Real Estate Information Archive


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Financial Stretches for Buyers

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

Many prospective Home buyers, at one time or another, fall victim to the "kid-in-a-candy-store" mentality when they find the home of their dreams is available but happens to be priced just a little outside their price range. If you find yourself in this situation, there are some things to contemplate.

Sometimes financial stretches for buyers make sense. This is especially true when you consider that each additional thousand dollars on the overall Home Price equates to a mere $100 - $200 extra on the monthly mortgage payment.  Not only that, but Buying a nicer, larger home will often save you time and money in upgrades in the following years. This means that you can spend your years living in your home instead of working on it.

For a vast majority of people, the purchase of a new home is a long-term financial investment. So if you plan to be in the home for many years to come, then stretching financially may be a great buying strategy for you. 

However, everyone's financial situation is different and sometimes financial stretches for buyers are not a good idea.  For instance, if you are not planning on being in the home for more than 5 years, then you could lose a lot of money in the up and down cycles of the housing market. Also, if you do not have much job security for one reason or another, then you may not want to stretch to a more expensive home.

Financial stretches for buyers can be a calculated risk that pays off well over time. But if you’re a buyer with financial uncertainty, then you’re probably better off not pushing yourself to your financial limit. Talking with an experienced real estate agent is your best step for working out a buying strategy that works well for you.

University of Michigan Men's Basketball

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

As the 2013-14 NCAA men's basketball season tips off, the University of Michigan Wolverines find themselves in an enviable, albeit challenging, situation.

The team is coming off a season in which they:

  • Finished the regular season with a record of 13-5
  • Split the season series with two of their biggest rivals, Ohio State and Michigan State
  • Earned their first Big Ten championship (sharing the honors with the Buckeyes and Spartans) in 27 years (1986)
  • Made program history by opening with a 21-2 record
  • Reached the NCAA tournament's prestigious Final Four (last accomplished in 1992-93)
  • Gave Louisville a run for their money in the National Championship game, losing 82-76

So expectations are pretty high for head coach John Beilein's relatively young Wolverines' 2013-14 squad. And they will have to try and meet or even exceed those expectations without the services of point guard Trey Burke and shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr., both of whom chose to seek fame and fortune on the NBA's hard court.

Look for Beilein to lean heavily on freshman point guard Derrick Walton Jr. and sophomore shooting guard, Nik Stauskas, to try and fill the Burke-Hardaway Jr. void.

Home Winterization Tips in Ann Arbor, Michigan

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

Winterizing your Home is as crucial to your comfort and peace of mind over the long, cold months of the year as is winterizing your wardrobe for the change of seasons. You most likely don't wear the same clothes over the winter as you do during the spring, summer or fall. So, it would behoove you to treat your home as a second skin, so to speak, and cover it accordingly.

There are also a variety of practical, prudent and proactive reasons why home winterization is in your best interest, not the least of which is to reduce your heating costs, as well as save yourself from preventable property damage.

Here are some simple suggestions to prepare your home for Old Man Winter:

  • Cover drafty baseboard cracks with caulk
  • Make sure doors and windows seal tightly to prevent air leakage
  • Install sweeps to exterior, basement and attic entries
  • Cover edges of windows with weather-stripping tape
  • Remove window-mounted air-conditioning units
  • Check heating system and change the filter
  • Insure water pipes are properly insulated
  • Clear gutters of clogs to prevent water damage to shingles

And finally, while the addition of insulation to your attic and the underside of your home can be an expensive project, it can also be incredibly rewarding over the winter.

Home Buying and Selling During the Holiday Season

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

It doesn't take a Black Friday horde to tell you that the holidays are a busy time for merchandisers, retailers and shoppers. However, what you might not know about this festive time of year is that potential Home buyers who are looking now are serious about purchasing your home.

This is one of the reasons why you, as the seller, should be as flexible as you can during this time when it comes to showing your home. It stands to reason that the more flexible you are for showings, including short-notice appointments, the more chances you'll have of selling your home fast.

In addition, sellers show consider how many decorations are put up for this time of year. Decorations are nice and can make the home more inviting. However, too many decorations inside or outside the home can be distracting. Certainly be willing to garnish your home in holiday cheer, but it would be wise to keep it to a minimum.

On the other side of the coin, if you are a potential buyer searching for a home over the holidays, remember that sellers may not have the ability to be as flexible during these often hectic months due to travel plans, hosting commitments, or any number of other valid reasons. In a word, don’t be discouraged if a seller cannot accommodate a home showing on a moment’s notice.

Both buyers and sellers can capitalize on the increased sense of urgency that is typically ratcheted up over the holidays. This is especially true for homebuyers since the vast majority of each group would prefer to close on a home purchase or sale prior to the close of the year.

To best facilitate these transactions in a timely fashion, buyers and sellers alike would benefit from the knowledge and experience of a real estate agent.


Tom Stachler is a licensed Broker and Builder marketing homes and properties in the Ann Arbor and surrounding area including properties, houses, and condos for sale in Saline, Dexter, Chelsea, Milan and the Ypsilanti real estate markets.  Check out the handy Links for realty related information and and MLS inventory access above.  Please keep us in mind if we can help you or an associate with their real estate pursuits in 2019!

Home Insurance

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

It is fine to buy a lottery ticket now and then. It is fine to take a chance on a football pool. One risk you don't want to take, however, is on your Home insurance. Most claims are going to be for broken windows and other minor issues. The real value of home insurance is against catastrophic loss. It loses that value if the coverage does not keep pace with the replacement cost of the home.

How can homeowners be assured that they are paying for sufficient coverage? Doesn't the policy increase automatically? The convenience of insurance payments going into escrow to be paid by the lending institution may render the level of coverage invisible to the average home owner. It is even possible for owners of newly constructed homes to be underinsured if the cost of construction has recently risen. Remember that lending institutions insist on coverage to balance their loss in case of fire, not yours. The wise homeowner makes it their business to keep track of their coverage, no matter who submits the premium.

There is a solution to the possible deficit in coverage. The type of home insurance you want to arrange is called Guaranteed Replacement Cost. This insures that in the event your home is completely destroyed, the cost of reconstruction will be covered in its entirety.

Have you considered the value of the contents of your home? A complete inventory of your possessions is an important component of the insurance process. The cost of electronics could be very significant if you have to replace everything you have amassed over time all at once. Furniture, artwork, musical instruments and jewelry all total more than you might imagine. Before you negotiate home insurance, make sure everything you own has been cataloged and documented. Take photos and file them electronically as well as the receipts to prove ownership and value in case of loss.

To make sure your home insurance coverage grows with the value of your belongings, perform an annual review. Discuss the results with your insurance agent. They will help you navigate your insurance options and even help you find lower rates when possible. Don't forget bundling discounts that save money.

Holiday Celebrations Near Ann Arbor

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

The Holiday Season is upon and there are lots of fun traditions to take in this time of year! Embrace the holiday spirit by checking out some of these festive events in and around the city of Ann Arbor:


Midnight Madness

Come join in the party on Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor! On Friday, Dec. 6th, a number of the stores along Main Street will stay open late for you to take advantage of myriad holiday sales. Also, enjoy special entertainment and hopefully run into both Santa Claus and Miss Washtenaw County, who will both roam the sidewalks between 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. For more information, visit the Main Street Area Association's website.


Chelsea Annual Light Parade

Enjoy the city of Chelsea's 9th annual Light Parade! In addition to the dozens of lighted floats and vehicles, this sparkling event features a number of marching bands and Jolly Old Saint Nicholas himself! The parade begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 7th at Chelsea State Bank’s south parking lot and winds up at the Chelsea Teddy Bear Company, where you can revel in the free community afterglow party with refreshments.

To participate, fill out this application.


Holiday Hustle 5K Run

Burn some of those holiday calories off by participating in the Holiday Hustle Run charity event at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7th, in downtown Dexter. Participants receive one raffle ticket for each canned or other non-perishable food items donated. The first 500 participants to register receive a choice of some jingling or flashing flare to wear during the run.

For more information, visit the website.


Saline Christmas Parade

The 38th Annual Saline Christmas Parade takes place on Saturday, Dec. 7th, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in downtown Saline. The parade features Santa Claus with his chief elf riding on his sleigh, Mrs. Claus, baton twirlers, a hot-air balloon, myriad floats, bands, horses, goats and donkeys.

For more information, visit the website.

Visit Santa at Briarwood Mall

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

Santa is leaving the toy-making and Christmas-list reading to the elves in order to visit with the wee little ones who come to do their 2013 holiday shopping at Briarwood Mall. Jolly Old Saint Nick made his first appearance at the mall on Friday, Nov. 8th, and will be inviting kiddies to sit on his lap through Tuesday, Dec. 24th, during the following time periods:

  • 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Monday - Saturday
  • Noon – 6:00 PM, Sunday

Briarwood Mall

Briarwood Mall is located at 100 Briarwood Circle in Ann Arbor and features a number of popular retailers, some of which include Athleta, Soma, Vera Bradley, Brighton Collectibles, Michael Kors, L’Occitane, LUSH, White house Black Market and Yankee Candle.

While you have the children at the mall, be sure to stop into Elephant Ears, a locally owned shop that specializes in children's clothing and toys located near Von Maur, so you can surreptitiously find out what they would love to discover under the tree this Christmas. In addition to making this holiday season truly memorable, take the kids skating at Briarwood Winter Wonderland.

In October, Briarwood put the finishing touches on an extensive renovation project, which included remodeling of the entrances, new seating and charging stations, new way-finding signage, and a new play area, family restroom and guest services section in the Von Maur wing.

Curb Appeal

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

One of the first things to think about when you are selling your Home is curb appeal. That is the magic that draws all eyes to your home when potential buyers are passing by. You want them to stop and take a long hard look as they slow down to pick up a flyer. Curb appeal is that critical element that brings your home to the front of the line. Here are a few tips to make sure your home invites them back:

An attractive entryway – Repainting or replacing the front door with a splash of color is like an engraved invitation that says, "Come on in." The path leading to the door and the lighting above or to the side both add attractive details that welcome visitors. Make sure the doorknob and hardware are painted or polished to complete the package.

Pristine yard – Whether your home has a carefully manicured lawn or desert landscaping, the key is a neat, trim exterior with no weeds, debris, or clutter of any kind. Nothing says "fixer–upper" like needless mess. Since many buyers enjoy creating their own gardens, many sellers find that potted plants provide a finished look to complete a positive vision without making permanent changes to the landscape.

Repair and update – Simple hardware replacements can bring a house forward in time by years. Shiny upgrades are inexpensive, attractive and send a message that the home has been well–maintained. Make sure all minor repairs are completed before you sell your home.

Add artistic flair – Fountains, bird baths and wind chimes all work to make the exterior pleasant and attractive. These are the finishing touches that make houses feel look unique and homey.

Shutters and accent trim – Shutters help control light and ventilation, as well as providing a measure of added security. They add another level of visual interest that stands apart from the rest of the neighborhood.

Gutters and downspouts – Replacing these and any fascia that are bent or peeling creates a visual frame around the front of the house that looks new.

When you think you are ready to list your home, take a few photos from different angles to help you spot details you might have missed. Be prepared to make more small changes your real estate agent may suggest to ready the home. In today's market, curb appeal is more important than ever before to help you get your asking price quickly.

Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8