Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 77

2015-2016 Housing Economic Forecast

by Mark Brace

Realtor Magazine just published the economic forecast for the 2015-2016 housing market and the numbers continue to trend upward. As the market continues to improve however, interest rates also are forecasted to rise. The forecast is predicting 2015 interest rates to average in around 4.9% and will continue to rise to 6% in 2016. If you're thinking of making a move, this is further proof that 2015 will be a great year to do so. While 6% is still a low interest rate historically speaking, you will have higher purchasing power in 2015 and that will continue to decrease as interest rates increase! Keep in mind that for every percentage point that interest rates rise your affordability drops by roughly $20,000! The forecast is outlined below:

Market Pulse

by Mark Brace

As compared to last year the market this year is up significantly. Housing prices are also on the rise which is a great indication of where the market is headed.

We are still not out of the woods yet but it is looking promising that next year will match or surpass this year in terms of the housing market.

Below is a link to the article.

5 Emotional Mistakes A Seller Can Make

by Mark Brace

A Great Article Posted Via Trulia.Com! Check it out!


Explanation of the New 3.8% Tax

by Mark Brace


The National Association of Realtors has prepared a new guide on the 3.8% tax affecting some real estate transactions. The tax is not a transfer tax on real estate sales and similar transactions (The Real Estate Transfer Tax is a tax on the sale, granting, and transfer of real property or an interest in real property).  Not long after the tax was executed, misleading documents went viral on the internet and created a great deal of confusion. Due to this confusion the tax was generally misunderstood.  

The new tax does NOT eliminate the benefits of the $250,000/$500,000 exclusion on the sale of a principal residence.  Therefore, only that portion of a gain above those thresholds is included in Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and could be subject to the tax.

For example: John and Mary sold their principal residence and realized a gain of $525,000. They have $325,000 AGI (before adding taxable gain). The tax applies as follows:


John and Mary sold their principal residence and realized a gain of $525,000. 
h ey have $325,000 Adjusted Gross Income (before adding taxable gain). 
h e tax applies as follows:
AGI Before Taxable Gain $325,000
Gain on Sale of Residence $525,000
Taxable Gain (Added to AGI) $25,000  ($525,000 – $500,000) 
New AGI $350,000 ($325,000 + $25,000 taxable gain)
Excess of AGI over $250,000 $100,000  ($350,000 – $250,000)
Lesser Amount (Taxable) $25,000  (Taxable gain)
Tax Due  $950 ($25,000 x 0.038)

AGI Before Taxable Gain $325,000 

Gain on Sale of Residence $525,000

Taxable Gain (Added to AGI) $25,000  ($525,000 – $500,000

 New AGI $350,000 ($325,000 + $25,000 taxable gain)

Excess of AGI over $250,000 ($100,000)= ($350,000 – $250,000)

Lesser Amount (Taxable) $25,000 (Taxable gain)

Tax Due  $950 ($25,000 x 0.038).

REALTORS® should familiarize themselves with the tax, but should advise upper income clients or clients who have a large capital gains to seek the guidance of a tax professional.  The amount of tax will vary from individual to individual because the elements that comprise AGI differ from taxpayer to taxpayer.

Sources and links:

Below is a chart listing the tax changes with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts.$FILE/government_affairs_health_ref_marg_tax_rates.pdf

Grand Rapids Labeled #1 Place in America to Buy Real Estate

by Mark Brace

Sept 14, 2012.

ABC's weekday hit "The View" interviewed nationally renowned real estate mogul and expert Barbara Corcoran, on Where the best place to buy in America are. She listed Grand Rapids MI real estate the #1 place in America to buy real estate!!!!

ABC's "The View" Click to see her interview:


Barbara Corcoran Mentions that a typical home is $108,000, and prices are going up quickly! That $150,000 will buy you a Castle! "which is all true" She also said the cost of living is also 15% lower than anywhere else in the country. That Grand Rapids has lots of jobs and lots of good schools, which always assures good real estate values.

I'm so happy Grand Rapids is finally getting the national attention it deserves; it is such a cool place to be with ArtPrize and all of the local philanthropy from business owners, and being very close to some of the best fresh water beaches in world. We have been also working our way to become the microbrewery capital of America too!!! It seems like every other week a new microbrewery is opening. If you haven't figured it out yet Grand Rapids is the Place to be!!!

Why The Time is Now!

by Mark Brace

New and existing homes in the Grand Rapids and surrounding areas are flying off of the shelves. Some homes selling before they even hit the market and others selling for more than the asking price. Reason…historically low interest rates, $0 down Rural Development loan options, 3.5% down FHA loan options, 5% down Conventional loan options with no mortgage insurance and the list goes on. You can now own for less than you rent an apartment for! First time home buyers are ecstatic with their payments, growing families are selling and moving up to bigger & better homes for the same payment as their old homes. It is an incredible time for all buyers, sellers, builders, real estate agents and loan officers in West Michigan. If you are on the fence, it is time to get off quickly before this window of opportunity passes you buy. I always say, you will never know we hit the bottom until we are on the way back up and at that point the opportunity may be gone.


Zac Ellerbroek

Loan Originator – Lake Michigan Credit Union / Knapps Corner

616-234-6864 – Direct

616-893-6024 – Cell

616-643-0783 – Secure Fax

NMLS# 138717

To Send Secure E-Mail Click Here

Beware: Mortgage Loan Modification Scams

by Mark Brace

Earlier this week the National Grand Rapids Foreclosures Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) Program held a web-ex about the Loan Modification Scam Alert campaign. Due to the growing number of scams, Congress asked NeighborWorks America to launch a national public education program; the campaign empowers homeowners to protect themselves against loan modification scams, to find trusted help and to report illegal activity to authorities. Keep yourself informed and aware, visit this website to stay educated

4 Don’ts When Selling a Home

by Mark Brace

1. Don’t slack off on home maintenance. Houses in need of TLC often attract investors or property flippers, which are known for submitting low-ball offers. To attract offers and the highest bids, sellers should attend to any upkeep and maintenance issues before putting the house for sale.

2. Make sure the home isn’t being overshadowed outside. Nothing kills curb appeal more than a home you’re selling that you can’t even see. Be sure to trim trees or bushes to ensure they aren’t blocking any windows or the exterior of the home.

3. Remove wallpaper. Wallpaper and borders can be a nuisance to remove so you might want to take these personal decor touches down before you list the home. Neutralize the homes in subtle colors that will appeal to the most buyers and allow buyers to better visualize their personal decor moving in.

4. Don’t keep an empty home empty. Buyers can struggle in picturing themselves moving in if a home is left empty. Vacant homes can feel cold and rooms can look smaller than they really are. That’s why O’Ryan reminds us why builders spend thousands of dollars staging model homes. If your listing is vacant, consider staging it to bring in furniture and accessories to help define the various rooms functions.

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR Magazine

Are Home Buyers Getting Too Picky?

by Mark Brace

Many buyers are demanding perfection in home’s today.

A small stain on the carpet? Forget it. Distracting paint colors? They can’t look past it. No granite countertops? Onto the next house!

As home values drop, offering buyers some of the best bargains in years, more home buyers have realized they can get more choosy when home-shopping. And with inventories high in many areas, sellers realize their home needs to exude perfection if its going to stand out.

During the housing boom a few years ago, buyers were more willing to overlook flaws, or accept them, that is. They may have negotiated with the seller over repairs or upgrades, but some buyers were willing to even take the home “as-is” to win a bidding war or to get the home in the area they wanted.

Times have changed.

Even first-time buyers, who once were lured to the “starter home” (a.k.a. a fixer-upper), are getting choosier. A Coldwell Banker survey earlier this year found that 87 percent of first-time buyers say they want a “move-in” ready home over a fixer-upper–and they want it to be affordable too!

Buyers are “missing out on some excellent, older lived-in houses,” Holly Kirby Weatherwax, a real estate professional in Reston, Va., told the Toledo Blade. “It’s a shame, simply because they can’t overlook” flaws that wouldn’t have bothered most buyers in the previous two decades. Those flaws could be anything from minor imperfections like kitchen appliances by different manufacturers to the home’s color not matching the buyer’s furniture, Kirby notes.

“Anything that can be a distraction, you want to eliminate,” a Tennessee home seller noted in a recent news article. “A light bulb isn’t a big issue, but it can affect [buyers’] subconscious.”

So how did buyers get so picky anyway? Is it just the power of a buyer’s market? Some also blame the rising popularity of home design shows on TV for making buyers more selective when viewing homes. But in recent months, more home design TV programming is showing a slight shift to fixer-upper housing make-overs, showing how a home’s flaws can be overcome to still become a dream home. Will such TV shows eventually make more buyers give less-than-perfect homes a second chance?

Until then, before the for-sale sign goes up, more sellers are heeding the advice of their real estate agent to clean, paint, upgrade and stage to avoid lowball offers. Plus, with the huge glut of low-priced foreclosures, such finishing touches may help home owners rise above the competition.

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Grand Rapids Voted # 2 Best City To Re-Locate To!

by Mark Brace

Grand Rapids, Mich., made RelocateAmerica’s Top 10 list for its solid schools and strong economy, especially when compared with the rest of the state. “It’s got the best of everything in a smaller large city,” said Steve Nickerson, president of RelocateAmerica.

Read the full article by clicking the link below:

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 77

Contact Information

Mark Brace, Realtor, ABR, GRI, CRS, SRES, e-PRO, A
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate
3000 East Beltline NE
Grand Rapids MI 49525
Direct: (616) 447-7025
Cell: (616) 540-7705
Fax: (616) 447-7025

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Michigan Real Estate is a full service, locally operated real estate brokerage company backed by the strength of a solid national and global brand. Our full service businesses include Residential, Commercial, Relocation, Mortgage, Insurance, Home Services and New Homes & Land. Our core values, service philosophy, cutting edge technology, and most importantly our people are what make us the leading real estate company in Michigan. We are committed to providing the highest quality real estate services possible and making each customer's experience one that surpasses their expectations.