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Macomb County MI real estate blog

VA mortgage and 100% disability rating – property tax exemption for these deserving veterans!

June 17th, 2014 · No Comments · Buyers agency, VA mortgages

I recently became aware of a property tax exemption in Michigan for those discharged veterans who have been deemed 100% disabled by the VA.   (Shame on me for not knowing about this earlier).

This exemption is HUGE.   If you are 100% disabled by the VA, print out this form (at the link below), take it to your city / township office and file it to be exempt from paying property taxes.   Here is a link to the State of Michigans information about this exemption:  Property Tax Exemption for Veterans

If you are considering purchasing a home, this property tax exemption needs to be brought up to your mortgage lender.  The debt to income ratio could change drastically without having the property taxes included in with your mortgage payment.

Kris Wales – Macomb County MI real estate
Contact Kris – (586) 536-5453 cell
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The never ending winter in Macomb County – fun viewing homes for sale!

February 13th, 2014 · No Comments · tips for home buyers

For those brave & adventurous home buyers out here in Metro Detroit, they are treated to snow & ice covered streets as well as trying to find the homes address when sellers don’t leave a porch light on.

Showing homes in Macomb County during this horrible winter!

Hang in there!  Eventually all of this will melt, streets will be passable again and HOPEFULLY more home owners will consider putting their homes on the market.   The spring thaw should bring about more homes on the market for the buyers to choose from.   Oh, and we get to put the winter clothes away too!

Stay warm and safe everyone!

Kris Wales – a buyers agent in Macomb County MI
SEARCH homes for sale in Metro Detroit
Contact Kris (586) 536-5453

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Is flipping a house in Macomb County still a good idea?

February 2nd, 2014 · No Comments · Buyers agency, macomb county mi real estate market, tips for home buyers

Flip or Lease a home on Macomb County MI?I came across this article in todays USA Today and wasn’t surprised that Michigan isn‘ t on the list of the 6 best states to flip homes.


There simply aren’t enough homes on the market, and those that are priced well & clean sell quickly for top dollar. Not enough “wiggle room” for an investor to purchase & flip in most cases. Purchase & rent? Oh yes. Still a nice market here for that.

In the last 6 months I’ve received far fewer calls from investors wanting me to find homes that they can “flip” for a fast return on investment, and more from those investors who currently own rental properties in Macomb County, looking for more to increase their portfolios.

Frankly, I’m glad to see the days of the “quick flip” are almost over with in Macomb County.  It means that we are finally on our way in to a nice recovery in home prices.  It’s been a long time coming!

Kris Wales – Macomb County MI real estate agent
586-536-5453 (cell)
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Contact Kris

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“What happened to open houses?” in Macomb County MI

November 4th, 2013 · No Comments · Buyers agency, macomb county mi real estate market, Searching homes for sale in Macomb County

A buyer client asked a question the other day that got me to thinking…“What happened to open houses in the county?  Are they illegal now?”.

No, open houses are still very much legal.  The reasons you are not seeing them as predominately as in years past are:

Safety:   Think about it:  A real estate agent is advertising with the open house sign that they are alone in a home.  Many of us are taking greater caution now with how we conduct our business.  We’re not setting ourselves up to be robbed, or worse.

Supply and Demand:   There really isn’t a need for an open house anymore.  If a home in Macomb County is priced well and nicely maintained, it sells quickly – in a matter of days on the market and often with multiple offers.   If a home hits the market on a Monday or a Tuesday, quite often it is sold before the weekend.

Liability:   A homeowner places their trust in us, their agents.   When a home is held “open” for anyone who chooses to walk through it, you never know if someone is merely “casing” the home to come back at another time and steal valuables.

The open house signs that I’m seeing lately are mainly FSBO’s (for sale by owners).   I always hope they are taking safety precautions,  hiding and /or locking up their valuables, and having 2 people in the home at all times.  (Don’t be there alone with your door wide open and a smile on your face.)

Kris Wales – a partner for your real estate needs in Macomb County MI
SEARCH Metro Detroit homes for sale
Contact Kris - (586) 536-5453

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A new trend: Paying above appraised price. Have you seen this also on a Macomb County purchase?

September 12th, 2013 · No Comments · Appraisals in Macomb County MI, Searching homes for sale in Macomb County, tips for home buyers

I’ve neglected this blog much too long!  My only excuse is that I have been so busy that I haven’t had time (or energy) to write and keep up with it.    Things are slowing down a bit now that we’re at the end of the “summer rush” and I can finally put in to words some of the things that I’ve experienced over the last few months while helping buyers purchase their homes.

One thing stands out amongst all the madness of multiple offers – not enough homes on the market:   Hearing “Will your buyer pay more than the appraised price?” from the sellers agent.

I’m not kidding.   I’ve heard it from 3 sellers agents while they and their sellers were reviewing offers to purchase from my buyer clients.

Here is the scenario:    Buyer finds “THE” home and puts an offer to purchase in writing.   Each time there are multiple offers on the property, and my buyers are given comparable sales to help them make an educated decision as to what is fair market value for the home.

Each buyer has come in strong with their offers.  (All of them at asking price or above asking price if the comparable sales are higher)

Each listing/sellers agent has asked:  “If the house doesn’t appraise, will your buyer pay the difference between the sales price and the appraised price?”

Each time my buyer has said NO.   Smart buyers.    We’ve always talked about this scenario when the question is asked and what the outcome could be.    For example:  Buyer offers $180,000, seller accepts offer.  Appraiser values the home at $162,000.   That is a difference of $18,000.  If the buyer had agreed, in writing, to pay the difference that buyer would have to bring $18,000 more to closing.  Certainly not something most buyers can do, nor should do.

Most appraisals are coming back in close to asking price, or above asking price.  The appraisers are finally starting to see the increase in values in Macomb County as well as the pent up buyer demand.  However, there have been times when an appraiser sees things differently than a buyer, seller and both agents and comes in much lower than the purchase offer price.  In these instances there isn’t much than can be done unless we can find errors in the appraisal, and then appeal it.   To put in writing in a legally binding contract that a buyer will pay for the difference in an appraisers value and the purchase amount is not something a buyer should consider lightly.

I’ve only had one instance in my 16 years of representing home buyers that the buyer client paid more than the appraised price.  There were specific reasons this buyer did so, and the sellers not budging off the purchase price didn’t help matters.  Because the house was so “specific” to my buyers and nothing had come on the market in over a year like this home, the buyers bit the bullet/wallet and paid over the appraised price.

It’s been a crazy couple of months out there!

Kris Wales - a partner for your real estate needs in Macomb County MI
Contact me at 586-536-5453
Want to search for Macomb County homes?

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Chesterfield Township MI home sales in March 2013 – what an increase from last year!

April 2nd, 2013 · No Comments · chesterfield township, macomb county mi real estate market

When I am looking for homes for buyers lately in the northern parts of Macomb County, especially Chesterfield Township, I am often struck by how few homes there are for sale (compared to last year) as well as how quickly the homes are selling.  We’ve been watching the prices steadily increasing and that has been great news for home sellers, but not quite so good for buyers as in recent years.

This morning I peeked at one of the multiple list services that I belong to and had all of my (and my buyer clients) observations confirmed.   The difference between sold homes in Chesterfield Township from last month to March of 2012 is remarkable.

Not only did the highest sold price increase from $229,500 to $270,000 but the average sold price jumped $20,100!

If you’d like to know what the recent sold prices are in your Macomb County neighborhood please don’t hesitate to contact me.  No pressure, just conversation.

Kris Wales – a partner for your real estate needs in Macomb County MI
Contact Kris - (586) 536-5453 cell
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Are condo sales picking up in Macomb County?

March 27th, 2013 · No Comments · Condos in Macomb County MI

The condo segment of our real estate market was hit especially hard during the last few years, more so than the single family residential sales.  A couple of things contributed to the severe decline in market values for condos:

The lack of financing available, combined with higher down payment amounts when you could find a lender to finance you.
HUDs newer guidelines for “approved” condo complexes.

If you tried to sell your condo over the last 5 years then you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Lots of interest from buyers, but unless a buyer had cash or a very hefty down payment, they couldn’t purchase your home.

One of the “bright” spots for condo sellers this year is the fact that investors are still out there in full force, and realize that with climbing real estate prices that they will have to decide to purchase now or will be losing out on some terrific investment potential.  I am currently working with 2 different investors that are interested in purchasing condos that they can hold on to for the long term, and rent out for monthly income.   They are running in to multiple offer situations, much like the buyers for single family homes are running in to the “bidding wars”.

If you have any questions about the current market value of your condo, please don’t hesitate to ask.  I’d be happy to look at the market in your area, no pressure – I promise.

Kris Wales – A Macomb County real estate agent
CONTACT Kris (586) 536-5453
SEARCH Macomb County MI homes & condos for sale


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Do you have a home you’d like to sell in Chesterfield Township? Now’s the time – the buyers will be lining up!

March 11th, 2013 · No Comments · chesterfield township, macomb county mi real estate market

I took buyer clients out on Friday to view homes for sale with their “want list – wish list” in mind.  Their needs aren’t that unusual:  3 bedrooms, basement, etc in Chesterfield Township.   We only saw 3.  That is all we could find.


As of this morning (March 10th, 2013) there are only 18 homes for sale in Chesterfield Township between $100,000 and $200,000 with at least 3 bedrooms and a basement.  (Here is a link to those homes).

If you are at all considering selling your Chesterfield Township home, now would be the time.  There will be buyers lining up the first couple of days on the market, and I can assure you that if your home is clean, well maintained and priced well that you should receive a terrific offer the first week.

It’s getting hectic out there folks!

Kris Wales – a partner for your real estate needs in Macomb County MI
SEARCH Macomb County homes for sale
Contact Kris – (586) 536-5453 cell

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“How do I compete with cash offers?” – tips for Macomb County MI home buyers

March 6th, 2013 · No Comments · Buyers agency, macomb county mi real estate market, tips for home buyers

It’s happening.    The very thing that we saw coming for the last year.   “Bottom” of the market.  In fact, our real estate market in Macomb County is on an upswing in the northern areas of our county.  (Clinton Township / Sterling Heights and north).

One of the things that is extremely difficult for home buyers who are getting a mortgage is competing with the cash buyers (normally investors, but sometimes Mom and Dad with cash purchasing for their kids).

I can’t tell you how many times a buyer client of mine has written a good strong offer on a home only to be beat out by a cash / no contingency buyer, especially in the under $100,000 price range.   The market is toughening up with homes selling much quicker, and with more offers in on one home than I’ve seen in 16 years.

My advice to buyers who are using a mortgage?   Have ALL your ducks in a row.  (Not just a pre-qualification, but a strong pre-approval letter with perhaps an additional letter from your lender stating that your credit scores are high enough for the mortgage, that you have sufficient work history and funds to close, etc.)    Also, if you know there are multiple offers on a home then make your offer your “highest and best” right from the start.  Ask your buyers agent to review all the comparable sales on the home for the past 90 days so that you can make a confident, educated decision about the market value on the home.

Happy house hunting and good luck!

Kris Wales – a partner for your real estate needs in Macomb County MI
SEARCH homes for sale in Metro Detroit
Contact Kris – (586) 536-5453

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Purchasing a HUD house in Macomb County MI – What does “repair escrow” mean?

February 16th, 2013 · No Comments · tips for home buyers, tips for purchasing a foreclosure

Even though the supply of foreclosures is finally going down in Macomb County, my buyers and I are still seeing new HUD homes come on the market each week.   If my buyers are FHA buyers with limited funds to bring to closing, there is something I watch out for diligently with these HUD homes:  A repair escrow.

Prior to a home being put in the market HUD has the home appraised.  This appraisal determines the market value of the home for HUD as well as notes any repairs or deficiencies that the home may have that would be a “no go” for a FHA mortgage without the items being corrected.  This is where the repair escrow comes in to play.

The addendum that HUD attaches to the home (can be viewed at is quite detailed and will list the items that need to be repaired or replaced along with an estimated dollar amount that it would take to correct these items.

An example:   A home at 123 Main Street in Macomb may be offered for sale by HUD for $50,000.  There is flaking & peeling paint that the appraiser notes must be corrected / repaired, and the appraiser estimates that it will cost $1000 to do this. HUD will accept an offer by a purchaser with an FHA mortgage if the purchaser comes up with an extra $1000 at closing to be put in to an escrow account to insure that this work is done on the home.

Can the buyer add this $1000 in mandatory repair escrow to their mortage?  No.   You cannot finance the repair escrow with a standard FHA mortgage.

Many of my home buyers have the funds for their 3 1/2% down payment as well as extra for the closing costs and/or prepaid items they will need to bring to closing, but the repair escrows on certain homes puts the home out of reach.

All of the HUD homes that are currently for sale in Macomb County can be found at .  Each home listing will have addendums attached, and if the home has a repair escrow you can find that addendum and review it prior to writing an offer on a home.   Ask your buyers agent to do this for you before you even view a home.  You will save yourself wasted time and effort and frustration.

Kris Wales – a partner for your real estate needs in Macomb County MI
Contact Kris - (586) 536-5453
SEARCH Metro Detroit homes for sale with MLS provided data

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Important copyright information: All photos were taken by Kris Wales. Do not copy and use photos for your own use, whether it be for personal or commercial purpose. All articles were written by Kris Wales. Once again, do not copy and use for your own purposes. Important disclaimer: Views expressed on the blog by the author and commenters do not express the views of Keller Williams Realty. All information contained is deemed to be reliable at the time of posting but not guaranteed.