Ask the Expert: How Can I Assist My Buyers in a Seller’s Market?

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Today’s Ask the Expert column features Dan Steward, president of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors.

Q: When guiding clients through the real estate process, how can I ensure that they’re prepared to find success when in the midst of a seller’s market?

A: Pillar To Post Home Inspectors® enjoys a leading position in its category. As such, we have nearly 600 franchisees performing thousands of home inspections, and we gather a myriad of great tips from them. Here are some of their best tips for making sure your buyers are prepared—and positioned to be the most attractive bidder in a competitive seller’s market.

  • If your client isn’t going to be a cash buyer, make sure they get a pre-approval for a mortgage before looking for homes in their price range.
  • When putting together an offer, it helps if there are no contingencies involved, such as waiting for the client’s home to sell first. In the event that multiple offers are involved, it pays to be flexible in many areas, including—but not limited to—move-in date.
  • Work with your client to determine what they really need in a home versus what they really want. If inventory is tight, they may need to compromise.
  • Show your client that you’re committed to being in their corner and take the time to educate them in regard to everything they need to know as they make their way through the process.
  • Encourage your client to act quickly, as they’re bound to run into others who will not hesitate to make a move in a competitive market.
  • Be sure your client has all their documentation ready in case of a quick close. It’s also important to make sure they know exactly what they need to have in order, should they encounter a tight timeline.
  • Line your client up with the most reputable home inspector you can find so that they’re ready for the inspection. While there’s typically a period that ranges from 7-10 days to complete the inspection, be sure to remind your client that the tighter market may have sellers expecting an even quicker turnaround.
  • A home inspection is a prospective buyer’s most powerful negotiation tool, as well as the most valuable insurance one can ever get on a property, which is why the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requires a special form entitled “For Your Protection: Get a Home Inspection” with every contract. More often than not, there won’t be much to see on the inspection report, but if your client happens to write an offer on a home with an issue that needs to be addressed, you may save both yourself—and your client—a lot of heartache with this simple report.

For more information, please visit www.pillartopost.com.

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$255,000 :: 455 S ROCHESTER RD, Oakland Township MI, 48363-1559

0 beds, 0 bath
Home size: 0 sq ft
Lot Size: 435,600 sq ft
Added: 08/16/18, Last Updated: 08/18/18
Property Type: Lot/Land/Acreage
MLS Number: 21494131
Community: Oakland Twp (63101)
Status: Active

Oakland Township!! Desirable 10 acre rolling treed parcel located just outside of Rochester & Romeo and Close to many Parks & Golf Courses. Ready for you to build your dream home in much sought after Oakland Township. Enjoy nature and wildlife & the peace of the country. Additional acreage may be available for sale. Short drive to Great Lakes Crossing & 175. Buyer agent to verify any and all information. Please call Broker for permission prior to walking the property. All visitors that walk the property shall do so at their own risk while holding the property owner and their agent harmless. This property is close to Addison Oaks, Bald Mountain & Stony Creek Recreation parks

Listed with Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel-Roch


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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$415,325 :: 1409 BURHAVEN DR, Rochester Hills MI, 48306-3709

Property Photo

4 beds, 4 baths
Home size: 2,852 sq ft
Lot Size: 11,325 sq ft
Added: 06/02/18, Last Updated: 08/17/18
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 21456229
Community: Rochester Hills (63151)
Tract: THORNRIDGE SUB NO 3
Status: Sold

INVITING & Colorful is this 1 ~ Story Home in the Popular Thornridge Sub *** Greeted by the Gated Court Yard Entry you will fall in LOVE from the moment you step inside ** 2-Story Foyer features Circular Staircase leading to the Upper Level Loft & OPEN to Great Rm * Wonderful for ENTERTAINING each room FLOWS into the next * Bright & Spacious * Granite Kitchen w/ALL Appls inc. Gas Stove ** AWESOME Screened Porch w/Solar Skylights, Storm Windows & Ceiling Fan ** Newer Wallside Windows in most areas * FIRST FLOOR MASTER includes Dressing Area & UPDATED Bath w/dual Sinks & Euro Shower * LARGE Finished Lower Level w/Wet Bar, Separate Office & Full Bath * Newer Sinks, Faucets & Toilets * New Hot Water Heater ’16 * Back-up Sump Pump * Exterior & Interior Freshly Painted * Most Lighting throughout House has been Updated * Invisible Dog Fence * Desirable Rochester Schools ? Walk to Adams HS & Van Hoosen MS * Convenient to Expressways/Shopping /Restaurants * Seller is licensed agent.

Listed with Real Estate One-Rochester


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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$529,900 :: 1114 MINERS RUN, Rochester MI, 48306-4800

Property Photo

5 beds, 6 baths
Home size: 3,570 sq ft
Lot Size: 15,245 sq ft
Added: 07/27/18, Last Updated: 08/16/18
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 21480772
Community: Rochester (63152)
Tract: PHEASANT CREEK VILLAGE NO 1
Status: Sold

Gorgeous, updated & well-maintained home located on one of the best lots in the sub! This home is loaded w/extras and the original owners did not overlook 1 detail! Lush professional landscaping encompasses the entire home. Enjoy BBQ?s on the large deck and fires on the extensive patio outside of the walkout basement. While the yard is immense, it also opens up to the sub commons area where soccer games can be held and extra room to run & play. A 2-story foyer greets you with a winding staircase up to the 2nd floor. A Large updated kitchen w/ granite & tile backsplash, breakfast nook, 2nd staircase and 2-way fireplace into the family room. A 2-story family room opens up to the upstairs where you?ll find 4 good size bedrooms, featuring a huge master suite w/ tray ceiling & updated bath. Plenty of storage, including a shed under the deck. The finished basement has a 5th bedroom and 4th full bath w/ large rec room. Roof (2017), HWH (2015), Fresh Paint (2018), Baths (2018), Kitchen (2017)

Listed with Real Living Kee Realty


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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$289,900 :: 1359 W FAIRVIEW LN, Rochester Hills MI, 48306-4139

4 beds, 3 baths
Home size: 2,062 sq ft
Lot Size: 15,245 sq ft
Added: 08/14/18, Last Updated: 08/15/18
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 21492611
Community: Rochester Hills (63151)
Tract: FAIRVIEW FARMS NO 5
Status: Active

Welcome home. Situated on a large lot in the desirable Fairview Farms Subdivision. The award winning Rochester Schools in this area include Brewster Elementary, Van Hoosen Middle School and Adams High School. This home has been newly painted and has newer bamboo flooring in the kitchen hall and lav. Furnaces is approximately three years old.

Listed with Real Estate One-Rochester


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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What Are the Worst Invasive Plants—and How Can You Stop Them?

Invasive plants can ruin a perfectly functioning ecosystem, creating issues for years and potentially changing landscapes forever.

The key to controlling invasives is to be sure they don’t get where they don’t belong, according to The Nature Conservancy (nature.org).

The environmental nonprofit says that the best way to fight invasive species is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Every consumer can play a role in stopping the introduction and spread of invasive species.

The Conservancy says everyone can help protect native plants and animals by following these six easy guidelines:

  • Verify that the plants you’re buying for your yard or garden are not invasive. Replace invasive plants in your garden with non-invasive alternatives. Ask your local nursery staff for help in identifying invasive plants.
  • When boating, clean your boat thoroughly before transporting it to a different body of water.
  • Clean your boots before you hike in a new area to get rid of hitchhiking weed seeds and pathogens.
  • Don’t “pack a pest” when traveling. Fruits and vegetables, plants, insects and animals can carry pests or become invasive themselves. Don’t move firewood (it can harbor forest pests), clean your bags and boots after each hike, and throw out food before you travel from place to place.
  • Don’t release aquarium fish and plants, live bait or other exotic animals into the wild. If you plan to own an exotic pet, do your research and plan ahead to make sure you can commit to looking after it.
  • Volunteer at your local park, refuge or other wildlife area to help remove invasive species. Help educate others about the threat.

So what are some of the most invasive species? The Smithsonian says purple loosestrife is one of America’s most pervasive invasives. Purple loosestrife can become dominant in wetlands, producing as many as two million wind-dispersed seeds annually with underground stems growing at a rate of one foot per year.

Japanese honeysuckle is another aggressive vine prolific throughout much of the East Coast that smothers, shades and girdles other competing vegetation, the Smithsonian says.

In the Southeast, kudzu grows at a rate of up to one foot a day and 60 feet annually, smothering plants and killing trees by adding immense weight, girdling or toppling them.

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Borrower Beware: Soon It Will Be Tough to Unload College Loans

(TNS)—Here’s a good reason to think twice about taking out piles of student loans after watching a catchy TV ad for a for-profit college.

The U.S. Department of Education is on a path to make it far tougher to get federal college loans forgiven using the argument that the school cheated you out of a good education by misleading you about job prospects or engaging in fraud.

The new rule—now under a public comment period—would apply to students seeking loans after July 1, 2019.

Consumer watchdogs, of course, charge that bad actors are getting a pass here. It would be up to students to prove that the school knowingly made false statements. What’s most troubling is that we’re often talking about low-income students, minority students or military veterans who have taken out loans to attend for-profit schools as they seek to build a better life and get training for a good-paying job.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has said the proposal lays out clear rules schools must follow, while protecting students from fraud. The administration maintains that the current rules had been too broadly interpreted, leaving taxpayers on the hook and opening the door for frivolous claims.

Yet many borrowers could be burned here. We’re looking at yet another reminder of why it’s savvy to be skeptical when costly for-profit colleges aggressively recruit you and make breathless promises about grants and financing.

All graduates don’t get good jobs.
Some schools do go out of business unexpectedly; others provide misleading claims and don’t provide a degree that employers really value.

Two years ago, for example, ITT Tech shut its doors following sanctions by the U.S. Department of Education. The sudden shutdown meant that students were able to seek a discharge of federal student loans—but not private student loans—from the federal government. For-profit Corinthian College closed its campuses in 2015, leaving students unable to complete their programs.

Often consumers find the pitch surrounding some for-profit programs very appealing. They’re looking to get on the fast path to a new, more promising career. Yet many students borrow heavily—too heavily—to chase those dreams.

Robin Howarth, senior researcher for the Center for Responsible Lending, says there’s growing concern that students attending for-profit schools can end up owing a great deal of money but only have limited potential for obtaining a job with a substantial paycheck in return.

The consumer watchdog group released a report in June that indicated, for example, that students face very high tuition and fees at for-profit colleges in order to receive training for healthcare support jobs. Many students borrow most of the money, but the jobs they find don’t pay enough to cover their living expenses and all that debt.

“Students need to pay very close attention to what kind of earnings are achieved,” Howarth says.

It’s important to look beyond average salaries in the medical field and look at the kinds of jobs obtained by students who attended that program.

Many times, Howarth says, earnings for similar programs are less when the student has attended a for-profit school than if the student studied a similar program at a public or private nonprofit college.

Often, Howarth says students may be better off obtaining training at a community college at a far lower cost.

Proving fraud isn’t easy for student borrowers.
Kurt O’Keefe, a Grosse Pointe Woods attorney who has a blog called “Discharge Student Loans,” says student borrowers would still face significant challenges under the new rules, if they want to try to get loans forgiven if they claim they were defrauded by the schools.

“Failing to deliver requisite skills and knowledge is a tough one to litigate,” O’Keefe says. “The schools will say the student just failed to learn.”

In addition, he noted that many who find themselves in such circumstances are from lower-income families and cannot afford to take legal action.

“A right that costs money to exercise, legal fees for your lawyer, does not help much when you are talking about people who cannot pay their loans to begin with,” O’Keefe says.

O’Keefe says the real problem is one that he refers to as “the triangle.”

“The schools get the money whether the student gets value or not, the government (usually) lends the money and chases the borrower for repayment. The schools have no skin in the game,” he says.

Part of the draft rules would allow the Department of Education to seek reimbursement for forgiven student loans from the institutions and that is good, he says.

“It would hurt scam schools and schools with scam programs, and could be used against any institution, public or private,” O’Keefe says.

Under a current regulation, borrowers with federal student loans might be able to get debt relief when they claim they were misled about the cost and quality of the education. It’s called the “Borrower Defense to Repayment” rule.

The Education Department notes students may be eligible for borrower defense regardless of whether your school closed or you are otherwise eligible for loan forgiveness under other laws.

Consumers with questions or pending claims regarding borrower defense may call the Department of Education’s hotline at 855-279-6207 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays. As of January, the Department of Education has received 138,989 claims—and 23 percent had been processed. The bulk of the claims processed were associated with Corinthian and ITT.

New rules would save the government billions.
The proposed change in regulations would significantly limit the situations under which borrowers could qualify for financial relief, says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher and vice president of Research for Savingforcollege.com.

“The changes appear intended to primarily reduce costs to the federal government,” Kantrowitz says. “While the previous regulations may have been too permissive—allowing cancellation of debt based on just accusation of wrongdoing—the new regulations go too far in the opposite direction. As the lender, the federal government should have some responsibility to the borrower.”

It’s estimated that the new proposal could save the federal government nearly $13 billion over the next decade.

It’s a substantial savings, given that the Education Department had put a $14.9 billion price tag over the next decade for the program under the more-broadly defined regulations.

The new regulations would permit the U.S. Department of Education to provide partial relief instead of cancelling all of the borrower’s loans, depending on the level of harm suffered, he says.

Under the new rules, borrowers would need to prove that the college intended to defraud—a very difficult standard.

Also significant: Only borrowers already in default could apply for relief under the proposed rules. As a result, a borrower who was actively repaying the loans wouldn’t get help.

“This might lead some borrowers to intentionally default on their federal student loans,” Kantrowitz says.

Defaulting can seriously harm your credit score, and drive up borrowing costs when you want to take out a car loan, home mortgage or open up a credit card. A default will be reported to credit bureaus.

Most often, you do not want to go into default. If you default on student loans, you will be subject to collection charges and wage garnishment, and the government can seize your income tax refund, too.

©2018 Detroit Free Press
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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$204,900 :: 3705 OAKMONTE BLVD, Rochester MI, 48306-4792

Property Photo

2 beds, 2 baths
Home size: 1,344 sq ft
Lot Size: 0 sq ft
Added: 08/11/18, Last Updated: 08/11/18
Property Type: Condo/Townhouse/Co-Op
MLS Number: 21490845
Community: Oakland Twp (63101)
Tract: OAKMONTE AT SILVERCREEK CONDO
Status: Active

Check out this Serene Condo in Rochester! Freshly Painted and Move-in-Ready! Laminate in Great Room and Master Bedroom! Home faces South AWAY from street and faces Beautiful Nature Preserve!AFFORDABLE Living & Award Winning Rochester Schools!Home is in Great Shape and READY to be decorated to your liking!First Floor Unit means NO STAIRS to climb! Oakmonte @ Silvercreek offers RESORT style living such as an outdoor pool, clubhouse, fitness room, tennis court, basketball court, skating arena in Winter, and more!Association fee covers snow removal, lawn maintenance, exterior painting and much more!

Listed with Keller Williams Home


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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$204,900 :: 3705 OAKMONTE BLVD, Rochester MI, 48306-4792

Property Photo

2 beds, 2 baths
Home size: 1,344 sq ft
Lot Size: 0 sq ft
Added: 08/11/18, Last Updated: 08/11/18
Property Type: Condo/Townhouse/Co-Op
MLS Number: 21490845
Community: Oakland Twp (63101)
Tract: OAKMONTE AT SILVERCREEK CONDO
Status: Active

Check out this Serene Condo in Rochester! Freshly Painted and Move-in-Ready! Laminate in Great Room and Master Bedroom! Home faces South AWAY from street and faces Beautiful Nature Preserve!AFFORDABLE Living & Award Winning Rochester Schools!Home is in Great Shape and READY to be decorated to your liking!First Floor Unit means NO STAIRS to climb! Oakmonte @ Silvercreek offers RESORT style living such as an outdoor pool, clubhouse, fitness room, tennis court, basketball court, skating arena in Winter, and more!Association fee covers snow removal, lawn maintenance, exterior painting and much more!

Listed with Keller Williams Home


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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$399,000 :: 1900 INDEPENDENCE Court, Rochester Hills MI, 48306

3 beds, 1.2 baths
Home size: 2,992 sq ft
Lot Size: 13,939 sq ft
Added: 08/10/18, Last Updated: 08/10/18
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 218077368
Community: Rochester Hills
Tract: HAWTHORN HILLS NO 4
Status: Active

Desirable Hawthorn Hills Subdivision – First -floor master suite with large closets, jetted tub and separate shower. Open floor plan with lots of windows & daylight. Large eat in Kitchen with new stainless steel appliances, freshly refinished hardwood floors & cabinets. Great room with gas fireplace & wet bar. Also included are a formal dining room, library/den, and large 1st-floor laundry. Award-winning Musson Elementary, Van Hoosen Junior High and Adams High School.

Listed with Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel-Roch


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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