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July 2012 Archives

Michigan man defrauded by fake landlord

A Flint man recently discovered that the deposit he put down on a house for rental was gone, and that the woman he thought was his new landlord didn't actually own the property. Reports indicate that the man found the house on Craigslist.org, a free classified ads site. The man went to visit the house, met the supposed landlord, and paid a $500 security deposit. He also signed a rental agreement and began to move into the home before he realized what had happened.

Estate planning: keeping the family harmony alive

We have all heard or read about stories in Michigan and elsewhere involving families in disputes over a relative's death and what he or she would have 'wanted.' Without a solid estate plan, including a will or trust it can be difficult to know, let alone prove in probate court, what the deceased would have wanted. Many families in Michigan and around the country may not think they have an estate worth planning ahead for, but you would be wrong.

Are "green" homes worth more?

We've written before about the trend in the housing market favoring energy efficient homes. Here in Michigan, some discerning buyers have sought out homes with specific features that make it more environmentally and less expensive to maintain. These features include sky lighting, geothermal heating systems, solar panels, improved insulation and roofing, and many other add-ons. So why is it that these residential properties have an advantage on the market?

Investors, national chains meet in Dearborn to talk development

We've been writing a lot about Detroit development both in the downtown area and in nearby suburbs. Investors are seeing a lot of potential in the low property prices in Detroit and the rest of Michigan and some are grabbing the opportunity to be the first in line for an improving local economy.

Detroit home sales increase in June

More homes sold in the Detroit metro area last month compared with the same time last year, according to recently released data. This improvement is one of several signs of a slowly healing housing market for the Detroit area, which suffered significantly during the recession. Home prices are still 30 percent below pre-bubble levels, which makes it an appealing buying climate for investors who anticipate ongoing recovery in the real estate market.

Husband, daughter reach agreement in Zsa Zsa's conservatorship

Michigan readers of our blog may remember an earlier post that detailed a battle between Zsa Zsa Gabor's daughter and her husband of 25 years over who should be the conservator of Ms. Gabor's care and estate. Francesca Hilton, Ms. Gabor's only child from a previous marriage, is satisfied with the court ordered conservatorship agreement as it requires Ms. Gabor's husband, Prince Frederic von Anhalt, to provide financial statements and medical records each month, according to her attorney.

Government backed loans help small businesses to own space

Many small business owners don't know that there are government-backed loans available for commercial property purchases. The program has been around since 1959 but has recently gained new traction among small business owners looking to improve their commercial space. Especially for owners who invite customers and clients into their offices, having a customized and comfortable space is an important way to support growth.

Rent prices rise across the country

Rent prices are rising around the country as many property owners seek to take advantage of unusually low vacancy rates. Landlords in many urban areas stand to gain from the market conditions, which some experts say could be due to many people who previously owned homes returning to renting after a foreclosure or short sale.

Knowing how long you might live, could improve your estate plan

Nobody really knows how long they have left to live, but using one or more of the online actuarial calculators could give you some insight into how you should go about setting up your retirement and estate plan. Retirement planning, estate planning and elder care planning can go a long way in ensuring your quality of life does not suffer because you live 10 or 20 years longer than expected. That is why it is not such a good idea to use average life expectancies that are published by the Society of Actuaries when planning for retirement and long-term care issues.

New senior housing developments planned along Detroit riverfront

One building is already underway and a second will begin construction soon for a new housing complex for seniors on Detroit's east riverfront. The second complex will break ground early next year and be open in spring 2014. The new complexes will add to a growing list of new residential and commercial property development happening in Detroit right now.

Why was Joe Paterno's will made public?

After filing a request with the probate judge, the family of the late Joe Paterno was able to get his will sealed and thus unavailable to the public. The family recently reversed that course and gave up their quest to keep his will private. Why did they switch course? Most likely because it is a will and therefore must be filed in probate court for the court's approval before any assets can be distributed. When a will is filed in probate court it becomes a matter of public record. Michigan residents may be interested to know that Paterno's will did not contain anything out of the ordinary.

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