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Archive for the 'Good Real Estate Information' Category
3 Reasons why your home is not selling
August 13th, 2010
In today’s BUYER’S MARKET homes are sitting on the market for record numbers of days. Even those everyone says will sell immediately are languishing. After 40 years of selling real estate in Grand Rapids, I believe there are only 3 reasons why a home does not sell. These reasons were valid in 1971 when I started in the business and are just as true today.
Top on the list is your price. The more properties on the market – the more competition you have for the buyers in the marketplace – and price is the only part of the equation many folks even look at. Buyers always want a “Deal.” This was true in 1971 and remains true today.
Everybody wants a bargain. In today’s marketplace, the media has hyped the foreclosures and short sales as to make everyone feel they are sure to get a bargain – so don’t be surprised if any offer you get is a “low ball” offer.
All areas and marketplaces are different so make sure you listen closely to a professional REALTOR who knows your marketplace – and price your home accordingly. If you are interviewing more than one agent – don’t necessarily go with the one who comes in with the highest price for you – go with the person who has the most experience in your neighborhood and knows the marketplace backwards and forward. Study the comparable homes and know the market – then price yourself below your competitors.
2. PROPERTY CONDITION
Houses, which are updated with the latest paint colors, countertops, and hardware and show great – will be the first homes to sell. Having dated wallpaper, woodwork, hardware and counter tops stop a buyers from either making an offer or offering a good price. Have your agent walk through your home to assist you in determining what you need to do to get it ready for the market. If you don’t have the money to update – think about offering a price below market or offering a decorating allowance so they can do the work themselves. Consider hiring a stager to have the place look like a “million bucks”
Our old school real estate mantra used to be “Location Location Location” – even though other things come into play in today’s marketplace – Location could be a key reason why your home is not selling. The good news for those of you who are in a good location is that it will be a real plus when selling.
For those of you who are next to a power line, a railroad track or under the flight path of your local airport – you will need to discount the comparable cost of your home to below others that are not affected by these challenges. You can always turn the tables and aggressively look for someone who shares a love for trains or planes and market directly to them – but keep in mind that re-sale is on the mind of every buyer out there today.
Check with us today if you need any real estate counseling on Price, Property Condition or Location…we’re happy to help.
3 Cool Things to do on the “Dog Days” of Summer
July 24th, 2010
I don’t really know how the “Dog Days of Summer” came into use in the English Language – but they are defined by a number of sources as the hottest days of summer between the end of July and the start of September – so RIGHT NOW – we are experiencing those Dog Days. Some say they were named after some star constellations and others after very hot animals (specifically dogs) who couldn’t tolerate the heat very well – but wherever they came from – we all know they are HOT!…and when you’re hot, you’re hot, so here are 3 cool things to do during the Dog Days.
1. Go to your local County Fair
I know – you are thinking – how could that be cool?? While walking around looking at the “cool” animals (namely pigs, sheep, cattle, horses, goats (my personal favorite), you can be sipping a “cool” cup of homemade lemonade with a half of lemon still inside…mosey on over to the Midway and take a “cool breeze” ride on the tilt-a-whirl or sip a blueberry snow cone atop the ferris wheel! Cool off at night in the grandstands and watch your favorite country singer or a demolition derby while cooling off with ice cream drumsticks. Check this list for all the County Fairs in Michigan in 2010
2. Go look at some houses
OK – you should only do this if you want to get some “cool” deals on a home and “cool” low interest rates – the Dog Days of 2010 are going to be known for their great values. Traditionally, the real estate market slows down a little bit during the Dog Days – and this year is no exception. Our listings are getting fewer showings and the phones are not ringing as earlier in the year. Many folks are on vacation or just plain too hot to be motivated to look for a home. Check with us and we’re happy to get you in on some great values.
3. Go Jump in the Lake
Wow – this where Michigan, and especially West Michigan, really shines! Did you know Michigan has more than 11,000 inland lakes – this is in addition to our four Great Lakes! That’s a lot of lakes to jump into. Many of these lakes have public access where you can launch your speed boat, waverunner or canoe, and cool off from the heat of summer.
There are cottages galore on these lakes – some for rent – some owned by families for many generations – and even some to buy! Did you know there are more cottages for sale this year than in the past 10 years combined – and the prices are really affordable – so these Dog Days are good waterfront buying times also. Here’s a short list of the cottages for sale just in the Grand Rapids area
Tax Credit Clarification – It’s not an Open Door!
July 5th, 2010
The House and Senate have agreed and the President signed it – but just what does this new “extension” of the tax credit mean to you?
Unless you already have a purchase agreement in place as of the 30th of April, 2010 – this extension means absolutely NOTHING to you. This is only an extension of the time to get the above mentioned transactions closed. It is NOT an extension to buy property – only to close those that met the original deadline.
So you ask – what’s in it for me as a buyer today.?
The good news is there is still a lot of inventory in the Grand Rapids marketplace. This great selection with lots of it – usually means the supply and demand curve translates into prices which are really good.
In addition – the interest rates are so low they seem like a give-away. I heard last week of a fixed rate 15 year mortgage at 3.75% – and we are closing conventional and FHA mortgages at 4 – 5%. When the interest rates start their tick up – they traditionally do it quickly – so now is a great time to take advantage of these low rates.
Don’t be disouraged about missing out on the credit – be smart and take advantage of a great marketplace to buy – you’ll probably find out the savings in price and interest rates more than offset the $8,000 you could have saved with the tax credit.
Check with us for some great buys!
Ranch Style Homes sell better than 2 Story Homes in the Grand Rapids Real Estate Marketplace
June 22nd, 2010
Statistics for the past year show 2714 ranch style homes (all on one floor) sold and only 1683 two story homes sold in the Grand Rapids Real Estate Market. (According to GRAR statistics between 100,000 – 400,000 in price). I am often asked which homes have the best resale and if you look at the stats for all homes sold in the Grand Rapids area – they look like this:
$100,000 – $400,000 Currently Listed on Entire MLS Sold in Past 12 Months in Entire MLS
Ranch Style Homes 2578 2714
Two Story Homes 1496 1683
Multi or Tri Level Homes 565 782
As you can see by the stats above the Ranch Homes sell by a greater margin than 2 story homes – and Multi or Tri Level Homes bring up the lower third of the market.
What is interesting about this is all real estate is local – each area and neighborhood has a unique breakdown of the style of home which sells the best and each price range has it’s own breakdown of styles which do best. Your Realtor will give you great advice about the area you are considering as far as what home styles sell the best – make sure you check with them if you are strictly buying for re-sale.
I am finding ranches are selling very well for the older crowd – and as the baby boomers age, I think we will be seeing more demand for the ranch style – mainly because everything is all on one floor and no steps are needed for either bedrooms or laundry facilities. Now, since I’m a baby boomer I will confess that I live in a ranch style home specifically for this reason.
Many of the two-story buyers I see are folks with young families who want the bedrooms upstairs. Multi and Tri Levels are higher in demand in areas where younger first time homebuyers are looking as they have great usage of all square footage and seem to be more contemporary.
The good news is there are plenty of home styles for anyone to choose from in this marketplace. As you saw from the stats above – there is almost a one year supply of homes on the market – so it’s a great time to buy. Give us a call if we can give you some advice on the marketplace in your neighborhood or help in finding that perfect home for you.
Dave Ramsey says “Use Us”
June 16th, 2010
Don’t sell your house yourself – Don’t be a FSBO - Don’t be fooled by the middle-of-the-night TV huckster – It’s a lot harder than you think. Dave Ramsey’s column gets a question we get all the time – “What are the advantages of using a real estate agent versus going the for-sale-by-owner route when it comes to selling a home?
Since I’ve been actively selling real estate here in Grand Rapids for about 40 years, I have answered this question thousands of times – but Dave does it so eloquently – plus he has a bigger audience than mine (so far)! Here are some of the highlights of his answer which have resounded steady for the past 40 years:
“…you will immediately have thousands of potential buyers.”
-when you have your home for sale “By Owner” your market is as large as a sign, an ad, and limited internet exposure will bring you. The MLS and an active agent bring you qualified (very important as it separates them from lookeyloos) buyers who have the motivation and means to buy right now.
“…they (real estate agents) know all the ins and outs of buying and selling a home, and they’ll walk you through every step of the process.”
All real estate is local and it is so important to work with someone who knows the customs in the area, is familiar with all the forms commonly used and can keep their client (either a buyer or a seller) out of legal trouble as they go through the ever complex real estate transaction.
“…you will cost yourself more than the agent’s commission by trying to sell it yourself.”
Amen – I’m really liking Dave Ramsey!! Often we as real estate agents make it look too easy – we don’t bother the client with little glitches, we just go ahead and solve the problems and bring the transaction to close. We have the knowledge and the experience to know when to fire up the cannons and when to low-key something that can be solved easily – and then we solve it before it becomes an issue.
Bottom Line – Use a Realtor when you are thinking of Selling or Buying Real Estate! Contact us for your personal real estate needs – with almost 40 years of real estate sales and being a native of Grand Rapids – We know GR and we know Real Estate !
Tax Breaks for Seniors – Michigan is the spot!
June 11th, 2010
In a study done by the Washngton-based Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Michigan comes out number one in tax treatment for Seniors – what a great reason to move here!
There are a number of tax breaks and tax treatments that are really cool for Seniors. They have defined Seniors as those over 65 years old – which actually seems pretty young to me as I ‘m heading in that direction.
I’m not sure I’ll be able to convince everyone looking for retirement that Michigan is a great place to be – but those folks who want beautiful landscapes, great sunsets, thousands of lakes, 4 gorgeous seasons, art, theater, symphony, ballet or a quiet place in the woods – plus advantageous tax positions: Michigan is the place. Take a look at the article and see for yourself!
Even if you are not a Senior – Michigan has a lot to offer you – contact us if you want more information.
Walk On Grand Rapids
May 13th, 2010
Making your community more walkable can improve your quality of life and increase the value of your home. Read
Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.
Copyright 2010 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Grand Rapids makes USA TODAY on Home Price Increases
May 12th, 2010
Check out the article published this morning in USA Today. We made the Top Ten markets in the US whose prices increased substantially over last year at this time. We fell below the astounding figure of 100.7% gain in median prices – that award went to our fellow Michigan town of Saginaw, Michigan .
Yet – we – the Grand Rapids Real Estate Market – saw a 26% gain in our median prices. Of course 2009 was a water shed year in the Grand Rapids market with low median prices – low sales numbers – there was not much UP in the market except unemployment. 2010 has started out to be a great rebound year.
Our Team has had the best first quarter in many years. I think the buyer tax credits and the positive consumer confidence in conjunction with some pent-up demand has fueled this increase. Our listings are selling even after the Credit is over – and we have a number of new buyers moving into the area with new jobs. The signs of Spring are still in the air!
Check in with us and we’re happy to give you good real estate advice and let us know how you feel about the First Time Buyer Tax Credit – was it a good thing for our marketplace??
One of the questions I get asked all the time by both Buyers and Sellers is: “I’m always hearing about a CLOSING – what is it?”
Here are 5 things you should know about closings:
1. What is a closing?
A closing in the State of Michigan is the culmination of a real estate transaction. This is where the buyer and seller get together (sometimes in person – sometimes not) to sign the final papers and transfer ownership. The buyers bring in their down payment and closing costs (the bank/mortgage company brings in the money for the mortgage) and the buyer becomes the legal owner of the property…the sellers, in most instances, receive their money and are no longer the owners of the property. The HUD Closing Statement summarizes the transaction and looks like this.
2. Where do you hold a closing?
In the Grand Rapids area, we hold most of our closings at a title insurance company. Some are located inside real estate offices, while others are in offices in different areas of town. A few even have mobile closings and drive up in a Mobile Closing Van (although they do come into the office to do the closings – I’ve not attended any sitting in a van). The Realtor representing you (either as a buyer or a seller) will let you know well in advance where your closing will be held and at what time. Few title companies do any closings on the weekends or after 5pm – so you will need to coordinate your work schedule around attending. Read the rest of this entry »
Get the Lead Out..New Law…Higher Prices???
April 25th, 2010
On “Earth Day” this year the EPA put into law a new Lead Based Paint Regulation. This affects disturbing any existing paint (so remodeling or scraping and painting rooms) on homes built before 1978.
I did a little research on just how many homes this affects in the Grand Rapids real estate market and found 4414 homes currently for sale which fit the description. From now on, any scraping and painting, new windows, remodeling…etc. on these 4414 homes must be done under compliance with this new law.
The Grand Rapids Press had a great article about it – read it here - which can help you understand it and how it might affect you if you own or are thinking of owning a property that is over 32 years old.
I have been surprised how many painters I have talked to who know nothing about this law – so make sure you ask your contractor if they have the RRP Certification. Check out the EPA’s website to get a little more information on both the law and the affects of lead paint on children – you can view it here.
It’s being said the cost of contracting for remodeling of any home built before 1978 might skyrocket due to the increased cost of certification. The cost for the contractors ($200 registration fee, $300 for classes, more expensive equipment, reporting and documentation) plus the fact there are very few trainers currently doing the training for certification, leaves many contractors in a bind.
As a Realtor I know this might slow down some closings, add extra costs to repairs and perhaps at a time when a seller is close to going under – might be the final blow to a possible sale. With every new law there is a learning curve and I hope this one is short and sweet for all involved.