Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Liberty Lofts Retail Space Gets aTemproary Use

2009 Michigan Architecture Thesis Reviews at Liberty Lofts in Downtown Ann Arbor

Liberty Lofts retail space getting a temporary use.

From the University of Michigan-Taubman College of Architecture + Urbaan Planning website - For the first time ever, architecture graduate thesis reviews will be held off-site. The reviews will take place at a 20,000 square-foot warehouse adjacent to Liberty Lofts at the southwest corner of First Street and West Liberty Street just west of downtown Ann Arbor. This location will allow all 80 thesis projects to be displayed at one time. Additionally, the exhibit will remain open to the public for three days following the reviews.

Reviews take place Wednesday April 29 and Thursday April 30 10:00 AM-1:20 PM and 2:00 PM–5:40 PM and are free and open to the public. Bus service will operate between the A+A Building on north campus and 305 West Liberty Street on Wednesday and Thursday. A reception will follow the conclusion of Thursday's reviews. The thesis work will remain on exhibition as follows — Friday May 1: 1–4pm / Saturday May 2: 1–5pm / Sunday May 3: 4–6pm.

Friday, April 24, 2009

10 Ann Arbor Organizations Promoting Energy Efficiency

Ann Arbor Resources Available to Help You Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

It’s Earth Week! Want to make a difference? Ann Arbor is packed with organizations and resources promoting energy efficiency and environmental conservation. Check out these resources to help you celebrate Earth Week year-round in Ann Arbor.


The getDowntown program, sponsored by the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce, promotes bicycling and alternative transportation. It provides information and assistance to downtown businesses and employees on commuting options, such as biking, riding the bus, walking, and vanpooling. getDowntown runs many sustainable transportation programs and events throughout the year including Curb Your Car Month, and the Commuter Challenge. Check their website for details on the Commuter Challenge, which begins May 1.
115 West Huron, 3rd Floor
Ann Arbor, 48104



Recycle Ann Arbor

A non-profit organization, Recycle Ann Arbor (RAA) provides education and collection, procession and distribution of recyclable materials throughout Washtenaw County. RAA encourages people to reduce the amount of waste they generate through the reuse of usable materials before buying new ones, and to recycle materials that can be made into new ones. Their facilities include the Drop-Off Station, the ReUse Center, the Environmental House, Calvert's Roll-Off Containers (construction recycling), and several satellite drop-off locations. RAA also offers commercial collection services to businesses in the City of Ann Arbor.

Drop Off Station

2950 East Ellsworth
Ann Arbor, 48108


The ReUse Center

(Recycle Ann Arbor)

The ReUse Center accepts donations of reusable household goods, office supplies, and building materials that it resells to the general public at affordable prices. This is a great place to recycle furniture, home goods, electronics, and other items (check their website for a list of accepted donations), and also an excellent resource to find something you need for your home at a reasonable price.

2420 S Industrial Hwy

Ann Arbor, 48104-6130

(734) 222-7880


Environmental House Green Building and Energy Program

(Recycle Ann Arbor)

Recycle Ann Arbor's Environmental House green building and energy program now offers home energy audits. The program offers personalized on-site home assessments, and can show you how to lower your home energy bills through strategic energy conservation.


Ecology Center

The Ecology Center is a nonprofit environmental organization that works at the local, state, and national levels for clean production, healthy communities, environmental justice and a sustainable future. Their major are: GEE-WOW!, an environmental education program for K-12 students, Environmental Health Project, working to protect our health from toxic chemicals in food, air, water, and household products, Clean Car Campaign, promoting real-world solutions to reduce and eliminate pollution from automobile manufacturing and Land Use, preserving farmland and natural areas, concentrate development where infrastructure exists, and reduce traffic congestion.
Ecology Center's Earth Day Benefit, Saturday, April 25, 8-11 p.m.

117 N. Division St.

Ann Arbor, 48104



Mayor’s Green Fair

The ninth annual Mayor’s Green Fair on Main Street is Friday, June 12, from 6-9 p.m. Downtown Main Street will be open to pedestrians for free entertainment and walking tours, and will feature over 100 exhibits with environmental information, hands-on youth activities, clean energy, green construction and transportation options, as well as information on BikeFest 2009, WasteKnot Business Partners, and more.

734-794-6161 ext. 41602



This innovative car-sharing program allows members to pay a modest fee for use of a car for a few hours. Four cars- two Scion xDs and two Toyota Matrixes, are parked downtown, two near Palio restaurant on Main Street, and two near Kerrytown at Fourth Avenue and Catherine Street. The cars can be reserved hourly or by the day. Ann Arbor’s Downtown Development Authority is subsidizing the costs of the program. The Zipcar program has been operating since 2006 on the University of Michigan’s campus for use by students and faculty, and currently has over 1,000 people signed up as members. Zipcars are an excellent option for residents who need use of a car, but don’t want or need to commit to monthly car payments, maintenance, and insurance. www.zipcar.com/umich


Peoples Food Coop

The Peoples Food Coop offers healthy food in a community-based environment. The coop purchases locally grown and produced food when available to support the local economy and reduce pollution produced by shipped from a distance. Organic food, grocery, home and beauty care products are available. The Food Bar is a good stop for a quick take-out meal, and features fresh salad ingredients and hot soups, side dishes, entrees and desserts. Anyone can shop at the co-op, which is a member-owned store. Located in Kerrytown, downtown Ann Arbor

216 North Fourth Ave.

Ann Arbor, 48104



U of M Alternate Transportation Website

This University of Michigan Website is a great resource for ideas on commuting to and around the UofM campus. The website offers information and ideas on walking, rollerblading, biking, bus transportation, carpool and vanpools, motorcycles and mopeds and zipcars.


Downtown Home and Garden

This hundred-year old store evolved from a livery stable and feed mill into an urban emporium for garden supplies and gourmet kitchenware. This shop is an excellent resource for gardening supplies, including organic products and seedlings. A supporter of environmentally friendly activities, Downtown Home and Garden is sponsoring a soil testing event on Saturday, April 25 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Check their website for details.

Downtown Home & Garden
210 S. Ashley Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New Pricing at Ashley Terrace - Downtown Ann Arbor Condos

Ashley Terrace, Downtown Ann Arbor's newest high rise condomiium development has set new aggressive pricing on 1 and two bedroom luxury condominiums. One bedroom condos now start below $250,000 for a roughly 1000 square foot condo with balcony. These condos feature granite counters and stainless appliances in the kitchens, heated underground parking and the condominium fees include heat and hot water.

Located at Ashley and Huron, Ashley Terrace condominiums offer the best value right now for a new condo right in the heart of Ann Arbor's vibrant downtown area.

Ashley Terrace also offers Ann Arbor condominiums for lease. contact us for the latest availability.

Call Andy Piper at 734-604-8242 for up to the minute availability of condos for sale or lease in Ashley Terrace.
7th floor 1 bedroom condo at Ashley Terrace.

Ashley Terrace - view North from the 7th floor.

10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Week in Ann Arbor

Celebrate Earth Week in Ann Arbor MI by taking advantage of numerous activities and events. Earth Week raises awareness and appreciation for earth’s environment, and is celebrated around the world this week.

Thursday, April 23
River Kids at Gallup Park
10-11:30 a.m.
Gallup Park Canoe Livery
3000 Fuller Road, Ann Arbor

Explore the river world by paddling a kayak, canoe or paddle boat on Gallup Pond. Children will experience the thrill of catching fish off the docks and discovering river critters with stories, art and play at this weekly event. Fee. Register online at www.a2gov.org/parks or by calling 734-794-6240.

Thursday, April 23
Spring Unfolding Ride- Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring Society
Meet at Gallup Park Canoe Livery
3000 Fuller Road, Ann Arbor
734-971-5763 or 734-663-5060
10 a.m.

Enjoy this beginner-friendly, slow-paced ride around Ann Arbor neighborhoods to explore the delights of local gardens, parks, and cafes. This weekly event rides 10-15 miles.

Friday, April 24
Tiny Tots at Leslie Science & Nature Center
1831 Traver Road, Ann Arbor
9:30-11 a.m.

Youngsters learn about amphibians through hikes, songs, stories, puppets, games and crafts. $7 per child, age 1 to 3 with an adult.

Friday, April 24
Friday Night Family Golf Free For All
Huron Hills Golf Course
3465 E. Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor
4-8 p.m.

Enjoy a beautiful afternoon outdoors at this family golf event, where an adult and child under 14 can play golf for free after 4 p.m. For more info, visit www.a2golf.org or call 734-794-6246.

Saturday, April 25
Ann Arbor Farmers Market
315 Detroit Street, Ann Arbor
734-794-6255 or www.a2gov.org/market
8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Shop for locally grown produce at this popular Saturday farmer’s market.

Saturday, April 25
Ann Arbor Farmers Market- Compost Giveaway
315 Detroit Street, Ann Arbor
734-794-6255 or www.a2gov.org/market
9 a.m.

The City of Ann Arbor composting program will be at the market to talk about their program and give away free. They will be available to answer your composting questions and give you samples of their own compost starting at 9 a.m., and will stay as long as their supplies last.

Saturday, April 25
Ann Arbor Farmers Market- Market Walk with Market Manager
315 Detroit Street, Ann Arbor
734-794-6255 or www.a2gov.org/market
9-11 a.m.

Stroll through the farmer’s market with Market Manger Molly Notarianni. Meet under the clocktower in Kerrytown for a tour of the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. Take a peek into the market’s long history, meet some vendors who will share their stories and experiences with you, and sample delicious market treats. A delightful way to explore behind the scenes at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market in Kerrytown!

Saturday, April 25
Volunteer Stewardship Workday- Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation Division
10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Help city parks natural area preservation staff maintain the natural areas in various city parks and enjoy a short nature walk led by a staff person at the end of each workday. Minors must be accompanied by an adult or obtain a release form in advance.

Sunday, April 26
Earth Day Festival 2009 at Leslie Science & Nature Center
12-4 p.m.
Leslie Science & Nature Center
1831 Traver Road, Ann Arbor

Leslie Science & Nature Center will celebrate Earth Day with a free, family-friendly event featuring music and entertainment; hands-on activities; live animal demonstrations; a Clean Energy Expo; and displays from local environmental, non-profit, and governmental organizations. Stop by the registration table and pick up an orientation map and passport to guide you through the Earth Day activities. At 2:30 p.m., an All Species Parade will wind through the festival with costumed individuals representing diverse animals and plants. Food available for purchase. For more information, including an event schedule and bike and bus routes to the festival, visit www.a2earthday.org.

Monday, April 27
Tyke Program: Spring, Sproing, Spring at Leslie Science & Nature Center
1831 Traver Road, Ann Arbor
1-2:30 p.m.

Youngsters explore the wonders of all things that sprout, spring back, and are born during this beautiful time of year. Pre-registration required. Cost: $32. Details at www.lesliesnc.org or 734-997-1553.

Saturday, May 16
Adopt-A-Park Kick-Off

Saturday, May 16
A2 Spring Blooms / Downtown Cleanup Day
734-794-6000 x 43112
9 a.m. – Noon

Volunteers help plant flowers downtown. Free t-shirt & pizza lunch. Meet at Liberty Plaza.

Friday, June 12
Mayor's Green Fair on Main Street
Downtown Ann Arbor
734) 794-6161
6-9 p.m.

Looking for more Ann Arbor events? Visit http://www.arborweb.com/eventbody.html

Image courtesy Flickr: Compton&Wright

Photo of Farmer’s Market: http://www.flickr.com/photos/comptonwright/48809672/

Saturday, April 18, 2009

1210 Newport, Ann Arbor MI OPEN SUNDAY 1 to 3pm

Just Listed - 1210 Newport Ann Arbor MI 48103
Open Sunday April 19th 1pm to 3pm

or Call Andy Piper for a private showing at 734-604-8242

Artisan built, contemporary craftsman style home on Ann Arbor's Westside
close to downtown, Few homes built to this spec available in Ann Arbor at this price. Generous covered west facing front porch, high ceilings, Quality materials and maintenance throughout - Mahogany entrance door and interior trim, HUGE open basement with lots of natural light. Large private yard with beautiful east facing patio for parties and grilling. New carpet, hardwood floors, Easy walk to Forsythe and Wines Elementary. One of a kind custom home.

  • 3 bedroom 2 baths, 1726 sq. ft.
  • High quality materials throughout-Mahogany entrance door and interior trim.
  • Generous, friendly font porch with porch swing.
  • large deck off of breakfast area and family room.
  • Well lit open floor plan with 9 foot ceilings.
  • Private treed yard.
  • Acclaimed Ann Arbor schools - Wines, Forsythe, Pioneer/Skyline.
  • New Carpet, hardwood floors -move in ready home.
  • Located on Ann Arbor's west side, minutes to downtown Ann Arbor. Near University of Michigan main campus and U of M Medical Center.
  • Full daylight basement w/9 foot ceilings - HUGE OPEN SPACE! Fantastic opportunity to double square footage.
  • One of a kind custom built home - Few homes like this available in Ann Arbor - Don't Miss!

Good News for Ann Arbor Area Gardeners

News update from the City of Ann Arbor website. Just a reminder that the City of Ann Arbor sells composts for gardening and landscape projects and that they have reduced prices this by 50 to 75 percent. Another example of the upside to a down economy. You can buy in bulk at the Ann Arbor Compost Center or in bushel quantities at the Recycle Drop Off Center at 2950 E. Elsworth.


ANN ARBOR, Mich., March 18, 2009 — The price of City of Ann Arbor’s bulk compost has been reduced by 50 to 75 percent, compared to last spring. Cured and screened municipal compost is available at $7/cubic yard for basic sales; $5/cubic yard for 10-24 cubic yards per truck load; and $2.75/cubic yard for 25+ cubic yards per load. City Council recently approved the lower prices in order to clear the compost pads of 10,000 cubic yards in anticipation of processing the incoming 2009 growing season yard waste. Consumers will benefit from the surplus sale prices, created by a lower demand from contractors and landscapers throughout the region last year.
Ann Arbor’s Compost Center, 4150 Platt Road 734-794-6380, is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is reached via a one-mile access road in the Wheeler Service Center. Customers place orders and make payments at the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) scale house. An onsite front-load operator is then contacted to load the compost into the buyer’s truck. Regular car trunks or station wagons are not acceptable vehicles for collecting materials from the Compost Center. All vehicles must be tarped before leaving the site, according to state law.
Ann Arbor’s compost is certified by the US Composting Council, which assesses the city’s finished compost to be consistently high in nutrient value, devoid of weed seeds, and tested for germination. Compost test results data is posted on the Web at www.a2gov.org/compost.
Cured and screened compost is especially useful as a soil amendment applied to gardens soils.
Compost may also be spread as a top-dressing for lawns, used as slow-release nutrient mulch, or to provide a finished appearance around foundation plantings.

Municipal compost in bushel and cubic yard quantities may also be purchased from Recycle Ann Arbor’s Drop-Off Station at 2950 East Ellsworth 734-971-7400, www.recycleannarbor.org. The Drop-Off Station is normally open weekdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. but is closed on Mondays through March 30. Please contact Recycle Ann Arbor directly for current prices on bushel and cubic yard quantity compost sales and for information on RAA’s compost delivery services.

Ann Arbor has 114,000 residents, spans 27.7 square miles, and was named the No. 1 Healthiest Hometown in the U.S. by AARP The Magazine in 2008. Other notable recognitions include: No. 27 of the top 100 U.S. cities to live in by CNN/Money Magazine in 2008, as well as the fourth smartest city in the U.S. by Forbes Magazine. The city’s mission statement reads: The city of Ann Arbor is committed to providing excellent municipal services that enhance the quality of life
for all through the intelligent use of resources while valuing an open environment that fosters, fair, sensitive and respectful treatment of all employees and the community we serve.

Ann Arbor real estate
Photo by eXtension.org: Gardens, Lawns, and Landscapes

Friday, April 17, 2009

Getting out for Lunch in Downtown Ann Arbor

Downtown Ann Arbor is alive today with people getting out and enjoying the great weather. Jerusalem Cafe and the Earthen Jar draw a crowd taking advantage of the outdoor seating.

Living in downtown Ann Arbor offers great advantages if you want to walk or bike to your favorite places.

Westland Home for Lease - 30394 Avondale.

Westland Michigan Home for Lease - 3 bedroom brick ranch with full finished basement offered at $1,000 per month.

One of our good clients is having another baby and needs a bigger place! Due to current real estate market pricing they will be leasing this fine home rather than selling. If you are looking for a great place in Westland MI, check out this offering on Avondale. Features include a fenced yard, 2 car detached garage, 3 bedrooms and a full finished basement.

Call Nancy Austin today at 734-718-8900 for a private showing.

Click Here to See all Area Homes and Condos for Sale


Available for Lease--$1,000/month! Brickfront & Siding Clean Ranch is on a popular street in Westland. The perfect, reasonable rental! Three bedrooms, 2 full baths, sunny living room with picture window, eat-in kitchen. Full basement with 17 x 11 rec room. Covered deck, Fenced Yard. 2 car garage.

Please no smokers or pets. Credit reports and letter of employment required. 1 1/2 month security deposit. Seller will paint living room if tenant prefers.

Westland Parks & Rec has several nearby parks, including: Voss Park, Hubbard Park, Westland Skate Park and the Colburn/Senior Friendship Center. Also nearby: Lower Rouge Parkway, Canton Sports Center, Summit on the Park Community Center and more! Golfing at nearby: Westland Municipal and Inkster Valley Golf Courses, Fellows Creek Golf Club Canton Community Events!

- Wayne-Westland Schools.
- Near Parks, Canton Sports Center
- Easy Access to Michigan Ave., Ford Rd., I-94 & I-275 b>

VIRTUAL TOUR: Click Here for a tour of this great home! Keller Williams Realty, Ann Arbor & Plymouth. MLS #29047025

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Greene Farms, Ypsilanti Township Deal Alert

Great Deal Alert - Foreclosure deal in Greene Farms Subdivision in Ypsilanti Township. 7889 Berwick, offer lots of value in a move in ready foreclosure listing sure to generate multiple offers.

This Pulte built St. James model features an elegent all brick eleveation, an open 2 story foyer with hardwood floors, island kitchen, 2000 square feet of living space, four bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths. Also there is a huge deck. This Ypsilanti township home is ready to go! View all MLS homes for sale in Ypsilanti and Superior Township here.

For a showing call Andy Piper directly at 7324-604-8242

7889 Burwick offered by Clark Brown Ehman and Greenstreet.

Greene Farms MLS listed homes:

Monday, April 13, 2009

Northside Ridge Ann Arbor Condos- Hot Deal Alert!

Ann Arbor Condominiums, Northside Ridge and Northside Glen, in Northeast Ann Arbor offer several great condo deals right now. There is good inventory and several condos in near new condition priced 20 percent or more under 2005 prices.

If you are relocating to Ann Arbor to attend or work at the University of Michigan or the U of M Medical School - and you are looking to buy a great Ann arbor condo within 15 minutes of work or school then Northside Glen and Northside Ridge are worth a look.

Build in 2005 by Norfolk Development, these condominiums are well constructed, have up to date two and three bedroom floor plans with large well lit rooms, 9 foot ceilings, lots of closed space and good sound barrier between units.

The Northside Glen Condos are two and three bedroom flats with a common exterior hallway entrance and a one car detached garage. They also offer screened porches, many backing to wooded areas.

The Norhside Ridge condos feature 2,3 and four bedroom units ranging to upper two and three bedroom flats, lower level flats with full exgress basements - some with finished basements with bedrooms, bathrooms and even kitchens. All offer ATTACHED garages - 1 or 2 car. The exterior feature brick and have a more upscale look then the Glen.

Northside Glen and Ridge are located near AATA bus stops, and Olsen Northeast Area Park is directly accros the street with great walking and biking trails, a dog park, childrens play area and soccor fields. Gretchen's house is also located directly adjacent to this condo development.

I you are looking to buy or rent a condo in Ann Arbor, please call or email Piperpartners for immediate attention. Call Andy at 734-604-8242

Search ALL Ann Arbor MLS listed homes and condos

View Larger Map

Northside Glen Condominium MLS listed propeties:

Northside Ridge MLS listed properties:

Ypsilanti Freighthouse to be Restored

Historic Building Will be Used as Community Center, Café, Farmers Market

Governor Granholm visited Ypsilanti last week to announce that the historic Ypsilanti railroad freighthouse in Depot Town will be restored for use as a farmer’s market, café, community center and historic education center. The Governor presented the city with a check for $500,000 in Federal economic stimulus money, which will be used to repair the freighthouse building, which was built in 1878.

This investment into the city of Ypsilanti will create a destination location with the potential to draw visitors from surrounding areas. Only a short drive, or bike ride from your Ypsilanti or Superior Township home the restored freighthouse will be a great place to stop on a Saturday for a coffee and pastry or to purchase some locally grown produce.

There have been recent discussions in Michigan’s Legislature regarding the possibility of a commuter rail line from Ann Arbor to Detroit. Ypsilanti is proposed as being one of the stops along the route, and the freighthouse could potentially play a role in the proposed project.

At the check presentation Friday, Governor Granholm said, “This project is going to be a tremendous asset to Ypsilanti residents. We look forward to the transformation of this transportation icon of the past into a much-needed resource for the community.”

“The 6,500-foot facility is listed on the Michigan State Register of Historic Sites and is located in Depot Town within the city's local historic district. The city hopes to reopen the freighthouse as a community facility that would promote cultural tourism and serve as a reminder of the history of railroad activity and early commerce in the area. Owned by the city, it is operated under the terms of a management contract by the Friends of the Ypsilanti Freighthouse, a 501C (3) organization. To repurpose the 1878 building, the city will make major structural improvements to the foundation, floor, walls, pilasters, roof and interior mechanical systems (plumbing, electrical, HVAC). The work will begin this fall.”

Restoring the freighthouse to its former beauty will add to Ypsilanti’s historic charm. The city’s downtown district and Depot Town are already popular destinations for dining and shopping. The railroad freighthouse will be another charming historic site to enjoy in this city full of history and character.

Image courtesy Flickr: TopTechWriter.’US

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mortgage Update-Making Home Affordable

Making Home Affordable - The Obama Administration has introduced a comprehensive Financial Stability Plan to address the key problems at the heart of the current crisis and get our economy back on track. A critical piece of that effort is Making Home Affordable, a plan to stabilize our housing market and help up to 7 to 9 million Americans reduce their monthly mortgage payments to more affordable levels.

Foreclosure Avoidance Counseling in the Ann Arbor Ypsilanti MI area - Contact directly.

Phone: 888-860-4167
Address: 315 East Eisenhower Ste. 206, Ann Arbor MI 48108


Making home affordable offers help to homeowners with:

Many homeowners pay their mortgages on time but are not able to refinance to take advantage of today’s lower mortgage rates perhaps due to a decrease in the value of their home.

Many homeowners are struggling to make their monthly mortgage payments perhaps because their interest rate has increased or they have less income.

Find a list of HUD-approved housing counceling agencies to provide you with information and assistance you need to avoid forecosure. Foreclosure prevention counseling services are provided free of charge by nonprofit housing counseling agencies working in partnership with the Federal Government. These agencies are funded, in part, by HUD and NeighborWorks® America. There is no need to pay a private company for these services.

Making Home Affordable frequently Asked Questions - available as a PDF download here and reprinted from the making home affordable.gov website.



What is “Making Home Affordable" all about?
Making Home Affordable is part of President Obama's comprehensive strategy to get
the housing market back on track. Through the Making Home Affordable Program,
up to 9 million American families may be eligible to refinance or modify their loans
to a payment that is affordable now and into the future.

1. I'm current on my mortgage. Will the Home Affordable Refinance help me?

Eligible borrowers who are current on their mortgages but have been unable to take
advantage of today's lower interest rates because their homes have decreased in value,
may now have the opportunity to refinance. Through the Home Affordable
Refinance Program, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will allow the refinancing of
mortgage loans that they own or that they placed in mortgage backed securities.

2. How do I know if I am eligible?

You may be eligible if:
• You are the owner occupant of a one to four unit home,
• The loan on your property is owned or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie
Mac (Don't know? See below),
• At the time you apply, you are current on your mortgage payments (current
means that you haven’t been more than 30-days late on your mortgage
payment in the last 12 months or, if you have had the loan for less than 12
months, you have never missed a payment),
• You believe that the amount you owe on your first mortgage is about the same
or slightly less than the current value of your house,
• You have income sufficient to support the new mortgage payments, and
• The refinance improves the long term affordability or stability of your loan.
3. How do I know if the refinance will improve the long term affordability or
stability of my loan?

Your lender will give you a “Good Faith Estimate” that includes your new interest rate,
mortgage payment and the amount you will pay over the life of the loan. Compare this to
your current loan terms. If it is not an improvement, refinancing may not be right for

you. Also consider that refinancing from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate loan or
eliminating higher risk loan terms such as interest only payments or balloon payments
may also provide long term stability.

4. How do I know if my loan is owned or has been securitized by Fannie Mae or
Freddie Mac?

You should call your mortgage lender or servicer (the organization to whom you
make your monthly mortgage payments) and ask about the program.

Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have established toll-free telephone numbers and
web submission processes to make this data available. Borrowers will provide or
enter information to determine if either agency owns or securitized the loan. This
information is not a guarantee of eligibility for the refinance program, as other
qualifying criteria must also be met.

• For Fannie Mae,
o 1-800-7FANNIE (8am to 8pm EST).
o www.fanniemae.com/loanlookup
• Freddie Mac
o 1-800-FREDDIE (8am to 8pm EST)
o www.freddiemac.com/mymortgage

5. I owe more than my property is worth. Do I still qualify to refinance under
the Making Home Affordable Program?

Eligible loans will include those where the first mortgage will not exceed 105% of the
current market value of the property. For example, if your property is worth $200,000
but you owe $210,000 or less on your first mortgage you may qualify. The current
value of your property will be determined after you apply to refinance.

6. I have both a first and a second mortgage. Do I still qualify to refinance
under Making Home Affordable?

As long as the amount due on the first mortgage is less than 105% of the value of the
property, borrowers with more than one mortgage may be eligible for a Home
Affordable Refinance. Your eligibility will depend, in part, on agreement by the
lender that has your second mortgage remain in a second position, and on your ability
to meet the new payment terms on the first mortgage.

7. Will refinancing lower my payments?

The objective of the Home Affordable Refinance is to provide creditworthy
borrowers who have shown a commitment to paying their mortgage, the opportunity
to get into a mortgage with payments that are affordable today and sustainable for the
life of the loan. Borrowers whose mortgage interest rates are much higher than the

current market rate should see an immediate reduction in their payments.

Borrowers who are paying interest only, or who have a low introductory rate that will
increase in the future, may not see their current payment go down if they refinance to
a fixed rate and payment. These borrowers, however, could save a great deal over the
life of the loan by avoiding future mortgage payment increases. When you submit a
loan application, your lender will give you a "Good Faith Estimate" that includes your
new interest rate, mortgage payment and the amount that you will pay over the life of
the loan. Compare this to your current loan terms. If it is not an improvement, a
refinancing may not be right for you.

8. What are the interest rate and other terms of this refinance offer?

The rate will be based on market rates in effect at the time of the refinance and any
associated points and fees quoted by the lender. Interest rates may vary across
lenders and over time as market rates adjust. The refinanced loans will have no
prepayment penalties or balloon payments.

9. Will refinancing reduce the amount that I owe on my loan?

No. The objective of the Home Affordable Refinance is to help borrowers get into
more affordable loans. Refinancing will not reduce the principal amount you owe to
the first mortgage holder or any other debt you owe. However, refinancing should
save you money by reducing the amount of interest that you pay over the life of the

10. Can I get cash out to pay other debts?

No. However, borrowers whose loans are owned or securitized by Fannie Mae may
be eligible to finance all closing costs and obtain a small amount of cash (2% of the
mortgage amount not to exceed $2,000) through the refinance if there is sufficient
equity. For borrowers whose loans are owned or securitized by Freddie Mac,
transaction costs (not to exceed $2,500) such as the cost of an appraisal or title report,
may be included in the refinanced amount.

11. How do I apply for a Home Affordable Refinance?
You should call your mortgage servicer or lender and ask about the Home Affordable
Refinance application process. The number is on your monthly mortgage bill or
coupon book. Please be patient. Lenders and servicers are implementing the
program now and it may take time before they are ready to process all applications.
In the meantime, it will help your lender and speed up the application process if you
gather some information and documents before you call.
Additionally, beginning April 4, 2009, borrowers whose loans are owned or
securitized by Fannie Mae may also apply through any Fannie Mae approved lender.

Nearly all major banks and mortgage brokers are approved to work with Fannie Me.
Ask the lender you choose if it is authorized to provide a Home Affordable
12. What documentation will I need?

It will help your lender if you gather some information and documents before you
call. You will need:

• Information about the monthly gross (before tax) income of all the borrowers
on your loan, including recent pay stubs if you receive them or documentation
of income you receive from other sources.
• Your most recent income tax return.
• Information about any second mortgage on the house.
• Account balances and minimum monthly payments due on all of your credit
• Account balances and monthly payments on all your other debts such as
student loans and car loans.

13. I am delinquent on my mortgage. Will I qualify for a Home Affordable

No. Borrowers who are currently delinquent or have been 30 days overdue more than
once during the past 12 months will not qualify. You should contact your servicer to
see if a Home Affordable Modification is an option for you.

14. Will I need mortgage insurance?

If your existing loan has private mortgage insurance, you will need the same amount
of insurance coverage for the refinanced loan. If your existing loan does not have
private mortgage insurance it will not be required as part of the Home Affordable

15. How long will the Home Affordable Refinance be available?

The program expires on June 10, 2010. Your refinance transaction must be closed and
funded on or before that date.



1. Can Making Home Affordable help me if my loan is not owned or securitized by
Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?

Yes. Making Home Affordable offers help to borrowers who are struggling to keep their
loans current or who are already behind on their mortgage payments. By providing
mortgage servicers with financial incentives to modify existing first mortgages, the
Treasury hopes to help as many as 3 to 4 million homeowners avoid foreclosure
regardless of who owns or services the mortgage.

2. How do I know if I qualify for a Home Affordable Modification?

To apply for a Home Affordable Modification, you must:

• Be an owner-occupant in a one to four unit property,
• Have an unpaid principal balance that is equal to or less than $729,750 for one
unit properties (there is a higher limit for two to four unit properties - consult
your servicer),
• Have a loan that was originated on or before January 1, 2009,
• Have a mortgage payment (including taxes, insurance, and home owners
association dues) that is more than 31% of your gross (pre-tax) monthly
income, and
• Have a mortgage payment that is not affordable, perhaps because of a
significant change in income or expenses.

If you answered YES to all of these questions, you may be eligible to apply for a Home
Affordable Modification. Only your servicer will be able to tell you if you qualify.

3. Do I need to be behind on my mortgage payments to be eligible for a Home
Affordable Modification?

No. Responsible borrowers who are struggling to remain current on their mortgage
payments are eligible if they are at risk of imminent default, for example, because their
mortgage payment has recently increased to a level that is not affordable. If you have
had or anticipate a significant increase in your mortgage payment or you have had a
significant reduction in income or have experienced some other hardship that makes you
unable to pay your mortgage, contact your servicer. You will be required to document
your income and expenses and provide evidence of the hardship or change in your

4. I have a second mortgage. Am I still eligible?

Yes, but only the first mortgage is eligible for a modification.


5. How do I know if my servicer is participating? Are all servicers required to

Servicer participation in the program is voluntary. However, the government is offering
substantial incentives to servicers and investors, and it is expected that most major
servicers will participate. Participating servicers will sign a contract with Treasury’s
financial agent, through which they agree to review every potentially eligible borrower
who calls or writes asking to be considered for the program.

As contracts are signed, a list of participating servicers will be available on the Internet at

6. What will my servicer do to determine if I qualify?

If you report a hardship, your servicer will:

• Determine whether your loan meets the minimum eligibility criteria (owner
occupied, originated on or before January 1, 2009, unpaid principal balance
equal to or less than $729,750). If yes
• Ask about current income, assets and expenses as well as the specific
circumstances relating to the hardship to determine if you will be unable to
make your mortgage payment. (Your servicer may initially accept verbal
information about your income and expenses, but eventually you will need to
provide proof in the form of tax returns, pay stubs and other evidence).
• Determine if your monthly first lien mortgage payment is more than 31%
(approximately 1/3) of your gross or pre-tax monthly income. If yes:
• Add past due charges (interest, taxes, insurance and costs that your lender
paid to other parties on your behalf – but not late fees, those must be waived)
to the loan balance.
• Determine how much of an interest rate reduction will be required to get your
first mortgage payment down to a point where it is no more than 31% of your
gross monthly income.
• Apply a value test to determine if the cost of the modification (including the
government’s incentive payments) is less costly for the investor than not
modifying the loan (loans held by borrowers who have a lot of equity or
whose incomes are very low in relation to the value of their homes probably
will not pass this value test). If yes:
• Put you on a trial modification for three months at the new interest rate and
payment level.
• If you successfully make the payments and are current at the end of the trial
period, your servicer will execute a permanent modification agreement that
will lower your interest rate to a fixed rate for five years, and then capped at a
low rate for the remaining life of the loan.

NOTE: You will be required to sign the modification agreement and other documents

and attest that all of the information you provided to your servicer was true and accurate.
Misrepresenting any information required for the Home Affordable Modification is a
violation of Federal Law and has serious consequences.

7. What happens after five years?

If the modified interest rate is below the market rate, the modified rate will be fixed for a
minimum of five years as specified in your modification agreement. Beginning in year
six, the rate may increase no more than one percentage point per year until it reaches the
rate cap indicated in your modification agreement. The cap is equal to the prevailing
market interest rate on the date the modification is finalized as published by Freddie Mac
based on a survey of its customers. This cap means that your rate can never be higher
than the market rate on the day your loan was modified. If the modified rate is at or
above the prevailing market rate, as defined above, the modified rate will be fixed for the
life of the loan.

8. Will the modified loan include property taxes and homeowners insurance?

Yes. The modification payment will include a monthly amount to be set aside
(escrowed) to pay taxes and insurance when they become due. This escrow is required
even if your prior loan did not include an escrow.

9. How low can my interest rate go?

Treasury is providing incentives to your investor to write the interest down to as low as
2%, if necessary to get to a payment that you can afford based on your income.

10. What happens if that is not enough to get to an affordable payment?

If a 2% interest rate does not result in a payment that is affordable (no more than 31% of
your gross monthly income), your servicer will:

• First try to extend your payment term. At the servicer’s option your payments
could be extended out to 40 years.
• If that is still not sufficient your servicer may defer repayment on a portion of
the amount you owe until a later time. This is called a principal forbearance.
• A portion of the debt could be also be forgiven. This is optional on the part of
the investor. There is no requirement for principal forgiveness.

11. Could I end up with a balloon payment?

Yes. If your servicer determines that a principal forbearance is required to get your
monthly payment to an affordable level, the amount of the forbearance, say for example
this was $20,000, would be subtracted from the amount used to calculate your monthly
mortgage payment, but you would still owe the money. You would have a $20,000
balloon payment that had no interest and was not due until you paid off your loan,

refinanced or sold your house.

12. What happens if I am unable to make payments during the trial period?

Borrowers who are unable to make three payments by the end of the trial period are not
eligible for a Home Affordable Modification. However, you may be eligible for other
foreclosure prevention options offered by your servicer.

13. How much will a modification cost me?

Borrowers who are behind on payments or at risk of imminent default often do not have
cash to pay for the expenses of a loan modification. Borrowers who qualify for a Home
Affordable Modification will never be required to pay a modification fee or pay past due
late fees. If there are costs associated with the modification, such as payment of back
taxes, your servicer will give you the option of adding them to the amount you owe on
your mortgage or paying some or all of the expenses in advance. Paying these expenses
in advance will reduce your new monthly payment and save interest costs over the life of
your loan.

If you would like assistance from a HUD-approved housing counseling agency or are
referred to a counselor as a condition of the modification, you will not be charged a
counseling fee. Borrowers should beware of any organization that attempts to charge an
upfront fee for housing counseling or modification of a delinquent loan, or any
organization that claims to guarantee success.

14. Is housing counseling required under this program?

Borrowers, especially delinquent borrowers, are strongly encouraged to contact a HUD-
approved housing counselor to help them understand all of their financial options and to
create a workable budget plan. These services are free. However, housing counseling is
only required for borrowers whose total monthly debts are very high in relation their
incomes. It is voluntary for other applicants.

When you apply for a Home Affordable Modification, your servicer will analyze your
monthly debts, including the amount you will owe on the new mortgage payment after it
is modified, as well as payments on a second mortgage, car loans, credit cards or child
support. If the sum of all of these recurring monthly expenses is equal to or more than
55% of your gross monthly income, you must agree to participate in housing counseling
provided by a HUD-approved housing counselor as a condition of getting the

15. I heard the government was providing a financial incentive to borrowers. Is
that true?

Yes. Borrowers who make timely payments on their modified loans will receive success
incentives. For every month you make a payment on time, Treasury will pay an incentive

that reduces the principal balance on your loan. The incentive will be applied directly to
your loan balance annually and over five years the total principal reduction could add up
to $5,000. This contribution by the Treasury will help you build equity faster.

16. I do not live in the house that secures the mortgage I’d like to modify. Is this
mortgage eligible for a Home Affordable Modification?

No. For example, if you own a house that you use as a vacation home or that you rent out
to tenants, the mortgage on that house is not eligible. If you used to live in the home but
you moved out, the mortgage is not eligible. Only the mortgage on your primary
residence is eligible. The mortgage servicer will check to see if the dwelling is your
primary residence. Misrepresenting your occupancy in order to qualify for this program is
a violation of Federal law and may have serious consequences.

17. I have a mortgage on a duplex. I live in one unit and rent the other. Will I still
be eligible?

Yes. Mortgages on two, three and four unit properties are eligible as long as you live in
one unit as your primary residence.

18. I owe more than my house is worth. Will a Home Affordable Modification
reduce what I owe?

The primary objective of the Making Home Affordable Program is to help borrowers
avoid foreclosure by modifying troubled loans to achieve a payment the borrower can
afford. Investors may, but are not required to, offer principal reductions. It is more likely
that your servicer will use interest rate reductions in order to make your payment

19. I have an FHA loan. Can it be modified under the making Home Affordable
Program? Are all loans eligible?

Most conventional loans including prime, subprime and adjustable loans, loans owned by
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and private lenders and most loans in mortgage backed
securities are eligible for a Home Affordable Modification. The Administration is
working with the Congress to enact legislation that will allow FHA and VA to offer
modifications consistent with Making Home Affordable in the near future. Currently
loans insured or guaranteed by these agencies are being modified under other programs
that also enable borrowers to retain homeownership.

20. How do I apply for a modification under the Making Home Affordable Plan?
If you meet the general eligibility criteria for the program, you should gather the financial
documentation that your servicer will need to determine if you qualify. Once you have
this information, you should call your mortgage servicer and ask to be considered for a

Home Affordable Modification. The number is on your monthly mortgage bill or coupon
If your loan is current, please be patient as it may take some time before servicers are
able to process all applications. However, servicers immediately can begin reviewing the
eligibility of borrowers.
If you would like to speak to a housing counselor you can call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673).
HUD-approved housing counselors can help you evaluate your income and expenses and
understand your options. This counseling is FREE.
If you have already missed one or more mortgage payments and have not yet
spoken to your servicer call them immediately.
21. What information and documents will I need?

It will help your servicer and speed processing of your application if you gather some
information and documents before you call. For all borrowers on your loan, you will
• Information about monthly gross income, including recent pay stubs if the
borrowers are salaried and receive them and documentation of any income
received from other sources.
• Most recent income tax return.
• Information about assets.
• Information about any second mortgage on the house.
• Account balances and minimum monthly payments due on all credit cards.
• Account balances and monthly payments on all other debts such as student
loans and car loans.
• A letter describing why your mortgage is unaffordable (i.e. what caused your
income(s) to be reduced or expenses to be increased).

22. How long will the Home Affordable Modification Program be available?

The program expires on December 31, 2012. Your trial modification must be in place by
that date.

23. My loan is scheduled for foreclosure soon. What should I do?

Many servicers have made a commitment to postpone foreclosure sales on all mortgages
that meet the minimum eligibility criteria for a Home Affordable Modification until those
loans can be fully evaluated.

However, borrowers whose loans have been scheduled for foreclosure or any borrower
that has missed one or more mortgage payments and has not yet spoken to their servicer
should contact the servicer immediately. Borrowers may also contact a HUD-approved
housing counselor by calling 1-888-995-HOPE (4673).


1. Who is my “loan servicer? Is that the same as my lender or investor?

Your loan servicer is the financial institution that collects your monthly mortgage payments and
has responsibility for the management and accounting of your loan. Your servicer may also be
your lender, which means they own your loan, however, many loans are owned by groups of

Traditionally, banks used money deposited in customers’ savings accounts to make loans. They
held the loans, earning the interest as borrowers repaid over time. Banks were thus limited in the
number of loans they could make because they had to wait to make new ones until savings
deposits grew or existing borrowers repaid their loans. Many families who wanted to own a
home were unable to do so because there was not a steady supply of money to lend.

Over time, banks started to turn loans into cash by pooling large groups of loans together to create
mortgage backed securities that could be sold to investors such as pension funds and hedge
funds. The investors get the right to collect future payments and the bank gets cash that it can use
to make more loans. Investors hire loan servicers to collect payments and interact with

If you have questions about your loan or you are behind on your payments you should call your
loan servicer at the number on your payment coupon or monthly mortgage statement.

2. Why does my loan servicer have to ask the investor if they can do a loan modification?

If the organization that services your loan does not own it, your servicer may need to get
permission from the owner or investor before they can change any of the terms of your loan.
Generally, there is a contract between the servicer and the investor that states what kind of actions
the servicer is allowed to take. Most of these contracts, called pooling and servicing agreements
(PSAs), give the servicer a lot of leeway to make modification decisions, so long as the
modification provides a better financial outcome for the investor than not modifying the loan.

3. What should I do if my servicer tells me that the investor is not participating in
Making Home Affordable?

As contracts with servicers and investors are signed, the list of participants will be posted
at http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/. Borrowers should check first to see if their
servicer is listed. If so, you should call your servicer back and ask to speak to a
supervisor or you may contact a HUD-approved housing counselor for assistance. If your
servicer or investor is not participating in the program, you should ask your servicer or a
housing counselor about other workout options that may be available.


• There should never be a fee for assistance with or information about the Making
Home Affordable Program.
• Beware of any person or organization that asks you to pay an upfront fee in exchange
for a counseling service or modification of a delinquent loan. Do not pay – walk
• Beware of anyone who says they can “save” your home if you sign or transfer over
the deed to your house. Do not sign over the deed to your property to any
organization or individual unless you are working directly with your mortgage
company to forgive your debt.
• Never make your mortgage payments to anyone other than your mortgage company
without their approval.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Home Inspection Nightmares

Hey first time home buyers, here are a few reasons you should always have an home inspection when you purchase a home. See the photos below for examples of some really inspired home repairs that I hope your home inspector will site in their full report. See if you can top these.

OK- I might get over the outlet in the shower. But I will not accept the toilet paper holder IN the shower.

When the power company told its crew to run electricity to this house, I'm sure they didn't mean to just stick all the wires through a hole in the roof!

Pretty safe isn't it? I mean the hot lead is at least a quarter inch from a metal oil pipe and it is almost 48 inches off the ground so children won't touch it...

Yes- go ahead and connect the dryer vent to the water heater flue.

What the heck is this????

The county inspector had JUST signed off on it. Said it was "all he could do since it was a remodel".

If you can't bend metal conduit, just use a few extra junction boxes!

You know you're a redneck HVAC tech when you use a chew can for a junction box.

When you do not have an outlet box, use a Nike box.Just do it!

Main load, acetone, grits, and tool storage panel.

"Screw that I-beam- just cut it. That is the framer's problem."

Instead of flashing the penetrations, install buckets with pipes under the drips.

.........shower and ceiling fan in master bath...."
Hmm.where does the wire go and how much glue did he use to stick that thing there?

The ad listed the house with a "whole house attic fan". Professionally installed no doubt.

If you can vent ONE bathroom exhaust then you certainly vent THREE!

"I paid an electrician to do it"

"Flashing!? We don't need no stinking flashing!"

"Look- I had 18" of pipe and this bag of couplers."

I think this goes to a ceiling fan mounted on the ceiling of a bathroom on the other side of this wall. Maybe.

Supply air, meet return air.