The Un-Easy Real Truth about ‘Easy Money’

One of the most unfortunate consequences of ‘easy money’ is that it makes otherwise healthy, and intelligent people lazy…just plain lazy. I’ll be upfront with my position on easy money. It’s a myth, a trick…an exercise in smoke and mirrors that produces financial hallucinations. It doesn’t exist…and never has.

The joker

The joker

 The myth of hitting the easy money jackpot or reaching the easy money Nirvana persists for a number of reasons. Most notably, our intense desire to wish it to be so. Deep within the human spirit there exists this relentless drive to make things easier.

I think it started when Adam was driven out of garden of paradise and had to toil and sweat to make a living. Ever since then, it seems that mankind has been trying to figure out a way to reduce sweat and toil by any means possible. We’re constantly inventing gadgets to make our lives easier and faster…and usually succeed in simply giving ourselves more to learn how to do!

Easy money could more aptly described as “Lucky money”, Lazy Money and even sometimes Stolen, Dirty Money. Money that just seems to materialize without much effort on the part of the receiver. Money that arrives by virtue of the eternal lotto system of good fortune. Money that has us continuing to stand in line; putting life on hold while we hope that fate will smile our way and dump easy money into our laps.

Many practitioners jumped into real estate because of the lure of Easy Money. Stories of real estate fortunes captured the ears, eyes and minds of millions of Americans. The final result was 1.4 Million real estate agents nationally. Local Boards exploded in membership and dues receipts.

Companies that promised to help you create the magic spell by buying the latest gadget or product to help agents capture the Easy Money Market experienced exponential growth. Home owners also jumped on the Easy Money bandwagon and raked in oodles of money. Most turned around and bought homes they could scarcely afford because money could be made effortlessly.

I remember talking with someone who was literally salivating at how cheap this Easy Money was. Rubbing his fingers and literally smacking his lips in anticipation of future profits. But that’s the thing about Easy Money. It’s a Mirage…a desert mirage. Glistening in the distance, the promise of fulfillment waits…beckons. Upon arriving at the mirage, one finds that all that is left is sand…just plain, old ugly sand.

The truth is that what looks like Easy Money was never an easy catch. Yes, we all love to talk about the overnight success…exclaiming “When did he get that?'” or Where did she come from?” The question which is rarely asked and even more rarely answered is HOW. How does Lady Luck smile on an individual. The hard truth is she rarely does! Every “over night success’ story can tell you that from their perspective, it was one LONG, LONG Night. Hard work, tears, failures, start overs, discouragement and sometimes penny pinching extraordinaire. If you listen and delve deep enough, you’ll learn the truth. There was nothing easy about the process. Often, it wasn’t quick either.

As a child, I scrubbed floors, learned to cook, do laundry, sew, and run a little kiosk business. My parents showed us, by example, what it took to earn money. And then, they allowed us to give it a try. These are lessons I treasure to this day. They always reminded us that “Hard Work never killed anyone.” There were days, I was sure they were lying. Today, I am grateful. Perseverance and Hard Work will deliver what Easy Money never can. A sense of accomplishment.

Today, the Easy Money real estate days are long over. No longer is it possible to simply stick a sign in the yard and load up a listing on the MLS and expect 2-3 offers to magically appear. Home owners who persist with the delusion that they can over price their homes and skimp on cleaning and sprucing up are discovering that buyer’s hard earned cash will not be parted with easily. And…the most annoying thing about easy money is that it seems to develop wings. Like a lottery winner loosing all his earnings…most of the easy money aficionados are not in good financial shape today. Easy come…Easy Go.

The good news is that Hard Work is still paying Big Dividends! Real Estate agents who are willing to work hard, to update their skills and to continue to learn and grow will prosper. Gone are the days when it will be possible to rest on past laurels. Hard Work is no respecter of persons. It pays dividends to who ever is willing to earn them. In our increasingly transparent world, the illusion of Easy Money is doing a Fast Fade…into lights out. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Copyright 2007 Audu Real Estate  All Rights Reserved

The Genesis of Change…

The winter of our discontent...

The winter of our discontent...

I’m wondering if we have ever really captured the beginning of when things begin to change? 

Are we truly aware of the moment when momentum shifts?  I think we often think we have, but on reflection, I doubt we ever really do.

This is because, the Genesis of change is the essential core element of the process of evolution.  It’s always happening and often occurs in minutely disparate fashion that lacks cohesion or coherence. 

How often have we been surprised by an outcome which was a polar opposite than our expectation?  Was this not precisely because we failed to truly comprehend when change happened and to understand the variety of influences which were at work ‘under cover’. 

Change is a far larger dynamic than what we often perceive when we begin to discern the final result.

I’m thinking…

Right now, we’re focused on the resultant chaos of change as our nation reels from the economic impact of the housing crisis and various domestic and international crises.  But, this didn’t happen in a vacuum?  When did we begin to change?

The Story Behind the Scenes…1497 Meadowview St. SW Wyoming, MI 49509

Exterior view - 1497 Meadowview St. SW Wyoming, MI  49509

Exterior view - 1497 Meadowview St. SW Wyoming, MI 49509

The story begins with him.

With him it was all about a place to catch some sleep, grab a bite to eat and maybe relax a little.  The house fit the bill.  The home was located in a neighborhood with close proximity to the expressway and the clean, crisp white walls were simple and required little maintenance.

Then she appeared on the scene.  Elegant, sophisticated and very beautiful, it was clearly a match which ignited his heart.  Her presence evoked a comfortable warmth which the space had not felt before. 

The clinical blue and white decor now seemed chilly  She embarked on a project  to channel soulful brilliance through the warm hues of autumn gold, tawny chocolate and complementary earth tones.

The transformation of the space through their story has resulted in  a home in which the cathedral ceilings are anchored by the strong, warmth of the earth. 

Spotlights throughout several rooms of the home highlight key decor accents.  Drama is envoked through the movement of color along architectural lines.

Why it’s now about you…

With 4 Bedrooms, 2 complete baths, ample closet space, a well designed kitchen, central air conditioning, a 2 stall garage and a good sized backyard…this home is now about YOU. This is a space in which you can splash the colors of the palette that make up your life in living color.  This is a space you can call home!

The story of this home can be experienced by arranging a private pre-view 1497 Meadowview St. SW Wyoming, MI  49509 through the assistance of your real estate agent.  It is ready to move into and neat as a pin!  Additional features include a recreation room downstairs large enough for a pool table AND exercise equipment.  Take advantage of this value priced home.  At $145,000 in this won’t last long! 





*Click the picture link above to view a LIVE Real Estate Show!

MLS # 742166

Passing the Baton…A Home Closing Can Be A Beautiful Thing.

passing the baton...

passing the baton...

If you’ve ever run a relay, you understand that the most important aspect of the race is the passing of the baton.

You can have the fastest runners on each leg of the track, but if the hand-off is not perfectly coordinated, you can loose the race in those minute seconds. 

That’s why you practise the hand-off like your life depends on it

You work on timing, you work on pacing your steps, you mark the track so you can see the precise moment that the runner behind you hits that exact spot where you have to take off and trust that they will not fail you by breaking their stride. 

What’s extremely tricky is that both parties are running at full speed and must depend on coordination and an innate sense of rhythmic timing to make that pass seamless.  The race depends on it.

When the baton is passed like it should be, it’s a beautiful thing to watch.  It feels like you’re watching one runner morphing with fluid grace into another form, each one more beautiful and breathtaking.  It’s a work of art…a thing of grace. 

I had the opportunity to witness the passing of a baton this past week

Our Anchor was a lady who has run the race of life with a steady and unrelenting pace.  Raising and caring for a large family and then a husband who was increasingly isolated by the ravages of Alzheimer’s. 

She had grown up in a generation where the head of the household handled all the major decisions and certainly the finances.  When she found herself in a situation in which she had to take on all these tasks, she rose to the occasion and with the support of her loving family had to learn to navigate all kinds of new territory.

This was not an easy time to be selling any home in Grand Rapids. 

The streets were littered with the signs of those who had been trying for months.  When they contacted us to interview us about our plan to market their home, they started with asking us to do an honest assessment of what they would need to do to update a home that had been lived in for decades.  The list was extensive.  They said Thank You and set out to do the suggested updates and repairs.

A process like this takes a lot of coordination. 

In addition to the staging and updating, additional paperwork was required, children and the home owner were updated on a regular basis, extensive marketing was done online, Open Houses were held.  And when all was said and done…it was placed in God’s hands.

A Grace-Filled Transition…

So, as we sat at the Closing Table, watching the animated conversation of two engaged parties, one transitioning to another phase of life and the other just starting their life together as newlyweds and new homeowners, I was struck by the beauty of a seamless transaction…one which was marked with a peculiar grace and handed off with courage and goodwill. 

She was relieved and grateful to have successfully completed a remarkable journey.  They were deeply thankful to be settling into a home which had been lovingly cared for.  They invited her to stop by to see them and her former home if she wanted.  It was a beautiful thing to watch.  We were thankful to have been given the privilege of assisting in a successful hand-off! 

*This blog post was orginally posted on Lola Audu’s Active Rain blog

Copyright 2008  Audu Real Estate  All Rights Reserved

5 Tips to Ease Relocation Stress When You’re Moving to a New Community.

View of Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids, MI

View of Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids, MI

SEARCH WEST MICHIGAN HOMES FOR SALE – Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate Statistics

For over a decade, I’ve worked with individuals and families who were moving to the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.   The stress of relocating is  one of the most daunting aspects of the relocation process because it involves not only financial strain but also the emotional pain of leaving established relationships and seeking to form new friendships.

I’ll never forget one encounter at a local grocery store with a lady who was pushing a cart with three toddlers.  She stopped me and asked if I could recommend a local church.  They had just moved and she didn’t know anyone.  We invited them to our church and they became good friends.

While it’s not easy to move, I’ve discovered as I’ve worked with individuals who are relocating to the West Michigan area  that there are some things which can you can do to help reduce the stress…often from the comfort of your current home.

Explore your community via the Blogosphere…

Researching a new locality can be daunting especially when your search results continue to land on commercial sites which are designed more to get your pay per click advertising dollars than to deliver helpful lifestyle information.

One way to get a taste of the local fare is to specifically search blogs.  Reading blogs will give you insight into what is important to the locals and will often provide pictures of different aspects of the community as well as reviews.

Simply input the geographic location followed by “blogs” in the google search bar and browse.  If you want to be more specific, you might try searching for a specific type of blog such as a local real estate blog.

Research Hotels & Restaurants…

Finding places to eat and a good hotel can make all the difference in the world in setting a good tenor for your stay.  A couple of years ago I was introduced to an excellent site called Yelp.  It has proved an invaluable user guide when travelling to strange locations.  I also like Trip Advisor.  Often times,  you’ll find that the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ has true value in steering you aright.

Plan a Trip to See the Area…

This can be really beneficial.  It’s important to get a feel for what a city feels like apart from the limited perspective you might get during an interview session.  This can be accomplished by staying an extra  few days after your interview to simply sight-see, check out local restaurants, schools and points of interest.

Connect with a Good Real Estate Agent…

Not every agent is experienced in dealing with the unique challenges of a relocation.  It is not uncommon to find a wide range of service options and customer service levels.  One of the best ways to ease the stress of relocation is to interview the agent yourself and ask the questions which are important to you.  This can be especially important if you are assigned an agent through a relocation company.

Here are some questions which you might want to pose:

How many relocation clients have you assisted?

What fee do you charge for your services?

What type of community research will you provide?

Can you provide video tours or pictorial guides?

Will the home listings you provide be supported by pictures?

How often will I be updated?

Are you able to provide short term rental assistance if needed?

Can you provide a list of references?

What is your plan to make sure my time is used efficiently?

Be Kind to Yourself…

And to your partner and family.  The stress of a relocation move can bring out the worst tendencies in all of us.  Sometimes in surprising ways.  Living in the cramped space of a hotel room and dealing with the uncertainties of an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar faces can be emotionally draining.

Make an effort to be polite to those who matter most…your family.  Don’t rush into making a hurried decision if this is not necessary.  Talking about the pros and cons together will usually result in an outcome which is better than a position reach through division and strife.

If you’d like to discuss your move or relocation to the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, please contact us at 616-791-0511.  We’re here to listen and to help.

Here’s a link to a great site for relocation information.

Here’s a link for other articles about Relocation by Audu Real Estate

Click here to view an extensive list of homes for sale or rent





A Parable…Why Wise Builders Choose Solid Ground

It was one of those nights you never forget. 

Earlier, the wind had played gently with my trusses; nipping in between the shingles as it whistled upwards towards the towering timbers overhead. 

The rain had started too.  Falling in lazy, large droplets, spattering across the window panes before making fat little puddles of mud.

Across the street, I could see that the lawn was glistening with droplets.  The neighbor lady was busy shooing her youngsters indoors.  All were settling in for what we thought would be an ordinary night. 

But, things started to change around about midnight.  At a time when most homes had long quenched their lights and their owners were solidly tucked between the overstuffed duvets.  The wind which had earlier tousled my trusses began to bruise them with vicious ferocity…as though it was now angry.

Lightning streaked across the sky, first wordlessly and then booming with bolts of thunder which rocked me to the core of my foundations.  The rain was driving harder now, the wind whipping it into a  sideways frenzy which whirled the torrent of droplets around me like a dizzy merry-go-round.  Faster, faster, faster…

The commotion rattled my frame.  Inside, things stirred as worried occupants looked outside into the pitch darkness, trying to make sense of the ominous ruckus.  Lights began to flicker on all across the neighborhood…and then off.  As power lines swayed and tree branches crackled and then snapped.

The pounding was unrelenting.  Wind, rain, lighting, thunder…all seemingly at war with each other whirling around in a mad cosmic chase which ripped at my very core.  It was all I could do to stay anchored to my footings. 

I remembered when the builder had laid them down.  He was an honest man who took real pride in the five homes that he built every year.

Not one to cut corners, he had personally inspected every step of the job, forcing workman to complete the job to his high standards even when they complained that the delays would cost him dearly.  It was his reputation on the line and he cut off their protestations with a fierce look.

The foundations for the house across the street had been dug shortly after my builder got started.  Yet amazingly, it had been completed ahead of mine.  Causing just a little grumpiness for my homeowners. I couldn’t see everything the crew was doing, but they worked fast…mighty fast to get that house ready.  Perhaps too fast.

In the midst of the wretched pummeling, I caught fleeting glimpses of what was going on across the street. 

It was hard to see clearly through the inky darkness, but several shingles whipping by my roof line indicated that all was not well.  I heard several large crashes and then there was silence.  It was as though the wind and rain had simply spent themselves into a muted, angry truce a they ran out of steam.

I couldn’t examine the damage until the sun came up the next morning.  I’d lost a few shingles, but overall I was fine albeit a little creaky.  A few large branches littered the otherwise pristine lawn which now gleamed with the brilliant green that accompanies a thunderstorm.

Across the street however, a scene of intense devastation was unfolding.  Large portions of the roof had been whipped off and an entire corner of the home had simply crumpled into the ground.  The foundation wall had shifted and the home looked as though it might topple over at any time.  A crowd of concerned onlookers was gathering to survey the damage.

My thoughts drifted back to the wise builder who had had taken such detailed care in laying my foundations.  I used to hear him telling his workers that they needed to build as though they were building their own home.  In fact, he often refused to build on certain lots when he felt the underlying terra ferma would not be rock solid. Unstable, shifting soil was a guaranteed non starter when it came to undertaking a building job. 

I was thankful for the attention had had paid to making sure I had a stable foundation today.  I had survived the storm because of it.  I had been buffetted by wind, trounced by the rain and beaten silly by the storm, but I had not failed because of a formidable foundation.

I’m struck by the fact that though the storms of life are guaranteed to arise, a stable foundation makes all the difference in the world about what’s left standing after the storm has passed.

Foundations are what anchor us to the earth in a solid fashion.  They’re not glamorous.  It’s about the basic building blocks of life..and business.  The follow-up and follow-through.  The simple doing of what you say and delivering beyond expectations.  It’s about the phone call, note and thank you card.  The research conducted with thoroughness and the listing monitored with diligence. 

Foundations are what ensure that you don’t forget who you work for.  They remind you that every part of the process in life, relationships and business is another nail which holds together the priceless treasure of a good reputation.

Yes, this story can be found in a truncated fashion in Matthew 7:24-28.  It’s actually commonly refered to as the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builder.  Because you see, we’re all architects of our own lives.  What we build reveals who we really are.  It’s a matter of choice…

Copyright 2008  Audu Real Estate  All Rights Reserved

Grand Rapids, Michigan Real Estate Relocation Guide ~ Making Your Next Move Seamless


the-jokers-hatAre you considering a move to Grand Rapids, Michigan?  Our Free Grand Rapids, MI Relocation package  offers a treasure trove of useful information.  It includes:


  • Area information guides
  • Historical overview of the area
  • Grand Rapids, MI Area maps
  • Tourism and hotel information
  • Important access numbers

In addition, Audu Real Estate is able to customize a package for you with specific information on the neighborhoods that you are interested in.  This can include:

Homes currently for Sale in selected communities

Homes recently Sold in selected communities

Maps of recent Home Sales

Demographic  & Neighborhood information

Rental vs Sales comparisions

School data including class size, funding, address and phone numbers

Houses of Worship: location, phone number and address

This  Free Welcome Relocation Guideis available by simply contacting Audu Real Estate at or calling 616-791-0511.  Please specify the items which you would like customized in your report and indicate the areas you are interested in. 

Click the links below for a list of communities within the greater Grand Rapids, MI area and area Open Houses.

Easy Search forOpen Houses in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Easy Search for Open Houses in Ada, Michigan

Easy Search for Open Houses in Allendale, Michigan

Easy Search for Open Houses in Byron Center, Michigan

Easy Search for Open Houses in Caledonia, Michigan

Easy Search for Open Houses in Cedar Springs, Michigan

Easy Search for Open Houses in East Grand Rapids, Michigan

Easy Search for Open Houses in Grandville, Michigan

Easy Search for Open Houses in Hudsonville, Michigan

Easy Search for Open Houses in Jenison, Michigan

Easy Search for Open Houses in Kentwood, Michigan

Easy Search for Open Houses in Kellogsville, Michigan

Easy Search for Open Houses in Lowell, Michigan

Easy Search for Open Houses in Wyoming, Michigan

If you would like an Open House Tour customized with homes that will be open when you’re in town, please let us know.  We’ll be happy to include this in your Welcome Relocation Guide Package.

Please allow 5-7 days for delivery of your package.  The agents at Audu Real Estate are available to assist you in all your relocation needs within the greater Grand Rapids, Michigan metropolis.  Please note that although there is no shipping charge for packages mailed within the United States, a fee will be assessed for overseas shipping.

To Search for homes in the Greater Grand Rapids area, click here