Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Have you ever wondered why...

Have you ever wondered why some of the nicest houses in the neighborhood seem to stay on the market forever? Or why some of your neighbors seem to settle for less than their home is probably worth?
The right real estate agent is critical. In today's market, it's more important than ever that you choose to work with an agent that has the knowledge and systems to get you the most money for your house, including:           
             As your local real estate expert, I understand:           
                 How to set a price that will attract the most buyers               
                 The most likely buyer for your home and how best to reach them               
                 What features buyers are looking for and expect from the homes in your neighborhood               
                 What marketing techniques are driving the most buyer traffic               
             Why settle for an agent who will simply put a "For Sale" sign in your yard, when you could have one that will get the "SOLD" sign up as soon as possible! As your local real estate expert, I would be honored to work with you on your next move.   
Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The U.S. housing market has shown notable stability in 2011

September 2011 Market Update
The U.S. housing market has shown notable stability in 2011 compared to the previous two years when the tax credit made a clear impact. Although recent economic indicators have been less than expected, including a downward revision of GDP and consumer confidence that mirrors early 2009, owning a home is still valued by the majority of Americans. 72% of renters say owning is a top priority for their future, up from 68% a year earlier.
However, most aspiring homeowners are held back by two main factors: funds for a down payment (82%) and confidence in their job security (80%). Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke emphasized the importance of a healthy housing market to a robust recovery. He stressed the adverse effects of tighter credit conditions for borrowers, urging Congress to take tax and policy measures to help stabilize the market. He also noted the significance of addressing long-term fiscal policies including debt levels, upcoming expenses to support an aging population, and taxes.
Buyers continue to benefit from historically favorable buying conditions, and sellers are encouraged by increased market stability. Although the Fed made a commitment to keep its interest rate at the current level until mid-2013, mortgage rates can, and often do, still fluctuate. In the midst of these reports, it is important to keep in mind the path to recovery was always expected to be a long and uneven road. As we progress toward a stronger recovery, economic improvement typically spurs rising interest rates in order to keep inflation in line.

This Month's Video

Interest Rates

Mortgage rates hit a new record low in August of 4.15%, primarily due to uncertainty in the global and domestic economies. While these incredible rates represent a significant savings for home buyers, experts note that for the benefits to be fully realized, lending conditions must loosen to enable more buyers to take advantage of them. As overall economic activity gets back on track, rates will likely rise to keep inflation in check. In other words, the window of opportunity for buyers to lock in these historically low interest rates will not last forever.

Home Sales

Home sales in July were up by 21% from the same month last year when the expiration of the tax credit resulted in a significant drop in sales. However, they were down 3.5% compared to June. This could be due in part to NAR's report that 16% of members experienced a contract failure from issues in underwriting and appraisals during July. NAR President Ron Phipps states, "For both mortgage credit and home appraisals, there's been a parallel pendulum swing from very loose standards, which led to the housing boom, to unnecessarily restrictive practices as an overreaction to the housing correction."

Home Price

Home prices dipped by less than 1% in July with median home price at $174,000. This is 4.5% below the year-ago level which followed a strong spring season of sales driven by the tax credit. Median home prices remain close to 2002–2003 levels. Distressed sales continue to count for almost 1 in 3 homes sold. The combination of low prices and record-breaking low interest rates means that home affordability is extremely favorable.


The supply of homes measured in months on the market at their current pace of sales was up slightly during July compared to June. This is in keeping with historical trends, which show that inventory levels typically rise during the summer months. The month's supply remained 25% below the peak of 12.5 months in July 2010 and 13% above April of 2010 when the home buyer tax credit was in full swing.

Home Updates

As the weather gets cooler, some homeowners could be considering undertaking home renovations or updates before the holiday season. Here are a few findings about updates and home sales:
• Homeowners typically spend considerably more on updates to their home when planning to live in and enjoy it, with an average of nearly $9,000.
• In contrast, they only spend an average of $3,400 when making updates in preparation to sell.
• The most common updates sellers performed before listing were paint, flooring, and light fixtures.
• Although the majority of buyers were least likely to compromise on the location, 16% were least likely to compromise on updates.
• 75% of homes sold were either fairly updated or very updated.
• Sellers began repairing their home 1 to 8 weeks in advance of listing.

Each Office is Independently Owned and Operated.

Brought to you by KW Research. For additional graphs and details, please see the This Month in Real Estate PowerPoint Report.
The opinions expressed in This Month in Real Estate are intended to supplement opinions on real estate expressed by local and national media, local real estate agents and other expert sources. You should not treat any opinion expressed on This Month in Real Estate as a specific inducement to make a particular investment or follow a particular strategy, but only as an expression of opinion. Keller Williams Realty, Inc., does not guarantee and is not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of information, and provides said information without warranties of any kind. All information presented herein is intended and should be used for educational purposes only. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. All investments involve some degree of risk. Keller Williams Realty, Inc., will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on information contained in This Month in Real Estate.
Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

7 Harsh Truths They Don’t Tell You About Personal Growth

7 Harsh Truths They Don’t Tell You About Personal Growth

That was the question I asked myself one winter evening, while sitting on my bed with my head resting in my palms.

Personal development didn’t seem to be what people said it was. Where was the change? Where was the positivity?

All I saw was more of what I didn’t like.

My bookshelf was filled with books on spirituality, self-growth, productivity, and even out of body experiences, but none of them seemed to do any good, or did they?

You see, the counter-intuitive (and funny) thing about embarking on the path of personal growth is that it’s not going to be all cakes and cookies.

Some people give up when the going gets tough, but those that stick with it realize that it’s not about achieving the end result and becoming perfect—free from problems.

It’s about the journey of growth; of becoming more of who you already are.

That’s why in this article I’ll share some of the harsh truths about personal growth. Don’t worry, it’s not all bad, because it all leads to the right place.

1. Results

Many, or dare I say most, who get into personal development are in a hurry to get to a place where everything is perfect and problems do not exist.

And that’s a normal response to have, because they haven’t yet traveled the path far enough to realize that it’s not about getting rid of problems.

It’s about how you perceive “problems.”

We’re taught early in our life to value achievements. It’s all about doing stuff. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, it becomes a problem when all you focus on is the end result.

You’re never here, because you’re always thinking of where you want to be, and when you get there, you’ll be somewhere else again; dreaming about the next goal.

It’s a never-ending cycle, unless you stop and change it.

Now, when I first stumbled upon personal growth, I wanted results. I wanted them now and I was willing to work hard to get them.

It’s almost like a mirage in the desert. Personal development becomes for you exactly what you need at that particular moment.

It may be a positive experience, or it may be a negative one. As long as you keep going, you will grow, even if you believe you aren’t on the right path.

2. Suffering

The path most commonly traveled by people not on the path of personal growth is one of avoidance, comfort, and familiarity.

It makes sense, because when you first start observing yourself and thinking about how you can improve, it can be painful.

There’s so much stuff that needs to be cleared and it feels like it’ll never end, so why even try?

That’s an excellent question, and one that you alone will have to answer. Only you can find the inner drive to change and grow.

And it won’t happen until it happens.

You’ve probably tried to get friends and family members to read a book that had an impact on you, or attend a workshop with you, but it simply doesn’t work.

They are not where you are, and they don’t have the same experiences that you have.

You have to allow others to find their own path, and you have to allow yourself to travel your unique journey without comparing yourself to others, and thinking about how far you haven’t yet come.

There will be suffering, but the fact that you feel negative about something means that you are aware of it, and that you can change.

It’s not bad, it’s good.

It may not feel like it is, but once you get through the bumps on the road, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about, and you may even know already.

There are a lot of things you don’t know that you know.

3. Confusion

How comfortable are you with confusion?

Not all that comfortable, right?

The funny thing is that we try to spend most our life avoiding confusion and uncertainty.

However, if you think back to a moment where you had a breakthrough; where suddenly everything made sense, you may become aware of the fact that just before that breakthrough, there was confusion.

Whenever you’re learning something new, which you are doing almost all the time, you will be feeling slightly confused. You may even feel fear.

The confusion comes from the assimilation of new information. Your brain literally has to restructure, especially if you bump into a piece of information that’s “life-changing.”

So when, in the future, you’re feeling confused or uncertain, know that it is happening because you are growing and learning.

It’s just a sign that something new is going on. It might not be pleasant, but it is always leading you to higher understanding and clarity.

4. Fun

Personal growth is not all pain and suffering. There will be times when you are experiencing amazing breakthroughs.

After awhile you will begin to notice improvements in the most surprising areas of your life. It’s different for everyone, but still very fascinating.

You see, when you grow in one area of your life, it ripples outward. Every aspect of you affects every other aspect.

What you will also realize is that it’s not about changing your external circumstances as much as it is about who you are inside.

When you change your internal workings, the external naturally follows.

For example, when I started on this journey, I complained, agonized, and almost hated life in general, and my life wasn’t fun.

However, since I’ve worked on myself and let go of a lot of unhelpful beliefs, the external has begun to shift.

As you gain deeper insight, you will begin to realize that it’s all about following your heart, and going with the flow of life.

When you resist the flow, you feel bad, and life brings you down. It’s like trying to stand still in a powerful downward stream. It takes effort, and it isn’t fun when you start feeling your muscles wanting to give out.

5. Response-Ability

You alone are responsible for the results you get, and who you become. There is no one else that can make your decisions for you.

As I’ve started working with clients more and more, I’ve started noticing that there are some people that want life handed to them on a silver platter.

Then there are the go-getters who just need a nudge and off they go. Which of the two people are you?

What will your life look like if you keep this up for the next 5, 10, and 20 years?

If looking into the future feels good, then you’re on the right path. If not, then make the necessary changes.

When you are willing to take action, you will see the world open up before you. Uncertainty will become possibility, because you never know what will happen.

And even when you don’t know the answers, you have the power to move forward and see what happens. That is how you figure stuff out.

If you’ve been looking for the key that will make your life work, know that it doesn’t exist outside of you.

You are the key to your life. You are the missing ingredient, and you alone have the power within to create the life you desire, even if you don’t believe it yet.

6. Not Knowing

By now, you already know that confusion is an inherent part of self growth, and what usually happens when you’re feeling confused is that you’ll want to find something familiar.

You will look for certainty. You want answers from people. You will search for guarantees and anything else that will alleviate the confusion.

This includes addictive behaviors and negative states. Whatever is familiar and comfortable is what you will try and grab onto.

And that’s to be expected. But know this: the more you try to resist the confusion, the harder it becomes.

As you keep bumping into confusion and all the other friendly faces on your path, you will get to know them better.

You will know when they are about to pop up, and you will know what is coming next. You will become more comfortable with all of them.

The big lesson is that you don’t have to know it all. That has been a big one in my life, and while I know it, I still want to know it all, right now.

It comes and goes in cycles. Sometimes I’m okay with it, while other times I am not.

You don’t have to know it all to take action. And often when you start taking action, the pieces fall into place.

The best thing you can do when you feel confused is to breathe, accept where you are, and think about the next smallest step you can take toward what you want.

This can be anything, and may at times seem irrelevant. It might mean reading a book, attending a workshop, or just taking a walk.

You just never know what you will discover when you take that next step.

7. Not Getting

What you want now won’t always be what you will want in the future.

The best you can do is look to the future from where you are now, but when you start moving forward and experiencing life, things start to change and shift, and your heart will take you to places you never imagined wanting to go to.

When you set a goal and go after it without flexibility, you literally put blinders on yourself, and block yourself from seeing all the possibilities around you.

When you know where you want to go, you don’t need to know how to get there, although if you know the steps, that does help.

What I’m saying is that you don’t necessarily need a rigid set of steps to get anywhere, because you never know what path you will end up taking.

That is why I recommend you follow your passion, and follow your heart, because they will lead you to where you need to be.

It’s tough to let go, because it feels like you’re losing control, but you aren’t.

Allow both the positive and negative into your life. Sometimes it may seem that you’re not making progress, but you always are.

I’ve discovered that it is when I’m going through a thunderstorm of negativity that I grow the most.

It gives me the opportunity to let things go and allow whatever is happening to be okay.

Not easy, but easier than resisting.

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Most people THINK that they are great communicators.

A Secret Most Women Don't Know About Communicating With Men

By Christian Carter

Have you ever tried to tell a man how you’re feeling, only to have him get angry, annoyed or simply shut down and withdraw? If so, it’s probably because you’re not communicating in a way that the man can actually understand and make him want to LISTEN.

Chances are that you were so caught up in your emotions that you didn't actually give him the space to listen, think, and respond. This is something you can learn to do so that a man actually wants to hear you out. Here's what I mean…

Men and women communicate in different ways, but if you can understand where the man is coming from, you could have a whole different experience than most women and actually create a better connection between you and him.

That’s right, there IS a way that actually works for both of you...

Learn To Communicate With Men For Real, Constructive, Positive Results
Most people THINK that they are great communicators.
But they don’t seem to get any RESULTS with their communication.
Guess what?

If you aren’t getting some of the results you’re after, then your communication skills stink.

Saying exactly what you’re thinking and feeling all the time is NOT a leading trait that makes for a great communicator - or even a good one.

“Saying exactly what you’re thinking and feeling all the time is NOT a leading trait that makes for a great communicator - or even a good one.”

Being in touch with your feelings is good. But throwing them out when they come to you, not “filtering” them, and putting no conscious thought behind how the other person will hear and receive your words is counterproductive.

Tons of women spend days, weeks, or months analyzing, processing, and discussing a thought or idea that they have about a man or about their relationship. Then after all this, they come to a conclusion and present their thoughts to their guy.

And then what happens?

Most of the time, the woman expects the man to listen and VERY QUICKLY understand what she’s talking about, what it means about him and their relationship, and how it makes her feel and why.

And how does that usually work out?

If you think about this situation for a second, you’ll realize a few important things:
The man didn’t have the benefit of all the time and discussion/analysis that the woman had

The woman is expecting her communication to give him a perfect view and experience of what it’s like to be her

The man probably sees things differently and has his own perspective (right or wrong)

I recognize the challenge that you, as a woman, have with a man… it’s often very difficult to know what’s going on with him because he will rarely, if ever, come out and say exactly how he’s thinking or feeling.

Most men in this situation will simply avoid conversation and connection to try and hide their feelings, hoping that it will all just go away and they won’t have to “deal with it.”

Good communication IS the first step to changing your relationship with a man for the better.

I’ve spent the last few years studying exactly what works and what doesn’t when it comes to women communicating effectively with a man and creating a deeper “connection”. My ebook Catch Him and Keep Him will show you how you can quickly and easily perfect this skill if you are going to have successful, lasting, loving relationship with a man. It’s the modern woman’s guide to success with dating and being in relationships with men - if you’re looking to stop wasting your time and find a deep, lasting, and real connection, that is.

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Counties can ban owners from foreclosure resales

Counties can ban owners from foreclosure resales

But Wayne officials say they don't want to prohibit practice

Christine MacDonald/ The Detroit News

Detroit — State officials and area county treasurers say Wayne County already has the authority to stop a growing number of property owners from ditching tax debt by buying their land back for pennies on the dollar at the annual foreclosure auction.

But Wayne County officials said they don't want to ban the practice, arguing it would be too hard to enforce and could hurt poor homeowners.

"We have no plan to do that at this point," said Wayne County Chief Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski. "The enforcement mechanism for not allowing people to buy back is a nightmare."

"We are trying the do the best we can in trying economic times."

The Detroit News reported last week that Detroit property owners are using the little-known loophole to erase tax debt, interest, fees and unpaid water bills by letting properties go into foreclosure and then buying them back at the Wayne County treasurer's auction, sometimes for as low as $500.

The News identified about 200 of nearly 3,700 Detroit properties sold at auction last year that appeared to be bought back by owners, wiping away about $1.8 million in tax debt.

That included one Detroit landlord who lost seven rentals after he didn't pay $131,800. He bought them back a month later for $4,051.

At the September auction, the properties' prices are the debt that's owed. But in October, the county treasurer sells off whatever is left at a $500 opening bid.

While Wayne County doesn't want to stop the method, Macomb County Treasurer Ted Wahby said he plans to officially ban the practice this fall. His office is drafting a registration form that would make the buyer pledge that they are not buying back their property and if found lying, the sale would be voided.

"As the economic situation is getting worse, it opens the doors to these guys," Wahby said. "If they are allowed to get away with that, you'll see this hole it will create for the county."

Wahby said he hasn't seen anyone try it yet, but he is worried about the potential and wasn't sure he could prevent it. This spring he asked state Sens. Steven Bieda and Jack Brandenburg to push legislation to ban it. But after the bill's introduction, state Treasurer Andy Dillon's office said county treasurers already had that power.

Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner said his office also hasn't seen anyone try it, but if someone did, he would likely put the buyer on the county's "black list" of banned buyers, which include those who may owe back taxes on other properties.

"We have always kept an eye on folks trying to buy back their property," Meisner said. "We consider it an act of extreme bad faith. It's cheating."

But most of those buying back properties in Detroit are homeowners who are overwhelmed by tax debt and Szymanski said keeping them in their homes is the best option. Buyers could always secretly form a new company and still buy, he said.

The state of Michigan, which operates auctions for 12 counties, doesn't ban owners from buying back properties because it's too hard to administer, said spokesman Terry Stanton.

Szymanski said his office plans to roll out auction reforms this week that focus on making sure auction buyers maintain their properties and that they pay the taxes on the properties they purchase.

"We are working on solutions to many of these problems," Szymanski said.

The News found dozens of examples of properties bought back by landlords and speculators.

Seven of Jeffrey Cusimano's rental properties went into foreclosure last September after he didn't pay more than $131,800 in taxes and other debts. The Clinton Township landlord bought them back at auction for $4,051. And well-known land speculator Michael Kelly bought back three properties last fall through a company he is affiliated with to erase a $37,595 debt.

Cusimano blamed Detroit, saying the taxes on his properties weren't realistically assessed and he had to buy them back for his business to survive. Detroit's tax rates — 65 mills for homeowners and 83 mills on other property owners — are the highest in the state, according to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

Counties could be forced to ban owners who owe back taxes from the auction under a bill introduced by Sen. Tupac Hunter, D-Detroit, that is pending.

(313) 222-2396

From The Detroit News: Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A 911 Message from a friend.

I didn't just know someone, I knew 27 someones, well, their husbands wives and children...but more than that, I was there. I was 17 blocks uptown from WTC, but just the same I can't seem to get the grit of the ash off my skin or out my hair, or the smell of the fire away from me. The anniversary today was important to lots of people remembering....but remembering for me is waking up crying many many random mornings over the last 10 years. It probably sounds arrogant, but folks who weren't there just plain don't know and never will. It might be a national tragedy, but it's still a local devastation with consequences that folks who don't live here will never understand.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

What I see for the future of business...

In what I see for the future of business, it is going to be less about marketing expertise and more about authentic communication. Consumers are turning a blind eye to interruptive, hyped, and boastful marketing and responding to real, genuine, and individualized communication. The Marketing & Communications departments of the future have a wonderful challenge in front of them. It is time to quit marketing TO strangers and to start communicating WITH friends.

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Friday, September 9, 2011


Rudyard Kipling


If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,

Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,

And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;

If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with triumph and disaster

And treat those two imposters just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,

And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breath a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -

Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,

And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What is a "blog"?

What is a "blog"? What is inside a blog? Can my visitors comment on my postings? "Blog" is an abbreviated version of "weblog," which is a term used to describe websites that maintain an ongoing chronicle of information. A blog is a frequently updated, personal website featuring diary-type commentary and links to articles or other websites.

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Everyday Home Maintenance Checklist ;-)


The reality of owning a home is that very few things are maintenance free. To help you manage your homes requirements, here are some tips and tasks as referenced from Consider visiting the link for more in depth and specific information

One time tasks

1. Locate and mark the shut-offs for the heating, electrical and plumbing systems

2. Install smoke detectors as necessary

3. Change the locks on all doors

4. Remove or repair trip hazards such as broken walks, or driveways, loose carpet or flooring

5. Have all chimneys inspected and serviced before operating

6. Remove any wood/soil contact to prevent rotting and insect damage

Regular Maintenance

1. Clean gutters in spring and fall

2. Check for damaged roofing twice a year

3. Service furnace or boiler yearly

4. Check furnace filters, humidifiers and any electronic air cleaners monthly

5. Check bathtub and shower caulking monthly and repair promptly if needed

6. If in a climate prone to freezing, shut off outdoor water faucets in the fall

7. Cut back trees and shrubs from the house walls, roof and air conditioning system as needed

Of course, these suggestions are by no means the be all and end all of home maintenance. But it is a good place to get started.


Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!