Mary Novak

Licensed Realtor

My Blog

What to Do On A BRRRRR Cold Michigan Winter Night


The first week in January 2018 has been pretty chilly!  Temps as low as -20 below.  This weather makes me want to hibernate.  But here is a fun family idea.  East to do, plus it feeds everyone.  Make pizza!  I had my grandkids over to celebrate Ronan's 3rd birthday.  I thought to myself, while planning, what can we do that is fun since we can't go out to shovel snow (Ronan like to shovel snow), take a walk or build a snowman.  I decided making personal pizza would be fun and we could get the family involved from Grumpa (yep, that is what he is called) down to the birthday boy.

We used 3 Walmart Great Value pizza dough packs, found in the refrigerated biscuit section of the supermarket, and then I dove into my cupboard and refrig to find the toppings.  What I pulled out  was black olives, mushroom, Greek pepperocini, artichokes, sliced tomatoes, mozzarella, cheddar cheese, onion, ham and peppers.  I used pizza sauce but think you could use tomato sauce and replace pepperoni with salami.  Instead of using pizza sauce--the next time I will use olive oil and Italian seasonings.  Yummy, just thinking about that idea.

R and B each made their own pizza.  Brynn wanted cheese only.  Ronan was more creative with black olives and pepperoni.  While the adults worked on the 3rd pizza creating a pretty delish pizza.  It only took about 15 minutes for the pizzas to cook in a 425 degree oven.  We topped the evening off playing the game Jenga.

The kids are spending the night next weekend and I have already decided on personal Calzones....the family that cooks together loves together!  Yes, the birthday boy was the star of the day!

Happy Birthday R!

How Do You Eat An Elephant?



How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time?  Happy New Year!  WE all make those pesky but hopeful New Year resolutions....but at least for me, within one week, I have tossed them out the window!  This year, I have decided to have one resolution only!  I have decided to quit kidding myself into believing that many goals will get done within that one year time frame.  So, this year, after much thought,  I decided to redo my goals and rethink how to implement them.  This is how I will eat that bite at a time.

1.  Write my goals down!

2.  Post my goal--IN FRONT OF MY FACE SO I SEE IT EVERYDAY.  In this case, my goal is located on my desk wall.  Every time I look up, I will see my goal.

3.  Have an action plan on how to achieve my goal.  The action plan should be written on your goal sheet.  Doesn't need to be anything fancy...handwritten is AOK.

4.  Don't keep your goal a secret!  Tell everyone...then find that one special someone who will hold you accountable.

5.  Realize that this is going to be a year-long process.  No easy fixes!

6.  If you fall, just pick yourself up and start over.  This is a new learning process.

7.  Remind yourself often what is the end result for you when you achieve your goal.

My wish for all is to have a happy, healthy, productive and loving 2018!

"Marvelous" Mary Novak

It is August, does that mean the home selling season is over?


In a nutshell NO! 

  1. Your home may be in bigger demand in the Fall season, because many home sellers do take their home off the market.
  2. There will always be a reason for someone to purchase a home, whether it is marriage, new baby or job change.
  3. Less inventory for the home buyers to look at during the Fall and Winter months.
  4. As a home seller you may have less showings, but the showings will be more motivated buyers. No one likes to walk through the cold and rain if they don’t have too!
  5. Your home may have more curb appeal and look more “homey” with decorating for the Fall and Winter season.
  6. Once school is back in session, lots of buyers begin looking to make a purchase, hoping to close and move into the new home by the Christmas Holidays.
  7. Personally, December has always been a great sales month for me.
  8. As always, the four conditions that will always help with a home sale is: priced right, staged right, right location and what none of us have control over~the economy!


Contact me for your free home staging packets at   810.844.2280

Mary M Novak, Full Time Licensed Realtor

I did it!



Oh No!  I Have Become The Typical Home Buyer……

I am a baby boomer and had to make the move!


It happened… husband and I have decided to downsize.  Thinking I am a full-time licensed Realtor, I thought this would be a piece of cake for us.  Especially since we have purchased investment and vacation property in the past.  WRONG!  I became one of those buyers, driving around neighborhoods, looking for those For Sale signs…..calling the agents……Oh My!  I should know better!  But it happened—we went to an open house and as soon as we walked in, my husband and I looked at each other and said “I could live here.”  I immediately began to mentally negotiate the price down due to the updates that were needed in the house….forget the square footage and lot size…..every house should have granite HA…. 

Our offer was made, I couldn’t sleep that night waiting for the response.  Low and behold—they said yes after some negotiation.  I was so excited about this house, I couldn’t negotiate for myself; I had a fellow Realtor jump in and do the negotiations.  Yes, I am a true buyer and I now understand why home buyers should have a Realtor on their side. 

Thinking about buying or selling your home?  Contact me for your FREE brochure!

Mary Novak  810 844 2280

6 Reasons to Buy a Home in 2015


                           6 Reasons to Buy a Home in 2015

  1. Prices will rise more slowly
  2. Even though prices are not expected to rise as fast as 2014, they will probably rise faster than incomes
  3. The home buying process will be less frenzied than 2014, thanks to eased inventory and credit plus investors have exited the market
  4. Mortgage rates are expected to rise the 2nd quarter of 2015
  5. Rent increases will outpace home value growth. Rents are expected to rise up to 3.5% in 2015
  6. Home owners are still eligible to get tax write offs through home purchases

6 Reasons to Sell a Home in 2015

  1. 25-34 years old will form new households in 2015
  2. Baby Boomers are downsizing
  3. Interest Rates are not expected to rise until 2nd quarter 2015
  4. Recovering job market
  5. 93% of renters plan to buy a home someday
  6. Home ownership is still the American Dream!

6 Reasons to Use a REALTOR® For Home Buying and Selling

  1. 89% of buyers and 88% of sellers used a REALTOR®
  2. When you work with a REALTOR®, their fiduciary responsibility is to YOU
  3. Complex, ever-changing real estate regulations. Buying or selling a home is not like purchasing a plane ticket. Every home is different, and laws change every year and vary from state to state
  4. A REALTOR® knows the market
  5. As a Buyer, a REALTOR® fee is paid by the seller

6.REALTOR® Code of Ethics ensures that consumers who work with a REALTOR® are treated professionally and ethically in all transaction-related matters.


We Closed IN Escrow...Now What?

    We Closed In Escrow......What Does That Mean??

Great, everyone showed up on time, utilities have been transferred, you brought your cashier check and you signed your life away.......but now you are being told that you have closed in escrow. What?! Do you mean I don't get the keys to the house right now?

Typically, when you have closed in escrow, this means that the lender funds have not been received yet by the title company so that they can not disperse checks to the sellers or Realtors. Even though the documents have been signed, notarized and emailed or faxed to the lender. Funds are electronically wired to the title company. We all think it takes a push of a button to send an email but sometimes the wire is held up in outer space.

Most of the time when we buy something, we do not get to take possession of it until we have paid for it. Unless there is some kind of rent-to-own agreement in place, a seller will hold onto the house until they have received payment. As difficult as it may be for a buyer, I always advise my sellers not to let the purchaser move in before the funds have been received. The seller has to be concerned about the liability issue. It may be a hardship for the buyer, but if they have to stay in a hotel until the funds have been received so be it. Technically, the seller still owns the house.

If the seller allows the buyer to move into the property before funds have been dispersed, the seller is almost like a landlord and the purchaser a tenantwithout a lease agreement! Check out the movie Pacific Heights. (This movie proves again that possession is nine-tenths of the law) Once I watched this film, I understood why sellers should not allow buyers to move into the property until it is a done deal. Check out the

Pacific Heights Trailer

A closing in escrow can also be a hardship to the seller as well. We are seeing more back to back closings. Meaning that seller has to close (receive the funds) on his current house before he can close on his new house.

As my Dad always told me It is not a sale until you have the cash in hand!

Mary M Novak is a licensed Michigan Realtor with RE/MAX Platinum in Brighton MI. Nothing in this article is meant to give legal advice. All transactions are different. Guidelines and examples presented are for illustration purposes only. These guidelines and examples may not apply to your situation. Nothing herein is meant to substitute for you obtaining your own legal opinion. RE/MAX Platinum is not responsible for the content of this article, all Realtors at RE/MAX Platinum are independent contractors

Clear To Close---What Does It Mean?



So your lender called you and said we have a Clear to Close. You ask them what does that mean and they tell you in 3-4 days you can sign your mortgage documents and get the keys to your house. You are ecstatic! You post the news on FB, you tell your boss I won't be in the office on such and such a line up the movers, change the utilities and farm the kids out to your parents . STOP! Clear to close" simply means that your file has passed all requirements from the underwriter and your documents can be ordered and forwarded to the closing agent.

What your banker did not tell you is that there are a minimum of six other people involved in this transaction! The close needs to take place during banking hours. You can't schedule your close for a Saturday or after 6pm. A time and day need to be confirmed with both Realtors, the sellers, title company and closer. Plus we are seeing more and more lenders requiring 48-72 hours prior to close to review final documents for final approval. Before the mortgage banking fiasco, we could close a sale of house within 3-4 days of verbal Clear to Close, but that has all changed! The banks and title companies have required processes in place to review the documents and double check them again. Not only that, you don't want people rushing around and working on your final documents. You want everything to be correct and accurate. As a Realtor, I like to review the final HUD and go over it with my clients prior to close so that they understand the numbers and are in agreement. There is nothing worse than being at the close table and someone saying STOP, this isn't right. This will postpone the closing. In a perfect world, if you get the call that you have a Clear to Close, please consider it as a Clear to Proceed to Close, and plan on closing at least seven days out.

This will allow for a smooth closing. And, after all, isn't this what everyone wants?

Written by: Marvelous Mary Novak, Licensed Realtor, RE/MAX Platinum

Mary Novak is a licensed Realtor in Mi with RE/MAX Platinum. Nothing in this article is meant to give legal advice. All transactions are different. Guidelines and examples presented are for illustration purposes only. These guidelines and examples may not apply to your situation. Nothing herein is meant to substitute for you obtaining your own legal opinion. RE/MAX Platinum is not responsible for the content of this article, all Realtors at RE/MAX Platinum are independent contractors.

You Closed On Your Home....Now What?!

 You closed on your new home and all you heard was BLAH BLAH BLAH sign here, sign there and all you remember is getting a key to your palace! Now what?


As your title closer will tell you at the closing table, it is imperative that you go to the county or township and file your homestead excemption on your property for tax purposes. This is a simple, free process.You have 45 days (in Michigan) to do this after your closing. Otherwise, you will be charged a $5/day late fee up to $200. Your closer will have given you a Homestead Status sheet (plus a copy.) You basically show up at the county/township assessor office and bring along your documents that you were given by the title closer. Ask the clerk to date stamp the copy and give it back to you. Keep it in a safe place. This is to ensure that your property is homestead correctly. Its that easy. If you dont homestead your property by April 1, your property taxes could increase significantly (approximately 40%). It is best to homestead your property as soon as you move into your new home, as forgetting and trying to undo the forgetfulness isnt easy and its costly.


If you do not receive your payment booklet by the time your first payment is due.....use the coupons that were handed to you at close! You don't want to miss your first payment or be late and be charged for it! More often than not, your mortgage loan will be sold from the company that you received your mortgage from, to a secondary market investor. This is important to you as you will need to pay your monthly mortgage payment to whoever is currently servicing or owns your mortgage. Do not be alarmed when you get a letter after closing stating that ABC Mortgage has sold your loan and to start making payments to XYZ Mortgage. You will also get a letter from XYZ Mortgage, letting you know how to contact them and where to send your payments. This will probably happen a number of times throughout the life of the loan. Lately, we have seen loans being sold to different companies a number of times before the first payment is even made. Just make sure that you are contacted by the company that HAD your mortgage and verify that it was sold before you start sending mortgage payments to unconfirmed places.


Chances are you have already arranged for utility services on your new home; most people will have them lined up for the day of or the day after closing. You can contact the United States Postal Service to get your mailing address switched, and dont forget to contact each of your individual banks, employers, creditors, subscriptions and other service providers.


When you purchase your home, you will be put on the title of the property. Title shows who owes the home. Please be aware that the recording process is just that, a process. it doesnt happen overnight. It can take months for your name to show up in title to your property. If you are purchasing a bank owned property it will take even longer.


This document is important when you are doing your taxes for year end of the year you purchased your home. There are alllowable deductions on this form. So, be sure to hand them over to your tax preparer Your closer will have given you a copy of these documents for your records.


If you mortgaged your property, an appraisal was ordered and required by your lender. You should have a copy of it for your records, you paid for it! If you did not receive a copy from your loan officer, ask them to send a copy to you. Keep this document with your other housing closing records. It may come in handy if you decide to sell your home.


You are settled in and you are now considering shopping around a bit more for your homeowner insurance. First off, don't make a switch until you talk to your lender. You need to be sure that there is no lapse in your homeowner policy. Otherwise, if the bank receives a notice that you cancelled one policy before they receive a notice that you have a new insurance carrier, they will give you insurance at a very heavy cost to youthe payments will go into your house payment! So it is very important that transferring home owner insurance is seemless.

Many first time home-buyers have questions after closing. Every transaction is different, so dont be afraid to call your realtor or loan officer or title company for guidance.

Contact me to receive your FREE Home Buyer Guide


Grand Parents


Me A Grandma?

It finally happened! Another right of passage. I joined the ranks of many of my friends. Thanks to my wonderful son and even more wonderful daughter-in-law, my husband and I became grandparents on March 8, 2012 at 2:15pm. That day in my life will know be known as Brynn's Day. Who knew 7lbs of pink fluff could turn us into mush.

All of my friends told me you won't believe how fabulous it is to become a grandparent. They would brag about the wonders of their grandchildren.....first smile, step, walking and they would go on and on ad nausea WELLI now get it and let me tell you about my Granddaughter......the prettiest, smartest most talented 7-day old baby there is. My friends would show me photo after photo of these kids and I would think to myself.....whatever. WELLwhatever just happened to me! How many poses can a 7- day old infant do.....WELL..Let me show you and I'll start with photo one!

The next challenge as a new Grandmother is what to be called. OUT is the term Granny! So many choices...Mimi, Nana, MeMaw, Grandma Novak, Chickee and the list goes on and on. You want this new title to sound stylish yet authoritative. You don't want to be confused with the other Grandma. Finally after a great friend made suggestions, I decided to be called Queenie. I mean really to know me is to understand the name just fits! After all wasn't a Princess just born into our household? My husband will be called Grumples. Yep, because sometimes he is a grump. But he sure does soften when he talks about the baby.

So many tips from my friends. Get a pack and play for the house.....huh.....a blanket on the floor doesn't work anymore? Get my own car seat and high chair but I don't think they make high chairs anymore....Learn to Skype.....huh....what is that? Baby terminology has changed from when I had my babies. YipesI need to catch up. Although I will admit I did go out and purchase a brand new leather rocking chair for Brynn and I to share when she visits:)

As I reflect back on my own Granny, I realize how important she was in my life. She passed away when I was in my early 40's. My Granny and I had a special relationship. I would spend nights at her house on Whitcomb in Detroit as a girl and we would drink tea, play cards, go to the movies and just plain chat. Granny would talk about her life in Scotland, coming to America and having her own family. Her losses of a young husband and child. I learned perseverance from my Granny and a love of God and faith will carry you through. That family is first. One of her favorite sayings when my brothers and I would fight was Just remember when you need a drink of water you will always be able to go to your brothers' doors. As I a kid I thought what in the world is she talking about. As an adult I get it. I have been able to turn to my brothers in tough times and good. I was fortunate that Granny would stay at my parents house one or two nights a week when my Dad was traveling. I learned how Mothers&Daughters interact as adults.(although I never was able to practice this since my sweet Ma died when I was 24 years old) My Grandmother outlived her children so in her later years her care came to her grandchildren. I am grateful and considered it a privilege to be allowed to look over her with my siblings. I saw what dementia can do and how important family is. My Grandmother allowed me to teach my children about compassion and the circle of life. So now its my turn! Watch out World Queenie is here to stay! Let the spoiling begin.

Here is a great resource for Grandparents. #

Tell Me Why?



As a Real Estate agent I get to wondering why people do or don't do the things that

should be done when problems arise with their home financing or mortgage. Today,

many people find themselves in the untenable position of being upside down on the

value of their home. They purchased their home maybe five years ago and now find

their home is worth 40% less than what they paid for it. This is not a good thing!

What's even worse, perhaps the home owner or the spouse has lost a job. Now they find

themselves in the position of not being able to meet the monthly mortgage payment. So,

Tell Me Why the solution for so many folks is to let the bank foreclose on the

property and just walk away ? There are many resources or options for people to

utilize. Don't just give up !! Here is what one short sale client told me at close with

tears in their eyes Thank you so much Mary, we feel like a huge weight has been lifted

off of our shoulders.

The first thing to know, is if you receive a foreclosure notice, don't panic ! There is still

time to do something about it. It does not mean that you must leave your home

immediately. Usually there is a 3 month period between the foreclosure notice and the

date of the Sheriff Sale. After the Sheriff Sale, Michigan law allows you a 6 month

redemption period. You can continue to stay in that house for 6 months after the sale

without making any payments to your mortgage company. During this time you can list

your home and try to sell it. A lot of banks will actually work with you especially if it is

a temporary job loss situation, but you must make contact with the bank, advise them of

your situation and try to negotiate some sort of arrangement with them. The bank would

much rather see you in your home than have the house empty and your home in their

inventory. There is a loan modification program run by the Federal Government which

could also help you stay in your home. However, the Government program is a tedious

and trying program to work with and there are many scammers out there who say they

can help you. Simply beware of people offering to help for a fee.

Assuming you are unable to work with your bank or receive a timely loan modification,

the next step would be to try to SHORT SALE your home. A short sale is when

you sell your home for the current market value...which in most cases is less than you

owe on the property. Your mortgage holder will have to agree to the sale and they

usually will. This is where the professional Realtor agent should be employed. You

should make sure that the agent or broker has the certification. OUR COMMISSION


receive an offer on your home with a short sale, you still have the option to cancel the

purchase offer if you do not agree with the terms that the bank is offering you. BUT, in

some cases lenders are offering a relocation cash fee to the sellers so that when they

vacate their home, the home is left in broom clean condition.

Professionals with a C.D.P.E. (Certified Distressed Property Expert)

certification have been trained to deal with foreclosure, distressed property, and short

sale issues. They can help you thru the process and deal with the banks and help

eliminate much of the stress that goes along with the process. The important thing to

remember is that You are not Alone. Many other people are in this situation


I am Marvelous Mary Novak and I am a Licensed Realtor with Remax Platinum

in Brighton, Michigan. I have the C.D.P.E. Certification and am here to help! There is

never a charge for a no cost no obligation consultation. If you are having a problem, I

will help you and explain your options regarding a short sale. So, TELL ME WHY

people just walk away without exercising their options? I CAN HELP !! It's free and

confidential Call my office @ 810-229-4700 or my cell phone @ 517-861-7064 and ask


To learn about the CDPE certification and how we are working to save one homeowner

at a time, check out

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