Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

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. 

Changes coming to HUD and Good Faith Estimates

by Group One Realty Team - Real Estate One

There is a new Good Faith Estimate and HUD coming January 1st.  The same Good Faith Estimate (GFE) will be used by all companies.  The government stepped in and "helped" with the Good Faith...and made it 3 pages long. 


Something that will help buyers is whatever is disclosed on the GFE, is what has to be on the HUD.  Some costs will have a 10% tolerance, but most will not.  One item that we still are a little unclear on how buyers can receive a GFE before a Home is found.  The reason this may be a problem is what is disclosed, must be charged.  The buyers sale price obviously may change from their pre approval, and if their costs go up (for example...title insurance) because their sale price increases, the mortgage company must eat that cost.  Not being able to give a buyer a GFE at the pre approval stage concerns loan officers presently.  I'm sure they want buyers to feel comfortable about the purchase and be able to confidently make offers.  One idea is to put together a Homeowners Worksheet that will be given at the pre approval stage rather than a GFE.  This will help buyers know what their costs are and what you need to ask for in concessions.  The GFE, of course, will be given at the time of the application.  You could ask for an unsigned GFE I suppose too?


Another step that is being required is for the mortgage company to send the GFE to the title company at the time of closing.  The title company will be required to compare the GFE to the HUD and make sure it is in compliance and exactly the same.  Mortgage companies and title companies will be working closely together on this part. 


There have been a lot of changes throughout this past year.  Most recently, new disclosures laws (MDIA), HVCC and Short Sale changes.  I will continue to keep you updated throughout the rest of this year and next.  Some upcoming changes will be the finalization of the condo underwriting changes, FHA appraisals being good for 4 months rather than 6 months (est. to be January 2010) and some more changes for sure.  Lets hope for a strong year next year for all of us!  For listing information please click here.  Have a great holiday!


HR 3221, the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008

by Group One Realty Team - Real Estate One

(as of 7/24/08)


H.R. 3221, the “Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008,” passed the house on July 23rd by a vote of 272-152.  The Senate must now approve the language adopted by the House.  The Senate is expected to approve the bill on Friday, July 25th or Saturday, July 26th.   The President has said he will sign the bill.  It includes:


·         GSE Reform – including a strong independent regulator, and permanent conforming loan limits up to the greater of $417,000 or 115% local area median Home price, capped at $625,500.  The effective date for reforms is immediate upon enactment, but the loan limits will not go into effect until the expiration of the Economic Stimulus limits (December 31, 2008).


·         FHA Reform – including permanent FHA loan limits at the greater of $271,050 or 115% of local area median Home Price, capped at $625,500; streamlined processing for FHA condos; reforms to the HECM program, and reforms to the FHA manufactured housing program. The effective date for reforms is immediate upon enactment, but the loan limits will not go into effect until the expiration of the Economic Stimulus limits (December 31, 2008).


·         Homebuyer Tax Credit - a $7500 tax credit that would be would be available for any qualified purchase between April 8, 2008 and June 30, 2009.  The credit is repayable over 15 years (making it, in effect, an interest free loan).


·         FHA foreclosure rescue – development of a refinance program for homebuyers with problematic subprime loans.  Lenders would write down qualified mortgages to 85% of the current appraised value and qualified borrowers would get a new FHA 30-year fixed mortgage at 90% of appraised value.  Borrowers would have to share 50% of all future appreciation with FHA.  The loan limit for this program is $550,440 nationwide.  Program is effective on October 1, 2008.


·         Seller-funded downpayment assistance programs – codifies existing FHA proposal to prohibit the use of downpayment assistance programs funded by those who have a financial interest in the sale; does not prohibit other assistance programs provided by nonprofits funded by other sources, churches, employers, or family members.  This prohibition does not go into effect until October 1, 2008.


·         VA loan limits – temporarily increases the VA home loan guarantee loan limits to the same level as the Economic Stimulus limits through December 31, 2008.


·         Risk-based pricing – puts a moratorium on FHA using risk-based pricing for one year.  This provision does will be effective from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009.


·         GSE Stabilization – includes language proposed by the Treasury Department to authorize Treasury to make loans to and buy stock from the GSEs to make sure that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae could not fail.


·         Mortgage Revenue Bond Authority – authorizes $10 billion in mortgage revenue bonds for refinancing subprime mortgages.


·         National Affordable Housing Trust Fund – Develops a Trust Fund funded by a percentage of profits from the GSEs.  In its first years, the Trust Fund would cover costs of any defaulted loans in FHA foreclosure program.  In out years, the Trust Fund would be used for the development of affordable housing.


·         CDBG Funding – Provides $4 billion in neighborhood revitalization funds for communities to purchase foreclosed homes.


·         LIHTC – Modernizes the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program to make it more efficient.

·         Loan Originator Requirements – Strengthens the existing state-run nationwide mortgage originator licensing and registration system (and requires a parallel HUD system for states that fail to participate).  Federal bank regulators will establish a parallel registration system for FDIC-insured banks.  The purpose is to prevent fraud and require minimum licensing and education requirements.  The bill exempts those who only perform real estate brokerage activities and are licensed or registered by a state, unless they are compensated by a lender, mortgage broker, or other loan originator.

Click here for a copy of the bill lanuage.

Time to look for Property. Seller paid concessions run out on FHA loans Oct 1, 2008!.  Click here to get started with direct MLS Access for the Ann Arbor Michigan Area.

Why Your First Offer is Usually Your Best Offer

by Group One Realty Team - Real Estate One
There’s an old real estate rule of thumb that the first offer you receive is usually the best one. I’ve run into this with several listings where the seller received an offer early on, made a stiff counteroffer back to the buyer and the buyer headed for the hills. In some cases, as much as 18 months and several price reductions later, another offer finally came in only to be significantly lower than the first buyers’ offer.

While your first offer may not be what you were hoping for, it is a good idea to consider several things when choosing how to respond to that offer. Length of time on the market, time of year, initial asking price compared to the price recommended by your agent, and current competition should all be taken into account when determining whether to accept, reject or counter the first offer you receive.

It may be tempting to hold out for a better price, especially in the first few weeks that your Home is on the market when there is a high volume of showing activity. However, that activity typically wanes after about three weeks, at which point the buyers who have been waiting for "just the right house" will have already considered your property. Buyers rush to see new listings, and if it’s the best thing they have seen they will probably make an offer. Most of these buyers have been at it for a long time and know the values very well, in some cases understanding market realities in their price range even better than realtors who have been tracking a broad market. Therefore, an offer received in the first few weeks on the market is probably appropriate to current conditions and worth serious consideration. Comparing the offer to your realtor’s initial price recommendations can help you decide what action to take.

After the first several weeks, the activity that remains is buyers just entering the market. Since they are at the beginning of their house hunting, they generally have more time to look and are less motivated to act quickly. They are less educated about the market than those who have been shopping for a long time and will err on the side of caution when making their offers, especially in a buyer’s market. Consequently, offers will more likely be lower than early on.

Time on the market erodes value as well. The longer a house is listed for sale, the less interested buyers and Realtors are in the property. People will begin to wonder what is wrong with the property, and even if they like it will offer a lower price so they won’t lose money if they end up having to sell.

Be sure to consider the opportunity costs. While your first offer may be lower than you had hoped, every month you keep the property is another month you must pay mortgage, taxes, utilities, and insurance for a home you are hoping to leave. These costs can add up quickly and end up costing you more in the long run.
Time of year is another factor that can affect the offer. Your offer in March or April will most likely be much higher than in September or October. Sellers who were optimistic in the spring will be lowering their prices quickly to try and sell.

The bottom line is that you are never in a better position to get the best price for your home than when it is fresh on the market. Even if the offer and subsequent negotiations are less than you are hoping for, don’t kick yourself months or even years later wishing you had taken the offer. That real estate rule of thumb stays true: your first offer is usually your best.

Struggling with your ARM mortgage payments?

by Group One Realty Team - Real Estate One

SUBJECT:    The FHASecure Initiative


 The Federal Housing Administration is pleased to announce an initiative that will enable homeowners to refinance various types of adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) that have recently “reset.”  This mortgagee letter describes how lenders and homeowners may refinance mortgages that, due to the increased mortgage payment following the reset, have become delinquent.  The mortgagee letter also reiterates guidance to lenders about making objective decisions regarding the underlying collateral in declining markets. The FHASecure initiative, which is a temporary program designed to provide refinancing opportunities to homeowners and to increase liquidity in the mortgage market, requires that the loan application be signed no later than December 31, 2008.


Refinancing Non-FHA Adjustable Rate Mortgages Following Resets 


FHA is currently doing a significant business in refinancing non-FHA mortgages for borrowers who are current under their existing mortgage.  This mortgagee letter extends eligibility to borrowers who became delinquent under their current mortgage following the reset of the interest rate. 


FHA recognizes that many lenders are engaged in a variety of loss mitigation activities to keep borrowers in their homes, and applauds these efforts.  This mortgagee letter explains credit policies for refinance transactions involving non-FHA adjustable rate mortgages where the homeowner’s mortgage payment history during the 6 months prior to the reset showed no instances of making mortgage payments outside the month due.


These instructions are designed to permit homeowners, who previous to their reset, demonstrated an ability to meet their mortgage obligations, an opportunity to refinance into a prime-rate FHA-insured mortgage.  In many cases homeowners may be permitted to include mortgage payment arrearages into the new loan amount, subject to existing geographical mortgage limits and the loan-to-value limit shown below. 






Eligibility Highlights of the FHASecure Initiative


·        The mortgage being refinanced must be a non-FHA ARM that has reset.


·        The mortgagor’s payment history on the non-FHA ARM must show that, prior to the reset of the mortgage, the mortgagor was current in making the monthly mortgage payments, i.e., the homeowner’s mortgage payment history during the 6 months prior to the reset showed no instances of making mortgage payments outside the month due.


  • If there is sufficient equity in the Home, under additional eligibility instructions provided below, FHA will insure mortgages that include missed mortgage payments.  


·        Under certain conditions explained below, FHA will insure first mortgages where (1) the existing note holder writes off the amount of indebtedness that cannot be refinanced into the FHA insured mortgage; or (2) either the FHA-approved lender making the new mortgage or the existing note holder may take back a second lien that includes closing costs, arrearages or previous secondary financing if the indebtedness exceeds FHA prescribed LTV and maximum mortgage amount limits. 


·        Mortgagees must determine, as part of the underwriting process, that the reset of the non-FHA ARM monthly payments caused the mortgagor’s inability to make the monthly payments and that the mortgagor has sufficient income and resources to make the monthly payments under the new FHA-insured refinancing mortgage.


Additional Information About the FHASecure Initiative


·        Maximum FHA loan-to-value ratios 


The maximum loan-to-value limits are shown below and are applied to the appraiser’s estimate of value, exclusive of any upfront mortgage insurance premium.  


Maximum Loan-to-Value Ratios


States with Average Closings Costs At or Below 2.1 Percent of Sales Price


·        98.75 percent:  For properties with appraised values equal to or less than $50,000.

·        97.65 percent:  For properties with appraised values in excess of $50,000 up to $125,000

·        97.15 percent:  For properties with appraised values in excess of $125,000.


States with Average Closings Costs Above 2.1 Percent of Sales Price


·        98.75 percent:  For properties with appraised values equal to or less than $50,000

·        97.75 percent:  For properties with appraised values in excess of $50,000

Please let Tom know if you need a good lender referral.  Also, if you are wanting to list your home please contact our office at (734) 996-0000.  Or for those who need help with a property search click the link to get started. 

Holding Title to a Home in Joint Tenancy

by Group One Realty Team - Real Estate One
How would you like to take title to your new home, Mr. and Mrs. Purchaser?" the attorney or title closing settlement officer asks.

Thinking fast, you ask, "Well, how do most married couples take title?"
The reply is usually something like: "Most couples take title in joint tenancy."

Not wanting to appear stupid or uninformed, you reply, "That's fine with us." But do you fully understand the implications of holding joint-tenancy title?

What Joint-Tenancy Means

>To be legally correct, joint-tenancy real estate ownership means "joint tenancy with right of survivorship." A few states require use of those exact words on the deed. But in most states, "joint tenancy" is sufficient.

Survivorship means the joint tenant who outlives the joint tenant co-owner(s) automatically receives the deceased's share of the property without probate court costs or delays. Probate court avoidance is considered the major joint-tenancy advantage.

All that is usually necessary to clear the title of a deceased joint tenant's name is to record a certified copy of the death certificate and an affidavit of survivorship with the local recorder of deeds.

The will of a deceased joint tenant has no effect on their joint-tenancy property. However, joint tenants still need a written will. In the event of simultaneous death of all the joint tenants, such as in a plane crash, the will of each deceased joint tenant determines who receives their share of the property.

Or, in the unlikely event one joint tenant kills another joint tenant, the wrongdoer cannot receive the deceased joint tenant's share by survivorship, so the deceased joint tenant's will then becomes important.

Although joint tenancy usually involves two co-owners, such as husband and wife, there can be an unlimited number of joint tenants. But they all must take title at the same time by the same deed, and they all own equal shares.

For example, suppose John and Mary Purchaser purchase their Home as joint tenants. Each therefore owns a 50 percent share. However, when their daughter, Suzy, becomes 18 they decide to add her as an additional joint tenant.

To add Suzy to the title, John and Mary sign and record a quitclaim deed from themselves to John, Mary and Suzy as joint tenants with right of survivorship. The result is each of the three joint tenants now own a one-third interest in the home.

Tenancy By The Entireties For Married Couples

In 24 states, a husband and wife can hold title as tenants by the entireties, which is very similar to joint tenancy. However, neither spouse can convey their tenancy by entirety share without the other spouse's signature.

This ownership form overcomes the joint-tenancy disadvantage that one joint tenant can transfer his/her share without approval of the other joint tenant(s), thus breaking up the joint tenancy and creating a tenancy in common.

Tenancy by the entireties for husband and wife is allowed in Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.

Pros And Cons Of Joint Tenancy

Before consulting your attorney or other trusted adviser to determine if joint tenancy with right of survivorship (JTWRS) is right for your situation, it pays to know the pros and cons:

Probate Costs And Delays Are Avoided. When a joint tenant dies, his or her share automatically passes to the surviving joint tenant(s) without probate court interference. This is considered the major joint-tenancy advantage.

A Joint Tenant's Will Does Not Affect Jtwrs Property. Except for joint-tenancy simultaneous death or murder situations, a written will has no effect on JTWRS property. Especially in second marriages, where each spouse often wants to leave their half of the property to children of their first marriage, better alternatives might be holding title in a revocable living trust or as tenants in common.

Joint Tenant's Share Can Be Attached By Judgment Creditors. Unknown to most joint tenants, judgment creditors of one joint tenant can attach that person's share of the property. Or, if a joint tenant files bankruptcy and there is sufficient equity in the property, the bankruptcy court can order the property sold with the proceeds divided among the co-owners.

However, after a joint tenant dies, creditors cannot attach the deceased's share, which automatically passed to the surviving joint tenants.

In A Partition Lawsuit, One Joint Tenant Can Force A Sale Of The Property. In most states, one joint tenant co-owner can bring a partition lawsuit to force a sale of the property. Tenants in common also have this right.

All Joint Tenants Can Occupy And Manage The Property. Although each joint tenant has the right to occupy and manage the property, this can become a problem if one joint tenant refuses to pay his or her share of the property expenses.

<However, if one joint tenant pays all the expenses, there is a right of reimbursement for necessary costs, such as property taxes.

If a joint tenant is under 18, a minor cannot convey title or pay their share of the property expenses unless represented by a court-appointed guardian. For this reason, minors should usually not be added to the title as joint tenants.

Similarly, if a joint tenant becomes incapacitated, such as with Alzheimer's disease or a severe stroke, a court-appointed conservator might be necessary to represent the incapacitated joint tenant. However, this problem can be avoided if title is held in a revocable living trust instead of joint tenancy.

Approval Of Co-Owners Is Not Needed To Break Up A Joint Tenancy. Except for tenancy by the entireties between husband and wife, one joint tenant can secretly convey his/her share to a third party, thus breaking up the joint tenancy and creating a tenancy in common.

The most famous court decision on this issue is the 1980 decision in Riddle v. Harmon (162 Cal.Rptr. 530). Shortly before her death, the wife secretly conveyed by a quitclaim deed her joint-tenancy share to herself as a tenant in common. After her death, the surviving husband presumed he owned the entire property as the surviving joint tenant. But the court ruled the late wife's secret deed to herself as a tenant in common made her half of the property subject to her will, which left her assets to a third party. The widower husband retained his 50 percent share as a tenant in common.

Non-Simultaneous Death Of Joint Tenants May Have an Unintended Result. When all joint tenants die at the same time and the order of death cannot be determined, such as in a plane crash, the share of each deceased joint tenant then passes according to his/her written will (or by the state law of intestate succession if no will is found).

However, if one joint tenant survives the other for just a short time, his or her heirs receive the entire property. That happened a few years ago in Berkeley, Calif. Joint-tenant property owners Larry and his girlfriend Lana were on an evening walk. A drive-by shooter's bullets hit both Larry and Lana.

They were rushed to a nearby hospital where Lana died at 2:58 a.m. Larry was kept alive on a ventilator until 4:55 a.m. when he died. Because Larry survived Lana, he was the surviving joint tenant of their properties. His heirs inherited all the joint-tenancy property under his will and Lana's relatives received nothing because she was not the surviving joint tenant.


Although holding title as joint tenants (or tenancy by the entireties between husband and wife where allowed) offers many benefits, it also provides possible disadvantages. Other co-ownership alternatives to be considered include tenants in common and revocable living trusts. Consultation with your attorney and tax adviser is recommended.

Ready to find your new home? Just click on search for homes to get started.

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6




Contact Information

Photo of Tom Stachler Real Estate
Tom Stachler
Real Estate One, Group One Realty Team
555 Briarwood Circle
Ann Arbor MI 48108
Direct: (734) 996-0000
Fax: (734) 661-0102