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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Calling all Michigan artists...

I support many local groups and all of them are worthy causes run by passionate people. The Village Fine Arts Association is one of those groups. They have an annual art competition that is worth knowing about, especially if you are a Michigan-based artist. Below is their press release about this upcoming event. You'll see more about it here as it draws closer, but the deadline to enter is coming up, so read about it now.

The Village Fine Arts Association (VFAA) is looking for artists to participate in their 18th annual
“Views and Visions” all-media art competition and exhibit.  In collaboration with the Huron Valley Council for the Arts (HVCA), this popular show will hang in the HVCA Gallery beginning with the opening night celebration at 6:30 pm on Friday, November 1 through Wednesday, November 27st.  
This show is open to all Michigan artists and includes the “Fresh Visions” category for artists under 18 years of age.  Each artist may enter a maximum of 3 pieces and have the opportunity to earn cash awards with a top prize of $400.  Entry deadline is September 21st.

We are pleased to have as this year’s judge Robert Perrish, an award-winning designer, sculptor and painter.  He is a co-founder and active member of the Michigan Plein Air Painters.  He has been highly awarded for his outstanding work which has appeared in national magazines, calendars, books, limited-edition prints as well as in various art galleries.  See his work at    

The prospectus with all entry information is available online at the VFAA website or pick up a copy at the HVCA Gallery located at 205 W. Livingston Road in Highland, Main Street Art in Milford, or at Miller’s Artist Supplies on 12 Mile Road in Farmington Hills. 

If you have any questions or would like a copy of the prospectus mailed directly to you, please contact the VFAA at their website or call Sue Gollon, VFAA Executive Director at 248-797-3060.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Next BIG Weekend in Milford MIchigan

Wow, the summer is going fast.

Milford Memories is history and school is about to start. We’ll have one last summer fling over the Labor Day weekend and then it’s back to a more normal pace.

There are lots of smaller events coming up in the area, but the next big thing is the Milford Home Tour weekend. Home Tour is on September 21 & 22 this year. I’ve included the home tour poster below. You can click on the graphic to see the full size view. Home Tour weekend is big because there is so much going on in the Village that weekend.  The Home Tour itself is on both days from 11 Am until 5 pm. As always, there will be 5 of Milford’s wonderful old home to go through. In addition the Museum will be open both days, as will be the Log Cabin next to the firehouse and the Pettibone Creek Powerhouse. There will also be walking tours of Oak Grove Cemetery.  See the Milford Historical Society web site for more details on the houses and the event. I’ve included the event poster below. Click here it to see it full size.

Then, on Sunday the Milford Car Show will take up all of Main Street between Commerce and Huron, with an expected 300 cars of all sorts expected. There are car categories covering everything from old, original antique cars through modern street rods. It’s the largest car show in the area every year.

Also on Sunday, there is a Tractor Show out at the Huron Valley State Bank parking lot near the corner of Milford Road and GM Road. Tractors of all sorts show up at that show every year.

Finally, the Rotary Club of Milford will have its annual Duck Race on a tributary of the Huron River in Central Park. Thousands of little, yellow rubber ducky’s will be bobbing furiously towards the finish line. The activities kick off at 11 AM and the race is at 2 PM. The winning duck will pay out $2,000 to the lucky owner.  Get a duck race ticket from any Rotary Club Member and get in the race. Tickets are $5 or a package of six for $25 or a bag of 30 for $100. For more, see their Facebook page.

So, mark the weekend of September 21 & 22 in your calendars as another weekend to spend in Milford. There’s lots to do and you can enjoy all of our great restaurants on Saturday and most of them on Sunday. Plan on stopping in for lunch between visits to the Home Tour houses or while you are seeing all of the cars on Sunday.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Housing Market Approaching Equilibrium

Several reports from various industry sources seem to reinforce the notion that the housing market
is moving back towards equilibrium from it frantic pace of recovery early this year. The prime indicator is the lack of a big jump in prices between June and July of this year. Prices still went up, but not by double digits as was the case earlier in the year.

 I suppose that a would-be home seller might like the rapid recovery to continue a while longer, but it is really a good thing for the market overall that it pause to cool off a bit. The rapid run-up of home prices, combined with an increase in mortgage rates served to lock out many first time buyers.  There was also a bit of” wait for it to go up more” greed going on that kept the inventory low and fueled the value increases. Many of those who waited may find that they will not be any better off and may have missed the very buyers they were hoping for. 

One segment of the potential buyer pool   those who felt that they had to buy and get in before school starts in September – have already made their selections.  Closing by September 1st pretty much meant that you needed to have a signed deal by August 1st, in order to allow enough time for the mortgage company to get the deal underwritten.

The “prime” selling season is generally in the months of May, June, July, and August; however, the good selling season lasts until Halloween. After Halloween, things slow down quite a bit as people start focusing upon the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. After that it’s winter, which is always a slow home sales season.   

So we still have some good selling months left in 2013, if you were thinking of selling and we have some more stable months ahead if you are looking to buy. Mortgage rates have stabilized a bit, although they are expected to continue a slow upward creep. More inventory of homes is coming on the market, which is good for buyers, too.  Home builders have also cranked up production, so more brand new homes are available, or will be shortly.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Another reason to thnk before remodeling your home...

Here's an interesting Press Release of Jul 31, 2013, from the people at on a survey that they did concerning the stress that a home remodeling project can put on couples.

Houzz Survey Unveils Happy Ending to the Turmoil as 84 Percent of Couples Spend More Time at Home Post-Remodel - Remodeling Causes Relationship Woes: 12 Percent of Couples Admit to Considering Separation or Divorce Mid-Remodel.

Remodeling a home can be an emotionally stressful experience, putting strain on even the strongest couples. Pulling back the covers on remodeling and relationships, a new survey from Houzz (, the world’s leading platform for home remodeling and design, reveals that while 46 percent of respondents found the remodeling and redecorating process with their significant other
to be collaborative, the same amount found the experience frustrating and 12 percent admit to considering a separation or divorce mid-remodel. In the end, there’s no place like a remodeled home, with the vast majority of couples (84 percent) spending more time at home after their remodel.

Conflicting style is a major source of stress as one third of respondents do not like their significant other’s design style. They’re not shy about telling their partner, either with 76 percent sharing their opinion with their significant other. But honesty doesn’t help get rid of some of their partner’s favorite items. Forty-two percent of respondents reported being stuck with items they hate but aren’t allowed to get rid of – yet one in five has gone ahead and removed a significant other’s item without telling them. Forget knickknacks, the most common item creating clashes is old furniture, followed closely by posters and artwork. Some of the other hated items mentioned were antlers and other hunting trophies, wood paneling and old magazines.

While the majority of respondents describe their process as collaborative, when couples can’t agree, some partners move ahead on their own. One in five respondents have made a significant decision during the remodel process without telling their partner, from tearing down walls and picking paint colors to choosing furniture and appliances.

Here are a few tips for keeping the peace – and even strengthening a relationship – during the remodeling and decorating process:

•Strike a style balance. Can’t see eye to eye on traditional vs. contemporary? Before you begin a project, browse photos on Houzz, create ideabooks with images you like and have your partner do the same. Then, have a date night to share each other’s ideabooks and look for commonalities that will establish the style for your project.
•Compromise or downsize. If you insist on tossing his mounted antlers, be prepared to give up something you hold dear. Conversely, if you’re not willing to let something go, be prepared to let him or her keep something you’re not a fan of either.
•Money matters. Money is already major pain point for many couples. Avoid adding this stress to your remodel by agreeing on a budget up front. Research costs for materials and projects early on and make a list of items that both partners need to approve such as wall color, kitchen appliances and electronics.

So, if you've been considering a remodeling project, especially a big, significant one; maybe you should read through those tips and have a good, honest meeting with your significant other before you jump into it. There is no amount of remodeling that I can think of that is worth losing your marriage over. However, I have to also admit that there is nothing that I can think of that is worth that anyway, and remodeling doesn't even show up on my radar. I suspect that this survey found a whole bunch of marriages that were already doomed before they embarked on remodeling projects. Anyway, caveat emptor - remodel at your own risk.

Monday, August 5, 2013

I'm too busy...

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” – Socrates

I found that little saying on-line when I decided to write a quick piece about being too busy to write anything lately on my blogs. It has to be a quick piece, because I’m so busy. There is within that simple saying there’s lots of truth and insight. We (I) get so busy with things sometimes that we have no time left for family, friends or other things that are important to a healthy, balanced life. And when I do pause on what I’m busy doing, sometimes I realize that much of what is stealing my time is way less important than the things that I’m ignoring.

I suspect that things like smart phones and the Internet have contributed greatly to this
problem. Because we are almost always “connected”, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that anything and everything that shows up in a text message or an email is important enough to demand our attention and right away. Seldom is that really the case. Taken to its extreme one sees people sitting and staring at their phones and exchanging messages that go somewhat along these lines: 1 - “What are you doing?” 2 - “Nothing, what are you doing?” 1- “Nothing, too. Where are you?” 2 – “At the Mall.” 1- “Me, too. Where?”  2- “At the food court.” 1 – “Me too. Wave or something.” 2- “I see you.” 1 – “I see you too. Well I’ve gotta go.” 2- “Bye.” Did that keep them busy for a while? Yes. Was it good use of their time? You decide. But, they are connected.

So, I’m trying now not to schedule every minute of every day, or not to get stressed out if I don’t make it to every event that I’ve been invited to attend and not to let my job consume all of the time that it seems to demand. There is always going to be something else in real estate that I could be doing – another appointment I could be trying to make, another Comparative Market Analysis I could be researching, another class I could be taking or another open house I could be conducting. At the end of the day, I don’t want to go to bed thinking about all of the things that were left undone. I’d rather go to bed with some pleasant thoughts of things that I did with family and friends; things that I enjoyed, not things that I felt I had to do.

It is not easy for me. My wife often admonishes me for being a workaholic and I am. I think it is important realize that and admit it. Just as it is important for people to admit to being an alcoholic, if that is the case. The first step to fixing things is to realize there is a problem and admit it to yourself and others.  I’m sure that there are probably workaholic therapy groups, like there are groups for alcoholism, but I don’t know of any locally. I probably couldn’t find time to go anyway – I’m too busy. Is that my phone ringing?