Property Taxes in Michigan

Michigan Property Taxes

Property taxes can be confusing, ever for those of us that deal with them everyday! Here’s a brief and simple breakdown of the process.

All homes are assessed by the city/township to determine their value. They do this by using sales trends in the area. It is usually a vague, but reasonably accurate figure for an average house in the subject area.

To begin, let’s go over some common “tax terms” used by the cities:

True Cash Value
This is the city’s name for “Market Value” or what your home is worth based on sales in the area. Not necessarily looking at specific upgrades. But a home of your size in your area.

State Equalized Value
Your SEV  is 50% of your true cash value

Taxable Value
Your taxable value is the portion of your SEV that you actually pay taxes on. This # will be equal to or less than your SEV.

Millage Rate
This is the rate of taxes you pay per $1000 in taxable value.

Principal Residence Exemption
Also known as a homestead tax break. If the property is your primary residence you would get 100% exemption.

Inflation Rate Multiplier or IRM
The determined rate of inflation for the given year. Your taxes can never increase more than this amount unless modifications were made to the house that would increase its value.

Board of Review
Also known as Tax Appeal Board or “Protest”. This is who you go speak with if you think you are over assessed on your taxes.

When you get your assessment in the mail, the main things to check for is your principal residence exemption (should be 100% if primary residence), your taxable value, and your SEV.
If it is your first year in a house, your SEV and Taxable Value will be the same. As the years go by, your SEV will most likely start going up at a much faster rate than your taxable value. This is because the SEV represents half of the true cash value of your home, where-as the taxable value represents only the portion you have to pay taxes on. You are only subject to an increase in taxable value equal to the inflation rate multiplier each year. So if property values go up 20%, your tax bill will still only go up 1-2% depending on that years rate of inflation. But the increase in property values will still be reflected in your SEV for informational purposes. If/When there is a transfer of ownership, the taxable value will reset to be even with the SEV again.

Now your actual tax bill is based on the millage rate your for you city/county. You can find a listing of millage rates  HERE. Whatever your millage rate is, is the dollars per thousand you will be charged. Here’s a real life example:

Bob just bought a new home in Commerce Twp worth $100,000. So Bob’s taxable value is $50,000. His millage rate is 26, so Bob is going to pay $26 for every $1000 of taxable value.
50 x 26 = $1300 in yearly property taxes.

Property taxes are broken down twice a year. July 1st and December 1st, and there is a 2 month grace period to pay them, all thought most people just include them in their mortgage as an escrow.

Property Tax Appeals

Occasionally the city will over assess a property. Either they have data wrong about the house, the area, or other factors that have contributed to an inflated assessment. If you feel your assessment is high, feel free to contact us for a market analysis to determine the market value of your home and if you are over assessed. This is a free service we provide to all local home owners. If we do find your assessment is high, then we will provide you with documentation you can take to the city board of review.
There will be instructions on your assessment for board of review dates and how to make an appointment.




Oakland County Real Estate: Year End Market Update

We hope you have a happy and healthy 2016! Another year has come and gone..

For the most part, the market has begun to stabilize, the fast paced rise in values we’ve seen in years past is no more. Most area’s are only up a few dollars per SqFt as far as average sales price & the time it takes to sell a home has increased slightly. 

2016 will likely complete the shift from a sellers market to a balanced market. As the market balances we will probably see less and less multiple offer situations and bidding wars on the same property, especially as the sellers who have been holding onto their homes start putting them on the market. 

It is however, still a great time to buy and sell, because interest rates remain low. Keep in mind at the peak of the market before things crashed back in 2005/2006 interest rates we’re 2%+ higher then they are now. So while home values are back close to those 2005/2006 #’s – The interest rates are lower meaning buyers can afford more.

If rates rise back up to 2005/2006 levels, mortgage payments will go up about $125 per $100,000 – So what a buyer can afford today may not be realistic anymore. 

Here is a city by city breakdown of the sales in our immediate market area. Your city not listed? Feel free to Contact Me for a report. 
View past years #s by clicking on the city name

Berkley, Michigan
2014: 404 Homes Averaging $141/SqFt and 49 Days On Market
2015:  413 Homes Averaging $150/SqFt and 41 Days On Market

Beverly Hills, Michigan
2014: 175 Homes Averaging $160/SqFt and 42 Days On Market
2015: 191 Homes Averaging $168/SqFt and 46 Days On Market

Birmingham, Michigan
2014: 445 Homes Averaging $235/SqFt and 67 Days On Market
2015: 495 Homes Averaging $241/SqFt and 87 Days On Market

Bloomfield Township, Michigan
2014: 559 Homes Averaging $166/SqFt and 73 Days On Market
2015: 618 Homes Averaging $168/SqFt and 82 Days On Market

Commerce Township, Michigan
2014: 468 Homes Averaging $122/SqFt and 60 Days on Market
2015: 475 Homes Averaging $129/SqFt and 54 Days on Market

Farmington Hills, Michigan
2014: 785 Homes Averaging $106/SqFt and 52 Days on Market
2015: 826 Homes Averaging $110/SqFt and 55 Days on Market

Franklin, Michigan
2014: 50 Homes Averaging $165/SqFt and 85 Days On Market
2015: 52 Homes Averaging $158/SqFt and 88 Days On Market

Northville, Michigan
2014: 40 Homes Averaging $152/SqFt and 45 Days On Market
2015: 47 Homes Averaging $159/SqFt and 48 Days On Market

Novi, Michigan
2014: 496 Homes Averaging $140/SqFt and 41 Days On Market
2015:  533 Homes Averaging $142/SqFt and 51 Days On Market

Oak Park, Michigan
2014: 234 Homes Averaging $68/SqFt and 43 Days On Market
2015: 327 Homes Averaging $76/SqFt and 39 Days On Market

Royal Oak, Michigan
2014: 1293 Homes Averaging $151/SqFt and 46 Days on Market
2015: 1408 Homes Averaging $158/SqFt and 48 Days On Market

Southfield, Michigan
2014: 518 Homes Averaging $69/SqFt and 48 Days On Market
2015: 554 Homes Averaging $77/SqFt and 46 Days On Market

Walled Lake, Michigan
2014: 44 Homes Averaging $117/SqFt and 74 Days On Market
2015: 39 Homes Averaging $111/SqFt and 36 Days On Market

Waterford, Michigan
2014: 905 Homes Averaging $101/SqFt and 53 Days On Market
2015:1052 Homes Averaging $106/SqFt and 54 Days On Market

West Bloomfield, Michigan
2014: 683 Homes Averaging $121/SqFt and 63 Days On Market
2015: 741 Homes Averaging $125/Sqft and 71 Days On Market

White Lake, Michigan
2014: 384 Homes Averaging $117/SqFt and 61 Days On Market
2015: 394 Homes Averaging $128/Sqft and 75 Days On Market

Wixom, Michigan
2014: 114 Homes Averaging $114/SqFt and 44 Days On Market
2015: 153 Homes Averaging $124/Sqft and 57 Days On Market

Wolverine Lake, Michigan
2014: 49 Homes Sold Averaging $103/SqFt and 37 Days On Market
2015: 55 Homes Sold Averaging $125/SqFt and 55 Days On Market


Real Estate Scam Targeting Buyers

While this scam has been going on a while and I have sent our messages before, it has spread across the country and has gotten much more sophisticated. PLEASE Read:

Here is the official statement from the National Association of Realtors that we received:

Sophisticated Email Scams Targeting the Real Estate Industry 

NAR Legal Affairs 

Criminals are hacking into the email accounts of real estate agents or other persons involved in a real estate transaction and using information gained from the hack to dupe a party into a fraudulent wire transfer. The hackers often send an email that appears to be from an individual legitimately involved in the transaction, informing the recipient, often the buyer, that there has been a last minute change to the wiring instructions. Following the new instructions, the recipient will wire funds directly to the hacker’s account, which will be cleared out in a matter of minutes. The money is almost always lost forever.

This is a busy and hectic time for real estate professionals, and many millions of dollars will be sent and received via wire before the end of the year. This is exactly the environment in which online criminals seek to operate.

The National Association of REALTORS® urges its members and state and local REALTOR® associations to be on high alert for email and online fraud. 

In May 2015, NAR issued an alert regarding a sophisticated email wire fraud hitting the real estate industry. Since then, the incidents of online scams targeting practitioners have continued to rise but the advice is the same.

Bottom line: Do not let your guard down. Start from the assumption that any email in your in-box could be a targeted attack from a criminal.


Follow this guidance to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Immediately contact all parties to all of your upcoming transactions and inform them of the possibility of this fraud. Attorneys, escrow agents, buyers, sellers, real estate agents, and title agents have all been targeted in these scams. You can also download and distribute NAR’s online fraud prevention handout, accessible here.
  • If possible, do not send sensitive information via email. If you must use email to send sensitive information, use encrypted email.
  • Immediately prior to wiring any money, the person sending the money must call the intended recipient to verify the wiring instructions. Only use a verified telephone number to make this call.
  • Do not trust contact information in unverified emails. The hackers will recreate legitimate-looking signature blocks with their own telephone number.   In addition, fraudsters will include links to fake websites to further convince victims of their legitimacy.
  • Never click on any links in an unverified email. In addition to leading you to fake websites, these links can contain viruses and other malicious spyware that can make your computer – and your transactions – vulnerable to attack.
  • Never conduct business over unsecured wifi.
  • Trust your instincts. Tell clients that if an e-mail or a telephone call ever seems suspicious or “off,” that they should refrain from taking any action until the communication has been independently verified as legitimate.
  • Clean out your e-mail account on a regular basis. Your e-mails may establish patterns in your business practice over time that hackers can use against you. In addition, a longstanding backlog of e-mails may contain sensitive information from months or years past. You can always save important e-mails in a secure location on your internal system or hard drive.
  • Change your usernames and passwords on a regular basis.
  • Never use usernames or passwords that are easy to guess. Never, ever use the password “password.”
  • Make sure to implement the most up-to-date firewall and anti-virus technologies.

Be aware that these emails are extremely convincing. Many sophisticated parties have been duped. No one should assume that they are “too savvy” to recognize the fraud.  In addition, no one should assume that they are “too small a target” to be on these criminals’ radars. This fraud is pervasive, convincing, and constantly evolving.

Margo Borkin Real Estate has already put in place measures to avoid this, our title company has started using encrypted mail services, most importantly we will never ask you for any sensitive information via email – And usuall follow up any email requests with a phone call notifying you what we sent and how to send it back. If you receive any email from us that you aren’t sure of, please call – It is better to be safe than sorry

HOW TO: The Perfect Home Search

Being a home buyer in a sellers market is challenging. Low on market inventory forces multiple buyers to fight over the same home, frequently resulting in multiple offer bidding wars.  As a buyer, you need to be ready to jump on an opportunity when it presents. If you’ve started implementing my “5-Steps” then you’re on your way!

When to Be Picky

There are a few things you “Must Have” in your home search and these are going to be the key items we look for. These are things you can’t very easily change after buying the house;
1. The Location
2. The Size
3. The Price
Three items will be the heart of your search. From there you may have some things you really really want, and depending on #1,2, and 3 these are usually easy to find;
4. A Basement
5. A Garage
6. Specific Construction (A Ranch, A Colonial, Etc)

When Not to Be Picky

Focus on what you can’t change. If you need a basement, you can’t add one later. But restricting yourself to only looking at homes with a finished basement WILL hinder your search & cut your possibilities in half. The same goes for things like fireplaces, decks, air conditioners, and cosmetic items.

Know when to comprimise will make your house hunt much less frusterating. We get a lot of calls from buyers that just can’t find what their looking for and a lot of times it takes going through the search criteria and making a “must have” vs “nice to have” list.  You’d be surprised at how many more results pop up.

I always say, if you can get 4 out of the 5 things you wanted, then you won!

Closing Costs: What a buyer can expect to pay

Fire Safety is Key during Winter Months!

There have already been several home first this winter season. The frigid temps and potential for power outages bring on additional risks. In addition to have working smoke detectors through-out your entire home, please use additional safety measures including but not limited to;

  • Never leave space heathers unattended or on overnight
  • Don’t burn anything except dry seasoned wood in your fireplace
  • Make sure your chimney flue is open and unobstructed
  • Ashes can remain hot for days, remove and store in a noncombustible container outside of the house
  • Never leave candles unattended
  • Keep generators as far away from the structure as possible
  • Plug on 1 heat-producing appliance into an outlet at a time
  • Keep flammable objects at least 3 feet from heat sources

Also, make sure you have an escape plan in the unfortunate even of a house fire. Doors and windows should never be blocked.

Stay safe and warm this winter!

5 Deal Killers when Selling your Home

Sometimes when selling your home its good to take a step back and see if from a buyers perspective. A lot of time, since we live in our homes, we don’t see all the little things that may be big things to buyers. This is a good place to start;

Home Sale Deal Killers

1. Clean! Not just your weekly dust-up routing. Take everything off the counters and scrub. Get down on the floors and clean the baseboards so their nice and white. Make sure to vacuum up corners and trim. Believe it or not, buyers will open cabinets to see how spacious they are, if they are yucky in side, buyers will think you may not take such great care of the house. Silly I know, but they will probably open the fridge for a look too, make sure its spic and span. For a few hundred dollars you can hire a house-cleaner to come in and do a “sales clean” and we highly suggest this, as they see and know all the area’s we commonly miss in our routine cleaning.
The biggest problem area’s we see:
– White Light Switches covered in finger smudges
– White Appliances covered in finder smudges
– Pet Hair & Dust collecting around the moldings
– Crumbs behind appliances on counters
– Toothpaste splatters on mirrors
– Fido’s nose smudges on windows
– Dusty Ceiling Fans and Light Fixtures

2. Fix the Wear and Tear. While normal wear and tear is expected when buying a used house, you want to fix or clean as much as you can. One of the biggest things I see are rub/streaks on walls from shoes, kids toys, and what not. You know, the black lines that seem to accumulate on your walls. A buyers immediate reaction will be “I have to repaint this whole house” and they will move onto the next one. Outlet Covers, for a very small amount of money, you can replace all the outlet covers and light switch covers with shiny new white ones, it will make a huge difference. You want your house to look like you really love and take care of it.

3. Smells. This is a tricky one. Smoking in the house is an obvious no-no when you’re trying to sell, but there are two more big problems areas as well. Cooking and Pets. If your going to be making a delicious Italian feast full of garlic and herbs, first invite me over, but next, air out the house. You will get used to the smell because you’re there, but it will linger. Fish, Onions, and Garlic are huge nemeses. Pet odors are hard, make febreeze your best friend, and if you can have a professional come in to clean the carpets. Don’t go too crazy with air fresheners though. Walking into a house with strong air fresheners in every room is almost worst than the original odor and make it appear your covering something up. Stick to things labeled “odor eliminator” which are typically very gentle and made up of baking soda.

4. Poor Curb Appeal. More specifically your lawn and flower beds, seasonally permitting of course. Flower beds need to be clean and manicured regularly. Overgrown gardens and beds look like a lot of work to buyers, and in turn make it look like a lot of up keep. If they’re gorgeously manicured, it looks easy to maintain. Additionally, keep your lawn green and watered. It will make your home show much better.

5. Personalization. Not everyone has the same taste as you. If you’ve painted vibrant colors or put up wall paper, taking it down / re-painting will likely be cheaper than the hit you will take on the sales price of your home.  While a lot of buyers are going to repaint anyway, it makes the job look a lot more difficult if they have to cover up hot pink walls. Cut your decor and art down by half, packing it up now with save you time when you have to move, and make your house look larger. Keep your decor neutral and simple. “Pottery Barn Perfect” is a term frequently used in Real Estate.

I know a lot of this may seem like a challenge, and we do realize you still have to live in your house while selling, but these quick and simple steps WILL make a huge difference on both how fast your home sells and how much it sells for.

Margo Borkin
Real Estate One
$14,000,000 Sold in 2014
6960 Orchard Lake #150 West Bloomfield, MI 48322 | 248-419-3160 |
2014 Hour Magazine ALL STAR – Presidents Council of Excellence
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© Margo Borkin Real Estate
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Year End Market Update Recap

All last week we brought you city by city year end market updates, if you missed any, let’s sum it up!

  • Click “Market Updates” Above to View them All
  • Click “Community Info” and Choose your City to view just yours

2014 was another productive year in Real Estate growth. Oakland County as a whole is up about 17% from last year. While there were about 4000 less homes sold in 2014 as compared to 2013, the average sales price is up from $109,000 to $131,000. The time it takes to sell a home has improved also down to 41 days from 66 in 2013! This data is through November 2014, as Decembers #’s aren’t published until mid-late January, but should be relatively the same.

Royal Oak had the most total home sales coming in over 1200 not even including condo sales! The highest average sales price was found in Birmingham at $535,000 and they also take the cake for highest average price per square foot at $235/SqFt. The city quickest to sell was Bingham Farms with an average days on market of only 36! The highest sales price in our market area was in Orchard Lake at $4,300,000. Most all homes sold with-in 5% of their asking price.

Here is the National Association of Realtors predictions for the new year;



Photo Credit: Realtor.Org


Margo Borkin
Real Estate One
$14,000,000 Sold in 2014
6960 Orchard Lake #150 West Bloomfield, MI 48322 | 248-419-3160 |
2014 Hour Magazine ALL STAR – Presidents Council of Excellence
Website ::: Facebook ::: Twitter ::: Google+ ::: Linked In ::: Blog ::: Pinterest

© Margo Borkin Real Estate
If you’re viewing this information on a site owned by someone other than Margo Borkin Real Estate, it has been stolen. Please report to us here.


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