Category Archives: Home Buying Advice

5 Tips for a Stress-Free Move into Your New Home

Moving supplies, boxes, tape, markers

Buying a new home is exciting — until it comes time to move all of your belongings. Then comes the stress, frustration and irritation of heavy lifting, long days and packing.

Eliminate some of the stress of a move by following these tips:

Create a system – Whether you number, color-code or categorize your boxes, it’s important to have an organizational system in place before you start packing. This way, you’ll know what’s in each box and be able to find your items quickly in your new home.

Buy a lot of packing supplies – You’ll need more boxes, tape, markers, etc. than you think. Make sure to buy a variety of boxes in different shapes and sizes for different items. It’s better to have too many than not enough when you’re knee-deep in full boxes and heavy furniture! You can always put extra supplies up on Craigslist after the move.

Make a cleaning kit – Cleaning can be a pain during moving, but it’s a necessary step if you want your deposit back or the new home owners to be happy. Instead of packing away important cleaning supplies, keep them in a separate kit inside the home until the last few boxes are ready to be taken out.

Pack unused items early – All those dishes, Christmas decorations and extra blankets taking up space in your basement or storage area can be packed away first since they’re rarely used. Pack everyday items and furniture last.

Keep related things together – Try not to separate the remote from the television or light bulbs from lamps to make finding these small items easier when you’re in your new home.


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What Does the Future of the Housing Market Look Like?

It’s no secret that the housing market is tough right now for builders and Realtors alike. A recent article on Builder Magazine stated that the future of the housing market will hinge on job creation.

Last week, The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University released “The State of the Nation’s Housing 2011,” its annual outlook on housing and homeownership through the rearview mirror of the past few years. The essence of the report, which the Joint Center embargoed for publication until this morning, is that the strength of housing’s recovery “will rest on how fully employment bounces back.”

Although many of these statistics aren’t surprising to anyone who follows the market closely, they are interesting to think about in terms of the future of the housing market:Housing Market, Real Estate Market

  • The national homeownership rate fell below 67% in 2010, down from 69% in 2004. The excess inventory of unsold homes in 2010 equaled about 700,000 for-sale homes and 160,000 rentals.
  • While most baby boomers are expected to age in place, one in three heads of households aged 65 to 74 relocated in the previous decade, many to smaller homes. If that mobility rate continues, some 3.8 million aging boomers would be moving in this decade. At any rate, baby boomers are projected to increase the number of households over age 65 by 8.7 million, or 35%, in this decade.
  • Even though homeownership rates among young adults were slipping before the recession hit, and that slippage accelerated during the recession, the Joint Center still believes that enough echo boomers will want to buy a home to boost the number of young adult households over the next decade. “Indeed, assuming headship rates revert to their 2007-9 average, and that immigration is just half of what the Census Bureau now projects, the number of households under age 35 will grow to nearly 26.5 million in the next decade.”
  • The “one bright spot” in the housing sector recently is the rental market. Between 2007 and 2009, 1.4 million single-family homes became rental properties. And between 2004 and 2010, the number of renter households expanded by 3.9 million to a total of 37 million. Last year, rental vacancy rates fell to 9.4% in the fourth quarter, the lowest rate since 2003, which reverses a trend in previous years where supply was significantly outpacing demand. However, low-income rental continues to dissipate.
  • Minorities will account for seven out of 10 of the projected 11.8 million new households in 2010-20 (which the Joint Center says is a conservative estimate). Hispanics alone will contribute nearly 40% of that increase, and by 2020 minorities should make up one-third of all U.S. households.

Do you see yourself buying a home in the next 5 to 10 years? Why or why not?

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Why You Should Buy Your New Michigan Home This Spring

Home LoanIn the market for a new home? Although the housing market has been on the decline for several years, you simply cannot wait forever to own your own place. Renting tends to be expensive–and who wants to rely on a landlord for your family’s housing?

Consider the following reasons for buying your new home in Michigan sometime this spring:

Get more for less

Homes that were worth several hundred thousand five or ten years ago have significantly dropped in price, allowing today’s home buyers to receive more house (and better finishes) at nearly half the cost. Particularly, newly constructed homes, such as the ones in our neighborhoods in Ann Arbor, Saline or Canton, provide a significant value to today’s home buyers.

Invest in your future

While renting is a great option for individuals who don’t plan on staying in the area for longer than a few years, when you buy a home, you’re investing in your future. Prospective home buyers with families who plan on living in the area for at least the next five years should definitely consider buying a home.

Prepare for the housing market recovery

Much like the economy, the housing market has its ups and downs. If you know you’ll be living in the area for some time, you’re bound to make some type of return on investment in buying a home. If you make significant improvements (appropriate to the neighborhood and location) you might even be able to profit when it comes time to sell your home.

Do you think now is the right time to buy a home? Why or why not?

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5 Reasons Why You Should Buy Your Michigan Home From Us

We’re different from other home builders in Michigan. If you live in the area currently, you don’t have to go far to see the unfinished homes or incomplete neighborhoods in the area — many of them sitting untouched and unoccupied because of builders who ran out of money or were affected by the down housing market in the last 10 years.

What makes us different?

1. We have no corporate or personal debt. Our sites are owned free and clear without construction financing. Since 2007, we have constructed hundreds of homes despite the economic downturn without construction financing. Additionally, our office, showroom, construction equipment and commercial vehicles are all owned free and clear. Livonia Builders home in Torwood

2. You deal directly with our owner. Livonia Builder’s owner Danny Veri is known for his attention to detail and cares about your experience with Livonia Builders.

3. We have strong relationships with our vendors and partners. Many of our trusted partners have known us for 20+ years, such as Dennis at Dennison Carpentry or Ted at Firmbuilt Construction. Check out the rest here.

4. We support local charities and foundations. Metro Detroit is our proud place of business — and we like to give back to the community in any way we can.

5. We believe in building you a quality home for less. Just take a look at our standard features — where else can you get a brand new home with energy saving appliances, maple cabinets, granite counter tops, distinct architecture and a beautifully landscaped yard for less than $200,000? Our homes in The Woodlands of Arbor Ridge start at $164,900; Torwood starts at $199,900; and Cherry Hill Village starts at only $179,900.

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10 Steps to Buying Your First House

  1. Figure out how much you can afford. First, calculate your monthly income and debt. You also need to know your credit score (also known as FICO) to determine if your credit it good enough to get a home loan.
  2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. There are several types of mortgages, including fixed, adjustable, conventional, government, etc. Shop around to determine what’s right for you. It’s recommended that you speak to at least five different lenders to see which will be the best choice in terms of interest rate and what you can current afford.
  3. Write down your needs and wants in a home. Location, type, price, square footage, architectural style, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, etc. Each of these will help narrow down your home search.
  4. Determine target neighborhoods. You should research neighborhoods you’d like to live in to see the crime rate, schools, amenities, shops, restaurants, etc.
  5. Work with a Realtor. You should choose an agent that knows your neighborhoods well. They also should have experience in working with buyers. Also, choose someone you get along with! You’ll be working closely with them for as long as it takes to find the right home for you.
  6. Browse home listings. Look online in the MLS and for sale by owner. Flag listings that interest you and bring them up to your Realtor so they can set up tours.
  7. Do research on each home you’re interested in purchasing. Determine the property’s fair market value, the reason for selling, property disclosures, etc.
  8. Make an offer. With help of your Realtor, write an offer on the house and include any contingencies. Decide upon a move-in date and list any repairs necessary.
  9. Finalize the deal. It may take some back and forth between your Realtor and the seller, but eventually, you will get an offer on the house that’s acceptable. Get the home appraised and complete a home inspection.
  10. Close. Review all of the closing documents and determine what’s needed for the final closing meeting.

Once you’ve completed these 10 steps, you’re hopefully a new home owner! Congratulations! Read through some of our other posts for home owners:

Thinking about buying a new home? Check out our website for more on our brand-new, highly affordable homes in Michigan.

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What Type of a House Hunter Are You?

When you start looking for a new home, it’s important to know what kind of a house shopper you are. Are you going to check out the innerworkings of the home? Or are you going to be more focused on the appearance and feeling you get inside of it? What will your strengths and weaknesses be? Will your partner (or house-hunting friend) balance you out?

There’s a great quiz at that can help you find out what type of a house hunter you are — you might be surprised at the results! Check it out here.

Looking to buy a new home in the Ann Arbor or Saline, Michigan areas? Here’s a video that can be helpful in your search:

Thinking about buying a new home? Check out our website for more on our brand-new, highly affordable homes in Michigan.

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7 Reasons to Live in Canton, MI

Ready to move to Michigan — but aren’t sure which city? Thinking about putting down some roots and buying a home in the area?

Although there is quite a draw to cities like Ann Arbor or Grand Rapids, don’t discount the surrounding area. Canton is growing community in the heart of southeastern Michigan with a population of just over 84,000 residents.

Want to know more? Here are several reasons to live in Canton, Michigan:

1. The U.S. News named Canton one of the best places to retire due to the low crime rate, performing arts center, golf courses, and location (between Ann Arbor and Detroit).

2. Canton is one of the best places to live, according to CNN Money. Cities were evaluated based on housing, financials, education, quality of life, leisure and culture, weather, health, and more.

3. Canton is in an ideal location — just minutes from Metro Airport and conveniently between Detroit and Ann Arbor.

4. Our neighborhood, Cherry Hill Village, is located in Canton with beautiful homes starting at $179,000. From the Township website:

Cherry Hill Village, located in the Cherry Hill and Ridge Road area, Canton’s charming neo-traditional neighborhood, is growing. Young families are flocking to the area that offers beautiful homes, seasonal farmers markets, outdoor concerts, a safe and friendly atmosphere and more.

Check out this infographic about Cherry Hill (courtesy of the Township website):

Cherry Hill Village, Canton, Michigan, Livonia Builders, Canton real estate, new construction, Canton neighborhoods

5. The community has a state-of-the-art community center and a premiere performance venue, according to the Canton Township website.

The Village Theater at Cherry Hill shines at the center of town. The 400-seat venue attracts acts of all kinds, including stand-up comedy, musicals and drama, as well as art exhibits and a variety of local productions. The Village Theater draws over 45,000 patrons annually to Cherry Hill Village.

6. The Canton Farmer’s Market features local vendors and farmers with loads of fresh fruits, vegetables, baked goods, eggs, jerky, pasta, salsas, fish, natural soaps, and much more.

7. Home to tons of restaurants, shops and entertainment, Canton has more than 300 shops along the DDA District off Ford Rd. alone. Whatever you’re looking for — sports venues, motels, apartments, retail shops, department stores, and of course, IKEA — it’s there!

Canton residents: Why do you love your city? Please share with us in the comments!

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