Back to School

Just a quick reminder unrelated to real estate. School is starting back up soon. You will start to see these big yellow vehicles called SCHOOL BUSES. These school busses are carrying the most precious cargo in the world. These vehicles will stop frequently and the cargo they are carrying will start walking, running, and jumping around like their hair is on fire!! Please drive like that precious cargo is as valuable to you as it is to their moms and dads. Watch out for our kiddo’s and please don’t ever pass a school bus regardless of what side of the road your on.

Slow Down: Back to School Means Sharing the Road

School days bring congestion: School buses are picking up their passengers, kids on bikes are hurrying to get to school before the bell rings, harried parents are trying to drop their kids off before work. It’s never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present – especially before and after school.

If You’re Dropping Off

Schools often have very specific drop-off procedures for the school year. Make sure you know them for the safety of all kids. The following apply to all school zones:

  • Don’t double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles
  • Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school
  • Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school

Sharing the Road with Young Pedestrians

According to research by the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old, and they’re walking. They are hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus. A few precautions go a long way toward keeping children safe:

  • Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic
  • In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection
  • Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign
  • Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas
  • Don’t honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians
  • Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way

Sharing the Road with School Buses

If you’re driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.

  • Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children
  • If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus
  • Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks

Sharing the Road with Bicyclists

On most roads, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, but bikes can be hard to see. Children riding bikes create special problems for drivers because usually they are not able to properly determine traffic conditions. The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.

  • When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist
  • When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass
  • If you’re turning right and a bicyclists is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals
  • Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this
  • Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods
  • Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars
  • Check side mirrors before opening your door

By exercising a little extra care and caution, drivers and pedestrians can co-exist safely in school zones.

Source: National Safety Council

Did condo’s just get more affordable??


Good News: Condos just got a whole lot more attractive for buyers seeking financing options detailed below.

Take Aways: If you’re a buyer and have about gone your distance with the “House Hunting” in west Michigan (which is a whole lot like looking for endangered species), contact your lender before mid-October and see if this change in the FHA lending policies offers you any additional buying power for a condo.

Bad News: With additional increased demand on condos from buyers, I suspect the price of condos will increase and the inventory will decline.

Take Aways: If you are a condo owner and wish to sell, you need to call me ASAP so we can get your condo on the market priced to accommodate the additional demand and not just to sell!!

Read below for more details.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is expected to release updated guidance tomorrow on FHA-insured condominium financing. The new rules should benefit your real estate clients and customers by allowing more buyers to obtain low down-payment mortgages on affordable housing options.

Specifically, the new rules will:

• Extend FHA certifications on condo developments from two years to three years, reducing the compliance burden on condo boards.
• Allow for single-unit mortgage approvals—often known as spot approvals—which will enable FHA insurance of individual condo units, even if the property does not have FHA approval.
• Secure additional flexibility in the ratio of investors to owner-occupants allowed for FHA financing in a condo building.

The full guidance will go into effect in mid-October, 60 days from publication.



Ok, I had a moment with weekend where I was doing an open house and the home owners have a cat, which I was not expecting….AT ALL!!. I texted home owners and said “Instructions about the cat??” and he replied “Don’t hurt it.” Well, that was the last thing on my mind. But what was on my mind was “Can the cat go outside?”, “Have the homeowners cleaned the cat box?”, and “What do I need to tell potential buyers coming to the open house?”
Well, most folks including myself have pets and we love them as part of our family. We protect and care for them like our own children. So, I wanted to pull together a few pointers if you are about to sell your home and you have furry, scaley, or feathery friends that live with you.

Selling Your Home with Pets Top 10 List:

  1. Before you even think about selling your home, make sure it’s in tip-top condition and repair any pet damaged areas like warn grassy areas in the yard and don’t forget pick up the poo!
  2. Clean and deodorize so the doggy/kitty/bird cage odor is not noticeable. Baking Soda is sold at Costco in 10 lb bags and well worth the cost.
  3. Have a plan for Fido and Kitty for showings. This may mean taking them with you. And if taking them out of the home is stressful for them, your veterinarian can recommend some options to minimize their stress. But for the sake of your furry friend, don’t leave them in a cage or closet at the house. They don’t understand what is going on and could cause them to get stressed out and scratch or bite a guest looking at your home.
  4. I know your proud to show off your picture with Rex on top of Mount Kilimanjaro on Facebook but some folks are sensitive to looking at homes that have had pets. Make sure all marketing materials and home photos do not have Rex, his water bowls, his leash collection, or his poo in the pictures. Same as don’t market as “Pet Friendly” it only limits your buyers.
  5. Maybe it’s not your pet that is the problem…its the neighbors Bengal tiger or 10 hounds. By the way, I love beagles and their sounds, might entice me to buy but 95% of buyers don’t think like that. Talk to your neighbor and ask if you can help pay for someone to walk their Bengal tiger during open house or buy them a doggy day care pass for the hounds so they are away from your house during the open house.
  6. Hair, fur, and feathers. I’ve spoken about the poo and pee but be mindful of hair and feathers and other by products of your pets on the couch, carpet, and floor. Sprinkle the baking soda on the carpet, let it set for 30 minutes, and vacuum up the hair. Put a mild smelling candle or air fresher or bake come cookies. No incense please!
  7. Now, you have sold your home and it’s time to move. TALK TO YOUR VETERINARIAN ABOUT YOUR MOVE!! Your pets will not understand and will be into everything, peeing on boxes of packed china, biting the movers, and could flat out run away. I’ve had that happen as a child. I didn’t understand why we were moving and why my dog wasn’t coming with me! So to say the least, my parents in an already stressful situation had to deal with a really pissed off 6 year old. Talk to your vet!
  8. Integrate your pet into your new home as they were in your old home. New carpet will see its share of pee and poo like the old home did. No need to putting the family cat outside after 10 years of living inside. It’s just cruel. Relax if they have an accident in the new home. They are making it theirs too!
  9. Don’t get pushed into a bad situation where you have to choose a home over your pet.  You invited your pet into your LIFE not your home. Once again, it’s just cruel to take a pet to the shelter after years of companionship and drop it off or even worse.
  10. Be prepared to make some quick moves to accommodate your pet in your new home and have a plan before you get there. Maybe a fence or a doggy door needs to be installed. Ask your realtor for help! That is why we are here, to help you and minimize the stress during this transition. If your realtor is not invested in rolling in the back yard with Kitty the Bengal Tiger or petting your beagle Chip when he is presenting his listing presentation….maybe thats a sign ya got the wrong realtor.

In short, we love our friends that bark, meow, swim, chirp, and hiss. They are part of our family and we don’t want them to be a factor in our sale and/or purchase of a house. They will sense your anxiety and respond. The right realtor will minimize that anxiety and make their life better too! And if your looking for a forever friend, check out
And I have installed doggy doors too!


Lola (??/??/?? – 5/23/18)
Thanks Lola!