April 2007

It seems like I talk to first-time buyers everyday who would love to live in East Lansing but think they can’t afford a home in the college town.  For some of those buyers there is hope, or should I say HOAP

The Homeownership Opportunity Assistance Program (HOAP) is non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization funded by the city of East Lansing’s Community Development Block Grant Program.  HOAP provides downpayment assistance up to $25,000 in a no interest loan, half of which may be forgiven in time.  HOAP is available to low and moderate-income people who want to buy a home in East Lansing. Homes purchased under the program may not be rented, must remain owner-occupied, and must meet city code requirements. Maximum income to be eligible is $50,900 for a family of four. Target neighborhoods are Bailey, Central, Red Cedar and Southeast Marble.

 Do you qualify?  For up to date information contact the program’s coordinator at 974-5433.

Read more about HOAP in the State News.


If you’re planning to sell your home this summer you need to ask yourself, “Is my house ready to be scruitinized by potenial buyers?”

Whether you’re a first-time seller or a real estate vetran, you need to put some thought into preparing your home for the market.  High inventories in the Greater Lansing real estate market mean buyer’s have tons of homes to choose from.  If your property is going to be the one that stands out you probably need to make an effort to stage your home.  

Check out how to prep a house and turn it into an irresistible and marketable home to get you started. 

When I’m working with buyers the majority of my clients tend to be young, newlywed first-timers.  That’s probably because I’m a young newlywed and so are my friends and so are the friends they refer to me.

Lot’s of couples jump right into being first-time homebuyers as soon as the honeymoon is over.  Which house to buy is usually the first major decision of a marriage.

I’ve found in my work with newlyweds that prior to getting hitched most couples don’t talk about the specifics of their real estate needs.  Couples talk about how many kids to have and they know if their partner is a “dog person” or a “cat lover,” but they don’t know if the person they’re marrying is that rare bird who is dying to own a 1970s split-level straight out of The Brady Bunch.

If you’re looking to tie the real estate knot with your spouse, my advice to you is, “talk to each other!”  Talk about what you want and what you need in your first home together.  Decide together what the perfect home is and don’t be afraid to compromise so that you’ll be able to start your life together in a home that suits you both.  This worksheet should help you decide what’s important.  Just make sure you fill it out together.

Yesterday I had a closing on a fantastic listing that I really enjoyed representing.  It was a great cape-cod in one of my favorite Lansing Neighborhoods, Colonial Village.  It was easy to show and the owners were a pleasure to work with.  house.jpg

If you’re interested in seeing the home and the details of the sale you can view all of the vital stats here.

If you own a property in the Colonial Village Neighborhood and you would like to know how this sale affects your property value don’t hesitate to contact me for an update.  If you’re thinking of buying a Colonial Village home and you want to know why I love the neighborhood you can call me and I’ll tell you that too.

When you’re ready to sell your home, isn’t a fast sale the goal?  I would answer, “YES!,” but if the behavior of most sellers is any indication a slow, grueling sale is really the goal. 

There are many factors that go into the timely sale of a home; price, condition and marketing to name a few.  I want to focus on price here so let’s assume that the home is in great condition and is being marketed by a professional who covers all the bases.  Will an Over-Priced home sell fast?  NO!  Will a Well-Priced home sell fast?  YES!

It seems obvious that a Well-Priced home will sell faster than an Over-Priced home.  So why do so many sellers “test the market” with an inflated listing price?  I think the answer is that most seller think Well-Priced is synonymous with Under-Priced

The current Greater Lansing real estate market is leaving sellers who are testing the market in the dust.  In Lansing alone there are 645 listings priced between $100,000 and $200,000.  With only about 45-50 homes currently selling each month in that price range we have a 14 month inventory of homes.  With odds like that only Well-Priced homes are getting attention from serious buyers. 

I took a listing last September from sellers who were not in a hurry to sell.  They didn’t need to sell until the following summer.  For five months the sellers tested the market with an inflated listing price and the results were predictable – few showings and no offers.  Last month they got serious about selling and agreed to a price reduction that put the property at a fair price, it became a Well-Priced property.  Within ten days there were three interested buyers and a strong offer.  That sale will be closing tomorrow.

Now, wouldn’t it have been easier to list at a fair price in the first place?  These sellers would have achieved the same results, but they would have only had to go through the stress and work of having their home on the market for 10 days instead of 6 months.  And yes, having a home on the market is hard work.  Keeping your house in presentable condition can be a major pain.

I understand the desire to overprice a home.  I know that nobody wants to feel like they’re giving money away.  I just want to caution potential sellers that in our current real estate climate overpricing will probably cost you money in the end and it will definitely cost you time.  Be careful!

990 Marshall St. – Portland, MI 48875

Price: $199,900990-marshall.jpg
Beds: 3
Baths: 2.5
Year Built: 1995
Square Feet: 1,744
MLS#: 154282

This welcoming two-story home offers comfortable living in the “Cool City” of Portland.  This spacious 3 Bedroom, 2½ Bathroom home has been well-maintained and tastefully finished.  When you enter through the front door you are greeted by a bright and open floor plan featuring a neutral color pallet.  The living room is located on your right and is roomy enough to accommodate even the largest furniture.  The living room is highlighted by an abundance of Andersen windows that let in floods of sunlight.  Continue through the first floor and you’ll find a kitchen that is nothing short of a cook’s dream.  Plentiful counter space, high-end cabinets, ceramic floors and stainless steel appliances all add to the stylish appeal of the home.  Near the kitchen you will notice patio doors leading outside to a deck perfect for entertaining.  The dining room and a ½ bathroom round out the first floor.  Up the stairs you will find a fresh guest bathroom and two good sized bedrooms.  At last you’ll find yourself in the master suite which is both spacious and private.  The bedroom is huge and features custom windows and multiple closets.  Inside the master bathroom you’ll find double vanities with custom cabinetry and you’ll also notice striking tile work framing a luxurious spa tub.  This suite is a true retreat.  Don’t forget to take note of the 3+ car garage and the charming landscaping.  Close to freeway access and in a quiet neighborhood this home is move-in ready and waiting for you.

For more details and a visual tour of this property click here.

I just came home to find a crime scene in my living room.  I don’t know who did it – my dog Kibbe or my cat Bailey, but the cocker spaniel has a guilty look on his face and he had a bird in his mouth.

From what I can put together it looks like a bird must have gotten into my chimney and flown out of my fireplace.  I’m not sure how the dog or cat got a hold of the little birdie, but one of them did.  Of course my husband wasn’t home so I had to clean up the crime scene alone.  It was a sad and disgusting chore.

Don’t put yourself through an afternoon like mine.  Take advantage of the perfect weather on the way this weekend and give your house a good once-over.  Fix any cracks, gaps or other inlets that might give entrance to little critters this spring.

Now to get the dog and cat to stop staring at the fireplace like a couple of little kids waiting for Santa.

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