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Ann Arbor Real Estate and Area Info Blog

Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team


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How To Care for our Pond in the Winter

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team

Do you have a Pond?  

How do fish survive the winter months?

Have you ever wondered how fish survive in cold winter weather, or where they go when lakes and ponds freeze over? It’s the unique physics of water that makes it possible.

In summer, the water in a lake is typically separated into two distinct zones. Near the surface, it’s relatively warm and oxygenated; but in deeper areas, the water is colder and with less available oxygen.

Because of the differing densities of water at different temperatures, these two zones don’t mix much while the weather stays warm. But as winter approaches, the surface water cools along with the air. Eventually, the cooling water from the surface sinks and the lake’s layers begin to mix freely, a process known as “turning over.”

Almost every other liquid becomes denser as it cools, and is densest of all when it freezes solid. Water, however, is actually densest at 39 degrees F several degrees above its freezing point. This is why ice floats, and why lakes freeze from the surface down rather than from the bottom up. The water under the ice, freshly re-oxygenated from the fall turnover, remains at 39 degrees all winter long, allowing fish and other aquatic life to survive until the spring thaw.

Iced-in fish don’t hibernate, but they do slow way down. Fish are ecotherms. Unlike us warm-blooded creatures, their body temperature changes depending on their environment. Reducing their temperature and activity level means they don’t need as much food or oxygen.

While they wait out the winter, most fish seek out pockets of relatively warm, still water, often near the bottom of the water body they’re in. Trout and salmon prefer cold water and are more active than other fish in the winter, staying closer to the surface.

Fish can’t go entirely without oxygen, though. They still need to move water across their gills in order to stay alive. Despite the fresh influx of oxygen into the water during the fall turnover, this is still the most important limiting factor for fish in the winter. Adding a De-icer or Diffused Bottom Aeration in a pond will help alleviate stress in fish and prevent high kill rates by allowing for open areas where oxygen can enter the water and degassing can occur.

During the coldest months of the year, the photosynthesis of aquatic plants slows down, because the days are shorter and layers of snow on top of ice limit their access to sunlight. At the same time, that surface layer of ice prevents oxygen from the air from mixing into the water. The lack of oxygen can become especially severe at the bottom of a pond or lake, where microbes use up oxygen as they work on decomposing the year’s debris.  I dug a 1.25 acre pond several years ago and use bottom aeration which helps the fish out year round.  

The longer a winter lasts and the shallower a body of water is, the more likely it is that the fish in it will start to die off from a lack of oxygen. Different types of fish have different abilities to tolerate these low-oxygen conditions.

What about the rest of the life in our ponds and streams? Many amphibians burrow into the sediment at the bottom and hibernate. Microscopic life like plankton also often goes into a state of suspended animation until spring arrives.

Next time you look at a frozen river or lake, just remember: It isn’t as dead and still as it appears. Even in the coldest months of winter, our bodies of water are still teeming with life!


Tom Stachler is a licensed real estate broker service the Ann Arbor and surrounding real estate markets of Saline, Dexter, Ypsilanti, Milan and Chelsea Michigan.  Please contact us should you be in need or realty services or looking to sell or purchase residential, commercial or income property.  



by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team


COMING SOON: This Home has hardwood flooring throughout with a walk out basement, and a duck pond.  Great for buyer looking to raise/keep livestock.  Larger out building is only 1 year old.  Watch Video below.  See photos here. 


  • POND

Hurry, this one will go fast.  Updated photos and Video coming soon, so stop back often.


Tom Stachler is a licensed real estate broker selling homes in the Ann Arbor and surrounding areas.  Call us today for more information at 734-996-0000 This home has acreage and would be great for livestock, horses, cows, chickens and more along with the ducks sitting on the pond.  


Decisions You’ll Have to Make When Buying Your First Investment Property

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team

Tom has been an income property manager and marketing specialist for nearly 30 years.  We have spread sheets and other helpful tools for our client buyers or sellers.  Contact us today for more information if you are looking to invest. 

3 Decisions You’ll Have to Make When Buying Your First Investment Property

Whether you’re angling for financial independence or looking to supplement your family’s income, buying a rental property is a smart investment. Not only do real estate investments create passive income, but they also generate long-term appreciation. But before you start shopping for your first investment property, there are a few key questions you need to answer.

Will you buy a short-term or long-term rental?

An increasing number of real estate investors are opting for vacation Rentals rather than traditional long-term rental properties. Should you?


It’s true that vacation rentals have higher profit margins than traditional rentals. However, they’re also more work to manage due to frequent tenant turnover.


Vacation rentals aren’t suitable everywhere, either. Unless your area attracts enough tourism to keep vacancy rates down, a long-term rental is likely a safer bet. Many places also have restrictive rules on short-term rentals, with some cities banning rentals under 30 days entirely.


If you are buying in an area with year-round tourism and laws friendly to vacation rentals, buying a vacation rental could deliver a much greater return on investment than a traditional rental. However, you’ll need to factor taxes, property management fees, and other expenses into the ROI calculations.

How will you manage the property?

Speaking of property management fees: While some investors opt to self-manage their property, most serious investors prefer outsourcing to property management agencies. That’s because managing rental properties can be a full-time job in and of itself, but if you’re a first-time investor, you likely have other responsibilities competing for your time.


Trying to juggle it all yourself is a recipe for lackluster marketing, lapsed maintenance, and disgruntled tenants. While you might not feel the effects immediately, over time this has a big impact on your property’s profitability. A professional property manager is better equipped to keep your property in good condition and your guests or tenants happy. Unless you like the idea of fielding late-night emergency calls, look for an agency that offers a 24/7 support line to both you and your tenants or guests.


Be prepared to part with some of your rental revenue in exchange for top-tier property management. However, a good property manager saves money in other ways. Not only do they successfully market your property and ensure regular use, professional property managers also give you reduced rates for maintenance and repairs, either through in-house staff or volume discounts with outside contractors. Plus, with all the time you’ll save, you can find your next rental property and grow your income even further.

How will you pay for it?

For most first-time investors, the most confusing question isn’t how to manage the property; it’s how to pay for it. Lending requirements are stricter for investment properties than owner-occupied ones, with most lenders requiring higher credit scores and debt-to-income ratios for investment purchases.


The good news is you can use projected rental income to qualify for an investment property mortgage. However, you’ll need to complete a rental appraisal, known as a Comparable Rent Schedule, and only 75% of the projected income will be factored into your DTI ratio.


Investment properties also require larger down payments — usually at least 20%. It’s possible to borrow money for the down payment, although any new debts will be factored into the DTI ratio. Borrowing against a primary residence’s equity, either through a Home equity loan or home equity line of credit, is a popular way to fund the down payment. 401(k) loans and Roth IRA withdrawals may also be used for a down payment, but investors should discuss these options with their financial planner or accountant before making a decision.


With low risk and high-profit potential, rental properties are an easy entrance into real estate investing. However, buying an investment property isn’t the same as buying a home of your own. Instead of shopping according to what you like, you need to buy based on what sells. If you want guidance in choosing the right rental property for your portfolio, reach out to a real estate team that knows the local area by heart.

Tom Stachler is a licensed Broker and Builder, a member of the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and CPIX Commercial Board of Brokers and has been assisting families buy and sell real estate in the Ann Arbor, Saline, Dexter and surrounding communities for over 30 years.  Contact us or use the helpful Links on this website for realty related resources and new property listings for sale and Lease, homes, condos, income property and commercial real estate are all covered by our office.  

20 Reasons I Like my RV Better than Staying in a Hotel

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team

I recently began traveling in a RV which I have found is more convenient and enjoyable that countless hotels if you truly want to travel.  I am enjoying the ability to easily slip away for a Michigan Summer getaway to sites I didn’t even know existed.  Or perhaps follow the warmer weather down south in the Fall and Winter months.

After just a brief period of usage, I have found a number of reasons why this form of travel is more relaxing, convenient and comfortable. The particular brand is a 25' Leisure Travel Van FX (photos below).  I find it easier to drive, insure and fuel than the larger class A coaches, and it can be setup or moved by pushing 3 buttons and you are done and on the road in 5 minutes.  Fuel economy is 16-18 miles per gal of diesel.  With this size, the number of places available to stay are expanded as well since many resorts/campgrounds etc and most of the National Parks have a 25' or less length restriction too.  With the solar panels, generator, holding tanks and lithium batteries, the unit can be self sufficient for a comfortable period as well to park to "boondock" on free government land.  Also, while in route to a more scenic destination I can pull off anywhere (golf courses to Wal-Mart parking lots) to grab some sleep and overnight parking before hitting the road again, refreshed in the morning.  


  1. I do not have to pack or unpack at each stop
  2. I know where to find my stuff without sifting through a suitcase or dirty hotel dresser drawer
  3. I know who slept in my bed the night before
  4. I can step out the door of my RV into the outdoors, unlike a hotel where I have to go out the hotel room door, down the hall, wait for the elevator, go down the elevator and out the door into the asphalt or concrete jungle.
  5. I do not have to spray or worry about bed bugs
  6. Or cockroaches and rodents crawling or hiding about
  7. I have my own bathroom and not a public one and can find the TP in the middle of the night without turning on a light
  8. I can take my dog with us without worry that he will be accepted
  9. I sleep better without being woke up in the later hours with a neighbor in the room next door or above who is too loud, banging the wall or stomping their feet above my ceiling.
  10. If I have not reached our destination yet, I can just boondock someplace and catch some shut eye before hitting the road again in the morning for no charge
  11. I never return from a day of exploring only to find room service hasn’t made up my room yet
  12. I do not have to go further than my stocked RV refrigerator to find fresh produce and beverages
  13. I can have more than a duvet and sheet on my bed.  Do you ever wonder how much goes on top of the bedspread before it gets washed.  (not cleaned very often)
  14. Can walk on a cleaner RV floor, its my dirt/germs inside the RV, not somebody else’s
  15. You can always open the windows in my RV to enjoy some fresh air (a views)
  16. The Pillow is just right !
  17. I do not have to worry about how much to tip the housekeeper
  18. Breakfast doesn’t cost $20 per person and I can enjoy it however I chose to dress
  19. I can have my morning cup of tea or coffee just how I like it, or change the view if I don't like it.
  20. I do not have to Rent a car

Can you think of other benefits?  Please Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy Trails Everyone!

Image may contain: sky, outdoor and nature

Leisure Travel Van FX

Image may contain: sky, tree, outdoor and nature

Do you prefer this view?  


Or this one?  


Tom Stachler is a licensed Broker and Builder assisting families buy and sell real estate in the Ann Arbor, Saline, Dexter and surrounding communities.  Contact us or use the helpful Links on this website for realty related resources and new property listings for sale and Lease, homes, condos, income property and commercial real estate are all covered by our office.  

Michigan Bicycle and other Trails

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team

Michigan's Iron Belle Trail: Two routes, one great trail

Iron Belle Trail video play button

Michigan offers a lot of recreational opportunities.  Check out this one, The Iron Belle Trail – Michigan’s showcase trail – passes through hundreds of municipalities and crosses through 48 counties.

Using existing trails, existing networks and new connections, the trail extends more than 2,000 miles from the far western tip of the Upper Peninsula to Belle Isle in Detroit, with a route for bicycling and a route for hiking. The trail is now more than 70 percent connected.

View the new video featuring the Iron Belle Trail.

Tom Stachler is a licensed Broker and Builder assisting families buy and sell real estate in the Ann Arbor, Saline, Dexter and surrounding communities.  Contact us or use the helpful Links on this website for realty related resources and new property listings for sale and Lease, homes, condos, income property and commercial real estate are all covered by our office.  

Senior Care Options and Resources

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team

Check out the Links below

Some directories of facilities and resources from independent care to assisted and memory assistance.  


Tom Stachler is a licensed realtor, broker and builder providing real estate related services for over 30 years.  Contact us today for information on your condo or Home price, senior care resources and facilities in michigan.  

September Real Estate Market Update

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team
Ann Arbor Housing Report

Through August, year-to-date single-family sales are down 3% from last year and average price is up 3% yet value changes vary dramatically by area and price range. The Housing Report linked below breaks each market area down into four price ranges, making the numbers more relevant for individual buyers and sellers.

Be sure to read this month’s article which discusses the timing and extent of any upcoming market adjustments. This information will help us assure our clients why no bursting bubbles are in sight. 


Click here to download the full report

Washtenaw County Housing Report September 2019


Tom Stachler is a licensed real estate broker in the Ann Arbor, Saline, Ypsilanti and Dexter and surrounding markets.  Contact us today for Home and condo properties for sale and ask about our realtor buyer agent services.  

What are You Doing to Reduce Emissions?

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team

Are we on our way to further extinctions?

I applaud the Youth in this country taking up this cause and pressuring us voters to select candidates that will take the problem seriously and move this issue forward.  

What do you think about the problems this video is calling out?  Feel free to respond to this post.  

Get Your Market Update on Washtenaw County Here

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team

Watch an update of the 2019 Michigan housing market in Washtenaw County by Real Estate One Family of Companies’ President of Brokerage Services, Dan Elsea. He recaps the market and gives thoughts on the next quarter and upcoming year for the real estate market in Ann Arbor, Dexter, Ypsilanti and all of Washtenaw County. 


Tom Stachler is a licensed Broker and Builder marketing homes and Rentals in the Ann Arbor Michigan area.  Also search for properties, houses, and condos for sale in Saline, Dexter, Chelsea, Milan and the Ypsilanti real estate markets.  Check out the handy Links for Home related information and and MLS inventory access above. 

September Things To Do

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team

September in Washtenaw County is buzzing with fun things to do with friends and family. The weather is cooling, but we still have some sunshine to enjoy. It's a big month with the football season starting and many other cultures and causes to celebrate.


Harvest Festival | Ann Arbor

September 16, 2 – 5 p.m. | Sutherland-Wilson Farm  

The 10th Annual Harvest Festival at Sutherland-Wilson Farm is welcoming the fall harvest season with a musical performances, face painting, carriage photos, lawn games, a pumpkin patch, house tours and self-guided building tours, a petting farm, and so much more. 

University of Michigan Football | Ann Arbor

September 1 – December 1 | Various locations

University of Michigan football returns on the first day of September! Their first game of the season is at Notre Dame, the first Home game is on September 8th, 15th and 22nd. For the full schedule, check out our PDF calendar click here

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RunTough for ChadTough | Saline

September 29, 8:30 – 11 a.m. | Saline High School  

Benefitting The ChadTough Foundation, a local nonprofit in Saline, this running event is celebrating its fifth year with a family-friendly 5K and a one-mile fun run. 

Orphan Car Show | Ypsilanti 

September 15 | Riverside Park 

The term “orphan car” describes a vehicle built by a manufacturer that has discontinued business entirely, and because Ypsi has such an important history in cars and orphan cars, it’s the perfect place for this unique car event. The 2019 show celebrates the 21st year of the Orphan Car Show! Spectator admission is $7 for adults and children under 12 are admitted for free.

Old West Side Homes Tour | Ann Arbor  

September 22, 12 – 5 p.m. | Community of Christ Church 

The 46th Annual Old West Side Homes Tour celebrates Ann Arbor’s historic Old West Side whose architecture, streetscape, history and environment are especially characteristic of 19th-century, midwestern America.

Heritage Market | Milan 

September 29, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Hack House 

The Heritage Market brings local vendors, creative makers and community members to shop and support local in the historic Hack House.  

 Oktoberfest | Saline 

September 20 – 21 | Downtown Saline 

This fall celebration brings celebrates Germany in a classic event. Oktoberfest features traditional and modern music, a festive biergarten, a corn hole tournament, wiener dog races and so much more over the course of two full days. Yes it’s called Oktoberfest but is held in September .




Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 465