Category Archives: Blog

5 Reasons to Call a Real Estate Agent Before Your Vacation

You might be surprised to hear this, but if you want to maximize the benefits of a vacation and minimize your costs, you ought to give a top real estate agent in the area a quick call.

Top real estate agents, as local experts, can show you a place the way only longtime residents can see it. They make insightful tour guides because they spend every waking moment trying to convince people to move into the neighborhood.

Not only that, but if you end up loving your trip so much you want to live there forever, it doesn’t hurt to have a contact on the inside. Good agents can help you crunch the numbers and figure out whether it’s financially viable to own a vacation house in your lovable getaway place.

Ask any agent who knows what they’re doing and they’ll talk your ear off about how they can help you on your travels, but we thought to boil it down to the five ways they can save you money in the long run.

1. They can be your 15-minute tour guide (just ask politely)

If you’re vacationing, chances are the hip urban vibe or tranquil oceanscape will spark a sense of wanderlust. The problem is that there are too many special boards out there advertising “$15 Cruise on The Bay!” at Fisherman’s Wharf or “Scenic Waterfall Hike!” on the big island of Hawaii. Who goes to a place just to see the same stuff they get at home?

No one knows the local landscape better than a good real estate agent. They have to—without extensive knowledge of local schools, eats and local things to see and do, they would have nothing to show potential buyers.

For example, real estate agent Dan Ihara, who happens to be in the top 1% of sellers in Hawaii, knows the waves in Honolulu unlike anyone else.

He knows most of the people buying homes in Honolulu are headed there for the surf culture. And he’s got the inside scoop on great surf spots you’ll never find in a guidebook.

Any real estate agent will be happy to spend 15 minutes chatting with you, especially if there’s potential for you to become a client later on.

Here’s how to use that short introductory call to your advantage:

  • Get “what it’s like to live there” recommendations for local sights, eats and things to do to get a feel for what the city is all about. These places are guaranteed to be cheaper—and better quality—than tourist sites that attempt to squeeze as much money out of you as possible.
  • Get recommendations for areas in your price range.
  • Make plans to see the highest performing rental areas.

The best part about using an agent as a tour guide is that you’ll build a positive relationship if you decide to buy a property in that location down the road.

2. They’ll be straight with you

Owning a vacation home cuts the cost of lodging and food when you travel, as you’ll have a full kitchen to store and prep meals. Plus, in some markets, you can make enough renting out the home when you don’t use it to cover the cost of the second mortgage.

On the other hand, you should be careful when you consider buying a vacation home.

As Wall Street Journal reporter Jeff Brown writes, “Among the common rookie mistakes are focusing on purchase price, rental rates and recent market trends and counting on more renters than are likely.”

A local agent can give you insights about buying in the area.

The next time you visit your favorite destination—perhaps in the Cayman Islands, the South of France or the Gold Coast of Australia—a top real estate agent can sit down and help you understand what you can reasonably afford.

We put together several questions to ask in a meeting with a real estate agent to better your understanding of owning a vacation rental. Your ultimate goal is to learn if you can make money or break even on your vacation home, or if you’ll need to pay for a second mortgage.

  • How is the vacation rental market in this area? Do vacation homeowners usually get strong occupancy rates? What is the average vacation rental occupancy rate in this area?
  • How much do you think I can afford in a vacation home? How much do homes usually rent for per week in this area?
  • Do you have a relationship with any vacation rental companies that could care for or rent out the property for me? How much would that cost?
  • Do you think I will make money, break even or lose money on this vacation home?
  • What is peak season for vacation rentals in this area?

3. They can provide the latest & greatest on trendy neighborhoods

Real estate agents also know what’s going on in the local market, what homes move the fastest and what vacation areas are ripe for investment. For example, in Las Vegas, top 1% agent Jeff Galindo can anticipate the trends of his area better than any travel agency.

“When things started changing about a year ago, or 18 months ago, give or take, those homes are the ones that started getting swallowed up,” he said. “Those are the ones that people took out of the market and started buying and flipping and rehabbing. So it’s really difficult for anyone to find anything under $100,000 today in our market, which is unusual.”

These neighborhoods are not only good places to invest in, but they’re the areas you should see on vacation. The faster homes start to move, the more interest there is in a particular area, which means locals can’t get enough of it.

Take San Francisco. Visit the city and you might get stuck at Fisherman’s Wharf, on a cable car in Union Square or licking ice cream off your fingers in Ghirardelli Square. The true expression of San Francisco culture, though, is in the Mission District, or the Hayes Valley neighborhood, or in the Castro. These places also have rising home prices.

4. They can help you get more for your money

If you are in the market for a vacation home, one strategy to maximize the house you’ll get for your money is to buy a home you can fix up.

Real estate agents will know about properties like these in your vacation destination that are most likely in your price range. If you’ve dreamt about owning a treehouse in Kauai, talking to an agent before you fly over to the island could give you the confidence you need to start looking.

5. They can help you pick your new perfect neighborhood

A real estate agent is the person best equipped to match you to neighborhoods she thinks will become your favorite. In addition to roaming the streets to find your favorite new bistro, you’ll get acquainted with areas you could see yourself—and your family—living in.

As Mynor Herrera, top 1% real estate agent in the Washington, Virginia and Maryland areas told us, “There’s so much that a local agent can bring to the table just by institutional knowledge of that marketplace.”

The real estate agent will know the best neighborhoods and get a feel for how people actually live life in your destination.

Ultimately, meeting with a real estate agent on your vacation can give you a new perspective on the area and what it’s like to live there. You may even get inspired to finally buy the beachfront hideaway you’ve always wanted.

James Silver

Associate Broker | Team Leader

Keller Williams Realty | James Silver Team

(248) 530-7292 |

7 Tips to Make Your Spare Bedroom Shine This Summer

With summer vacation season in full swing, chances are good that your guest room will see its fair share of traffic. Does your guest bedroom say “budget motel” or “five-star getaway”? Will your loved ones actually look forward to staying at your place, or dread it?

Luckily, it doesn’t take much to create a stylish and welcoming haven that will impress your guests – and keep them comfortable during these hot, sultry months. Try these designer tips and touches to elevate your space for summer visitors. Just beware: They might feel so at home, they’ll never want to leave.

Tip No. 1: Make it dark

It’s summer, so you might be inclined to use thin, airy linen for your window coverings – don’t we all love that elegant beachy look that lets the light pour in? 

But as nice as they might appear, thin curtains aren’t always the most practical choice. Ensure a good night’s sleep – and lots of privacy – by installing blackout shades or other thick curtains that can block out the summer sun and heat. 

Tip No. 2: Provide luggage racks

This simple and inexpensive guest room addition well end up being a lifesaver. For starters, your guests will appreciate not having to bend over and unpack on the floor. Also, a luggage rack serves as a subtle hint to your guests not to toss their dusty suitcases onto the bed. 

Tip No. 3: Use lightweight linens on the bed 

Now’s the time to show off that luxuriously warn down duvet you scored on sale. Cool cotton or precale is the way to go in warmer weather, but don’t forget to add a lightweight blanket or comforter on the end of the bed. 

Tip No. 4: Provide access to tech

A TV in your guest room is a real treat, especially if you have cable, or a Netflix account and a Roku/Chromecast/Amazon Fire/Apple TV/insert-your-favorite-tech-device-here. 

Make sure to leave written instructions for the remote control and login information. An extra phone charger is key. And don’t forget the Wi-Fi password.

Tip No. 5: Offer bedside accompaniments 

A few well-chosen accessories will set a welcome tone. 

Tip No. 6: Serve drinks and snacks

Much as it might feel like it, you’re not running a hotel – so you don’t need to set up a whole minibar. But a few treats will offer an extra-welcoming touch. 

In the guest room, you can leave a bottle of sparkling water or a carafe and glass set. Fruit in a bowl is a healthy idea, especially seasonal peaches. You could also add a granola bar and a box of mints. 

Want your guests to really feel comfortable? Try giving them their own caffeine fix. 

Tip No. 7: Stock the bath

You know you’ll have a guest who forgets her toothbrush. Or one who needs floss or a bandage. Be prepared with these necessities in the medicine cabinet or in a basket on the counter. Include travel-size shampoo, conditioner, hand lotion, lip balm, and toothpaste. Also have on hand a packet of Advil, disposable raor, and extra hair dryer. 



James Silver

Associate Broker | Team Leader

Keller Williams Realty | James Silver Team

(248) 530-7292 |

15 Most Family-Friendly Metros: Do You Live in One?

So you’re looking for a new home to accommodate your growing family. You’ll need more space. Check. An easy commute to work. Check. And good schools for the kids. Check!

You’d better start looking in the Midwest.

Top 15 most family-friendly cities and towns 

  1. Blue Springs, MO (outside of Kansas City, MO)
  2. Tuttle, OK (Oklahoma City)
  3. Fenton, MO (St. Louis)
  4. Boca Raton, FL (Palm Beach, FL)
  5. Aurora, IL (Chicago)
  6. Brownsburg, IN (Indianapolis)
  7. Broadview Heights, OH (Cleveland) 
  8. Horsham, PA (Philadelphia)
  9. Buford, GA (Atlanta)
  10. Powell, OH (Columbus, OH)
  11. Katy, TX (Houston) 
  12. Cranberry Township, PA (Pittsburgh)
  13. Summerlin, NV (Las Vegas)
  14. St. John’s, FL (Jacksonville, FL)
  15. Cross Mountain, TX (San Antonio) 



James Silver

Associate Broker | Team Leader

Keller Williams Realty | James Silver Team

(248) 530-7292 |

U.S. Home-Price Growth at Fastest Rate in Nearly Three Years!

U.S. house prices continued to show no signs of slowing, hitting their highest in nearly three years as demand remains hot!

The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city index rose 5.9% in the three-month period ending in February compared to the same period a year ago, an acceleration from its 5.7% yearly increase in January. This is the highest rate since July, 2014.

The 20-city index was up 0.4% for a month, or a 0.7% gain when seasonally adjusted.


Monthly change (%)

12-month change (%)


Atlanta 0.4 5.6
Boston 0.4 7.6
Charlotte 0.5 6.1
Chicago 0.2 6.2
Cleveland -0.3 4.5
Dallas 1.1 8.8
Denver 0.4 8.5
Detroit 0.3 6.2
Las Vegas 0.4 6.3
Los Angeles 0.4 5.1
Miami 0 6.7
Minneapolis 0.1 5.9
New York 0 3.2
Phoenix 0.4 5.3
Portland 0.8 9.7
San Diego 1 6.5
San Francisco 1.2 6.4
Seattle 1.9 12.2
Tampa -0.5 6.9
Washington 0.2 4.1

Now is the time to sell to get the most out of your investment. Call us today to find out how we can help you get the most from the sale of your home.


James Silver

Associate Broker | Team Leader

Keller Williams | The James Silver Team

Michigan | Florida

(248) 530-7292 |

America’s Top 5 Up-and-Coming Foodie Towns

Who’s ready to eat? has selected the top 5 up-and coming foodie towns by the following criteria:

  • # of non-fast-food restaurants per capita
  • # of craft breweries, food trucks & markets
  • % of adults who dine out 3x per week
  • # of mentions in food magazines
  • # of Michelin-recommended restaurants

Let’s eat!


This is one of the prime meals-on-wheels locales in the United States. Welcome to street food nirvana with 155 different food trucks. 


Tradition plus innovation equals one of the surprise eating destinations on the East Coast. There is something for everyone in this new food mecca.


Fresh and experimental eats here in the birthplace of the farm-to-table movement with many cool and weird places to try. 


Award-winning, locally caught seafood is creatively prepared. Blue crabs, oysters, fish, shrimp, and clams are hauled in daily. 


Beer, booze, and barbecue. Southern food is elevated using local ingredients and taking mountain cuisine to new heights. 

Where will you go for your next food adventure?


content courtesy:

James Silver

Associate Broker | Team Leader

Keller Williams Realty | James Silver Team

Michigan | Florida

(248) 530-7292 |

Detroit Tigers 2017 Opening Day Roster

Hey batter, batter, batter! It’s that time of the year, again. Spring is in the air and the Tigers are ready to come out to play. April 7, 2017 is officially Opening Day for the Tigers as they take on the Boston Red Sox at 1:10 p.m. Whether you plan to go to the game or just hang around downtown Detroit, here is the full roster for the game:


Matthew Boyd

Michel Fulmer

Shane Greene

Daniel Norris

Francisco Rodriguez

Bruce Rondon

Kyle Ryan

Anibal Sanchez

Justin Verlander

Alex Wilson

Justin Wilson

Jordan Zimmermann


Alex Avila

James McCann


Miguel Cabrera

Nicholas Castellanos

Jose Iglesias

Ian Kinsler

Dixon Machado

Andrew Romine


Tyler Collins

JaCoby Jones

Mikie Mahtook

Justin Upton


Victor Martinez

Eat ’em up, boys! Good luck to the Tigers!

Line up courtesy of CBS Detroit 

James Silver

Associate Borker | Team Leader

Keller Williams Realty | James Silver Team

Michigan | Florida

(248) 530-7292 |

Cheap Upgrades to Make a Home Feel New!

#1 Sensor Lights – Brighten Up! 

Add sensor lights to your porch and any other entrance. Starting at just $15, it’s a tiny cost with a BIG REWARD. These lights won’t just improve your visibility, they’ll also LOWER YOUR ELECTRICITY BILL.


#2 Keyless Entry – Make it Easy!

If you’re always losing your keys, invest in a keyless entry pad. Plus, it’ll only run you about $100.


#3 Low-Flow Toilet – Save Water! 

Chose a low-flow toilet to save water. Expect to pay between $100 and $325 for the toilet, but with a high efficiency flusher you’ll use around 300 fewer gallons of water.


#4 Fresh Mulch – Mix It Up! 

There’s no need to go full out on landscaping. Replacce your mulch for around $6 and the fresh layer will make your yard POP!


Content courtesy of

James Silver

Associate Broker | Team Leader

Keller Williams Realty | James Silver Team

Michigan | Florida

(248) 530-7292 |