Marc receives the Century 21 Centurion Award
Buying, Selling, Moving, and Living are about big and small things. Here are some of them...
Century 21 awards celebration
Appealing your property taxes.
If you disagree with your property tax bill, it’s important to know that you can appeal. To understand whether or not that would be a good idea, it helps to understand how property taxes are calculated and how the appeal process works.
Until 1994, property taxes were calculated based on the assessed value, but since the passage of Proposal A, taxes are based on the taxable value. This limits the annual increase to no more than 5%, or the rate of inflation according to the Consumer Price Index, whichever is lower. However, changes in ownership or property improvements can increase the taxable value beyond the 5% limit.
If you suspect errors in your property tax bill, you may want to appeal. Depending on the city, the deadline is typically some time in March. If you choose to appeal, the first step is to check public records for your property. It’s possible that there may be a mistake – such as incorrect bedroom count or square footage. In this case, a correction can be made on the spot and your assessment may be reduced. If the records are correct, and you still want to pursue the matter further, the next step is to appeal to the Board of Review. If you choose to file with the Board of Review, you will want to have evidence to back up your claims, such as comparable sales or a professional appraisal.
If you are unsuccessful, you still have the option to proceed to the Michigan Tax Tribunal. As with the Board of Review, you will want to have evidence to support your claims. One thing to consider there is a small risk that the assessor may notice something during the review that may cause them to actually raise the bill.
On Sunday January 27, we were the guests of Homelight at the US National Figure Skating Championships. Congratulations to Nathan Chen, who won the event and thrilled us with all those quads! And thank you so much to Nick Caples and Brian Finland who were our delightful Homelight hosts for the evening. We love working with Homelight and are proud to be among your top agents.
….and when our clients get married, we celebrate! In October, Glenda, Marc, Bill, and Kyle attended the gorgeous wedding of Bob and Kathy. Of course it was gorgeous— the homes they’ve listed with us have been decorated by Kathy and buyers swoon every time. We loved watching Bob and Kathy make each other swoon as they officially became Mr & Mrs.
Congratulations to Glenda, Michelle, and Marc for their awards again this year!
Late last night, I got the oddest email, made to look like it was coming from my broker with an alarming message and a link to follow. No, I didn't follow it! But it did remind me of the fraud that exists and challenges the real estate world these days. Our Rochester Hills office manager, the wonderful Tom Kotzian, and our title insurance partner Title One have been working with us to help us help our clients avoid following fraudulent instructions.
It all starts with an email such as the one I've copied above. Someone is accusing us of fraud against his family! And I need to make it stop! But....even though the email address says it's from my broker, we don't have an internal email system that looks like this. The email itself doesn't actually make all that much sense. And then there is....the link. The whole thing is designed to get me worked up enough to click that link without thinking. And then who knows what will happen. I'll be phished for sure, my passwords stolen? My email address pirated?
Clients get emails like this, too. The most common and dangerous is an email that looks like it's from a Title company or a Lender, or even the Realtor, telling the client that closing instructions have changed and giving a new link to follow or a new place to wire closing funds. PLEASE DO NOT DO CLICK THAT LINK. DO NOT WIRE THOSE FUNDS. Look closely at the email. Does it really make sense? Probably not.
Your Realtor will not send you links to follow without talking to you first. Your closing funds wiring information will come directly - face to face- from your lender or the Title Company and they WILL NOT CHANGE at the last minute. If you ever get something that asks you to click or asks you to send money somewhere, call the person you have been working with at the number you have used before.
Talk with us about more steps you can take to protect yourself from fraud during the real estate transaction.
1. CHANGE THE LOCKS
How many spare keys are there to your new home? With no way of knowing, you'll want to update the locks on all the doors. Consider installing smart locks and new deadbolts to deter unwanted "drop-in" visitors.
Check out the rest of the list here
Realtor.com has an amusing presentation of one thing you should NEVER use to choose your Realtor. I'll give you a spoiler alert. Don't just choose the Realtor that tells you the highest sales value for your home. Anyone can tell you your house is worth a high price! You need a Realtor who will explain to you all that is involved in determining market value, who will set a strategy to sell your home at the right price, and who will help you present your home in the best light, and who will stay in communication with you throughout the transaction. Many questions will arise during the sale of your home, and a Realtor who both can and will answer those questions will make everything go more smoothly.
Watch the video, have a laugh, and then give us a call or send us an email.
Spring is here and the market is changing! We've put together a newsletter chock full of good information to help you learn what's going on.
Click the image of the newsletter to see an enlarged view on a new page.
Century 21 held it's annual Michigan Celebration of the Stars celebration on March 18.
Congratulations to our group!
Marc Lagrois Platinum Sales Award
Michelle Lagrois Carey Platinum Sales Award
Glenda Lagrois Centurion Award
Glenda has achieved the prestigious Centurion sales status every year for 30 consecutive years! What an amazing achievement!
Let us put this star power to work for you!!!
"Staging" can sound intimidating, but there are simple things you can do to make your lived-in home look a little more organized. One of my current favorite tips is to clean up shower and bathtub clutter by pouring things like shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in clear, unbranded bottles. I like these from Amazon: Soft 'N Style Bottles
Marc was the Top Listing Agent in the Century 21 Town & Country, Rochester office last month! How can he help you?
We had an open house today, and decided to make some brownies to bring. It was a busy open house with lots of kids, so it was fun to have a treat that made it feel like a party.
The candle on the kitchen counter felt homey on a grey winter day.
This recipe is from Epicurious, "Best Cocoa Brownies"
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cold large eggs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
- Special equipment: An 8-inch square baking pan
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
- Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.
- Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
- Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.
- Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.
Holidays can bring out the best in us, especially when we focus on the joy of giving. In our Century 21 Town & Country office in Rochester Hills, we had amazing Adopt A Family participation. This is for a family of a single mother and her two daughters.
We celebrate Christmas in our family, and just today I was thinking about how fun it was to have little kids who just believe in magic. Much like the book The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsberg (a Grand Rapids native!), it almost does seem like as long as you believe in magic, it happens. The great thing about Adopt A Family is helping to fulfill that magic for someone else's family. Someone we don't know and can't know, but we can imagine their joy on Christmas morning. We can all remember the feeling of Christmas morning- or another time if we don't celebrate Christmas- where you wake up and feel that anything is possible. Will there be presents waiting for me? What will they be? Will it be wonderful? And with Adopt A Family, we get to help make the answer "Yes!".
One thing I love about Real Estate and being a Realtor is helping to create the joy people have when the magic of finding a new home - a new home!- or selling a home and moving forward happens. So many possibilities. Will it be wonderful? Will there be a new beginning waiting for me? With all the care and support of the Lagrois Group family, we hope to help make the answer for you "Yes!".
Happy Holidays to all!
There has been a lot of discussion about increases in mortgage rates lately, and I wanted to share some thoughts on how this might affect buyers and sellers in our local market. First, when we talk about an increase in mortgage rates, it’s important to keep in mind that current rates are at historically low levels. In fact, the average rate for 30-year fixed mortgages in October was the lowest it’s been since 1972. Since then, rates have crept up above 4.0%, and are forecasted to continue to rise during 2017, possibly reaching as high as 5.0%.
So what does this mean for buyers and sellers in our market? For buyers, purchasing a home will become more expensive. However, since rates will remain at the low end of the historic average, the higher rates are not likely to discourage most buyers from entering the market. With buyer interest remaining strong, the market will continue to offer great opportunities for sellers. We’re currently in a Seller’s Market, with an extremely low level of homes for sale. This means that even with higher interest rates, the Seller’s Market is likely to continue into next year.
If you would like more information about home sales in your neighborhood, just let me know. Or, if you are thinking about buying or selling, or know someone who is, I would love to hear from you.Read More