Charming Alger Heights Home For Sale! 311 Aurora St. SE 49507

PRICE: $280,000

TO PREVIEW: Call Zoe at 949-813-1205

This beautiful Alger Heights home exudes character everywhere! It is present in the all-brick exterior, crown molding, french doors, hardwood floors, original chandeliers, tiled fireplace, updated kitchen with tiled counters,and white cabinetry.

The tastefully decorated brand new master suite features artistic lighting fixtures, custom designed cabinetry, a spacious walk-in closet and a fully tiled shower. Enjoy a seculded private view of Garfield Park. All three bedrooms are spacious.

The upstairs bath features the orginal fixtures with a charming tile accent. The basement is partially finished and includes a family room / play room / game room and laundry. All appliances (W/D/R/S) remain and are farily new! Square footage provided by Owner.

All appliances (W/D/R/S), water heater, and central A/C are all new in the last 5 years. The 2 stall detached garage with attic storage is large enough for two SUV’s. Beautiful exterior with landscaping designed by previous owner and Calvin College professor of Botany, incorporating indigenous plantings which return year after year with little maintenance. And the finishing touch is a beautiful treehouse, perfect for inspiring and entertaining kids of all ages! Call Zoe at 949-813-1205.

Will Uber’s Foray into Real Estate Change Your Next Home Sale?

Buying a HomeWhen news of Uber’s foray into the complex world of real estate hit the wires this past week, many industry watchers took note.  The premises for Haus, the new start-up by the Cofounder of Uber, Garrett Camp is to bring transparency into the bidding process between home buyers, sellers and their agents.

How Haus works:

The online platform will allow buyers, sellers and their agents to see (in real time)  when offers and changes to offers are made during the bidding process AND respond accordingly.  The platform promises to deliver an experience which creates side by side comparisons so that home owners and potential buyers can make fully informed decisions about the home they are bidding on.  At the heart of the issue is the concept of ‘real time’.

Super-heated real estate:

Most of the country is experiencing a super heated real estate market.  In West Michigan, it is not uncommon for some homes to receive multiple offers within a 24 hour period.  Anxious buyers wring their hands as they are informed that offers will not be presented UNTIL a particular time or that they should consider re-submitting their ‘highest and best’ offer due to multiple offers coming in on the same property.  Although the majority of real estate agents are honest, there is no way of actually verifying IF additional offers are being presented and so, home buyers are left wondering just how much more they will have to bid to secure the right to purchase the home of their dreams.

Pride and prejudice:

Another largely unspoken aspect of the process is the fact that purchasing a home is not necessarily based on price.  Prejudice and preference can sometimes play critical roles. Many homeowners have their own ideas about whom they would prefer to purchase their homes.  This may be based on personal preferences, or their concerns about the welfare of their neighbors.  Latent within these normal human emotions and desires lies the potential for discrimination, an issue which is a matter of Federal law when applied to the real estate transaction.

Loving a home can infatuate the mind.  It can make a home buyer willing to do just about anything to gain an edge or advantage.  One of the more commonly used vehicles is a ‘Dear Homeowner’ letter where the potential buyer details why they love the home and why the home owner should in essence ‘pick me!’  Buyers have been known to research the owners place or worship, likes and dislikes and fashion their offers to tug at the home owners emotions.  Sometimes, this has included providing pictures of themselves so the homeowner can see who they are.

When secrecy becomes illegal:

The problem with this is a little thing called the law – which prohibits discrimination when it comes the buying, selling or renting of housing based on some very specific criteria.  The Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 prohibit discrimination on the basis of: race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, handicap, sex, gender and often local ordinances (State and community) have additional qualifiers.

So, to some extent the secrecy which has shrouded the real estate process has served as a cloak for some of these illegal behaviors.  For the same reason that booking a table reservation by Open Table is a preferred vehicle by many when they consider the convenience and the simplicity of not dealing with host/hostess reservations, the idea of being able to view, counter and negotiate a transaction in an open forum might be appealing to a significant segment of the population.

Will we purchase houses like we book online reservations?

Haus does not claim to be a brokerage, financial adviser or tax expert, but the platform may become a tool which serves to bring the bottom line into a transaction negotiation in a very direct way.  That being said, buying a house is not like purchasing a car.  And, for a homeowner, the process is not just a financial investment, but also a relational and emotional one.  It will be interesting to see how or if this catches on as a preferred method of negotiations during a real estate transaction and more importantly to the bottom line, if this results in higher bids for home owners.

 

Additional Articles about additional industry new comers:

Roofstock’s better way to buy and sell homes

Yopa: Online property agent

 

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.

 

Inventory Shortage ~ Availability, Pricing and Access to the 2014 West MI Housing Market!

The big news for the summer of 2014 according to statistics compiled and released by the Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS is Housing Inventory…or rather the lack of it as the community prepares to enter what is traditionally the most active segment of the selling season.  According to the report, (which tracks data into May 2014) the amount of housing inventory available for sale in West Michigan has dropped to under 3 months of supply.  (2.4 months to be exact based on Pending Sales)  To give you perspective, a balanced market would have the housing supply at 6-7 months during this time of the year as many homeowners normally take advantage of the warmer weather and school closings to market their homes.

Trends Graphic for Housing Inventory in West MI 2013-2014

Trends Graphic for Housing Inventory in West MI 2013-2014

The issue of low inventory has dogged the market throughout most of 2014.  New listings arriving on the West Michigan market have been about 12% lower than the pace of last year.  (2014 – 6,592  new listings YTD vs 2013 – 7541 new listings).  But in spite of the Inventory shortage, the Sales Volume for 2014 is on an upward trend!  In fact, 2014  Sales Volumes for the real estate Board shows an increase of 4.1%  for 2014 over last year and in May alone of this year, a 14.6 percent increase based on actual Closed Sales.

So what does this mean for the West Michigan Home Seller?  Well, Average home prices have increased over 9% during the past month.  Last year, the Average Home sold for $157,814 during the month of May.  Today, the average price is $174,001.  When ALL Sales including vacant land and multi-family units are added into the mix, the numbers drop a little, but irregardless, the average price of $167,728 is the highest price we’ve witnessed for almost a decade.

If you’re in the market for a home purchase, be prepared to aggressively pursue your goal.  This is not a market for the faint-hearted when it comes to the prospect of bidding wars and making quick decisions.  But, a quick decision does not mean you should make a rash decision when in comes to purchasing a home.  Afterall, this is the biggest investment that most Americans will make.  To be effective in a successful negotiation in this market, be prepared to do your research and know what’s for sale in the areas which interest you.  As REALTORS, our company sets up client portals which provide instant notification when new listings which match the criteria for a home which might be a match shows up on the Multiple Listing Service.  In addition, have all financing in order as a well qualified buyer wins hands down in this type of market.

If you’ve been considering placing your home on the market, your timing is impeccable!  However, be forewarned that this market requires attention to detail in which market savvy buyers are not simply looking for a home, but for a well priced and well presented home.  They’ll fight for that!  On the flip side, homes which do not show well, continue to be penalized and sell for less even in a market as active as this one.  If you’d like to know what you need to do to make sure your home attracts the best type of attention and price, give us a call for a free consultation at 616-791-0511.

*Trends Graphics provided courtesy of the Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS

7 Tips for Prepping for a Home Sale during Frigid Winter Weather!

winter-by-audreyjm529Dreadfully cold weather tends to keep most of us in West Michigan inside as much as possible.  Looking outside my window today, this is definitely the case.   With the exception of the snow plow guys, there are few cars on the street.  Even regular dog walkers seem to be sitting in on this one.  If you’ve been thinking about putting your home on the spring market, the prospect of you or someone looking at your home getting stuck in a snow drift in your driveway is a little depressing.  However, there are a number of things that can be done indoors on days like today to keep you on track with regards to being in your new home as soon as possible.

Clear Out Closet Space!

Winter is a great time to reassess the contents of your closet.  If you haven’t worn something once during the year, perhaps it’s time to give it away, donate it or throw it out.  Consider it a small step in the ‘letting go’ process…letting go of smaller items as you prepare to let go of your home so you can make room for new things and new beginnings.

Touch-up Paint

After the holiday decorations are taken down, a home often looks starkly plain.  This is a great time to examine the state of your walls and woodwork.  Is there grime or dirt that needs to be washed or painted?  If you’re stuck indoors, consider picking up a sponge or paintbrush amd doing some touch-up painting.  This is one of the cheapest ways to enhance the appearance of your home.

Organize Garage

Yes, the garage will be cold, but at least it is protected from the elements.  If possible, it is better to clear out your garage when putting a home on the market.  The next best option is to organize it. Neatly staked/arranged boxes or shelves will make even a cluttered garage look as though there is some space for someone else to put their stuff.

Involve Your Kids

On a days like today, most schools have been cancelled.  So kids are home.  And they can be useful, particularly if they have an incentive to help or if an activity is fun.  You know your kids better than anyone else, so think about how to motivate them to help you with getting your home ready for sale.

Collect Documentation for Mortgage Application

If you will require a mortgage to purchase your next home, this is a good time to begin to gather the necessary documentation for your lender.  They are likely to ask for financial records such as a month’s worth of pay stubs, bank statements, last year’s tax returns etc.  Taking the time to put these items in one spot now will save you time in the future.

Update Multiple Listing (MLS) Search Profile

Housing inventory remains tight in the West Michigan area and across much of the country.  Hopefully,  you have created a customized online search profile and are receiving real time updates of available home listings.   If you haven’t done so, that is definitely step 1!  Assuming you have a search profile in place, take the time to review it.  Are there some areas or types of homes which might work which are not included in your current specifications?  The number 1 reason that many people fail to have the best results when searching online is that they make their computer specifications for a home too narrow.  Sometimes, just a little tweak will yield a new set of results for you.

Always feel free to contact us for assistance with your real estate needs.  We’re here to help!

3 Reasons Why Selling Your West Michigan Home in 2011 Could be A Smart Move!

For many of you reading this blog, your first instinct to this bold title might be…Really?  C’mon, Lola…are you serious?

Yes, I am.  Absolutely.  I’m going to share with you 3 Solid Reason for why Selling Your West Michigan in the 4th Quarter of 2011 could be a smart move.  You may actually look back and say…Why didn’t I do this earlier.

Now, this post is for those of you who have been considering putting your homes on the market, but have hesitated because there has been so much negative press about the housing market.  You may have outgrown your current residence or had a life-change such as a marriage or new baby.  Perhaps, you NEED to move because you’ve been transferred or you have lost a job and can no longer afford your current payments.  Whatever, the reason…read on.

1.  The Real Estate Market in Grand Rapids, MI is steadily improving…

Statistics available from the Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS, the industry trade association that monitors housing sales and prices indicate that over the last year, home sales and prices have stabilized and are now beginning to show modest gains.   Area REALTORS are posting increased Sales numbers and it is anticipated that Sales will rise above the levels in 2010, the  year in which the  Home Buyers’ Tax Credit boosted an artificial increase.  What’s noteworthy is that this activity has occurred despite double digit unemployment in Michigan and continued challenges in the financing sector.  If you have owned your home for at least 10 years,  consider obtaining a Market Analysis of your area to determine your current equity position.

2.  Mostly Serious Buyers Remain…

Getting a mortgage to purchase a home today is an event worthy of celebration!  Although interest rates have fallen dramatically, guidelines for lending and regulation associated with loans have increased dramatically.  This has resulted in much higher qualifying standards for home buyers today.  Approved Buyers have been vetted through stringent standards.  They are also better educated with access to the Internet and the ability to compare the value of their real estate investments.

Buyers today understand the economics of a Housing Sale; they know that many homes are priced 30% BELOW the market value.  Subsequently, many area REALTORS report the rise of multiple offers as competition for homes which are priced to Sell increases.

If you own your home without any obligation/mortgage OR have lived in your home for 10+ years, you may be well positioned to enter the market place right now.  As Inventory levels have declined in recent months, the available supply has diminished at just the time when Buyers are focused on getting into their new homes before serious snow begins to fly in West Michigan.

3.  Almost 14,000 Homes Sold  Just Yesterday!

Yep!  You read that right.  Even with all the dire statistics, home sales continue to average just over 5 Million per year nationwide.  If you average that to a daily rate, that means that on the average,  14,000 homes sold within the past 24 HOURS around the nation.  One of those homes could have been yours!

Here in West Michigan, we are selling approximately 1,000 homes per month.  That means that EVERY DAY, 30-35 homes are Selling right here in your community.  While some of those homes are being bought by investors or are homes Sold due to distress situations such as Foreclosure and Short Sales, many are not.  In fact…the majority of homes Sold are not.  Over the past year on average approximately 43% of homes Sold each month have been due to a hardship situation.  But, that means that 57% of home Sold – the majority – have NOT been distress sales.

If you would like a detailed analysis of the housing market in your West Michigan neighborhood or if you’d simply like to talk about your options, please contact us.  616-791-0511

3 Simple Ways to Release Emotional Ties During the Home Selling Process

Releasing Emotional Ties During the Home Selling Process

From time to time, I assist clients during a real estate transaction who are having a really difficult time leaving a home.  Sometimes, it is a home which holds a lot of precious memories.  At other times, circumstances have changed; perhaps a job transfer or loss which necessitate a move.  It is a really difficult thing to wrestle with the fact that deep down inside…you’re not really ready to leave…just yet.

Over the years, I’ve realised that there are myriads of reasons why people struggle to let go of a dwelling…even when they know they must.  One huge factor is fear for the future and the unknown.

Here are a few simple suggestions  that many of my clients have found very helpful in helping facilitate a successful transition.

Practical Solitude

Set aside some time to alone & quiet within your home…quiet your heart, be still.  Turn off the TV, listen, hear and re-live special moments.  Look, really look at your home the way you would look into the face of a dear friend.  Relish the moments that have been shared, the laughter, the tears, the good times, the bad…Listen to hear things that may still need to be resolved.  In the stillness you will hear this as well.  Take note

Thanksgiving

Express gratitude outloud.  Yes, these walls have heard a lot of things during your time within them. Why not your thanksgiving?

Thank out loud for the goodness & provision and shelter that your home has provided you.

Thank out loud for the many friends and family members who have found solace, refuge and friendship within it’s walls.

Thank out loud for the difficult lessons learned and the trials you survived.

Thank out loud that you and this home exist…many homes and people no longer do.

Thank out loud that your home will soon be transferred to new owners who will be the beneficiaries of the shelter your home has faithfully provided.

Release the Blessing of Peace

A final step is to release the blessing of peace.  I suggest that home owners go through each room while  releasing God’s peace into the space in preparation for the new owners.  This can be a wonderful time to envision the blessings that you desire for the welfare of those who will purchase the home.

Different blessings can be released for different areas.  For instance in the kitchen, you can release wholesome goodness in the food that is prepared & bless this center of life to be a place in which the family or individual experiences the joy of friendship and satisfaction. Remember we all reap what we sow.  What you are doing for others will eventually be returned in some fashion back to you.

Many have found these few simple steps to be very helpful as they prepare to move.  Even if it is not a difficult emotional transition, this process can be extraordinarily enriching.