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We are all about Michigan lakes. Life on, in and near Michigan's lakefront brings a richness that rewards for a lifetime. Have a story or comments on your experience? You can be one of the first to share it with the world on our Michigan lake directory.
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Real Estate

Warranty Deeds

michiganlakefront-cabinThere are several types of deeds; warranty, quit claim, tax, gift grant, and deed in lieu of foreclosure.

In Michigan, the grantor (seller) transfers title to the grantee (buyer) with a document called a warranty deed.

A warranty deed has three main guarantees:
1. The grantor states that he or she is the owner of the property and has not transferred ownership to any one else and has the right to sell it to you.
2. The grantor states the property is free of any encumbrances or liens (debts) other than those the seller has informed the buyer about.
3. The grantor promises to guarantee to the grantee against future title defects that might arise up to the date of the deed, even if defect was caused by prior owners.This guarantee may be of little value if the grantor has moved away, is unable to correct any problems, or is deceased. That is why Title Insurance is so important in every real estate transaction.

As with every real estate transaction, documents should be recorded at the county Register of Deeds. As the years go by, documents may be lost, stolen, or in any other way damaged. Recording is a safe guard to make sure these valuable documents are always available.

Having a warranty deed to your property with no liens or encumbrances provides a wonderful sense of security. It is all yours.

Written by Dave.

Acre: What is it?

michiganfence12What is an acre?

1.  A city in Israel, one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world.

2.  An acre is a unit of measure for determining the size of a parcel of land. An acre consists of 43,560 square feet of land.

An acre could be formed with varying lengths and widths totaling 43,560 square feet. For example, a parcel of land with a width of 132 feet and a depth of 330 feet would be an acre.

A parcel of land with a width of 208.71 feet and a depth of 208.71 feet would also be an acre. When the length and the width are the same, as they are in the second example, the parcel would be considered a square acre.

A forty acre parcel with a length of 1320 feet and a width of 1320 feet is often referred to as a “square forty”.

Written by Dave.

Tear Down

michigantear-down-houseSeveral times a year when purchasing a property, we are faced with the question of what to do with an old unwanted lakefront cabin or mobile home. The property often will have more value without the neglected or unwanted structure.

Sometimes you can place a “free” sign on a mobile home and it can be moved off your property by someone looking for a hunting cabin for their land. If you are not so fortunate and the home can not be towed to the land fill, it should be torn down. We have paid anywhere from $300 to $1,500 to have them torn down and removed.

An old cabin is a little different. One option is to contact the local fire department who use structures such as this for fire fighting practice. A controlled burn provides invaluable fire fighting experience. This can be messy if damage occurs to trees surrounding the structure. After the burn, the property owner is responsible for cleaning up the charred remains, as well as removing any slab/foundation, fireplaces and chimneys that were part of the structure.

Please remember to check with the local township for any permits needed.

One other important thing to be aware of, if there is a septic system or well on the property, the septic may have to be filled and the well pulled.

Written by Dave.

Consider Being Our Guest

onceuponatimeDo you love Michigan and all of it’s lakes, rivers and streams? Do you appreciate our miles of waterfront?

I find that whenever I bring up the topic of Michigan people have a story to tell about their favorite place.   Some have childhood stories to tell of carefree summers spent Grandpa’s cottage. Some share wonderful memories of family fun when mom and dad would rent a cottage every year. For others, there is the one and only lake for fishing, or that beautiful lake they drive by to work every morning. And, of course, everyone who owns a piece of lake or water front property thinks it is the best around. And, often people have a story to tell of an interesting place or town.

Do you have a favorite lake? We would love to hear about it. Be our guest. We are open to having you as our guest to write a post about your favorite lake. Tell us what it is about this lake that makes it your favorite lake.

Of course there are some rules. We like our site and we want others to also. We are sure you understand.

  • A post is not an advertisement for your product or services. The idea of the post is to present information of interest and value to the readers of Waterlandliving.com
  • The article will prefaced with a short introduction to you. If appropriate, we may include a link to your business. But again, our purpose is not to provide free advertising to you.
  • The article needs to be orginal, written by you and not previously posted on any other website (including your own)
  • We are open to the article being about a special place within Michigan, doesn’t have to be a body of water.
  • Please edit the article yourself, we are not editors.
  • Pictures are a nice touch, must be clear and may not include people.
  • Content must be “family friendly” and free of offensive language.
  • We reserve the right to refuse to post any article or any portion of the article.


Enjoy Michigan

Written by Dave.


miceThe other day I was inspecting a neat and clean little house and there, in the middle of the room, was a dead mouse. I went on about what I was there to do and did not pay too much attention. Shortly after that, the homeowner arrived and we walked through the property together. As soon as we approached the “mouse room”, the owner just freaked right out. It was an unbelievable reaction.

I gave them a couple of suggestions. Get rid of the bird feeder and stop feeding the birds, at least so close to the house. No matter how neat your birds are, some seeds fall to the ground and that is an attraction for mice. The more seeds, the larger population of mice you can expect.

Second, move the wood pile away from the backdoor. While you are at it, remove your trash cans. Mice love a good garbage pail and a wood pile. Mice seldom venture outside a thirty square foot radius of their nests, so moving them further away from your home greatly lessens you chances of one sneaking in .

Third, patch any holes or cracks in your foundation and siding. Pay extra attention to where pipes and/or wires enter your home. Mice can get through very of openings, so if you notice even the smallest of openings, fill it.

A little attention to detail will save future annoyances.

Written by Dave.

Dumpster Pools


So you think you have seen everything? Here is a new idea for those city dwellers who desire a quick swim without heading off to a Michigan Lake. Personally, the lake still looks better to me.

Written by Dave.

Construction Ahead

If you live and drive in Michigan, you are sure to have seen this warning many times this summer. And while construction is inconvenient for awhile, when the work is complete, the improvement is worth the short time of inconvenience.

Well, we are going to be asking for your patience for a short time while we do a few improvements of our own on this site.

We think you will agree that the improvements will be worth the short time of inconvenience.

Thank you.


Written by Dave.

The National Debt sept 21 09

The national debt, now that is a depressing thought. Our national debt is some eleven trillion dollars and rapidly growing. My calculator doesn’t handle numbers that large. Apparently a calculator had to be invented to work with those kinds of numbers.

You will have to read the story of Big Red – The Official Calculator of the National Debt. If at any time you have the urge to check the latest figures you can do so by simply viewing the calculator anytime on line.

Or, if you like, you can check out the national debt page on Face Book. You can even sign up to be its friend. You will have to get in line after the 1,700 people who have already signed up.

We will probably visit this subject again, as it looks as if it is not going away soon.


Written by Dave.

Land Contract: The often overlooked Tool in the Real Estate Toolbox

toolboxThe Land Contract, also know as a Contract for Deed, has long been a tool for real estate financing between the buyer and the seller. It was very popular in the late 1980’s and the early 1990’s when interest rates were at all time highs and strict qualifications were placed by lenders.

A Land Contract is a contract between the seller (a.k.a. Vendor) and a purchaser (a.k.a. Vendee) of a piece of real estate. The seller continues to hold title (deed) to the property until all agreed payments of the unpaid balance are paid in full. The Land Contract is sometimes referred to as a Contract for Deed. The Land Contract is not restricted to land, but can be used for any type of improved real estate.

There are five main parts of the contract: The purchase price, the down payment, the monthly payment, the interest rate and the term (length) of the contract. Each of these pieces are negotiated between the buyer and the seller. Flexible terms can be tailored made for the property, as well as for the buyer and the seller.

There can be many plus’ to the Land Contract: usually quicker closings, the contract is easier to understand. The Land Contract can be a good form of short term financing and is often useful in purchasing land prior to building or until another property is sold. Typically, the Land Contract will have lower closing costs and no lender fees.

Yes, there are negatives. As with a mortgage, you may lose your investment if you are unable or do not make all your payments. As in any transaction, as long as every one does what they agreed to do, it can be a good tool for all.

Remember, it is important for all parties concerned to record notice of the transaction with the county register of deeds.

Written by Dave.

Do not be Confused by Interest!

michigansinterestrateInterest is the fee a lender charges for the use (rental) of their funds. Without interest, lenders would not be willing to lend.

When comparing one loan offer to another, we often look the interest rates (expressed as a percentage rate) as the comparison point. For example a $10,000 mortgage is offered at the interest rate of 6% per year. If the borrower borrows $10,000 for one year, the interest (fee charged) is $600 for that year.

Sounds simple, but it can be a little more complicated. Sometimes a lender will charge other fees for their loan. A common fee that can be charged is called a point. A point is one per cent (1%) of the loan amount. In our example of $10,000, if one point is charged, the cost would be $100.00 This one time fee sometimes is considered prepaid interest. It is due when the loan has been taken out, but is repaid over the term of the loan.

Here is where it may get confusing. Some lenders may offer a lower rate of interest, but charge higher points and fees. Others may offer higher rates, but charge lower or no fees or points.

How do you compare the one to the other? Examining the Annual Percentage Rate, or APR, is one way to compare one loan to another. The APR is the percent of the principal that has to be repaid, including the interest. The APR also includes points and other fees that could be charged. In other words, it is the effective interest rate including the fees charged. 

 How do you figure the APR of a loan? It is very complicated. You, the borrower, should not have to to figure the APR of the loan. The lender is required by law (The consumer Credit Act of 1974) to disclose the APR to you prior to your accepting of the loan. If the APR is the same as the interest rate, that should mean there are no additional fees.

I know you are thinking, “This is so confusing”. Yes, it is confusing, and I am sure if lenders would be honest about it, they would agree it can be very confusing.

There are two sides of the loan to remember. To the borrower it is an expense. To the lender it is income. To make it simple; if you are the borrower, the lower rate the better. If you are the lender, the higher the rate the better. Study the options carefully, compare the lender’s good-faith estimates and always borrow wisely.

Written by Dave.

Buyer's Market

michiganlakefront-cabinOver the last thirty years that I have been involved in real estate, I have never appreciated the terms “Buyer’s Market” or “Seller’s Market”.

The terms imply that there is a winner and there is a loser. A buyer’s market implies a buyer is the winner and the seller loses. The seller is thought to be at the mercy of the buyer. On the other hand, a seller’s market implies a seller is the winner and the buyer loses. The buyer is thought to be at the mercy of the seller.

At what point does a perceived buyer’s market become a seller’s market? Who makes that determination? It is all a question of supply and demand. There will always be a demand for housing. The question is how much inventory is on the market and how long will it take for all the inventory that is currently on the market to be sold.

With all the news about the foreclosures and the unprecedented supply of some types of housing, the media makes it sound like they are giving homes away. But be reminded-sellers still have to agree to sell at the offered price.

Real estate has the possibility of being a win-win situation. It is always a good time to buy real estate when it is a well thought out purchase. Real estate should be thought of as a long term investment and not a commodity that is day traded.

Written by Dave.

Different Types of Waterfront Property

michiganwaterfront-dockPeople looking for waterfront or lakefront property will soon discover some new terms regarding water frontage.

“Private waterfront” is the most expensive, but you own frontage right on the water and you do not have to share it with others.

“Water view” property is really just that, property with a view of the lake or the river. The property has no waterfront and often no water access.

The advantage of having a property with only a view and no actual frontage on the water is that the purchase price, and often taxes, are considerably less. However, as water view property gains in popularity, some townships are beginning to realize the increased value and this is reflected in the taxes.

One of the disadvantages to water view is that your view may be a seasonal view. Views can greatly be diminished as the foliage on the trees increase during the summer months. You should also keep in mind that new construction on nearby lots could eventually block your view.

Purchasing a home near a public park or a public access area is often an affordable way to enjoy the water without the higher costs associated with waterfront purchases.

The terms “deeded access” and “shared access” can be confusing and misunderstood. Not all types of shared access or deeded access are the same. They are properties that do not own any water frontage, but have an easement for access and egress through another property. In other words, you can go through the property to get to the water.

Many times when land was developed around a lake or along a river, off water lots, sometimes referred to as back lots, were created with a common waterfront lot to serve as the public access for the owners of the back lots. Some of these lots may allow the right to have a dock, use the beach or to moor a boat. Some do not allow for such rights, but only allow for ingress and egress.

An important thing to find out is how many other people have the same use of the deeded or shared access. If it is only a few, it may not be to bad. But, if 101 others are sharing a 100 foot lot, it would not be as appealing.

Anytime you are not sure of the type of water frontage you are looking at, be sure ask the questions and ask again until you are sure you understand.

As in any real estate purchase, always insist on a Title Insurance policy as well as a Survey. This is all the more important with all lakefront and all waterfront properties.

Written by Dave.

One Ugly Septic System

michiganpump-and-haulIn a previous article I wrote on Septic Systems. In that article, I omitted one system, the “pump and haul” system. This system is exactly what it says; a holding tank without a drain field. The tank pictured is about 1000 gallons. This system is utilized when a very high water table prevents a tank from being buried underground and a tank is constructed adjacent to a cottage or cabin.

Studies suggest that septic system usage per person is 90 to 150 gallons per day. This wide range of usage is due to the many different types and ages of plumbing fixtures found in homes and cottages, as well as other factors such as laundry facilities, disposal, tubs, etc.

The price of $200.00 was quoted by a local septic waste hauler for each “pump and haul”. You can do the math, it could be a very expensive system depending on the owners usage. This type of system should be carefully considered prior to purchasing.

Written by Dave.