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We’re pleased to announce the approval of 4 NEW Continuing Education Courses for real estate professionals in the State of Michigan.  The following courses have been CE Certified by the CE Marketplace for the 2015 calendar year.  Real Estate professionals can now take advantage of this ground breaking material while earning educational credits to satisfy licensing requirements.  Book your Continuing Education event today by calling 616-791-0511 or e-mailing: lola@audurealestate.com for availability and booking information.  The course and descriptions are highlighted below including a mini-preview of course content.

Pivotal Real Estate Trends for 2015

Certified for 2 Hours of Continuing Education Credit for Michigan Real Estate Professionals

Instructor:  Lola Audu

Course Descriptive:

Pivotal Real Estate Cover Capture

This class explores 23 pivotal trends that have potential for significant impact within the real estate industry. We will highlight several key areas of opportunity and challenge for real estate professionals. These include developments in the following areas: Government Regulation, Consumer Trends & Behavior, The Housing Market and the changing role of the Real Estate Professional and Technology.  Topics covered include:  International Investment, Global Competition, Rise of Personal Marketing, Housing Market – Implications of Low Inventory Levels, Changing Demographics & Spending Pattern Shifts, Real Estate Professionalism – Code of Excellence, New Association Standards, Technology – Big Data technology, Rise of the iTechnologist, Democratization of Technology, Mobile Technology, Government Regulation – CFPB, Mortgage Regulation, Frank-Dodd Act

Click to Download Mini Preview PDF Pivotal Real Estate Trends for 2015

Click to Download Mini Preview Slideshow Pivotal Real Estate Trends for 2015

Anatomy of a Smart City

Certified for 2 Hours of Continuing Education Credit for Michigan Real Estate professionals

Instructor:  Lola Audu

Anatomy of a Smart City Capture

Course Description: #COOO140
A Smart City is one which utilizes digital technologies and smart governance to enhance performance, reduce cost and to more effectively engage actively with its’ citizens. By 2050, the United Nations estimates that 70% of the world’s population will live within city centers and their perimeters. Real estate professionals can play key roles in helping their communities plan and prepare for housing needs and demographic shifts as populations centers shift. This will require an understanding of how the smart communities operate and the need for real estate professionals to have key roles in engaging the citizens and government effectively to spearhead the type of growth which will benefit the interests of private property rights and home ownership.

Click to Download Mini Preview PDFAnatomy of a Smart City: Re-inventing the Future of Community

Click to Download Mini Preview Slideshow Anatomy of a Smart City: Re-inventing the Future of Community

Fair Housing Risk Reduction Strategies

Certified for 3 Hours Legal Continuing Education

Instructors:  Doretha Ardoin and Lola Audu

Course descriptive: #COOO141

Fair Housing Cover Capture

Fair Housing is foundational to the rights and privileges available to people living in the United States.  The history of the Fair Housing Act as well as Civil Rights is covered in the class.  In addition, students will gain an understanding of the the role and responsibility that is involved in providing housing services through sales, property management and counsel in the real estate industry.  Fair Housing covers a number of areas which include:  race, familial status, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, color, sexual orientation and marital status.  The class will include case law as well as video examples and discussion about a wide variety of situations.  This class promises to broaden your scope of understanding how to avoid costly litigation and provides students with the information and knowledge to offer service across a wide range of potential clients.  Diversity is celebrated as one of the strengths that has enabled America to become a great nation.

Click to Download Mini Preview PDF Fair Housing Risk Reduction Strategies

Click to Download Mini Preview Slideshow Fair Housing – Risk Reduction Strategies

Netiquette:  Social Media Etiquette Savvy for the Millennial Entrepreneur

Certified for 2 Hours of Continuing Education for Michigan Real Estate Professionals (Ethics)

Instructor:  Lola Audu

Course descriptive: #COOOO56

Netiquette Cover Capture

Social Media is woven into the core of life and business in every sector today. Savvy entrepreneurs can utilize this medium to increase their profits, build brand recognition and to find new customers. This is definitely true in the real estate industry where surveys indicate that more consumers are choosing to engage on social media as a way to connect with and choose real estate professionals. Unfortunately, the rules have not always been clearly defined. As a result, real estate professionals may find themselves in legal jeopardy or worse as they strive to navigate a world that seems to blur the boundaries between what is personal vs. professional.

Click to Download Mini Preview PDF Netiquette: Social Media Savvy for the Millennial Entrepreneur

Click to Download Mini Preview Slideshow Netiquette: Social Media Etiquette Savvy for the Millennial Entrepreneur

 

 

 

 

About the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions Series)

This series is designed to answer questions that we hear clients asking over and over again.  Perhaps, you’ve wondered about some of these questions yourself.  While this is not intended to be an exhaustive explanation on the subject being discussed, it is our hope that these short blogs will provide helpful insights and may encourage you to explore further.  Please feel free to contact us by phone or e-mail with any questions.

Question:  How Long Can I Stay in a Home After the Sale?

Answer:  It depends.  The length of your stay in a home after a home closing is usually determined by the terms of the Purchase Agreement contract that was signed.  Today, it is not unusual for the contract to dictate that you vacate the premises when you receive your check.  The buyers often want to get into their new home as quickly as possible and since they are now paying for the home, would like to have immediate access.

And then there’s the issue of liability.  Your Home Owner’s Insurance typically terminates when the home changes hands and the new owner’s insurance kicks into effect.  If an incident occurs during the period of time a previous home owner continues to occupy the property, there could be a question about whose insurance takes care of any unforseen issues.

However, it is still not unusual in West Michigan for home owners to remain in the residence after the sale for a period of time.  This can range from days and weeks to longer.  In West Michigan, most contracts will require some sort of rental provision for this time to be paid to the new home owner.  The rent is often negotiated at close and can be demanded in advance.  In the event that a previous home owner elects to stay inside the home AFTER the rental period, the Purchase Agreement may exact penalties.  At this point, it becomes a more serious issue, because in effect, the previous owner in essence becomes a squatter and may require legal eviction.  This is a situation that requires counsel and it would be prudent to consider legal assistance.

More FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) here

 

For Immediate Release

Contact:           Women’s Council Education Dept.

800-245-8512

Performance Management Network Designation Awarded to Local REALTOR®

Lola Audu ~ 2011 President of the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors®(Chicago, IL—August 4, 2014) Lola Audu, a Audu Real Estate REALTOR®, has been awarded the Performance Management Network Designation by the Women’s Council of REALTORS. The Performance Management Network is a next-generation REALTOR® designation designed from the ground up to deliver the real-world skills, know-how and tools to keep an agent’s business out front and on top of an evolving real estate market.

PMN curriculum is driven by the following topics: negotiating strategies and tactics, networking and referrals, business planning and systems, personal performance management and cultural differences in buying and selling.

About WCR

Women’s Council of REALTORS® is a nationwide community of more than 10,000 real estate professionals who include many of the best and brightest in the business. Women’s Council is an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS® and is headquartered in Chicago, IL. For more information on Women’s Council, please visit WCR.org.

Mission

We are a network of successful REALTORS®, advancing women as professionals and leaders in business, the industry and the communities we serve.

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The housing market has stabilized in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Gone are the days when investor traffic flooded the market and houses were being plucked up at rock bottom prices.  Although exceptionally low inventory throughout much of the past 18 months has been a challenge, home buyers are once again entering the market in a serious way.  There is ample reason to indicate that a foray into the real estate market in Grand Rapids, Michigan today is a prudent financial move.

According to a recent article in Forbes Magazine, Grand Rapids Mi is now ranked as one of the nation’s Top 20 Housing Investments.  The list was based on key indicators such as: employments opportunities, annual job growth, population and the calculation of an area’s Equilibrium Home Price or Income Price.   This Equilibrium Home Price is used as a tool to measure what the average home price in any given area would be absent distortions such as the housing crash of recent years.  A good score on this index provides investors with confidence that their investments are likely to garner a good return.

Another measure of the strength of the real estate investment sector in Grand Rapids, Michigan is the affordability index. According to statistics cited in the Forbes article, Grand Rapids, Michigan is currently under-priced by 23% when compared to similar areas across the country.  One of the advantages the West Michigan area has had is the fact that the market was never seriously overheated.  For the most part, appreciation rates were stable even during the wild upward swings that overtook many cities prior to the housing crash.  Although Grand Rapids was affected significantly by the crisis, housing has regained its losses and home owners are seeing steady gains in their home equity.

Additional factors which bode well for Grand Rapids, Michigan in terms of real estate investment include a strong rental market. Vacancy rates in the Grand Rapids area are very low. The growth of area colleges (in particular Grand Valley) and the influx of population moving into the area for jobs has created the perfect storm as it collided with people who had lost their homes during the housing crisis competing for dwellings as well.  Buyers in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area are finding that with low interest rates, it is often much cheaper to buy a house than it is to rent one.

Related Content:  11 Reasons Why People Who Don’t Live in Grand Rapids, MI Should Wish They Did!

Metro Grand Rapids, Michigan Quick Stats:

MSA: Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI

Pop.: 1,016,603

Avg. Home Price: $149,123

Pop Growth (’10-’13): 2.8%

Jobs Growth (annual): 3.7%

Unemployment: 4.7%

Annual price growth: 8%

Over (+) or under (-) priced by: -23%

Home Price/Rent Ratio: 14

Click on the picture below for the slide show featuring all the “Top Best Buy’ cities to invest in real estate within the United States.  Contact Audu Real Estate by calling 616-791-0511 or e-mail:  info@audurealestate.com for more information.

Grand Rapids MI Where to Invest Capture

 

Sunnyslope CaptureSunnyslope Floral has been my florist of choice for over twenty five years!  When I first started working as a marketing specialist, a colleague sent over an arrangement from Sunnyslope.  It was a floral arrangement in a mug and it brightened up my day.

That one thoughtful gift from a friend has inspired me to want to share the beauty of the gift of flowers with hundereds of friends and clients through the years.

When I started my real estate business, I decided to use Sunnyslope to send out Thank You gifts for individuals who referred clients to me.  Over the years, they have worked with me to design unique and beautiful gifts for my family, friends and clients. They have also designed some unique Closing gifts.

Their customer service is excellent.  They will customize your order with a personal message and even include your business card.  I have only had a problem once and when I notified them of the issue, they took care of it immediately.  Working with a florist like Sunnyslope is easy…no hassle, simply great, friendly, timely service.  Highly recommended!  Visit the Sunnyslope Floral website and when you order, tell them Lola sent you! :)

*image courtesy of Sunnyslope floral website featuring a special value of a dozen European roses.

My Home is Sold! Now What?

33341293_sIt’s finally happened!  You Sold your home!  YES!!!   The moment you’ve been waiting for after all the cleaning, making the home available for impromptu showings and enduring nerve-racking anticipation and hope that a purchasing decision will be made in favor of your home.

But even before the ink starts to dry on the fully executed purchase agreement, you’re wondering what does this mean?  Is the home really sold if Inspections need to be cleared and title issues examined?  What about the financing…is the Lender absolutely 100% behind the guarantee for the loan commitment?  When should you order the moving van?

Signing a purchase agreement to sell your home to a prospective buyer starts a detailed and often complex process in which many aspects of the sale need to be coordinated to conclude in a successfully closed real estate transaction.  At Audu Real Estate, our goal is to assist our clients with these details and to relieve the strain and stress of the negotiation process.  Here’s what you can expect from our company.

Coordination:

There are many details to coordinate.  By some estimates, up to 10 different companies with their various employees will be involved in closing your transaction.  These include: the mortgage company, the title company, the other real estate company, the inspection company, the survey company, the home warranty company, the insurance company, the well & septic inspection company, the appraisal company & etc.  As you can see, the list can be extensive and this does NOT include additional companies which are involved in REO or Distress sales.  Coordination with ALL of these different entities and their representatives is a large part of what keeps us busy AFTER you sign the deal to sell your home!

Inspections:

Inspections are a vital part of the real estate process and often one of the most challenging areas to navigate.  So much emotion tends to be involved.  As a homeowner, you want the buyer to love your home and although you know it’s not perfect, there is a vested connection which might make you a little sensitive.  On the other hand, a prospective buyer may have some anxiety about the true value of their purchase.  No one wants to make a poor buying decision.  Navigating this ‘sticky’ territory is what we do best.  It’s our job to help all parties come to a resolution about the results of the inspection and how to move forward.

Follow-up:

Follow-up and Follow-through is where many transactions fall apart.  The details matter when it comes to real estate.  A missed signature can make a transaction which was a ‘sure thing’ become murky in a hurry.  Many aspects of a real estate transaction which is in the ‘Pending’ category are under strict time constraints.  For instance, certain inspections have to be conducted within a particular time frame.  When follow-through is poorly executed, even a solid transaction can go awry.  Our job as REALTORS is to ensure that your transaction stays on schedule.

Communication:

Staying on schedule requires excellent communication skills.  Today, communication flows through multiple channels.  We ask our clients how they prefer to communicate.  We’ll do whatever it takes to stay in touch.  This includes:  calls, e-mails, texts and even social media.  Not only are we keeping you informed about what is going on with your transaction, communication also involves keeping those other 10 companies we referenced earlier in the loop as well.  Good communication is the lubricant that helps to keep the friction down to a minimum.

Negotiation:

Negotiations are an ongoing part of the transaction.  They can involve all sorts of things.  Perhaps, there are some items or belongings which you would like to get rid of, or some repair issues crop up which need to be addressed.  Even the closing place and location sometimes become a part of a negotiated solution.  At Audu Real Estate, our goal is to create successful outcomes for our clients in the real estate negotiation.

Closing Facilitation:

An average transaction can take between 30-45 days to come to a conclusion.  The days leading up the closing are often filled with a flurry of activity as various parts of the transaction are completed.  Because there are so many moving parts, it’s important to have someone who is the Captain of the Ship.  Our job is to navigate your boat into a safe harbor.  We review the closing documents for accuracy in terms of reflecting the terms of the purchase agreement.  There is coordination with all parties regarding move in/move out dates as well as the transfer of utilities.  Well executed closings are like the passing of a baton in a relay race.  They are seemless and enable the next party to successfully execute the next stage of the race.

We hope that this has been a helpful article.  If you’d like to learn more about what we can do to help you sell your West Michigan home, please give us a call at:  616-791-0511.

 

Paradigms power perceptions and perceptions power emotions.”

Quote from Sarayu to Mackenzie in the book, “The Shack.”

What’s the color of anger when you’re color blind and can’t see red? When it comes to emotional heat, each of us experiences the full spectrum of color in a myriad of different ways.
Emotions arise out of our pre-disposed patterns of thinking and perceiving an event, person or situation. Often these perceptions are so deeply held that we are startled by the response they generate when they emerge in living color.

A few weeks ago, there was a knock on my door. When I opened the door, two young men stared at me…then burst out laughing. I stared at them quizzically, although I had a fair estimate of why they were giggling uncontrollably. Finally, one of them was able to collect himself and extend his hand. He said, “Excuse me m’am, we didn’t expect…”

I understood what he was trying to blurt out between giggles. He, a young African American man, knocking on doors in my neighborhood had not expected to see a face that looked like his own answering the door bell. The emotional rush created by his paradigm about ‘who should live where’ literally overwhelmed him when his perceptions of the reality facing him proved to be false!

Paradigms and perceptions are not regular topics of discussion in most real estate circles, but in many ways, they are a huge dynamic within our engagement in the profession of buying and selling property. They impact how we handle transactions, respond to stress and treat other people.

I’ll never forget a story I heard during a class on Fair Housing about a farmer who walked into a real estate office, with his farm clothes on, and requested the assistance of a real estate professional. Because he was in dirty clothes, most of the agents in the office didn’t want to help him. Well, the one who did ended up making a hefty commission. The farmer with the dirty clothes turned out to be a wealthy business man who bought a pretty good sized piece of property!

Well, what is a paradigm exactly? According to Wikepedia, a ‘paradigm is a philosophic or theoretical framework of any kind.’ We all operate within paradigms. These are the under-girders which support how we look at the world and frame our judgments. Paradigms support our worldviews and provide the context in which we make our decisions. They help us to discern what we think ‘belongs’ in any given space.

But, hidden within the familiar confines of a paradigm is an incipient danger. It is the danger of misperception. You see, paradigms are simply philosophies and theories…they’re not necessarily true or correct. Yet, they can control how we think and are pre-disposed to respond even when the facts don’t necessarily add up.

Paradigms are costly because they influence who we are and how we react in ways that may not be obvious to the uninformed observer. They also serve as the base foundation for just about every negative ‘ism’ you can think of…racism, sexism, communism etc.

Our emotional responses can reveal a goldmine of information if we’re willing to be honest. When we respond to someone or something, it’s helpful to take a moment to reflect on what perception colored the exchange and what the underlying paradigm which supports a potential misperception might be. The power to change lies within unleashing the hidden charges which underlie negative paradigms so our perceptions become aids to our progress rather than hindering it.

Copyright 2008 Audu Real Estate All Rights Reserved

Picture courtesy of brani’s photostream on flickr

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