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Halloween Fun for Everyone in Ann Arbor

Looking for fun and unique things to do to celebrate Halloween in Ann Arbor this weekend?  The Bouma Group has gathered the following eclectic listing of events occurring tomorrow and Sunday. Whether you've got kids, or you're looking for grown-up fun, pick a few, get out of the house, and enjoy Ann Arbor's beautiful foliage and cool temperatures!


Saturday and Sunday

  • 9:00pm at Goodnite Gracie102 S. First Street: Toppermost, Michigan Beatles tribute band, hosts "Halloween With The Beatles." Costumes strongly encouraged, and prizes will awarded.

 

  • 5:00pm – 8:00pm at Camp Munhacke (20120 Bartell Road): The Haunted Woods gets scarier as night goes on. Admission is $7 per person. Spook stations, ghost stories, crafts, and refreshments will be provided.



Saturday

  • 11:45am – 2:00pm at Whole Foods (3135 Washtenaw Avenue): Wear a costume and follow the Halloween Treat Trail through the store – special treats will be given away in each department. Trick or Treat bags will be provided.

 

  • 11:00am – 1:00pm at Kerrytown Market and Shops: Bring the kids to the Farmers Market and Kerrytown Market & Shops for trick or treating at vendors and the shops inside. There'll be pumpkin carving in the Farmers Market – bring your own tools. Cider and doughnuts will be offered while supplies last.

 

  • 7:00pm – 11:00pm at the Michigan Theater (603 E. Liberty Street): Independent Horror Film Festival. The evening will consist of four hours of films, contests and giveaways, all hosted by The Three Corpse Circus, a forum for horror artists and horror fans to come together and enjoy their passion for the macabre. Tickets are $17 in advance, $20 at the door. Tickets can be pre-ordered at http://www.threecorpsecircus.com/tickets/.



Sunday

  • 1:00pm – 4:00pm at the Chelsea Center for the Arts (400 Congdon Street): Halloween Party at CCAa frightfully good time will be had by all! Wear your costume, have a snack, and make your own trick-or-treat bag. Families are welcome to meet at CCA, and leave together as a trick-or-treat group.

 

  • 3:00pm at Hill Auditorium (825 N. University Avenue): Halloween Concert. An annual favorite concert, featuring the University Symphony Orchestra and the University Philharmonic Orchestra. Wear your costume – the orchestra does – or come as you are! Call the ticket office at 764-2538 for reserved seating ($12/$8).

 

  • Noon – 5:00pm at the University of Michigan Exhibit Museum of Natural History (1109 Geddes Avenue): Annual Family Halloween Party. Have a Halloween that’s fun, safe – and educational! Combining entertaining activities with informal learning, the Exhibit Museum’s Family Halloween Party is one of the most popular Halloween activities in the area. Party-goers will journey through the Museum, discovering special stations and displays full of hands-on activities. Come in costume, and don’t forget your goodie bag – treats will be distributed!



Whether you spend the weekend out and about, or relaxing at home, let Martin Bouma – your Ann Arbor neighborhood expert – help you find your perfect niche. Is it time to buy or sell a home? The Bouma Group can answer all of your questions about real estate in Ann Arbor. Check out our Condo Hotline for locations downtown, and throughout the Ann Arbor condominium market. If you’re interested in Washtenaw County, Saline, or a specific Ann Arbor neighborhood, call the Bouma Group today!  




Posted Friday, October 29, 2010 by Martin Bouma
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What You Need to Know About the Foreclosure Moratorium

Homeowners here in Ann Arbor who have been following the news during the past week, know that many banks have called for a moratorium on foreclosures. Bank of America, one of the major mortgage lenders here in Michigan, was the first to extend their review of foreclosure documents to all 50 states. As of yesterday (10/25), Bank of America resumed  foreclosure activity in 23 states, while continuing their nationwide review. Here are some questions and answers which will help to shed some light on the current foreclosure situation. Answers have been provided by Bank of America:


What is a foreclosure sale?
After a severely delinquent customer goes through the foreclosure proceedings, their home becomes the property of the investor or bank. At that time, the home is sold at public auction. It is only after that time that a customer may be evicted from their home.


What does this mean for customers currently in the foreclosure process?
Bank of America will continue the foreclosure process on delinquent borrowers, but will not proceed to judgment or with a foreclosure sale at this time. Foreclosure sales which were scheduled for October 9 or later were stopped and will be rescheduled at a later date.


Why are banks taking this action?
Due to questions raised about the foreclosure affidavit-signing process, steps are being taken as a precaution. Most lenders are reviewing their processes for handling foreclosure documents.


What is a foreclosure affidavit?
A foreclosure affidavit is a legal document filed with the court that provides a summary of information about the foreclosure, the property and the amount that is owed on the note. In 23 states where the courts have jurisdiction over foreclosures, an Affidavit of Indebtedness must be submitted before proceeding with the foreclosure.


Are you a homeowner who wants to avoid foreclosure in Ann Arbor, and needs to know your alternatives? Contact Martin Bouma, a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CPDE), who can help you find an alternative to foreclosure. If you are interested in buying or selling a home, The Bouma Group can help you with your real estate needs in Ann Arbor, as well as keep you up to date about Washtenaw County and Ann Arbor neighborhoods.

Posted Wednesday, October 27, 2010 by Martin Bouma
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50th Anniversary Celebration of Peace Corps Founding in Ann Arbor

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Peace Corps, which occurred right here in Ann Arbor. After hearing a late night campaign speech by Senator John F. Kennedy on the steps of the Michigan Union on October 14, 1960, University of Michigan students began a grassroots efforts, leading to the creation of the organization envisioned by Kennedy in his call to service. The celebration will continue with events in Ann Arbor and around the country throughout 2011.


The anniversary celebration marks 50 years of promoting peace and friendship around the world. It will also serve as a platform for connection with millions of people who may not know about the Peace Corps, as well as reconnecting long-time supporters. The objective of the 50th anniversary celebration is “to utilize (the celebration) as a platform to support the agency's mission and legacy by honoring our past, demonstrating our effectiveness, and inspiring the next generation of volunteers through education and engagement.” This further supports the three primary goals of the Peace Corps: helping the people of interested countries in meeting their needs for trained men and women; helping promote a better understanding of Americans by the peoples served, and helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the parts of Americans.


A Passing of the Torch is an hour-long documentary film which captures the amazing circumstances, efforts, and coincidences that occurred, as well as the extraordinary people that made the Peace Corps a reality. The film will premiere in mid November on public television. Upcoming events at the University of Michigan, here in Ann Arbor, include:

  • Now through November 30: U-M and the Peace Corps: It All Started Here - Normal library hours, Hatcher Graduate Library, Library Gallery (Room 100)

  • Now through October 31: Serving Others Around the World - Normal Union hours, Michigan Union, Art Lounge


  • October 26 and November 2, 9, and 16: Film Series: International Development Issues—Four Countries - 8:00 pm North Quad Dining Hall

  • October 27: Swords into Plowshares: Peace Corps Service in Eastern Europe and Eurasia - 12:00–1:30 pm – 1636 International Institute/School of Social Work Building

  • October 28: Sarah Chayes: Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series - 5:10 pm, Michigan Theater

  • November 4: Advancing Global Public Health: Presentation of the Thomas Francis, Jr. Medal from 2:00 pm–4:00 pm. Ross School of Business, Blau Auditorium. A reception will follow.
Historically and today, Ann Arbor is a place where ground-breaking events frequently occur. If you're a current resident of our energized, exciting town, or you're thinking of relocating to Ann Arbor, Martin Bouma – your Ann Arbor neighborhood expert – can meet virtually all of your Saline and Ann Arbor real estate needs. Whether you’re buying or selling a home, the Bouma Group can answer any questions you have about real estate in Ann Arbor. Interested in Washtenaw County, or a specific Ann Arbor neighborhood? Call the Bouma Group today! And don’t forget to check out our Condo Hotline – we’ve got a handle on the Ann Arbor condominium market.

Posted Friday, October 22, 2010 by Martin Bouma
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Ann Arbor Market Statistics, September, 2010

chart

Inventory in Ann Arbor continues to drop. Last month there were 661 homes for sale with 19.67% under contract. This month that number has dropped to 654 homes for sale with 22.8% under contract. This gives us a 7.7 month supply of housing for the Ann Arbor school District which is the same as last month. As has been the case all year, under $400,000 the market is much more competitive, with the months supply of housing ranging from 6.2 - 7.8 month supply of housing which is still considered a balanced market. Over $400,000 the months' supply of housing is consistently over 9 months. Over $1,000,000, we have 30 months supply of housing.


In spite of the low inventory under $400,000, houses still have to be in excellent condition and priced competitively in order to sell. Even with limited choices, buyers are not willing to make compromises. With so many home owners being upside down on their mortgage, I see the market inventory remaining tight for the foreseeable future.


In the real estate market, if there is less than a 5 months supply of homes on the market, you are in a seller's market. A 5-7 month supply of homes is a balanced market. Anything over 7 months is a buyer's market. As you'll notice from the stats below, prices appear to have stabilized under 400K, however, there is still downward pressure on prices once you get above 400K.

 ANN ARBOR REAL ESTATE MARKET, SEPTEMBER, 2010

  

<$100 k

100-200k

200-300k

300-400k

400-500k

500-600k

Listings

40

207

142

73

61

33

Under Contract

19

50

31

18

11

5

Sales Past 12 Months

63

318

306

141

82

40

Absorption Rate:

5.3

26.5

25.5

11.8

6.8

3.3

Months Supply

7.5

7.8

5.6

6.2

9

10

Supply change from last month

21%

0.05%

-3.00%

-3%

7%

6.00%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

           

  

600-700k

700-800k

800-1000k

>1000k

All

Rentals

Listings

26

23

25

24

654

77

Under Contract

6

2

5

2

149

13

Sales Past 12 Months

30

14

16

10

1020

237

Absorption Rate:

2.5

1.2

1.3

8

85

19.8

Months Supply

10.4

19.2

19.2

30

7.7

3.9

Supply change from last month

0%

-17%

-8%

0%

0.00%

-11.40%


ZIP Codes: 48103, 48104, 48105, 48108


Approximate Location Boundaries: Ann Arbor School District


Location Characteristics: Ann Arbor has many distinct neighborhoods that offer a variety of home buying opportunities. The area is a cultural Mecca with many performance centers and theaters, live music, dance groups, libraries, museums, parks, & farmer's markets. It is considered the education capital of the Midwest because it is home to the University of Michigan, one of the country's top universities. The Ann Arbor area offers one of the most varied menus of restaurants in the state with Main Street as one of Michigan's best places to eat, people watch and shop. In July, Ann Arbor is host to the Ann Arbor Art Fairs, which is among the nation's top street festivals and takes up nearly all of the downtown area. Artists and shoppers travel from all over the country to attend this yearly event. Ann Arbor is a great place to live!


Martin Bouma
- your Ann Arbor expert - can help you find the perfect piece of Ann Arbor real estate. Whether you're buying or selling a home, the Bouma Group can answer any questions you have about real estate in Ann Arbor. Thinking of settling down in Washtenaw County, Saline, or a specific Ann Arbor neighborhood? Call the Bouma Group today! And don't forget to check out our Condo Hotline - we know the Ann Arbor condominium market better than anyone!

 


Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2010 by Martin Bouma
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Ann Arbor – Not Just Another Pretty College Town

flowers, man, girlIf you have ever wondered if Ann Arbor was more than a small, pretty town anchored by the University of Michigan, a recent article by Tom Walsh in the Detroit Free Press set the record straight. Far more than being the temporary academic home for 41,000 students, the town's permanent residents include big names in business, industry, and politics as well as education. In addition, the economy of Ann Arbor is becoming ever more diverse, so it can attract the type of young talent that passes through the University. 

So who lives here, making it, in Walsh's words, a "power center"? As noted in our recent blog, Ann Arbor Is Becoming  Michigan's Center of Power, corporate executives from the car companies, noted political figures, and other business notables call Ann Arbor home. Though Ann Arbor is still the liberal bastion it has always been, academia and the corporate world interact so much now that the city is viewed as welcoming to a more diverse group of residents. Even the Republican candidate for governor and the Republican State Chairman make their homes in the city. In the past, these folks would have made Grosse Pointe or Bloomfield Hills their home base, but great freeway access has made Ann Arbor a viable lifestyle choice. And why not? As we have noted in our past blogs, Ann Arbor offers: 

  • Attractive housing choices at all price points
  • A lively cultural scene... galleries, restaurants, cafes 
  • A park-like setting that will not change as future development plans include a commitment to keep green space a part of the  mix
  • Great schools at all levels, culminating, of course, in the University of  Michigan
  • Recreation and sport activities both to participate in and watch
  • A stable economy that, despite some belt-tightening, offers good city service to residents

Like most of Michigan, Ann Arbor works hard to keep and attract young talent - but the lifestyle features noted above make the city attractive. It is far more than a bedroom suburb of Detroit, as many people both live and work here. Education may still be the biggest employer in the area, but there is a concerted effort to promote technology transfer. Ann Arbor is home to several big technology centers and many biotech and technology startups, so both those who prefer  a larger more corporate environment or a more intimate work setting can find an attractive work environment. 


Ann Arbor is not just another pretty college town.
 Whether you are well established in your career or fresh out of school, Ann Arbor can offer you a great life.  Martin Bouma - your Ann Arbor expert - can help you find the perfect piece of Ann Arbor real estate. Whether you're buying or selling a home, the Bouma Group can answer any questions you have about real estate in Ann Arbor. Thinking of settling down in Washtenaw County, Saline, or a specific Ann Arbor neighborhood? Call the Bouma Group today! And don't forget to check out our Condo Hotline - we know the Ann Arbor condominium market better than anyone!



Posted Friday, October 15, 2010 by Martin Bouma
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Ann Arbor Is Becoming Michigan's Center of Power

downtown, ann arborFor those "in the know," the place to call home in southeast Michigan is Ann Arbor . We've recently pointed out a number of reasons why people of all walks of life enjoy living here, but the number of affluential (and influential!) people and companies choosing our city may come as a surprise.

Proximity to the University of Michigan plays a role in this influx. According to Lou Glazer, president of the Michigan Future think tank, 80% of all jobs being created in the US economy are knowledge jobs - those that require higher education and skill levels. "If place matters, and it does, in attracting talented young professionals, Ann Arbor is the leading edge of such places in the state," Glazer said. Of course, Ann Arbor offers a lot more than just the UM connection, but it's an important one.

When Google, Toyota ,and Hyundai chose new locations for large-scale operations, they chose Ann Arbor. Why? It's the best place to find a wealth of engineering talent. The two car companies (Toyota, the largest in the world and Hyundai, the fastest-growing) placed their technology centers where they could most easily tap that talent.

In addition to these three companies, take a look at the individuals who have made Ann Arbor their hometown:

  • Rick Snyder, Republican candidate for governor;
  • Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor;
  • Bob King, UAW president;
  • Doug Rothwell, president, Business Leaders for Michigan;
  • Bob Lutz, consummate car guy and ex-honcho at Ford, General Motors and Chrysler;
  • David Brandon, former Domino's Pizza CEO and now athletic director at the University of Michigan;
  • Ron Weiser, chairman, Michigan Republican Party, and
  • Gerry Anderson, the new CEO of DTE Energy.

Michigan income figures have - like those across the country - taken a number of serious blows during the past decade, and even Ann Arbor felt those hits. But through innovative thinking and a serious desire to move forward, our city in rapidly becoming the place to be - not only in southeast Michigan, but in the entire state.

Martin Bouma -your Ann Arbor expert - can help you find the perfect piece of Ann Arbor real estate. Whether you're buying or selling a home, the Bouma Group can answer any questions you have about real estate in Ann Arbor. Thinking of settling down in Washtenaw County, Saline, or a specific Ann Arbor neighborhood? Call the Bouma Group today! And don't forget to check out our Condo Hotline - we know the Ann Arbor condominium market better than anyone!



Posted Tuesday, October 12, 2010 by Martin Bouma
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Keep Your Expectations Realistic, and Sell Your Ann Arbor Condominium NOW

If you want to sell your condo in Ann Arbor, your ideal buyer might be a student or his or her parents.  Given the increasing price of student housing, ownership might be a cost effective option, especially if the student is locked into a professional program that will tie him to the area for a while.  Maybe you are ready to find a bigger home, but the space in your condominium would be perfect for home buyer, studenta student, who might have a roommate or a family.

Your first thought might be to rent the place out -in line with Fair Housing standards, of course, as we discussed in our past blog.  Being a landlord has its advantages, but if you want to sell, this can be a good time to do it.  Students are back in school, and may be thinking of alternative housing next semester after a few months in student housing.

As is true in most of the real estate market these days, one of the biggest quandaries you may be facing at the moment is finding a buyer who's willing to meet your asking price.  To do this, step one is to hook up with a competent real estate professional who is going to market your condo to SELL.  This means they're going to set a realistic price designed to draw buyers.  They will base the suggested listing price on comparable sales values in the neighborhood, the condition of your home, and even things like the number of vacant homes in your condominium complex.


If you're ready to explore selling your Ann Arbor condominium, or planning to buy one, work with
Martin Bouma - your Ann Arbor condominium expert. The Bouma Group can help you with your real estate needs in Ann Arbor, as well as keep you up to date about Washtenaw County and Ann Arbor neighborhoods. Check out our Condo Hotline to get a handle on the Ann Arbor condo market.  



Posted Wednesday, October 06, 2010 by Martin Bouma
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Returning Students Provide Options for Ann Arbor Homeowners

A new academic year is upon us, and with it, thousands of University of Michigan students are returning to Ann Arbor. And returning students means an increased need for housing. In this two-part blog, we'll look at two different scenarios which could conceivably affect you, as a homeowner.renters

First, consider this statement: I'm a homeowner, who's thinking of renting a room in my home.


 

Does this describe you? If so, you probably have at least one extra bedroom (or more), and are willing to share other areas of your home (like the kitchen and living room) in order to bring in some extra money. It's a common practice, especially in cities like ours with major universities, and can provide a host of benefits in addition to the income boost. You should be aware, however, of the fact that there are laws pertaining to the ways in which you advertise and interview for possible boarders in your home.


Remember, once you place yourself in this situation, you're considered to be a landlord. If you live in a property with four or less rental units (this includes your situation, making your home - for all intents and purposes - a "boarding house"), under the federal Fair Housing Act, you are exempt from all but one aspect of  federal law.  You cannot advertise in a way that indicates a preference for (or against) members of a protected class (race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status and disability).
 

In addition, Ann Arbor is one of the 14 clities, which also include Detroit, Lansing,and Grand Rapids, which include sexual orientation protections in their local ordinances.  Potential landlords cannot bar roomers or other renters based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.


room, rentThere is one exception to this law: you can advertise for someone of a specific sex. As an example, you can advertise for a "female roommate," but you can't advertise for a "Catholic female roommate" or a "straight white male."  Of course, there are those who advertise within the parameters of the law, but still practice discrimination against the protected classes during face-to-face interviews with prospective tenants. A word to the wise: don't do this! Landlords who do so immediately position themselves as possible defendants against a fair housing claim. Testers from the Michigan Fair Housing Centers are vigilant in assuring that the right of renters are not violated when they seek housing.


You may be thinking about renting a room in your home, or even about moving to a larger space to accommodate your desire for some extra company at home.
Let Martin Bouma - your Ann Arbor neighborhood expert - help you to explore all of your Ann Arbor real estate needs. The Bouma Group can answer any questions you have about real estate in Ann Arbor, whether you're buying or selling a home or condo. If you're interested in Washtenaw County, Chelsea, or a specific Ann Arbor neighborhood, call the Bouma Group today!

 


Posted Friday, October 01, 2010 by Martin Bouma
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