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June 27, 2009
The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - The Keweenaw Multiple Listing Service can be thought of as a giant "property warehouse," as it is an expansive database of real estate listings available in the current market.

The Keweenaw MLS is a cooperative among local REALTORS, who through their expertise and experience provide buyers and sellers with a comprehensive look at the real estate market in Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga and Ontonagon counties. Its members include: RE/MAX Douglass of Houghton and Calumet; Wickley Agency of Hancock; North Shore Real Estate of L'Anse; Century 21 of Houghton, Calumet and L'Anse; Fraki Real Estate of Atlantic Mine; Seaton Appraisal of Hancock; Alan's Realty of Houghton; Keweenaw Real Estate of Laurium; North Wind Real Estate of Hancock; State Wide Real Estate of Houghton; Up North Realty of L'Anse; Great Lakes & Land Real Estate of L'Anse; Borseth Properties of Ewen; Domitrovich Realty of Ontonagon; Gateway Real Estate of Baraga; Forsberg Appraisal of Calumet; Ken Wedge Associates of Lake Linden; Moyle Real Estate & Development of Houghton; Moyle Real Estate & Development of Atlantic Mine and Ontonagon; and Rolof Appraisal Service of L'Anse.

By searching the database of the Upper Peninsula Association of REALTORS (, buyers and sellers can gain access to more than 5,000 listings. In addition, the agencies have their own Web sites, which can include information about their services and agents. Buyers and sellers can research these sites, so as to make an informed decision about their choice of a REALTOR. This process can provide a real benefit, so as to avoid the many problems that can ensue within this most important transaction. The Keweenaw MLS members remind prospective buyers and sellers to get as much professional advise as possible.

However, members of the Keweenaw MLS recommend buyers and sellers consult a REALTOR rather than diving into the real estate market alone.

Not only are REALTORS experienced and up to date on the latest market trends, they are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. All REALTORS subscribe to a strict code of ethics, which is based on professionalism and protection of the public.

Listing with a REALTOR provides the seller with wider exposure, since all Keweenaw MLS companies are able to show and sell their properties. Sellers that are not sure of the value of their property should contact a REALTOR to get a Comparative Market Analysis done. The CMA gives the buyer or seller an estimated price, which gives them a sense of direction and good knowledge base to make their decision.

This year, home buyers who qualify can take advantage of a tax credit of up to $8,000. The 2009 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit is available to first-time home buyers who purchase homes between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 1, 2009.

Members of the Keweenaw MLS say now is the time for prospective buyers to be looking at homes. The inventory is excellent. From a sellers perspective, the prices and value are holding.

The four-county area has a relatively stable market, and interest rates are as good as they've ever been. According to Freddie Mac, third-year conventional fixed rate mortgages nationwide edged up to 4.86 percent in May, from a record low of 4.81 in April and the rate of 6.04 in May a year ago.

Members of the Keweenaw MLS suggest the important first step for home buyers is to get their finances in order, then approach a lender. REALTORS have the ability to direct the buyer to a lender with regard to the type of loan they may be seeking. Buyers and sellers are encouraged to interview three REALTORS to find out which one is the best fit.

Buyers and sellers should understand that the state requires REALTORS disclose who they are working for, whether they're working for the buyer or seller. It's important for the public to know who their agent is representing.

In summary, the real estate market in The Copper Country is steady, with the market values holding well. There are low interest rates and impressive benefits, which include the first-time home buyer's income tax credit. Buyers are reminded to consult with their lender to determine their pre-qualification conditions. Buyers and sellers are reminded to use diligence, so as to make a wise decision about these important choices in what is real estate market with opportunities for everyone.



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