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!

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Posted in community, home ownership, Midland Saginaw Real Estate, Uncategorized

NIGHTMARE NEIGHBOR

Is there anything worse than having a “Nightmare Neighbor”? I can think of one thing – being one! For any of you who might read my blog regularly, this topic might not seem to fit the norm of MoniqueKnowsRealEstate.com where most of my posts are topical issues about real estate stats, design ideas, & buyer or seller tips. A recent confrontation with a neighbor of my own prompted this article.

A typical Michigan Spring means anything goes. This year was no different with random snow flurries, cold temps, and a whole lot of rain. The rain played the instigator in my Nightmare Neighbor scene. My yard is just over an acre. It is quite long and narrow, with the house being situated about half the distance back.  Last year I had a professional landscaping service do my weekly lawn maintenance. This year however, because my college daughter was going to be home and the fact I have 4 investment properties to maintain – I thought it would be a perfect time to get a rider and give my daughter a little extra cash. It so happened I had a client whose home I had for sale was moving out of the area and I purchased her mower. I brought it home, was able to get the front yard mowed, but the back was way too wet. A week passed, I had to get that back mowed! I went out to discover that my “new” used mower was broken. Ugh!! I couldn’t get anyone out right away to repair it and the landscaping company had already started their new season of routes and couldn’t fit me in.

The next weekend I took an entire Sunday off of work (which is a real rare thing) so I could spend the day mowing, weed-whacking, planting flowers and my vegetable garden. I was super excited because I love to work outdoors. I had gone to Lowe’s the previous Friday to purchase a new John Deere and it was to be delivered on Sunday. Let’s just say they had to make 3 deliveries on Sunday but I did end up with my mower.  I hopped on with a smile on my face a vroomed right out to the back yard. I made it just around the back corner when I noticed a neighbor waving his arms frantically. I thought there was an emergency so I stopped and shut the mower down.  He began screaming at me. What a disrespectful neighbor I was to have that long grass, my dandelions were blowing in his yard, my trees dropped sticks in his yard, I had a dead tree that needed to be cut… Which then escalated into “all the neighbors hate you” and a train of yells, shouts of obscenities, and criticisms which had absolutely nothing to do with the back part of my lawn being long. I was dumbfounded. I really just wanted to run, hide, and cry. Who was this person? What on earth prompted such rage? Never before in the almost 3 years I’ve lived there has my lawn been overdue for a cut – ever.

I thought about it long and hard. It was easy to decide my neighbor was a “Nightmare”. Who would get so crazy about a lawn? And why, I thought, if he had an issue – didn’t he just say something to me. Back came memories of growing up in a farming community, where when something needed to be done like a barn raising, a fencepost, or even a wedding reception – the neighbors all came! We were all friends or at least very friendly. We knew each other. I reckon if our lawn suddenly looked shabby – someone would have shown up with a casserole – on their lawnmower – dropped it off and cut the grass knowing something had to be wrong. That’s the life I grew up with.

What’s my point in sharing this story? Certainly not to trash my neighbor. I think however, that we need to remember “the old days” and apply them to today. Do you know your neighbors? You should. I imagine if I knew this neighbor a little bit better, he may have approached me that my dandelion seeds were bothering him. Or I may have known that something crazy was going on in his life that caused him to be extra stressed. Most of all though, it made me stop and think about what my neighbors might think. Just because it doesn’t bother me to have a random dandelion in my backyard doesn’t mean my neighbor doesn’t despise it. When I set my trash out on to the street on the day before trash pick-up, my neighbor might think it is horrible. When I drive my lawn tractor around the trees that are along the property line, which means the blade is facing out and it blows a bit of grass in their yard, I might think it is ok – they have a 5 acre yard after all and how else am I going to go around the tree closely? They might think it is rude. So, the crux of it all is as with many things; communication. Talk to your neighbors, ask them what they think. Find out what’s important to them, even though you might think it is ridiculous. Gee, kind of sounds like any relationship, right? And, I think a nice plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies goes a long way! Make your neighborhood a special place to be. 🙂

Thanks for reading my story – Feel free to check out my other blog posts, videos, and website for all kinds of real estate information – They’re all available on my website. http://www.homesofmidmichigan.com

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Blessings and Stress, Building Success

I always love to read those letters people put together at the beginning of the New Year. It seems time passes so swiftly and many of the people we know and care about, or those whose adventures we like to follow, have drifted away and it gives us a chance to catch up. A quiet moment spent reading a note that brings smiles, sometimes tears, and often times a renewed sense of: It’s a new slate, a new beginning, let’s go get ’em!  So, here I am on my blog writing my note about this past year. (a little late too! but it has been busy!!)

On a personal side my big events were: wedding, and off to school.  I married off my oldest beautiful daughter, Cassandra Skylar to a wonderful man from Peru’. She has finished her Masters degree and is making a great contribution to the world as a social worker. Her hubby Ruben is currently obtaining his Master degree as well and will bless a lucky congregation as pastor.  It was a wonderful event that brought lots of joy and floods of memories. Gone is my girly with the little ringlets who loved to run the house in her undies. (sorry Cass). Our youngest, Raven Leigh is now a sophomore in college, moved out this fall, and is pulling in a near 4.0 while studying the field of Speech Pathology. I am truly blessed as a mother. Oh, I can’t forget my new dog – or the old one! We were grieved to have lost our fabulous Scruffy the labradoodle of 9 years. 😦 He was about the smartest and most loyal dog I ever knew.  Just a few months ago we have added Abbott, AKA #AbbottTheRealtorDog. Lol. He accompanies me to work most days and loves to pester the cats. 🙂

One year ago I was just beginning my dream of becoming one of Mid-Michigan’s best and well known Realtors and establishing my new property investment company…. formulating a dream of success, figuring out the keys to unlock the doors of a new level.  It became so much more than that. As I began working with Gary Holt of Holt Marketing & Management, I realized there’s a whole lot more to it than just a business plan.  He made me study myself. I can’t tell you the countless hours I spent testing, researching, etc. both myself and the dynamics of others. I needed to find out my strengths and weaknesses as a person in order to better be able to serve my clients. It isn’t just about the advertising, but about serving people, gaining trust, providing excellent customer service, answering questions, honesty, and being real and being available.

Once I began to understand myself on a personal level, we began to formulate a very specific plan. Then we began the process of working with Rich, also of Holt, to build a brand around me. That was an adventure too! I have been so pleased with the results from both Gary and Rich. Not only was “Your Real Estate Matchmaker – Connecting Buyers and Sellers for a Perfect Match” born, but the inner workings of a very structured plan.  It is a huge amount of work and a huge amount of stress and responsibility.  We’re getting there and it is paying off. I am proud to bring integrity, experience, knowledge, and professionalism to my field and my community.

If you’ve received this in your email – chances are I’ve been blessed to work with you in the past or perhaps call you family, friend, or all of the above. Thank you for making my life full of blessings. A special thanks to my family; Don, Cass, Rave, & Ruben for all your support this last year. It has been tiring, it has been fulfilling, and I know it is just the beginning to a great year!

The new year has begun with a bang – 4 purchase agreements just today! I would love to assist you or a family member, or friend you may have who is in need of a Realtor or a referral. As always, feel free to give me a call at 989-475-2958 or email me today! Many blessings to you and yours this coming year! God bless. 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized

Credit What??

Why, Why, Why YOU should know your credit score!

Come on, shout it out! What’s your score? Don’t know? Let me tell you why you should, how it could be costing you money, what to do about it and so on.

In this crazy world of identity theft and online everything, one would think we all pay attention to our credit score. But, I’m here to tell you that most people don’t. And it is costing a lot of them a small fortune – and putting a big ole damper on their home-ownership dreams. Not only that, a poor credit score costs you thousands by way of higher auto insurance and interest payments!  I have a really cute home here in a really nice city neighborhood in Saginaw for sale at $69,000. When I started my FB advertising, I literally had more than 100 people respond within days. I have showed this home a good 30 times (Because I semi pre-qualified over the phone). I have yet to find a buyer with a credit score higher than 580. And most of them it seems, are working folk who simply don’t understand what a credit score is, how various things affect it, and how to make it better. Oddly enough, not being in debt is not the key to a high credit score!

I interviewed Doug D’Angelo, of Lake Michigan Credit Union recently for some simple facts and tips about credit scores. He has been a great resource to me over the years, working to assist buyers achieve their home-ownership dreams. Here are a few tips:

  • Pay your bills on time – even a few days late makes a difference; not only with your credit score but the interest you’re paying.
  • pay off any collections and judgments; they have a large impact.
  • Keep your balance below 30% of the credit limit (but not at a zero) for the optimal credit score help.
  • Minimize outstanding debt, but having a solid 3 sources reporting is best (auto, credit card) But again, keep your sources of debt at or below that 30%.
  • Avoid overextending your self. Lenders don’t like to see that 50% of you income is going to pay off your debts
  • AFTER BANKRUPTCY or Foreclosure….
  • The quickest you can apply for a mortgage after filing Chapter 7 is two years from the date of discharge.
  • The quickest after Chapter 13 is after 1 year of payments made by the trustee with ZERO LATE payments

I have found keeping a good old fashioned budget book works the best for me. Log in what your expected income is each week and plug in where all your bills are due, so that when you get your paycheck, you already know what bills you need to pay. If possible, set your bills up for online payment with your bank. I don’t like to do that with each individual creditor, as I don’t have control in case of an emergency but I have all my credit reporting bills set up for an auto payment with my personal bank online. This allows me to schedule them monthly and change the amount I’m paying, right up to the day before it is paid. 🙂

I am amazed each and every day at how many people would like to own a home and can even afford one; but their dreams are dashed because of credit score. You know how you always say, “Time flies”? Well, it does; so get to work on your credit and before you know it – you can call me and say, “Monique find me my dream home!!” …. and I’ll get right on it! 🙂

For those of you with excellent credit scores – Congratulations! and maybe you’d like to comment about how you like to organize and stay ahead of the game. Anyone who would like some specific information about their credit is welcome to call me. If you aren’t able to get yourself a home for Christmas this year – I’m sure with a little diligence, we can get you one for the next! Have an awesome day and remember I love referrals too.

Posted in goal setting, home ownership

ShaBoom! Goal Achieved!

Why, you might ask, is Monique – the Real Estate Matchmaker, writing a blog on her site about goals? Well, there are a few reasons and I think they’re super-uber important so I hope you’ll indulge in 2 minutes that could have a huge impact on your life. And yes, I threw that “uber” word in there just for you “Under 25” crowd. 🙂 Twice your age means I have the potential to be twice as cool, right?

…..anyway….. Here’s the thing. I have been a Realtor for 9 years. I hold 2 bachelor degrees, and have worked in Broadcasting, Sales, & Management since 1990. In the spring of 2014 I had an “encounter” that changed my life in many ways. So much so, that by January 2015 I was on the prowl for a business coach, marketing firm, and lots of answers about how to be a real estate guru. It started pretty simply, actually. A client asked me a question. He asked me if I could make him money in real estate. He entrusted me with a pretty nice sum of money. At that same luncheon, he made a statement something like, If you’re the best (and I know he truly believed I was) – why aren’t you number #1. Hmmm….

Here’s what I learned. You achieve what you expect to achieve; what you plan to achieve, and even what you believe you have already achieved. That last part sounds a little funky, I know. But, as I studied, and worked, and read, I realized that I needed to believe I was already #1. I had to act in a way that would bring my dreams into reality. But, the first step is to have that goal. You can’t achieve something that doesn’t exist! I started working – really diligently. I became goal specific. I learned systems.(Thanks, Gary) I began doing motivational talks – not just to help others, but myself too. I hired that business coach to hold me accountable, and the marketing firm to wrap it all up into a great package. I hired an assistant for the overload of tasks I knew was going to come. It was a TON of work. Learning about myself, my personality traits, strengths,weaknesses (yup, I have a few), market demographics, psycho-graphics of my audience… it went on and on – and still is.

So, I set my goals and started implementing everything. I made my goals public in my agent motivational speech. It is much more difficult to forget about a goal if no one else knows about it! One of my goals was that I wanted a new Dodge Charger. That my friends, is where this blog comes about! Last Friday, I went out and bought one. I’m super excited. and I’m loving it! Now, maybe you could care less if I have my new Charger. That’s ok. 🙂 But here’s what I think is important: A. You know I’m a person following and achieving my dreams. B. You should have a dream too!

Keep in mind that goals can change. This year I wanted my beautiful new Charger. But, that’s not to say that next year I won’t desire something else, like a new cabin, or adding exponentially to my mission work. Our reality changes and so can our goals. The point is that we need one in order to achieve one. Home ownership is a huge American dream! There are a lot of factors involved in being able to achieve that goal in itself. Maybe your dream is to have a great home and be mortgage free. Maybe it is buying up, or perhaps it has nothing to do with real estate. Take a moment today and jot down your dream. Imagine it being reality and figuring out how to get there will happen. You’ll be creative. Don’t think for a second that it isn’t tough work though. But gee…. when you hit that goal – you’ll be able to take a silly picture on the day you achieve it too! I’d love to see it!!!

Posted in Home Buyers

HOUSES ARE LIKE SPOUSES! Great Info For Buyers

They cost as much – can be cold and drafty – potential to take away your paycheck! Oh my, this is not what I was thinking when I posted that I would be writing an article with the title Houses Are Like Spouses; but those were some of my followers lines! Lol……

Here’s what I was thinking: Have you heard that line before, “There’s no one perfect spouse”? This is the direction I was headed. Stay with me here. You see, I love working with buyers. For the most part they are super fun and it is so exciting when they find “The one”. But in reality, I don’t think there is any “one” perfect home, as there isn’t necessarily a perfect spouse. No house is perfect, neither is any person. Though, as they say – there might be one perfect for you. Or at least one that you can work on where the end result is indeed the perfect match. 🙂

When I begin working with a buyer, I ask them to get me a Wish List. Write down some major and most important factors you are looking for in a home; just like your mom told you to do when you were looking for that special person in your life. There are a lot of things you can like &/or dislike in a home. Some are deal breakers, others are fixable, changeable, or just not that important. Decide what is the most important aspect in a home for you. It will be different for everyone. Maybe location is most the highest on the list for you. Maybe it needs to be a 1 story, have a main floor master, or you just have to have a pole barn. What is it? Narrow it down. Make sure you are aware of the items that are deal-breakers & those that are “Gee that would be nice”.

The reason is because most likely there won’t be one home that has it all. But, there may be several that have everything except one or two things. I rehab a lot of homes. Buy them, fix em, and re-sell. I have come to look for the possibility in homes. Maybe I found the perfect location but I understand most people want a master suite and this home doesn’t have it. I just closed on one of those last week. Voila, for under $5,000 I am making a master suite and have added another half bath off the kitchen to make a 2 1/2 bath home, that was originally a 2 bath and it will soon have that ever sought after master suite with walk-in closet and bath. Things aren’t always that expensive. Most things can be done. Would it have been economical for me to have purchased a home that I would have had to actually put an addition on? Nope, absolutely not. But this one worked perfectly for me.  At my personal home though, I’m considering an addition; one that will make my home just the way I want, and it is focused on things I know the return on investment is high.

Here are some main things you should consider when buying a home: location, setting, style (ranch, 2 story), # BR’s & BTH, basement, attached garage, pole barn, acreage, and of course price. What is important to you? When we look for that perfect person, we may have to teach them to kiss – our way! Or to put the toilet paper roll front ways. These are trainable and changeable things. Just like there are things in a house that we can do to make it a home, OUR home. Don’t miss out on something that could be just perfect for you!!