So where is my next house?

My son graduates from high school this year. It has snuck up on us because we are not ready.

My husband and I planned years ago that we would sell our large house and downsize when our son graduates.  Our goals were 1) pay cash for my son’s college education, 2) buy a small house for its little maintenance (ie me to clean), and 3) find the house with the workshop or pole barn of my husband’s dreams.

So here we are and we have not replaced the upstairs carpeting, updated the master bath or painted the house exterior yet.  This is the third spring that we swore we would do these things.

Just for grins, I have started house hunting for us.  Not only to see the prices of what we want, but also to hold it over my husband’s head so that I can say “I told you so” when the right house comes along and we are not ready to sell. But I cannot find his dream workshop or pole barn.

I have two clients that are ready to list, but we cannot find homes for them either.  One wants a small ranch condo with a garage in a specific area that is also within a senior’s living budget.  The other is for a newer ranch with a three car garage under a specific price but with broader commuting options.

Why don’t more ranches have three car garages? We live in snow shrouded Michigan for gosh sakes!  We need one garage just for the riding tractors with plow attachments or jet skis! Why haven’t builders erected more senior living condos for purchase instead of building so many senior rentals – and at such high rental rates?

We’ve been searching, and I have driven the neighborhoods requested because if I see what my clients want, I will find myself knocking on doors to see if the owners would like to sell.

Because our area has been in a sellers’ market for so long, sales prices have been nicely increasing, quite noticeably in the last five years. So of course, what my buyers’ want is often above their budgets.  Mine too.

A broker in my office could not find houses for two of his clients last year, so he looked up old expireds that fit his clients’ requests and approached the homeowners to sell. When he told the owners that he had buyers for their homes, they practically closed the doors on this face because they had heard that line before from marketing real estate agents. However, his plan worked because he was able to give the sellers actual attractive offers from his clients.

It used to be that a seller could put his house on the market then pick out his next home when his property sold because there were a lot of available options out there.  Now, prospective sellers don’t want to list unless they can find what they really want in their price range.

Or they have refinanced and have decided to stay.

Oh, and it’s an election year .

So, this is going to be an interesting year for home buyers.


SDRandCo 141

Ruth Berklich is a Realtor with Keller Williams Rochester – Troy, Michigan.  She can be reached at or (248) 609-8000.


There is poo everywhere, but not here


At Christmas Eve service, where each member in the congregation holds a lit candle, hushed, listening to “What Child Is This” sung by the choir, enters a small girl, running down the aisle with her dress flying up around her knees,  whisper-yelling to her mother, “Mommy, come quick!  Daddy needs your help!  There is baby poo everywhere!”

Congratulations to most of us as we survived another family holiday season consisting of extended family, party crashers, in-laws and out-laws, crazies we brag about and people we have never seen before, wondering just who invited them.

When I was very young living in Michigan, I just assumed everyone was a Christian.  We would drive along the neighborhood streets of snow viewing glorious holiday decorations, but came across some homes without lights.

When we asked my mother why the houses did not have beautiful Christmas lights,  as children do, we would remember only her first explanation and the last.  “Well, some people cannot afford lights, some people live down south during Michigan winters, some are older people who cannot put them up alone  and some may be other religions like the Jewish.” (We did not know anything about Hanukkah.)

As we grew older, we would pass homes without lights, feel sad for those people living in the house, then say, “They must be Jewish.”

This season, I roamed from party to party, flew halfway across the United States, saw third cousins newly born and held them just to have that new baby smell on my clothes, snapped at my husband for licking his fingers in public, berated my grown son for eating dessert first, tolerated repeated Christmas songs on the radio and in stores, and listened to the teens who knew it all who will someday change the world.

But in that single moment, when Mommy ran to help Daddy with the baby’s poo,  I realized that I live a blessed life, and not because my kids are out of the diaper stage, but through the Grace of God.

Though we are not considered financially well off, we can pay our bills, enjoy good health, have food on the table, cars that run and grown children in a good school systems. There are soldiers fighting evil for the world for me since I cannot fight next to them, I do not have any cancers that have slowly decimated so many of my family members, and no one is in the hospital or on the 11 o’clock news.

So much to be thankful to start 2016!

To my family, friends, clients, pastors who keep us in Remembrance of Him, and soldiers wherever you are, I hope your 2016 will be everything you wish for!

Happy New Year!

Ruth Berklich


Ruth Berklich enjoys her career as a Realtor with Keller Williams Rochester – Troy, Michigan, and mother of 2, or 3 if you count her husband.







My mother wanted me to be a lawyer, but I thought I was too honest


Being an honest Realtor has cost me and other honest agents many listings over our careers because often home sellers don’t want to hear the truth about the market price of their houses.  These sellers will eventually list with the agent who will offer the inflated asking price fully expecting to get it.

However, any sales person of any product line will tell you that product price is key.  People won’t pay $20 for a box of crayons just as they won’t pay for a house that is over-priced.

A man I worked with many years ago needed to sell his Pontiac and upgrade to a larger vehicle to accommodate his growing family, but he was having a tough time with the price.  He explained, “My wife’s water broke in that car with two of our kids.  It has sentimental value to me.  How am I going to let it go for less than $6,000?”  First of all — eeeww!— TMI. I think he ended up selling the car for half that amount because that is what the car was worth, but it took him a long time to get there. Home sellers are the same.  They have raised their children, pets and had extended family in their house so they believe it is worth more because the memories are priceless.

You know you have done this.  You see the big ice cream cone given to the person in front of you in line.  When you make your order to a different clerk, your cone ends up a little smaller than the other guy’s.  You think, “Why couldn’t I have gotten that other clerk?”  Home sellers want the best, most advertised agents thinking that they will get the most for their house if they list with that agent.  However, they may not know that this flashy agent only has a 60 percent closure rate.  They may not know that the agent over prices just to get the listing then expects multiple price reductions when it does not sell or the house sells at a far lower price after a long time on the market. Sellers get frustrated, insisting that they were low-balled when the right price by a caring agent would have sold better.

Best Buy is a profitable enterprise because its pricing agents are brilliant.  Best Buy doesn’t usually charge high prices of large items such as refrigerators, washing machines and laptops because it makes a lot of money from televisions and cell phones.  To get consumers into the store, Best Buy will offer huge bargains on these kinds of items knowing you will eventually buy more products. (Think of the $35 laminate sheet you paid to have put on your new phone.)   Best Buy knows it has a lot of competition, so it just needs to get you in the door first – they know you won’t shop elsewhere if you are getting what you want at the right price. If a home seller contracts with the agent who prices their house right, the sellers have a better chance at getting the best qualified buyers in to see the home who will give their best offers because buyers know they have competition for this home.  Think about all of the multiple cash offers that have been going around in every market.  Competition is king.

Above all, reputation is key in real estate.  If I am an honest agent, pricing right and marketing houses well, I am giving my best, most professional service and selling houses at great prices.  It is always best to get a win-win situation for buyers and sellers – and I get the referrals that I deserve.

Ruth Berklich is a Realtor for Keller Williams, Rochester – Troy MI   Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Instagram/Snapchat

Photo is not me.

#realestate #Realtor

Designing a Feng Shui home search

feng shui 2

The practice of Feng Shui is over 4,000 years.  It is the belief that the spirit of a place will have an effect on well-being through currents of chi energy into the universe.  Key principles include yin and yang, the Five Elements (wood, water, fire, earth, metal) and the Eight Trigrams.  It is believed that good Feng Shui will allow better sleep, better relaxation, improved health, motivation and more harmonious relationships.

If you are tasked with finding a home that follows Feng Shui, your buyers may wish to know if the previous owners were successful and happy, if the house has good exposure to sunlight, if it is compatible with neighbors’ homes or if there are healthy trees. Don’t be surprised if your client immediately plans to paint and replace carpet or curtains following the positive chi of cleanliness and color placement.

The idea of yin and yang affects every room in the house.  Ying rooms have a lot of sunlight, are relaxing, have natural wood surfaces and natural flame (stove, fireplace). Yin room are bedrooms, bathrooms, media and dining rooms.  Yang rooms involve activity and work such as in an office, living room, kitchen, workshops and laundry rooms. Where American home designs are now trending towards a combined kitchen and dining area, those who practice Feng Shui will want the two rooms to be separately defined to function harmoniously.  Yin materials include hard/soft woods, fabrics, wicker and dull metals.  Yang consists of marble, granite, glass, stone and shiny metals. Large windows allow more chi energy. Yin exteriors are mostly wood, brick or limestone.  Hard stone (granite), uneven stone, and interior bare stone walls are yang.

Bad chi is created by artificial lighting, air conditioning, dark corners, cluttered rooms and dampness. The staircase should never be across from the front door (which almost must have good placement in the house) and the rooms must flow.

If your client favors yang, they may be more comfortable in low, guarded buildings in busy cities where excitement and activity occurs.  Yin styles favor grassy landscapes, shade trees and tall houses.

Traditional Feng Shui also favors certain rooms in the following general directions:

Living Room – SE     Dining Room – E, SE. W, NW Master Bedroom – NW, N, W

Kitchen – E, SE          Office – E, SE, S, NW      Bath – avoid opposite of main door or near stairs

Do not chose a home at the end of a T or a fork in the road since the cross in the T or fork is much too busy with traffic coming towards the house’s chi energy.

Finally, if you are an agent who gives gifts to your clients at the closing, a good idea may be a full house cleaning from a professional service because it is believed that a thorough cleaning will clear out negative chi energy before the move.


Kuàilè zhǎo fángzi!

(Happy house hunting!)

Ruth Berklich is a Realtor for Keller Williams, Rochester, Michigan

#realestate #Chinese