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Monday, June 5, 2017   /   by Paul Wolfert

8 Ways to Boost your Michigan Home Resale Value

By: Paul Wolfert - "The Move-Up Expert"


From time to time it can be fun to scour the latest “Top Ten” lists of cost-conscious ways to increase the value of your Michigan home.
Some make more sense than others. Upgrading bathroom vanity cabinets appears on some of the house value lists, for instance—but those lists were probably whipped together in a hurry since the return on investment is admitted to be 66%. When an investment returns two-thirds of its cost, it’s hardly competitive. For Michigan homeowners preparing to sell, vanity cabinets don’t belong on the action list.
The best idea lists are the ones which show ROI: the return on investment. Here’s a new compilation, offered purely as food for thought (since the “return” number for any individual case can’t actually be verified)—


Yard improvement, AKA Landscaping. Return on investment registers at a hefty 303% according to the NAR® (and even 400%, per Th ...

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017   /   by Paul Wolfert

Inertia & Clutter (and Selling Your Michigan House)

By: Paul Wolfert


Selling your Michigan house is a lot easier when you have an experienced professional relieving you of the lion’s share of the work. I spend full time dealing with the ins and outs of marketing, dealing with qualified prospective buyers, and making sure the Michigan technical requirements are met to the letter. That means that the lion’s share of what you need to deal with are the finishing touches of showings and open house presentations.
But long before any marketing can get under way; before an eye-pleasing Michigan listing can be created—and even before a final choice the right Realtor® is made—two formidable opponents have to be met and conquered. Taken individually, neither is nearly as imposing as when they team up. But when they work together, they can stall the initiation of any Michigan house selling initiative for months—even years. Unfortunately, they’re always hanging around the house, waiting to cause trouble. ...

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Monday, May 15, 2017   /   by Paul Wolfert

SLAM Method for Comparing Houses for Sale in Michigan

By: Paul Wolfert

I call it SLAM: an easy to remember abbreviation that can help any of my Michigan house hunters quickly rip through listed houses for sale. Any house that scores high in each area is investigated on a deeper level (we go check it out with our eyeballs).
The four parts of the SLAM list:
Schools. The eventual resale value of a candidate property isn’t usually given much consideration early on—but should be. A major issue when it comes to resale is the neighborhood’s school district rating. Schools head the SLAM list because—especially for those who don’t have school-aged children—the quality of a property’s school district is easy to overlook. It can also be an indicator of other community quality issues.
Location. It’s the key element that can’t be adjusted, improved upon, or glossed over—and it’s the reason why “location location location” is the cliché that won’t go away ...

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Thursday, April 20, 2017   /   by Paul Wolfert

Thinking “Michigan Real Estate”? Think “Tax Advantage”

By: Paul Wolfert


As this season’s controversies swirl through Washington, one of them seems likely to wind up being at the top of the heap: federal income taxes.
Whether or not they will be simplified (hopefully) or lowered (ummm—probably?) will be sorted out in due time, but one detail is a lead pipe cinch: when the dust clears, the real estate tax advantage will remain.
If any politician is thinking about eliminating the real estate tax advantage, he or she is wisely being very quiet about it. For good reason: that’s an idea that would probably lead to a quick retirement from public life courtesy of many displeased voters. Certainly, that’s likely to be the case as far as Michigan homeowners and home buyers are concerned.
I don’t provide financial or tax advice, but some of the long-standing real estate tax advantages are well-known and detailed on Uncle Sam’s public sites. The headline tax benefits of homeownership explains their widesp ...

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017   /   by Paul Wolfert

Really Thinking Outside the Box: Shipping Container Homes

By: Paul Wolfert


I don’t know about you, but when I used to hear the term “affordable housing” I’d think of value-priced Michigan condominium listings, some of the nicer area mobile home parks, or maybe fixer-uppers likely to be snatched up by professional house flippers (ultimately to become slightly less affordable housing).
When I heard “affordable housing,” I did not think “packing crate.” Nor did I think, “steamer trunk” or “storage unit.” That turns out to be entirely appropriate; nobody is volunteering to live in those.
Where I missed the boat was that I did not think, “shipping container.”
But that was then—this, as they say, is now. Those simpler days are behind us. Shipping containers, it turns out, are the latest in affordable housing. And I must say there are some real possibilities for tricked-out shipping container homes.
Before dismissing the idea out of hand, first, con ...

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