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Short Sale Explanation

1/23/2015 Understanding an Escrow Account

Understanding the ins and outs of your mortgage can be perplexing for consumers. One area that is particularly confusing is the purpose of an escrow account also known as an impound account. In today's post I want to help you understand the uses of the account.

 

First, the account is set up by your mortgage lender to pay bills related to your home such as private mortgage insurance (PMI), property taxes and homeowner's insurance. The amount kept in your escrow account includes enough to cover all of these payments along with a two-month surplus. In addition, when first purchasing a home you will be typically required to provide one year of the homeowners' insurance cost to be held in escrow.

 

The escrow payment appears on your mortgage bill every month and is listed separately from your interest and principal payments. The lender keeps these funds in a separate account and pays the bills for you when they are due to your municipality or insurance company. As the homeowner you don't have to worry about paying these bills since it is being held by your mortgage company.

 

The reason the lender manages and pays these bills is to ensure that the property is not at risk of being taken because of failed payment. Not all lenders require an escrow account. The general rule is that an escrow account is required when you borrow more than 80 percent of a property's value.

 

Even if you are not required to have an escrow account they can be a good savings mechanism for some homeowners. Since the cost of taxes and insurance bills may only be due a few times a year the amount due can quickly add up. The use of an escrow account ensures these costs are spread out each month to help you better budget.

 

You can learn more about escrow accounts through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau here. If you have questions about escrow accounts or any other lender issues let me know and I can put you in touch with local lenders who help my clients with all their lending needs. - Dave Taljonick, RE/MAX Right Choice, 810-686-3900.

1/16/2015 Genesee County Valentine's Day Events

Valentine's Day is less than a month away, so it's the perfect time to start planning what you will do for that special someone in your life. This week I want to outline some of the area's special events happening on Saturday, February 14.

 

First, the Sloan Museum will be hosting an evening "Romancing Through the Ages" on Saturday, February 14 from 6 to 10:00 p.m. The cost is $150 per couple and includes dinner and cocktails for two along with a red rose and a bottle of red or white wine.

 

Reservations are required. Additional information can be found on their website. The event is usually held at the Longway Planetarium, but was moved this year because the planetarium is undergoing renovations. The Sloan Museum is located in the Cultural Center in downtown Flint.

 

The Old Newsboys will also be hosting their President's Valentine Gala. The event will take place from 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and includes dinner and photos. In addition, a charity auction will take place throughout the evening. The cost is $75 per person and the event is taking place at the Warwick Hills Country Club at 9057 Saginaw Rd. in Grand Blanc. Additional information is available on the Old Newsboy's website.

 

Finally, you can enjoy a night out at the theater by going to see Anything Goes at The Whiting in the Cultural Center. The production was the 2011 Tony Awards Best Musical Revival. Two performances will take place on Valentine's Day at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets range in price from $25 to $69. Tickets can be purchased online through The Whiting's box office.

 

Consider one of these great local events for a romantic evening with that special someone in your life this Valentine's Day. And remember if you are considering finding a new home for your sweetheart this year I can help you find the perfect home - Dave Taljonick, RE/MAX Right Choice, 810-686-3900.

1/9/2015 Genesee County 2014 Housing Market Report

Home sale statistics for Genesee County this past year show an increase in average sale price for the third straight year. Average sale price increased 21.5% from the previous year according to statistics released by the East Central Association of Realtors (formerly known as Flint Area Association of Realtors).

Although a very encouraging sign for the housing market in the Genesee County area, much of the increase is due to a drastic drop off in foreclosure homes purchased. This is another good sign for our market area. REO (bank owned) properties sold in 2014 decreased by almost 50%.

The drop off in “cheap hoses” had a drastic affect on the overall increase in the average sale price. Number of homes sold in 2014 declined by about 10% due in part to a lack of quality inventory for home buyers wishing to purchase.

If you are thinking of buying or selling this year, I can determine current market value for your home or help you find a good deal on the home you would like to purchase. When it comes to real estate, “Dave is the Man”. Visit my web site at www.daveistheman.com or call me at 810-845-8833.

1/2/2015 Design Trends for 2015

Happy New Year to you and your family. If you recently moved into a new place or are planning to put your house up for sale in 2015, it's important to know some of this year's decorating trends.

 

When it comes to accessories including faucets, lighting and handles gold is back in again. After many years of tends that focused on the use of silver or stainless steel fixtures, homeowners can now use gold. It's even acceptable to mix finish colors in a room.

 

Surprisingly, wallpaper is making a comeback too. There is an increase in the colors and textures in the wallpaper designs that are available now. The new designs will be a great way to add a unique touch to your home. Although after having to take down wallpaper myself, I am not sure how quick I would be to jump on this trend.

 

From wall colors to accent pieces, blue is becoming a popular color for home designs. Classic hues of blue can be combined with a wide range of colors including gray, green and pink. Gray by itself is also considered a great backdrop as a neutral tone for any room. Learn more about 2015 color trends here.

 

Other decorating trends include including design elements from the 1950s to the 1970s. These elements can be brought in through furniture and other accent pieces. So, consider bringing out furniture from the attic or basement to serve as a cool accent in a room.

 

Consider these trends to help you decorate a new home or get your current home ready to put on the market. If you are thinking about a move in 2015, contact me to help provide an appraisal of your property or to help you find the home of your dreams - Dave Taljonick, RE/MAX Right Choice, 810-686-3900.

12/19/2014 Family Friendly Christmas Events

With Christmas quickly approaching here are some fun events to enjoy with your family over the weekend. From vintage Christmas decorations to a night at the symphony, this weekend offers a lot of great entertainment options.

 

Christmas at Crossroads

Enjoy another weekend of fun for Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic in Genesee. Visitors step back in time to see the village all decked out with lights and other festive decorations. Live entertainment is provided at the Colwell Opera House and Santa Claus is available to visit with children. Anyone visiting the village can also purchase a ticket for the Huckleberry Railroad Christmas train rides.

 

The cost of a train ticket is just $3 more than general admission prices. Adults pay $10 for the village only or $13 for a combination ticket. Children up to age twelve are $9 or $12 for the combination ticket. Village hours are from 4 to 9 pm, Friday through Sunday. Additional hours will be held on Tuesday, December 23.

 

Families who just want to drive through to see the village lights can drive through the village on Monday, December 22 for only $5 per vehicle. The hours for the holiday magic drive are from 5 to 9 pm.

 

Holiday Ice Skating Exhibition Benefit

You can enjoy a free afternoon of skating at the Crystal Fieldhouse in Burton on Sunday, December 21 from 3 to 5 pm. The first 200 people in attendance also receive free skate rentals when they bring a donation for the Whaley's Children Center. At the end of the event, radio hosts Pat & AJ from Cars 108 will read "The Night Before Christmas" to everyone. Crystal Fieldhouse is located at 5371 Daly Farms Dr. off of Belsay Rd.

 

Holiday Pops Featuring the Flint Symphony Orchestra

The annual Holiday Pops concerts will take place on Saturday, December 20 and Sunday, December 21 at Whiting Auditorium in downtown Flint. The Flint Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with the Flint Festival Chorus, the Flint Jubilee Chorale and the Flint Festival Youth Chorus will put on the concert.

 

Saturday's show begins at 7 pm and Sunday's show will be held at 3 pm. The Saturday performance will be broadcast live on ABC 12. Tickets are $8 to $32 and children under the age of 18 are half price.

 

I wish you all a joyous Holiday Season and a wonderful New Year.  I would like to thank all of my clients and customers that used my services or referred me to others and I look forward to offering exceptional service in the years to come. - Dave Taljonick, RE/MAX Right Choice, 810-686-3900.

12/12/2014 Christmas Fire Safety Tips

As the holidays quickly approach, it is important to remember fire safety tips for your home. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the winter months are when the most house fires take place.

 

With Christmas just around the corner, it's vital to talk about Christmas tree fire safety. Fire prevention starts when picking out a tree. Remember to select a fresh one without needles that fall off when touched.

 

Once your tree is in your home, place it at least three feet away from any heat source. This includes heat vents or radiators, lights, fireplaces and candles.

 

Besides the placement of your tree pay attention to the lighting used on it. Replace any lights with broken cords or loose bulb connections. It is also important to never use lit candles as decorations. Finally, always turn off the lights when you are going to bed or leaving your home.

 

Most important, make sure to water your tree delay to avoid having it dry out. Get rid of a tree after Christmas as soon as it becomes dried out. Also make sure to not store the dried tree in your garage or even leaning against your home since they are still a fire risk. Check with your municipality for dates of Christmas tree pickup.

 

In addition to Christmas trees, one of the most common causes of fire in the winter is heating equipment. Make sure to only plug in one heating appliance per electrical outlet. Also, keep all items at least 3 feet away from a heating source.

 

Last, but certainly not least if you have a fireplace in your home, always have your chimney professionally cleaned and inspected every year. When cleaning out your ashes make sure to keep them in a covered metal container at least 10 feet away from building outside.

 

Your home is a place to create cherished family memories over the holidays, so remember these tips to prevent fires in your home.

 

Know anyone looking for a great home in Clio? Send them this link to learn more about this great property http://tour.circlepix.com/tour/blaze/?tourId=2433736  - Dave Taljonick, RE/MAX Right Choice, 810-686-3900.

12/5/2014 Property Tax Information for Genesee County

Are you interested in buying a property, but are concerned about the property taxes for it? This week, I will review several online resources to help you find answers to these questions.

 

If the property is in a township in the county you can typically utilize the Genesee County Property Information site here. Through the site you can search a property by clicking "Assessment and Tax Information" link.

 

After clicking through the link you can look up tax information through an Address Search. The search will bring up information including the winter and summer taxes, special assessments, administrative fees along with due dates for property taxes.

 

If no property information comes up for a property then the information should be available through the municipality directly. Many cities will have their own property tax information look-up area on their websites, so make sure to look there if you are not able to access it through Genesee County. The best place to look on a city's site is through the treasurer's office.

 

The State of Michigan also provides a Property Tax Estimator. Simply click on "Begin Estimating Property Taxes" to look up estimated taxes at properties throughout the state.

 

Once you have the property tax information for a property, it can still be difficult to understand how taxes are calculated. Since the passage of Proposal A in 1994, the taxable value of a property is calculated using the lowest among the following two options:

  1. The current state Equalized Value
  2. Last year’s Taxable Value * 1.05 or the rate of inflation (whichever is lower)

 

Equalized value is determined by the County Equalization department and typically is half the estimated market value of a property. Taxable value is what ultimately determines your taxable value. In addition to these costs, any local or county millages will be added on to the taxes.

 

Finally, remember there are lots of other things to consider when examining property taxes. Some of these include Homestead versus Non-Homestead properties and whether or not the property has been owned by the same person since before 1995 (the passage of Proposal A). In the end, as your realtor I am also available to help you better understand property taxes for a home.

 

By the way, if you know of someone looking for a nice home in Flushing for under $110,000, send them this link: http://tour.circlepix.com/home/NCGLQG - Dave Taljonick, RE/MAX Right Choice, 810-686-3900.

12/5/2014 Property Tax Information for Genesee County

Are you interested in buying a property, but are concerned about the property taxes for it? This week, I will review several online resources to help you find answers to these questions.

 

If the property is in a township in the county you can typically utilize the Genesee County Property Information site here. Through the site you can search a property by clicking "Assessment and Tax Information" link.

 

After clicking through the link you can look up tax information through an Address Search. The search will bring up information including the winter and summer taxes, special assessments, administrative fees along with due dates for property taxes.

 

If no property information comes up for a property then the information should be available through the municipality directly. Many cities will have their own property tax information look-up area on their websites, so make sure to look there if you are not able to access it through Genesee County. The best place to look on a city's site is through the treasurer's office.

 

The State of Michigan also provides a Property Tax Estimator. Simply click on "Begin Estimating Property Taxes" to look up estimated taxes at properties throughout the state.

 

Once you have the property tax information for a property, it can still be difficult to understand how taxes are calculated. Since the passage of Proposal A in 1994, the taxable value of a property is calculated using the lowest among the following two options:

  1. The current state Equalized Value
  2. Last year’s Taxable Value * 1.05 or the rate of inflation (whichever is lower)

 

Equalized value is determined by the County Equalization department and typically is half the estimated market value of a property. Taxable value is what ultimately determines your taxable value. In addition to these costs, any local or county millages will be added on to the taxes.

 

Finally, remember there are lots of other things to consider when examining property taxes. Some of these include Homestead versus Non-Homestead properties and whether or not the property has been owned by the same person since before 1995 (the passage of Proposal A). In the end, as your realtor I am also available to help you better understand property taxes for a home.

 

By the way, if you know of someone looking for a nice home in Flushing for under $110,000, send them this link: http://tour.circlepix.com/home/NCGLQG - Dave Taljonick, RE/MAX Right Choice, 810-686-3900.

11/26/2014 Outdoor Holiday Decorating Tips

The Christmas season is officially here. In this week’s post I want to provide you with some tips on putting up outdoor decorations.

 

Lights

When putting up lights on the outside of your home, make sure to plan out your design in advance. Pick a focal point somewhere on the structure such as the entranceway or columns on a porch. It’s also important to figure out what surface you plan to attach your lights to on your home. There are different types of clips that should be used whether you are attaching directly to the house compared to your gutters.

 

In addition, make sure to measure the area you plan to string the lights to determine how many strands of lights will be needed to cover everything. Another thing you should consider is the location of your outdoor electrical outlets and the types of extension cords you have available for your use. Make sure to use an extension cord designed for outdoor use.

 

Besides attaching lights to your house, you can also string them along walkways or on fences. If using stakes to put up lights along a walkway take into consideration the average amount of snow we get in the area. Based on recent snowfall, it would be important to use taller stakes to ensure your lights are not covered by snow. If attaching lights to a fence, considering using artificial garland to use a base for the lights.

 

Doorways

One of the simplest ways to adorn your front door is by placing a wreath on it. Whether you use a fresh wreath purchased at an area florist or greenhouse or even using an artificial wreath to attach to your door.

 

In addition to placing a wreath on the door, you can also use urns on either side of the entrance. The urns can be made of lightweight fiberglass or heavy stone. Fill these urns with fresh greenery, Christmas bulbs or artificial flowers. Another option is to put artificial or real evergreen plants inside the urns too.

 

Remember there are lots of other outdoor decorating options for your home, from inflatables to traditional lighted figures. Remember to express your style and to use your decorating skills on the outside of your home as well as on the inside during the holiday season.

 

Check out this new listing in Clio for $125,000! - Dave Taljonick, RE/MAX Right Choice, 810-686-3900.

 

11/21/2014 Thanksgiving Travel Made Easy

Lots of national website provide tips for anyone traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday. From ways to score cheap flights to the best times to hit the road, all of the tips are designed to help make your trip go off without a hitch. In this week's post, I hope to provide you with some local resources for travel throughout Michigan.

 

First, AAA offers a great online resource that allows you to get live traffic and construction updates.  You can look up the information based on region and even map your route to see any problems along your journey. The Live Traffic Reports and Construction Updates site is a great resource to check before leaving your home and while you are on the road for live updates. 

 

In addition, the Michigan Department of Transportation just launched a free app for motorists. The Mi Drive app is available for download through iTunes and Google Play. Some of the features are similar to those offered by AAA, however it includes several other things on your designated route. Rest areas, traffic updates and real-time traffic camera views are available. Besides downloading the Mi Drive app, users can still get updates online through their website.

 

While traffic and construction updates are important, it is also imperative to check updates for any potential weather hazards that might impede your trip. In addition to searching a forecast through various weather web sites, there is also a lot of great information available through the National Weather Service office. Snowfall analysis, snow cover, radar and precipitation analysis is available through their website. A free National Weather Service app is also available for download through iTunes and Google Play. It provides live updates including weather warnings and radar of current conditions while you are on the road.

 

Remember to be safe and to plan in advance while making your Thanksgiving travel next week. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Consider checking out this great property in Flint Township - http://tour.circlepix.com/home/R34PMW - Dave Taljonick, RE/MAX Right Choice, 810-686-3900.

 

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