Two Simultaneous Principal Residence Exemptions

Homeowners who are selling their homes, but moved into another home elsewhere in the State, get to have two Imageprincipal resident exemptions. …the St of MI Act provides that an owner may retain an exemption for up to 3 tax years on property previously exempt as principal residence if that property:

• is not occupied;
• is for sale;
• is not leased; and
• is not used for any business or commercial purpose

Big penalty for not rescinding when the old home is sold.

We complete this form free for clients that have retained us under buy/sell brokerage, minimal fee for others.

DIY’s for profit ( but not necessarily fun )

Four piles ! – that’s the bottom line.

  • Toss it.
  • Donate it.
  • Sell it.
  • Keep, organize and store it.

  1. Wash or paint the walls and trim. Wash light switches. Please make windows spotless. No dust anywhere. Any closet, wall space, furniture inclusions in a given room & the garage or basement areas should be no more than 60% occupied – otherwise they look like the home lacks sufficient space for ‘stuff’.
  2. Those new fixtures you’ll install need bright bulbs! Windows/ shades open all the way.
  3. If you have hanging wires, your post-accepted offer inspector can cost you dearly. Don’t let those unstapled wires in the basement or garage beg for concessions – or worse – make the buyer walk.
  4. Trim back the bushes and make the house look bigger! Bright colored flowers on the porch. Water, fertilize and trim the lawn impeccably.
  5. Spend on bright, clean, new items including house plants to add $’s to the sale, get quicker responses, and bonus, you get to those bold wall hangings & new area rugs with you!
    • >> Please! Look at the decor in ‘on-markets’ and recently sold comps. If you are all ‘brass’ trimmed & they are brushed nickel, eBay or Home Depot are your best friend to swap knobs/ handles/ & lighting fixtures – inside and out. You’ll have only yourself to blame if you leave thousands behind because you didn’t spent hundreds to increase appeal.

If a seller wants to get the same price the neighbors got for their property, then I have expectations for them too !

Read the entire list with a caveat, e.g., I’d put kitchen bath rehab higher on the list, but if yours in no more than 5 years old and you clean clean clean, then its off the list. You get the idea.


Above is the jest of today’s suggested reading.


Adaptive reuse / flexible use

I tend to look at properties from a “multi-use” perspective.

I might say to a prospective buyer client “will you ever work from home ?…have customers stop by ?…. want rent out part for future/retirement income stream ?… have retired parent(s) live with you ?… have a business & residence at the same location ?

In our up/down economy that has become more of the norm in recent years these are valid considerations. I prefer to start with “when will you move” or “what might cause you to have to move”, to help a buyer consider liquidity – and the “what if you can’t sell” perspective.

I’ve linked to an article on an adaptive reuse option that has always intrigued me. Converted factories turned dazzling homes

“I’ll just Short Sell it ;-) “

Oh yeah ? Not so fast.

I hear it over and over – “lets bandwagon, let the bank have it, let it go, walk away”…after all, Mr Fix It is in the white house and America cares for the little guy, not those ding nab fat rich bankers !

Try on a dose of reality:

To short sell, you’ll need to prove hardship, and then wait for the income tax bill and higher insurance rates while you ponder getting sued for the short fall and remaining fall out of bad credit for 7 years. NOT constitute hardship:

  1. Bad purchase decisions.
  2. Unhappy with the neighbors.
  3. Buying another home.
  4. Pregnancy.
  5. Moving into an apartment.

Examples of hardship are:

  1. Unemployment
  2. Divorce
  3. Medical emergency / sudden illness
  4. Bankruptcy
  5. Death

A decent article for the cold shower awaiting.

ps, consider buying something that makes sense in the first place – questions ? Call us.

For Sale By Owner com Founder used an agent

Today I learned something not so surprising.  CEO of, Colby Sambrotto sold his home using a Realtor! said the article title.Anibal-Group-LLC-RealtyNetWorth-Marketing-Open-House-Signs_3_In-Yard_Open_ForSale_Website-2

He’d used his FSBO site for 6 months, then listed the property and sold it in weeks, …. for thousands more than he’d been asking no less. Why  is this NOT surprising to me? I’ve been in the business 30 yrs as a 2nd generation multi-state broker and even I know the value of not representing property yourself, Yes, I too have listed more than 1 property with other offices. Why ? I practice what I preach, that’s why.

With face to face buyer/seller situations I see many opportunities for immediate loss of strategy.

The buyers may think:

  • ‘Well, you’re not paying an agent so I’d like to save that cost’ (you get nothing extra for all your work).
  • They ask a question, seller answers, they move in and have a problem and say “well you said such and such and now I have this problem. (extra pain, no financial gain).
  • Or buyer is old, seller is young – buyer thinks, ‘we’ll offer much less since we should be in a better negotiating position due to our age’.
  • Or seller is old, buyer is young – buyer thinks, ‘we’re young and craftier then seller, we’ll make sure we get the anibal-group-llc-realty-net-worth-all-over-usa-seal-beach-california.pngbetter deal’.
  • Or seller is _____ and buyer is ______, the list goes on what personality and etc things can get in the way.
  • Forget the possibility for sellers violating disclosure requirements, HUD Fair Housing parameters, silent fraud, implied warranties,….

So what about me a buyer going it alone and buying from a FSBO ? Been there done that didn’t go well. Did it once and never again. If an agent isn’t there to talk sense into a seller on my behalf re: price/ repairs/ etc etc, it ends up a waste of my time. Unrealistic sellers that don’t have a plan of attack may even say YES to my fair price, but then I have to do all the work from then on with little to no help or cooperation  from them. So I have to earn my discount running things about, setting up appraisals, closings, inspections, and no lockbox makes for a really (not) fun time getting back in the property after acceptance of offer.

I’m not surprised the FSBO chief used an agent, after all, I – a broker – prefer not to rep my own properties !

I smell REFUND ! ( for SEV drop or multiple residences )


Crazy but true. We’ve been filing for refunds when sellers have a:

  • Lower SEV when they sold than when they bought
  • Sell for less than or equal to: Actual Cash Value ( ACV is SEV X 2 in most locations – sell for more and no refund available)
  • Home has always been homestead/main residence/ non rental property

How much will be saved ?

  • the state .075% portion of your .086% at closing transfer tax

Whats needed ?

  • Proof of SEVs on the way in and out

Can I guess ?

  • 20 % penalty if you are wrong ( plus our fee wasted )

There are useful applications to this for buyers/ sellers/ investors.


If you are a seller and have moved into a new home awaiting a sale on the old home, you may qualify for principle residence exemption on BOTH homes whilst you await the sale.

Only makes sense.

Americans brace for next foreclosure wave

Many more U.S. homeowners face the prospect of losing their homes this year as banks pick up the pace of foreclosures.

“We are right back where we were two years ago. I would put money on 2012 being a bigger year for foreclosures than 2010,” said Mark Seifert, executive director of Empowering & Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP), a counseling group with 10 offices in Ohio.

“Last year was an anomaly, and not in a good way,” he said.


If my home is overpriced, why did I get so many showings ?

When discussing list price adjustments I often get this question.

My admirably successful broker-father oft said “when you overprice a property you take it off the market”. I give more value to the saying now that I’ve logged near 3 decades of experience and consider his economics Masters and PhD work.

If I drive by an unlisted house that fits a buyer customers desire, I have no problem knocking on the door to inquire, but if there’s a sign and I call and its significantly overpriced, well, that owner had better chances w/me had it not even been offered w/sign.

Many agents will show an overpriced home as an example, but the last home in the tour will save “the best one for last”.

There you go, your house is a time wasting guinea pig for you and your listing agent.

Consider getting an appraisal, looking at unsold homes, sold prices, and consider some articles:


1.  We want to test the market.  For how long ? Whats the exact plan, 90 days ? And the 91st day?  Price reduction– 90 days worth of potential buyers gone.

2.  It costs too much.  Staging costs virtually always less than the first price reduction…and carrying costs. ?

3.  We can’t, we’re living in it.  .. common misconception..   

4.  We didn’t have to stage any of the other properties we sold .  Once you could generate three offers by 5 p.m. the same day your Realtor put the sign in the yard.  Not now.

5.  Everyone loves our house .   Sellers are often baffled .. amazed that buyers have found things they don’t like about the property.

6. We can clean the carpets and declutter without someone telling us how.  Do you know what separates  “clutter” from “asset”?  And what about traffic flows, highlighting architectural features, updating, and appealing to your target market?

7.  We have no desire to remove/change our ____ (wallpaper/mirrored tile/gold faucets/paneling/dated light fixtures . . .).  neither do buyers.  Be ready to sell at a deep discount. 

8.  The view will sell this place.  Then why many months later are these great view homes/condos still on the market?

9.  We would rather let the buyers makes their own paint/flooring choices.  And that equals a price reduction, double or triple the cost of these items and reflect that in their discounted offer price–which includes inconvenience.

10. Our home is professionally decorated.  … tailored to the owner’s particular needs.  Does it work for the new buyer’s needs?

… consult with a professional home stager before listing your property for sale.

FED INCOME TAXES / Capital Gains Tax on Investment Property

Long-term capital gains (held more than 12 months) are taxed at a maximum rate of 15 % ( 5% for persons in the 15% tax bracket).

CAUTION: When investment property is sold, depreciation taken during the holding period is “recaptured” & taxed at 25 %.

  • Assume an apartment bldg. purchased nine years ago for $300,000.
  • The building represented 80% of the total.
  • The property is sold this year for $510,000 with selling costs of $10,000.
  • Depreciation, using a 27½-year life, is approximately $78,545 ($300,000 × 80% ÷ 27.5 = 9 years).

What is the tax liability?

5 Reasons Not Counter

An offer is a sale, you sold it as you wanted to. As soon as you counter, you have rejected the deal, it is legally dead with no obligation from the prospective buyer that made the offer. In essence, you’ve just bought it back at the price and terms it was sold for. If you are in the market for that type of property for that price, fine…if not you just made a costly oops., Paul

Every situation is unique, and the decision of whether to counter an offer should reflect both the current market for your home and the particular offer that is presented. However, I do believe that the decision to counter an offer should not be made lightly. At a minimum, you should think twice.  (click pic for full story)

New “Tax” on Real Estate Sales ?

There is indeed a tax on the sale of real estate.  It doesn’t apply to many people, but it WILL apply to some people that have profit from the sale of their homes. Starting in 2013, those with incomes over $200,000 will have to pay a 3.8% tax on profit from the sale of their primary residence or investment properties.  The exact amount will be based on a formula that includes the profit from the property and the income above $200,000.  The tax is not an income tax, but rather it is a “payroll tax”… officially it is a Medicare Tax.

It does not just apply to real estate, but also applies to investment income and dividends.


It will drive another nail into the luxury real estate market.  It has been in the doldrums for a while.  Adding new taxes will not get it going again.  And if you are thinking that this only affects ‘the wealthy’, think again.  Those homes are not built by ‘the wealthy’.  Those homes are not renovated by ‘the wealthy’.  Those consumers are more likely to hire contractors to do improvements.  And they are more likely to update more often…  They are a driver in the housing sector.  This added tax is NOT putting gas in the tank…

Best And Worst Home Improvements For The Buck

“Put your junk in a storage locker, neaten, fix the wobbly ceiling fan–and do it before you call your Realtor.”

…. Many of the best professional home sellers will shy away from putting a lot of time into selling your home if it’s a mess.

The only home improvement Sudler recommends is painting. Even there, he advises limiting the work to covering blemishes and repainting any rooms that have overly bright or outdated colors. More

Dear Seller: Ten Sure Fire Ways to Distract Buyers From Focusing on Your Home

10) Leave your “friendly” dog roaming free inside the house when you know we are coming to see it.

Not all buyers are dog people.

9) Leave something aromatic cooking in the crock pot for your dinner that night

Not all buyers are going to be fans of your food choices.

8) Keep photos of your family up throughout the house

Guess what they are not doing?  Looking at your house.

7) Keep all your nick knacks out

I know they are precious to you but honestly they are distracting to the buyer.

6) Make it difficult for me to show your house

…. if our appointment time does not work for you don’t be surprised when we don’t reschedule.  The buyer is likely to have moved on.

5) To continue on the pet theme, leave your cat roaming free throughout the house with a note by the front door stating “Please do not let the cat out”.

Again the focus has been shifted away from your home.

4) Don’t replace burned out light bulbs or use low wattage bulbs.

3) Close all the curtains and turn off all the lights

When we walk into the house instead of immediately noticing the great things about the house we are going to be fumbling around looking for light switches.

2) Turn the heat down

One of the quickest ways to drive a potential buyer out of your house is to make them view a cold house in stocking feet.  It is hard to admire the spacious kitchen when your feet are being flash frozen by the cold tile floors.

1) Stay in your home while we are showing it