Ann Arbor & Ypsilanti Real Estate and Community News

Dec. 18, 2021

Most Common Causes of Transaction Delays (part 1)

Customarily found in real estate contracts, "time is of the essence" represents the necessity for the timely completion of a contract. The clause is something that agents may use colloquially to emphasize the importance of meeting deadlines.

"The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry"
-poet Robert Burns



Transactional delays which are avoidable often pertain to planning and management, eg, a delay in financing as a result of a lender delay on ordering an appraisal until week 2 or 3; or underestimating the time necessary for a condition within a transaction to be met. Let's visit a few of the typical delays in Michigan real estate transactions which could often be avoidable:

  • Delays in receiving association documentation

Background: Associations can include attached condominiums, detached condominiums or single family homes with homeowners associations; if your Michigan home is in a neighborhood of similar-looking homes and was built 1980s or newer it probably has a homeowners association which manages common areas of a community such as entrances, lawn care, snow removal, road maintenance, etc. Because of that shared maintenance costs and liabilities, lenders and title companies require status letters showing that the home being sold is current and does not have any outstanding association dues, fees, or liens against the property.

Potential problem: Lenders require an examination of meeting minutes, detailed financials, financial balances and reserve funds. Depending on the association, producing this documentation may take from 5 to 10 days to upwards of 3 or 4 weeks and the management companies and associations which process these status letters and documentation requests typically charge fees and some offer a rush order option for an additional fee to expedite the process. The condo association transfer fee varies depending on the community but $200 or $500 would be within the realm of normal for an Ann Arbor condo. The turn times for processing this documentation can also be extended if eg a mortgage underwriter has questions about the contents or formatting of the information in the association docs.

Solution: Make all condo doc requests as early on as necessary to be ahead of the association's processing turn times. Since the fee is due up-front at the point of ordering those docs, some title companies can handle this as part of their process and either collect the fee from the seller or buyer, or (with approval) cover it themselves and debit the customer for the cost at closing. If the buyer's lender needs to review these docs, doing it early will ensure they have enough time to obtain any further information or clarification as needed.

  • Delays in sale contingencies

Background: A home sale contingency is when a purchaser needs to complete the sale of another property prior to settling on the subject property. Home sale contingencies are particularly common in higher-end property sales where the pool of eligible purchasers is restricted due to affordability limitations (sale contingency allows buyer to pull equity from their existing home to complete their new purchase); and in markets with low-to-no inventory there tends to be more home sale contingencies built into offers so that purchasers can secure their next property ahead of selling their existing home as opposed to selling their home before buying and having to rent or find other accommodations until a suitable next purchase comes available for sale.

Potential problem: A figurative way of thinking about this would be like a train heading down its tracks towards its destination. Adding in a sales contingency would be like adding another car onto the train -- each additional car (or sale contingency, if you will) can cause the whole train to be delayed based on whatever issue is holding up any one of the cars (or contingencies) from moving forward, so the entire sequence may only move as quickly as its slowest portion. When you have a purchaser buying a home with a sales contingency who accepts an offer on their home which is itself also contingent on the sale of another asset, your figurative train now has 3 cars and the likelihood of some kind of delay increases because each of those purchases may need to be inspected, appraised, financed, etc. If 1 of the transactions falls apart it may jeopardize the others which require its timely sale.

Solution: An ounce of due diligence is worth a pound of cure with sales contingencies. As a listing agent we want to advise our sellers on the likelihood and expected timeliness of the purchaser's sale being finalized; is their asset easily sellable? Is it priced according to what the market will bare for the asset that must be sold prior to settling on our client's property? Is the buyer open to accepting contingent offers for their own sale (resulting in the aforementioned metaphor of a train with 3 cars)? While negotiating a contract involving sales contingencies, listing agent may ask for limited time clause language to be added into the contract for the purpose of capping the amount of time that the buyer can take in order to sell their home.

While there are many reasons a real estate transaction can wind up delayed or collapse entirely, these 2 problems are very typical particularly in today's Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor real estate markets. It's no surprise to see that Washtenaw County continues as a popular choice for homes and condominiums for sale.

Aug. 7, 2021

2021 Inventory Shortages

Pandemic Housing Shortages

How to buy a home or condo in a market with low / no inventory

Housing availability for both purchase and rental are extremely low as of the time of writing this (8/7/21).


Some considerations to keep in mind when purchasing in a market which favors sellers, aka a seller’s market:

  • Terms - Where can I improve my offer to stand out from others? Are there conditions I can waive or limit to favor the seller?

  • Needs - Is there an alternative location or configuration to property or home which could reduce costs, needs, or expectations?

  • Timeline & Transition Plans - Can we offer flexibility with time considerations? Can we go as far as offering the seller free rent (at purchaser’s expense) for them to stay in the home for a complimentary period after closing?

  • Post-Purchase Changes (Repairs, Additions, Improvements, etc) - If changes will be made to home after closing, are costs of goods higher than normal? Is labor available, and how far out are build/install/repair times scheduling? Are materials (eg, windows) processing in reasonable time frames or are they also in shortage?

  • Difficulty Prioritizing? Consider asking why multiple times (eg, ‘why do we need this?’ ‘because we need that, well why do we need that?’) to understand the cause and effectual relationship between things which are desired or needed from a cost & amenity standpoint.

  • Single Family vs Condos - Can we start with a smaller home, or a condo? 

  • Commute Tolerance - If moving out of town or out of county to save $, how far away from certain amenities or employers can be considered realistic?

  • Starter Home Areas - Some much-loved asset categories would be

    • Ypsi condos

    • Ypsi starter homes

    • Belleville starter homes

    • Belleville condos

    • Van Buren twp starter homes

    • Ann Arbor condos

    • Jackson County starter homes

    • Livingston Co starter homes

    • Monroe Co starter homes

    • Washtenaw Co starter homes

Sept. 11, 2020

FAA Part 107 sUAS Certifications

4 reasons to use an FAA sUAS certified DRONE OPERATOR for aerial real estate photography and video

1. They're trained

Drone operation may seem like a fun hobby but there is much more than meets the eye as far as air safety and compliance. A drone operator whose received FAA certification has demonstrated an understanding of flight safety and pre-flight checklists, FAA compliance, hazards and weather, airfield traffic patterns, and communications.

A trained operator will obtain FAA/ATC (Air traffic control) clearances and file any other necessary waivers ahead of their flight.

2. They're insured

We carry liability insurance covering all sUAS operations; it's important to have this in place in case an accident happens involving people or property. 107-certified drone operators, including Realtors and real estate photographers, should have insurance information available for the customer to review prior to taking flight.

3. They're well-equipped

As of writing this (09/2020) our current sUAS is equipped with autonomous flight modes, object tracking, 4k HD video and 360 degree (virtual reality compatible) for top-quality shots with some of the best post-production available from professional video editors.

4. They're experienced

While recreational/consumer drones have made advancements in terms of accessibility and ease of use, they have yet to create any real substitution for hundreds of operation flight hours and years of experience. Even with some of the best real estate to capture with high quality drones, an inexperienced operator will not be able to produce the same quality of footage as an experienced operator. We have been flying since 2014.

Certified aerial photography & video packages are included in all of our standard listing agreements.
Some restrictions may apply.



Posted in Advisories, Education, FAQ
May 21, 2020

48.9ac Gotfredson Rd - Superior Twp

51.6 Acres in Superior Twp For Sale

Zoned AG - $795,000.00

Now available in Superior Twp (Ypsilanti Mail Address) - 51.6ac of rolling acreage with a creek, first public offering after several generations of ownership. Convenient to Ann Arbor, Metro Detroit and Toledo, parcel is just south of Ford Rd and has roughly 1300' frontage ft. Partially wooded. This would be an ideal parcel for custom home sites or an executive state set aside far enough to be completely private yet close enough to everything Washtenaw Co has to offer. Walk-out basement possible. Custom home or farm build to suit possible by Essex Homes (MLS# 3271141).

Presented by Alexander Munro - Munro Real Estate & Development - 734.272.6612 -

Posted in New Listings, Ypsilanti
March 14, 2020



Image result for covid19

After some consideration and discussions with all agents, all showings and in-person appointments were canceled until further notice on 3/12/2020 following the Michigan state of emergency declaration on 3/11/2020.

Realtors work as independent contractors to help families to find homes and access the American dream of home ownership, and facilitate home sellers as they transition from the southeast Michigan market area to different parts of the country. We will not be the unwitting transmission vehicles for a known pathogen. We will not allow a safety risk compromise our mission. No market and no sales are worth the health of our loved ones or the health of our clients and their families. We will do our part to help avoid the transmission of this deadly virus.

We may be available remotely for consultations, calls, e-mails, etc, even if you just need an agent who is in-touch with the brokerage community and aware of what's going on locally and with other brokers across the nation.

We will re-evaluate the situation on a weekly basis and get back to business as usual as soon as the situation permits.

Posted in Information, Ypsilanti
Dec. 8, 2019

5 Top Reasons Why Selling Real Estate is Great

Our 5 Best Reasons to START SELLING Real Estate

1. Real Estate Salespeople Learn About Business From the Top Down

Especially when it comes to agents who are willing to dip into commercial as well as residential and residential income properties, individual sales agents are able to jump into real-world business deals and really see how things work from a top-down ownership & investment perspective as those owners' and investors' Realtors without needing to start from the very bottom or pay for this education; this means an agent with some success will have access to mentors and experts in various facets of the housing industry. Agents are independent contractors which means they are solopreneurs/microbusinesses in their own respect. Agents often find themselves at the table with people from all walks of life.

2. There's Always More to Learn & A New Niche

Since Realtors are quite literally selling space, every property is different and even within various types of property there are sub-types and niches (or specializations) which can be studied, applied, and mastered. Here are a few just from top of mind:

  • Probate & trust sales
  • Historic properties
  • Investment & Multi-Family properties
  • Rehab/flippers
  • Religious properties & houses of worship
  • Condominiums
  • Offices
  • Industrial
  • Agricultural
  • Cannabis Real Estate
  • Municipal properties
  • Bank-owned properties
  • International Sales

Options are limitless because even within primary categories like residential real estate, we'll have agents who specifically market and brand themselves into sub-categories within the broader categories of Residential, Commercial, Industrial, etc. So if you're someone who has a passion for learning, like me (I can't turn it off)-- you should consider entering my trade, and find something you want to specialize in. Remember the old phrase: "there're riches in the niches"

3. The Intersection of Work and Pleasure

When is the last time you were able to pay your bills from something you do purely for enjoyment, like playing cards or hiking or bowling with friends? Due to the social nature of sales work, selling real estate is a relationships business. Knowing people, and being known is the first step in being hired since being likeable and trustworthy is how many will decide to choose an agent. The relationship between a real estate agent and their client is still a fiduciary relationship based on trust and ethics; similar to a healthy relationship between an attorney and their client, the professional's value is maximized by their consumer having a level of trust and comfort so that the agent is aware of and can focus on their client's needs, concerns, and interests. Because of this and the nature of friendships and social interactions, a friend can easily turn into a client and a client can easily turn into a personal friend. I have met many amazing friends through my work and I know of several agents who make a habit of acquiring business in unexpected places and creative ways.

4. Full Control Over Your Time

Since the vast majority of agents are 1099'ed independent contractors, they have full control over their own time commitments. This allows the sales person to decide whether to implement a structured plan of how to spend their time each day similarly (which for many a consistent schedule is vital to their success), or to operate each day completely differently. So if the professional chooses not to spend time cooped up in an office, they can build their business so that they spend more time in the field thru things like networking, prospecting, etc. Likewise if they prefer to stay inside or closer to home, they can build their business through "pajama prospecting", things like online or social media marketing and other avenues where they can reach and solicit people without being out and about.

The definition of full time, for a self-employed contractor or small biz owner, can vary depending on what's going on in their life because of the flexible nature of the work. So if I had a child, for instance, I would shift more of my time investment from sales and business growth-related activities into family activities. We generally do not get paid time off or maternity leave, so that will require us to plan accordingly in order to ensure we have time for ourselves and our families; success in sales will allow for that especially after the foundation of your business (and network) is laid.

5. Lower-cost Investment with Good Returns

Today in Michigan, the real estate pre-licensing component is a ~40hr investment and agents are able to complete that in about 1-3wks depending on how much time they can set aside to get that done and into the practice. Compare that to the roughly 1,800hrs of coursework required to become a barber, and you will likely notice that starting your real estate career is going to be faster and cheaper than many other businesses are to enter. Note that just because entering the career is relatively easy doesn't mean that building your business and staying in the career is; doing well as an agent will require significant time investment (if you want to make six figures, plan to spend 40-60hrs/wk working your butt off). Failure for a real estate agent is about common as failure for independent restaurants, which is a very hard industry to build staying power in, so the wash-out rate is significant and the individual agent will have to work hard to make sure that they're not part of the roughly 80% of agents who will not be selling real estate beyond 24mo. But if you have the dream to succeed and the drive to make it a reality, there is no glass ceiling or maximum income in real estate sales.

Dec. 6, 2019

Munro Reviews the Cheapest Standing Desk Available

Ypsilanti Realtor Reviews Amazon's Cheapest Desk

the SHW Electric Height Adjustable Standing Desk: 24" x 48"

Standing desks have been common and around now for about a decade in workplaces and studios. As an Ypsi Realtor I'm acutely aware from my own experience that sitting for extended periods, especially with poor ergonomics, is a recipe for future health problems. I had always wondered about standing desks and whether or not they were worth the hype.

Enter the SHW Electric Height Adjustable Standing Desk, shipped via Amazon Prime for $258.00 -- making this the rock-bottom dollar standing desk option I could find, shipped, coming in about $50 cheaper than Autonomous' models.

6 months of usage in an Ypsi real estate office later...

The desk has held up well over our first 6mo of use. No problems with stability or the electric motorization components to the desk. Raising and lowering the desk is easy and it has a few heights defaults you can set, eg, if 1 or 2 people work at the desk at different heights. Surface finishing appears to be a clean man-made laminate in light cherry for a wood grain look.

But a concern was noted!

Biggest drawback with the desk, compared to many of its competitors, is that the desk's surface is actually 2 pieces which are connected in parallel (long-ways) via dowels. Assembling the desk was easy but upon finding this I was a little disappointed-- would it really be much of a cost difference to use 1 solid top piece rather than binding two together? Perhaps it was a shipping consideration since most of these products are made in PRC (which was why I figured I'd try the low-end first).

In conclusion...

We'd give it a 4/5 rating for this desk-- happy with the purchase but not quite a 5/5.

Next time we'll have to try the Autonomous and let you know!

Posted in Products
Aug. 7, 2019

Introducing the Ypsilanti Senior Center

One of my favorite places in Ypsilanti is the senior center @ 1015 Congress.  Monica Prince, the Director, does an amazing job running the place. Everyone loves her.  Besides her vast responsibilities running the place, Monica teaches a very creative art class.  She says, “Lets try to see all the possibilities in our lives.” She makes everyone welcome, the true artists as well as those who specialize in stick people.


Exercise classes are free for seniors.  One very popular class, Exercise with Mark, improves balance, strength, strength and cognitive capabilities.  All this while having a great time. It’s easy to forget you’re exercising! Gentle Fitness is a low impact class that is easy on the joints.  Line Dance with Dee is so much fun. It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced dancer or you just want to do your own thing. All are welcome.


Additional services offered for a small fee include acupuncture, massage, a visit with a foot nurse, and best of all, lunch.  Most of all the social benefits are free. Stop in for a coffee, great conversation, make new friends or just have a laugh.  


Friends from the senior center

July 12, 2019

Best Office Printers

Welp Magazine gave Munro Real Estate a mention for our recommendation for #1 best printer for small offices (like us)-- the Xerox Versalink C7000.

The Xerox is a must for an Ypsi Realtor since they print gorgeous ledger-size prints at a professional print shop quality.

Full article here:

June 30, 2019

FAQ - Can a REALTOR also be a wholesaler?

Question: “Can Realtors also work as wholesalers?”

Depending on the situation, but in many scenarios they cannot; clarifying the question or using a specific example might help explain. This is a question I've heard a couple of times during conversations about real estate in Washtenaw and surrounding counties.

First, let’s specify: By 'wholesaler' I assume you mean a wholesale buyer, which would be a buyer who is purchasing a property with the intent of re-selling the property or assigning the contract to purchase a property over to another entity to settle/close that purchase in exchange for a margin or a profit built into that assignment. “Wholesaler” is a type of buyer, so as any other buyer who also holds a real estate license in Michigan would, a real estate licensee should disclose whether they are also acting as a buyer in a transaction. 

There should never be a situation where a licensee is working both as an agent for a seller while also working as or on behalf of a buyer (including a “wholesaler” buyer), since doing so could create a conflict of interest between the two parties. For example: Agent A goes to meet a Homeowner B to interview to sell his condo in Ypsilanti; but Agent A becomes interested in buying the condo for themselves; Agent A should then disclose themselves as a buyer before Homeowner B divulges confidential info to them and before Agent A enters into a listing agreement to market the property for Homeowner B. This way the agent can work for themselves as a buyer, and the seller can accept an offer without having to market and show the home to the public (and without unwittingly sharing confidential information intended for their agent/fiduciary, to the buyer on the other side of the deal instead).

I've noticed Ann Arbor and Ypsi Realtors using marketing techniques similar to what wholesalers use, and sell properties with contract clauses including options, assignment clauses and unconventional financing. These practices aren't inherently problematic if they're done legally and ethically (with disclosure, etc). So to recap, a Realtor can be a wholesaler if they are working as or on behalf of a buyer when they follow state law and abide by the NAR code of ethics.

Posted in Education, FAQ, Information