By Jenn Goeddeke


Petts originally came from a salon background in Birmingham: “I wanted to create a unique experience for all and especially to make everyone feel relaxed and comfortable.” As the name suggests, Flip Salon has an entertaining, vintage-themed vibe with music playing in the background to enhance the friendly ambiance.

The salon offers many beauty services including hair, make-up/skin, massage, and typically nails too (a new nail tech is coming soon). Check their website for updates and pricing.

The staff at Flip are experienced professionals, who work with all ages and any hair type and styling needs. Whether you’re considering a hip or “edgy” new hairstyle or simply a trim, the Flip stylists will welcome you!

Walk-in appointments for hair styling are available, plus there is a Wi-Fi connection, and wheelchair access if needed.

Flip carries a diverse array of skin and hair care products, including the all-natural ‘Davines’, plus ‘Cult and King’ selections.

The current product giveaway on offer is proving to be popular: buy two items and get one free.

PETTS SAID SHE CONSTANTLY DRAWS INSPIRATION from her stylists, and that they are “super-talented, investing considerable time into each client’s appointment.”

A special shout-out goes to her masseuse-Jane Andrews, who Petts described as, “truly amazing and intuitive.” Andrews combines different types of massage techniques, depending on the client. She is available by appointment only). Additionally, two of the salon’s stylists – Adrienne and Levon – are both established local artists.

Petts emphasized that the best part of her job is, “meeting new people all the time, and helping others feel good about themselves.” She added, “There have been a lot of changes over the last few years in the salon business, in general. I feel like Flip has been consistent throughout in giving our clients the best experience possible when they come here. I am very grateful to have a team of people and a unique space to make that happen!”

PETTS PARTICIPATES IN VARIOUS LOCAL FUNDRAISERS, including the Locks of Love charity events. In the past, (pre-Covid19) Flip has hosted some art shows and held art openings.

Naturally, the pandemic caused stress and set-backs, as most local businesses and customers would agree. Fortunately, Flip Salon emerged strong and vibrant! Petts mentioned that Flip has a larger space than average, so the staff was able to spread out sufficiently, plus work different shifts.

Although Petts continues to wear a mask at the salon, it is optional for clients to wear a mask at this time. Petts concluded with a smile that it’s good to see a few newer businesses open up in Ferndale, such as Olive’s Bloombox on 9 Mile, and Quix Chocolate on Troy St.

Flip Salon is located at 251 W.9 Mile Rd., Ferndale.
Call them at: 248.544.1400.
Email inquiries can be sent to:
Visit their website:
Open hours: Sun, Mon, Closed; Tues, 9am-2pm; Weds, Thurs, 10am-9pm; Fri, 9am-6pm; Sat, 9am-5pm. Flip Salon is currently hiring – contact Irene Petts for application details.

By Jenn Goeddeke


Located at 13941 W 9 Mile in Oak Park, it has been family-owned-and-operated for over 40 years. Owner Fares Shafou emigrated here in 1978 from Baghdad, Iraq. He began working almost immediately for the previous owner and founder, Morris Schussel. Fares fondly referred to him as, “a big man, who wanted a big name!”

In 1982, Shafou purchased the business from Schussel. Together with his sons, Frank and Brandon Shafou, Fares has consistently built up the Mighty Mo Muffler name to the point where customers come in from many of the neighboring cities. The fact that they openly generate a friendly, hard-working vibe has added to their popularity.

WHEN ASKED WHAT STANDS OUT FOR HIM over the past four decades of servicing vehicles, Fares responded, “I enjoy helping the community, and serving customers with integrity and honesty.” Frank added, “Not everyone in the industry can be relied on to do a great job.”

Mighty Mo’s good reputation has spread wide, and so most of their newer customers are from word-of-mouth referrals. It is not simply a location for muffler work. They deal with a full range of vehicle repair and diagnostics, (except for major collision work). The scope of work done covers anything from basic servicing, such as oil changes or replacement tires, to more extensive and time-consuming repairs.

Services include brakes, electrical/electronic components, engine, and transmission work. Utilizing the latest technology, they repair and maintain all makes and models of cars, vans, and trucks (including foreign, electric vehicles, and fleets).

Part of the reason for their success is the fact they supply only quality parts, along with thorough service. All techs that work for the Shafous are certified and experienced. Frank mentioned that they emphasize continuous and progressive staff training.

THEY OFFER THE STRONGEST WARRANTIES, including the high-ranked North American Warranty. As part of their online pledge to customers, Mighty Mo stands by the promises they make to their customers. One such promise states that “after a thorough inspection on your vehicle, any required repairs will be discussed with you for your understanding and approval.”

Overall, the Mighty Mo Muffler team is keen to help, build trust, and encourage any auto-related questions that customers may want to ask. Discounts are offered to students and seniors, plus various coupons can be applied. Additionally, the Shafous like to help out a few local causes, and they recently sponsored a school baseball team.

Monday-Friday 8:00AM – 5:00PM; Saturday 9:00AM – 3:00PM; Sunday Closed
13941 W Nine Mile Rd., Oak Park 48237

By Jenn Goeddeke


She had an interest in clinical medicine at the time. “I always had a good relationship with my dentist, so I thought that would be a neat profession.”

In 1975, Dabney applied to dental school at Ohio State University and was accepted. She came to MI in 1979 and worked for the public health system, plus taught classes at a dental school. In 1984, Dabney opened her first practice in the 8 Mile & Livernois area before moving to Oak Park in 1990. “It’s a nice community with a steady flow of patients. I love it here!” Dabney mentioned enjoying improvements along the 9 Mile Road stretch, especially the addition of landscaping, artwork, and bicycles.

ORIGINALLY THE OFFICE BUILDING WAS DIVIDED BETWEEN the dental practice side and the larger medical side. The first building owner was Dr. Stanley Sarter, who had built a breezeway to an adjacent house as an expansion. Subsequently, the building was owned by Dr. Roiter, who sadly passed away.

“My space was fairly small at that time, and it confined my practice a bit, but it was adequate.”

Five years ago, the building was up for sale. Dabney recalled with a smile, “Dr. Roiter’s wife told me that he had wanted me to buy it. The medical tenant moved his practice out. So, I bought the building and was also able to expand my practice, to encompass the whole building plus the neighboring house. The house has been a real asset. It serves as a break room for staff, with its kitchen, plus storage space.

“I brought in a full-time dental associate, Dr. Werdlow. I have been so busy – it’s a blessing!” Dabney mentioned: “One thing that happens a lot is people approach me and they tell me: ‘No one here can ever retire!’ Some of them have been my patients for 20 years or more.”

DABNEY’S IS A FAMILY-ORIENTED PRACTICE, where they perform every procedure, such as x-rays, fillings, crowns and dentures/partials. Dabney added, “I have a gentle touch and demeanor and I can turn any nervous patient into a dedicated customer if they give us a chance! We typically get a good response once patients see how our approach is different from some other dental offices. When patients tell me of previous bad experiences, it tugs at my heart!”

The practice does have nitrous oxide available and on hand for patients who request it, but it’s not a “go-to.” Additionally, the office is designed to be both efficient and attractive. “We have a lot of modern equipment and computers in every room. Everything was updated when we remodeled and expanded about four years ago, so the office looks fresh and new. People feel very comfortable here.”

Dabney mentioned that she particularly likes doing more complex work such as crowns and bridges. “I love all the variety of my profession.”

Dabney has a dedicated team, with two hygienists. “Delrey has been with me for over 20 years and Christine for five years. They both have excellent skills. Another of my staff, Shawanna Tucker, started here while she was still in high school, at 16 or 17-years-old. She has been here ever since.”

Children are always welcome to schedule a visit. Dabney added, “My two children, Danielle and Veronica, have never known another dentist or hygienist!” Dabney is a proud mom, and described her daughters’ careers: “Danielle has been a film producer for 15 years. Her work mostly involves documentaries and commercials. Veronica set up her dog-walking business and is doing well with that!”

DABNEY HAS VARIOUS HOBBIES AND ACTIVITIES outside of dentistry. She is an active member of the Greater Wayne County Chapter of the Links. This organization has a “mission to promote and engage in educational, civic & intercultural activities.”

Dabney also likes to help and mentor younger people in the STEM areas (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math), and work on acrylic paintings. Two of her artworks are on display at the practice. Travel is another of her favorite activities, in particular, her annual excursion to Martha’s Vineyards in MA.

Dr. Benay’s Dental Clinic is located at 10300 W. Nine Mile Rd in Oak Park, 48237. She can be reached at 248.543.8800 or via email: Clinic open hours are: M, T, Th, Fri, 9am-6pm; Sat, 9am-1pm; Sun, closed. Emergencies welcome.

By Ryan R. Ennis


Director Sherry Kless accomplishes those tasks by overseeing 21 federal and state programs that provide funding for both job hunters and recruiters. At times, her responsibilities can be demanding. Fortunately, she can rely on her education and experience to ensure that they are handled well.

For the past 28 years, Kless has worked “in various roles from case manager to program coordinator, to business services professional to assistant manager.” Supplying good foundations for her profession have been her master’s degree in career counseling and a certification as a career development facilitator, both obtained from Oakland University. She also holds two additional certifications: in business services from Michigan State University’s School of Labor & Industrial Relations and in talent pipeline management from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Throughout her work day, Kless meets with individuals and determines beneficial resources for them. “My focus is on those who have barriers to employment,” she explains. “I’m great at digging into my client’s work and education histories to clarify their interests, skills, and dreams for the future.”

WHEN BUSINESS OWNERS AND RECRUITERS ENLIST HER SERVICES, she sits down with them to figure out what types of obstacles they may face in hiring new staff. “Together,” she says, “we develop strategies to address the challenges created by fast-moving technologies, global competition, high rates of unemployment, and the demands for a highly skilled workforce.” To assist employers in dealing with the challenges, she has “created apprenticeships, internships, work experiences for adults and youth, on-the-job training arrangements, and customized training programs.”

“I love what I do,” emphasizes Kless.

At the Oak Park office, she shares her responsibilities with 11 career advisors and three employment services specialists. Her staff concentrate their expertise on helping clients one-on-one to begin their journeys to success. After assessing the individuals’ skills and helping them develop occupational goals, the advisors and employment specialists will show them information on how to find appropriate job listings, search for career events, use computer programs to design cover letters and résumés, and open social media ac- counts on which they can make their résumés viewable to recruiters. Depending on their proficiencies, clients may be encouraged to enroll in workshops (either in-person or virtually) to bolster their interviewing and English-as-a-second-language skills.

ONE OCCUPATION CURRENTLY IN HIGH DEMAND IS ROBOTICS TECHNICIAN. According to Kless, “advanced manufacturing is one of the fastest-growing sectors in Southeast Michigan, with thousands of positions opening up annually. If you have the interest and ambition, Oakland County Michigan Works! and Oakland Community College offer no-cost training to qualified workers.”

Another area with an immediate need is for computer numerical control (CNC) machine operators. They make parts and pieces from raw materials. Kless states that interested individuals can “learn more about this short-term, eight-week training program at Oakland Community College in Auburn Hills,” which will prepare the participants for entry-level CNC machine operator positions.”

A third critical-shortage area is for logistic technicians, who are sought after by a variety of companies and sectors, from the auto industry to e-commerce. Logistic technicians work in fulfillment centers, warehouses, distribution centers, and factories; they process and ship customers’ orders. “Opportunities in this field are booming,” states Kless, “with a projected growth of four per cent annually across the country through 2029, including Metro Detroit.” In partnership with Oakland Community College and PepsiCo, Oakland County Michigan Works! is presently offering a certified logistics technician training program, free to eligible candidates.

A fourth area with an ever-growing need is for truck drivers. According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), nearly 75 percent of all freight in the United States is moved by truck drivers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stress that openings for truck drivers will continue to rise through 2029, resulting in an additional 30,600 jobs. In partnership with several truck driving schools across the tri-country region, Oakland County Michigan Works! provides short-term training opportunities with tuition assistance available to eligible candidates. To apply for the program, applicants must be 18-24 years old and possess a copy of their current driver’s license.

A fifth area with plentiful openings is for sterile processing technicians, who play a critical role in hospitals and other medical facilities. “An entry-level position in this field,” says Kless, “can lead to a number of advanced career pathways with greater pay and responsibilities, such as a surgical technologist or clinical laboratory technician. Oakland County Michigan Works! and Oakland Community College offer a special training pro- gram for sterile processing technicians. We partner with several hospitals in the county that provide the required clinical rotations for it.” After completing the program students will receive a certificate of program completion and the opportunity to take the Certification Board for Sterile Processing & Distribution (CBSPD).

ADDITIONALLY, INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE FINISHED A MEDICAL ASSISTANT APPRENTICESHIP are highly prized in the healthcare field. The Henry Ford Health System, one of the largest in the Metro area, presently has hundreds of medical assistant position openings and can provide apprenticeships for those who are interested in pursuing this career path. The one-year apprenticeship program is demanding but features a tuition-free classroom and paid on-the-job training with additional supportive services for eligible participants.

Some individuals with criminal convictions may feel that they are ineligible for the programs and services available at Oakland County Michigan Works! However, says Kless, “New expungement laws may allow them to clear their public records. Successful expungement opens the door to better jobs, housing, and educational opportunities.” For individual to take advantage of the Oakland County Clean Slate Program and have a conviction removed from their records, they can get started by registering online at Once a request has been submitted, a program representative will reach out to the individuals with more information on their eligibilities.

Oakland County Michigan Works! Oak Park services Southeast Michigan and the surrounding communities. Currently, because of a decrease in Workforce Innovation & Opportunity (WIOA) funds, priority is given to Oakland County residents for training services. “If customers live outside Oakland County,” says Kless, “they may be better served by their respective Michigan Works! Authority.”

Located at 22180 Parklawn, Oakland County Michigan Works! Oak Park is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. You may walk in, or schedule an appointment by calling (248) 691-8437. If you are registering for the first time or require assistance with unemployment benefits, you must be at the site by 3:30 P.M. to complete the process.

By Jeff Milosevich

THERE ARE SO MANY EVENTS COMING UP AT THE FERNDALE LIBRARY this Summer I’m not sure it can be contained in one column!

But let’s start with some music! Our ever-popular Summer Concert Series is coming back: These free musical performances for all ages are hosted outdoors in our courtyard, made possible by the Friends of the Ferndale Library. This year’s lineup brings a mix of jazz and world music sweetened by an array of eclectic instrumentation.



OUR SUMMER CONCERTS ARE SCHEDULED ON TUESDAY EVENINGS, June 18, July 19, and August 9, each performance beginning at 6:30 P.M. Nessa (June 18) performs original world music that is Celtic-inspired but also infuses sound and rhythmic elements from the Caribbean, Africa, and India, as well as a mix of genres, from classical and jazz to folk and funk. Djangophonique (July 19) is a virtuosic, instrumentally driven acoustic jazz quartet bringing to life the rich musical language of Django Reinhardt’s jazz manouche. Klezundheit (August 9) is a 10-piece ensemble group performing traditional and modern klezmer, gypsy, Balkan, and jazz music, featuring a mix of accordion, trombone, tuba, flute, and soprano saxophone.


THIS YEAR’S THEME FOR OUR SUMMER READING CHALLENGE is An Ocean of Possibilities, so you can anticipate a range of water-themed events (and prizes) for all ages. When you sign up for Summer Reading, you (and your family) can create an account with the Beanstack app to track your reading throughout the season. Starting as early as June 11 and continuing until August 31, adults will be challenged to read four books, teens will be challenged to read three books, and kids will be challenged to read for five full hours. As you read, you can earn digital badges and raffle tickets through Beanstack: the more tickets you earn, the more you can submit for our range of prizes.

Some of the events we have planned include a watercolor class (June 9), a look at lake monsters (June 23), a history of sea shanties (July 7), and an instructional presentation on rain barrels (July 14). Sign up for our Summer Reading Challenge opens on June 11; for more info, visit: And remember, if you take our Summer Reading Challenge and are ever in need of recommendations, visit, where you can request book bundles and receive personalized recommendations.


WHILE WE’RE HIGHLY ENCOURAGING EVERYONE TO TAKE our summer reading challenge, you can certainly use your library card for more than just reading. We were particularly excited, at the start of spring, to unveil our “Library of Things.” This special collection features tools, gadgets, instruments, and more, anything from a thermal leak detector to a sewing machine or even a ukulele. Ferndale Library cardholders can check out items from the collection of “Things” for up to two weeks. For a full list of these unique items, visit:

The Library of Things is just one facet of some of our recent updates. You might have already noticed our new signage facing along the north, west, and south-facing sides of our building, but there are a few updates inside that you should check out! We’ve added an accessible laptop bar that stretches across the windows of our atrium, along with several new (and rather comfy) chairs along the windows and near our quiet reading room. Parents/caregivers will also find new furniture, new carpeting, and many new shelves inside our Kids Corner. We’ve also added new resources and materials, including a restocked seed library, an Adobe Suite computer station, and a set of telescopes available in our Kids Corner.


• Our Youth Librarians will be hosting walk-in/drop-in sessions for Reading With Dogs (ages 4-17), starting Monday June 6, and continuing every Monday evening from 5:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M. (except July 4). Meanwhile, there are plans for a Reading With Dogs for Adults to begin on Wednesday,  June 29, hosted monthly on the last Wednesday of each month. There is no registration available for the kids’ drop-in sessions, but you can sign-up for our adult sessions online (space is limited!)

• We’ve partnered with the Ferndale Project to host a monthly book club, and our librarians will be there on Tues., June 28, partnering with Ferndale Pride for a special Pride-themed event discussing Let’s Go Back to the Party by Zak Salih.

• Local artist Loralee Grace will be showing some of her amazing artwork here throughout the summer, with dazzling paintings celebrating our rich environmental and cultural diversity. Check our website for information on a Reception and Artist Talk (set for June 30).

Finally: don’t forget to try out our online resources! We have databases, craft tutorials, streaming movies, and an odyssey of eBooks and audiobooks, all of which you can access with your Ferndale Library card.

Visit for more information.

By Lisa Howard


“When I took over, we were a sleepy little group that played bingo and knitted. One of my goals was to make us more visible to the community, so among other things, now we participate in the Dream Cruise and the DIY Street Fair, we volunteer for the Chamber of Commerce gala, and we march in the Memorial Day Parade,” says Jeannie Davis, president of the Ferndale Seniors.

She’s held that role for over 13 years and says she’s still busy all the time — she attends umpteen community and city events and is forever advocating on behalf of Ferndale’s seniors, schmoozing her way through meetings, soirées and fundraisers.

ONE OF THE GROUP’S MOST POPULAR GATHERINGS IS THEIR POTLUCKS, which tends to bring otherwise-absent members out of the woodwork. The Ferndale Seniors provide the meat portion and members each bring a side dish to share (or chip in five dollars). Each potluck has a different theme that’s often seasonally-driven with the next being a barbecue on July 13. Regular group meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 11 a.m. and anyone is welcome to join – you don’t have to be a Ferndale resident to become a member of the Ferndale Seniors.

Currently, members gather at the Hazel Park Community Center on Woodward Heights but, as soon as Ferndale’s community center is ready to be re-occupied, the Ferndale Seniors will be back. “That’s home for us,” Jeannie says. In the meantime, she’s exploring the idea of inviting the Hazel Park senior groups to work in tandem with Ferndale Seniors. She’s also talking to the Ferndale Library about starting a book club and trying to get a card group up and running.

At the meetings, members explore a plethora of topics, ranging from works of art at the DIA to the fine-point details of reverse mortgages and absentee voting. As Jeannie puts it, “You can’t be always feeding people – you gotta’ give them time to digest.” She attributes that nugget of wisdom to her grandmother and carries it over into the mix of fun and serious events she books for her members.

SOMETIMES THE GROUP GOES ON EXCURSIONS, like when members tour the Pewabic Pottery studios in Detroit or spend the day on the RiverWalk, strolling along its expanse and enjoying lunch amidst binational skylines.

Although the Ferndale Seniors get a modest budget from the City to help defray the costs of running the organization and the yearly membership dues of $15 pay for its events, Jeannie is always on the lookout for grant money and fundraising opportunities. The latter is why members are often found at city festivals and community events selling cookies they’ve baked. As a former real estate appraiser for 20 years – and also a veteran of successful campaigns for municipal leaders – Jeannie is always conscious of making sure the group has enough funds to not just stay afloat but to thrive.

And she’s also always aware of how important the social aspects of the Ferndale Seniors gatherings are for her members and herself.

“When I first started volunteering 20 years ago after I retired, I very rapidly became aware that I was socializing with the best people in the city,” Jeannie says. “The best people are the ones out there volunteering, not sitting at home watching Gilligan’s Island.” Because why settle for a fictional crew when you can join the Ferndale Seniors and have an IRL crew to call your own?

Ferndale Seniors Group on Facebook
Ferndale Parks & Recreation 248-544-6767, ext. 503

By Lisa Howard

Photos by David McNair

WHEN IT COMES TO OPTIMIZING YOUR FURNACE, keep it simple and make sure you change the filter. “Your furnace is no different than your car – if you don’t maintain it, things will go wrong,” says Ari Beyer, owner of Beyer Heating & Cooling.

“When your furnace isn’t producing as much heat as it should be, that’s because you didn’t change the filter.” Aside from that, he warns against doing anything else, pointing out that furnaces aren’t made to be tinkered with by non-professionals. There’s a reason why the filter is on the exterior of the furnace and not nestled into its innards!

In a similar vein, if you have air conditioning, don’t start unscrewing panels and don’t spray it down – you could cause damage to its electrical components. Either sweep debris off of your outdoor unit or call a professional to make sure you’ll be cool and comfortable during the summer months.

HAVING WORKED IN THE HVAC FIELD FOR 26 YEARS, Ari has plenty of climate-control experience under his belt. He initially went to college and got a degree in construction management, but it didn’t take him long to decide to give up working for a builder and join the family business instead. He’s been installing, upgrading, and advising about heating and cooling needs ever since.

“I’m passionate about everything I do in life. I only have one gear, and that’s fifth gear, pedal-to-the-metal. And I like helping people and always being on the go.” He cannot possibly imagine sitting behind a desk, he says. He has 12 employees, some of whom have worked for him for over 20 years, and he loves the fact that no two days are the same.

One of Ari’s other big tips is to replace outdated and under-performing furnaces. If you have a 60-year-old furnace and you’re thinking, “Well, it’s not broken so I won’t fix it,’ know that the math doesn’t work in your favor – if you’re paying $400/month and running your heat for half the year, that’s $2,400 each year. If you spent $4,000 on a new furnace and then had a $100 bill each month, the new furnace would pay for itself in fewer than three years.

ALSO, STEP BACK AND TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR OVERALL HOUSEHOLD SETUP, particularly the trifecta of heat, windows, and insulation. If you can feel gusts of cold air coming in around the edges of your windows, then buying a new furnace isn’t going to do much. If your insulation is ancient (or nonexistent), again, your heating bills will take up a bigger and bigger chunk of your budget.

Now for the good news: The Oakland County Home Improvement Program offers qualified homeowners interest-free loans of up to $18,000 to make needed home repairs, including energy-saving upgrades. Eligible improvements include new windows (and roofs), heating systems, and insulation.

For his part, Ari offers various financing and payment options to help people afford their new furnaces.

WHEN IT COMES TO REPLACING YOUR FURNACE, Ari has two more words of wisdom: Do it. While some people are holding off making that purchase because they think prices will eventually drop back to pre-pandemic levels, that’s not going to happen, Ari says.

Also, know that if you’re shooting for the ‘Mercedes’ of furnaces, it might take a while to arrive. “The Mercedes-end of furnaces are hit-and-miss because they’ve been most affected by pandemic shortages,” he points out. “On the plus side, the ‘Cadillacs’ and ‘Ford Escapes’ are readily available.”

And remember: no matter what kind of furnace you have, change the filter!

1880 E. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale

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By Ryan R Ennis

THE REAL ESTATE COMMUNITY HAS ITS OWN LINGO. Novice buyers and sellers are often left shaking heads and shrugging shoulders in confusion about the jargon. To help things go smoothly, it is beneficial for clients to strengthen their knowledge of realty language.


MOST OF THE PUBLIC is familiar with general real estate terms like “as-is,” “closing,” “due diligence,” and “homeowner’s association.” These commonplace words seem to define themselves. However, the context in which they are used often adds complexity to their meanings:

AS-IS. When a property is listed “as-is,” the term implies that the house or condo is rough around the edges, needing updating. If, for whatever reason, changes happen to the property from the time an offer was written to the closing date, the seller must restore it to how it appeared when it was originally listed on the market. Otherwise, the buyer will no longer be bound to purchase it.

CLOSING. At “closing,” while the buyer and seller review a plethora of documents with their agents and sign them, money is conveyed to a title company so that the exchange of ownership can take place. Many buyers believe that once they receive the keys the “closing” is finished. Actually, in several places across the county, the final point of closing is when the county clerk’s office records the deed.

DUE DILIGENCE. A buyer exercises “due diligence” by enlisting experts to inspect the property and perform tests to ensure it is structurally sound. The test results determine whether the buyer proceeds with the purchase, asks for concessions, or decides to withdraw an offer.

HOMEOWNER’S ASSOCIATION (HOA). A property overseen by a Homeowner’s Association (HOA) comes with fees and regulations. Failure to pay and/or adhere to them can lead to a lien (hold on the property) until the fines and debts are settled.


ANOTHER IMPORTANT SET of real estate vocabulary concern property and listing information. These words not only describe the type of listing agreement drawn up between the seller and agent but also what the buyer should expect in purchasing the property.

LAND LEASE. When a client buys a house, he or she typically owns the land it was built on. In a “land lease” situation, the client may own the home but must rent the land surrounding it.

PROBATE SALE. In cases where homeowners die without designating it to someone, the probate court engages an estate attorney to hire a real estate agent to sell the property. Usually, this type of sale involves more red tape and paperwork than a traditional one. Delays in closing happen frequently.

SHORT SALE. Not to be confused with a “foreclosure” (a lender’s right to repossess a property on which a buyer has stopped paying), a “short sale” allows the owner to sell the home at a loss. The lender agrees to the terms of how much the sale can be “short.” Like a probate sale, the parties involved in selling/buying the property can expect a lengthier process compared to most transactions.

TRUST SALE. In a “trust sale,” a trustee appointed by a private owner sells the property after the owner has passed away. The estate’s beneficiary, not the trustee, receives the sale’s profits.


As they embark on the journey of becoming a new homeowner, clients should know about the difference between “pre-qualification” and “pre-approval.” If clients are unable to put down a sizeable payment on the property, the terms “adjustable-rate mortgage” and “debt-to-income ratio” will most likely pop up in their conversations with their lenders.

PRE-APPROVAL. To obtain a “pre-approval” letter from a lender, buyers must fill out an application that figures out their assets and their ability to repay a loan. The letters will state the amount buyers have been pre-approved for to buy a home. The letter may also include the buyer’s estimated down payment and expected interest rate on a loan.

PRE-QUALIFIED. A buyer’s “pre-qualified” status is based on a quick assessment. The lender may not ask for any official proof of the client’s annual income or assets. For that reason, sellers typically request to see a “pre-approval” letter before agreeing to any offers.

ADJUSTABLE-RATE MORTGAGE. Often called an ARM, the rates on this type of loan may change after a period of time. While an ARM can produce a lower interest rate for a certain time, it is less predictable than a typical loan.

DEBT-TO-INCOME RATIO. This number governs a property’s affordability for a buyer, including what is feasible for a monthly payment.


WHEN YOU’RE READY TO MAKE AN OFFER, the following terms may come into play.

BACKUP OFFER. Clients may find themselves in a position where they want a house that already has an offer on it. In that event, they may submit a “backup offer” should the sale fall through. Legally, only one “backup offer” is allowed per listed property.

BLIND OFFER. In a highly-competitive market, buyers with a hectic schedule may put out an offer on a property without actually touring it. It is their hope to have their offer prevail quickly over others.

HOME SALE CONTINGENCY. Under this condition, the prospective buyers must sell their home to afford the down payment on a new property — most often because they either don’t have enough savings, or would prefer to use their sale proceeds instead of their savings.

SELLER CONCESSIONS. To entice a buyer or ensure a sale goes through, the seller agrees to pay some of the buyer’s closing costs.

The present market smiles on the seller, as demand continues to outpace supply. While a better understanding of real estate language will not tip the scale in the buyer’s favor, it helps for more meaningful discussions with agents and lenders, setting you on the right path when negotiating a sale.

Additional Resources

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By Rudy Serra – Attorney, former District Judge

Probate Explained

THE ENGLISH NOUN “PROBATE” DERIVES DIRECTLY FROM THE LATIN VERBS PROBO AND PROBARE, which means “to try, test, prove, and examine.” The probate process means a will must be proved before the court. The earliest known usage of the English word “probate” was in 1463, defined as “the official proving of a will.

In Michigan, probate is a legal process that may be required after someone dies. The probate process provides for the orderly resolution of a person’s financial affairs after their death. The probate process addresses whether the person died with or without a will, who are the heirs, provides for the notification to creditors, the resolution of creditor claims, the orderly gathering and marshalling of assets, and their distribution. [].

For many people, their home is their biggest asset. Real estate, of course, can be jointly-owned and some often include a provision covering who gets the house when the owner dies. Real estate can only be transferred in writing. It does not work to simply tell another person, “When I die I want you to get my house.” A will, or a document called a “trust,” are written documents and can transfer real estate.

FOR SOME TIME, MERCHANTS TOUTED THE ADVANTAGES OF A “LIVING TRUST” (a revokable intervivos trust) as a way to avoid probate after the death of a loved ones. This probably overstates the advantages of a Living Trust – but they do still have one big advantage when it comes to real estate. When an estate goes through probate, there is an “inventory fee” based on the value of the estate.

There are probate proceedings for people who own little more than a car all the way up to jury trials for estates with significant property and disagreement among heirs. If a person’s largest asset [their home] is transferred into the ownership of a Living Trust, then the “successor Trustee” becomes owner without the house going through the probate court.

The median sales price of homes in Oakland County now exceeds $200,000. A person who bought a home a decade ago may have seen their investment double or triple. One can put their real estate (including more than one piece of real estate) into a Living Trust and remove a significant percentage of their assets from the probate inventory.

Many attorneys and some on-services sell trust forms. It is possible for a person to write a valid living trust or will, without a lawyer. A will, for example, can be hand-written, dated, and signed by a person, and is considered valid even if there are no witnesses.

The numerous potential pitfalls lead most people towards seeking some level of professional guidance. Living Trusts are similar in that regard. The most common error people make with a Living Trust is obtaining and completing the Trust, but failing to draft and record new deeds so the property actually belongs to the Trust. Stating in a Trust that a house belongs to the Trust is not enough. The “chain of title” at the county register of deeds office must include a conveyance from the individual to the trust.

With proper planning, probate goes more smoothly than without.

By Lisa Howard

YOUR HOME SAYS A LOT ABOUT YOU, from the way it’s decorated to what kinds of amenities you prefer. But maybe the most important factor about any house is its style — how the house is structured is a fundamental consideration. Whether it’s your first or third home, you want to know what you’re looking at when you start scouring home listings.

Fortunately, buyers in Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge, Berkley, Ferndale and Oak Park have several popular styles to choose from.

“The interesting thing about both Huntington Woods and Pleasant Ridge is that the majority of the homes there are different,” says Tim Murad, a realtor with Keller Williams who lives in Berkley. “‘Eclectic’ is the word I’d use. Both of those communities are higher-end, with custom-designed homes.”

In Berkley and Ferndale, the most prevalent home style is a BUNGALOW, also called a “ story-and-a-half” because the upstairs is only half a floor, due to the roof slope. Bungalows usually have two bedrooms, a bath, a kitchen and a living space on the first floor plus an additional bedroom/ office upstairs. (Most bungalows were built during the post-WWII years and might not have a fully-finished second floor.) These homes are more affordable and are especially popular with first-time buyers. Then again, most bungalows lack a bathroom on the second level, which can be a dealbreaker for some buyers.

IN CONTRAST, A COLONIAL IS CONSIDERED TO BE A FULL TWO-STORY HOME. Found throughout the five cities, colonials traditionally have a kitchen and living space on the first floor and bedrooms and a full bath (or two) upstairs. SPLIT-LEVEL HOMES are multi-story: A bi-level has two stories, a tri-level has three, and a quad-level has four. One side of the house is lowered or raised to half of the floor height and short runs of stairs are placed in the middle of the house to facilitate getting to the other levels. While some buyers won’t consider a bi- or tri-level home due to lack of storage space, quad-levels usually have basements. And some buyers explicitly seek out split-level homes because of their mid-century vibe. Oak Park in particular is a very diverse community, Tim points out, with mid-century modern homes nestled into neighborhoods featuring bungalows, colonials, and ranches.

RANCH homes are single-story homes where a family can live and parents can age in place,” Tim says. “We’re finding that baby boomers are looking to sell their colonial or bungalow and downsize to a ranch, especially a ranch with a basement.” However, ranches do tend to require bigger lots, so you usually have a larger yard to care for. If you’re a gardener, that’s a plus! If you hate mowing and shoveling, that might be unattractive.

One way to get maximum interior space with minimal exterior upkeep is to look for a large-footprint colonial built on a lot formerly occupied by a bungalow — then you’ll have more house and less yard. But most importantly, think about which style would best suit your needs and your budget.