Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 13

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

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

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

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.”

Dave Ramsey's Advice on Selling Your House

by Mark Brace

Dave Ramsey was asked "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?"

His response was this:

I've had a real estate license for 30 years. If I were to put my personal residence on the market today, I'd use an active real estate agent who really knows his or her stuff in the marketplace. I'd gladly pay them their commission, too.

Now, why would I do a for-sale-by-owner, or FSBO, I'm only getting my place in front of buyers I can attract from seeing a newspaper ad, Craigslist and anyone who happens to drive by the house. If you go with a high-octane real estate agent, you will have the advantage of being exposed to his or her entire pool of buyers.

More importantly, you will be in the MLS or Multiple Listing Service, database. There, you will immediately have thousands of potential buyers.

So, who do you think will have the best chance of selling your house? Market exposure is everything in the real estate game.

And think about this: Even if you went the FSBO route every time you moved, you might do three or four of these transactions in a lifetime. A good agent closed three or four deals last week. They will know all the ins and outs of buying and selling a home, and they'll walk you through every step of the process. Research has shown that, between basic mistakes, pricing errors and lack of negotiating skills, you will cost yourself more than the agent's commission by trying to sell it yourself.

Trust me, you will get a much better deal-with a lot less hassle- by using a top-flight real estate agent.

10 Most Likely Features that Builders will Include in 2010

by Mark Brace

According to REBAC (Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council, Inc.) there are 10 features that builders will most likely include in 2010 :

1. Walk In Closet in Master Bedroom.

2. Laundry Room

3. Insulated Front Door

4. Great Room

5. Low-e Windows

6. Linen Closet

7. Programmable Thermostat

8. Energy Efficient Appliances and Lighting

9. Separate Shower & Tub in Master Bathroom

10. 9 Foot Ceilings or Higher on 1st Floor

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 13

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.