Category: Homeowners

April 19th, 2017 by homehappily

Scratches on counters, dings in walls and old knobs. These are little things that can do a lot to make your home look frumpy. With just a little time and very little money, you can do a few updates to give your home a fresh face. Here are three ways to polish your home’s look this spring…

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2017 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

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Coldwell Banker AJS-Schmidt, 3744 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
616-570-8864
Licensed In: MICHIGAN
License #: 6501400118
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Posted in DIY, Home Repair, Homeowners Tagged with: , , ,

March 9th, 2017 by homehappily

If you haven’t heard, the Michigan Dower Right has been abolished and it goes into effect on April 7, 2017. See my previous blog post with more details and links to info.

What does this mean to you? If your spouse is not on the title of your home, you need to get that person added ASAP, otherwise — if you die after April 7 — your spouse has no claim to the property.

Here’s what to do: Have your lawyer do a Michigan Quit Claim Deed for you and then record it with your County’s Register of Deeds by April 7. Of course, you can do this after April 7, but if you croak before you get it recorded, your property goes into probate, instead of to your spouse.

You don’t have to use an attorney to prepare a quit claim deed in Michigan. A Michigan quit claim deed form is very simple to complete on your own – you can do it yourself and save money. However, there is no substitute for good legal advice.

I found the free fillible e-form below. This site also seemed like a good resource.

Michigan Quit Claim Deed Form

 

Posted in Homeowners, Property Law Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

February 28th, 2017 by homehappily

Just because you are selling your Grand Rapids home yourself, doesn’t mean your marketing has to suffer!

Get FREE PROFESSIONAL versions of the tools that I use to sell homes!

Requests yours now!


Craigslist

50,000,000 people a month, your home posted every week.

Facebook

Hundreds of millions of people visit a day!

Virtual Tours

Buyers love virtual tours! You will get a virtual tour to share with prospective buyers via the web, email and social media.

YouTube Video!

The 3rd most visited website on the internet and your home will have a video to show people that like videos.

ActiveRain

The largest real estate blog platform in the United States. 2,000,000 people visit ActiveRain month looking for real estate and real estate information!

eFlyers

Get up to 5 different eFlyers to send out to people at different times of your sale to keep up the interest and keep buyers coming!

Single Property Website

A FREE Single Property Website for you to share with buyers.

Twitter

People by the millions are on Twitter!

Open House Tools!

A great set of tools to help you market any open house you may have to better show off your home!

FREE QR Code and Short URL!

Let Buyers scan your QR Code to get all your properties information right on their smartphone!

RealTown

The second largest real estate blog platform in the United States popular with both consumers and real estate professionals looking for real estate and real estate information!

 

Get Your Free Home Value Now!
Sylvia’s Website
Ultimate Guide to Home Selling
Homes Close to Where You Work
Free Home Values
Avoid Foreclosure
MY REVIEWS
Sylvia Dana
Realtor
Coldwell Banker AJS-Schmidt, 3744 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
616-570-8864
Licensed In: MICHIGAN
License #: 6501400118
Contact Me

You Can Also Visit Us At:        

Posted in For Sale By Owner, Homeowners, Selling Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

February 24th, 2017 by homehappily

Nonprofit Offers DIY & Assisted Home Repair Services

I’ve recently learned about an organization called Home Repair Services, which exists to strengthen Kent county communities and homeowners. I just wrote a blog post about this nonprofit, but I wanted focus RIGHT NOW on the classes they are offering starting in March!

They are FREE and open to the public! You don’t even need to RSVP. Just walk in. Classes are located at 1100 South Division Avenue, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49507.

Money Matters Classes start Wednesday, March 1, at 6:30 p.m. Class topics include: Making Your Cash Work for You; Managing Credit, Foreclosure 101; Home Insurance & 21 Day Financial Challenge. (The classes are offered in Spanish as well at a different time)

Fix-it-School DIY Classes take place 10 a.m. to noon every Saturday. These classes (called Rookie Renovators) are so cool! Topics include: Ceramic/stone/glass tile installation; cabinet installation; flooring; electrical; drywall and plaster; landscaping; home maintenance; window installation and plumbing. (There is also a women-only plumbing class.)

Use this link to download the PDF schedule of classes.

If you have more Qs or want to contact HRS, visit my blog post for all the details and links.

 

Get Your Free Home Value Now!
Sylvia’s Website
Ultimate Guide to Home Selling
Homes Close to Where You Work
Free Home Values
Avoid Foreclosure
MY REVIEWS
Sylvia Dana
Realtor
Coldwell Banker AJS-Schmidt, 3744 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
616-570-8864
Licensed In: MICHIGAN
License #: 6501400118
Contact Me

You Can Also Visit Us At:        

Posted in Buying, Community, DIY, Home Repair, Homeowners Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

February 22nd, 2017 by homehappily

Home Repair Services strengthens Kent county homeowners. They are located at 1100 South Division Avenue, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49507.

I recently went to one of the monthly lunch and learns offered by Home Repair Services. And, wow! If you’re a homeowner in Kent County, this is an organization you NEED to know about.

Home Repair Services is a non-profit organization focused on strengthening Kent County homeowners post purchase. It offers a repair team for vulnerable homeowners, as well as DIY services for all Kent County Homeowners.

For example, low income homeowners could get repair assistance to replace a furnace, a roof — or even a leaky faucet — for about 15 percent of the cost. Homeowners, and also renters, with mobility issues could get help adding a ramp for easier access to their home.

And no matter the income or ability, any Kent County homeowner can take advantage of the organization’s Home Maintenance Check UpRemodeling Together, or Financial Coaching programs.

Scroll down for more detailed information on each program and service offered.

Follow the links for:

Home Repair Assistance

DIY Self Help Registration


Speaking of remodeling… the following is a short, but cool video on three Kent County homeowners who remodeled their kitchens DIY style, with coaching and discounted materials with Home Repair Services. Any Kent County home owner qualifies, as long as they reside in the home!


Quick Summary of Offerings by Home Repair Services in Kent County

(Each heading is a link to its associated webpage)

Repair Team

Each working day, Home Repair Services sends professional service technicians into neighborhoods to handle minor or even the most urgent and critical repair problems facing qualifying lower-income homeowners. More info…

Money Matters Classes

These are free financial coaching classes to any Kent County resident who can attend. The next set of classes begin March 1, 2017. Class titles include: 21 Day Financial Challenge; Cash is King; Managing Credit; Insurance; Foreclosure. There are no income restrictions. Download the PDF schedule OR get more info…

Home Maintenance Check Up

This is amazing! I want to recommend all Kent County homeowners take advantage of this service! It’s a free program in which the HRS Self-Help team will work with you to help plan for regular maintenance and home repairs. This routine maintenance and long-term planning will help save time and money, as well as maintain the value of your home. More info…

During the check-up you will-

  • Learn about how your house works
  • Learn to estimate repair costs and where to buy materials
  • Plan for which things to do now and which to postpone
  • Learn how to make simple repairs yourself
  • Receive a free Home Maintenance Tips booklet

Help to Avoid Foreclosure & Financial Coaching

Last year, HRS handled about 20 pre-foreclosure cases per month. They helped 112 people avoid foreclosure. Financial coaches assist in getting in contact with the mortgage company and working out a payment plans. There are no income restrictions. Flyer. HRS Financial coaches also spotted 20 households with 2015 tax exemptions and were able to help these homeowners get a refund for up to three years in over payment. More info…

Access Ramps & Modifications

Qualifying lower-income residents throughout Kent County with mobility impairments can request home access modifications from Home Repair Services. These include wheelchair ramps, bathroom grab bars, handrails and bathtub modifications. The copay for services is based on a sliding fee scale and ranges between 10% and 20% of a typical job’s total cost. More info…

Fix it School

HRS offers DIY classes in plumbing, electrical, drywall, ceramic tile, flooring and cabinet installation. All classes take place at 10 a.m. every Saturday, are free and open to the public. Download the PDF schedule of upcoming classes. There are no eligibility requirements. Just walk in and have a seat! Participants who complete all six sessions of our “Rookie Renovators” series will receive a certificate of completion. More info…

Remodeling Together

Thinking about remodeling your kitchen? What about your bathroom? Remodeling Together offers resources you need to do it yourself successfully and at a lower cost. There are no income restrictions. The program includes free in-home design support, hands-on classes, lots of time with experienced remodeling coaches and a large selection of high quality kitchen cabinets, countertops and tile with passed on discounts. If you own or are buying your home and are willing to do some home remodeling work yourself, then Remodeling Together is a great option! (Scroll up to see video posted earlier in this blog post)  More info…


 

Get Your Free Home Value Now!
Sylvia’s Website
Ultimate Guide to Home Selling
Homes Close to Where You Work
Free Home Values
Avoid Foreclosure
MY REVIEWS
Sylvia Dana
Realtor
Coldwell Banker AJS-Schmidt, 3744 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
616-570-8864
Licensed In: MICHIGAN
License #: 6501400118
Contact Me

You Can Also Visit Us At:        

Posted in DIY, Foreclosure, Home Repair, Home Values, Homeowners Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

February 15th, 2017 by homehappily




I’m Sylvia Dana, a realtor with Coldwell Banker in Grand Rapids. Find me at www.shesellsgr.com

Mid-Monthly Real Estate Market Activity Reports for Grand Rapids and its Neighborhoods

 

> Click on the heading links to view PDF reports — viewable for 30 days from each link’s post date.

> If you want to keep the PDF longer, please download the report to your computer.

> Follow this post for monthly updates as the links will be updated on a mid-monthly basis.

> Looking for a report in regards to a specific Michigan neighborhood, zip code — or around a specific address? Ask Sylvia at www.shesellsgr.com


Grand Rapids, Michigan, Market Activity Report

Last updated: 2/15/2017

Grand Rapids, Michigan, median estimated home value $159K and median listing price is $151K as of Feb. 15, 2017.


Eastown, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Market Activity Report

Last updated: 2/15/2017

Eastown, Grand Rapids, Michigan median estimated home value $177K and median listing price is $203K as of Feb. 15, 2017.


Alger Heights, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Market Activity Report

Last updated: 2/15/2017

Alger Heights, Grand Rapids, Michigan median estimated home value $129K and median listing price is $130K as of Feb. 15, 2017.


East Grand Rapids, Michigan, Market Activity Report

Last updated: 2/15/2017

East Grand Rapids, Michigan median estimated home value $321K and median listing price is $499K as of Feb. 15, 2017.


Heritage Hill, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Market Activity Report

Last updated: 2/15/2017

Heritage Hill, Grand Rapids, Michigan, median estimated home value $216K and median listing price is $420K as of Feb. 15, 2017.

 


Looking for a report in regards to a specific Michigan neighborhood, zipcode — or around a specific address? Contact Sylvia at www.shesellsgr.com

 
Get Your Free Home Value Now!
 
Sylvia’s Website
Ultimate Guide to Home Selling
Homes Close to Where You Work
Free Home Values
Avoid Foreclosure
 
 
MY REVIEWS
 
 
 
Sylvia Dana
Realtor
Coldwell Banker AJS-Schmidt, 3744 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
616-570-8864
Licensed In: MICHIGAN
License #: 6501400118
Contact Me

You Can Also Visit Us At:        
 

Posted in Buying, Home Values, Homeowners, Selling

February 14th, 2017 by homehappily

Are you putting off doing your taxes because you’re a homeowner and there’s just too much to think about? Here are a few articles that might help you get prepared and feel more confident.


 

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2017 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

 

Get Your Free Home Value Now!
Sylvia’s Website
Ultimate Guide to Home Selling
Homes Close to Where You Work
Free Home Values
Avoid Foreclosure
MY REVIEWS
Sylvia Dana
Realtor
Coldwell Banker AJS-Schmidt, 3744 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
616-570-8864
Licensed In: MICHIGAN
License #: 6501400118
Contact Me

You Can Also Visit Us At:        

Posted in Homeowners Tagged with: , , , , ,

February 10th, 2017 by homehappily

You might think you’re buying time by holding off from purchasing or selling a home right now, but it’s more likely you’re wasting time and losing money.

Buyer

It might not be in your best financial best interest to wait to buy a home as home values are on the rise. The chart of historical listings below explain how this market continues to see healthy appreciation due to the low housing inventory. See Figure 1.

Based on statistics from the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors, a buyer who waited from 2015 to 2016 to buy a home, so that they could “save money,” actually paid $15K more due to the appreciation. “This also does not factor in how higher interest rates decreased their buying power in addition to the increase in average sales price,” said Scott Reilly, loan officer at Mortgage 1 in Grand Rapids.

Seller

On the other hand, as a seller waiting to list your property until home values go up more, or it’s summer, or whatever the case may be … be on notice: the time is now. According to GRAR, there is only 1.7 months of inventory on the market. This means there is very little competition and your home is likely to sell faster and for more money, if you list your property now with Sylvia Dana.


Figure 1


Figure 2

 

Get Your Free Home Value Now!
Sylvia’s Website
Ultimate Guide to Home Selling
Homes Close to Where You Work
Free Home Values
Avoid Foreclosure
MY REVIEWS
Sylvia Dana
Realtor
Coldwell Banker AJS-Schmidt, 3744 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
616-570-8864
Licensed In: MICHIGAN
License #: 6501400118
Contact Me

You Can Also Visit Us At:        

Posted in Buying, Homeowners, Selling Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

January 17th, 2017 by homehappily

Michigan lawmakers have abolished Michigan’s dower laws effective April 7, 2017.

In my real estate pre-licensing class, I learned that Michigan was the only state to still have the Dower Rights law. It meant that a wife had a right to 50 percent of property her husband owned, whether she was named on the title or not. Basically, it meant a husband could buy anything he wanted, but his wife had to sign off if he wanted to sell property.

But recently, the Michigan Legislature addressed lack of clarity in dower rights caused by the United States Supreme Court’s recognition of same sex marriage by eliminating it altogether.

Senate Bills 558 and 560, sponsored by State Senator Rick Jones, abolish a surviving wife’s dower right. Michigan was the only state that still granted a right to dower exclusively to surviving wives, but not to surviving husbands. Most states have already eliminated the dower rights because the existence of a right available only to one sex has been held to be unconstitutional under equal protection principle. The measures are now Public Acts 489 and 490 of 2016.

Historically, property owned by a married man alone would require the signature of his wife to transfer or mortgage a property. Beginning on April 7, spouses that hold property in their name alone will be free to transfer and mortgage the property without the signature of the other spouse. The only remaining exception is the Michigan Homestead law that requires the signatures of both spouses on a non-purchase money mortgage that will cover their homestead (principal residence).

The law eliminating dower is not entirely retroactive. It does not apply to the dower rights of a surviving spouse whose spouse died before the effective date of the new law. Put simply, dower will still apply if a spouse has died before April 7 of this year.

History of Dower in Michigan:

Michigan’s dower law was created in 1846 and it entitled a surviving widow to one-third of her husband’s real property during her lifetime. This dower interest (a one-third interest for life for the life of the wife) remains unchanged today.

In contrast, the more modern probate laws of Michigan give a widow better choices: If her husband died without a will, Michigan’s estate law gives the surviving spouse the first $148,000.00 of her husband’s estate and one-half of the remainder, or she could choose to take her dower right instead; or, if the husband had a will, the widow could take what was bequeathed to her in her husband’s will, take one-half of the estate or the share that she would have received had the husband not left a will, or take her dower right.

If you’re like me, and my spouse was the only one on the deed to our property, I would get added to the title. The following are links to articles and resources that might be helpful.

Related Links:

Dower and Courtesy

Michigan Abolishes Dower Rights Pending Governor Signature

Gov. Snyder signs legislation…

How to Add My Wife’s Name to the House Deed

How to Add a Husband’s Name to the Deed or Leave the House to Him in a Will

How to Add a Spouse to a Deed (in pictures)

Adding Your Partner’s Name to a House Title

 

Get Your Free Home Value Now!
Sylvia’s Website
Ultimate Guide to Home Selling
Homes Close to Where You Work
Free Home Values
Avoid Foreclosure
MY REVIEWS
Sylvia Dana
Realtor
Coldwell Banker AJS-Schmidt, 3744 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
616-570-8864
Licensed In: MICHIGAN
License #: 6501400118
Contact Me

You Can Also Visit Us At:        

Posted in Homeowners, Property Law Tagged with: , , ,

January 3rd, 2017 by homehappily

My name is Sylvia Dana and I’m a realtor. In 2006, I was a homeowner who found herself behind in house payments and facing foreclosure.

Once a homeowner gets behind on house payment, the effects can easily compound into a snowball, turning into a seemingly unstoppable avalanche in the lives of a family. Dealing with an impending foreclosure feels embarrassing, shameful and paralyzing. It can negatively affect your job, your relationships and even your health. I know it well.

I was a young teacher and a single mom of a 11-year-old boy. I was paid a fixed salary once per month and I didn’t have the money to save my home. I stopped picking up the phone. I didn’t open the mail. I thought I had time. I was wrong.

It was only two days before my house was to be auctioned at a sheriff’s sale when a realtor came to my door, alerting me to the reality of my situation. He didn’t tell me what to do next and he didn’t tell me what he wanted from me, or if he could help. But the day I realized I would lose my house in two days’ time, is the day I finally took massive action.

The problem is: being out of time makes one that much more desperate. Remember, my experience took place early 2006. It was immediately before the economic downturn and people knew a lot less about foreclosure issues than they might know now. I certainly didn’t know anything about foreclosure or how to fix it, so I got online to find some answers and fell into a trap of scam artists — “lawyers” charging hundreds of dollars to simply take a call and give advice.

Like I said, there wasn’t a lot of information available at the time, so I wired almost $900 to a company claiming they could help me by letting me talk to a lawyer over the phone. During the phone call, the “lawyer,” if he was a lawyer, told me to file Chapter 13 to stop foreclosure. Then he told me I needed to give $179 more to get the correct paperwork faxed to me. I didn’t know what else to do. It seemed I had no choice. I did exactly what I payed a stranger over the phone to tell me what to do — I went to the US Bankruptcy Court and filed Chapter 13, effectively stopping the foreclosure on my home.

(To file Chapter 13 in Michigan, as of 2013, you have to have proof you talked to an approved credit counselor before you file.)

Immediately after filing Chapter 13, I felt a huge relief from the stress of facing foreclosure. I could finally breathe. I was smiling again. I bought myself time and peace of mind, for a little while anyway. Once I stood in front of a judge and trustee, I discovered it was going to be a long road ahead. Getting squared away on my house payments and other debt wasn’t going to be easy, but the court granted me Chapter 13 bankruptcy because I had proved I could make enough income to catch up.

For some, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy or making the decision to walk away from a mortgage could be the only option. But for me, filing Chapter 13 was the right thing to do. I wanted to stay in my home and prevent a foreclosure on my credit report. With Chapter 13, there were a few hoops to jump through, but it was worth it. I went into the Chapter 13 with the purpose of catching up on my mortgage payments so that my son and I could stay in our home. But then something happened.

My neighbor Krista, who lived across the street from me, listed her home with a realtor. She put a sign in the front yard and her house sold two days later, and for more money than she was asking. When I learned of her success, I asked Krista for the realtor’s contact information. I wondered if her realtor could work some of the same magic for me. Later that day, Lisa — my realtor — came to my home. She told me how much money I might be able to sell my home for and how soon it might sell. She told me she was fairly confident I could get a lot more than what I bought the home for three years prior. The profit from my the sale of my home would help me, not only pay off my home loan, liens and closing costs, but also pay off other debt. So, I decided to list my house with Lisa. I was completely open and honest with my realtor about what I was going through, so she could give me the best guidance.

Once I listed my home, I filed a motion with the bankruptcy court to dismiss the Chapter 13 case. (I’ve learned since that I could have simply asked for permission from the judge and trustee overseeing my case to sell my home while in Chapter 13, but I didn’t know any better. And since Lisa was my realtor, not my lawyer, she couldn’t tell me what exactly to do. And after paying $900 to talk to talk to a lawyer for three minutes, I was capped on lawyer funds. So, I winged it on my own.)

As blind luck would have it, I accepted an offer on my house one week after listing it. Lisa held my hand through the process and made it as easy as possible. Still, there was some stress to work through and obstacles to overcome while the contract on my home sale was pending. For example, there was a point the buyer of my home thought about pulling out of the deal, but then had a change of heart and stuck with the terms of the contract. Then, since I dismissed my Chapter 13 case all together, instead of just getting permission to sell my home while in Chapter 13, the credit union holding my car loan came to repossess my car while I was packing! My home sale transaction hadn’t closed yet, so I didn’t have the money from the sale to get my car. My realtor Lisa helped me by renting me a car for a couple of days, until I got the check from the sale.

After all was said and done, Lisa handed me a check for $15K, which was enough for me to go to the credit union to get my car and pay it off in full for $8K. I had another $7K left to re-start my life.

For me, filing Chapter 13 to stop foreclosure, and then listing my home for sale was the best thing I could have done. Is the same strategy right for you? That’s something you’re going to have to decide for yourself. The realtor that came to my door two days before my home was to be auctioned helped me take action. But he wasn’t my Lisa.

I want to be different. I want to be your Lisa. I want to help those who might be facing foreclosure. I’m not a lawyer, I’m a realtor — and fairly new to the real estate industry. I plan to continue learning more about this issue to be of even better service, but for now I hope sharing a bit from my own experience stopping foreclosure is helpful.

The following are some links to foreclosure and bankruptcy information to help you decide which path might be the right one for you:

Stages of Foreclosure in Michigan

Kent County Foreclosure Financial Coaches

Foreclosure & Eviction for Homeowners in Kent County

Last Minute Strategies to Stop Foreclosure

5 Ways to Stop Foreclosure

Avoiding Foreclosure (Tips of Attorney General for the State of Michigan)

How to Fight Foreclosure (in pictures)

Avoid Foreclosure Overview from Fannie Mae

Deed in Lieu vs Short Sale

Strategic Default: Reasons to and Reasons Not to Walk Away from a Mortgage

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Michigan?

Credit Counseling Requirements before Filing Chapter 13 (with list of approved credit counselors)

Credit Counseling FAQS (requirement before filing for any type of bankruptcy)

Before you File Bankruptcy PDF

Eligibility & Advantages of Chapter 13

Can I sell my house while in Chapter 13?

Filing Chapter 13 in West Michigan

Filing Bankruptcy “Pro Se” (without an attorney)

Checklist for Filing Chapter 13 “Pro Se” (without a attorney)

 
Get Your Free Home Value Now!
 
Sylvia’s Website
Ultimate Guide to Home Selling
Homes Close to Where You Work
Free Home Values
Avoid Foreclosure
 
 
MY REVIEWS
 
 
 
Sylvia Dana
Realtor
Coldwell Banker AJS-Schmidt, 3744 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
616-570-8864
Licensed In: MICHIGAN
License #: 6501400118
Contact Me

You Can Also Visit Us At:        
 

Posted in Buying, Foreclosure, Homeowners, Selling Tagged with: , , , ,