Sunday, February 19, 2017

Michigan Abolishes Dower Rights

Michigan abolishes dower rights
Michigan abolishes dower rights
On December 27, 2016, Governor Snyder signed into law a package of bills that will eliminate statutory and common law dower rights which will take effect on April 7, 2017. Michigan’s dower law was created in 1846 and entitled a widow to a one-third life estate in all of the real estate owned by her deceased husband during the marriage.
Michigan was the only state to provide dower rights to wives without providing any corresponding rights to husbands, making it constitutionally questionable. Also, the wording of Michigan’s dower statue and case law made clear that it did not apple to same-sex couples, creating an additional constitutional issue in light of the recent US Supreme Court decisions legalizing same-sex marriage. In practice, dower rights are very seldom exercised because wives generally receive more favorable treatment under Michigan laws relating to intestacy (i.e. decedents who die without a will) or the spouse’s elective share (i.e the minimum amount to which a surviving spouse is entitled if the deceased spouse does leave a will).
Beginning April 7, 2017, 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).
Dower will still apply if a spouse died before April 7, 2017.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Grand Haven, one of the best places in the WORLD to retire

It’s a new year, a time when most of us reflect on our lives and start thinking about the future, maybe even retirement. When most of us think about retirement we think about relaxation in the sun, but where in the world is the best place to retire? According to The 10 Best Places in the World to Retire, an article written by Cynthia Drescher from there are 10 places that are the absolute best places in the world to retire taking into account culture, access to health services, quality of life, and community:
Coronado, Panama is a Pacific coast beach with perfect sunsets just a two-hour drive down the Pan-American Highway from cosmopolitan Panama City. Panama’s tax system allows foreigners to live there nearly tax-free.
Penang, Malaysia is an island with beautiful beaches and easy in and out with quick and cheap flights to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Thanks to a government initiative, foreigners can now easily apply for a 10-year visa.
Cascais, Portugal is a seaside enclave of Cascais and is only 19 miles west of Lisbon but has 10 major golf courses, a castle, and miles of cobblestone streets bordered by cafes and fresh seafood vendors. Portugal is one the most affordable countries in Europe.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico is located in the Mexican state of Guanajuato just 3 hours north of the action of Mexico City. With its ideal weather, art scene, colonial charm, and affordable living, it has been luring foreign retirees for decades.
Killarney, Ireland is a small city in County Kerry ranked high for safety, cleanliness, and overall charm. Horse-drawn carts still drive the roads and where a budget of $30,000 a year is ample.
Corozal, Belize, the country’s northern most town where English is the official language. Corozal offers a ferry connection to Ambergris Caye, Belize’s largest island and gateway to the world-class snorkeling and scuba diving of the Belize Barrier Reef.
Concord, CA is located only 30 miles east of San Francisco. It is a big little city home to farmers markets, excellent health care facilities, and free community activities including one of the few remaining drive-in theaters.

Grand Haven, MI nicknamed “Coat Guard City,” is a lakefront star. Offering a boardwalk, 90,000 gallon musical fountain, harbor trolley, charter fishing, and miles of bike trails. The State Park’s 48 acre sandy beach and clear, cool waters of Lake Michigan are a favorite. Grand Haven has long and warm Summer days and charming downtown streets which are alive with festivals and live performances.
Santa Fe, NM offers beautiful mountains and The Santa Fe National Forest which have inspired a thriving art scene. Historic architecture, a friendly community of all ages, and warm days with low humidity make Santa Fe a popular choice.
Louisville, KY is home to the Kentucky Derby, bluegrass music, bourbon, and culture. Step outside the city limits and hike the 260 miles of trails in Hoosier National Forest. Kentucky is known for its friendliness and hospitality and its cost of living is some 14 percent below the national average.
Ready to make Grand Haven your retirement destination? Call us today and we can help you find the perfect home to make your dreams into memories.
Kersh 616-212-8418 Mary 616-638-3390 Lauri 616-292-5727 Michigan Homes and Cottages

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

9 Tips for Buying a Lake / Second Home

buy second home
Bill Fish and his family live in Cincinnati, but when he and his wife looked for ways for their children to spend more time with the grandparents, a vacation home in their resort community of Anna Maria Island, Florida, seemed perfect.
“It’s a simple three-bedroom ranch,” he said, with a “five-minute walk to the beach, and we also have a nice private pool.” His family vacations in the home twice a year and, when they’re not on site, they recoup about half their costs by renting the property.
Fish is far from alone. Last year, 21 percent of all homes bought in the U.S. were vacation homes — the highest percentage seen since the National Association of Realtors began recording the data in 2003. Investment properties remained a popular buy, too, comprising 19 percent of homes purchased in 2014.
Buying a second home can be exciting — and challenging. Before you bid on that mountain chalet or beachside bungalow, consider these tips.

1. Know How to Compare the Cost of Location

In niche markets where most vacation homes are, the cost of real estate will vary dramatically by location. “A $500,000 home on the lake may look a lot like a $300,000 home in the suburbs,” said Glenn S. Phillips, CEO of Lake Homes Realty, which specializes in lakeside properties primarily in the north Midwest and southeastern U.S. That’s because “the waterfront lot may be $200,000 more than a lot back home.”
To make more accurate comparisons between potential homes, Phillips suggests subtracting the location premium before comparing homes and prices.

2. Even Sellers Might Need More Cash Than Expected

Even if you’re just moving house and plan to sell the first home after closing on your new digs, you’ll probably need to be qualified for costs associated with both the old and new mortgage.
“Bridge loans are few and far between these days,” said Jeremy David Schachter, mortgage advisor at Pinnacle Capital Mortgage in Phoenix. “They were very popular before the housing crisis. These days, borrowers have to qualify for both mortgages if they are not selling one to buy another one at the same time.”
Keep Reading: What a Million-Dollar Home Looks Like Around the World

3. Know How Much You Can Afford

“With a second home, you would have to qualify on all your monthly debts, including any outstanding loans and the new mortgage for the second home,” said Schachter.
For a vacation home that won’t be rented out, most buyers can finance up to 90 percent of the home’s value, according to Fannie Mae. However, buyers will still need to consider all their other outstanding monthly debts, including the payment for their primary residence and the cash left in the bank — known as reserves — after the transaction is complete.

4. Plan to Have Extra Cash in Reserve

If you plan to finance your second home, have cash stashed away. Most banks require second-home buyers to have at least two months’ worth of mortgage payments in the bank, after you’ve accounted for the costs for the new home settlement.
If you’re buying an investment property, you’ll need a minimum of six months’ worth of payments stashed away. If your credit score is below 680, expect that number to be even higher.

5. Your Credit Score Matters — a Lot

Just like when you bought your primary home, your credit score affects what rate you can get for your second-home mortgage. The higher your credit score, the more attractive the rate and the more you save over the life of your loan.
The lower your credit score, the more cash the bank will expect you have in reserve. If your credit score is below 680 and you’re planning to rent your new home, you might need to have up to 12 months of mortgage payments in the bank.
Related: 24 Things You Need to Know to Build Credit

6. Be Prepared With a Large Down Payment

The vacation home market can be competitive. The more cash you have for a down payment, the stronger your offer.  “In our markets (lake homes), about 70 percent of the deals are cash deals with no mortgage,” said Phillips. “For most vacation homes, many sellers don’t have to sell. If they can afford a second home, they often can afford to wait for a desired offer and not be in a hurry to take low offers.”
If you’re planning to finance a vacation home, a 10 percent down payment will usually suffice, so long as you meet the other mortgage criteria and you purchase private mortgage insurance. If you’re looking to rent your home, even just some of the time, it will be categorized as an investment property. Mortgage lenders can be more stringent for investment home loans, requiring at least a 20 percent to 25 percent down payment, said Schachter.

7. Don’t Rely on Online Valuation Tools

While online home price estimators can be a good tool when buying into a subdivision of similar homes, they don’t always work so well in vacation home markets. “The automated tools are still young, and the data is difficult in markets where homes are influenced by lakes, oceans and mountains,” said Phillips. “And these homes are often custom-built and vary greatly.”
In other words, an in-person appraisal is often the best way to figure out a home’s worth, particularly in resort areas, where home value is highly dependent upon location and individual home amenities.

8. Work With an Agent Who Fully Understands the Area

“Many second homes are purchased to focus on recreation or nature,” said Phillips. “This can create interesting ‘gotchas’ in a home purchase.” Areas with protected vegetation, rural road restrictions or unique land situations — like lake lots that are leased, for instance — can create big problems for an uneducated buyer.
Phillips suggested working with a real estate agent who is a genuine expert in the location and type of home you want to buy. “They will know the often hidden dangers lurking for out-of-area buyers,” he said.
Read: 10 Important Questions to Ask When Buying a House

9. Be Aware of Taxes

Different tax rules apply, depending on how you use the second home. If you rent for zero to 14 days per year, you’re not required to pay federal taxes on the rental income, according to TurboTax. If you rent the home for more than 14 days, you’re required to report all rental income, although you can deduct rental expenses for when the home is rented out.
“Each state can have very different property taxes, and these can vary for second homes, even if the homestead residence is in another state,” said Phillips.
There are plenty of reasons to buy — and enjoy — a second home. The Fishes plan to hang on to theirs for as long as the kids have grandparents in the area. “I’m not quite sure if we will retire there,” he said, “but we have no intention of selling it in the next 10 years. Our boys love it.”

Friday, October 16, 2015

Fixed-rate Mortgages Don't Change, But Escrows Do

One of the biggest breaks homebuyers get with a fixed-rate mortgage is the escape from ever-escalating rents or adjustable rate increases. But that sigh of relief can be short-lived when you get your next property tax assessment or hazard insurance renewal.
When you buy a home with a fixed-rate mortgage, lenders require a year's worth of escrows in advance. These are included in your closing costs which can also be rolled into your loan, if you've got the wiggle room to borrow a little more money.
Hazard insurance is required by lenders to protect their investment. How much coverage you get is up to you, but you have to get at least enough to repay your liens. While it costs more, you should get your home insured for replacement value because that's the true cost of restoration.
A year's worth of insurance will be escrowed to the lender who services the loan, including paying your premiums. Once the first year goes by, the monthly cost of your premium is escrowed. From year to year, the cost of insurance can change drastically, due to natural disasters or changes in coverage. If there's been major flooding in your state, you insurance may decline to pay any claims related to water damage, even if the flooding was caused by an appliance. You'll have to get a rider, which costs extra.
Your monthly payments can also rise from increases in property taxes. You should expect this because the rate you pay your first year is based on what the previous owner paid. The seller pays the taxes due up to the day of closing, and you take over for the remainder of that year's assessment.
Your new assessment will be based on the market value of your home which you established when you purchased the home. Most city and county laws have formulas for how much your taxes can increase year-over-year. This prevents sticker shock. You'll also have plenty of advance warning as the taxing authorities will send you an assessment at least six months ahead of any annual change.
You can always challenge your tax assessments, but you'll need proof such as market comparables from your real estate professional. Taxing authorities use the same local multiple listing service as your agent, so expect them to have the same data you have.
A fixed rate mortgage can offer you some financial stability, but you'll be even more stable if you're prepared for monthly costs in the future.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Timberline Acres Open House!

OPEN HOUSE, October 03, Saturday 10:00 AM - 11:30 PM
14718 Foxboro Court, Holland, MI
Get Directions Click Here
Description Features Photos Maps & Local Schools Walk Score
$ Click for current price
3 BATHROOMS (2 full, 1 half)
2346 Square Feet

Best value in Timberline acres! This 4, possibly 5 bedroom home with over 3300 square feet sits in a quiet cul-de on a 1/2 acre beautifully landscaped lot. The kitchen of this home has been totally updated, with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and perfectly accented with the low maintenance flooring. Well planned main floor space includes a living room with 2 sided fireplace, shared with the office/den. The formal dining room can accommodate a large table, perfect for those memorable family meals or dinner parties. The upper level with its master suite and walk-in closet, also features 3 more bedrooms and a large 3rd bath. Lower level is totally finished with a potential for a 5th bedroom, and features a large rec room and bar area. Fully landscaped grounds with nice

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