Gimme S’more!

Looking for a simple, yet delicious recipe to make for those fun summer cookouts or as an activity to do with the kids? Try this original s’more cookie bar recipe and you won’t be disappointed!

S'more cookie bars

Ingredients you will need:

  1. Homemade chocolate chip cookie dough or pre-packaged cookie dough
  2. Marshmallow fluff
  3. Hershey’s milk chocolate bars
  4. Nonstick brownie bite pan (if you don’t have this you can just bake the cookies like normal)


Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease each square compartment of the brownie bite pan. Then scoop the cookie dough into each square and fill about halfway full. Bake the cookies according to the cookie package (should be about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown). Let the cookies cool. Remove the cookie squares from the pan. Spread about a tablespoon of marshmallow fluff on each cookie. Break Hershey’s milk chocolate bars into many pieces and place a few pieces on each cookie, sticking to the fluff.

Now you can enjoy your less messy, simpler, and just as delightful tasting s’more treat! Happy baking!



New Parking Downtown Brighton

The downtown atmosphere in Brighton is exciting and fun for all ages.  The warm weather is bringing more people out and about, which is great for the community, but also can be a bit frustrating because it is so difficult to find any parking.

Fortunately, the parking issues may be solved sooner than we thought. The City of Brighton Downtown Development Authority has planned and started constructing the new “CSX-West Parking Lot.” Located on the East side of the railroad tracks, across the street from Main Street Crossings Condos, 75 new parking spots will created along the railroad tracks.  According to the City of Brighton, the parking project should be completed before the Taste of Brighton Festival in July.

Creating the perfect “deck baskets”


Tired of wasting your money on expensive ordinary, pre-made flower arrangements or hanging baskets for your deck or porch? If you are feeling bold, try creating your own unique baskets for this summer.

What you will need:

  1. Flower pot or wire basket
  2. Sphagnum moss (purchased at any garden store and comes in a cube)
  3. Anchor plant (hibiscus works great)
  4. 4 miscellaneous plants to place around the anchor plant
  5. 1-2 grassy or long plants to hang over the basket
  6. Dirt
  7. Planting shovel

Add water to moisten sphagnum moss. This can be done by putting it in a plastic trash can and add water with a hose.  Line the pot or wire basket with the moss (creating a basket within a basket) and then fill with potting soil. Place anchor plant in the middle or where you want it and add the miscellaneous plants around the anchor plant, including the grassy or overhanging plants. Make sure the roots are all covered with dirt and add additional dirt as needed.

To ensure the plants grow to their potential, you can fertilize them with miracle grow until the soil is moistened.

Preparing for a Successful Showing

It’s spring and we continue to be very busy at Team Hamilton!  We’ve been helping clients prepare to show their homes, and we’ve also been out with many buyers looking at homes.  There are few simple things you can do to make the most of showings.  Homes that are not properly staged can lessen a potential buyers interest.  Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Minimize furniture and clutter on counters and shelves to make space look larger.
  • Have carpets, furniture and drapes cleaned if smoking or pet odors are present.
  • Prevent the smell of mildew by not letting damp towels or dirty laundry accumulate.
  • Remove most –if not all – personal photos and mementos.
  • Organize closet space and minimize everything possible.  Don’t forget the attic.
  • Check for leaks and repair faucets and showerheads.
  • Organize your garage, make sure the floor is clean and swept, and park the car outside.
  • Use only your newest and best washcloths, towels and bedding for the freshest impression.

We just published this list in our latest newsletter and I thought it would be great to put it on the blog as well.  If you are not receiving our newsletter and would like to, please email me ( and we’ll get you added.

Until next time,


Homeowner’s Associations – What You Need To Know

Many communities, condominiums and single-family homes, have associations. It is very common today. But if you’ve never lived where one governs the community, you should familiarize yourself with the basics. I’ve talked with many customers who were not familiar about what to expect with an HOA, so I’ve written down a few key points that may help.

What do you get from the HOA? 
Homeowners associations often provide access to amenities such as pools, gyms, and tennis courts—and their rules can protect property values. Some associations handle services such as trash pickup, landscaping, and street and sidewalk maintenance.

When you purchase a property governed by an HOA, you enter into a legal contract with the association. You agree to abide by the association’s regulations and pay its dues. In exchange, you get a community guided by an HOA and the access to its facilities and perks.  That being said, you’ll want to review those restrictions to ensure that any uses or freedoms you expect to come along with your property are allowed in the CCRs (covenants, conditions & restrictions). Want to store your motorhome or boat in your driveway? The association’s CCRs may not allow that. Want to paint the house? Some HOAs have restrictions on permissible colors, so check the palette allowed by the association.My assistant, Lori, recently started working on a home improvement project to upgrade the front door of her home. After selecting the new door, getting quotes for installation, etc., she submitted the plans to the association only to find out that the color of the door she wanted was not allowed under the bylaws. If you review the CCRs carefully before you begin any new projects you’ll be much less likely to run into issues with the HOA.

Dues – HOAs run on dues, your annual fee for living in the community. Yearly dues can range from less than a hundred dollars to more than a thousand. It depends on what amenities your community has. Before you purchase, you should find out how much the dues are, to be sure it is within your budget. What do the due’s cover, and what do they not cover? You’ll always want to find this out. For example, your condo association may perform all exterior maintenance. That means when the roof leaks, your dues pay for its repair, even if you live on the ground floor of a three-story building. If you live on that third floor, however, you don’t have to pay to repair the entire roof yourself. If the association manages a fitness center, you’re paying for it, even if you never use the facility.

When you work with Team Hamilton, we’ll do all we can to inform you about these types of issues. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Until next time,


Things are Looking Up

Things are looking Up

I get asked quite a bit when the market in Michigan is going to get better…. and the answer is it already has! After all the bad news of the last few years, it is not surprising that many are unaware of how things have turned around.

We have truly moved to a seller’s market in southeast Michigan. The inventory of homes for sale is at a 10year low. At the peak of the market in 2008, there were over 61,000 homes on the market. Right now there are roughly 14,000 homes. There are a lot of buyers out there and they are all chasing after those homes! Overbidding is common in as much as 30% of all sales. The good news is that the combination of low inventory and the large number of buyers is driving up values. Real Estate One, who does an excellent job of following these trends, estimates that in 2013-2014, Michigan will see double-digit appreciation. This is great news! With these good indicators, as well as continued low mortgage interest rates, now is a great time to consider selling.

Some things that continue to be of concern include difficulty with appraisals and continued lender uncertainty. Since the market has been in such decline for the last several years, appraisals are going to need a bit of time to catch up. This is something that both buyers and sellers need to be aware of. Lenders continue to be very conservative. While we’ve seen credit standards ease somewhat, the strict underwriting standards will continue to be an issue for the foreseeable future. Buyers will need to be aware of this and should seek mortgage pre-approval before beginning their home search.

It is wonderful to see the real estate market moving forward and gaining strength. I’ve enjoyed working with some wonderful clients already this year, and as first quarter comes to an end, looking forward to the remainder of 2013.

Until next time,