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
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How do Property Taxes work in Michigan

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. For this purpose, lets say the municipality has decided your home is worth $100,000.

Your SEV or State Equalized Value is 50% of your assessed value, so in this demonstration your SEV would be $50,000.  For this hypothetical lets say this is your first year at this house. In that case, your taxable value would also be $50,000 (we’ll get more into taxable value in a moment).

So now that we have your taxable value, which is the actual value they tax you on, lets talk dollars and cents.

Each city determines (and we vote on) a millage rate. This rate includes monies for the schools, monies for the city, for the county, etc. Each school district with-in a city will have a separate millage rate, and there is also a separate millage rate for principal residences vs. second/investment homes (non principal residences).

Now, Your millage rate is the dollars per thousand you pay in property taxes off of your taxable value. Lets say your millage rate is 25 and calculate your yearly taxes.

$50,000 (taxable value) / $1000 = 50
50 x 25 (millage rate) = $1250

You can view millage rates on Oakland County’s website at:

Taxable Value

Here’s where things get a little tricky. In Michigan, we are on a “cap rate” type of system. The city/county can only raise your taxable value by the inflation rate NOT the actual increased value of the house. So if values in the area went up 20%, but the inflation rate for that year was 1.016, they can not raise you any more than 1.016. You’re SEV will still go up the full amount, but your taxable will only go up the rate of inflation. This is where your SEV and Taxable begin to not match up. However, anytime there is a deed transfer, the cap is removed and the properties value is reassessed. So here is a scenario.

Its now your 2nd year in your house. Home values have been going up, now your house is valued at $120,000!! The tax assessment you get in the mail will read an SEV of $60,000, but the inflation rate multiplier this year is 1.016, so your taxable value reads $50,800 and you are only taxed on that $50,800. Now, if you had made any additions to your property that year they can adjust your taxable in excess of the inflation rate, for the addition only, it will not reset your whole SEV.

For more details on the inflation rate multiplier from the State of Michigan click here

Appealing your Taxes

During our most recent recession, tax appeals were much needed. The municipalities were not keeping up with the rapid decline of home values, and many people were grossly over assessed and needed to appeal.  Now that everything has stabilized most everyone’s SEVs are in line and there is no longer much need to appeal taxes.

If you do feel you are unfairly assessed, the time to appeal is in March. You will receive your assessment early/mid march laying our what you will be assessed at for the next year. That statement will tell you the appeal procedure and dates for your city. You will need to justify your claim, it is suggested you take with you either comparables from a realtor or an appraisal if you have one. Please note, your assessed value is the value of your home on December 31st of the previous year.

You will only see a reduction in your actual taxes if the new SEV is lower than your current taxable value. So there isn’t too much of a reason to appeal unless you think both figures are too high.

If you have any questions about you property taxes or would like comparables for an appeal, contact us below.

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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.

Happy Thanksgiving! Turkeys: Fact or Myth?

FACT OR MYTH? Turkey Makes you Sleepy?

MYTH: It’s most likely the combination of overeating, probably alcohol consumption and general holiday stress that makes you drowsy on turkey day. There is no evidence to suggest the amino acid previously to blame for your food coma actually makes you tired. There are actually higher levels of the AA in Chicken!

FACT OR MYTH? The original Thanksgiving didn’t include Turkey?

FACT: While there are no official records or documentations, experts believe that Venison and Fowl were the main dishes at the first Thanksgiving feast.

FACT OR MYTH? Turkey Day has always been in November?

MYTH: The original Thanksgiving is believed to have been sometime in September or October.

FACT OR MYTH? You’ll get food poisoning by stuffing the turkey?

MOSTLY MYTH: While it is possible if you don’t properly cook them, it is highly unlikely if you do it right. The stuffing should be 165 degrees when done (and the thigh 180 degrees)

FACT OR MYTH? Basting a turkey keeps it moist!

MYTH: The basting liquid, for the most part, can’t even penetrate the turkeys skin. Basting actually does more harm than good as you lose cooking heat every time you open the oven door. It does make for a nice color and flavor to the skin though. Want a super moist turkey? Brine it overnight first!

FACT OR MYTH? You should wash your turkey before cooking.

MYTH: Experts are now saying this (same for chicken) does more harm than good. When washing the turkey you likely splash water around, spreading any possible bacteria around your kitchen (and really don’t wash off the bird anyway). If you cook the turkey properly, you have a very little chance of bacteria on the bird.

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

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November Market Update from Real Estate One President

Hi Friends! Below is our monthly market update from President of Brokerage Services here at Real Estate One, Dan Elsea.

Like September, October was a pleasant surprise outperforming our expectations in terms of homes sold. We continue to see the same trends: For Sale inventories are increasing and the rate of appreciation is still strong, but at lower rates. Most of the strength in the market is in the under $500,000 segments. We have seen a rather significant drop in showing activity in the upper end markets (over $500,000) with showings per listing dropping over 30% compared to October of last year. In part, this is influenced by more listings to choose from which spreads buyers across a larger inventory. For upper end sellers, it means fewer showings per week (under one per week versus near two last year on average) and a slower pace for offers. The rate of showings per listing has fallen across the other price ranges as well (about 20%), but not as dramatic as the upper end markets. The actual number of showings in the $300,000 to $500,000 price range has actually risen over the past 90 days, showing that there are still pent-up buyers entering the market, but since there are more listings on the market in the $300-500k market it will still seem slow to a seller even with those additional buyers.

For the next few months the market will feel quite a bit slower due to a combination of more listings on the market and the normal seasonal showing activity slowdown. There will still be a brisk rate of sales compared to historical winter months. Depending on our winter weather, we may actually see a nice jump in winter sales in early 2015 compared to this past winter (no winter could be tougher than the last one, so winter activity will be no worse, only equal or better).

Looking at things from a historical perspective shows how far we have come from the 2008 market bottom. Reflecting back on the 90’s, we can see what to expect once the market settles back to normal. Case-Shiller appreciation rates are typically the most accurate, although we feel its numbers for Southeast Michigan are low compared to what we see happening. With that being said, the data does represent a good trend line since the early 90’s.
Real Estate Market Update





There is a concern in the market that the pent-up demand created by the housing recession has been released, with the expectation of falling sales and values as we move back to a less frenzied “catch up” market.  The chart below takes a stab at showing where that pent-up demand went. The chart uses national data, but we applied our local flavor, adjusting for foreclosure rates (we were higher than most) and rate of recovery (we were faster than most). It shows that the market got ahead of itself compared to the historical normal sales rates in 2004-2006 and then fell significantly below the norm in 2007-2012. The combined “downs” (in red) exceed the “ups” (in green) showing that it is logical there is still some of that demand projected to be released over the next 3-4 years. Assuming our economy continues in a positive direction, housing demand should be either equal to or above the historical trend over the next few years.
Real Estate Market Update








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.

Is your house saleable? Here’s 5 easy steps to get ready to list!

When its time to sell your house, there is likely only one thing on your mind, getting the most money possible. The easiest and most inexpensive ways to do this are mostly DIY and be completed in a weekend. But are crucially important for a quick sale at the highest price!

1. Deep Cleaning.
The little dust here and there that you might not even notice anymore, could be a turn off to buyers. Clean the baseboards around the whole house, the return air ducts that tend to collect dust, and do a thorough cleaning including moving and cleaning under furniture and appliances. Whiten grout lines and recaulk where needed.

2. Pack and Toss
Closets and Cabinet area’s show better if they are half empty and look spacious. Get rid of or pack up as much as you can live without while your selling. It will save you time in the end anyway, and will really appeal to buyers!

3. Don’t over-do the upgrades
If you make many custom to-your-taste updates, the buyers may not like your taste, and you may not see a return. The two cheapest investments you can make with the most return is paint and carpet. A neutral houses with fresh paint and carpet looks bright, open, and spacious! And crosses two things off the buyers to-do list. If you want to keep going, little things like new outlet covers, shined up door knobs, and updated faucets really turn buyers heads.

4. De-Personalize Your House
Buyers need to picture themselves in your house, and while I know how hard it is to put away all your families memorabilia and photos, it does tremendously help in the sale of a house, so lets start packing those items up. Now is also a good time to remove any fixtures you don’t intend to include in the sale. Light fixtures, mirrors, anything affixed to the property stays. If something has sentimental value, you should remove it now and replace it with something generic.

5. Organize Organize Organize
We realize you do have to keep some of your everyday stuff in the house while you sell 🙂 so anything that can’t be packed or toss should be neatly organized. It makes your home appear well cared for. Believe it or not, buyers will open all your closets and cupboards to picture their things in there. So make sure yours are as organized and as pretty as possible. Pinterest has loads of organization ideas you can use.

If your not sure where to start or what to tackle, feel free to have me or your own realtor come out and give you an outside opinion  before listing.

Margo Borkin

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

6960 Orchard Lake #150 West Bloomfield, MI 48322 | 248-419-3160 | 1-248-419-0930 fax
2014 Hour Magazine Real Estate ALL STAR – Presidents Council of Excellence
Website ::: Facebook ::: Twitter ::: Google+ ::: Linked In ::: Blog ::: Pinterest


Halloween: 10 Fun Facts!

1. Halloween is the 2nd highest grossing commercial holiday after Christmas

2. Samhainophobia is the official fear of Halloween

3. The First Jack O’Lanterns were actually turnips

4. The world record for Largest Pumpkin was recently broken in 2013 with a 2032lb pumpkin!

5. Harry Houdini, on of the most mysterious magicians, died on Halloween.

6. Boston, MA holds the record for the most Jack O’Lanterns lit at one time, over 30k!!

7. When Trick-or-Treating first started in the US, kids choose tricks over treats! It wasn’t until the 50’s that candy became the focus of the holiday.

8. Candy Corn is made with Marshmallow!

9. The top producing pumpkin states are Illinois, California, New York, and Ohio based on a 2010 study.

10. We’re (in Michigan) suppose to get snow this year for Halloween.  Yep, Snow…



13680 Kingston Oak Park, MI 48237

Just Listed this gorgeously updated bungalow home in great North Oak Park location. All the work has been done for you! Finished basement with family room, lav, and tons of extra storage. Spacious kitchen and bathroom both recently updated. Stainless appliances included. Gorgeous attention to detail through-out with cove ceilings & custom trim and finishes. Tons of Character. Open floor plan. Over Sized garage. Newer roof. Updated plumbing and electrical. All with-in walking distance to shopping, parks, and places of worship




  • 3 Bedrooms
  • 1.5 Bathrooms
  • 1055 SqFt
  • Built in 1948
  • 1 Car Detached Garage
  • Finished Basement

    For more information on this and other Oak Park Homes for Sale visit my website at www.movewithmargo.com or contact me now![contact-form to=’margo@movewithmargo.com’ subject=’Interested in 13680 Kingston from your Blog’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Phone’ type=’text’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

Ready to Buy a House, But Not Sure Where to Start?

Here is your 5-step plan for becoming a home buyer in this crazy market!

Buying a HouseStep 1

Get a comprehensive picture of your finances. Sit down with pen & paper and go over your current income vs. expenses. After subtracting any expenses that will go away when you move to a new house, determine how much you would be comfortable spending per month for a new mortgage & housing expenses. Keep in mind things like utilities which will go up or down depending on where you move to. Are you thinking about condos? You should budget $200-$300/Month for an association fee, but may also get the added value of not having a water bill!


Step 2

Evaluate your credit. Most loan programs require a 620-640 minimum score. If you think your credit might need some repair, don’t attempt yourself! Consumers often make credit decisions that end up hurting more then helping, such as closing credit cards, in certain situations this could (temporarily) lower your credit score for a few months. If your goal is to get your credit into a home buying position, call a lender. Their first step is running your credit report, and from there, if your score isn’t in line with current requirements they will give you advice on what steps to take and when to maximize your credit potential!


Step 3

Get pre-approved. One the money and credit are figured out, get your pre-approval letter ready! In this fast paced market, homes sell very quickly, your realtor will want to have this letter on hand and ready to go should the right house come along. Tell your lender what you’d like to pay per month for principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. They will tell you what price range to target, as well as what loan type is best for you.


Step 4

Hire a Buyers Agent. Don’t just browse the web calling the first agent you see. You need someone that will represent YOU and what you are looking for. Lucky for you I happen to know a great one; Check out my home buyers page http://www.movewithmargo.com/buying-a-home-in-michigan/


Step 5

Make an Offer. Your agent will advise you on market conditions, comparables, and what the estimate value of the house you’re interested in is by using our MLS database to research the area solds & finding those most similar to the one you would like to write an offer on. In a sellers market, you will find that most homes go at or near their asking price if not even over. And many end up in multiple offer bidding wars. For this reason, making a “low ball” offer in a sellers market may cost you the house. In a buyers market, the ball is in your court, and you have a little more room to wiggle.


Phew… That was a lot to take in huh? Once you digest that, feel free to email me with any questions about the buying process, and head over to the home buyers portal to get started! Already pre-approved? Hop right onto my Dream Home Finder and lets get you set up with a property 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.