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Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 77

Declutter Your Home and Get it Sold

by Mark Brace

In today’s competitive housing market, Grand Rapids area home sellers must use all means possible to position their properties to sell.  When buyers step inside your home, they hope to see a neat, clean house where they could imagine themselves living for the next few decades.

With all else being equal, home buyers prefer the look of an uncluttered home over one that is stuffed with “stuff.”  Why is this?  Uncluttered homes tend to look cleaner than ones where there are piles of books, boxes, and other items lying around.  A highly cluttered home also gives the perception of having less square footage than it really does.  And when potential buyers see open floor areas and unbroken wall space inside your home, they can more easily envision their furniture and other belongings fitting into that space.

But how can you move all that stuff out of sight without marching it down to the basement or jamming it all into your closets?  After all, prospective buyers will walk through those areas of the house also.

Consider renting temporary storage space.  Self-storage facilities offer a convenient way to relocate items that can clutter up a home.  These facilities, commonly called “mini-storage,” are fairly numerous in most towns and offer spaces with different storage volumes.  These units can be rented on a monthly basis and may be just the solution you are looking for.  All you need is a truck and some helpers to move the clutter out of the house ahead of that open house this weekend.

An even more convenient temporary storage solution for the home seller is a portable storage unit.  These enclosed containers are delivered to your home and securely protect your belongings from the outside elements.  They are especially handy when you are moving from one home to another.  The units can be loaded up at your old home and transported to your new house where they can be unloaded at your convenience.

Whether your house is located in Grandville, Ada, or any other Grand Rapids neighborhood, making your home stand out from all the others in this real estate market is an important component in getting it sold faster.  Decluttering your home by utilizing temporary storage may make the difference between going through yet another open house and finally hanging that SOLD sign in what will soon become your old front yard.

Brian Sinnott is with Zippy Shell of West Michigan, a trusted provider of temporary self-storage in Grand Rapids

THINK ABOUT THIS!

by Mark Brace

There are homeowners that would like to have a larger/nicer home but are patiently waiting for the market to improve.  A frequently heard objection is that they can't sell their home for what it is currently worth.   

Buying up in a down market is actually advantageous because while you might get less for the home you're selling, you're also getting the larger home for less.  For instance, if you had to sell a $200,000 home for a 10% discount, you might feel that you left $20,000 on the table.  However, buying a $300,000 for the same 10% discount would put you $10,000 ahead on the sale and purchase.

The other obvious matter is that when the mortgage rates increase while you're waiting for the market to improve, it dramatically increases your cost of housing with higher payments.  The cost of housing is affected by price and mortgage rates.

To accurately evaluate your current options, you need facts and assessment tools that will provide you the information to make an informed decision. Contact me, Mark Brace, today to discuss your options. Whether buying or selling I am here to help make the process enjoyable and exciting! 

First 3 Paragraphs Taken from Pat Zaby's Blog

CNN Money : 10 Dirt Cheap Housing Markets

by Mark Brace

According to CNN Money, Grand Rapids ranks #9 out of the 10 most affordable housing markets. There is no better time to buy than NOW!

Via CNN Money.com talking about Grand Rapids:

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, lumberjacks took down many square miles of Michigan's hardwood forests to feed the numerous furniture makers of this city in the center of the lower peninsular. There are some furniture makers left, but they tend to use metal rather than golden oak.

There's been a gentle slope to population growth over the post-war years; the metro area gained about 5% during the past decade.That means low demand for housing and the median price of about $80,000 in early 2011 is down about 10% from the boom years. A tidy three-bedroom home can be bought for less than $90,000.

3 Gardening Mistakes to Avoid

by Mark Brace
Gardening is not rocket science: If you can dig a hole, turn on a spigot, and snip a dead flower off a vine, you can tend a garden. 

Still, gardeners need  to make judgment calls. How much water does this shrub need? Will that tree get enough sun? Is this hole deep enough? It’s easy to misjudge and make a mess out of the landscaping. Here are common garden blunders.

1. Too many changes too soon. The excitement of warm spring weather often creates a passion for yard work. But what looks like a spring weed might be a fall-blooming vine. Encourage buyers to: Live with their land for a year and observe how many hours of sunlight each part of the garden gets. Test the pH of the soil to determine if acid- or alkaline-loving plants will be happy in that particular patch of heaven.

2. Too much togetherness. Trees and shrubs that look properly spaced when you plant them will crowd each other and compete for water, sun, and nutrients in a few years. Encourage buyers to: Read spacing instructions. Give trees plenty of space—they can always fill in later. Stagger bushes and plants and create two rows, which will create more breathing room. The results will look absurdly sparse at first. But live with it. In a few years, shrubs will fill empty spaces without suffocating each other.

3. Planting without a plan. Planting new garden beds without a long-term landscape plan is like pouring a house foundation without blueprints. Encourage buyers to: Draw a simple sketch of their yard—what’s there now and what they might add later, including patios and pools. Learn about the trees and shrubs that grow best in their soil and climate. A professional landscape designer can create a starter plan for as little as $250 to $500.

Taken from Realtor Mag

No Cost: A Photogenic Listing

by Mark Brace
Try these no-cost techniques for showing off curb appeal in online photos. Article by Melissa Dittmann Tracey

Stunning curb appeal can make buyers fall in love with a home from the moment they pull up in their car.

But equally important in today’s Web-driven world is ensuring that your listings’ curb appeal transfers to online photos, says designer ­Michelle Molinari, founder of Curb Appeal Concepts and co-owner of the design and staging company Feature This… in Abbeville, La.

"You can spend all the money you want on curb appeal, but if it doesn’t show up in the picture, it’s pointless," Molinari says. Here are a few simple, no cost ways to get curb appeal in your property photos.

1. Remove the window screens.

A home’s exterior, with brick or shingles, generally looks dull. Some home owners try to add shine with door knobs and lighting fixtures. But those subtle objects often don’t show up in a photo. Molinari says one of the best ways to add vitality and dimension in photos is by removing screens from the windows in the front of the home. Window screens can make windows look filmy and dark, she says. "Windows are the eyes of the home, and you want to show off a healthy pair of eyes," says Molinari, who first got the idea to remove the screens after watching set designers prep a row of neighborhood homes for a movie.

But whatever you do, don’t throw away those screens! Keep them in the garage and reinstall them once the house has sold. Chances are, Molinari says, buyers won’t question why there are no screens during the showing, but they will notice that the house looks bright and cheery.

2. Water the mulch.

Black mulch is a favorite for creating a clean polished look that helps curb appeal. But you can steal the look even if your mulch is brown. Before a showing or photo, water the mulch in the front of the house. The mulch will take on a darker tone, which will go a long way in making the greenery around it pop and look more vibrant, Molinari says. Darker mulch grounds a house, drawing attention to the foundation. "It’ll look like coffee grounds—[it will appear] rich, healthy, and fertile," she says.

3. Show off the path to the doorway.

Use the "red carpet ­effect" to bring the home’s walkway front and center. "With too many homes, you have to park the car and get out before you eventually see the path that leads up to the home," Molinari says. "Make your listing’s walkway stand out."

 Besides making sure the path is clear, make it prominent in your photos: Snap the photo from a higher vantage point. Don’t just stand in the street to capture a photo of the exterior, as so many do. Try using a three-foot ladder to capture the image from a higher standpoint, or shoot it from an angle. "It will put the home miles above the others on the MLS," Molinari says. "It will look like it’s welcoming buyers."

 

USNews Projects 2011 housing market bottom

by Mark Brace

Homeowners. Americans have lost about $9 trillion worth of household wealth since 2007, largely because of falling home values. The rout isn't over, unfortunately. Most forecasters think home values will decline another 5 to 10 percent in 2011 nationally, as high unemployment causes more foreclosures and a glut of homes pushes prices down. The good news, if there is any, is that the housing market may finally hit bottom in 2011, with home values stabilizing after five years of declines. That doesn't mean home prices will shoot up any time soon. But once buyers believe that prices have stopped falling, they'll be more inclined to buy, the first step back toward a healthy housing market. Stabilizing home values will also help owners do better financial planning, since they'll have a firm idea what their home is worth.

Source-, On Tuesday December 21, 2010

A Handy Mortgage Reference Guide for Risky Borrowers

by Mark Brace

Mortgage Update:

Serious credit problems are happening to a lot of people these days.  Here’s a handy reference chart on waiting periods if clients have a bankruptcy, Grand Rapids Foreclosures or Grand Rapids Short Sales.

 

Bankruptcy Chapter 7 or 11: 2 Year Waiting Period (Only 1 yr with extreme extenuating circumstances exist)

Bankruptcy Chapter 13: 1 Year Waiting Period with 12 months satisfactory payments to Trustee. Must have court permission to buy a new home.

Foreclosure: 3 Year Waiting Period

Short Sale if Borrower is Current at Time of Short Sale: No wait time if all mortgage debts are paid on time for 12 months preceding short sale.

Short Sale if Borrower is delinquent at Time of Short Sale: 3 Year waiting period from date of sale.

Get the Lead Out Program!!

by Mark Brace

The Get the Lead Out! program helps homeowners protect their children from lead poisoning.  Parents who participate in the program can remove dangerous lead hazards from their homes before children are poisoned.  And then there is the added benefit of all the repairs, which often include new windows, new siding, and fresh paint!

Click on this link to learn more about Grand Rapids "Get the Lead Out!" Program:

http://www.healthyhomescoalition.org/get-the-lead-out/gtlo-for-homeowners/

Presentation is Everything!!

by Mark Brace

When the Sellers Aren't Selling
Remind Them: "Presentation is Everything!"

At times the sellers themselves thwart the efforts of the Real Estate Agent. Nothing can be quite as frustrating as trying to pull all the weight when someone else is adding to the burden by being uncooperative!

If you have a seller who is not making sure their home is presentable to a potential buyer, remind them that, in a competitive market with more inventory than we've seen in some time, presentation is everything! By eliminating points the potential buyer may find fault with and bringing out the positive amenities, they are more likely to sell the home and get the price they are asking for. Here are just a few tips that will help them support your efforts as their representative in the transaction:

Let There Be Light. Buy some 100-watt bulbs to brighten the rooms, and open curtains or blinds to let light in. Unless a window faces a brick wall or some type of eyesore, open the drapes!

Garage, Not Garbage. Have a garage sale to clean out the clutter and make the garage more spacious. Your clients are moving and will need to start organizing anyway, so why wait until the last minute? Clean up oil spots in the garage or carport with a good cleanser to remove that "lived-in" appearance. The home may not be brand new, but it's new to the potential buyer.

Make Scents. Get a nice potpourri air freshener, or keep some refrigerated cookie dough on hand to throw in the oven when a prospect is coming over. Make the house smell like a home.

Paint-relief. Consider re-painting any areas that need to be touched up, especially the front door and entryway, and any appliances that are showing their age.

Power Plants. Trim down any jungles outside, especially if they cover the house. Get rid of any half-dead houseplants. Water the lawns briefly before any visit, and keep the lawns mowed and edged.

The Price is Right. Price may be a sensitive issue, but with increased inventories and declining home values in many neighborhoods, remind your clients that every shopper in a buyers' market is determined to get the best deal possible. Let them know that now is a good time to compare their house with others on the market in the same area, because the right price is the one thing that will sell their house faster than anything else.

The World is Your Stage. Professional staging can help to showcase the best side of a home, create more interest, and get your clients top dollar. With increased inventories, staging could provide the competitive edge you need.

These tips were derived from 33 Ways to Sell Your Home Fast!, an info-marketing booklet.

John Paulson: Double Digit Inflation Coming

by Mark Brace

According to John Paulson double digit inflation will hit within the next couple of years and there could NOT be a better time to buy. Read his blog below:

It could be time to sell your low-yielding bonds and replace them with higher-yielding common stocks.

Multibillionaire hedge fund operator John Paulson, the investment genius who made a killing going short subprime mortgages a few years ago, told a standing room only crowd at New York’s  University Club that double-digit inflation is about to rear its ugly head by 2012, killing the bond market, and restoring strength to equities and gold.

Paulson’s warning to sell U.S. government bonds is one of the latest signs that the most successful investors of this generation believe the run up in bonds  is over. Paulson  especially underscored the attraction of equities with earnings yields of 7%-8% compared to the  2.6% pittance available on 10-year Treasuries.

Paulson  listed his favorite blue-chip stocks; JNJ (Johnson& Johnson) at a 3.8% yield; KO(Coca Cola);PFE, 4% yield., as well as C (Citigroup), BAC (BankofAmerica)  and STI (Suntrust Banks)  and RF (Regions Financial).

Paulson is a pro at  buying  the distressed bonds of bankrupt companies, and then converting  the debt to equity in reorganization and benefiting  from the potential run up. He mentioned one of his greatest plays — K-Mart, which emerged from bankruptcy at $10 a share and then skyrocketed to $190 a share.

His crystal ball is for 2% GDP growth for 2011 and 2012 and he warns that the Fed’s promise of quantitative easing should contribute to double-digit inflation over the next few years.

As this is the best time in 50 years to buy homes, Paulson advised his listeners, crowded into 3 separate dining rooms, to issue 30 year mortgages to buy a home as “your debt and interest payments get locked in at record lows, while the price of your home will rise.”

“If you don’t own a home buy one,” Paulson recommended; ” if you  own one home, buy another one, and if you own two homes buy a third and lend your relatives the money to buy a home.”

Displaying blog entries 11-20 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.