Residential real estate market information for Metro Detroit's Northern Suburbs brought to you by Realtors Maureen Francis and Dmitry Koublitsky of SKBK Sotheby's International Realty. Monthly market statistics for home owners in Oakland County. MLS listings available on our web site: Oakland-County-Homes.com.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

We've Got a New Home

We are updating our look and moving our blog. Please bookmark MiOaklandCounty.com, and visit us there often!

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Monday, September 04, 2006

    Race for Third T-Shirts

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Monday, January 02, 2006

    Troy, Michigan Real Estate Market 2005 Summary

    On Market For the 487 listings: Avg List Price $349,008.00 The Median Price $299,900.00 The Highest Price $1,650,000.00 The Lowest Price $99,900.00 The Average Market Time 107 Sold 2005 For the 692 listings: Avg List Price $291,156.00 The Median Price $268,425.00 The Highest Price $1,100,000.00 The Lowest Price $1.00 The Average Market Time 65 Sold 2004 For the 793 listings: Avg List Price $277,377.00 The Median Price $258,000.00 The Highest Price $989,000.00 The Lowest Price $1.00 The Average Market Time 55

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • The Federal Reserve and Mortgage Rates

    Understanding What Causes Interest Rate Movement Consumers are often misled when it comes to the subject of the Federal Reserve and how it affects mortgage interest rates. Often the media is the culprit causing the confusion. In the last few years, the Fed has taken action that caused mortgage interest rates to move in a direction other than what consumers expected, because the media provided weak reporting on the subject. The Federal Reserve affects short-term interest rate maturities, the Fed Funds rate, and the Overnight Lending rate. These factors have a direct impact on the Prime rate. If you took only this into consideration, you may mistakenly conclude that changes made by the Fed will cause a similar movement in mortgage interest rates. However, mortgage interest rates are dictated by the trading of mortgage-backed securities, which trade on a daily basis. The real dynamic at the heart of interest rate movement is the relationship between stocks and bonds. Stocks and bonds compete for the same investment dollar on a daily basis. There is literally only so much money to be invested. When the Federal Reserve feels that interest rates need to be decreased in an effort to stimulate the economy, this reduction in rates can often cause a stock market rally. When the market becomes bullish, the money to invest in stocks comes from the selling of mortgage-backed securities. Unfortunately, selling mortgage-backed securities to fuel stock market rallies causes interest rates to go up, not down. Historically, there have been many times when the Federal Reserve has increased interest rates. Stocks then sell off in fear that the increase will affect corporate profit margins, and the liquidated stock assets need a place to park until the next rally comes along. The safe haven is found in mortgage-backed securities which cause mortgage rates to drop. The daily ebb and flow of money is what matters most when it comes to the movement of mortgage interest rates. Reprinted with permission from Julie Plotnik at Victory Home Loans.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Saturday, November 19, 2005

    Butternut Squash

    I just read that google searches for butternut squash are up 279%. People are trying to figure out how to cook the darn things for Thanksgiving. Personally, I was just on Epicurious.com, looking for some interesting hors d'oeuvre recipes for Thanksgiving. They won't include butternut squash though. I found an interesting polenta tart recipe and some other thing with caramelized onions... The point of this, however, is not really to talk about squash or Thanksgiving menus, but to wish you a happy Thanksgiving. Here is a little laugh for the holiday. Either click on the link above or copy/paste in your browser. Turn up the volume......enjoy.....and Happy Thanksgiving. Dmitry, Maureen & Katya

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Thursday, November 10, 2005

    Habitat Helps Take DOWN Houses too!

    My childhood home will only exist for a few more days. Next year a glorious home will be built on the site where my parents lived for more than 35 years. We were the only family to ever live in that home. My mom found a spec home while still being built, they bought it, and she watched as the builders finished. Two years ago my parents sold the home to another builder, who saw great potential in their lot on Quarton Lake in Birmingham. There's lots of tearing down and renovation that goes on in our afflluent communities like Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills. There is also a place that wants to take fixtures, doors, appliances and other things out of the house before the wrecking ball arrives. We told my mom about Habitat for Humanity's Restore, and she asked the builder to donate the windows that had only been in the house for a few years. Today we saw that Habitat was going to need a bigger truck to haul away the bounty they salvaged from Lakeside. Everyone benefits from this wonderful program. The builder pays less for the amount of refuse he sends to a landfill, and he gets a nice write-off. He didn't even have to do the work; Habitat came, uninstalled, and hauled away the items they could use. The ReStore gets great building materials that it re-sells at prices significantly below retail. Then Habitat has more money to put into its projects around Detroit. And my mom, she just feels good knowing that her windows are helping someone else.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Wednesday, November 09, 2005

    Looking for a high return on Investment? Consider Landscaping.

    Found this in an email from a friend. Landscaping: --return on investment of 100-200% if done well, the highest of any type of home improvement --enhances sales appeal, increasing the actual speed of the sale --homes with excellent landscaping can expect a sales price about 6 to 7 percent higher than equivalent houses with "good" landscaping --a mature tree can have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000 --landscaping can add between 7 and 15 percent to a home's value --poor landscape design can decrease property values by up to 10% Here more from this article. Shrubbery planted too close to a house can reduce the appraisal value. The most common mistakes made by do-it-yourself landscapers were planting trees and shrubbery too close to each other and too close to houses, fences and other structures.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Monday, November 07, 2005

    Clean out Your Linen Closet and Help out the Women of the Detroit Rescue Mission.

    We just got this letter from a friend. In order to make donating easier for you, you can drop off any towels and bed linens at SKBK at 348 E. Maple, Birmingham, 48009. Ask for Erin, Dmitry or Maureen and we will make sure your towels are put to good use. I have recently learned of a situation that touched my heart. I want to help. I learned that the Detroit Rescue Mission is in need of many items. They feed thousands daily and house around 800 women each night. (I didn't get the stats on how many men per night). But my plight is for the women who stay nightly in the DRMM. I found out that they are so low on towels (and funds) that they have been cutting their towels into quarters so each woman has a piece of towel to dry with after their showers. This was a VERY short term solution they found out because each time they go through the wash cycles, the towels are fraying. Thus, less than they had. Speaking with a DRMM employee, we talked about a TOWEL AND BEDDING DRIVE. Please go through your linen closet... all of the towels that you don't use, no longer match your bathroom or whatever.. please stick them into a bag and get them to me. I will be collecting the towels through the entire month of November and plan on taking the towels December 10th up to the Mission. The towels don't have to be new, they will wash and use them! They can be ANY color, ANY size. The women need them, and will be thankful for them. I'd like the women of the DRMM to be able to each have their own towel.. that's 800!!! HUGE GOAL! Thank you for your kindness and generousity during this holiday season... to the women of DRMM who are in need. Below is more about the Mission and a link to their website if you are interested in learning more. The Detroit Rescue Mission http://www.drmm.org/)

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Sunday, November 06, 2005

    Vote November 8th.

    Tuesday is election day in Berkley, Birmingham, Royal Oak and other Oakland County cities. Your vote matters!

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Friday, November 04, 2005

    Guess Who Drives This Car?

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Thursday, November 03, 2005

    Wireless Internet Coming to 7 Oakland County Cities in 2005!

    Troy, Birmingham, Royal Oak, Madison Heights, Pontiac, Oak Park and Wixom won out among 31 communities that applied to be the pilot cities for the county's Wireless Oakland Project. By the end of the year, visitors and residents in portions of those seven will be able to connect to the Internet without being hooked to a land line. The Free Press outlines the pilot program and the roll out for the rest of Oakland County.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Changes Under Consideration to Mortgage Interest Deduction

    President Bush's Advisory Panel on Tax Reform is considering severly reducing the mortgage interest income tax deduction in an effort find funds to balance the budget and pay off the rising deficit. This has the potential to significantly increase federal income taxes for most tax payers. Take a look at Blanche Evans article in RealtyTimes.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Royal Oak Michigan Real Estate Market Statistics for October, 2005

    There are currently 543 homes on the market in Royal Oak. For the 543 listings: Avg List Price $240,371.00 The Median Price $204,900.00 The Highest Price $1,489,000.00 The Lowest Price $104,900.00 The Average Market Time 80 There are currently 79 single family homes pending sale in Royal Oak. For the 79 listings: Avg List Price $210,149.00 The Median Price $183,000.00 The Highest Price $499,900.00 The Lowest Price $93,900.00 The Average Market Time 73 Since January 1, 2005, 793 single family homes have sold in Royal Oak. For the 793 listings: Avg List Price $203,475.00 The Median Price $187,000.00 The Highest Price $1,250,000.00 The Lowest Price $1.00 The Average Market Time 53

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township Real Estate Market Statistics for October, 2005

    There are currently 625 single family homes on the market in Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township. For the 625 listings: Avg List Price $1,074,940.00 The Median Price $695,000.00 The Highest Price $14,750,000.00 The Lowest Price $13,500.00 The Average Market Time 118 There are currently 55 single family homes pending sale in Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township. For the 55 listings: Avg List Price $748,976.00 The Median Price $545,900.00 The Highest Price $2,695,000.00 The Lowest Price $119,900.00 The Average Market Time 103 430 homes have sold in Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township since January 1, 2005. For the 430 listings: Avg List Price $359,578.00 The Median Price $315,000.00 The Highest Price $2,500,000.00 The Lowest Price $1.00 The Average Market Time 75 Statistics for sold homes are artificially low because many transactions are not recorded at their actual selling price, but at $1.00.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Troy Michigan Real Estate Market Statistics for October, 2005

    There are currently 558 single family homes on the market in Troy, Michigan. For the 558 listings: Avg List Price $348,393.00 The Median Price $299,900.00 The Highest Price $1,199,000.00 The Lowest Price $104,900.00 The Average Market Time 89 71 homes are pending sale in Troy. For the 71 listings: Avg List Price $344,753.00 The Median Price $299,900.00 The Highest Price $1,150,000.00 The Lowest Price $145,900.00 The Average Market Time 80 Since January 1, 2005, 584 homes have sold in Troy. For the 584 listings: Avg List Price $288,576.00 The Median Price $268,500.00 The Highest Price $878,000.00 The Lowest Price $1.00 The Average Market Time 58 Statistics for sold homes are artificially low because many transactions are not recorded at their actual selling price, but at $1.00.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Beverly Hills Michigan Real Estate Market Statistics for October, 2005

    There are currently 121 single family homes on the market in Beverly Hills. For the 121 listings: Avg List Price $390,963.00 The Median Price $328,000.00 The Highest Price $1,175,900.00 The Lowest Price $168,500.00 The Average Market Time 88 There are currently 11 homes pending sale in Beverly Hills. For the 11 listings: Avg List Price $422,555.00 The Median Price $337,500.00 The Highest Price $699,000.00 The Lowest Price $259,900.00 The Average Market Time 68 130 single family homes have sold in Beverly Hills since January 1, 2005. For the 130 listings: Avg List Price $256,771.00 The Median Price $279,500.00 The Highest Price $715,000.00 The Lowest Price $1.00 Statistics for sold homes are artificially low because many transactions are not recorded at their actual selling price, but at $1.00.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Birmingham Michigan Real Estate Market Statistics October, 2005

    There are currently 391 single family homes on the market in Birmingham For the 391 listings: Avg List Price $912,299.00 The Median Price $679,000.00 The Highest Price $8,499,000.00 The Lowest Price $155,000.00 The Average Market Time 119 27 single family homes are pending sale For the 27 listings: Avg List Price $511,871.00 The Median Price $475,000.00 The Highest Price $1,295,000.00 The Lowest Price $249,900.00 The Average Market Time 113 Since January 1, 2005, 350 single family homes have sold in Birmingham. For the 350 listings: Avg List Price $261,073.00 The Median Price $209,500.00 The Highest Price $2,400,000.00 The Lowest Price $1.00 Statistics for sold homes are artificially low because many transactions are not recorded at their actual selling price, but at $1.00. The average home sale in Birmingham is in excess of $450,000.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Monday, October 24, 2005

    City of Pontiac Experiencing Housing Boom

    Today's Oakland Press features an article on a housing boom in Pontiac. Though the city has a high percentage of rental homes, a shift to ownership has begun. From the Oakland Press, "One of the main forces shifting the housing balance toward homeownership in Pontiac in the past eight to 10 years has been the reappearance of the long-absent development community, which suddenly is putting up hundreds of homes each year in the city. Builders such as Bloomfield Hills-based Pulte Homes and Neumann Homes, an Illinois company that acquired Troy's Tadian Homes, have shown an interest in Pontiac. "We've been very successful in initiating and encouraging large-scale housing development here in our city," said Mayor Willie Payne. "We are providing housing like never before." This is great news for Pontiac and for Oakland County!

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Thursday, October 20, 2005

    Reduce Your Income Taxes with Real Estate

    Unfortunately, its not too early to be thinking about your 2005 income taxes. We recently came across this article which contains 10 ways to save taxes. The full article is very good, but here are the highlights: "As always, before using these tax saving techniques, please consult your personal tax adviser for details. 1. BUY A PRINCIPAL RESIDENCE BY YEAR-END. 2. SELL YOUR PRINCIPAL RESIDENCE BY YEAR-END. 3. USE A HOME EQUITY LOAN TO CONVERT NON-DEDUCTIBLE LOANS INTO TAX-DEDUCTIBLE INTEREST. 4. REFINANCE YOUR HOME LOAN; DEDUCT ANY UNDEDUCTED LOAN FEE. 5. PREPAY YOUR 2006 PROPERTY TAXES IN 2005. 6. PREPAY YOUR JANUARY 2006 MORTGAGE PAYMENT IN 2005. 7. DEDUCT ANY UNINSURED CASUALTY OR THEFT LOSS. 8. DELAY TAXABLE HOME SALES UNTIL 2006. 9. IF YOU CHANGED JOB LOCATION IN 2005, DON'T FORGET YOUR MOVING-COST TAX SAVINGS. 10. A TAX-DEFERRED EXCHANGE AVOIDS TAX ON A BUSINESS OR INVESTMENT PROPERTY SALE." MiOaklandCounty.com homepage Oakland-County-Homes.com Search for Homes

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Cable Rates

    Not long ago, I complained about high cable rates and the lack of choice that we have in service. In Beverly Hills, where we live, Comcast has a monopoly on cable and broadband internet service. I find it frustrating that other local communities have WOW, which is more affordably priced than Comcast. Today I came across a link on the Birmingham Area Cable Board's site for form letters for writing to our congressional representatives and senators about the issue. Consider joining me in writing a letter to your legislators.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Monday, October 17, 2005

    Tax Considerations for Mortgages and Home Equity Lines of Credit

    Yahoo News featured an article that covers tax deductions for home equity lines and luxury homes. Its worth a few minutes of your time if you have a large home equity line, vacation home or a luxury home. Here is the full article. Here are a few of the highlights... "Home equity loans are a thorny area. Consider the taxpayer who's got oodles of equity in her home. She's probably already using a home equity line of credit for various purposes -- but if she tries to deduct the interest from more than $100,000 of this debt, the IRS may not approve. Any home equity debt over $100,000 may or may not be deductible, depending on how the funds are used. Suppose you already have $100,000 in home equity debt on your home. If you pull out another $70,000 to put down on a rental property, that interest will be deductible -- as rental interest expense, not home mortgage equity interest. But if you pull out that same $70,000 to buy that cute little Mercedes Benz you've had your eye on, no deduction for you. The news gets worse. To assure the IRS that you're properly allocating your home equity interest in the proper classifications, you must follow the 'interest tracing rules.' The IRS usually categorizes interest depending on how a taxpayer uses the loan or debt proceeds, regardless of what got used as collateral. For example, interest on a loan used to pay for a personal vacation isn't considered deductible, even if the loan is secured by investment property or property used in the taxpayer's trade or business. The interest tracing rules are complicated. Very complicated. But in effect, in order to deduct interest on more than $100,000 of a home equity loan, you have to prove that the funds you borrowed can be directly tied to how you used them. That means keeping the borrowed funds separate from the rest of your money. If you commingle borrowed funds in your personal account, or even between multiple personal accounts, they tend to lose their identity" Search for homes on www.Oakland-County-Homes.com

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    Consider Buying a New Air Conditioner Now

    We just received a notice from First American, a company that provides home warranties, notifying us that rates are going up in January because of new federally regulations that mandate higher energy efficiency standards for air conditioners. They say that the retail cost for the new systems will be going up by 30 to 60%! If you have an older system now might be the time to look at upgrading, especially if you don't have your a/c on much in the summer. In our climate, the additional cost of the new units has a very long payback period because we don't use our a/c as much as hotter climates. Its predicted that over time the cost of these new systems will fall as technology improves and economies of scale develop.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Sunday, October 09, 2005

    Compare Salary Needs in Different US Cities

    Moving to Birmingham or Rochester Hills or anywhere else in Oakland County? I just found a cool salary comparison tool on Realtor.com that allows you to compare your salary needs in different cities. Its free! Visit www.oakland-county-homes.com for more info for homeowners.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Friday, October 07, 2005

    Who wins in a real estate market downturn?

    Who wins in a real estate market downturn? Perspective: Many lose, but some win when housing market slows Friday, October 07, 2005 From Inman News If the housing market turns south, a lot of people will lose: homeowners, investors and real estate professionals, to name a few. But a lot of people would benefit from a slower real estate market. Inman News has compiled a list of beneficiaries: 1. Foreclosure and pre-foreclosure investors:Marla Webb, a senior advisor to the Foreclosure Economic Advisory Council, a non-profit group affiliated with the for-profit Foreclosures.com, said experienced foreclosure investors and investment groups who are wise to long-term real estate cycles can profit in a downturn. "The folks who do best are those who are already engaged in foreclosure investing – people who are building a portfolio. It's not those who like to buy and flip," she said. "Much of the hot markets have been heated up by people who don't have a real understanding of long-term management aspects of real estate. People who are speculators jump in and out." Real estate speculators can boost a booming market higher and, similarly, drive a slumping market further down, Webb said. Rising foreclosure rates may scare some short-term speculators away while attracting the more seasoned investors, she added. "Investment in real estate, like in many other commodities, tends to provide momentum in the direction it started to go. I call it the 'greased rails syndrome.' I think investors are greasing the rails in the direction of less of a seller's market." As investors who rode the boom bail out, they may precipitate a faster downturn, she said. While foreclosure statistics don't yet indicate a significant turn in the U.S. real estate market, Webb said there are signs of cooling. And higher interest rates and higher energy costs could be a factor in a real estate downturn. 2. Borrowers who took out conservative mortgages and didn't get in over their heads: Prudence wins in a slow housing market. While those buyers who took a risk with exotic products like interest-only, no-money-down loans could get hit hard, the ones who borrowed under more traditional terms and stayed within their buying power should have no worries. Likewise, lenders that kept tight underwriting standards during boom times shouldn't have to worry too much about excessive defaults or foreclosures coming their way. 3. Tax lien investors: These investors would benefit if there's a rise in delinquencies, said Howard C. Liggett, executive director of the National Tax Lien Association, which represents lien investors. Investors buy liens on the property taxes, which are auctioned off by local governments, and profit from the interest that is set by the state. In some cases, investors can receive up to 18 percent return on investment, according to NTLA. The property tax lien market has prospered during boom years, with 32 states auctioning off $5 billion to $7 billion of unpaid cash bills per year, Liggett said. This segment also is expected to do well in a housing slump. 4. The prognosticators: While most economists and academics have shunned the notion of a housing bubble, some have been talking about it and predicting it's downturn for years. Among them: Yale University Economist Robert Shiller, author of "Irrational Exuberance" and cofounder of real estate analytics firm Fiserv Case Shiller Weiss; Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research; and economists working on the Anderson Forecast produced by the University of California, Los Angeles. "Each month that goes by with higher and higher levels of spending on homes, and higher and higher prices of existing homes, we are building a larger and larger mountain of adjustment to come," according to an analysis by Edward Leamer, director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast, said in a June forecast. "The next recession is highly likely to get started in the housing market, which has been made very fragile by very high levels of appreciation in some markets and by high levels of residential investment nationwide." 5. Wall Street: During the housing boom, many investors turned to real estate while the stock market slumped after the dot-com bust. If home-price appreciation rates slow or stagnate, many investors will pull out of Main Street and head back to Wall Street. 6. Scam artists: They benefited from the boom and they'll benefit from the big chill too, but will switch their focus. Instead of offering people broad advice on how to get rich quick in real estate investment, they'll be offering to save troubled borrowers from foreclosure using dicey tactics that many times result in the borrower losing his or her home.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Check Your Homeowners' Insurance

    In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Realty Times reminds homeowners to re-evaluate their homeowners' insurance policies to make sure that they have adequate coverage. "According to Marshall & Swift, an expert in building costs, nearly six out of every ten homes in Louisiana are underinsured. Similarly, the Los Angeles-based firm says almost 60 percent of all houses in the United States are not valued properly when it comes to insurance coverage -- by a whopping 22 percent, on average! " While we in Michigan are not likely to lose our homes to a hurricane, other disasters/accidents can occur. If you need a good insurance agent to help you evaluate you coverage, give us a call. We can point you in the right direction.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Thursday, October 06, 2005

    Protect Your Investment by Voting

    Call me a nerd. I love to watch city/village council meetings on public access television. Though we live in Beverly Hills, I watch both Beverly Hill and Birmingham meetings, the Cable Board, Planning Boards and whatever else they broadcast on Comcast Channel 15. I even watch some Bloomfield Hills school board meetings, though our daughter is a few years away from being enrolled anywhere. I find local politics pretty fascinating. I also find out a lot about what is going on in the area before it actually happens. Sure, some of the topics they discuss are not really that interesting to me. Watching the cable board meetings has in no way made me happier with rising Comcast bills and the complete lack of competing services (like Wide Open West) we have in this market. But I digress... Recent Beverly Hills meetings have been more entertaining than many shows on network TV. Elections were held in September and the makeup of the current council was determined by 4 votes. Now you can sense the tension in the council room during the meetings, and tempers have flared. Things seemed calmer under the previous council, but this group is just getting settled in, so we shall see how the state of our fair village progresses under new leadership. Regardless of how I feel about the politics of anyone on council, I SINCERELY appreciate that members of our community commit their talent, time and energy to doing what they feel is best to improve Beverly Hills. Elections in Birmingham and Berkley are just around the corner. Judging by the number of yard signs up in Berkley, voter interest is high. If you are a voter in Berkley or Birmingham, you owe it to yourself to be educated about who you want to be running the city. As a homeowner you have a major investment to protect by casting your vote in the city council elections.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Monday, October 03, 2005

    Bloomfield Hills Market Statistics - September 2005

    There are currently 618 homes on the market in the City of Bloomfield Hills and surrounding Bloomfield Township. For the 618 listings: Avg List Price $1,083,832.00 The Median Price $699,450.00 The Highest Price $14,750,000.00 The Lowest Price $119,900.00 The Average Market Time 114 60 homes are under contract as of 10/03/05 For the 60 listings: Avg List Price $788,470.00 The Median Price $542,900.00 The Highest Price $3,100,000.00 The Lowest Price $230,000.00 The Average Market Time 93 Since January 2, 2005, 330 homes have sold in Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township. For the 330 listings: Avg List Price $329,930.00 The Median Price $304,000.00 The Highest Price $2,400,000.00 The Lowest Price $1.00 The Average Market Time 73 Sales prices recorded as $1.00 (to mask the actual price in public records) artificially lower the statistics for homes that have sold. Market time is also artificially lowered in these statistics because homes are often re-listed as new after a price change, erasing the previous listing period from these statistics. Data supplied by Realcomp II. Search the MLS for homes on www.Oakland-County-Homes.com For more accurate data regarding your home or neighborhood, please contact Dmitry & Maureen.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Troy, MI Real Estate Market Statistics, September 2005

    There are currently 575 single family homes on the market in Troy, MI. For the 575 listings: Avg List Price $348,476.00 The Median Price $299,900.00 The Highest Price $1,199,000.00 The Lowest Price $119,000.00 The Average Market Time 79 68 homes are pending sale. For the 68 listings: Avg List Price $366,130.00 The Median Price $339,900.00 The Highest Price $949,000.00 The Lowest Price $149,900.00 The Average Market Time 74 471 Homes have sold in Troy since January 1, 2005 For the 471 listings: Avg List Price $300,159.00 The Median Price $270,000.00 The Highest Price $878,000.00 The Lowest Price $98,500.00 The Average Market Time 56 Search the MLS for homes at www.Oakland-County-Homes.com For more accurate data regarding your home or neighborhood, please contact Dmitry & Maureen.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Royal Oak Real Estate Market Update, September 2005

    There are currently 560 single family homes on the market in Royal Oak. For the 560 listings: Avg List Price $238,179.00 The Median Price $203,450.00 The Highest Price $1,489,000.00 The Lowest Price $109,900.00 The Average Market Time 75 days 79 Homes are under contract For the 79 homes under contract: Avg List Price $213,662.00 The Median Price $189,900.00 The Highest Price $749,900.00 The Lowest Price $93,900.00 The Average Market Time 73 days 656 homes have sold in Royal Oak since January 1, 2005 For the 656 listings: Avg List Price $204,407.00 The Median Price $185,000.00 The Highest Price $1,250,000.00 The Lowest Price $95,000.00 The Average Market Time 51 days Search for homes on www.Oakland-County-Homes.com

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Sellers: What Should be Disclosed?

    "Sellers should not be afraid to disclose known problems in their house. It is better to disclose now, than be hit with a lawsuit by the buyer after he discovers not only that there are defects in the property, but that the seller knew -- or even should have known -- of before the property was transferred. In my opinion, disclosure solves most -- if not all -- consumer related problems. You can never go wrong in telling the truth about your house." Bernie L. Kass, Realty Times. Mr. Kass's article covers changes in legislation in Maryland and the District of Columbia, but his sentiment regarding full disclosure is excellent advice. No seller has ever been sued for disclosing too much!

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • New Service for Homebuyers with Artificially Low FICO Scores

    RealtyTimes covers a new resource that will help people with low credit scores obtain alternative credit scores based upon timely payments to landlords, utilities, cable companies and other recurring accounts not included in national credit bureau files. This could help buyers obtain more favorable rates and terms. Full article is here.

    http://realtytimes.com/rtcpages/20051003_creditscores.htm
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Sunday, October 02, 2005

    Market Statistics for Beverly Hills, MI - September, 2005

    There are currently 108 single family homes on the market in Beverly Hills. For the 108 listings: Avg List Price $413,740.00 The Median Price $375,000.00 The Highest Price$1,175,900.00 The Lowest Price$168,500.00 The Average Market Time 80 days 19 homes are pending sale with an average list price of $346,000. Since January 1, 2005, 107 single family homes have sold in Beverly Hills. For the 107 Sold Homes: Avg List Price $294,484.00 The Median Price $310,000.00 The Highest Price $550,000.00 The Average Market Time 54 Data provided by Realcomp II.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Saturday, October 01, 2005

    Birmingham Real Estate Market Statistics, September 2005

    There are currently 410 single family homes on the market in Birmingham. For the 410 homes on the market today: Average List Price $922,724.00 The Median Price $689,450.00 The Highest Price $8,499,000.00 The Lowest Price $155,000.00 The Average Market Time 108 days Since January 1, 2005m 242 single family homes have sold in Birmingham. For the 242 sold homes: Average List Price $343,219.00 The Median Price $271,500.00 * The Highest Price $2,400,000.00 The Lowest Price $1.00 * The Average Market Time 71 * Some sales are recorded in public records as having transacted at $1.00 in order to mask the actual sales price. This skews median price calculations down. There are currently 29 homes under contract in Birmingham. Information collected from Realcomp II as of October 1, 2005

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Thursday, September 29, 2005

    New Features on Oakland-County-Homes.com

    Over the next few days we'll be completing our local real estate market updates for September 2005. We've been looking for ways to improve integration of our market activity reports into our web site. A newsfeed has just been added that places the latest Oakland County real estate news from our blog directly onto the site. Over the coming weeks, as we explore syndication further, we hope to be adding relevant feeds from other sites as well. In the meantime, we are beefing up city pages on our web site for the areas we serve. Headway has been made on Birmingham and Beverly Hills. One of the "fun" things I've added to the content is famous people who've lived here. For Birmingham I came up with Christine Lahti, Mike Binder, David Spade, Kid Rock, Laura Innes (ER's Dr. Kerry Weaver). My sole "star" for Beverly Hills is Tim Allen (who I believe still owns a home in our fair village). I've only come up with Hollywood types so far, but I could use help. I am at a loss for well-known people from Troy. Haven't begun to think about other areas like Bloomfield Hills (Robin Williams, I think), Royal Oak, Berkley, Farmington, or Rochester (yes, Madonna is obvious!). So if your mind is like a steel trap for trivia, give us some help and send in suggestions of notable Oakland Countyites to mail@oakland-county-homes.com

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Monday, September 26, 2005

    A couple of scenes from the Birmingham farmers' market

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Saturday, September 24, 2005

    Cider Mill Season is Here

    I feel the chill in the morning air, see the leaves changing to vibrant hues, and it can only mean one thing--Cider Mill Time! In high school we used to have enough time to make it over to Franklin Cider Mill for a lunch of cider and hot donuts by the stream and make it back on time for our next class. At least I think we were on time. One of the highlights of autumn is the re-openning of the cider mills. Visit one today. Here is a link to a list of Michigan's cider mills, covered bridges and apple orchards.

    http://detroit.about.com/od/activitiesattractions/p/oaklandcider.htm
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Monday, September 19, 2005

    Run for the Blind

    It is an annual tradition for us to volunteer at the Birmingham Lion's Club Run for the Blind. Dmitry is usually out on the course directing runners. Look for us at the T-Shirt Booth before the race, and after the race we'll be there to cheer on everyone at the finish line. Hope to see you there to support this worthy cause. Lion's Club Run for the Blind Date: Sunday, September 25, 2005 Time: 8:00 AM Location: Birmingham, Michigan Please call the Lion's Club for additional information - 248.645.5600.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Friday, September 16, 2005

    Buyers Demand Tech Savvy Realtors

    Today's Detroit Free Press featured a Page 2 article about how home buyers and sellers are preferring to work with Realtors who have high tech skills to help them buy or sell homes. No big surprise to us. The surprising thing this that its taking a long time for some agents to respond and keep up with consumers needs. We took training to become E-Pros, which is the National Association of Realtors highest designation for technology use in real estate. Use of technology is key in our marketing strategies for the homes we list and it also makes a home search easier for buyers. We consider things like virtual tours, Multiple photos and an informative web site to be BASIC services, yet we find that we are in the minority in our market place.

    http://www.freep.com/realestate/renews/realestate16e_20050916.htm
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Thursday, September 08, 2005

    Beverly Hills Market Update August, 2005

    There are currently 115 homes on the market in Beverly Hills. For the 115 listings: Avg List Price $399,576.00 The Median Price $672,200.00 The Highest Price $1,175,900.00 The Lowest Price $168,500.00 There are 20 homes pending sale. For the 20 listings: Avg List Price $360,340.00 The Median Price $394,450.00 The Highest Price $550,000.00 The Lowest Price $238,900.00

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Troy Home Sale Statistics - August 2005

    There are currently 579 homes on the market in Troy (as of Sept. 8) For the 579 listings: Avg List Price $348,917.00 The Median Price $661,950.00 The Highest Price $1,199,000.00 The Lowest Price $124,900.00 There are currently 80 homes pending sale in Troy. For the 80 listings: Avg List Price $360,046.00 The Median Price $554,000.00 The Highest Price $995,000.00 The Lowest Price $113,000.00

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Wednesday, September 07, 2005

    Birmingham Market Statistics

    Birmingham Market Statistics though September 7, 2005 For the 416 listings currently on the market: Avg List Price $900,184.00 The Median Price $4,312,000.00 The Highest Price $8,499,000.00 The Lowest Price $125,000.00 For the 34 listings currently pending sale: Avg List Price $724,100.00 The Median Price $1,584,450.00 The Highest Price $2,999,000.00 The Lowest Price $169,900.00 250 homes have sold in Birmingham since January 1, 2005

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Tuesday, September 06, 2005

    Property Tax Estimator

    Everyone wonders how much the taxes will be after a home is purchased. The State of Michigan has put together a nifty site that does a nice job of calculating what the new taxes may be after a sale. This is a really useful tool, especially if you are considering homes in different communities.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Sunday, September 04, 2005

    Real Estate Lament - a humorous poem for homebuyers.

    This poem about a reluctant real estate buyer is funny. We haven't run across too much poetry about our profession. I guess it does not inspire many poets! Take a look and have a laugh!

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Saturday, September 03, 2005

    Home Warranties--If your home is listed you should have one!

    First let me say that I am a born skeptic, and I am frugal. I NEVER buy the extended warranty when I buy a new appliance or other major purchase. In my mind I think that extended warranties are a scam and I would like to assume that the product that I am buying is well enough made that it should last for 3 years or so without me needing an expensive service call or a warranty to pay for the service call. Heck, I have a refrigerator in my basement that I think is about 15 years old and it runs just fine. So for me to state that sellers should have a home warranty seems a bit hypocritical. Yet I always offer them to my seller clients and I suggest that I place an order right when I take the listing. In my opinion, there is really no reason for a seller not to have a warranty. First of all, the warranty is free until closing. If its not negotiated in to the contract, you never pay for it. Second, the seller is covered for lots of things during the listing period, even without purchasing the warranty, and the all the seller pays is the deductible for the service call. Not bad, huh? Last month we had a seller of a newer condo whose stove stopped working the week that her condo went under contract. She was faced with getting the stove fixed or replacing it before close. Fortunately for her, we had ordered the warranty so she paid about $60 to have her stove fixed. Not bad. And if the problem had been worse, that would have been covered too. The warranty can also help if there are negotiations after a home inspection. We sold a home last winter with some older appliances in it, and the buyers were comfortated by knowing that a home warranty would take care of any breakdowns in their first year. We've used First American Home Warranty, and we've been pleased with their services.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • No U-Turn Signs in Downtown Birmingham

    This week "No U-Turn Signs" popped up in the center of Old Woodward. Seems like a crazy waste of money to me, and its more ugly signage. No U-Turn laws have not been enforced in downtown Birmingham for years, much to the frustration of many law abiding drivers like me. Just yesterday a Hummer attempted to make a U-turn in front of me on a narrow section of Merrill in order to snag an empty parking spot on the opposite side of the street. Of course, he couldn't make the U-turn because of the size of his vehicle, so he made a 3 point turn and managed to hold up traffic in 2 directions so he could get that spot. Empty parking spots are the only reason I see folks making Uies. Frankly I think a couple of days of enforcing the No U-turn laws and a few well placed articles in the Eccentric and the Eagle would have markedly improved the situation and saved some bucks on the ugly signs. Also wondering what will happen to those signs in the winter when we get a big snowfall and they need to center of Old Woodward to pile up the snow before they haul it away? They'll be buried and then damaged by the snow removal equipment. Two thumbs down for the new signs!

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Real Estate Blog Squad

    Hey, Dmitry and I are in on the ground floor of the Real Estate Blog Squad, which just got coverage in Business Week. A group of bloggin' Realtors have banded together and united in our efforts.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Friday, September 02, 2005

    Oh, The Places You'll Go...

    If you haven't read the Dr. Seuss classic, Oh, The Places You'll Go, do get a copy. Its a great graduation gift, and a story that has intergenerational appeal and a message for anyone starting something new. This weekend we will send our friends, the Lotito family, off to Thailand for a 3 year assignment with Ford. Somehow it seems like we've seen an exodus of friends over the last few years as new opportunities opened for in exotic (and some not so exotic) new locales. Anyway, we are excited for Dave, Denise, Elie and Graham. What could be better than authentic Pad Thai and a Singha on a beautiful Thai beach. Enjoy your adventure and we will look forward to your return!

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • More help for Katrina

    In this time of crisis our hearts go out to the people and communities affected by Hurricane Katrina. As these areas pick up the pieces and continue with recovery efforts, you can help by visiting the links below for donation information. American Red Cross - 1 800 HELP-NOW - http://www.redcross.org Salvation Army - 1 800 SAL-ARMY - http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn.nsf

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Thursday, September 01, 2005

    Hurricane Katrina Housing Help

    Hurricane Katrina's toll on communities, homes and lives has devastated the nation. Now victims must face the daunting question of where to go next—and we can help. Tens of thousands of newly homeless families are being bused to a stadium in Houston, where they may wait for weeks or months. At least 80,000 are competing for area shelters, and countless more are in motels, cars, or wherever they can stay out of the elements. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross are scrambling to find shelter for the displaced. This morning, moveon.org launched an emergency national housing drive to connect your empty beds with hurricane victims who desperately need a place to wait out the storm. You can post your offer of housing (a spare room, extra bed, even a decent couch) and search for available housing online at: http://www.hurricanehousing.org Housing is most urgently needed within reasonable driving distance (about 300 miles) of the affected areas in the Southeast, especially New Orleans. Please forward this message to anyone you know in the region who might be able to help. But no matter where you live, your housing could still make a world of difference to a person or family in need, so please offer what you can. The process is simple: # You can sign up to become a host by posting a description of whatever housing you have available, along with contact information. You can change or remove your offer at any time. # Hurricane victims, local and national relief organizations, friends and relatives can search the site for housing. We'll do everything we can to get your offers where they are needed most. Many shelters actually already have Internet access, but folks without 'net access can still make use of the site through case workers and family members. # Hurricane victims or relief agencies will contact hosts and together decide if it's a good match and make the necessary travel arrangements. The host's address is not released until a particular match is agreed on.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Sunday, August 28, 2005

    Detroit Visitors Video

    Erik Hastings made a fun video for visitors to Detroit. Its short and humerous. There's much more to know though. Hope for a series of these to come in the future. http://www.vfmii.com/cs3/det.htm

    http://www.vfmii.com/cs3/det.htm
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Fun Facts About Detroit

    Just been surfing around the Detroit Convention Bureau's site and found some fun Detroit Trivia. A few of my favorites are below, or click on the link for the full list. I highlighted a few. Aren't we a diverse city, with the highest number of theater seats and the most bowlers and the highest potato chip consumption??? By the way, how does one register one's self as a bowler? Fun Facts About Detroit Detroit... • installed the first mile of paved concrete road, just north of the Model T plant, on Woodward Avenue between McNichols and 7 Mile Roads in 1909 • installed the country’s first traffic light in 1915 in downtown Detroit • built the nation’s first urban freeway, the Davison, in 1942 • is home to the oldest state fair in the nation, first held in 1849 • is the potato chip capital of the world, based on consumption • is home to the world’s only floating post office, the J.W. Westcott II, can be found on the Detroit River • is north of Canada • is home to the largest flower-bedding market in the world – Eastern Market • shares the world’s first auto traffic tunnel between two nations – the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel • has the most registered bowlers in the United States • has more theater seats than any other city, east of the Mississippi River, outside New York City VisitDetroit.com - Fun Facts About Detroit:

    http://visitdetroit.com/visitorcenter/aboutdetroit/funfacts/
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Saturday, August 27, 2005

    Michigan locations by per capita income

    I confess, I had never heard of the wealthiest city in Michigan until I read this list. Interesting, and there are some things here I would not have expected. Michigan locations by per capita income - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michigan_locations_by_per_capita_income
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Tuesday, August 23, 2005

    Sunset over Little Traverse Bay

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Sunday, August 21, 2005

    Dream Cruise

    Yesterday was the Dream Cruise, and SKBK's first Client Appreciation Party. It was great fun, in spite of some thunderstorms that attempted to ruin the day. Under our big tent on Old Woodward we barely noticed! It was a great location, right in the middle of lots of activity and many old cars. We were delighted by the turnout, and thank those of you who made it by!

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Saturday, August 13, 2005

    New on the market

    We're excited about a new listing we've just put on the market at 4861 Cimarron in Bloomfield Township. Not only is the quality of construction exceptional, the floor plan is great, and the lot is picturesque. Click through and take a closer look, or call us for a private showing.

    http://4861Cimarron.com
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Thursday, August 11, 2005

    Detroit offers foreclosure prevention program

    Detroiters in risk of losing their home to foreclosure now have free advice and counseling available to them to help them prevent foreclosure. Realty Times - Real Estate News and Advice

    http://realtytimes.com/rtcpages/20050810_detroitforeclosure.htm
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • PENSCO Trust Self-Directed IRA - Investment Options: Real Estate Investing

    Another company to help you with starting an IRA with real estates investments. PENSCO Trust Self-Directed IRA - Investment Options: Real Estate Investing

    http://www.pensco.com/education/RealEstateOverview.asp#conclusion
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Investing IRA funds in Real Estate

    Real estate is an option for your IRA, not just stocks, mutual funds, bonds. This company (and others) offer the services to set up and IRA account for your real estate holdings. IAS_RealEstate_Minisite

    https://www.fiserviss.com/portal/page?_pageid=984,389494,984_389546&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Tuesday, August 09, 2005

    What It Costs To Live Well: Calculator - Forbes.com

    This is interesting (and for some, depressing)! Forbes has created a calculator that tells you how much it costs to live well in various locations. I didn't find it too accurate, but it was interesting, nontheless. What It Costs To Live Well: Calculator - Forbes.com

    http://www.forbes.com/realestate/2005/07/08/living-well-cost-calculator-cx_sc_0708calculator.html
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Is your home on this list?

    Forbes 2005 list of the most expensive homes. Most Expensive Homes In America 2005: Northeast - Forbes.com

    http://www.forbes.com/lifestyle/realestate/2005/08/04/mostexpensive-realestate-lifestyle-cx_sc_0805home_ls.html
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Thursday, August 04, 2005

    Realtor.com & Internet Home Marketing

    I just read a report that homes on Realtor.com that have 6 photos are viewed 299% more often than other homes. WOW! We always enhance our listings with additional photos and virtual tours. In a competitive market, we do what we can to increase our clients exposure. Don't accept less.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Monday, August 01, 2005

    Bloomfield Hills Home Sale Stats for July 2005

    For the 627 single family homes currently on the market: Avg List Price $1,046,094.00 The Median Price $7,062,450.00 The Highest Price $14,000,000.00 The Lowest Price $124,900.00 There are currently 67 homes under contract in Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township. Since January 1, 2005, 240 homes have sold. The high and median prices statistics are skewed lower by the great number of sales reported as $1 (71 sales out of 240). Avg List Price $464,665.00 The Median Price $965,125.00 The Highest Price $1,825,000.00 The Lowest Price $105,250.00

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Troy Home Sale Statistics - July 2005

    There are currently 552 single family homes for sale in Troy. This does not include condos or rentals. For the 552 listings: Avg List Price $359,802.00 The Median Price $806,000.00 The Highest Price $1,499,000.00 The Lowest Price $113,000.00 53 homes are under contract. Since January 1, 2005, 344 homes have sold in Troy. For the 344 listings: Avg List Price $293,612.00 The Median Price $478,750.00 The Highest Price $859,000.00 The Lowest Price $98,500.00

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Royal Oak Market Update -- Month of July, 2005

    There are currently 537 homes on the market in Royal Oak. This does not include condos or homes for rent. For the 537 listings: Avg List Price $238,984.00 The Median Price $704,950.00 The Highest Price $1,300,000.00 The Lowest Price $109,900.00 Since January 1, 2005, 495 homes have sold in Royal Oak. An additional 85 homes are currently under contract. For the 495 listings: Avg List Price $202,286.00 The Median Price $385,000.00 The Highest Price $675,000.00 The Lowest Price $95,000.00

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Sunday, July 31, 2005

    Beverly Hills Market Update July, 2005

    There are currently 120 homes for sale in Beverly Hills. For the 120 listings: Avg List Price $389,098.00 The Median Price $477,200.00 The Highest Price $789,900.00 The Lowest Price $164,500.00 15 homes are under a sales contract. Since January 1, 2005, 57 home sales have closed. For the 57 sold homes: Avg List Price $330,846.00 The Median Price $355,000.00 The Highest Price $550,000.00 The Lowest Price $160,000.00 Dmitry & I compiled this information based on information from Realcomp II.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Birmingham Real Estate Update for July, 2005

    Birmingham Homes for sale as of 7/31/2005 For the 413 listings currently on the market: Avg List Price $912,551.00 The Median Price $4,327,000.00 The Highest Price $8,499,000.00 The Lowest Price $155,000.00 In our report last month there were 394 homes on the market. There are currently 55 homes in Birmingham with a sale pending. Since January 1, 2005, 120 homes have been sold For the 120 homes that have closed: Avg List Price $428,633.00 The Median Price $1,259,450.00 The Highest Price $2,400,000.00 The Lowest Price $118,900.00 Dmitry and I compiled this report using data we obtained from Realcomp II.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • On line home shopping

    Dmitry and I are very outspoken when we talk to new and potential clients about the power of the internet in selling a home. It was nice to have our convictions backed up today by a long article in the real estate section of the Detroit Free Press. Though the article is about people using the home to shop for vacation homes, the principles are equally true for those shopping for their primary residence. In fact, about 80% of home buyers use the web, and they tend to actually view less homes before they make a purchase than those who shop in other ways. The top three ways buyers find homes:

    1. A Realtor!
    2. The Internet and Yard Signs (tied)

    So, the best marketing plan for the seller should include a great presence on the web. Let us help you get there.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Bank finds jobs for unemployed mortgage clients

    Dmitry scans the lists of Oakland County real estate foreclosures every week to identify potential investment opportunities for his clients. An article in today's Detroit News discusses a Kansas City bank that helps its clients avoid losing their homes to foreclosure. They've found that job loss is the reason that most people stop making their mortgage payments. So NovaStar has established a program to help those clients find new jobs. Since last August the banks has helped 16 Michigan homeowners find new jobs. http://www.detnews.com/2005/business/0507/31/D01-264359.htm

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Friday, July 29, 2005

    Real Estate Fueling the US Economy

    From US News & World Report Since 2001, two out of every five jobs created by American businesses have been somehow connected to the real estate boom. Seventy percent of the rise in the net worth of US households stems from rising home values.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Dmitry vs. "The Bull"

    Dmitry, my Ukrainian cowboy, proved that Americans are not the only ones who've mastered the bull at my cousin's recent wedding party. Congratulations to Carol and Eric.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Market updates from the back porch

    This really isn't noteworthy, but it is exciting to me, so allow me to be self indulgant. This weekend I will be working on a new batch of market updates to publish on Realtor.com and send around in our monthly newsletter. Its something I do every month, so nothing thrilling there. The exciting thing about this month is that yesterday I successfully set up a wireless network at home, so I will be writing from the back porch. For those of you who have had a two year old in your life, you will know that there is no better place to be ALL DAY than outside (for the 2 year old, that is). Well, Grandma's house is better and so is the Ice Cream place, but. . . So now Katya and I will achieve mutual joy, as she has free reign over the back yard, and I can still catch up with things on-line while she drops pebbles into the air conditioner and picks the far-from-ripe tomatoes off the vine. Its going to be a good weekend for both of us!

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Thursday, July 28, 2005

    Great Band Playing

    Our friend, Dan McCourt, will be performing with his band, Teabag, at Rosie O'Grady's, in Ferndale this weekend. We've enjoyed hearing them in the past and suggest you check them out Friday or Saturday evening. Dan is the drummer. Say "Hi" from Dmitry and Maureen to him when they are on break.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Wednesday, July 27, 2005

    Fair Housing

    Today's Free Press has an article about a study done by HUD to evaluate how Realtors are doing on complying with Fair Housing Laws. The full report is to be released today. The article states that they found that Realtors at C-21 Town & Country are treating clients differently based on race. The full article can be found here.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Will wireless work for our vacation?

    Last January Dmitry and I went down to Florida for vacation. We were in the midst of negotiations on homes for a couple of clients, so we hoped that technology would help us to make sure that they got the service that they deserved. With fax service on the laptop, our usual real estate software, and cell phone service, I had hopes that we would make it. Of course, reality struck the moment we arrived at our rented condo and I found that there was no land line for me to use for internet access. Woops! At 6 am I was calling all of the local phone companies in the yellow pages. I had to wait through the weekend, but in a few days, SBC connected a phone line for us and we used an AOL dial up account that we had acquired just for the trip. Our cell service was spotty, but we managed to make it through all of the negotiations. We wrote contracts from Fort Myers, emailed them to our clients, who then printed them out, signed and faxed them back to us on the laptop. We could then forward those digital faxes back to our office and on to the other agent in just a few key strokes. For the most part, it worked out pretty well. Fast forward to eight months later and we are headed "Up North" for Dmitry's first trip north of Flint! I am excited for him to see the beauty of Northern Michigan. This time our vacation technology plan includes a new laptop with a wireless card. The next step will have to be to find out if our cell phone carrier's wireless internet will work up there and to figure out how to get it to work with the laptop. This time I would like to know in advance that my technology plan will get us through our vacation! Jumping through these hoops makes me an even bigger fan of Oakland County's desire to offer wireless access throughout the county. It will be great for all kinds of businesses.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Google lets you "fly" over your neighborhood

    This has got to be one of the coolest free things to come down the pike lately. http://earth.google.com/ Free little download program from Google that lets you see and zoom in with a 3-D view of anyplace on earth.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Tuesday, July 26, 2005

    What's going on?

    Lately, more than ever, we are asked, "It seems like there are a lot of 'For Sale' signs up. What is going on?" Though interest rates are low and much of the country is experiencing a record year for home sales, our market has lagged behind previous year's activity. Much of the explanation can be found in the business section of the Free Press. But there is more to the story. As we've said here before, one of our colleagues is working with a large group of clients that Daimler-Chrysler is bringing in on 3 year contracts. We see evidence that things buyers are regaining their confidence and getting back into the market. Dmitry and I had a great month in July, and we are expecting August to be even better. It almost feels as if the traditional Spring selling season was pushed back by a month or two this year. For sellers, our advice is that you have to recognize that this is a very competitive market. There are a few components to a successful sale:

    • Make sure that your home "shows" as well as possible
    • Pricing must be in line with the competition
    • Marketing is KEY. A successful marketing campaign will expose your home to the right buyers and/or their agents.
    I could go on for a couple of pages about marketing. Its our passion. We've had a couple of home sellers recently tell us that our marketing plan was the most innovative and complete of any agent they had interviewed. We like that comparision! Obviously, our motivation is the same as our sellers': to get the home sold. We've developed the tools to get results. Just this week we sold a condominium in a complex where other units have been on the market for up to a year. Our client had a signed purchase agreement in just over 60 days. So, if you are thinking of selling, please give us a call. We'd be happy to develop a marketing plan for you.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Cool Front Window Advertising--Only at SKBK!

    Our brokers recently invested in creating the "coolest" real estate office front window we've seen. A large screen TV now scrolls through photos of our office's listings. With SKBK's location right on Birmingham's busiest street, people are slowing down to stop and take a look. Its great exposure for our sellers, and a unique way to show of the homes we've been entrusted to market. Your home can be featured in the SKBK front window too. Its part of our marketing services. Call Dmitry or Maureen (248) 961-0801 and we will get you started.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Wonder what happened to someone from the old neighborhood???

    Just discovered this free search site called ZabaSearch.com. Great for tracking down long lost friends. Check it out.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • June Housing Report--Sales Are Up

    The National Association of Realtors has reported record sales for home sales across the US. For the full story, click here. We'll post later today with our views on local sales, which are not following the trends seen in other parts of the US housing market.

    http://realtytimes.com/rtcpages/20050726_salesexplode.htm
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Thursday, July 14, 2005

    Immigration and real estate

    From Inman News... Assuming three people per household (once they get settled), immigration creates the need for 300,000 more housing units every year. The United States is experiencing a tremendous wave of immigration, with the number of immigrants increasing steadily since the 1930s. Over the last two decades, the country has recognized an average of nearly 900,000 legal immigrants per year (400,000 new arrivals and 500,000 status adjustments), in comparison to just 450,000 per year during the prior two decades. These new arrivals tend to settle in large numbers in just a few states. Six states – California, New York, Texas, Florida, New Jersey and Illinois – accounted for two-thirds of the immigrant population in 2004.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Monday, July 04, 2005

    Dream Cruise Party

    SKBK is hosting an informal Dream Cruise Party for our clients on Cruise Day. We have an excellent location on Old Woodward and are looking forward to seeing many friendly faces that day. Dmitry and I will be working between 4 and 6, and it would be great if you could stop by while we are there. But if you can make it earlier in the day, our colleagues will welcome you. Invitations will be going out to you next month, but mark your calendars now!

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Happy Independence Day

    Yesterday I passed out balloons at the Birmingham Farmer's Market for 5 hours. The time passed quickly as we chatted with people out enjoying the long weekend. Things seemed relatively quite, though, which made it a nice morning for me. A few people stopped by at our booth just to ask us about the local real estate market. Not something I was really anticipating since the Farmer's Market draws people looking for tomatoes and onions, not homes. SKBK is an official sponsor of the market, and we will have agents there every week. Stop by and say hello to our colleagues. Mention our names, and I am sure they will give you a free balloon! OK, you don't really have to mention our names for the balloon.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Sunday, June 26, 2005

    Birmingham Farmer's Market

    Our firm, Snyder, Kinney, Bennett & Keating, is an official sponsor of the Birmingham Farmers' Market. Dmitry and I are kicking off this sponsorship at the first Market of the 2005 season. Please stop by on Sunday, July 3 between 9 and 2 to say "hello". We will have balloons and a smile for those who make it our way. You'll also be able to take a look at all of SKBK's great listings. BIRMINGHAM FARMERS MARKET Where: In the L-shaped parking lot on the east side of North Old Woodward, north of Harmon Street in downtown Birmingham. When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sun., July 3-Oct. 23. What: Fruits, vegetables, cut flowers, plants, crafts, live entertainment and children's activities. For info: 248-433-3550.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Birmingham Real Estate Market Statistics

    Birmingham homes on the market: For the 394 listings: Avg List Price $941,998.00 The Median Price $4,328,450.00 The Highest Price $8,499,000.00 The Lowest Price $157,900.00 The Average Market Time 75 Last month at this time there were 344 homes on the market, compared to 394 today. Homes pending since January 1, 2005 For the 57 listings: Avg List Price $610,466.00 The Median Price $1,329,950.00 The Highest Price $2,490,000.00 The Lowest Price $169,900.00 The Average Market Time 63 For the rest of our report click here

    http://realtytimes.com/rtmcrcond/Michigan~Birmingham~maureenfrancisdmitrykoublitsky
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • 10% off at Lowes

    Lowes recently began a program that allows us to offer our clients a 10% off coupon to their store. This should come in handy if you are getting your home ready to go on the market, or taking on a few projects after moving in. We are pleased to be able to pass this savings along to our clients.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Excellent exposure for sellers

    This week we attended a training seminar conducted by Realtor.com. As the largest real estate site in the world they have over 6 million consumers visiting them every month. Impressive! Last year we took our marketing efforts for our sellers to a higher level by "enhancing" our listings. Essentially, we offer more pictures and better descriptions. Listings with additional photos get many more hits than those without. Now we are very excited to announce that we can put our listings on the first search page of Realtor.com. This advertising is limited to a very few Realtors, and is exception exposure for any home seller. We've just started with this and are looking forward to amazing results.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • The market this month

    We've just created new market condition reports for Realtor.com. One of the surprising trends that we have witnessed over the last month or so is renewed activity in the rental home market. Chrysler is bringing 60-80 employees over the next month, and is putting them in rental properties. Some sellers who haven't found the right buyer for their home are happy to have a long term tenant with a solid lease. We've also seen interest in short term rentals as local homeowners are undertaking major renovations on their own homes, and elect to move out during the construction. With interest rates still low, this trend is not what we expected.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Wednesday, June 01, 2005

    Interest Only Mortgages

    From Business Week: "Thirty-one percent of new single-family mortgages were interest only last year, up from just 1.5% in 2001. With interest-only mortgages, buyers' monthly payments are lower for a time, but they don't build equity in their home." From Maureen: That is not exactly correct. Homeowners with interest-only mortgages can build equity if the home appreciates in value over time, even without reducing principal owed to the bank.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Time to get a new job!

    From the LA Times: "Thanks to the boom in housing prices, 437,000 Californians are trying to make a living selling real estate. Unfortunately, there are only 680,000 home sales in the state each year."

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Fight against appraisal fraud

    In Michigan, as across the nation, appraisal fraud has recently become the object of much discussion, as REALTORS®, lenders, and state officials attempt to combat a growing menace in the real estate industry that threatens the financial security of homeowners and creates artificial market values for properties. In an effort to thwart this type of fraud in Michigan, MAR’s Michigan Council of Real Estate Appraisers (MiCREA) recently formed an Appraisal Fraud Task Force to investigate the current situation in Michigan and explore possible solutions. Chair James Sands, Senior Vice President at AAMG Residential Appraisal in Troy, has named MiCREA members Rachel Massey of Ann Arbor, Tom Gilbert of Gladstone, and John Meyer of Grand Rapids to the task force. Rita Hillman, Director of the Fannie Mae Michigan Partnership Office in Detroit, will also join the group for discussions on the impact of appraisal fraud on secondary lenders such as Fannie Mae. Meeting monthly all summer, the group hopes to have a progress report and an action plan in place for the MiCREA Board meeting scheduled for late August. The task force has given itself three main tasks: First, to look at legislation in other states that combats appraisal fraud and requires licensing of mortgage lenders; second, to meet with state appraisal code enforcement officials about heightened enforcement possibilities; and third, to work with NAR on the national level to support legislation that would make appraisal fraud harder to commit. Michigan REALTORS® know all too well the impact fraudulent appraisals have on consumers and on the real estate market. And each and every REALTOR® can empower consumers to avoid fraud by being knowledgeable and providing the appropriate resources to help consumers buy homes with real values, not inflated ones. For more information on appraisal fraud in Michigan, or steps you can take to avoid fraud, contact MAR at 800.454.7842.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Other real estate blogs

    Other real estate blogs: http://www.twincitiesrealestateblog.com/ John Mudd's Tampa Bay blog was voted Best Real Estate Blog last year, is quite local and has much to do about properties:http://insiderealestatejournal.blogspot.com/ The Inman Blog is the Big Daddy of real estate blogs, very informal andchatty and fun:http://www.inman.com/blogger/bradinman.aspx The Property Grunt from NYC is a little offbeat, but lots of fun...I lovehis open house stories:http://propertygrunt.blogspot.com/ And Curbed from NYC is HIGHLY professional:http://www.curbed.com/ Frances Thorsen's blog is issues oriented, with lots of tips and suggestions for buyers andsellers:http://therealtygram.typepad.com/

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Tuesday, May 24, 2005

    Free Phone Service

    OK, this is in no way real estate related, but it is a cool thing that I just found and I can help others try it out as well. VOIP is phone service that uses your high speed internet connection. This startup company is offering free service and equipment as part of its pending product launch. I have 32 invites for ViaTalk.The rest of this is quoted directly from ViaTalk: Once you are a part of VT_Unlimited, you'llbe the first to know when our exciting new service launches, and you'll also enjoy thefollowing benefits upon launch:

    • A coupon code good for up to 12 months of free service or free equipment
    • Free shipping
    • A chance to win great prizes in daily giveaways including Apple iPods
    • Additional viaVites so you can invite your friends and give them a coupon code good justlike the one you have
    • Access to the service (when launched) before the general public
    • Many other incentives and discountsAs you can see, the list of benefits is amazing, and because you have received a viaVite, your access is completely free.

    What do you have to lose? Activate your VT_Unlimited pre-launch group membership today!

    This is for ViaTalk, a soon to be launched voip company.

    If you want to be invited, send an email to mail@oakland-county-homes.com, and I'll send a invite your way.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Tuesday, May 17, 2005

    Free Credit Report

    The Fair Credit Reporting Act recently was amended to require each of the nationwide credit-reporting bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to provide consumers with one free copy of their credit report every 12 months. These reports contain consumers’ payment histories, loan balances and other personal and financial information used by lenders, landlords, employers and insurers and are essential tools for real estate consumers. Access to these free credit reports can help perspective homebuyers avoid surprises when they eventually apply for a loan. By checking the accuracy of reports and clearing up any discrepancies before buying a house, homebuyes will avoid the ramifications of being under contract and needing to secure financing immediately. Especially important to look out for is identity theft, where consumers’ credit and social security information are stolen and used by others. Such theft has disastrous consequences. With three credit-reporting bureaus required to give consumers a report every year, you can receive one free credit report every four months if you time requests correctly. The free-report service is being phased in across the country west to east during a nine-month period. Michigan residents became eligible as of March 1. To receive free reports, visit AnnualCreditReport.com or call toll-free 877.322.8228. You’ll need to supply information like name, date of birth, Social Security number, current address, and past addresses to verify their identities.

    www.annualcreditreport.com
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Monday, May 16, 2005

    Bank of America introduces low cost loans

    Bank of America real estate loan eats closing fees Program could save home buyers thousands Monday, May 16, 2005By Janis MaraInman News Steve Ozonian, Bank of America Anyone who has been confounded with unexpected and seemingly inexplicable fees at the closing table will probably appreciate a new Bank of America mortgage loan program, Mortgage Rewards. The program, currently available only to Bank of America customers, could save home buyers about $2,000 on a $200,000 loan, according to the bank. Higher loan amounts would yield greater savings, the bank said, varying according to location and other factors. The program waives the loan origination fee, application fee, appraisal fee, flood determination fee, tax service fee and most other fees associated with closing. It doesn't pay for title insurance, though. "Application volume is way up" since the program rolled out in late April, according to Steve Ozonian, national home-ownership services executive for the bank. Ozonian wouldn't give more specific numbers. This has been an eventful year for the bank, which in April reported soaring profits, with first-quarter net income of $4.7 billion. Its quarterly profits are up from $2.68 billion, or 91 cents a share, during the same quarter a year ago. The Mortgage Rewards program sounds a bit too good to be true. But Ozonian says the bank is able to absorb the closing fees because it speeded up and simplified its loan processing procedures, saving the bank money. "We took a look at the entire mortgage process, application, approval and fulfillment and tightened that up using technology and better procedures," Ozonian said. "This enables us to create a more efficient mortgage process and instead of dropping it into our pockets we are passing the savings on to the consumer." The executive said the fees will not be rolled into the loan's interest rate. "The note rate is still the comparative street rate. We're not marking up interest rates and then bundling these services in because we're marking up rates. We encourage consumers to check our rates. They will find we have competitive rates," Ozonian said. "What a lot of lenders will do is they will say we can take care of all these fees but you end up paying a higher interest rate, note rate, on the mortgage instrument," Ozonian acknowledged. "But we are not doing that." The bank will pay the appraisal fee, he said. Consumers won't have to front the money when the appraiser shows up to scope out the house. "We assign the appraiser and the appraiser knows they are working with the bank and the bank doesn't require that the existing customer who is part of the program write a check for the appraisal," the executive said. The program doesn't include title insurance, Ozonian said. "We don't have the process internally – that's done by the title company." As another extra, those who borrow using Mortgage Rewards get one free year of the company's borrower's protection plan. The plan pays mortgage principal and interest for up to six months if the customer loses his/her job, and pays off the whole mortgage if the mortgage holder should die. When the free year is up, customers will be notified by a letter or phone call and given the option to continue on a paying basis. "It won't continue by default," Ozonian said. Currently, the program is available in 21 states and the District of Columbia and will be available in the northeast United States in the fall, according to Ozonian.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Sunday, May 15, 2005

    Volunteer Opportunities

    Volunteering is important. I spent 2 years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine, working on business development projects as a member of the first group of Peace Corps volunteers to go to the former Soviet Union. The experience changed my life and I know that it changed the lives of a number of Ukrainians I had the privilege to work with. I was just thinking about how I can find a good volunteering fit for myself here, and came across Volunteermatch.org. This is a cool search engine for matching non-profits with volunteers, by interest, skills, location and need. You might find something that fills your need for community service here, so check it out!

    http://www.volunteermatch.org/
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Saturday, May 14, 2005

    My take on Realtor.com

    Realtor.com is OK, but there are much better sources for finding information about homes for sale these days. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a Realtor, and Realtor.com is an asset of the National Association of Realtors. The problems with Realtor.com is that the descriptions are often lacking and the data is old. It takes a couple of days for listings to show up on Realtor.com. If you are looking in a particularly 'hot' market, and relying on Realtor.com, you will miss your dream house. As for the lame descriptions, Realtor.com passes through very little information about a home unless the agent is a paid subscriber and updates his/her listings manually. It seems that the majority of agents don't enhance their listings, and the public is getting a very limited picture of what these houses are really like. So, what are the sources? Of course, my first suggestion is to check with a Realtor. I, for example, email new listings to my clients every day with homes that fit their search criteria. I would imagine that most Realtors are capable of doing that. Second, many Realtors maintain web sites with full search capabilities on them. A simple google search should lead you to lots of sites. Third, many MLS's maintain public sites. These are really great tools, because you get longer descriptions than you do on Realtor.com. In my are, for example, www.moveinmichigan.com, is a great public site. For mls public sites across the US, try http://publiclistings.realtown.com So, yes, Realtor.com is convenient, but I think you can do better very easily. And since you are most likely making one of the largest purchases in your life, don't you want more information, not less?

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Increases in Property Values in Oakland County

    Real Estate in our market continues to increase in value, with Birmingham increasing by 6.23%. This information was taken from the Oakland County Assessors Office. For more information go to this article in the Oakland Press.

    http://theoaklandpress.com/stories/042205/loc_20050422003.shtml
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Market Updates

    We prepare monthly market condition updates that are published on Realtor.com. To view our May updates for Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Troy, Beverly Hills and Royal Oak, click here.

    http://realtytimes.com/reumcr/MaureenFrancisDmitryKoublitsky
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Our take on the local market

    Lately the news has been full of negative stories about the local economy and the real estate market. While there is some truth to those stories, I think that consumers are only getting part of the picture. Homes are selling. We are hearing about jobs being created here, but we are not seeing those stories in the press. I can’t tell you why the economic news here seems to be so slanted toward the negative, but I can tell you that there are buyers in the market and they are buying homes that are well priced, in good condition, and well marketed. As a home seller today you are facing more competition than you were in past markets. You should do what it takes to make sure that your home shows in the best possible manner. Paint, clean, de-clutter, wash windows, plant and make the home feel inviting and warm. Leave lights and the fireplace on for showings. Take a careful look at how your home is priced. You will miss potential buyers by testing the market, and they will have moved on and bought another home during your testing period. Make sure your home is receiving the best possible exposure with a solid marketing effort. Dmitry and I write a two page marketing plan for every property we list. We always exceed what we promise to deliver by coming up with new ideas or implementing new efforts. We make sure our homes are widely exposed to Realtors and the public. It is just as important to us as it is to you that your home is sold as quickly as possible and at the highest possible price. If you, or anyone you know is considering a move please call us. You can give us no higher compliment than referring your friends and family to us. We promise to give them the best service that we can. Maureen & Dmitry

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Wednesday, May 04, 2005

    Michigan cracking down on unlicensed practice of real estate

    The Michigan attorney general's office is asking real estate professionals to report anyone who sells real estate without a license. The state has nearly $1 million available to investigate and prosecute those who violate the license law. "We will go to any lengths to stop this practice," said Doug Whitehouse, MAR president and long-time MCAR member. The Michigan Real Estate Enforcement Fund pays for investigations. It was established in 2002 to help prosecute those who violate the law. About $15 of every license fee is deposited in the fund.Anyone who has information on individuals who may be selling real estate without a license should call the Michigan attorney general's office at (517)241-6565. REALTORS® also can call MAR's legal affairs office at (800)454-7842.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Saturday, April 30, 2005

    Birmingham Market update

    There is lots of competition in Birmingham, yet prices are on the rise. Here is our most recent market analysis.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Beverly Hills Market Update

    Our market analyis for Beverly Hills

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Saturday, April 23, 2005

    Michigan Realtor Receives Courage Award

    Mich.: REALTOR® Recognized for Courageous Act(April 21, 2005) -- Stacy Peardon, a salesperson at Keller Williams Realty in St. Clair Shores, Mich., has been honored by two housing groups for taking action after three men threatened her for showing homes in a predominantly white community to African American clients.Peardon reported the incident to the Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit, which referred the case to the FBI. One of the men was later convicted and sentenced to one year of home confinement and one year of probation."It really sent a message to the neighborhood that you can't make threats against people," says Peardon. "I couldn't imagine being chased out of a neighborhood because of the color of my skin."Peardon received the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Courage Award at Fair Housing Month ceremony on April 4 in Washington, D.C. She also was recognized last September with an award from the Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit.Asked whether she considers herself courageous, Peardon says: "I only did what anyone else would have done in my situation."—By Jane Adler

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Thursday, April 21, 2005

    Baldwin Public Library Book Sale

    We LOVE the Baldwin Public Library and are so thankful to have it as a resource for our community. The Friends of the Library is holding its book sale from May 6-9. Call 248-647-1700 for more information.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Using the Principal Residence Sale Tax Exemption

    Thursday, April 21, 2005By Robert J. BrussInman News Internal Revenue Code 121, the principal-residence-sale tax exemption, can be used over and over again, without limit, but not more frequently than once every 24 months. Some savvy home buyers have even created a tax-free business by buying a fixer-upper house, living in it at least 24 months, meanwhile renovating it to increase its market value. If you do this over and over, you will soon become known as a tax-free "serial home seller!" A single person can qualify for up to $250,000 tax-free profits, but a married couple (or two qualified, unmarried co-owner residents) can qualify for up to $500,000 tax-exempt profits every 24 months. The big drawback, however, is living in the home while it is being renovated!

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Wednesday, April 20, 2005

    May 3rd Elections

    Voters in the Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills school districts face separate ballot proposals on May 3rd that address school funding. While its intentions were good, Proposal A, which caps the rate at which a homes taxable value can increase, the effect on school funding in our districts has been detrimental. Home buyers choose to live in Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills because they perceive that we have high quality schools. This perception helps to protect property values. We can't afford to have this perception change. Our schools are facing choices that could impact the quality of education in our community. I urge to to voice on May 3rd, and to support the ballot initiatives in each of these districts.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Monday, April 18, 2005

    Northville Schools

    Just got off the phone with the Northville School District. On April 26th they are announcing plans to re-map the district for the upcoming school year. I was checking on the schools for a particular home, and found that they will likely be changed at that meeting. If you have questions about the re-mapping, give the school district a call at 248-349-3400.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Sunday, April 10, 2005

    MLS Only Listings

    Last year we had an acquaintance who listed her home with a firm that offers a service called MLS Entry Only. The broker has no responsibilities to the client other than to insure that the home is placed in the MLS. Essentially the home is for sale by owner. There is a very small fee for this service, but it is important that the seller understands that they are not getting exactly what they think they are paying for. Yes, the home is in the MLS, but the way it is listed will prevent most agents from pulling it up. This will severly limit showings. In the case of our acquaintance, the home was listed for 124 days this way. It never sold. Without the proper exposure, it never really had a chance. Of course, this can have a negative effect on value. Potential buyers will wonder why nobody else has wanted the home so far. I am always looking for ways to save money. However, we have sold homes for many clients at far higher prices than they ever would have considered on their own. And these homes were sold quickly so that the seller could use the money they needed to move on to their next home. Its easy to focus on the Realtors commission as something you want to save, but if you don't sell your home, then have you really saved anything at all?

    http://www.oakland-county-homes.com
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • St. Joseph?

    OK, I went to 8 years of catechism classes before I started my Catholic high school. But no where along the way did I pick up the notion that St. Joseph could help sell homes. When our mentor brought St. Joseph up during a real estate training session, I thought she was a kidding. She wasn't. When we got one of our first listings she handed us a small statue and told us to bury it in the yard. For more on St. Joseph, click below. http://www.freep.com/realestate/renews/hackney8e_20050408.htm

    http://www.freep.com/realestate/renews/hackney8e_20050408.htm
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Wednesday, April 06, 2005

    Overpriced Housing Markets

    Consumer Reports magazine, May 2005, page 14 has published a study done by "The Local Market Monitor" listing what they say are the Top 20 Overpriced Housing Markets in the US.The study compared average listing price for each market with the affordable price based on average local income.Not surprisingly 14 areas in California led the list with Fort Lauderdale & Miami, Florida with 2, 1 in Providence-Fall River, Rhode Island, Nassau-Suffolk Counties, New York, and 2 locations in New Jersey also listed.Orange County California was tops on the list at 59% over the average affordable price for the area.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Monday, April 04, 2005

    Forbes list of Homes of the Billionaires

    Wonder how Warren Buffet and Bill Gates live? Forbes magazine explores their homes here. Click past the first page of ads for the article.

    http://www.forbes.com/billionaires/2005/03/10/cx_sc_bill05_0310home.html
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • $44 million dollar home!

    CHARLESTON, S.C. -- At a gathering of the Realtors from around the world, a survey of those in attendance showed that the most expensive home on the market was from Dallas -- a $44 million, 55,000-square-foot estate.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Saturday, April 02, 2005

    Fair Housing Month

    In commemoration of the 37th anniversary of the Federal Fair Housing Act, L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive, has designated April as Fair Housing Month. A fair housing counselor is available to assist Oakland County residents with questions about suspected discrimination at (248) 858-5402.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Schools Matter

    The perceived quality of the public schools is one of the most significant factors in property value, and a factor that motivates most buyers, even those without children. In many area cities more than one school district serves the community. In Troy, for example, residents are served by Birmingham, Avondale and Troy School Districts. An otherwise identical Troy home could have a very different value depending on which of these districts serves it. Fair housing law prohibits Realtors from stating that any school district is better than another. But we can give you the resources to determine which district is best for you and your children. For the last few years, Michigan was one of only two states that participated in the School Evaluation Service program run by Standard & Poors. This week S&P launched a new web site, SchoolMatters.com, that takes this effort nationwide. In our opinion, this is one of the best resources available for comparing the performance of districts and individual schools.

    www.schoolmatters.com
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Friday, April 01, 2005

    The Internet and Home Buying

    This morning I read two articles about how consumers are using the internet more in home purchases. A report from Forrester Research stated that buyers prefer the information they get about prospective homes over the internet to traditional advertising in newspapers and home books. On the web buyers get more complete information, additional pictures, neighborhood or school data and virtual tours. This trend is leading Realtors away from print advertising, as it is quickly losing efficacy. A survey from the California Association of Realtors showed that buyers who begin their search on the web look at homes for 3 weeks less than other buyers, presumably because they are able to narrow their search efficiently. Dmitry and I see the our industry changing rapidly because of the internet. Our biggest investments are in technology and training to keep ourselves ahead of our competition and offering our clients the best possible service.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Tuesday, March 29, 2005

    Listings across America

    A couple of sites like realtor.com, yahoo real estate and MSNHouse and Home have come to be dominant players in consumers searches for information about homes for sale. While these sites provide a valuable service to homeseekers, the information that they provide is often incomplete. A better source for listing information is the Multi List service. Many MLS's around the country have public sites that allow buyers to peruse current listing inventory. Typically these sites have more detailed data about listings, including multiple photos and complete descriptions. A great new site has been compiled to make it easier for consumers to find the public MLS sites. http://publiclistings.realtown.com

    http://publiclistings.realtown.com
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Friday, March 25, 2005

    Birmingham Buzz

    Concerned citizens are behind the website Bhambuzz.org The site is an interesting forum for those who like to follow Birmingham politics. If you own a home in Birmingham, check in here to see how your neighbors feel about how your tax dollars are being spent.

    http://bhambuzz.org
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Mold in Your Home

    Mold issues have received a lot of attention in the press over the last few years, though things have seemed a bit quieter recently. Basically, mold is caused by moisture and it is found in all homes. The issue that home owners should be concerned about is toxic molds. A good source for more information about mold is The Environmental Protection Agency's web site.

    http://www.epa.gov/mold/
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Thursday, March 24, 2005

    For Sale by Owner

    Did you know? . . . the typical FSBO home sold for $145,000, compared to $175,000 for agent-assisted home sales. FSBO Methods Used to Market Home

    • Yard sign 72%
    • Friends/neighbors 27%
    • Newspaper ad 61%
    • Open House 41%
    • Internet 20%
    Most Difficult Tasks for FSBO Sellers Getting the right price 19%

    Understanding paperwork 30% Preparing / fixing up home for sale 26% Attracting potential buyers 7% Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale14%

    Source: 2003 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers.

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Beverly Hills, MI Market Stats--Homes for Sale and Pending

    Listing and sales activity for Beverly Hills, MI 76 homes listed for sale: Avg List Price $385,285.00 The Median Price $479,000.00 The Highest Price $800,000.00 The Lowest Price $158,000.00 The Average Market Time 58 Pending sales since January 1, 2005 Avg List Price $361,214.00 The Median Price $352,400.00 The Highest Price $469,900.00 The Lowest Price $234,900.00 The Average Market Time 53 Source: Realcomp II

  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  • Birmingham, MI Market Stats--Homes for Sale and Pending Sales

    307 Active Listings: Avg List Price: $879,264.00 The Median Price: $2,084,450.00 The Highest Price: $3,999,000.00 The Lowest Price: $169,900.00 The Average Market Time: 96 Pending since January 1, 2005 32 Pending Listings: Avg List Price: $833,970.00 The Median Price: $1,532,500.00 The Highest Price: $2,900,000.00 The Lowest Price: $165,000.00 The Average Market Time: 55 Source: Realcomp II

    miBirmingham.com
  • OUR BLOG HAS MOVED. For the latest on Oakland County Real Estate, be sure to visit us at MIOaklandCounty.com, and don't forget to bookmark our new home.
  • For additional resources and services for Oakland County home buyers and sellers: Oakland-County-Homes.com


    Copyright 2005-2006 Maureen Francis. All rights reserved.
  •