My Blog

Claiming escrow and other money

   After a closing I always follow up with my sellers to be sure they received all the refunds they are entitled to.  A major one is any funds held in escrow by their lender which had been used to pay their property taxes and insurance.  I just found out that my own escrow was never refunded to me from when I sold a home 10 years ago (before I became a realtor).  My niece, Adrianne Lau, who is also a realtor, saw my name on the State of Michigan unclaimed property website.** as she was searching the family name Osmar.  She alerted me.  I checked the site and ened up with about $500.  This included $491 from the escrow and $16.60 from Pay Pal.  I had received money from this site years ago when I owned a business, but had forgotten about it and hadn't checked the site in ages.  It's a good idea for everyone to check it once in a while.  You can even check deceased family member names.  A lot of items in safety deposit boxes and the like go unclaimed by the heirs.  If you are an heir you can claim it.
     To check to see if you or your family members have any unclaimed money or property go to  BE SURE IT IS THIS EXACT WEBSITE ADDRESS. There are other sites posing as this site that are just trying to get your personal information.  I suggest you search by your last name only and don't insert your first name or city.  They had my first name truncated and I've had addresses in several cities.  So my funds didn't pop up when I first did the search and included my first name and city where I live now.
     Once you click the "claim" button and fill in some info online, you will receive an email from the State with a form to fill out.  Your signature will need to be notarized.  (We have free notary service in our office if you need it.)  And you include a copy of your driver's license or passport with the submission as well as a list of previous home addresses.  Let me know if you are able to claim some money so that I feel good from having helped someone!

**Here is the explanation of why the site exists as it appears on the website itself: "The Michigan Department of Treasury has millions of dollars in lost or forgotten assets from dormant bank accounts, uncashed checks, valuables left in safe deposit boxes and stock certificates.  Because the properties are considered abandoned and unclaimed by the bank or company entrusted with them, they are turned over to the state, as required by law.  The Michigan Department of Treasury is the custodian of these assets and returns them to their owners (or owner's heirs) when they are rightfully claimed."

Mortgage Rates Have Dropped

Loans that were hugging 5% in early December are now coming in as low as 4.5%.  Note that the interest rate you receive depends upon the type of loan, loan period, your credit score and many other details of your current financial situation.  Getting your credit score up before applying for a loan can get you a better interest rate and save you a lot of money in the long run.  Touch base with the lender of your choice up to a year ahead of time to have a chance to get your credit score up.  Good loan originators will be happy to let you know what kinds of things are in the algorithm for the credit scoring companies.  If you need contact info for some helpful loan originators in the greater Lansing area let me know. I'd be glad to pass their contact info on to you. 

FHA Lowered Monthly


According to Tim Lowe at Pearl Mortgage, when buying a home with a loan of $200K the MIP (mortgage, insurance, principal) is $141.66. This is being lowered to $100 per month.

Local Market Update


Local market conditions: In the past 7-10 days there has been a frenzy of buying activity. Luckily we have also seen a large increase in listings in the past week. Ranch style homes and condos are still in very short supply compared to the number of buyers looking. Lenders are doing a very good job getting a clear to close in 5 weeks or less once the inspection contingencies have been removed (about 1 week later for MSU). More and more clients are choosing to have the sewer line inspected as part of the inspections. I'm recommending it if there are mature trees nearby that could have roots invading the pipe. $150 can save you several thousand dollars if the pipe has been broken or if its so clogged that sewage could back up into your finished basement the first time you throw a big party. 

Open Houses


Had 20 partners through one open house and 12 through another. Early Spring!

Market Update


Just giving you a market update. Things have heated up already. In a little less then 2 weeks I have written 6 offers, accepted offers on 2 of my listings and listed one home. Very unusual for this early. 2 of the clients I wrote offers for were in multiple offer situations. One client wrote $3,000 over list price and was the lowest of 3 bids. The winner had written $10,000 over asking price. I have an unusually large number of buyers for any time of the year. Listings are still just dribbling into the market. 

Change in Dower Law


The Michigan Legislature passed 3 bills that eliminate dower at the end of last year. These bills take effect 90 days after the Governor signs them. After that only the wife of a man who died prior to the effective date will have dower. They will be known as Public Acts 489 and 490 of 2016. The Governor signed them January 6th. Up until now, when a women married a man she automatically owned a portion of all his property. That's why we always had to have a wife sign at closing even if only the husband was on the title. That will no longer be the case. Only persons on the title will need to sign. 

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to utilize me as a resource. 

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