Triggers that Send Buyers after Homes for Sale in Okemos

What are the most common changes in circumstances that send buyers out looking for homes for sale? What are the events that trigger typical prospects to comb through the Okemos listings, contact Okemos Realtors®, set out on house tours—and ultimately make the offer that results in the move to a new home?

The answer to that question may be different for everyone, but some in-depth research has come up with interesting similarities among groups of active homebuyers. It matches a conclusion that also conforms with common sense: namely, that the motivating events (or “triggers”) sometimes vary by age group. In other words, when we humans reach similar milestones in life, we often make the same housing decisions—even though the reasons for a couple of them may be mysterious.

I came across the details buried in a report put out this past spring by economist Lawrence Guo in Realtor magazine. The top line of the piece—the part that got the most attention—dealt with the homeownership goals of active home shoppers. “Privacy” was the leading goal; “physical comfort” was second; “stability,” third. Of the styles of homes for sale, “ranch homes” were the most sought-after; the kitchen was considered the most important room, etc. None of these findings were at all mysterious or unexpected.

But when it came to revealing the impetus for a move in the first place—the life event or changed condition that set people checking out the current crop of homes for sale—a few could definitely be tied to the age group of the prospects. Since more than 20 triggering events were identified—each broken down into five different age groups—the resulting graphic was so complicated that most readers’ eyes probably glazed over before many conclusions could be drawn. Most of the findings were unremarkable—as when youngsters weren’t as likely as oldsters to cite “considering retirement” as a triggering event, or when some events were equally named by all age groups. But some were less predictable:

  • Relocating to a new city: most common among 35-44 year-olds; least among those 55-64.
  • Favorable home prices: most cited by 25-34 year-olds; least (fewer than half of that group) among 35-44 year-olds.
  • Favorable interest rates: most pointed to by 45-54 year-olds; least among the 35-44 year-olds … and equally cited (about 1 in 10) by all the other age groups.
  • Desire to live closer to family/friends: as expected, ‘way more prominently named by the 65+ group.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to ferret out why home prices are most important to the youngest group, but the greater importance of interest rates to the 45-54 group but not the 35-44s? That one will take some thought. Not a surprise is the across-the-board Number One triggering factor among every age group: “tired of current home”!

If you fit in with that extremely common group, right now there are extraordinary values to be had among today’s homes for sale in Okemos. Give me a call to lay out an itinerary for visits to the ones that match up with your own specific wish list requirements!   

Renting or Selling Your Holt Home: Caterpillar or Butterfly?

From our earliest days, everybody in Holt is inundated with tale of transformations. It started with those grade school day trips to science places with exhibits showing the improbable progression of fish (well, pollywogs) into frogs. There were nature TV shows with sped-up motion films demonstrating the unlikely truth that icky caterpillars DO turn into graceful butterflies. In fact, Lansing cable TV is littered with the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel and PBS and the NatGeo Channel—all of which seem to be dedicated into making sure we won’t forget that Nature is full of every day metamorphoses and how ugly ducklings will one day become swans.

We’ve been brainwashed into accepting that transformations are unstoppable.

So it’s only natural that when some Holt homeowners have found themselves a new home, they don’t hesitate to assume it would be no big deal if they decide to change themselves from homeowner into landlord. Since Holt rental rates are projected to keep rising, renting the current house out rather than just selling it surely makes sense. If Nature is any guide, the transformation from homeowner to landlord doesn’t seem like there’s much to think about. Their Holt home has been a good investment, so why not try renting it? It’s a natural progression, isn’t it?

The answer is yes and no. Renting your Holt home can be a terrific move if you are ready to add the landlord’s role to all the other activities that currently fill your day. It starts with making a stream of decisions: Will you allow pets? Chihuahuas? Rottweilers? What will your deposit agreement look like? When will you be available to take repair calls? What happens in emergencies?

Decisions are one thing, but once the rules are set, not everyone is comfortable being the person who has to enforce tough business realities—even if they are perfectly fair. How comfortable will you be about having to insist on inspections now that your house is another family’s home? How often? And if back-to-school time expenses cause your tenant to have trouble scraping up September’s rent, how will you feel when you have to hold them to their obligation?

Pollywogs don’t consider their temperamental disposition before they turn into frogs, but renting—the homeowner-to-landlord transition—is more complicated. Even if the financial equation will allow hiring a professional management company to handle the day-to-day supervisory details, the renting decision—transforming the family homestead into an investment vehicle—can have overtones that aren’t immediately obvious.

I’m here to help you in all your Holt real estate matters—starting with arriving at decisions that let you feel comfortable. I hope you’ll give me a call!

6 Vacation Safety Tips to Keep Lansing Homes Unburgled

An overstuffed curbside mailbox, blazing porch light at noon, or a pile of newspapers out there by your front door all indicate a couple of things Lansing homeowners would do well to avoid. For burglars and housebreakers of all stripes, these are like lighted billboards announcing:

  • This Lansing homeowner is off somewhere enjoying a nice summer vacation; and
  • This afternoon and/or evening, there’s nobody home!

Every Lansing homeowner deserves an extended break now and then—and the July/August weather makes now the ideal time for many—but it’s also high season for break-and-enter artists (or just ‘enter’ artists, since 34% of burglars walk in through the front door). As long as we’re discussing the percentages, the common assumption that break-ins are midnight outings doesn’t hold water. Sixty-five percent of burglaries happen in broad daylight; most between 10am-3pm.

For vacation-bound locals, a few precautionary steps will do much to avoid a miserable discovery on your return home. If your home is currently listed, I think it’s a good idea to notify your agent to add a “Do Not Disturb Occupants” rider under the “For Sale” sign (whether it’s occupied or not!). In general, here are another six good vacation safety tips:

1. Recruit some trusted neighborly help to keep an eye on the place and gather any mail and newspaper overflow. Most Lansingites are delighted to help—and you should offer to reciprocate.

2. DON’T POST VACATION PIX on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media haunt until you get back. High among leading vacation safety no-no’s are tweets like, “Off to Maui!”

3. Think like a thief (that is, take a few minutes to case the joint). You’ll find yourself securing little-used doors and windows that are usually unlocked.

4. Either unplug automatic garage doors that can be triggered by remote control frequency scanner or install a deadbolt lock.

5. Do a better job of hiding the spare key. Thieves know all the common places. A spare key can be a vacation safety backstop if you need to phone someone to help get into the house in an emergency, but a spare key under the flowerpot is asking for trouble. Best hiding place: inside an envelope you entrust to your neighbor.

6. Cancel deliveries. An Amazon Prime carton beside the front gate is a commonplace—but when one or more remain uncollected for more than 24 hours, it’s a virtual invitation to the unscrupulous.

Even for Lansing neighborhoods that are safer than most, vacation time burglaries can happen anywhere and anytime that basic vacation safety precautions aren’t observed. A few minutes of prevention should yield added peace of mind while you’re on the road as well as a pleasant return to a safely secured home. I’ll be standing by to help when you start planning the more extended kind of outing: to your next Lansing home!       

Pricing Your East Lansing House isn’t Exactly Science

The thing about science that makes it reliable is that its findings can be confirmed experimentally. If Galileo drops a feather and a lead weight from the Tower of Pisa to prove something about gravity, anyone else can trot right up there and repeat the experiment. If the results are always the same, we’re in the realm of science.

Pricing East Lansing houses may not be pure art, but it’s a cinch it’s not science, either. You can’t repeat a pricing experiment because no two East Lansing houses are exactly alike (even the same models in a development are situated differently). And even if you sold the same house two times, the pool of possible buyers is changing all the time; the competitive landscape as represented in the moment’s East Lansing listings, likewise; even the news of the day can affect the sales climate.

Further muddying the waters is the emotional component most of us feel for the places we call home. Even after the most dispassionate East Lansing homeowner has shed any such baggage, there remain two distinct ways to value a home. There is the value it can be sold for, and there is what it is worth to your own family. Hopefully, they aren’t terribly different; but in any case, it’s the former that’s important when it comes to selling.

Once we accept that no pricing strategy can be confirmed experimentally, the best procedure is to follow some general guidelines that have wide acceptance. I advise my clients to approach the pricing of their East Lansing house in several ways—

  • Canvass the market the same way your future buyers will. See what comparable properties have sold for recently and the asking prices currently listed. Determine where yours belongs. This is one place where my research will be a major help.
  • Once you’re satisfied that you know the range where your property fits, look for “holes” in that range. Many times there will be a noticeable gap in asking prices within your range—and one good strategy is to become the lone listing that fills it.
  • Once you’ve arrived at a price that seems right, another strategy is to lower it to the next “99” number. If pricing your house led you to a $405,000 asking price, consider notching it down to $399,999. Everybody knows what you’re doing, but it’s such common practice that people don’t regard it as a ruse. It is worth doing because human beings can’t help but react to that second price as if it’s significantly lower!

Pricing your East Lansing house properly is just one of the many steps that go into a successful sales campaign. Give me a call to chat about your own situation and goals: there’s never a charge nor any obligation for sharing the latest market information!

  

Dewitt Father’s Day Plays Catch-up with Mother’s Day Behind

As has become traditional on the third Sunday in June, Dewitt fathers can look forward to being honored and fussed over. For most families, Father’s Day in Dewitt is considered to be every bit as important a celebration as Mother’s Day. At least that’s what most families pretend. But there are two basic reasons why it’s usually an uphill battle.

First, there’s the checkered history. Then, there’s the reality.

HISTORY: Mother’s Day got the jump on Father’s Day because, starting in 1905, its zealous originator (Anna Jarvis) wouldn’t give up on the idea. Because the holiday was dreamed up right at the start of the 20th century, men were exclusively in charge of the calendar and holidays. Since they were men and because telephones were only starting to be installed, most of them had neglected to call their mothers often enough. So when Jarvis pointed out that they had better recognize “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world,” the men mumbled that they agreed—and Mother’s Day became a national holiday. Then Hallmark got wind of the idea. The rest is history.

Father’s Day, on the other hand, got its start five years later (in 1910). But it was promoted by Sonora Dodd, who was less zealous than Jarvis. In fact, when Dodd went off to college, she forgot about the idea for a while. It was only in the 30s that she resumed her promotion of a Father’s Day holiday. Then Hallmark got wind of the idea. The rest is history.

REALITY: Regardless of whether or not it’s fair, Mother’s Day has always been taken a notch or two more seriously than Father’s Day—possibly because it’s impossible to resist the idea that mothers deserve to get a day off. (Try arguing against that and you’ll be sent to your room). Everybody knows that from the start, mothers have a harder time than fathers. If you don’t agree, please recall what took place on the day you were born. Fathers’ level of participation during that occasion was optional; not so mothers.

Additionally, the traditional stereotype for fathers is that they are less sentimental—so the Hallmark cards have fewer flowers on them. If so, when you forget to shop for a Father’s Day gift until the last minute, fathers are not supposed to care much. This is a purely sexist argument, but many fathers have learned to pretend it’s true. Even Wikipedia says that all you have to get for Father’s Day is a necktie or “something mechanical.”

Here in Dewitt, Father’s Day celebrations may involve letting Dad watch sports on TV, go golfing, or generally just goof off. The best part will be if the family can gather ‘round to let the Old Man be proud of them. But if he can’t be there, it’s a day to doubly recall why Father’s Day really is a day that deserves to be celebrated!      

#FathersDay #Dewitt #RealEstate #DewittRealEstate #Reality #MattSmith #HappyFathersDay

6 Seldom Seen Weather Tips for Grand Ledge’s Summer Weather

Meteorologists say that Grand Ledge’s meteorological summer arrived last week—although, to most of us, summer won’t begin for a couple of weeks. Nevertheless, it sent me rummaging for useful tips for coping with Grand Ledge’s hot weather. Most everyone can guess the commonsensical ones, like the NAR’s number one Home Showing Tip in Hot Weather: “Keep the house cool;” or the lead safety tip from the National Weather Service: “Stay out of the sun.”

Seriously, here are some ideas that don’t appear often. Some are only applicable in special instances, but all of which make a lot of sense:

  1. 1. Comb your fins. This tip for coping with Grand Ledge heat spells has nothing to do with keeping any tropical fish well-groomed: it’s about your air conditioner. You’ve probably noticed that the sharp metal ridges that populate the exit side (the “fins”) are easily bent: just brush up against them, and they crumple. The problem is that when bent, they retard airflow. What you probably didn’t know is that there is actually a tool called a “fin comb” to straighten the condenser fins. Sub-tip: turn off the power before you comb.
  2. 2. Vacuum the pollen. This tip for summer pollen is already applicable here in Grand Ledge, where springtime pollen is equally evident. The idea is to vacuum the front door flashing and window jamb crevices where pollen lurks, eliminating lingering allergy or asthma issues.
  3. 3. Rethink expensive suntan lotions. I can’t vouch for this one (I don’t have the lab equipment to test out CR’s findings)—but was surprised that Consumer Reports says that WalMart’s in-store brand (“Equate”) tests highest for effectiveness and lowest in price (less than half of some). If true, it might be practical to leave those fancy French-sounding versions in the shade.
  4. 4. When the house is empty, don’t turn the A/C off. Instead, set the thermostat up a few notches so that the place doesn’t absolutely bake. Sub-tip: when you enter a too-hot home, resist the temptation to set the thermostat ‘way cold: it won’t cool the house any faster.
  5. 5. Plant for shade. This is a strictly long-term tip, yet it’s one that’s probably the most valuable of the lot. Grand Ledge homeowners whose roofs and walls are shaded by majestic trees and plantings have the best of it: lower cooling bills and the pleasure of shady porches and yards. When you are thinking about improving your Grand Ledge home’s landscape profile, this is the tip to remember!
  6. 6. Visit the grocery store. A lot. The wikiHow site explains that not only are grocery stores air conditioned (they are here in Grand Ledge, though that’s not universally true)—but for extra chill, you can “visit the freezer section and peruse for a while.”

All right—I admit I threw in wikiHow’s tip to round out the half-dozen. Another summertime tip that you could take advantage of right now, before Grand Ledge’s summer solstice arrives to kick off our true summer: give me a call if you’re ready to plan your next real estate venture!      

#GrandLedge #RealEstate #HouseHacks #GrandLedgeHomes #MatthewSmith #Realtor #KellerWilliams #SummertimeHousehacks

Pricing Your Dewitt House isn’t Exactly Science

Image

price-right

The science of pricing a house in Dewitt isn’t really a science.

The thing about science that makes it reliable is that its findings can be confirmed experimentally. If Galileo drops a feather and a lead weight from the Tower of Pisa to prove something about gravity, anyone else can trot right up there and repeat the experiment. If the results are always the same, we’re in the realm of science.

Pricing Dewitt houses may not be pure art, but it’s a cinch it’s not science, either. You can’t repeat a pricing experiment because no two Dewitt houses are exactly alike (even the same models in a development are situated differently). And even if you sold the same house two times, the pool of possible buyers is changing all the time; the competitive landscape as represented in the moment’s Dewitt listings, likewise; even the news of the day can affect the sales climate.

Further muddying the waters is the emotional component most of us feel for the places we call home. Even after the most dispassionate Dewitt homeowner has shed any such baggage, there remain two distinct ways to value a home. There is the value it can be sold for, and there is what it is worth to your own family. Hopefully, they aren’t terribly different; but in any case, it’s the former that’s important when it comes to selling.

Once we accept that no pricing strategy can be confirmed experimentally, the best procedure is to follow some general guidelines that have wide acceptance. I advise my clients to approach the pricing of their Dewitt house in several ways—

  • Canvass the market the same way your future buyers will. See what comparable properties have sold for recently and the asking prices currently listed. Determine where yours belongs. This is one place where my research will be a major help.
  • Once you’re satisfied that you know the range where your property fits, look for “holes” in that range. Many times there will be a noticeable gap in asking prices within your range—and one good strategy is to become the lone listing that fills it.
  • Once you’ve arrived at a price that seems right, another strategy is to lower it to the next “99” number. If pricing your house led you to a $405,000 asking price, consider notching it down to $399,999. Everybody knows what you’re doing, but it’s such common practice that people don’t regard it as a ruse. It is worth doing because human beings can’t help but react to that second price as if it’s significantly lower!

Pricing your Dewitt house properly is just one of the many steps that go into a successful sales campaign. Give me a call to chat about your own situation and goals: there’s never a charge nor any obligation for sharing the latest market information!

#RealEstate #DewittRealEstate #LetsSellYourHome #KellerWilliams #MatthewSmith #Sold #DewittForSale