Real Estate Information Archive


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Ann Arbor makes US News Best Places to Live List

by Tom Stachler from Group One Realty Team - Real Est

In a state suffering from the decline of the auto industry and the loss of manufacturing jobs, Ann Arbor remains an economic and cultural oasis. The city has grown up around the university, which moved to Ann Arbor from Detroit in 1837, shortly after Ann Arbor was founded. A focus on research, technology, arts, and tourism has spared the local economy many of the hardships felt elsewhere in Michigan.

If you live here, it helps to be a Wolverines fan. The roar from Michigan Stadium—which seats more than 100,000 and is known as the Carnegie Hall of sports—resounds through town on football Saturdays in the fall. The games always sell out, drawing fans from around the country. If sports aren't your thing, there are still plenty of other activities, many associated with the university: several museums and galleries, an arboretum, an annual arts fair, an orchestra, and local opera and ballet companies.

The university employs about 16,000 people from all over the Detroit area, plus another 12,000 at the University of Michigan Medical Center. Private-sector employers add to a vibrant white-collar economy largely based on research and technology. Automakers like General Motors and Toyota account for some research jobs; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and companies like General Dynamics and Google provide others. Longtime local companies include Domino's Pizza and Borders.

Ann Arbor has cold, snowy winters, and moisture from nearby Lake Huron and Lake Erie contributes to a high proportion of cloudy days. But summers tend to be warm and comfortable, with highs in the low 70s and nighttime temps in the 50s or 60s. And Ann Arbor—known as "Tree Town"—is one of the greenest, most densely forested residential areas in America.

If you can tolerate cold winters and can afford the slightly above average cost of living, Ann Arbor is a dynamic retirement spot with year-round enticements. Detroit's metropolitan airport is about 40 miles away, with nonstop or one-stop jet service to most big cities, so grandkids can visit—or you can easily flee to the south in the winter.

Ann Arbor Schools:

In addition to the University of Michigan, there are several smaller colleges nearby, including Cleary, Concordia, and Eastern Michigan. Big Ten rival Michigan State is about 65 miles away, in East Lansing.

Ann Arbor Health Care:

The University of Michigan Medical Center is one of the top hospitals in the country. There's also a VA hospital in Ann Arbor, and St. Joseph Mercy Hospital is just a few miles away (with some facilities in Ann Arbor itself).

Ann Arbor Jobs:

After the University of Michigan, the biggest employers are auto supplier Visteon, General Motors, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Eastern Michigan University, and Borders. Drug aker Pfizer has employed several thousand in the area but is closing its operation.

Ann Arbor Real Estate:

The median Home price in 2008 was about $206,000, higher than in many surrounding areas. But consider that a sign of a relatively healthy economy: Prices in 2008 fell by a modest 6 percent, a small decline compared with other areas. Much cheaper homes are available in surrounding communities, where builders binged during the housing boom. In 2009 and 2010 both nearby Saline and Ann Arbor realty prices have gone up an average of 3% per year.  

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Meadowbrook Acres Provides Poor Service

by Tom Stachler from Group One Realty Team - Real Est


Well, beware....I would not recommend Brian Stimach or Meadowbrook Acres Sod Farm located in Brighton, Michigan.  I tried this service last year requesting some simple services like putting in black corrugated landscape pipe in the ground with drains to extend away from the building the downspout water running off from the roof.  Simple stuff right?

Their crew was more interested in getting the job done quick instead of the right way.  Trenches were dug too shallow, no care or concern to fill in and compact the soil so it didn't settle and leave indentations a week later after the first rain fall, drains installed to high, poor seeding techniques, etc.

Worse yet, when I called the foreman Brian Stimach, he resisted fixing these issues and finally kept saying how he would have someone get in touch with me in a few days.  Never happened even after a few follow up calls.  He actually spent more time telling how busy he was, that his family was living in Florida and he had more important things on his mind with the business down there and the commute coming up on the weekend.  Guess I was suppose to be sorry to have an expectation that they cared about the quality of their work and a satisfied customer.

What happened to the success business plain of putting the customer first and quality of service??  But I have to admit, this type of approach to customer satisfaction is too common in the landscape business.  Beware of contractors who want to get a deposit for your job with promise to come back next week to get started.  While deposits are not that unusual, I would never recommend you pay one until their first day on the job.  Landscaping contractors are notorious for running around booking jobs in the spring and taking deposits so they have work to carry them through the 4 months of prime landscaping season.  Everybody wants their work done in the Spring, but guess what....that's not possible regardless of their promises, so beware.  

A good larger company to consider might be Continuum Services. Their contact number is 248-286-5200.  They do a lot of commercial work involving design, and grounds maintenance.  If you ever have any problems with them, let me know as I know person in charge and unlike MeadowBrooke and their foreman mentioned above, he IS concerned about customer service and satisfaction.  He even volunteered to ask MeadowBrook Sod to go back out to fix my problem as he subcontracts some work out to them and other smaller or specialty firms.  Of course, having grown tired of making numerous phone calls and receiving false promises, we decided it was easy to get someone else to correct the previous inferior work.

Take care and good luck.  Remember you can get the latest new MLS property listings by clicking on this link.

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