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 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!!

Posted in Best Time to Sell, Buying Homes, Real Estate Bay Midland Saginaw, Selling Homes

Best Time to Sell? Is it too late?

Spring, Spring, Spring!!! That’s what people think about when you mention the best time to sell real estate. Is it true? If you’re thinking about putting your home on the market, should you wait til spring? Well, my response to people in the past has always been that if April is the month with the highest number of closings, then people are obviously looking in February and putting offers in during March in order to close in April or May. I’ve looked at our Mid-Michigan stats before, but I thought recently that I’d study them a bit closer in regard to when people are most likely to buy. The truth is – it’s not Spring! At least not here in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

According to the closing stats, each of our three counties vary slightly. Midland County has a highest number of closings in June, with May & August tied in second and September coming in slightly after them. Saginaw County #1 closing month is August, with June being second and September & May being tied for third.  Bay county is almost the same as Saginaw, with August being 1st, May being 2nd and June & September tie for 3rd.

The biggest margin between the 1st and 4th most popular month is only 9 sales. So, in reality there are several great months to sell. Tis true that January is markedly the slowest month in all three counties, but things still sell. So what would my advice be to sellers? Get it on the market now! You can’t sell a house that’s not on the market. Your biggest asset is going to be your agent and their marketing plan, not the month. And for buyers, go on out and keep looking. Inventory is good. Been listing like hotcakes. Truth is; whenever you’re ready to buy or sell – that’s the BEST time to do it!

Remember, if you’d like a free market analysis I’m only a call/text/email away. And if you’re ready to find your next perfect home – same applies to you! 🙂 I would love to assist you.

Until next week – Monique, Your Real Estate Matchmaker; Connecting buyers and sellers for a perfect match.