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Tag Archives: Ann Arbor real estate expert

Avoid Headaches at the Holidays and Throughout the Year by Saving Energy in the Kitchen

As families around Ann Arbor prepare for the bustling holiday season, it’s important to remember that maintaining large kitchen appliances is a key element to peace of mind. The last thing you need while preparing for a party or holiday feast is a problem with your refrigerator or dishwasher, in addition to the worry of overspending on your energy budget! With occasional light maintenance and good usage habits, you can avoid hassles throughout the year. Here are a few tips for keeping your large kitchen appliances in perfect working order (and saving money in the bargain):

Refrigerators and Freezers

  • Adjust the thermostat. Because it cycles on and off all day, your refrigerator consumes more electricity than any appliance in the home (aside from the heating and cooling system). When you set the thermostat colder than it needs to be, you could be increasing your fridge’s energy consumption by as much as 25%. Adjust the refrigerator so that it stays in the 37-40F range. Try to keep your freezer between 0-5F. If your model doesn’t display the current temps, invest in two appliance thermometers (one for the fridge, one for the freezer).

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The Basics of Condominium Ownership in Ann Arbor

There are a great many benefits to purchasing a condominium in Ann Arbor. If you’re considering buying a condo, you’re likely to have questions. Here are a few answers to get you on the road to one of today’s hottest trends in home ownership – condominium living!

What is a condominium, and why should I buy one?

A condominium is a form of home ownership in which individual units of a larger complex are sold, not rented. These units may be renovated apartments, townhouses, or newly-constructed units. Contrary to popular belief, the word ‘condominium’ does not apply to the type of unit itself, but the legal ownership arrangement. Buying a condo provides all of the benefits of home ownership, at a price very competitive with the majority of rentals. Now is the time to stop paying your landlord’s bills, and begin building something for yourself!

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It Pays to Support Responsible Homeownership

Doing what you can to help other Ann Arbor residents gain a foothold on the home ownership ladder doesn’t just help them–you’ll reap benefits for both your community and your own wallet. Individuals who move from renting to owning a home, are more likely to vote, get involved in community groups, and invest in their own home’s appearance. A 2001 Harvard University study showed that children of homeowners do 23% better in school. A steady flow of first-time home buyers makes it easier to sell your own starter home, when you’re ready to move up.

Affordability of housing is one of the best ways to make more people homeowners. Government-backed mortgage insurance can help to lower loan costs, and a variety of public and private programs offer low-cost loans and down payment assistance. You can help prospective homeowners save down payment funds by donating to sites like EARN, a non-profit company that uses donations to match funds saved by low-wage earners.

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Protect Yourself and Your Property – Have Hunters Sign a Waiver

If you are an Ann Arbor homeowner who allows others to hunt on your property, you could be liable if they’re injured. Cover your risk by asking hunters to sign a liability waiver. This suggestion comes from InsuraCorp, Inc., a Fremont-based company which has a Hunting Hold Harmless Agreement on its website. While deer hunting is an extremely popular outdoor tradition in Michigan, homeowners should take appropriate measures to avoid injury-related lawsuits suffered by hunters on their property.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) the state has issued 13,641 deer hunting licenses in Washtenaw County so far this year, while statewide, sales have reached about 1.3 million. Firearm season for deer runs from November 14 through the 30th; archery season begins December 1 and runs through the 30th.

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Winterize Your Home with Small Fixes for a Cozy Season Indoors

Now that colder weather is moving into Ann Arbor, it’s time to settle in with a stack of great books, or a few great movies. Before you do, be sure to plan ahead so that an easily avoidable home emergency doesn’t ruin your hibernation! Just follow these simple tips, and enjoy a snug and comfortable home all winter long.

Super Quick Fixes

  • If you don’t have smoke detectors, install them now. If you do have them, change the batteries and test the detectors to ensure that they’re working properly.
  • Inspect your roof for missing or cracked tiles. If repairs are needed, get them before snow and ice force you to wait until spring. Continue reading

Save Energy and Money by Making Your Water Heater More Efficient

Ann Arbor residents are preparing themselves and their homes for winter. As you get ready for colder days, it’s important to note that the US Department of Energy says that 14%-25% of the average homeowner’s total energy costs go toward water heating. This amounts to more than $300 per year. Here are five energy-saving tips which can help cut the cost of heating water in your home:

Tip #1: Wrap your heater in a blanket. Water heaters are often located in unheated areas, making insulation critical. Cutting heat loss by using an insulating blanket (usually priced around $30) can save 4%-9% on the average water-heating bill. Be sure to check with your manufacturer’s guide; some new models of water heaters already contain insulating foam, making a blanket unnecessary.

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What You Need to Know About the Foreclosure Moratorium

Homeowners here in Ann Arbor who have been following the news during the past week, know that many banks have called for a moratorium on foreclosures. Bank of America, one of the major mortgage lenders here in Michigan, was the first to extend their review of foreclosure documents to all 50 states. As of yesterday (10/25), Bank of America resumed  foreclosure activity in 23 states, while continuing their nationwide review. Here are some questions and answers which will help to shed some light on the current foreclosure situation. Answers have been provided by Bank of America:

What is a foreclosure sale?
After a severely delinquent customer goes through the foreclosure proceedings, their home becomes the property of the investor or bank. At that time, the home is sold at public auction. It is only after that time that a customer may be evicted from their home.

What does this mean for customers currently in the foreclosure process?
Bank of America will continue the foreclosure process on delinquent borrowers, but will not proceed to judgment or with a foreclosure sale at this time. Foreclosure sales which were scheduled for October 9 or later were stopped and will be rescheduled at a later date.

Why are banks taking this action?
Due to questions raised about the foreclosure affidavit-signing process, steps are being taken as a precaution. Most lenders are reviewing their processes for handling foreclosure documents.
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Ann Arbor is Revitalizing South State Street Business Corridor

The State Street area has, for over 150 years, offered a rich array of goods, services and Ann Arbor real estate situated near the main campus of the University of Michigan. From the annual State Street Art Fair in July to a quick sandwich at Potbelly to the perfect condo to call “home,” State Street provides virtually everything today’s savvy urban dweller needs and wants. 

Although the economy has taken a toll on businesses across the nation and in Ann Arbor, confidence is growing as the South State Street business corridor begins to revitalize. Pittsfield Township officials are actively and aggressively seeking to grow the job market and overcome numerous vacancies, restoring the fiscal health of the area.  According to Township Supervisor Mandy Grewal, area officials are “getting out there and outlining the benefits to businesses of locating” in the community. 

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