divorce sucks and try to go forward from there the best way that we can, with a caring professional team of people on your side who can make sure that you make the right decisions during the process to come out whole on the other side. Call me and put my team to work for you. If you already have some people for some of these roles, great; let’s just add them to the team. If you don’t even know where to start; call me quickly so that you don’t spend another day by yourself in this process.


Recommended local business – Nicholson Appraisal Services, Inc.

January 28, 2014

Nickolson header

As a Realtor® I work with appraisers quite a bit on home sales. These days appraisers are assigned mainly through appraisal management companies, but not always. There are many other reasons why you may need to call an appraiser, which I will discuss here. When you do, you can’t do better in this are than Nicholson Appraisal Services, Inc.

Obviously if you are buying an individual home (house or condo) or if you are buying a rental property of up to 4 units, you will need to have the property appraised. If you are refinancing those same properties or taking out a home equity line of credit, you will also need to have them appraised. Norma Nicholson, owner and principal at Nicholson Appraisal Services, Inc., has been a licensed appraiser for over 20 years. Norma covers many of the counties in Southeastern Michigan – Oakland, Livingston, Wayne, Macomb, Washtenaw and Genesee.

Appraisals are also critical when major life changes occur, such as deaths and divorces. In most divorce cases the division of the real property in the divorce settlement requires that the home either be bought out by one of the two parties or that it be sold outright and the proceeds split. That requires that the value of the home be determined and the courts often require that an appraisal be done. The same thing happens in estate settlements when the surviving owner dies. In order to settle most estates the property must be sold and the proceeds split. Again it is critical to get a good appraisal.

Do you feel you are carrying too much of the Property Tax Burden in your community? Have an appraisal report completed by a professional licensed appraiser that will provide supportable documentation of the true market value of your property within the present market, not a market value that was assigned to you years ago. You stand a much better chance of getting your tax basis lowered when you go to the appeal process prepared with a professional appraisal.

If things have gone south for you and you are considering bankruptcy you will need to have your home appraised. Why do you need an appraisal for a bankruptcy filing? Because the court will order one and/or sometimes two if the final opinion of value has a wide range. A licensed appraiser must generate the appraisal report. The courts will not accept what is termed as a CMA (Certified Market Analysis) by a licensed realtor. So get ahead of the game and get an appraisal from Nicholson Appraisal Services.

Other reasons or times to use a professional appraiser include:

Insurance Claims for Fire, Wind and Water Damages – There needs to be a restoration value established before you should settle any claim, especially if the damage is such that replacement of the structure is required.

For Sale by Private Owners – the most common mistake made by FSBO sellers is pricing. You need to know the value that someone is going to be able to get a mortgage for, before set a price for the property; otherwise you wasting your time and that f potential buyers.

Pre-Marriage Estate Planning and Pre-nuptial  agreements – you don’t have to be Donald Trump in order toe have a pre-nup agreement, but you do need to know what the value of the things are that you are trying to protect in the agreement.

Nicholson Appraisal Services uses state of the art appraisal software that includes digital photography and they are are EDI compatible for timely turnaround time via email transmissions. As they state on their web site – “Our Company is small enough to hold quality as the number one priority. That also allows us to extend the lowest appraisal fees within the area on to you.” To visit the Nicholson Appraisal Services, Inc. web site click here. Nicholson Appraisal Services, Inc. is located in Milford at 786 S. Milford Rd, Milford, MI 48381

Nicholson Appraisal Services, Inc. accepts VISA, Mastercard and American Express. Call Norma Nicholson if you have any of the needs discussed above. You’ll be glad you did. Office: 248-684-7987 or Cell: 248-342-9637


Last minute Christmas idea – the gift of relief from pain!

December 23, 2013

Want a great last minute Christmas gift idea? How about the gift of relief from pain? If you know of someone who constantly complains of their aches and pains give them the gift of relief from that pain through therapeutic massage.

Get the lowdown on massage therapy from this weekend’s USA Weekend Health column. You can watch the video from the TV show The Doctors about the benefits of massage therapy by clicking here.

esential massage logoWe are fortunate to have a great therapeutic massage practice right in our area – Essential Massage and Wellness Center – at 1641 S. Milford Road, Suite B in Highland, MI. You can go on-line to www.essentialmassagewc.com and book an appointment or buy a gift certificate as a gift. They are running a special right now for a 1 hour massage. You can order the gift certificate to be delivered by email. You can also call at 248-714-9901.

Owners Tammy Ware and Cindy McLaughlin are both certified massage therapists and have been trained in a number of different styles and techniques of massage. In addition, Tammy is a Certified Infant Massage Instructor and prenatal massage therapist. In addition she is a Bellanina Facelift Massage Specialist and has taken numerous seminars including Oncology Massage, Sports Massage, Russian Massage Technique, Myofascial Release Therapy and Thai Vinyasa Massage. Cindy has National Certification in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, and has completed seminars in Sports Massage and Myofascial Release Therapy and received additional certification in Orthopedic Massage and Table Thai Massage.

Also on staff at Essential Massage and Wellness Center are Theresa David; a massage therapist who continued her education, after graduating from the Michigan Institute of Myomassology, and earned a degree in Medical Assisting, giving her more understanding of the human body and how to work with it especially when her clients are recovering from pain and injury. Theresa went to Thailand to study Thai Massage and has completed training in Reiki and Craniosacral Therapy.

In addition to massage therapist, the staff includes Tina Lee, L.A.c., Dipl. OM. Tina has a Master’s of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Colorado. Tina is also certified in Facial Rejuvination Acupuncture, a series of treatments designed to improve the look and vitality of the face and decrease signs of aging without the use of botox and cosmetic surgery. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture is one of the oldest medicines practiced in the world. For more than 3000 years it has been successfully used to treat a wide range of physical and emotional issues.

I have personal experience with letting the Essential Massage and Wellness Center massage away pain and can testify how great you will feel after a session of therapeutic massage. So take my advice, or that of the TV show The Doctors, and get someone the gift of relief from pain – a gift certificate from Essential Massage and Wellness Center.


Small Business Saturday in Milford…

November 29, 2013

Nestled between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a relatively new named shopping day – Small Business Saturday. This Shop Small day was originally an American Express promotional idea that has taken on an identity of its own. The basic idea and thrust behind this can be summed up in another oft heard phrase – Shop local or there won’t be any local.

The danger to small local businesses has never been greater. The small retail shops that make up the Main Street stores of America are under tremendous pressure from both the big box stores and from the Internet. There is just no way for your local toy store or clothing store or shoe store to compete on price with the big box stores. Instead many emphasize that they have products that you just won’t find in the big box stores or they may have more selections of specific brands. They also provide much more personalized service and in most cases are closer and easier to get to than the big mall stores.

Milford has one of the few remaining small town downtown areas that is still full of useful stores – Main Street Signstores that sell things other than knick-knacks or antiques.  One can still shop in Milford for clothing and shoes, in addition to toys and jewelry and candy and furniture and more. Sure, we have some nice knick-knack stores, too; but the point is that the downtown still provides a good, diverse shopping experience. The same cannot be said of many of the small towns on this side of Michigan.

The big box stores most often came in and positioned themselves just outside of the towns and villages, most of the time between two or three. Once they took hold, local downtown areas withered and many gave way to the trend to turn the quaint old downtown buildings into antique stores or knick-knack boutiques. Milford was far enough away from the I-96 highway that the big box stores chose to congregate around to avoid some of that impact, but they still had and have an impact.

I think that the attractiveness of many of our restaurants also helps. When you have 2-3 destination restaurants (restaurants that people will drive for more than 5 miles to get to, because they are so good) it helps draw people to the downtown. They walk up and down the street, sometimes visiting the shops and sometimes just making note of shops that they want to come back and visit. It helps.

So this Saturday, Nov 30, after the Christmas parade at 10 AM, plan on staying in Milford for some santashopping. Many of the merchants will have special sales going for Small Business Saturday. Plan on coming back on December 5th when the local merchants will host a Christmas Open House, with strolling entertainment and refreshments provides by the stores. Bring the kids, because Santa will be here too. Get in the spirit of Christmas in small town America – It’s a wonderful life!


The ACA – Beware of false knowledge…

November 26, 2013

Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. – George Bernard Shaw.

This Shaw quote is certainly one that can easily be applied to the raging babble that is all around us about the Affordable Care Act (aka. Obamacare). There is much false knowledge about the ACA and lots of misleading statements being thrown out by politicians as sound bites for the evening news. It can seem at times that everyone has an opinion about it, but very few have any real knowledge of the act or how to implementation the requirements. What’s an individual or small business person to do?

Debbie Head ShotThat’s where companies like HD4 Revenue, Inc. come into play. HD4 has people like Debbie Stroup whom they have trained, licensed and certified as experts on the new health care law so that they can help individuals and small business owners navigate through the process of finding the best available health care insurance option to meet their needs and the requirements of the ACA. I’ve posted a flyer that Debbie uses to help explain what she does on my Move to Milford web site. To view the flyer click here. Debbie is quick to explain that she’s not there to debate the law, just to help you implement the requirements of the law. That is your first indication that you are dealing with a professional who is focused upon the task at hand and not about arguing the merits of the law.

So, how are you reacting to the requirements of the new law? If all that you’re listening to are the rants on some radio shows or just listening to the sound bites that various politicos put out on the nightly news to try to gain attention; then, you’re mainly hearing false knowledge – opinions masquerading as knowledge or worse. Most of the people making all of that noise have political agendas that are arrayed against the ACA ever being successful. They have become obsessed with stopping it; and, so another saying comes to mind –

Obsession is the single most wasteful human activity, because with an obsession you keep coming back and back and back to the same question and never get an answer. – Norman Mailer

I note almost every time that I hear one of the negative sound bites that there is seldom a viable alternative put forth, just vitriol about the law that many of the same politicians voted for when it passed. So, there it is. It’s not going to go away. It’s the law and you must do something about it by the end of the first quarter of next year.

If you have exhausted your negative energy or just want to clear away the veil of ignorance about this law and you would like to move forward with implementing the inevitable for yourself or your business; give Debbie a call at 248-227-0347 or email her at Debbie@hd4revenue.com. You’ll be glad you did and you’ll finally be talking to someone who has real knowledge about the requirements and the options that you have. No sound bites there, just knowledgeable and calm advice that you can use to move on with your life. Call Debbie today – you’ll sleep better tonight.

By the way; if you are a health care provider and need help understanding the requirements of theDonna Craig head shot new law in your practice, there’s help for you with that, too. Many health care professionals, especially those in small private or partnership practices may not yet understand what the requirements of this law are for their practice.

Donna Craig of the Health Law Center, PLC. Donna is a Registered Nurse and a Lawyer and focuses exclusively on helping healthcare professionals understand their responsibilities under the ACA and other health care laws. You can email Donna at donna@healthlawcenterplc.com or call one the offices in Oakland County at 248-858-9955 or in Livingston County at 517-552-8850. You won’t find a better source of advice and counsel about the new law and your responsibilities under it. See Donna’s profile on Linked In.

So now you know at least two people who can give you good, professional advice about the ACA and how it effects you. If you want to debate the law, go to the barber shop or coffe house; however, if you’ve finally realized that you need to implement the law for yourself or your business, call one of these ladies. You’ll be glad that you did.


Community Sharing Pet Calendar

November 23, 2013

My dogs Sadie and Skippy are in the Community Sharing Pet Calendar again this year – they are the October pets, with the picture you see below. Obviously I enjoy “voicing” them, too.

Skippy and Sadie for calendar

The idea of a pet calendar is cute and I’m happy to help out by putting my dogs into it. The really great thing about this is that all of the funds raised by selling the calendar go to support the Community Sharing Pet Pantry.  This Pet Pantry is the only one of its kind in Michigan and provides pet food for over 400 pets in the area that would otherwise have little to eat. There are lots of very good programs for providing food for needy families, but only this program (at least locally) for also providing food for the pets of those families.

The recent economic downturn was particularly hard on family pets. There were quite a few reported incidents of family moving out of foreclosed homes and leaving pets behind. As is should have been, most of the focus of news stories was about the hardships on the families and children when parents lost jobs and were forced to seek help. Very little was reported about the pets that those families had when hardship struck.

Many family pets ended up in shelters, abandoned by their owners. Both of my dogs were rescues during the Great Recession. You never get the background stories on them, so it’s hard to tell why they were given up, but both are such good dogs that it had to be painful for the families to part with them.  At least it worked out well for the dogs and we got two great furry companions out of it all.

Community Sharing logoCommunity Sharing is a local non-profit charitable organization with the mission – To provide food, clothing, educational and emergency financial assistance to those in need while respecting their dignity and fostering their independence. Community sharing has a number of programs to make sure that energy is not shut off during the winter months, that people and their pets have food, that people have clothes to wear and that they get the traiign and advice that they need to become self-sufficient. To learn more about Community Sharing and how you can help with the program overall or the Pet Pantry in particular go to http://www.community-sharing.org/1/203/index.asp

Community Sharing is a 100% volunteer organization, so all of your donations go right into the deliverables for the program and not into administration or to pay fund-raisers. The calendars can be purchased at these Milford businesses: Veterinary Care Specialists, the Digital Document Store, Main Street Art, Huron Valley State Bank, Huron Valley Furniture, and Fitz Squared. Calendars are $10 apiece and make great Christmas stocking stuffers.