Posted in Bay City Michigan, Best Time to Sell, Buying Homes, Finding a great Realtor, Home Buyers, Home Buying Tips, Home Selling Tips, Midland Michigan, Midland Saginaw Real Estate, Planning, Real Estate Bay Midland Saginaw, Real Estate Market Statistics, Realtor, Selling Homes, Selling Your Home

Market Check 2021

We are half way through 2021 and the market is showing a variety of positive signs. Though I’ve personally and within conversations with other agents, found that some buyers are suffering from “fatigue” the stats are showing that Saginaw home prices are up 13% in 2021. Bay County has risen by 8%, whereas Midland at least price-wise has fallen by 1% since last year.


There are so many factors that go into looking at the market. For the most part, the average sales prices have risen for several years. I remember the days when the average sales price in Saginaw County was $90,000 and in the City alone it was about $13,000! So to be at an average of over $154,000 county-wide that is an amazing feat.


One of the reasons for the rising prices is the lack of inventory. The number of homes on the market has drastically reduced over the last three years. I can’t say I’ve ever heard a good report about why. I can say that recently there is a lot of hesitation for sellers going on the market who are planning to upgrade but stay in the same area – they’re afraid to be homeless; selling without finding a new place. We have had some good luck with targeted advertising in finding those seller’s homes prior to putting theirs on the market so we can alleviate that stress. 


As a whole, there are benefits for buyers and sellers in this market. Low interest rates are allowing buyers more house for the payment and sellers are receiving higher dollars for their home. If you’d like to know what your home is worth – give me a call! 989-475-2958

Posted in Buying Homes, Finding a great Realtor, goal setting, home ownership, Motivation, Planning, Succeed

When Gratefulness Abounds

I had a reverse thrill at my double closing yesterday. I mean closings are always good, it’s what I work for, right? And a double closing where I have the buyers and sellers is even more amazing. However, yesterday I had a newfound “reverse” sensation at closing. I was so excited, not for myself, but for my clients. And when I came back to the office to update my closing chart, I had an even more amazing realization. Let me tell you about both that wild sensation and realization.

Yesterday I closed on a duplex with both buyers and sellers who were repeat clients. As I came back into the room to give the buyers the keys and saw their smiling faces it hit me; the great journey that they’ve been on. It was only a few years ago that I helped them purchase a couple of flip homes and re-sell them. Then they started to purchase up-scale rentals, beginning with hard money loans til they could “prove their worthiness” in the banking industry standards. They took risks and it paid off. After a few years, I had the opportunity to assist them in purchasing a warehouse because their construction company had taken on some great commercial contracts and they needed space. Now they’re a huge success on a Regional Nationwide scale. And they’re just plain great people. They always have a smile, they’re always polite and funny and have a vision for even greater things. It re-inspired me. It challenged me and it just plain made me joyful realizing the success and the journey they have been on.  

As I handed them the keys I thought, what a great story and fulfilling of an American dream. It has been a joy to be even such a small part of it. And then I thought of my sellers who have come full circle, selling off their first investment property, where they had lived so long ago and selling to be near to their beloved grandkids.

When I returned to my office with all the documents, I looked at my updated list of the 1st quarter closings. There were 13 of them, with over 2.5 million in volume. I can remember my early days in real estate that I hoped for that number for the year! But, the most amazing thing that caught my attention was that when I looked at that chart; showing the addresses, volume, dates, and where the business came from – I discovered that 12 of 13 deals were repeat clients or referrals from clients. That is an incredible thing. I had to sit down for a second and reflect on my gratefulness. What am I grateful for? You!  Somehow, somewhere, you’ve had an impact in my real estate career &/or my life. I just felt I really needed to say Thank You. I am so blessed and so excited for what is to come.

It is easy to forget our blessings in this often-crazy world. Sometimes we get in a rut. Sometimes we forget to dream bigger when we’ve achieved our goals. Sometimes we forget to extend our gratitude. So I wanted to do that today. I am grateful for you. Whether you’re a client large or small, a friend, my cheerleader, my mentor, someone who has referred me, reads my articles, or all of the above – I am grateful for you. Dream Big my friends, and don’t forget to thank those who have helped you become who you are. You are my blessing.

Posted in Buying Homes, community, Finding a great Realtor, goal setting, Home Buying Tips, home ownership, Home Selling Tips, Planning, real estate, Real Estate Bay Midland Saginaw

Let’s Talk About Conventional Loans

👉 The most flexible of mortgages – the conventional mortgage can be used for all types of homes; single family, vacation, rentals, & multi-family residences and there’s no maximum loan limit. They are unique because they are not guaranteed nor insured by the Federal Government, although most lenders/mortgage brokers will conform to the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac guidelines so that they can later sell their loans to them, which frees up their funds to take on more loans. Conventional mortgages typically have lower closing costs than other loan types but do require a higher credit score from the borrower.

👉 Terms and Interest rates will vary depending on your DTI (Debt to Income) your credit score and what lender you choose. But with a conventional mortgage, you may qualify for a 3% -20% down payment and choose a 30, 20, 15, 0r 10 year term to repay your loan. Most lenders require at least a 620 credit score but you will find that as your credit score goes up, your interest rate will come down. Your DTI will also help determine how much you will get approved for.

👉 If you purchase a home using a conventional loan and your down payment is less than 20%, keep in mind you’ll be paying for Mortgage Protection Insurance (MPI) until your equity is above that 20% mark.If you’re interested in hearing more about a conventional mortgage or any other type that you may qualify for, give me a call or send me a DM and I can recommend some great local loan officers and mortgage brokers that can find the best fit for your situation.

CONVENTIONAL IN A NUTSHELL
*Lower Consumer Costs
*Most flexible terms
*not government backed
*No maximum Loan Limit
*No MPI when over 20% equity
*Usable on all types of properties
*Requires Higher Credit Score
*May be more difficult to obtain than FHA/RD
*Closes More Quickly

Getting a Pre-approval is an absolute must in this busy real estate market. If you wish to get moving, let’s find a loan officer to start pre-approving!

Posted in Best Time to Sell, Buying Homes, Finding a great Realtor, Home Selling Tips, Planning

Getting Ready For Spring Market

Planning to sell? Here are a few quick tips to get your home in order to help win the best price!

Exterior:
1. Trim your trees & shrubs.
2. Clean Flower/landscaping beds.
3. Add a pop of color near the entry with flowers/pots.
4. Be sure front door area is clean, fresh and that the door is operating without difficulty or noise.

Interior:
1. De-Clutter: This is the number 1 thing to do to make your house more appealing!
2. Wash walls/light switches.
3. If walls don’t clean up well, have them painted. Fresh paint is a great way to make your home smell
fresh.
4. Make sure all lightbulbs are working.
5. Ask your favorite REALTOR ™ about any other more detailed concerns/ideas you may have prior to
spending the money to do them!

Posted in Buying Homes, Home Buyers, Home Buying Tips

This Mistake Can Cost You Your Dream Home

We’ve all seen them, heard them, and perhaps ventured down the road to homeownership using them…. What is it you wonder? It is a National Lending Institution. Yup – doesn’t sound fancy or sexy, or remotely exciting. But I can say that there are huge repercussions that can come into play using one lending institution versus another. And most National Lending Institutions are at the bottom of my list. Let me explain.

Mid-October I had a buyer who closed on a Rural Development (RD) loan. It was very exciting in this very competitive market just to get an offer with a Rural Development loan accepted. They typically take 45 days instead of 30 and there is the possibility of sellers needing to make some repairs. But, here we were back in the beginning of June with an accepted RD offer. Wait – did you catch it?….  That we just closed this in October? Yeah, that is true. Not only did it take 128 days to close this loan, through no fault of the buyer or seller, it was the first RD in 14 years where my buyer had to come to the closing with cash because the lending institution’s fees were so exorbitant. In fact, we didn’t have his actual closing figures until ten minutes prior to the closing! As if the 128 days weren’t enough for the lender to get the proper package to the title company to work up the figures for closing at least a day in advance. Not only that but 6 hours before the closing the buyer had been told he would receive a check back at closing in the amount of $110 (typical for RD loans). So, while he was en-route to closing the lender removed an $865 credit they said was due to faulty new software and he had to run to the bank and make up the difference. Thankfully, he had the funds.  This same national lender is currently on day 89 for another buyer who will most likely lose the house, her inspection and appraisal fees because the seller is just plain fed up with waiting. These are lenders that I am calling and emailing daily throughout the process. I have spoken to the loan officers, processors, underwriters, regional managers – all to no avail.

In a different situation I had a VA (Veteran) buyer who was using a National Company and 5 weeks into the deal the lender decided their underwriting division was not going to accept the appraisal, despite it being at the value of the home. In this case, I was able to get it all transferred to a local lender and we closed 2 weeks later.

Why am I writing to let you know these scenarios? Well, if you or someone you know is in the market to buy, I want you to have ample information. I want you to know that it is common practice to advertise a super low rate only to find out at closing that you’ve been charged a few thousand dollars up front for that. I want you to know that you won’t have a local contact using a national lender and you’ll likely be speaking to multiple people throughout the country during your loan process. It can be an added headache that isn’t necessary.

My 14 years of experience and closing about a loan every week with my buyers/sellers has given me the advantage of experiencing so many great and not-so-great lending institutions. There are good and “bad” national companies and local companies. The advantage being that as a Realtor™ I have the experience of knowing who/where typically does a great job, which lenders have programs that may benefit particular clients, etc.

If you’re in the market to buy, even if I’m not your agent – I’d suggest you ask for some high quality lending referrals. Realtors™ don’t get perks, bonuses, gifts of any kind from lenders. So, no worries about the reason why an agent would recommend certain loan officers. We do so in order to save you time, stress, potentially thousands of dollars, and even the house. We don’t want you to go through all the work of finding your perfect match only to lose it because your loan officer couldn’t perform in a timely fashion. Granted it is super busy – all lending institutions are taking longer due to increased workloads. But folks, 128 days is NOT acceptable in any fashion, nor is 89. Buyers losing out on their inspection and appraisal fees is also not acceptable. Purchasing a home should be a great adventure!  So, when you’re looking to buy – be sure to ask your favorite Realtor™ which local lending institutions have a spectacular track record with their previous clients. We all should be able to provide you with several recommendations of local loan officers ready to serve you and your particular needs in the very best fashion!

Posted in Buying Homes, Credit Score, Home Buyers, home ownership, Midland Saginaw Real Estate, real estate, Real Estate Bay Midland Saginaw, Uncategorized

Don’t Get Sidelined by Your Credit!

You can’t have good credit unless you have debt. Sound like an oxymoron? It always has to me, but nevertheless it is a fact.  As a Realtor, I am often in the position of raising awareness about repairing credit and even the importance of how the system works and what your current score is.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people who have a 20% down payment on hand (in their mattress) but have no credit and are shocked when they can’t get a mortgage. Then there are those who have 15 different credit cards, bankruptcies,  or repossessions, who are also amazed when they have their credit pulled and find it is rated poorly and they’re unable to secure a mortgage.

You should always know your credit score. Not only does it give you a sense of accomplishment when you see it go higher, but it will also alert you if something is happening that you’re not aware of, such as identity theft or erroneous reporting.  There are various companies online that will allow you to check your score and some credit card companies also offer it.

Just be sure you’re looking at your FICO score; as this is what the majority of lenders/creditors will be looking at.  FICO stands for Fair Isaac Corporation which created the system back in 1960.  In order to even have a FICO score, you have to have an account of some type, whether revolving (credit card)  or a set monthly installment (car loan) and it needs to have been reported to the credit bureau for at least six months.

People are often under the impression that paying off a card is a good way to raise your credit score – – Nope! Or that they should close an account to raise it – – No Sir! Paying down a credit card and maintaining it to around a 30% balance will raise your score more than paying it off. Also, the longer an account is open, the longer your history is and that is also advantageous.

It does not have to be a mystery. Keep in mind these simple steps:

  1. Paying your credit accounts on time has the more significant impact on your credit score.
  2. Don’t use more than 30% of your available credit on any one card – if you do, be sure to pay it down to that 30% at the end of that billing month.
  3. Don’t close out all your old accounts. Having an account open for a long period of time scores you credit score benefits.
  4. Use more than one type of credit, combining installment and revolving. Be sure you don’t get carried away. If you can’t pay it off in 30 days (revolving) you probably shouldn’t purchase it.

Most lenders require a credit score of 640 in order to purchase a home; though there are a few who have programs for scores less than that. It is pretty amazing though, because at 640 you’re only in the “Poor” rating for credit.  If you want to secure a lower interest rate on a home, increasing your credit score is a great way to do that.

A simple way to look at it is this: Bad = 550 & below/ Poor 550-649/ Fair 650-699/ Good 700-749/Excellent 750+

If you have questions about mortgages and/or credit scores, please feel free to contact me. I work with some great lenders who are willing to help you raise that credit score and create a plan specifically for you. Purchasing a house is a great investment. Don’t get sidelined because of a surprise or non-existent credit score.

 

Posted in bay city, Bay City Michigan, Buying Homes, community, Finding a great Realtor, goal setting, Home Buyers, Home Selling Tips, midland, Midland Michigan, Midland Saginaw Real Estate, real estate, Real Estate Bay Midland Saginaw, Real Estate Market Statistics, Realtor, saginaw, Selling Homes, Selling Your Home, Tips for selling your home faster, Uncategorized

Less Sales – Higher Prices for Saginaw County

Based on number of transactions, March 2017 fell short in Saginaw County home sales when compared to a very robust March of last year, and even behind the 5 year March average. Don’t despair! If you are a buyer or seller there is still good news.

Despite the lower number of sales, Saginaw’s 12 month average sales price ending in March 2017 was at $104,314. This is up 3.33% over last year at the same time. I remember back in 2008 when the average home sale was at a whopping $64,143 – so we’ve made a lot of progress getting back to the “Pre-crash” price in 2005 and the average was just over $107,000.

Lots of numbers. What does it mean? Well, we can’t really formulate a trend from the low March sales. I’ll be keeping an eye on it to see if it was a statistical anomaly for the month. A slow March in essence is really a slowdown of activity in January. The plus side is the increase in home values for our various communities. That’s good news for sellers.  This in turn, realistically is also good for buyers.  Why? Well, all year we’ve seen low inventory of good homes.  As word spreads that home prices are continuing to rise, more sellers are likely to get their homes on the market. This gives a buyer more choices, which also gives them more leverage when making an offer.

The March trend was different for Bay and Midland Counties, despite how closely tied our Mid-Michigan communities are.  Bay County saw 25% more transactions this March over last year which is great; however the average sales price rose less than 1%.  Midland also saw about a 20% increase in number of transactions over last March plus had a 6.13% increase in values.

Quarterly reports should be out soon and that will perhaps give a little more insight as to whether March was a trend or an anomaly. Always good to keep in touch with the heartbeat of your community.  If you would like to know more specific information for your area, please feel free to call or email me. If you’d like to receive a free home market analysis – I’d love to hear from you.

~Build a better world by building a better you

  • Monique Gilbert – Your Real Estate Matchmaker – Connecting Buyers & Sellers for a Perfect Match
Posted in bay city, Bay City Michigan, Buying Homes, community, Finding a great Realtor, Home Buyers, midland, Midland Michigan, Midland Saginaw Real Estate, real estate, Real Estate Bay Midland Saginaw, Realtor, saginaw, Uncategorized

Is Real Estate Investing For You?

Recently Saginaw was deemed the 2nd Best Housing Market in the United States. I know that seems to be contrary to what most people think when they ponder the state of Saginaw, with its loss of population and manufacturing jobs over the past decade.  There were a lot of factors that went into the study which gave us this infamous title. Though many of the factors are good things for us; higher number of residential sales in 2016 than any other in 10 years, average sales price climbing, etc – there’s more to it than that; and it and of itself could be a series of articles. But my point today is with the current changes in our market, could real estate investing be a good avenue for you?

If you are active in the stock market you are well aware of the volatility over the past years. If you’re toward the end of your working age, or recently retired – you may have had to make drastic changes to your retirement plans due to extensive losses.  What do you consider a good Return On Investment? (ROI) Many in the stock market are averaging 5-8%. You might be thrilled at a higher amount.

What if you purchased a home for $25,000 and put in $3,000 of repairs and rented it for $650-$800/month? Taking out taxes and insurance, even on a $650/month home, your income would be about $5,500. That in one year would be an APR ROI of almost 20%. Granted, you will occasionally need to do maintenance, perhaps pay a fee to a property management company. I would always suggest that for the first year, all of your rental income be kept in a designated savings account for future maintenance issues, as well as a good 10-15% each year.

With this income of 19.6%ROI annually, you would have a steady income and when the day came you wanted to sell, history tells us that you should get at least 100% of your original investment back as well. Why isn’t everyone doing this? Well, a lot of people are. I don’t have any stats about the percent of homes being purchased in Saginaw by out of area investors but I know it is much higher than any other time in the past ten years.

Let me be very clear that being a landlord, even if you hire a property management company, is not risk free.  You need to do a great job in selecting tenants (or the PM co. does) You need to be sure you’re setting those maintenance funds aside. There will be tenants who do crazy things and cost you money.

You may decide the risk for damages would be less if you were dealing with more expensive rentals. For example I recently had a client who purchased a home for $60,000 in the Township and then rented it for $1300/month.  That’s an awesome ROI, but a higher initial investment. You have to do what you think is best. And that might be nothing at all! But I believe it bears thinking about.

If you think investing might be worth looking into, feel free to call or email me. We have a great property management division here at Berkshire Hathaway too. If you want some honest advice I would be happy to sit down with you.

 

Posted in bay city, Bay City Michigan, Best Time to Sell, Buying Homes, community, Finding a great Realtor, Home Buyers, midland, Midland Michigan, Midland Saginaw Real Estate, real estate, Real Estate Bay Midland Saginaw, Realtor, saginaw, Selling Homes

…Giving Your Character That Ravishing Red…

Dear Friends:

Fall has been beautiful thus far and soon the festivities of Thanksgiving shall begin. We shall see gourds, pumpkins, shocks of corn, cornucopias, and turkeys galore. Though I personally am not much looking forward to the wintry mix that is sure to soon follow; Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite day of the year.

It is a time I am able to take just a very short break and surround myself with family, my extended family. All five of my siblings, their children, and grandchildren gather at my parents for a day or two of full tabletops, glorious wafting smells arising from the oven, mixed with laughter of children and adults alike. We have pillow fights, card games, leaf wars, football, and more.  I am blessed to have a family who loves to share these types of days together. I am blessed also that we have a wonderful home to gather in and enough in the bank to put whatever we’d like in the oven and on that table.

I encourage you, even if you aren’t a Thanksgiving Day “celebrator”, to take this opportunity to inventory those things in which you can be thankful.  As we watch the leaves turn from their bright greens to ravishing reds, glorious golds, and soft yellows we can turn our thoughts to the changes in our own lives from the past year. Maybe it wasn’t an easy year – those struggles leaving you stronger in the end, giving your character that ravishing red. Maybe there were wonderful celebrations providing you with glorious golden memories, and those little moments to cherish like the soft yellow leaves twirling down in the fall winds.  Whatever has transpired this year; we all have things to be thankful for.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, & change ordinary opportunities into blessings” – William Arthur Ward

Blessings to you and yours,

Monique Gilbert

Posted in Best Time to Sell, Buying Homes, community, Home Buyers, home ownership, Home Selling Tips, real estate, Real Estate Market Statistics, Realtor, saginaw, Selling Homes, Selling Your Home, Tips for selling your home faster

It Is NOT Too Late!

Spring, spring! It’s gotta be Spring or it’s too late! That’s what sellers often think of in regard to home sales. Reality says, it isn’t so. Sure, the highest peak months might be May and June, but looking at the graphs you will most likely be surprised that the only two really low months for closed sales are January and February.

Sales in Saginaw & Midland Counties are up in general this year (yay!) Looking at the graphic below; you can see two things. First you’ll see the difference between the 5 year average and 2016.  Most importantly if you’re thinking of selling, you will see there is not a huge drop-off. Homes are being sold EVERY month.

There is always a market for good inventory.  I would love to give you a free market analysis on your home if you’re thinking of selling or be your buyer agent for those of you looking for that new home of your dreams. Call me today! 989-475-2958!

Graph