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Home Value Growth Slowing Going into Home Shopping Season

Over the past year, U.S. home values rose 6.7 percent, the slowest rate of appreciation since November 2016 Continue Reading →

Why Your Mortgage Is Getting More Expensive

(TNS)—World events are conspiring to make it more expensive for you to borrow money to buy a house.

Mortgage rates have increased for five consecutive weeks, according to Bankrate data, bringing interest on a 30-year fixed rate loan to 4.44 percent—the highest level in 11 months—while home prices continue to rise due to a lack of available homes.

After years of tepid economic growth, animal spirits are aflame. Inflation and wage growth recently found a groove, while the Federal Reserve’s plan to raise short-term interest rates multiple times for a consecutive year has reduced the value of government debt. The yield on 10-year Treasuries is close to a four-year high. (Bond prices and yields are inversely related.)

Oh, and China may reduce its appetite for U.S. bonds.

Homebuyers Should Get off the Fence
Mortgage rates are moved by the yield on 10-year Treasuries, rather than short-term rate hikes by the Fed. That’s why mortgage rates fell throughout 2017, for instance, even as the central bank raised the federal funds rate three times.

Rates remain cheap, however, compared to historical prices. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage came with an interest rate above 6 percent just before the Great Recession in 2007.

Potential homeowners should get off the fence and make a bid, assuming you have an affordable home target and adequate savings, because rates are likely only heading north.

Why Mortgage Rates Are Increasing
You’ve seen this movie before.

Immediately after the 2016 election, investors sold government debt en masse, causing the 10-year yield to rise from 1.88 percent on November 8 to 2.60 percent five weeks later. That dramatic rise was predicated on investors thinking a newly Republican-controlled Washington would bring about faster economic growth through infrastructure spending and tax cuts.

Optimism waned throughout 2017, though, as the GOP failed to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, casting doubt on their cohesion as a governing party. The long-promised massive infrastructure bill never materialized, while the prospects of a tax overhaul dampened. By the first week of September, the 10-year yield was 2.05 percent.

But then Republicans made progress on a $1.5 trillion tax bill, while the employment picture continued to brighten, and the U.S. economy grew at a solid clip over the last six months of the year.

With Congress agreeing to a $300 billion spending bill—which will only throw more coal on the burning economy—investors see fewer reasons to own bonds. Economic growth and higher pay could result in long-awaited inflation gains. Prices have been rising below the Fed’s 2 percent target, according to the central bank’s preferred prices gauge, for years now.

Higher inflation is a boon for fixed-rate borrowers but hurts debtors. The January jobs report, which showed a 2.9 percent-year-over year earnings increase, was a signal to market observers that inflation may be coming.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported in January that China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, may reduce or cease U.S. debt purchases, causing market jitters.

Should You Be Worried?
Given the recent run-up in yields, you may be worried—but don’t panic just yet.

“This is not alarming,” notes Chris Vincent, fixed income portfolio manager at William Blair. “There is no significant drama in the credit markets.”

Markets, after nearly a decade of low rates and low growth, are adjusting to the new normal and corresponding volatility—and while China may own over a trillion dollars of U.S. debt, that’s less than 20 percent of all debt owned by foreign nations, and a fifth of what America owes itself.

You are entering a world where it’s going to become more expensive to borrow money. It’s time to get used to it.

©2018 Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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$190,000 :: 1115 N OLD WOODWARD AVE, Birmingham MI, 48009

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2 beds, 2 baths
Home size: 1,195 sq ft
Lot Size: 0 sq ft
Added: 03/13/16, Last Updated: 02/21/18
Property Type: Condo/Townhouse/Co-Op
MLS Number: 21114920
Community: Birmingham (63192)
Tract: WOODWARD PLACE CONDO
Status: Sold

Great second floor unit in the desirable River walk building! Great location in gated community and close to downtown. Cozy fireplace in living room that boasts crown molding and recessed lights. Dinning room features built in cabinetry and granite counter to feature glassware or utilize as bar. Granite kitchen with SS appliances. Ceramic baths with Grohe/Toto fixtures. Wonderful closet space throughout with built in organizers. Carport included (#62). Private storeroom in basement. Association currently refurbishing all balconies throughout community! Assessment to be paid by owner. Note association fee includes heat and water!

Listed with Montgomery Hill Realty


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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$145,000 :: 755 E FOURTEEN MILE RD, Birmingham MI, 48009-2093

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0 beds, 0 bath
Home size: 0 sq ft
Lot Size: 4,791 sq ft
Added: 02/06/16, Last Updated: 02/20/18
Property Type: Lot/Land/Acreage
MLS Number: 20685375
Community: Birmingham (63192)
Tract: LEINBACH-HUMPHREY’S WOODW
Status: Sold

ONE OF THE LOWEST PRICED LOTS IN ALL OF BIRMINGHAM – WEST OF WOODWARD AVE – NEW CONSTRUCTION HOMES JUST TWO BLOCKS NORTH VALUED UP TO $700’s – AWARD WINNING BIRMINGHAM SCHOOLS – EXISTING HOME ON LOT IN GOOD CONDITION SEE RESIDENTIAL LISTING @ $149,900 – VALUE IN THE LAND!

Listed with Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel-Bir


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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Experts More Pessimistic about U.S. Housing Market Following New Tax Laws

Despite fast-rising home values now, housing experts say they expect appreciation to slow to below 3 percent by 2021 Continue Reading →

Survey Finds Hidden Costs of Homeownership

(TNS)—Your day burns brightly on both ends.

You prod your kids out of bed at daybreak, get them dressed, fed and off to school. You drive to work, endure meetings, colleagues, power lunches, memos and strategy sessions, only to return home through gridlocked traffic just as the sun sets, beg your kids to eat dinner, wash them, coax them to sleep, do the dishes and then mercifully collapse in front of the television set.

You fret over your emergency savings account, retirement savings account, credit card debt, mortgage rate, health insurance, college savings, and on and on.

It makes sense, then, you’d opt to pay a cleaning or lawn service every week to lighten your load. Hiring someone to keep your property in working order, either on your own or through homeowners association fees, doesn’t come cheap, though.

More than three in five homeowners—63 percent—use at least one recurring home maintenance provider, while 35 percent use two, according to a recent Bankrate survey. The average homeowner pays $2,000 annually on maintenance services, the survey finds.

Costs of Owning a Home
The price of biweekly landscaping probably never factored into your calculus when deciding how much house you can afford.

The average home mortgage neared $250,000 last year, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, which came with a monthly principal and interest payment of $973, or about one-sixth of median family income.

Homeowners saw an average property tax bill of $3,300 in 2016, according to ATTOM’s most recent data, adding another $275 to your monthly budget. You’ll also owe hundreds more in insurance premiums depending on where you live and what type of house you own.

That doesn’t even include the money you need saved in case something unexpected happens. If your air conditioning unit or washer and dryer gives out, you could immediately owe hundreds, if not thousands.

Kevin Mahoney, CEO of fee-only financial advice firm Illumint, recommends to designate a savings account as a “home maintenance fund.” Mahoney, who recently bought a renovated row house in Washington, D.C., contributes $100 to $200 a month as a hedge against unexpected repairs and wear-and-tear. Maintaining a house fund will inoculate you against high-interest debt, leaving your budget open for routine maintenance services.

Cost You Probably Didn’t Think About
After the years required to amass a sufficient down payment—the average among new homebuyers is 11 percent—and all the big costs staring homeowners in the face, it’s little wonder if you don’t account for smaller fare.

But the price tag for convenience can rise quickly.

People who opt for housekeeping shell out an average of $285 a month, while HOA dues ($210) and landscaping ($144) followed behind. A home security system costs $130, slightly more than pool care ($123). Snow removal ($84), septic service ($67) and trash and recycling collection ($55) proved more affordable.

Unsurprisingly, renters are less likely than homeowners to pay for recurring maintenance services, and when they do, they pay less for most services.

On average, renters pay less for housekeeping ($128), HOA dues ($71), pool care ($70), landscaping ($61) and snow removal ($24); however, they fork over a little more for security systems ($142), septic service ($113), and trash and recycling collection ($63).

Nate Masterson, a director of Finance for Maple Holistics, pays $1,000 annually for gardening services, and another $70 to clear his Riverside, N.Y., home of snow.

“It would require a lot of strenuous work to perform either task, and it’s simply more worthwhile for me to pay a professional,” says Masterson, 34.

Make Sure You Account for All Costs
Americans broadly struggle mightily to save.

The average person wouldn’t pay for an unexpected $1,000 expense from their savings, per a recent Bankrate survey, while the median amount in a savings and checking account for a middle-income household has essentially remained flat over the past 27 years, according to Federal Reserve data.

Credit card debt recently hit an all-time high, while the personal savings rate has dropped precipitously over the past two years.

If you don’t have a fully-funded emergency fund comprising three to six months’ worth of expenses in a high-yield savings account, strongly consider suspending as many as these services as possible until you do. Dropping almost $300 a month on housekeeping while lacking $1,000 in the bank is simply too risky. What if the roof caves in? At the very least, start contributing to a home maintenance fund.

You may not have a say in other costs—trash collection and HOA fees were two of the three most common—but make sure to account for those expenses into your budget prior to moving in, and in your emergency fund.

Life’s hard, and there’s nothing wrong with paying someone else to mow your lawn. Unless you can’t afford it.

©2018 Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Survey Finds Hidden Costs of Homeownership appeared first on RISMedia.

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Styling Tips to ‘Wow’ Spring-Time Home Buyers

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By Patti Stern, PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating

The new year and the upcoming spring season brings with it a fresh outlook and new beginnings. What will prospective home buyers be thinking about while searching for their new “happy place”? For sellers preparing their homes to sell this spring, that means engaging buyers by showcasing a warm, welcoming and cheerful property that others can easily envision living in. The following are our spring décor styling tips to help sellers prepare their property to stand out among the sea of new listings.

Natural Elements Paired with Metallics

One of our favorite trends is plants of all shapes and sizes–succulents, trees or plants in baskets and colorful planters, and fresh or synthetic garden flowers in vases and wreaths. Since metallic accents continue to be on-trend, we love pairing the two together for an elegant touch to appeal to today’s buyers who like to feel close to nature.

Pops of Bright Accents

Pair bold pops of colorful accessories such as accent pillows, throws, artwork, glass bowls filled with fruit, and fluffy bathroom towels against a neutral backdrop to give any room a boost of energy and warmth. Mix and match different textures and patterns for added depth and a modern style.

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Update Paint Colors

Whether you repaint an entire room or an accent wall, a fresh coat of paint works wonders to instantly brighten and open a space to make it appear larger. To spruce up your curb appeal, try a fresh coat of a trending spring color such as Benjamin Moore’s Caliente for your front door to create a welcoming first impression.

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Fresh Bedding

To create a spring-like oasis in the bedroom, switch out winter bedding and replace it with fluffy duvets in white, or on-trend floral patterns paired with a soft, cozy throw and accent pillows in different sizes, colors, and textures. To complete the look, add soothing nature-inspired wall art in complementary colors.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.

PattiABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is principal, interior decorator, and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating. She has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full-service home staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. She also developed an award-winning staging program for the luxury homebuilder, Toll Brothers. Her company received the Houzz 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Awards for Customer Service.

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$1,190,000 :: 348 HAWTHORNE ST, Birmingham MI, 48009

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4 beds, 3 baths
Home size: 3,400 sq ft
Lot Size: 10,890 sq ft
Added: 04/16/16, Last Updated: 02/18/18
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 21132911
Community: Birmingham (63192)
Tract: BIRMINGHAM PARK ALLOTMENT
Status: Sold

Beautifully designed with character and charm home, completely updated, premier street, short walk to downtown Birmingham. “Wallace Frost” built on Hawthorne Street, featured in Hour Detroit, quality throughout, hardwood floors, master suite with built in cabinets, fireplace, master bath with tub and shower, enjoy off master suite the deck overlooking professional landscaped garden and patio-formal living room with fireplace beautiful windows, custom drapes throughout – library with sitting area, dining room with bay window, four fireplaces, four bedrooms, finished basement rec room with craft room and laundry- family room crown moldings, built in cabinets, fireplace. Gourmet kitchen with gas stove, coffee bar, farm sink, marble counter tops, breakfast room over looks beautiful blue stone patio and gardens newly painted interior and exterior-peaceful-charm-beautiful home.

Listed with Real Living Kee Realty


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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$239,900 :: 1792 S ETON STREET, Birmingham MI, 48009

Property Photo

3 beds, 2 baths
Home size: 1,125 sq ft
Lot Size: 6,098 sq ft
Added: 02/17/18, Last Updated: 02/17/18
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 21414914
Community: Birmingham (63192)
Tract: SHEFFIELD ESTATES
Status: Active

Welcome home! Excellent curb appeal, sophisticated design & modern updates throughout, this sophisticated brick bungalow has it all! Complete with gorgeous hardwood floors, freshly painted interior, charming coved ceilings & more! Enter into the inviting & spacious living room providing a perfectly comfortable space to relax & entertain. The timeless eat-in kitchen boasts a classic subway tile backsplash, beautiful granite countertops & stainless steel appliances. 2 nicely appointed 1st floor bedrooms share the full bath. Retreat to the upper level master suite with full bath. The lower level offers loads of storage space. Finally, retreat to the enchanting backyard oasis complete with fencing & the perfect space for outdoor entertaining with friends & family! 1.5-car garage. Birmingham schools. This home is an absolute gem!

Listed with Max Broock, REALTORS~-Birmingham


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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$239,900 :: 1792 S ETON STREET, Birmingham MI, 48009

Property Photo

3 beds, 2 baths
Home size: 1,125 sq ft
Lot Size: 6,098 sq ft
Added: 02/17/18, Last Updated: 02/17/18
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 21414914
Community: Birmingham (63192)
Tract: SHEFFIELD ESTATES
Status: Active

Welcome home! Excellent curb appeal, sophisticated design & modern updates throughout, this sophisticated brick bungalow has it all! Complete with gorgeous hardwood floors, freshly painted interior, charming coved ceilings & more! Enter into the inviting & spacious living room providing a perfectly comfortable space to relax & entertain. The timeless eat-in kitchen boasts a classic subway tile backsplash, beautiful granite countertops & stainless steel appliances. 2 nicely appointed 1st floor bedrooms share the full bath. Retreat to the upper level master suite with full bath. The lower level offers loads of storage space. Finally, retreat to the enchanting backyard oasis complete with fencing & the perfect space for outdoor entertaining with friends & family! 1.5-car garage. Birmingham schools. This home is an absolute gem!

Listed with Max Broock, REALTORS~-Birmingham


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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