A Quick Analysis of the Short Sale Situation in Grand Rapids, Mi

daisyOver the past year, the number of homes sold through the Grand Rapids, Michigan real estate board which were Short Sales increased form 14.85% in January to almost 40% by the end of the year. 

This year, the month of January seems to indicate that the trend is continuing unabated with 457 Sales recorded as Short Sales/Foreclosure representing 50.44% of total volume. (information is supplied from statistics available through the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors.  It is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.)

These numbers are sobering.  Since 2005, Grand Rapids, Michigan has had a drop in real estate values of over 20% for Single family homes.  An average home value in 2005 was about $121,000.  Today, the average home is just under $100,000.  

The Silver Lining in this difficult period in the real estate industry is that there are many Well Priced homes which are NOT in Foreclosure or Short Sale. Home Sellers in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area who Sold within 90 days last year did so because there homes were perceived to be a Good Value!

For stressed out home buyers this spells relief.  There are few things more irritating than finding the “perfect home” only to discover that it may be several months before you know if you can buy it or not.  It is also somewhat disconcerting to know that if anything is wrong with the home…if the owner is the bank, they will not be disclosing this to you.  It’s up to you to find every latent defect and you will be usually purchasing the home “as is.”

There are some advantages to dealing with a home owner vs. a bank owner. When you deal directly with the Home Owner and can get an answer in a much shorter time…usually days, not months.  In addition, you can negotiate with a real live person through their real estate agent and not with a committee or worse…a voice mail system.  If you’re interested in knowing more about Great Homes In Grand Rapids, Michigan which are for Sale Directly from Their Owners, please contact us us at info@auduhomes.com.

A Peculiar American Love Affair…

house loveWe talk about them, ogle them, reminisce about memories we have of them and worry about their welfare. In many ways, the American love affair with our homes is typical of the patterns in a troubled romantic obsession.  Our rapt attention as we watch the object of our affection on numerous TV shows is indicative of how deeply we are in love with the “idyllic vision” of our homes.

Recently Newsweek Magazine profiled a new book by Daniel McGuinn called “House Lust:  America’s Obsession With Our Homes.”  According to McGinn ” The existence of the real-estate gossip columnist is just one more bizarre indicator of our fascination with homes, which continues even as housing values have fallen.”

We not only want to know where celebrities live, we want to see exactly what their private spaces look like and what they have in their refrigerators…witness the popularity of Cribs. Even the prospect of diminishing house values has not dimmed our ardor.

But that’s the thing with lust…it’s desire can never be adequately satisfied.  There is always a grinding need for more and more.  It’s an addiction which enslaves and distorts.  While most Americans are well aware of the crisis that has beset the housing and mortgage industry, many still can’t believe that they will be negatively affected. The fall-out of this refusal to accept this harsh market reality is evident in price reductions for homes in the tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars at times.

In fact, McGinn indicates that a survey by Boston Consulting Group showed that 55 percent of Americans still think their homes are GAINING IN VALUE despite all evidence to the contrary. If you factor in the percentage who believe that housing prices are simply at a stalemate, I daresay the number would be closer to 75%. This is an astonishingly high Delusion Rate!

And as a testament to this belief, it is expected that Americans will spend 170 Billion dollars this year remodelling and renovating their homes.  Many will do so in the expectation of increasing their home value in a rapidly declining market. And belief is a powerful thing.  More than once in the past, American optimism has created lemonade out of lemons.

Remember the tech bubble?  It preceded the current real estate crisis. Those were the days in which anything that ended with .com seemed to garner froth-like admiration and the sky is the limit financing options.  When the boom turned to bust, thousands of programmers and entrepreneurs found themselves without jobs and the ardor for all things techie cooled substantially. 

Well, there may be good that comes about as a result of this re-evaluation of our obsession with real estate too.  Just like a good, stable relationship can’t be sustained solely on the basis of giddiness, the sobering reality of declining prices, foreclosures and short sales may force us to take a good long hard look at what means to live in community.

For many Americans, the home became the piggy bank. A source of funding for all sorts of projects, whims, passions and fantasies through the vehicle of the home equity loan.  This spending spree banked on one precariously ridiculous notion. This was that home prices would continue their dramatic ascension forever.  The correction of reality grounded by gravitational forces which bring all things that go up back down…eventually may in the end prove to be an important grounding principle which steadies our economy and allows us to reassess where we place our value.

Our homes are the solid building blocks which anchor what America stands for.  They are where families are raised, dreams are born and life is lived and relished in all it’s various expressions.  Although its’ been fun to flirt and make houses bigger and flashier, trade and obsess about them, nip and tuck to stage them for success, ultimately it’s not about what we do to our homes, but what our homes do for us.  Perhaps we will discover that our somewhat maniacal obsessing will never match the rewards that arise out of of the commitment, nurture and creation of solid human relationships.

Copyright 2008 Audu Real Estate  All Rights Reserved

FREE Straight Talk Real Estate Seminars for Grand Rapids, Mi Neighborhoods

Neighborhood CoffeeIf you’re like most people, you can’t help but wonder what’s going on in the real estate market these days.  With all the talk of Sub-Prime Mortgages tanking  and real estate home prices falling, it can be a little confusing to sort out truth from fiction.

Audu Real Estate is offering a New Service to Home Owners or Groups of interested Real Estate Buyers who would like frank, straight talk about the State of the Market in their Specific Neighborhoods.

You can choose from a variety of topics:

1.  What’s Selling Right Now in My Grand Rapids, Mi Neighborhood?

2.  How Can I Stage My home to Sell Quickly?

3.  What Types of Financing Options Should I consider?

4.  What’s the Foreclosure Situation in my community?

5.  How Can I hold a Safe Open House?

6.  What Should I know about Choosing a Real Estate Agent?

7.  Open House Success Tips

8.  The Pros &  Cons of Discount Brokers

9.  Where’s the Real Estate Market Heading?

If you would like to schedule a FREE Straight Talk Neighborhood Seminar for one or more of these topics, please contact our office at info@auduhomes.com or call 616-791-0511.

The engaging 30 minute presentation will give you insights about real estate that are normally only available to professionals.  In addition you will have the opportunity to ask questions. 

All classes must be registered and booked in advance.  Classes are available between 10:30 ~ 5:30 on most week days.  Call to request information regarding evening and weekend appointments.

In order to schedule a Neighborhood seminar without cost, a minimum of 10 individuals must be present.  Bookings are available on a First come First Served basis and are available to home owners and groups of buyers in the Grand Rapids area and some surrounding communities. 

Copyright 2008  Audu Real Estate  All Rights Reserved

How Come No One Came to My Grand Rapids, MI Open House? (Part 5)

buy this homeLetting people know about your Open House is probably the most important goal to accomplish if the event is going to be successful.  Through the Internet, we can now have virtual gatherings in which people come together on line for a specific purpose.  Why not hold a “Virtual Open House?”

Let’s explore how!  Collaborate with your real estate agent to e-mail invitations to your friends and family and invite them to visit your home on-line during the time of your open house.  Invite them to send the link to the tour and the blog about your home to their friends.  Why would they want to do this?  Well, my last point shows how you can make it worth their while…

3.  Hold A Sale!

Instead of an Open House, hold a HOUSE MUST SELL TODAY SALE!  Offer a One Day or One Week Incentive for a Buyer to buy Your Home the day you hold your home open. 

Incentives can be creative.  For instance you can offer to pay 6 months mortgage payments for a buyer who brings in a Full Price Offer the day of the Open House.  For the average home in Grand Rapids, Mi, this is a $3,000 Buyer Incentive. 

This technique has been used by auctioneers for a long time, but it is rarely used in traditional residential real estate.  Today, one can even advertise a listing like this on an auction website online. 

For home owners who are faced with the prospect of reducing their prices tens of thousands of dollars, this is a lot cheaper!  Other more traditional incentives include offering a Bonus to the Buyer’s Agent or advertising that you will pay closing costs and/or pre-paid mortgage costs of a certain amount.

Lastly, keep in contact with those who visit your open house.  At Audu Real Estate, we send Thank You cards to Open House visitors and gift certificates for lunch if they fill out a complete survey and have the winning entry in a drawing. 

Obtaining addresses and permission to contact open house visitors enables us to have ongoing contact with individuals who have expressed an interest in your home and who may benefit from future notifications about price reductions or other items of interest.

If you enjoyed reading this series and would like to know more about our services, visit us on line at www.auduhomes.com or e-mail us at info@auduhomes.com.

To Read Other entries in this Series click here

How Come No One Came to My Grand Rapids, MI Open House? (Part 4)

buy this home!Letting people know about your Grand Rapids, Michigan Real Estate Open House is probably the most important goal to accomplish if the event is going to be successful in marketing and selling your homes.  This is a daunting task in a world where most people are trying to figure out how to NOT to read advertisements.

It is incredibly important to use traditional mediums of exposure AND be be Creative in your approach to utilize New Methods to promote your Open House in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Traditional mediums include newspapers advertising, an Open House notification on the real estate board and real estate postcards sent to the surrounding neighborhood homes.  Traditional Advertising needs a minimum of a 2 week lead time…more time is better!

However, we have found that many potential home buyers do not respond to traditional methods in the same manner that they did a decade ago.  So, we’ve compiled some additional suggestions to  increase your response rate.

1.  Invite the Neighbors for Coffee: 

Calling the neighbors around your neighborhood in Grand Rapids to invite them to tour the home and have a snack and a cup of coffee to talk about what’s going on in the real estate market and get a Free copy of the Neighborhood Heat Map can also encourage Open House traffic. 

While these neighbors may not be in the market to buy the home, they may know someone who can.  We have Sold houses to Neighbors who knew someone who was the perfect buyer for the home we were holding open.

Encourage your Neighbors to come by calling them personally.  This will generate an even higher response rate than your real estate agent calling and enhance your real estate agent’s traditional advertising.  If your agent is giving away prizes for attendance, make sure your friends, neighbors and family members know about this!

2.  Tell A Story…

Story Telling can be a very effective method to market a home.  Many consumer products are now being marketed by short stories which portray nostalgic moments or highlight the vision of the product founders.  The organic food industry has done this brilliantly. 

The next time you pick up an organic food product in the grocery store, turn it over and look past the label.  You’ll see a short tale of cows enjoying the green pasture and being nurtured so they produce more milk.  Just what it takes to make you buy that gallon of milk for $1.50 MORE than the generic brand!

Applying this principle to marketing a home can be very effective.  One of the best tools is through Blogging.  You can set up a blog about your home yourself.  It’s fairly easy to do.  However, the challenge is getting people to read your Home Blog.  If your agent has a blog, this situation can be remedied.

At Audu Real Estate, we have several successful real estate blogs and a website which rank on pages 1 and 2 on Google and other search engines for a number of real estate terms.  When we post listings online, the home address indexes. 

Our blog traffic brought over 140,000 visitors to our sites last year and thousands of comments from our readers.  Many of these visitors had the opportunity to view our listed homes.  Our Featured Home Listings consistently was the link on the site that people clicked on the most.  An Open House advertisement on a good real estate website or blog can be an extraordinary way to Expand Your Open House Reach. 

If you’d like to see some examples of how our marketing can help you sell your Grand Rapids, Michigan home, please e-mail us at info@auduhomes.com.

In Part 5 of this series, we will look at Holding a Virtual Open House and other interesting Open House tactics.

Copyright 2008 Audu Real Estate  All Rights Reserved

*This post is a part of a Series about Open House Attendance in Grand Rapids, Michigan:  The links to previous articles are listed below.

How Come No One Came to My Grand Rapids, MI Open House?

How Come No One Came to My Grand Rapids, MI Open House? (Part 2)

How Come No One Came to My Grand Rapids, MI Open House? (Part 3)

How Come No One Came to My Grand Rapids, MI Open House? (Part 3)

*This post is a part of a Series about Open House Attendance in Grand Rapids, Michigan:  The links to previous articles are listed below.

How Come No One Came to My Grand Rapids, MI Open House?

How Come No One Came to My Grand Rapids, MI Open House? (Part 2)

home buying in Grand Rapids, MichiganOne of the most unexpected obstacles to potential prospects coming into an Open House is an item which has been your long time alley in marketing your Grand Rapids, Michigan home.  Your Real Estate Sign! 

Sometimes a sign tells a buyer who stops by an Open House too much.  For instance, many real estate agents will place a brochure box on your For Sale Sign so that motorist can stop and pick up a brochure with information about your home.  While this is great when you don’t want unexpected visitors, it can be a problem when you want people to come in and they grab a brochure instead.

So, for starters, make sure your real estate does NOT have a Full Brochure Box when you have an Open House.  This does not mean that you should minimize your sign.  On the contrary…Your sign can be a great tool.  Remember that your sign is being driven by daily.  Motorist may block it out subconsciously because they are used to seeing it. 

An Open House is the time to dress up your sign in it’s Sunday Best!  Make it burst with color using large helium balloons.  Tie a number of these around your mailbox too.  You may want to have a few balloons tied to signs directing passersby to your home.  Balloons invite people to a party.  You want them to feel like you’re giving one when you Advertise an Open House.

Paying attention to these simple things can be very important.  Always remember, you don’t need 100 potential prospects tramping through your home to buy it…You only need the Right One…The Qualified, Ready, Willing and Able Buyer for your home!

In Part 4 We will be talking about Getting The Word Out!

If you’d like more information about the Home Selling Process or would like to speak with one of our knowledgeable agents, contact Audu Real Estate or e-mail us at: info@auduhomes.com

Copyright 2008 Audu Real Estate  All Rights Reserved

How Come No One Came to My Grand Rapids, MI Open House? (Part 2)

We continue our series “How Come No One Came to My Grand Rapids, Mi Open House?”  Please read part 1….

buying a home in Grand Rapids, Michigan We continue our exploration of some of the reasons why we observe diminished attendance at Open Houses and possible solutions to aid in Successfully marketing a home in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.
Another point to consider is how many images should be shown of the interior of a home.  While it’s important to have pictures of your home on line, it may be wise to reconsider if it’s appropriate to have too many. 
It is also prudent to re-consider how many views of the same room should be shown.  While it’s important to have pictures of your home on line, it may be wise to reconsider if it’s appropriate to have every conceivable angle of all your rooms photgraphed and displayed.
We find that home buyers in Grand Rapids, Michigan do like looking at pictures!  But  if they’ve already had a pretty good view of the interior of home, and have been shown every room from every single conceiveable angle, there may be limited motivation to attend an Open House.  A little mystery can sometimes be a good thing when it comes to wetting the appetite to view a home.
The next area to explore is Your Home’s Location! 

Although most real estate agents are reluctant to admit it, not every home is a good prospect for an Open House.  Some homes are simply too hard to find. 

If your home cannot be accessed with the aid of 4-5 Open House signs from a major road, it may make hurried buyers less likely to try to figure out where your home is.  I’ve been on tours with buyers trying to find an Open House where it felt like we were touring a maze.  A less motivated buyer may not want to do thisHomes which are located in remote, out lying areas may also not the best venues to expect large Open House attendance…although there can be exceptions.  We’ll discuss ways to off-set disadvantages in location in a future post.
Sometimes, buyers actually drive by an Open House, stop and get out but do not come in.  In Part 3  we discuss an unlikely obstacle.

Copyright 2008 Audu Real Estate  All Rights Reserved