The 4th of July, 2021, is tomorrow as I write this and I am doing the final preparations for the parade that we will have again in Milford this year. Like almost everything else last year, we did not have a parade because of the pandemic. We almost didn’t have the parade again this year, because of continued COVID restrictions on gathering. Those restriction were lifted last month, but not before they had their impact upon this year’s parade, which will be smaller. People had already made alternate plans by the tie we were able to decide to go ahead with the parade.
I cannot place all of the blame for a smaller parade at COVID’s doorstep. The 4th of July parade, like most parades has been shrinking in size for years. Where once we would have 60-70 groups marching in the parade (especially in election years) we are now lucky to have 40+ groups. I think the reason is that as a country we have become more “Me” oriented and less “We” oriented. People don’t seem to have a strong sense of celebrating the “We” of America when they think of the 4th of July. Instead, they think of the “Me” things that they can do with that little time off.
This is a country birthed with a document that begins “We, to people…”, but is has evolved and changed into a country where the individual freedoms that came with that birth seems more important that the collective good of all of the people, and the celebration of that collective good on the 4th of July has been pushed into the background.
Pastor Freed, in his blog Jack’s Winning Words, recently used this quote from Abraham Lincoln, who in the midst of the turmoil of his Presidency, said – “My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.” I believe that, for most who live elsewhere, America is still a beacon of hope and opportunity. That is certainly true of the people making the dangerous and desperate journey to our borders. We don’t see people lining up at the border to get into Russia or China.
So on this 4th of July, take a moment away from your “Me” thinking and consider all of the “We” things that we have to be thankful for – our freedoms, our blessings, our country. And maybe, resolve to become a part of the celebration of the “We” in our country and sign up to be in next year’s 4th of July parade.
The Governor of Michigan has modified her Executive order to allow for the resumption of real estate sales activities, with necessary precautions. The COVID-19 pandemic is anything but over in Michigan and elsewhere across the country; however, economic and political pressures have reached the breaking point and states across America are “re-opening”.
What does that mean for home sellers or potential homebuyers?
First, it means that the risk of catching the Corona Virus and getting very sick is still very real. Let’s not discount that. It appears to be a risk that many are willing to take in order to get back to work; but are the home buyers and sellers willing to take the same risk? Apparently, so.
Given the fact that your home purchase (or sale) is likely the biggest financial transaction that you will ever make, let’s look at what is being done to make this transaction as safe as possible during this pandemic.
First off, the real estate brokerages, multi-list services, title companies and others involved in the sale are creating and agreeing upon a set of health safety guidelines for doing in-person visits to homes that are for sale. They have used guidance from the CDC, Federal and State health officials to create a set of recommended protocols for listings and showings. These protocols have the expected requirements for visitors to use PPE when doing in-person visits and for sellers to take the necessary steps to clean and sanitize the property before and after each visit.
Actually, the first thing they did was to have their lawyers draw up release of liability forms – one that sellers must sign in order to list a property and one for buyers to sign before going on an in-person visit. This is acknowledgement that the Realtors involved don’t (and can’t) know if the sellers have sick members in the home or if the buyers may be sick without knowing it. So, these are “buyers and sellers beware” forms that hold the broker and agents harmless is someone (on either side) contracts the virus due to a visit.
The PPE requirements for buyers/visitors include wearing a mask and gloves during the visit (with shoe covering also recommended), not touching anything during the visit and using hand sanitizer after the visit. Visits are also limited to 4 people max, so bringing Mom and Dad and Uncle Joe is discouraged. It is probably best to leave any children at home, too. Many Realtors will have PPE available for visitors, if they don’t have their own by now.
Recommendations for the sellers include having all lights on and all interior doors already open and re-sanitizing after each visit, just in case anything was touched. Realtors and visitors are admonished not to turn lights off, so they don’t have to touch the switches. Sellers are advised to take their homes off the market or stop showing it, if anyone in the household is sick with the virus. With increased testing and tracking, that may include people who have been in contact with someone who is confirmed to have the virus.
The ancillary functions and services like home inspections, appraiser visits, movers and the like are allowed; however if alternatives like drive-by appraisal are available, that is recommended. Services like picture taking for listing pictures will also be allowed, but under the same PPE guidelines as for any visit.
Given all of this, the questions remain, is it a good time to sell or buy a house.
From the seller’s perspective, even though there is extra work involved in getting the home ready and keeping it safe for visits, it is still a good time as far as the selling price is concerned. The inventory of homes on the market is still low. Prices have not dropped like they did in the 2007/08 Great Recession and mortgage rates remain at a historic low. On the downside, the time to get to a closing has stretched out a bit and mortgage underwriters have tightened up requirements and lowered appraisal values (especially if they could not do an in-person appraisal visit). The pool of potential buyers has also shrunk, due to people being laid off from work. Still, ,it’s not a bad time to be a seller, one just has to be more patient and work a little more at it.
The buyer side of the equation has been impacted quite a bit more, with a significant number of people who might have been buyers now sidelined by layoffs or outright loss of jobs. For some, the prolonged loss of income has also decimated the down payment savings of many, pushing their plans to buy further out into the future. For others, who perhaps were able to continue to work from home and not dip into their savings, this isn’t a bad time to buy, just a strange one. Everything that you need to do to buy a home is do-able; you just need to proceed with caution.
Buyers should try to minimize their exposure to in-person visits by doing most of your shopping on line. Take the time to look through the pictures and virtual tours that are available on-line to eliminate homes that you can see have obvious things that you don’t like. It used to be just a big waste of everyone’s time to make lots of visits to homes that you really hadn’t evaluated with the data and pictures that were available to you on line. Now it is also dangerous, as well as a waste of everyone’s time. This is not “tire kicking” time. There will also be no open houses allowed during this pandemic.
For many Realtors this is a tough time. It is not possible to just throw a switch and turn on a business like real estate sales. Those who had clients at the beginning of this probably still have them, although some may have wandered away and decided to wait a while longer to sell or buy. All agents will be advertising that they are using safe practices with sellers and buyers and all will be trying to do that; however, this is called the invisible enemy for a reason – you can’t see it coming. Buyers, sellers and agents are advised to consider anyone that they come in contact with, or who visits a home, as a COVID-19 carrier and take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your family.
Welcome to the “new normal”. Want to buy or sell a house? Message me and let’s talk.
To paraphrase a common old doctors’ saying – “Talk to two friends and call me in the morning.”
Why does it help? Perhaps because we are all social animals and being able to share our miseries with someone who can commiserate with us has a “Placebo effect”. Maybe there is something to the old “healing touch” beliefs that the laying on of hands can help. Some believe in being able to transfer “energy” between people. Whatever you believe, there is certainly something good and helpful about having someone else to share your pain or discomfort with; If nothing else, they may allow you to take your mind off your suffering for a while. Be the aspirin.
I’m sure that scientists could find something to attribute this effect too; perhaps the release of endorphins of some sort. You really don’t need a scientific explanation of why a visit to a sick friend can help them feel better…just do it. It’s a whole lot more helpful than just sending them a Get Well card. Be the aspirin.
I suspect that, if you thought about it for a moment, you have friends who could use a visit. Perhaps they aren’t “sick” in the sense of having a disease. Maybe they are just lonely, because they lost a loved one. Maybe they are a shut-in, unable to drive or visit with anyone anymore. Perhaps they are in recovery from some incident that caused injury. Maybe they are suffering from depression over a lost job or the end of a relationship. Whatever the reason for their current state of health or mind, they could use a visit right now and you can be their aspirin. Be the aspirin.
In most cases, you really don’t have to “do” anything other than be there to listen and offer encouragement. You roil is to assure them that they are not alone, that someone else cares about them. Now, in our current state of concern about the Corona virus, it may not make sense to endanger yourself by making a personal visit to someone who is infected and in quarantine; however, you can’t catch the disease over the phone and a phone call is a lot more helpful that just sending a card. See if they are able to take your call. Be the aspirin.
Just like in life there are many brands of aspirin, there are many ways to help and show support for those in need of some help – taking food over to their house, offering to drive their children to things, offering to do their food shopping or to do their laundry. Sometimes all you can do is go sit by a bedside and listen, but that is enough to make a difference. Be the aspirin.
An interesting side-benefit of all this is something that the real aspirin never gets to experience – it will make you feel better, too. Doing something for others, serving others, helping others is an aspirin for your soul. It will help remove aches and pains that you may not have realized were there – those prickly little feelings that keep saying to you, “I know I should be doing something to help.” Now, you are doing something. Be the aspirin.
From the Jack’s Winning Words blog today comes this – “A love for tradition has never weakened a nation; indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril.” (Churchill)
Jack went on to write – There are 10 National Holidays, but 4 stand out in my mind as days that especially define America: Independence Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving Day, Memorial Day. The others are significant, too, but think today about these 4, particularly the 4th of July, a day to celebrate the history of a great nation, not perfect, but in the process. 😉 Jack
Parades are a way to pause and celebrate holidays in your hometown and in our nation. I organize the 4th of July Parade in my home town of Milford, Michigan. I march, as a veteran, in the Memorial Day parade and I work as a volunteer in the Christmas Parade, which always takes place Thanksgiving weekend. We don’t have a parade for Veteran’s Day. We also have parades for the start of Little League Baseball, and the local high school homecoming. Obviously, we love traditions in Milford.
The parades that we have in Milford mean that Main Street is shut down for s few hours and a crowd gathers to watch. The biggest parade, by far is our Memorial Day parade, which draws a crowd of several thousand to watch and which has almost 1,000 vets marching. The Christmas Parade features the arrival of Santa Claus to Milford for the Christmas Season. The Independence Day parade usually draws a big crowd to watch, too.
Sadly, the Independence Day Parade on the 4th of July has been declining in both attendance and participation for the last few years. What used to be a parade with 70-80 participating groups is now down to about 50 groups marching or riding in the parade. The viewing audience is also down a bit. It seems that the same reasons that are causing the decline in church attendance effects the parade on the 4th – people are just too busy with other things to do.
Of course, the summer months are vacation months, so many families are traveling while school is out. Still, the fact that fewer local businesses and groups participate is troubling. We used to have 6-7 Boy and Girl Scout troops and Brownies and Cub Packs, but now only get 1-2. We had participation by many of the local churches, but now again only get 1 or 2. Many of the local service organizations used to march, now we are lucky if any participate. The excuses are always the same – “We couldn’t get enough people to be in the parade.”
What we are really saying is that we are too busy, too distracted or overwhelmed by life to pause and take a moment to just enjoy a shared celebration of thankfulness for things like the birth of our nation or those who served our country. We have become so wrapped up in ME that we don’t have time to celebrate the things that make us WE. I am not sure whether this is an indicator of, or a cause of, the state of unrest, distrust and hatefulness across the nation that seems to be reflected in nightly news stories.
Still, there is hope. We are carrying on the traditions, like the Independence Day parade, in the hope that providing events that allows us to celebrate the great WE events of the past will once again remind us that we have more in common than the differences that want to drive us apart. We stop to celebrate the events that were put in motion by those seeking the freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That is still a work in process, as Jack said; but it is worth pausing and having a parade.
Maybe I’ll see you at the Milford Independence Day parade. The parade starts at 11 PM. I’ll be announcing the participants as they march by. Pause for a moment and celebrate WE.
“Helping one person might not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person.” (Quoted by Brittany Trout)
During the holiday season many people become a little more generous and drop money into a red Salvation Army kettle or perhaps donate to some other worthy cause. It makes them feel good about themselves and they know that it will help someone, somewhere.
The truth is that there is need all the time all around us and we have opportunities every day to help someone and perhaps change their world. Perhaps it is cynicism or fear that prevents us from stopping to help the homeless man on the street corner begging for enough to but a meal or maybe to provide one for his family. Maybe we feel that we are too busy doing things that are “important” to us to bother with stopping to talk to the lonely elderly women that we sitting in the retirement home window. We don’t have time to be bothered trying to discuss their issues with the distraught and depressed neighbor that we wave to in the yard. Yet, each of those encounters represent an opportunity for us to change the world for that person.
Sometimes it takes money to help; but, many times it just takes your presence and your time to make a difference in that other person’s life. Maybe you can’t afford to buy a house for someone, but you could afford the time to work on a house for someone on a Habitat for Humanity project. Maybe you can’t take in the homeless man on the corner, but you could volunteer with the group Home for the Homeless to find him a place to stay. Or, perhaps you could volunteer to spend time at a local retirement home reading to the residents or just visiting with them.
If we have nothing else to give, we have our time. How we use that time to the benefit of others can change the world one person at a time. We see stories on the nightly news every so often about the ex-soldier with PTSD or the ex-addict or the ex-homeless person who was helped by someone and who now runs a shelter or charity organization that is helping others. That person’s life was changed by an act of kindness by someone else and it changed their world from one of hopelessness and despair into a world of fulfilling accomplishment and self-worth through service to others. Now they are changing the world, one more person at a time.
Try it. Stop and help someone today. You might like it. YOU can change the world for someone today!
Today is day two of the Milford Home Tour, with homes open from 11 Am until 5 PM. There are 6 really nice homes to visit, as well as the Milford Historical Museum and the Log Cabin next to the fire station.
Tickets may be purchased at the Museum at 1124 E. Commerce Rd or at any of the houses on the tour.
The annual Milford Car Show is going on in downtown Milford today, too. Over 350 cars of every type and description will be on display from 9 AM until about 3:30 PM this afternoon. This is a free event.
Finally, there is also a vintage tractor show going on out at the Huron Valley State Bank parking lot at the corner of S. Milford Rd and GM Rd.
This is a free event.
Finally, don’t forget to stop by the Rivers Edge Brewery this weekend or anytime this month to buy a “feel good tap” beer and support the Milford Historical Society.
The Rivers Edge Brewery donates $1 from each beer purchase of the featured “feel good tap”beer to a non-profit in the area and this month that is the Milford Historical Society.
The much anticipated and always fun Granny’s Attic Sale is this weekend in Milford, Michigan at the Milford Historical Museum. This annual sale date at the Historical Museum is now used by local merchants to host the annual Milford sidewalk sale. I’m not sure which sale came first, but both have been going on for along time.
Granny’s Attic is much more than just a rummage sale. One of our members does estate sales during the year and almost always returns with things that didn’t sell then but which give the Granny’s Attic sale a unique flavor and content. There’s furniture and unique items, as well as the expected glass and china items. You’ll find things in this sale that you’d normally only see in antique stores. The sale runs Friday and Saturday fro 9 AM until 4 PM both days.
I’ve posted a few pictures of some of the items that will be available at the Milford Historical Society web site. Get there early for \the best selection. Avid antique hunters always come to this sale.
I started thinking this morning that Martin Luther King Day for me and others that lived through the events that are being honored today somehow has more meaning than it does for those who have just read about it or watched old new footage of the events leading up to his death. Thus who were alive in those days remember the context of the events that we now memorialize. We remember the nightly news casts showing black protest marchers being attacked by police dogs and being dragged away by police officers. We remember the speeches and the great gathering on the Washington Mall. The memory of Martin Luther King being shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, also provokes memories of where we were and what we were doing five years earlier on the day that President Kennedy was shot, Friday, November 22, 1963, at 12:30 p.m. in Dallas, Texas. It also will be forever linked in our minds to the fatal shooting of Bobby Kennedy just two months later. Those were tumultuous times.
I’m not trying to say that those who weren’t there can’t have an appreciation of the events, the people involved and the consequences that followed; just that they will forever see it from a different perspective from those who lived through those times. It is less abstract and more personally meaningful, if one can recall how it affected us at the time.
History is also full of great breakthroughs and inventions that can leave one wondering how we ever got by before those things were available to us. Some diseases that were a fact of life back then are almost unheard of today and medical science has advanced so much that survival of what were life ending events is now possible. Even as we take these things for granted today, it is possible to look back and wonder about “the good old days.” How did we make it through those days?
Our nest big parade of the year in Milford is the Memorial Day parade in May. I have watched from my spot in the Viet Nam Veterans group of marchers as the ranks of WWII and the Korean War thinned over time. I have few, if any, personal memories of those days, although I was born during WWII. I do recall Harry Thurman and Dwight Eisenhower as the first two Presidents, of whom I was aware. I remember the glow of the short-lived Camelot Presidency of Kennedy and the turmoil of the Viet Nam War years. Those years provided the backdrop for the emergence of the civil rights movement and the leadership role that Dr. King played in that movement. They led up to my own time serving in Viet Nam at the turn of that decade.
So, Martin Luther King Day for me brings back a torrent of memories and images and emotions from my past. The day does not pass quietly by, unnoticed. It is not something abstract to me; it is something that I lived through and that has more meaning. I will go to the MLK Day parade in Milford later today. It will be cold, as it always is this time of year. As I march, I will be reliving the memories of not just a day; but, of an era in our history at once brilliant in the ideals that it sparked and sad in the aftermath of the attempts to douse those hopes and dreams. Yes MLK’s dream is alive, but so too are the dreams of JFK and RFK and the many others of that era who envisioned a brighter future in America for all of its citizens.
Today’s post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog is a great reminder that we need to pause and give thanks for all that we have, rather than getting ready to bolt out the door on Friday morning in search of more stuff.
“Lord, as we bow our heads to pray,
We celebrate Thanksgiving Day.
Help us have the right attitude,
As we turn to you in gratitude.
Thank you for our festive mood;
Thank you, Lord, for this good food;
Thanks for blessings great and small;
Thank you, thank you for it all.” Amen
(Thanksgiving Table Prayer by Joanna Fuchs)
Black Friday is named for the fact that the money made on that one day is what puts many retailers in the black for the year; however, it might as well be named for one of the darkest aspects of human nature – greed. The need for more, more, more drives people as much as the savings that they think they are getting on that day. Thanksgiving is just another example of the perversion days that are supposed to be set aside for thoughtful reflection and gratitude for the things that God has given us. The requirements of children’s sports have already taken away most Sundays and turned Sunday mornings from family time at church to travel time to games.
It’s common for people to ask, “What are you doing for Thanksgiving?” My response will be what I’m not doing for Thanksgiving. I’m not going Black Friday shopping. If anything, I will shop in Milford, where the local merchants have decided to turn it into Give Back Friday and will be donating a portion of all sales to local charitable causes. That’s one thing that I’ll remember to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day. Maybe I’ll see you there.
I’m holding 730 Milford Glen open this Sunday, Oct 22, from 1 – 4 PM.
Come out and see this wonderful 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath Cape Cod in the heart of the Village of Milford. This home features a very hard to find (in the Village) first floor master suite, with huge walk-in closet and a master bath that has separate shower and jetted tub, plus dual vanity sinks. The open floor plan entry level has a great room with gas fireplace and an office/den, in addition to the kitchen, a powder room and the laundry.
It’s an easy walk to the shops and restaurants of Milford from this little development and there is no thru-traffic in the development.
I’ll have a dish of fresh cookies for your, so come on out and see the house and have a cookie.