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2/28/2015 Local Home & Garden Shows in Full Bloom

Despite the bitter cold temperatures we have been facing, spring is just around the corner.  As a homeowner, visiting local home and garden shows is a great way to find inspiration for projects at your house.

 

The fun begins this weekend with the Cottage & Lakefront Living Expo. Anyone with a cabin up north might be interested in driving to Novi from February 26 to March 1 at the Suburban Collection Showplace.  Admission is $10 per person and $4 for children ages 6 to 14 (children 5 and under are free).  You can request a $2 coupon for this show online.

 

During the month of March, there are two shows being held locally.  The first will take place on March 21 and 22 at the Saginaw Valley State University Ryder Center.  The show will be held on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

 

The annual show will include over 200 exhibitors and admission is $5 for adults over the age of 17.  If you visit the Home Builders Association of Saginaw's web site to save a $1 on admission to the show. 

 

The week after the Saginaw show, Perani Arena will host the Spring Home & Garden Show on March 28 and March 29.  The annual show includes a wide array of vendors ranging from outdoor landscaping, windows, pool sales and more.  Last year over 60 businesses were present at the show. Additional information will be available on the Perani Arena and Event Center web site in the coming weeks.

 

If you are dreaming of warmer weather and are already making plans for outdoor improvements this year, plan to spend a day at one of these shows to ignite your imagination. For affordable living in Clio, check out this 3 bedroom ranch with a big fenced back yard, 2 car garage and full basement! X - Dave Taljonick of RE/MAX Right Choice, 810-686-3900.  

2/20/2015 Understanding Closing Costs
When buying a home it can be hard to understand the closing costs you are required to pay. These costs are charged by your lender and other third parties. The total costs generally average around 2 and 5 percent of a home’s purchase price.
 
Many buyers ask me what goes into closing costs. Each sale can be different, but generally the closing costs cover the following types of items:
·         Escrow deposit (see my post from three weeks ago)
·         Underwriting fee
·         Credit report fee
·         Title search fees
·         Appraisal fee
·         Loan origination fee
·         Attorney fees of lender
·         Survey fee for determining property lines
 
When trying to budget for closing costs it’s important to know that lenders are legally required to give a good faith estimate (GFE) within three days of your loan application. The federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act requires lenders to provide these, but a buyer should make comparisons between multiple lenders to find the best deal. While these estimates are given, the final costs can vary and can legally change before you are given your final closing bill.
 
If you are hesitant about coming up with these costs there are ways to avoid them. Lenders will sometimes offer a deal, but buyers should beware. In lieu of these costs you may be charged a higher interest rate or they may be wrapped into the final mortgage for your home. Sometimes you can also negotiate for the seller to pay these costs.
 
As your realtor, I can help you better understand the closing costs related to a home you want to purchase. Remember with careful planning you can avoid being blindsided by these costs when purchasing a property.  - Dave Taljonick, 810-686-3900
2/12/2015 Valentine's Day Plans at Home

In honor of Valentine's Day we have a special guest blog post by Vanessa Ferguson

If you have waited until the last minute to make plans for Valentine’s Day or if you are looking for ways to save money this year, here are some great ideas for spending the day at home. Remember your home is a special getaway from the world and can be a romantic retreat for you and your sweetheart.

 
Since the holiday falls on a Saturday this year consider preparing breakfast to be served in bed for that special someone. Then enjoy a relaxing morning at home watching television and enjoying each other’s company.
 
Later that day, if you are planning to have an evening at home cook dinner together. Look for recipes in some of the cookbooks that have been sitting around your kitchen or look up new ones online. Add special touches to the dishes and plate things like you would see at a fancy restaurant.
 
Don’t forget to pick up or to bake a special dessert in advance to have it ready for after the meal. Also, remember to get a special wine to go along with the meal to make it extra special. Finally, set the table with nice dishes and light candles to create a romantic mood.
 
If you want to avoid the extra work of cooking consider ordering takeout from a favorite restaurant. Lay out a blanket in your living room to create an indoor picnic. This is even a fun activity for a family Valentine’s Day celebration if your kids are part of the evening’s plans.
 
After enjoying dinner together, dim the lights and move the dining room table to make your own private dance floor.  Prepare a special playlist in advance with meaningful songs from your relationship.
 
Finally, another great option for showing your love is to create an at-home spa experience. Draw a hot bath and sprinkle rose petals in the water for an extra special touch. Have a glass of wine ready for them to take in the bathroom. Bring them fresh warm towels directly out of the dryer. You can even have products on the counter for them to do an at-home facial for an added bonus.
 
Remember it’s possible to have an enjoyable Valentine’s Day in the comfort of your own home. So if you haven’t already made plans or if you want to avoid the long waits at the restaurants consider one of these ideas for a great day-in with the special someone in your life. - Dave Taljonick, 810-686-3900
2/6/2015 Tips for Snow Removal

After all the snow this week I thought it would be helpful to share some helpful tips for its removal. Utilize these after the next big storm to help protect your home and your family.

 

First, remember to tackle the snow right away. Try to get out during a storm to start clearing it before a lot accumulates. By removing a few inches at a time it helps to reduce your burden when the storm is over.

 

As you are shoveling, do not pile up the snow around the foundation of your home. When the snow starts to melt it can cause damage leading to cracks. Also avoid piling up snow over drains or near fire hydrants.

 

Additionally, reduce the urge to remove snow off your outdoor shrubs. More damage will be done by removing the snow from the plants.

 

It's also important to remember several safety tips related to salt. First, it is not effective when the temperature is below 12 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember you can also use kitty litter or sandbox sand to provide traction on slippery services. These are especially helpful for when your tires get stuck in the snow.

 

In addition, if you have pets that will be walking in an area you salt make sure to use pet friendly products. Traditional rock salt is particularly harmful for dogs causing inflammation to their paws along with gastrointestinal issues.

 

Next time the a big snow hits, use these simple tips to help your snow removal process go smoother. If you know someone looking for a 3 bedroom ranch in the Clio for less than $90,000, send them this link:   http://tour.circlepix.com/home/AUPCSX- Dave Taljonick, RE/MAX Right Choice, 810-686-3900.

1/30/2015 Property Transfer to Relatives in Michigan

At the end of 2014, a new Michigan law went into effect that impacts transfer of ownership. Property can be transferred to a new owner for a variety of reasons. Sometimes family members pass on a piece of property or other times land may be transferred for business purposes. These transfers often trigger tax increases on the property that may have been previously capped.

 

The good news with the new law, PA 310 of 2014, the law expands property tax increase exemptions to immediate family members. Residential property transfers now have exemptions that include spouses, parents, mother and father-in-laws, children (including step and adopted), trusts and nonprofits along with a long list of other entities.

 

One of the only exemptions that existed in the past was for the passage of agricultural property. Now family homes or even vacation properties (cottages, cabins, lake front property) can also receive this exemption.

 

Prior to the passage of PA 310, the transfer of property often resulted in a dramatic increase in taxes. The tax increase was a result of the removal of a cap (rate of inflation or 5% whichever was lower) that previously existed on the taxable value of a property.

 

Once a transfer took place, the taxable value could increase dramatically because of the new taxable value of a property. Therefore families would often struggle to keep a particular piece of property in a family after transfer of ownership occurred.

 

The new exemptions provide important tax relief for Michigan families.  You can read the complete law through the Michigan Tax Commission. - Dave Taljonick, Re/Max Right Choice, 810-686-3900.



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.

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