Bill Branigan and Amy Cull
Associate Broker and Realtor
Ayre/Rhinehart Bay Realtors
Bay City, MI  48708 

Finally! Springtime!

In this issue:

March Madness
Remodeling Projects: Cost vs Value Report
2015 Housing Trends
Bay Co. Housing Affordability
Eating Better!

Listings & Sales
Tiger Baseball 

March Madness! 


A sure sign of Spring is March Madness. For years, back to when my brother and I owned the Auburn True Value Hardware & Lumber, I would fill out the NCAA basketball tournament brackets. It is always fun to watch back to back games with dramatic last second game winning shots. Over the years, I have watched a lot of Big Ten games and always root for U of M and MSU, or any Big Ten school in the tourney (except for Ohio State!). This year my wife, Carol and I have enjoyed my favorite team's success...of course that is Notre Dame! We even went to South Bend and watched the Irish beat Miami at Purcell Pavillion in January. I am hoping for an Elite 8 run (or better) for ND and MSU. Who is your favorite and what are your Elite 8, Final Four and National Champion picks? Send me your picks and enjoy the games! Go Irish!

Remodeling Project's Return on Investment

The 2015 Realtor Magazine and Remodeling Magazine Cost vs. Value report has hit the newsstands. I have been sharing this with my readers for over 10 years and it is always a worthwhile topic that I discuss with sellers who are getting their homes ready to sell. “Less is More” is the title of this year’s study. 36 DIY projects were rated for the best return on money spent. The 2015 report showed that simpler, lower-cost jobs returned a greater value. Projects such as a front door replacement (at 86% return on investment, best job to do as it creates a favorable first impression), garage door replacement at 68%, mid-range window replacement at 64% and minor kitchen remodels at 64% cost less than larger jobs and provide a bigger payback. 

Some projects are worthwhile to do to remove objections that a buyer may have and so are a high priority item for prospective sellers. Besides those listed as the top projects to do, the following are very worthwhile: deck additions (73%), vinyl siding (72%) and basement remodel (61%). Basement remodels are becoming more popular because new appraisal guidelines allow for the computation of “additional living space” or ALS that factors into home values. 

Projects that have less desirable returns on investment are big projects that feature digging up the dirt and laying footings. Projects like adding a home office (31%), adding a sunroom (39%), adding a family room (54%) adding a garage (51%), and adding a brand new bathroom (44%) usually cost a significant amount. 

Lastly, some projects such as roof replacements should be done when needed as it is a maintenance item that should not be deferred. Putting off some repairs will likely cost more in the long run with not only increased costs, but also repairing damage from not taking care of roofs, old plumbing and electrical and adding gutters to keep foundations in good condition. If you have any questions, give Bill a call and he will assist you in prioritizing your list of projects and giving you some contacts of building professionals.
To check out the report click this link: 2015 Cost vs. Value Report.
To check out the trends click this link: 2015 Cost vs. Value Trends Report.

Housing Trends for 2015

The latest trends and designs can distinguish one home from another as reported in the latest edition of Realtor Magazine. It is always fun to explore what is new and in vogue. Let’s start with color. Now that the country is out of the recession, the brighter outlook has given way to youthful and sophisticated shades of Coral. Nice and soft, nothing too dramatic.  
Open Spaces. Keeping with the floorplan that buyers have been asking for in the past decade, kitchens should be contiguous with the other rooms in the home and any adjoining walls should have adequate windows to bring the outside in. 
Quartzite. This is a product like marble, but less prone to staining, so it is being favored for countertops. 
Porcelain Floors. Instead of imitation wood flooring, this product is less expensive and wears well. It comes in small tiles and planks and has variations of graining. This is a good choice for high traffic areas and hallways.
Multiple Master Suites. This dovetails with the multi-generational or co-generational living that will become more prevalent in the coming years. This is part of the cultural shift and aging baby boomer solution.
Storage. With smaller homes, minimizing clutter will be important and everything should be in “its place”.
Water Conservation. This should be on everyone’s mind. Thankfully we have the Great Lakes!
Smaller Spaces. There will be a return to a better scale with no unused space. Right sized rooms that are functional and serve a purpose. 
Luxury. With smaller homes, some of the savings will go to having upscale quality in all areas of the home.
Kitchens. All-white kitchens, but not the same shade of white will be popular. Mixing a bright white with a slightly off shade, even a shade of grey (not 50 Shades of Grey) will be the way to blend it all together.

Property Values Increasing in Bay County

Assessing information was recently sent out to all the Bay County property owners. Some had their SEV and Taxable values increase and some had reductions. This happens every year. From the real estate perspective, last year saw excellent overall gains which started with an exceptional spring and tapered toward the end of the year. One of the quarterly reports that is a benchmark is the National Association of Home Builders Index for Affordability of Housing. There were years when the Bay County homes were in the top 5 for most affordable and several times were even number one in the entire country! That is an amazing statistic. For all the amenities and quality of life and excellent housing opportunities from all types of properties, rural, urban, historical waterfront, farmland, new subdivisions, established neighborhoods, there is a lot to offer. Since reports in recent years from CNN Money Magazine, Forbes and other studies listed Bay City as one of top ten communities to retire to for affordable towns with attractive amenities, we have seen interest from across the nation and have experienced better sales. Now the 2014 4th quarter NAHB rankings have come out. Bay County is now #58 and trails 7 other areas of the state, including Saginaw (19), Battle Creek (20), Lansing (21), Kalamazoo (47), Grand Rapids (54) and Ann Arbor (55). Troy is the least affordable community in Michigan coming in at #93. The country generally went as follows: Midwest most affordable, then Eastern U.S., the South and then the West. The most expensive city in the country? San Francisco where only 11% of the population make enough money to be able to buy a home and the average sale price of a home there is $920,000.

Eating Better! 

"Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less foods that are manufactured in plants!" 
In Bay City we are looking forward to the re-opening of the former Martha's Market which will be re-named the Third & Johnson Farm Market and Eatery. The enterprise at 1023 N Johnson  will feature produce and food from locally sourced farms and suppliers. There will be a kitchen in the 2000 sq. ft. building where the owners may be offering soups, freshly canned foods and limited daily specials. 

Check out Bill and Amy's Sellers and Buyers! :

See Bill's YouTube Channel,
and see his website 
Click the address to see the active and pending listings!

1513 Raymond, SOLD! $127,300

1901 Center. PENDING! $89,900
1910 6th, New Listing, PENDING! $116,600
2530 N Center, PENDING! 89,600
310 Countryview, PENDING! $67,500

901 5th, Historical, $179,900
4834 Appletree, Condo, $109,750

2205 McKinley, Ranch! $134,900
1612 S Jefferson, Value! $69,900
1307 S VanBuren, New Listing! $74,500
1908 24th, New Listing! $52,000

2146 6th, 4-unit, $65,900
815 E. Midland, Commercial, $198,000

0 N Scheurmann lot, $29,900


Buyer Contracts:

815 5th, SOLD! $115,000
510 Princeton, SOLD! $49,900
1907 Tackle, PENDING! 119,900

Free 2015 Tiger Baseball Schedule!

Bill and Amy have 2015 Tiger Baseball Schedules (with magnet to attach to your refrigerator) still available. Just email or call and we will get one out to you totally free! Looking forward to baseball games and warm weather!

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