livingston county michigan: Senior Real Estate Designation Received - 07/18/13 03:17 AM
I’ve worked in real estate for 16 years and have had my share of transactions with elderly clients.  Because of the graying of our population, I decided to ensure that I will always do the best for my clients in the older age groups. I have recently completed a course of study and been accepted into the Senior Real Estate Specialist Council, a group that has knowledgeable and passionate members serving the 50 and older market.
 
If you know somebody that needs this kind of specialized real estate knowledge in my market area, it would be my privilege to assist … (0 comments)

livingston county michigan: Signs Of Spring - 04/16/13 03:10 AM
We live in a big country.  We have almost every conceivable global climate within our borders. It shouldn’t surprise us that here in SE Michigan, we can have a very lovely Spring day while our friends in Colorado are getting hammered by a snow storm.  But there are always little joys if you have your eyes and ears open.
I had the windows down as I drove today, and in a wetland area, the peepers were almost deafening.  I pulled over and just listened to the chorus of small frogs carry on for a number of minutes. 
My tulips have … (5 comments)

livingston county michigan: Earth Day 2013 - 04/15/13 01:40 PM
In case you didn’t know, Earth Day falls on April 22nd of each year.  Started in 1970 to support environmental protection, this event is now fully international.   The Earth Day Network (http://www.earthday.org) is emphasizing the ‘Face of Climate Change’ in 2013, but in truth there are many facets to Earth Day, and many ways to celebrate it and support environmental wisdom and consciousness.
Too much trouble to recycle?  Start with something small.  As small as a 9 volt or AAA battery.  Don’t just dump them in the trash, find an old bucket or margarine tub and put the used batteries in … (4 comments)

livingston county michigan: Shopping Local Has Even More Benefits - Neighborhood Values! - 06/20/12 04:01 AM
We all know at some intuitive level that supporting your local merchants is good.  Yes, sometimes you pay a little bit more than the big box stores, but often they have unique items or services that balance out the little bit of extra expense. Or perhaps it’s just the convenience.
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate having to walk to the very rear of a large grocery store when all I want is a gallon of milk.  Not to mention the wait in line to pay.
Now a study shows that shopping local is not just good for … (0 comments)

livingston county michigan: Unhealthy (But Rewarding) Choices - 04/26/12 03:43 AM
Credit and Debit card reward points are a fixture today.  You can get cards that give you bonus points for air fare, travel, or general use – to be redeemed out of a catalog.  Years ago, I remember my local bank giving 4 points per dollar for the first six months your account was active.  It later downgraded to 2 points per dollar, then one point.  Now, it’s one point per two dollars spent. Guess we were having ‘too rewarding’ an experience, America.
Scanning my online bank account, I noticed a promo (yes, embedded into my online account statement!) for 40 … (0 comments)

livingston county michigan: Support The Troops - Thursday, December 1st, 2011 - 11/28/11 08:16 PM
Hey, Livingston County! One of the Brighton Optimists, Donna Campbell, is helping a friend collect items to send over to the troops in Afghanistan.  She'll be collecting items Thursday morning at the Bauery Restaurant at Mt. Brighton, during the weekly Brighton Optimist Club Meeting.  An excerpted list of items that are wanted are:
 
lotion, sunscreen, deodorant - all travel size; chap stick, soap, eye drops, disposable razors; individual packets of trail mix, beef jerky, and general munchies; disposable cameras, small toys like beanie babies that the troops can hand out to the kids over there; zip lock bags and holiday … (5 comments)

livingston county michigan: To Hell And Back - 11/16/11 04:04 PM
Yup, and it only took a little over an hour.
I had to preview a bank owned property today.  It was what I euphemistically call ‘a Purell (R)‡ house’.  You know, the kind that you can’t wait to get back to your car to wash your hands with Purell (R)?  This kind of property has made me an expert and turning lights on and off with my elbows, by the way, so my wife will be pleased to learn that you can teach an old dog new tricks.  The house was in the Pinckney zip code, but really it was just … (2 comments)

livingston county michigan: The Red Barn - 10/29/11 09:40 AM

One thing that seems to stay constant in my real estate life is an appreciation of architecture, form, light and color.  Some pretty typical-looking homes just seem to catch my eye.  I guess the same thing goes for cars, people, animals, and yes – even barns.
I was driving to a new property assignment yesterday morning.  There was a moderate fog at my first stop, and as I neared my second destination, the sun was poking through and burning the fog off.  I’ve passed this particular barn many times over the years, but coming out of a foggy patch into … (7 comments)

livingston county michigan: Livingston County Homes - $100K or Less - 07/26/11 07:34 AM
I still chuckle when I see marquee signs on Real Estate companies that say things like, “87 homes under $100,000 – Stop In For A List”.  I chuckle not because they provide the list, but because the numbers can change by the day, even by the hour.  New listings are coming on to the market constantly. Agents can enter new listings into the MLS 24 hours a day.  And of course homes that have just gone under contract will fall off the list, too. If you're working from a list prepared two weeks ago - good luck!
But I recognize that … (0 comments)

livingston county michigan: Lower Priced Homes Predicted To Drop Value Faster - 06/28/11 09:29 AM
A new study says that lower priced homes will have steeper price drops than their higher priced counterparts, according to a report by DSNews.com.
Already discounted heavily, many of these lower end properties are ‘distressed'. Before the housing market tanked, this market was robust due to the proliferation of subprime and ‘teaser' mortgages and lower down payments.  With the tightening of credit conditions and lending requirements, this market has been hit harder than the higher priced homes that are generally dominated by repeat buyers.
But the higher priced homes face valuation drops, too. The analysis was prepared by Capital Economics, a … (0 comments)

livingston county michigan: Chipmunk Feast - 06/20/11 07:01 AM

I love this time of year. I have a serviceberry tree in my courtyard and when the berries ripen, an amazing array of large and small birds appear.  I just replaced a large bird feeder that hangs from the tree with one designed for smaller birds.  For the last few days I've noticed a chipmunk eating the seed that the birds spill onto the ground.  As I sat on the porch (with a camera, should an interesting bird happen by), I noticed a chipmunk scurry up the tree trunk and find a comfortable perch.  As you can see, he's helping himself to … (8 comments)

livingston county michigan: Free Fishing Derby For Kids - June 11th, Brighton, MI - 05/26/11 05:08 PM
The Brighton Optimist Club has been around for 34 years.  For the last 25 years, they've conducted a free fishing derby for the area youth, aged 16 and under.  It started with some Optimists, some kids and some worms. From its humble beginning with about 30 participants, it's grown to a 300-400 kid event. 
The entire event is free and includes souvenir photo mock fishing licenses, bait, age group trophies, door prizes, entertainment and food. The really little ones get to try their luck at the L'il Angler booth where a clip on the end of a fishing line is dropped … (0 comments)

livingston county michigan: Average Down Payments Reported, Rents Increasing - 05/25/11 03:06 PM
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released a number of economic reports.  One summarized the average down payments provided by home buyers for different parts of the country. (We're in the East South Central, along with WI, IL, IN and OH.)  Our area works out to be in the 5% zone (lowest in the country), but the figures vary greatly and the national average is 8% down payment. Middle Atlantic States (NY, PA, NJ) led the crowd with an average 12% down payment amount.
I know from working with local lenders that even the ‘affordable' housing purchase programs are now … (0 comments)

livingston county michigan: Livingston County Market Report - Through April 2011 - 05/19/11 04:21 PM
In reviewing the year to date (YTD) stats through April 2009-2011, we are facing lower prices, shrinking inventory and quicker sales.  First the raw data.Listings went from 2,269 (YTD) in 2009, to 2,012 in 2010, and now for 2011 we're at 1,647. That means this year's listings are down 18% from last year and down over 27% from year 2009. 
Sales (YTD) were at 599 in 2009, jumped to 771 (a 28+% increase) in 2010, but we're at 679 for 2011. That represents an almost 12% decrease for 2011 vs. the 2010 data. The fact that we're seeing more sales in 2011 … (0 comments)

livingston county michigan: Two Livingston County Cities Get 'Tree City USA' Designation - 04/21/11 10:29 AM
The Arbor Day Foundation recently released its list of 2010 Tree City Awards.  Howell, Michigan was named a Tree City for the 23rd straight year, and Brighton, Michigan received that honor for the ninth year in a row.  Congratulations Howell and Brighton!
Four standards must be attained to achieve this recognition, which is open to communities of any size.  There must be a Tree Board or Department, a tree care ordinance, an Arbor Day observance and proclamation, and a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita.
The Tree City USA (r) program is sponsored by the … (0 comments)

livingston county michigan: Existing Homes A Better Value? - 03/30/11 02:32 PM
Good credit scores + savings for a down payment + job security = consumers that can afford to build a new home. But tighter lending guidelines are impacting even that group. Government data suggests that a new home used to cost about 15% more than a resale home, but the difference now may be closer to 48%.
Blame a weak housing market, where existing homes are more affordable than they have been in a long, long time. Add in the foreclosures that lower prices even further, and the short sales that often see homes selling for as much as 10%-15% under … (4 comments)

livingston county michigan: New Construction Market - 03/22/11 05:51 PM
I participate in, and receive a monthly survey results from Realtors across the country. This survey from Credit Suisse is a comprehensive look at various market areas.  This month's report notes that the new home market is increasingly driven by buyers that are responding to "great deals, strong affordability, and the fear of higher mortgage rates."
The Metro Detroit data signals that buyer traffic for new construction was short of agent's expectations, that builder incentives were rising, prices were still falling and it was taking longer to sell a home.  No surprises there!
There are opportunities to pick up lots or even completed … (2 comments)

livingston county michigan: Livingston County February 2011 Stats - 03/14/11 08:41 AM
Data is from RealCompOnline and as reported by the Livingston County Association of Realtors.
February 2011 showed a trend similar to January, with a reduced number of units available, 1300 for 2011 vs. 1611 for 2010 (a 19.3% drop), and a gradual increase in sold prices. The median sales price for February 2011 was $126,500 vs. February 2010's $123,599.  The average sales price also saw an increase from $139,801 in 2010 to $146,596 for 2011.
Year To Date as of February 2011, there were 280 total residential sales with almost 40% of them occurring in the $100,000 to $174,999 price ranges. … (0 comments)

livingston county michigan: It Is Time To Buy? - Prices Near The 'Bottom' Say Economists - 02/01/11 09:02 AM
Yes, I know. We've been hearing inaccurate predictions about the Real Estate industry for, well, years. But this recent poll of economists seems to indicate that we're (finally!) near the bottom of the home value skid. 
Analyzing external influences like the homebuyer's tax credit and data from S & P's Case-Schiller Index, thirty three economists offered their views on housing prices.  Most indicate that we're at a point where home prices are 'fairly valued', the report says. 
Fair values are important to buyers, especially first-time home buyers who are most often on tighter budgets and who are also looking at entry … (0 comments)

livingston county michigan: Eight States Running Out of Homebuyers? - 01/20/11 10:37 AM
An article on the Yahoo Finance page, attributed to 24/7 Wall St., has identified 8 states where buyers may have gone on "strike", and coupled with the high foreclosure rate, has caused home prices to plummet.
Using previously released studies and data from sources such as RealtyTrac and the S & P Case-Schiller Index, the authors reiterate claims that home prices will drop another 7%-10% this year and that it may take another four to five years for the housing market to recover.
The eight states listed, in reverse order are:
8. Florida - with a vacancy rate of over 21% and … (4 comments)

 
Robert Smith, Search for Homes, Brighton-Howell-SE Michigan (Preview Properties, PC - http://www.RealEstateMich.com) Rainmaker large

Robert Smith

Search for Homes, Brighton-Howell-SE Michigan

Brighton, MI

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Preview Properties, PC - http://www.RealEstateMich.com

Address: 130 W. Grand River, Brighton, MI, 48116

Fax: (517) 292-2263

Office: (810) 220-1478

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