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Christine Deforge

Direct: (906) 369-1974
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SPRING?

4/1/2015

No April Fools Joke! 

Even though there is still snow on the ground here, buyers are coming out to look for their dream home, rental, or piece of land!  THINKING OF SELLING your property this year?  Get busy.  The best time to list property in the area is NOW.  Many buyers have been planning and waiting all winter to make their purchase when the snow started to melt. 

First thing to do:  Have a RE/MAX REALTOR look over your property to give you a comparable market analysis and to help you decide what needs to be done in order to put your property on the market. 

Then, step-by-step, get the jobs accomplished. 

It's important to remember

THE 3 C's of Staging:

  • CLEAN, CLEAN, Q-TIP CLEAN
  • CLUTTER-FREE (pack the stuff away)
  • COLOR- Neutral palette-warmer colors

When you're ready, give your REALTOR a call, email, text.  They will then put the wheels in motion to Change the "For Sale" sign to "SOLD"!

Winter is knocking at the door

10/3/2014

Fall brought us brilliant colors in the leaves on the various trees, from dark red, to bright yellow, deep orange, pine green.  The pallet dotted the landscape everywhere you go in the Keweenaw.  Weather has been fantastic with the rain going mostly to the south of us.  But, alas, I think it's starting to come to an end.  The rain started this evening and the wind has been howling at times, blowing as many leaves off the trees as possible.  It's going to leave us with grey until the first snow comes.  I'm actually looking forward to that day.  It brightens the day with the sun bouncing off the white ground cover. 

The real estate market has been really hot this fall, moreso for me, than this past spring or summer.  We're seeing a lot of interest from first time home buyers to those coming here to retire, or to just have a place in the Keweenaw. 

Waterfront is selling, but we're seeing a decline in the prices paid. 

Inventory seems to be up even though it's busy.  That means more for buyers to choose from and that means it's a Buyer's Market in most cases.  If you're thinking of buying, now's the time to look. 

If you're thinking of selling, I'd encourage you to wait until late February or March, when inventory has declined because of winter.  Most people don't want to move in the winter, so properties are taken off the market.  Less people are looking in the winter as well. 

I'm here to help you with your real estate needs, year round. 

 

300 INCHES!

3/30/2014
It may be spring in most parts of the country, and our sunny day says it should be spring here, except for one fact....We have had nearly 300 inches of snow fall this season, in my neighborhood. There is in excess of four feet of the luxurious white stuff on the ground. BUT, that hasn't keep the selling season from picking up. I can say January through Midi-March were pretty quiet, but it's starting to get busy now. If you're thinking of selling or buying property in the Keweenaw this year, don't delay any longer. Start now. Get in touch with me to guide you through every step of the selling or buying process. I look forward to helping you with your real estate needs. Make 2014 the year your dreams came true. I can help!

The market is HOT

7/4/2013
Happy 4th of July everyone!  They say our summer will be 1/2 over after today.  With the late arrival of spring, I'm hoping summer will linger into fall, and fall into winter. 

Looking to buy property in the Keweenaw this year?  There is a wealth of properties available.  To start your search, use my website.  It has all the tools you need to see ALL that is available here.  All the listings in the Keweenaw Multiple Listing Service are available for you to view.  Browse the map, or search by features. 

If you will be financing, it's best to get pre-qualified to know how much home you will be able to buy.  All of the local lenders are very professional and knowledgeable.  If you need contact information, I have many I can provide to you, from a national bank, to the local credit unions.  Get pre-qualified so you are looking in the proper price range. 

Once you have an idea of what you're looking for, contact me.  I can also set up a search of the MLS for you to receive listings in your in box.  You will see the listings as soon as they come onto the market.  I can show you any property listed in the Keweenaw MLS and usually work for you, as a buyer's Realtor, helping you with every step of the buying process. I have a wealth of information and the experience it takes to navigate the real estate market.

There's plenty of time to find that perfect property you've dreamed of.  Let's get moving!

SELLING THIS YEAR? IT'S TIME TO GET SERIOUS

2/13/2013
Winter is at its peak in our area, but it won't be long before the days get longer and warmer.  When the sun shines, the phone rings or the internet buzzes with inquiries on property.

If you're planning to sell your home this year, now is the time to get ready for the best time of year to sell (early spring to summer). 

Here are some things to do:


1.  Pre-sale home inspection:  You can be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale home inspection.  An inspector will be able to give you a good indication of the trouble areas that will stand out to potential buyers, and you'll be able to make repairs before opening your home to prospective buyers. 

2. HUGE:  Organize and clean.  Pare down clutter and pack up your least-used items, such as large blenders and other kitchen tools, out-of-season clothes, toys, excercise equipment. Store items off-site or in baxes neatly arranged in the barage or basement.  Clean the windows, carpets, walls, lighting fixtures, and baseboards to make the house shine.

3.  Get replacement estimates:  Do you have big-ticket items that are worn out or will need to be replaced soon, such as your roof or carpeting?  Get estimates on how much it would cost to replace them, even if you don't plan to do it yourself.  The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home, and will be handy when negotiations begin. 

4.  Find your warranties.  Gather up the warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for the furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher and any other items that will remain with the house.

5.  Don't put off the little jobs you've been meaning to do around the house; that piece of trim that's missing, the removal of that old wallpaper.  Get the little things done so they don't turn into big stumbling blocks for buyers.

5. Spruce up curb appeal:  Pretend you're a buyer and stand outside of yourhome.  As you approach the front door, what is your impression of the property?  In winter: Is the snow cleared away from the driveway and is there a nice path to the front door?  Is the deck clear of snow?  When the snow is gone, do the lawn and bushes look neatly manicured?  Is the address clearly visible?  Are pretty flowers or plants framing the entrance?  Is the walkway free from cracks and impediments? 

If you do these things, you'll be well on your way to achieving the goal of selling your home.  More tips to follow in the coming weeks. 

Calling all buyers

9/22/2010
Mortgages are harder to come by these days.  We knew it was coming.  So, if you want to buy a home, your first step is your bank or credit union.  Find out how much home you can afford. There are many loan products available with differing fees.  Our local lenders continue to be the best to work with; they return your email requests and calls.  They follow through.  The same cannot always be said about those mortgage brokers with an 800#, offering you a great deal. 

Speaking of mortgage products, It's September and finally, USDA has received funding in order to offer first-time home buyers an avenue to purchase their first home.  It's called a Rural Development Mortgage.  These mortgages are available in rural areas of the United States.  All of the U.P. of Michigan is eligible.  Buyers have two ways to obtain a RD loan:  Direct or through a participating lending institution.  With interest rates at record lows (under 5%!), if you're thinking of buying your first home, now's a great time to start looking!  There's plenty of time before the bad weather hits and the inventory is high right now.  RD mortgages have income and purchase limits, but they are generous.  To find the service center near you, go to:
http://rdhomeloans.usda.gov/

When you have been pre-qualified, get out there and start looking!  Make contact with a Realtor who can be a Buyer's Agent.  That's important.  A buyer's agent will work for you, but is typically paid by the seller, if the property is listed by another Realtor.  You can also hire a Buyer's Agent for a property for sale by owner.  A Realtor can provide invaluable insight and assistance when navigating the process of purchasing real estate.  If you're looking for property in our area, I'd be happy to work for you as your Buyer's Agent.  I can set up a search for you, if you haven't already done so, send you listings within your parameters, set up appointments show you the houses you select.

From there, there I'll help you with making an offer on the property you choose.  Once you have an accepted offer, you'll have the wheels in motion.  For financing, your lender will have a property to work with now.  You may have chosen to have an inspection of the property.  There are several qualified inspectors in our area that will provide you with a concise, written report of what they observe in an inspection of the property.  That's a story in itself.  Once the inspection contingency is satisfied, the way is clear for the the appraisal to be performed.  The lender will put that and other items regarding the mortgage into motion.  Then comes final loan approval, closing and moving! 

I'll help you with every step until you have the keys to your own home in your hands! 

Slow Start to Summer

6/7/2010

Spring is almost a memory.  It was one of those spring seasons that you wish would go on forever.  Constantly sunny, mild days.  Rain didn't come often. 

The summer buying/selling season has begun.  Listings are coming in fast and furious.  There are more sellers out there than buyers.  As always, it is generally a "Buyers market" in our area.  If you're selling, you'll want to make sure you've priced your property to be competitive with those similar to yours, if you hope to sell this year. 

Again, mortgages are more difficult to come by:  More hoops to jump through with some loan products, and the 100% mortgage market has dried up, for now.  Too soon to tell what kind of a season it will be.  It started out gangbusters though for the first few months.  The first-time home buyer tax credit was a boost.  Will it be renewed?  It doesn't look like that will happen soon, if at all. 

Have a good summer; before you know it, snowflakes will be flying again. 

Happy Holidays to Everyone

12/19/2009

That time of year has snuck up on me.  I sincerely wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukkah, Happy Kwanzaa....  and so on. It's a time to pause, refresh and reflect.  May your holiday, whatever it is, be such a time.  As I look out the window at the huge, fluffy snowflakes floating down, I am thankful for the place I call home.  You will be guaranteed a white Christmas living in this part of the United States.  I will be taking a day or two offer here and there, even though my business has been steady.  With the extension and expansion of the First-Time Home Buyers' tax credit, it has brought in a few new buyers.  Also, those students and parents from our local universities, Finlandia and Michigan Tech, are starting to look for homes to buy.  

I thank each and every one of my buyers and sellers for the great year I've had.  Without you, my life would not have been enriched.  You are why I enjoy my job! 

May 2010 be the year you make your real estate dreams come true.

As summer winds down

9/12/2009

We've had at least two weeks with beautiful, sunny, warm days and nights, hardly a drop of rain.  It's a beautiful fall that seems like the summer we didn't get.  There were about three weeks of hot weather during June, July and August, that you could consider actual summer weather.  September has been a different story.  It's a pleasure to have, even though it's late in arriving; too bad the students are back to school.  The leaves aren't turning very quickly; we have to have cold nights for that to happen.  Perhaps color season will be late this year; it is typically around the end of September. 

Our summer property sales were very good this year; not a lot of foreclosures, some gains in values.  Waterfront continues to be a little slow. 

We're seeing a push of first-time home buyers trying to connect with a home to get the tax credit available to them.  The sale must close before December 1, 2009.  Financial institutions are advising that buyers have an accepted offer by October 1st. 

Get out and enjoy the outdoors, no matter where you are this fall.  It's my favorite time of year.  If you're lucky enough to live in one of the four counties we serve:  Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga or Ontonagon, you have a lot of hiking and biking trails, roads to drive to see magnificent views and great weather.  The best color is yet to come and then it turns white.  As a sign in a local yard says: "Enjoy the color, the next color is white".  That will bring another way to enjoy the outdoors.

Happy Birthday to my Daughter

7/10/2009
Happy 29th Birthday to my eldest, Jenn.  AND, finally summer has arrived.  It's been nice for about a week now.  It was even a great July 4th.  We always hear the rumor that we aren't going to get a summer.  We wait and wait for those lazy days of summer....and then we work through it, literally. 

If you're wondering what the housing market is like here, it's steady, not overwhelming, but steady.  The lending institutions are sometimes difficult to deal with, so it's best to work with a local mortgage officer.  The lending rules have changed and keep evolving, so if you're looking forward to obtaining a mortgage in the near future, start working on that goal now.  Save, save, save for a down payment.  You'll have more mortgage options.  Make sure your credit is solid. 

5 Factors That Decide Your Credit Score

Credit scores range between 200 and 800. Scores above 620 are considered desirable for obtaining a mortgage. These factors will affect your score.

1. Your payment history. Whether you paid credit card obligations on time.

2. How much you owe. Owing a great deal of money on numerous accounts can indicate that you are overextended.

3. The length of your credit history. In general, the longer the better.

4. How much new credit you have. New credit, either installment payments or new credit cards, are considered more risky, even if you pay promptly.

5. The types of credit you use. Generally, its desirable to have more than one type of creditinstallment loans, credit cards, and a mortgage, for example.

For more on evaluating and understanding your credit score, go to http://www.myfico.com.

Here are some tips provided by the Fannie Mae Foundation on 8 ways to Improve Your Credit:

    1. Check for and correct errors in your credit report. Mistakes happen, and you could be paying for someone elses poor financial  
management.

2. Pay down credit card bills. If possible, pay off the entire balance every month. However, transferring credit card debt from one card to another could lower your score.

3. Dont charge your credit cards to the maximum limit.

4. Wait 12 months after credit difficulties to apply for a mortgage. Youre penalized less for problems after a year.

5. Dont purchase big-ticket items for your new home on credit cards until after the loan is approved. The amounts will add to your debt.

6. Dont open new credit card accounts before applying for a mortgage. Having too much available credit can lower your score.

7. Shop for mortgage rates all at once. Too many credit applications can lower your score, but multiple inquiries from the same type of lender are counted as one inquiry if submitted over a short period of time.

8. Avoid finance companies. Even if you pay the loan on time, the interest is high and it will probably be considered a sign of poor credit management.

This information is copyrighted by the Fannie Mae Foundation and is used with permission of the Fannie Mae Foundation. To obtain a complete copy of the publication, "Knowing and Understanding Your Credit," visit http://www.homebuyingguide.org.

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