Category Archives: Buying a House

5 {Really Good} Reasons to Buy a Home

#1 – Prices aren’t going down

The ship has, unfortunately, sailed on the great deals and foreclosures that was the market a few years ago. While it expected that prices will begin to stabilize and “flat line” – for the foreseeable future, it will remain a sellers market

#2 – Interest rates are going up

Rates are really good right now. But as the market and economy continue to stabilize, cost of goods goes up. Interest rates are no exception. As rates go up, your purchase power goes down, meaning your pre-approved for less and the same something payment lands you less of a house.

#3 – Waiting on your current home will cost you

If you’re waiting to buy because you want the value of your current home to go up before you sell it consider this, if the value of your current home goes up, so does the value of the home you’re going to buy.
This Year: Sell your $100,000 house and buy a $150,000 house
or wait until next year…
prices next year go up 10%
2015: Sell your home for $110,000! Buy your new house for $165,000….
That’s a loss of $5,000

#4 – Renting is a WASTE of money

Unless you don’t qualify yet to buy or your situation is temporary, you’re throwing money out the window. And if that doesn’t entice you, buying is cheaper than renting anyway! Let use a 1000 SqFt home in Farmington Hills as an example.
Cost to Rent $1,000 per month
Cost to Buy $775 per month incl taxes and insurance
Mortgage payment estimated using FHA interest rates, prices, and taxes at the time this email was drafted, see mortgage lender for exact figures.

#5 – Investing in Yourself

Owning a home is like opening a really big savings account. As you pay the home off and as values go up, the equity in your home goes up! The interest you’ll gain in a traditional savings account is far less than the potential for interest in the form of home equity. And you don’t have to pay taxes on it! (Unless its over $250,000 of course)

So lets do this!  If we aren’ already sending you a property search, you can use the “Find My Dream Home” page on my website to get started:


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


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

Buying a House in Michigan? What closing costs can you expect to pay.

Buying a House in Michigan

Are you thinking about buying a house in Michigan? Deciding to buy a house, especially for the first time, can be a very intimidating process! So much to think about and to plan out. So many questions to have answered.

One frequently asked question is what exactly do I have to pay to buy a house? Fortunately, most of the cost of selling and transferring the property is paid for by the seller. As a buyer, the bulk of your costs are pro-rated reimbursements and mortgage costs.

Your lender can give you a closing cost estimate based on the purchase price and probable taxes for the area you are looking.
You can ask them for this with your pre-approval.

Property Taxes

In Michigan, We pay our property taxes in advance. You have your city & county taxes, one due July 1st each year covering July 1 – June 30th the following year, and one due December 1st covering December 1st – Nov 30th of the following year. Because of this, when you close on a house you must reimburse the seller for the taxes they’ve already paid. The title company pro-rates the taxes by computing the daily rate, and then multiplies it by the number of days you will own the home, to calculate how much you will owe the seller at closing.

Pre-Paid Utilities

In cities where you pre-pay for things like garbage collection, this will also be prorated like Taxes so that you pay for the days you own the property, and the seller pays for the days they own the property.

Condo Fee’s

If you are purchasing a condo or house with association fee, this is another item that will be prorated at closing since it is typically paid in advance. You will pay for the days you will own the condo and the seller pays for the days they will.

Closing Fee

As a buyer, you pay a closing fee to the title company to prepare paperwork and close the transaction. This fee is typically $450-$550, maybe a little less if it is a cash purchase.

Buyers Agent Transaction Fee

Your agent will be paid their commission through the seller on a traditional listing. Most buyers brokers charge a small transaction fee which covers the storage or your transaction documents so that a copy will always be available should you need it. Our fee is $325.

Lenders Title Insurance

While the seller is responsible for owners title insurance which protects you against any undetected defects in title, your lender will also require you purchase a policy of title insurance to protect the loan they are giving you. Lenders title insurance costs are based on the purchase price.

Recording Charges

As a buyer, you pay the costs to records your new deed and new mortgage if applicable. The cost from the County is per page and is usually about $100 for a deed & mortgage.

Mortgage Costs

Your largest expense closing cost wise will be your mortgage costs. These cost fluctuate based on your credit, your purchase price, the type of loan, etc. So this is something you have to speak with a loan office for, to go over your specific situation. That’s why, the first step in the home buying process is always to get pre-approved. Then you know exactly where you stand, and how much money you can expect to need at closing.

Down Payment

Your down payment is typically your largest expense. Unless you qualify for a VA loan your down payment will range from 1% to 20% depending on the loan type you go with

Most loan programs allow you to roll your closing costs into you mortgage so long as the properties appraisal value allows enough equity to do so, which is a great option if you are hoping to keep some cash in the bank to do property repairs and cosmetic upgrades. In many situations, buyers are able to come to the closing table only having to pay their down payment, with the rest of their closing costs financed!

If you have any questions about the buying process or are ready to start looking, feel free to contact me at anything. For a home buyers outline please visit my Michigan Buyers Resource Center and if you would like to get set up on a MLS property search — Click the Find My Dream Home tag on my website.

HOW TO: The Perfect Home Search

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Wait Until Spring to Buy a House

Current data suggests winter actually is the best time to be a home buyer, Here’s Why:
1. You’ll pay less!
Even though the market in general is still a “sellers market”, during the winter months it tends to favor the buyer more. Many buyers pause their home search during the winter either because     they’re too busy with the hollidays or simple don’t want to look at homes in the frigid winter weather. With these buyers out of your way you’re less likely to find yourself in a multiple offer over asking price situation, and may save thousands by avoiding it.
2. Better Interest Rates!
They are predicting the market and property values will continue to rise in 2015, Interest rates will likely do the same. As the market begins to rebound from the winter slow down in the spring, interest rates will probably go up as well. Many people thing a 1/4 percentage point isn’t really a big deal, but when you look at the big picture that 1/4 percent will cost you. You would be sinking an extra $5000 into a $100,000 house. That’s not including the extra closing costs you will pay for pre-paid interest.
3. Less Competition!
Since many buyers do hault their home search during the winter months, if you decide to break from the norm you’ll have a leg up against them. Sellers wont have their “pick of the litter” when it comes to home buyers, giving you a better advantage and a better chance at an accepted offer. You have more negotiating power when the seller has less options.
4.  Motivated Sellers!
Because the marke tends to slow down in the winter, many sellers also hold off on listing their homes unless they absolutely have to. That being send, the homes on the market tend to be sellers that have urgency to sell. Either their being relocated or possible going through a divorce, they have a genuine motivation to sell, and may be more negotiable when it comes to pricing.
5. Quicker Closings
Since the mortgage and title companies tent to be less busy in the winter too, you’ll be able to take advantage of a quicker and likely smoother closing, which will put keys in your hand sooner than expected! You may even get a better deal on closing costs! Because there’s less buyers in the winter, loan offices may be more likely to fight for your business because they too are slow. Which means even more savings for you!
So Lets get you moved! If I’m already sending you properties, take a look at your list and lets make a time to go out shopping. If I’m not, lets get you set up on a search. Click Here to send me your criteria and I’ll get you set up with an MLS search.

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.

Real Estate Scams Now Hitting Zillow, 5 Ways to Avoid Being Targeted

I’ve posted before about the ridiculous rental scams that plague unsuspecting home buyers. These scams were previously limited to sites like Craigslist, but have now taken to top name real estate sites like Zillow as well.  Zillow allows owners to post their for sale by owner, con artists are now abusing this privilege by using it as their new playground. Here’s what you need to do to steer clear:

5- If its too good to be true, its too good to be true.
I saw a for sale by owner house on Zillow today for $23,000 in Birmingham, MI. This was very clearly, false. A quick MLS search showed the home was actually valued and listed at $349,000. The scammers target homes that are listed, but clearly vacant, and then copy the listing and photos over to a new posting with an unbelievable price to lure you into giving them a cash down payment.
If the price isn’t in line with the market value, its not likely to be real.

4- Verify All Data
Before meeting with the “seller” get their name, phone number, email and whatever other information you can get and google it all. See if you find any inconsistencies. Google the address of the property and see if its listed somewhere else for a different price. Check the address in the white pages and see who it lists as living there. BUT that usually isn’t even enough, a recent craigslist scam had the con artists actually signing their emails with the real owners name!

3- Read Between The Lines
A majority of these scams come from our of the country, places such as Nigeria. When reading their emails, you will usually see inconsistencies in their English and the way they write. Many times they are using translating software that translates their emails into English, but since most languages don’t translate word for word, you are usually able to tell if that is the case.

2- Never Give Cash
You should never in any large transaction be it a car or a house, give someone cash. It should always be a money order or certified check that is attached to a tracking #. A lot of times con artists will insist on cash only, that is a good indicator they are scamming you. Asking you to wire money is also a very good hint that it’s a scam. The tracking #s on money orders and certified checks still don’t trace down the person, but it’s a step in the right direction if you do find yourself in a bad situation.

And the #1 piece of advise to avoid a real estate scam

1- Hire a Realtor!
As a renter/buyer you don’t pay the realtors commission, so there is no benefit to you of not using a professional in your house hunt and is you’re best change against avoiding a scam.
NOTE: Zillow (and most sites) have a “FLAG LISTING” or “REPORT LISTING” option. If you suspect a listing is fake, flag it! They will investigate and remove it.


Margo Borkin
Real Estate One
$10,000,000 Sold in 2013

6960 Orchard Lake #150 West Bloomfield, MI 48322 | 248-419-3160 | 248-419-0930 fax
2013 Hour Magazine Real Estate ALL STAR –
Presidents Council of Excellence

Website ::: Facebook ::: Twitter ::: Google+ ::: Linked In ::: Pinterest

How To: Finding your dream home

House hunting can be challenging, especially in a seller’s market when there are more buyers then homes available.  Assuming a home is priced right and well marketed, it will sell very quickly, and as a buyer you need to be ready to jump on an opportunity when it presents itself. You should know what you want, but at the same time, not be too picky. I always tell buyers, if you can get 4 out of the 5 things you wanted, you won.

Location Location Location

Location is one of the things that you can not change. Your first and main search priority should be the location you want. Is it close to work and friends. Do you like the school district (even if it doesn’t apply to you consider resale value). Is it near parks or entertainment venues you frequent. I would never suggest compromising on the location.

Floor Plan and Size

The size & floor plan should be conducive to your current family size. While you can tear down walls and add on to the house, these are costly modifications. So its okay to be picky when it comes to floor plan & find what’s going to work for you.


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 home with a finished basement WILL hinder your search & cut your possibilities in half. This is something you can change at a later date for a reasonable amount of money.


While it can be very distracting to walk in a house with Neon Green paint or wallpaper, try your best to look past it and envision the house in your colors. If the house has the perfect location & the perfect floor plan, but has neon green paint. Buy the house! While you may spend a couple thousand having the house professionally repainted, you likely saved double that on the sales price.

Known when to compromise

If most homes in your price range have 3 Bedrooms and 1 Bath, waiting for that 2 bath home may cost you. In a market when prices and interest rates are rising, your search should be based on truly “must haves” and keep the “nice to haves” as a bonus.
So if you’re current home search isn’t producing enough of the right  results, it might be time to broaden your criteria. Go through your requirements and determine the “must haves” and “nice to haves” and you might find quite a few more possible homes available!


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.