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


Grand Rapids Parade of Homes 2009 Marks 50 in Green!

Downtown Grand Rapids Michigan...view across the Grand River

Downtown Grand Rapids Michigan...view across the Grand River

There are a number of metrics which one can use to get a handle on the current housing market in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  However, the one which captures my attention as we head into what is traditionally the busiest season in real estate is the Spring Parade of Homes. Here’s what I wrote about the tour last year...

 It’s a spring time ritual in Grand Rapids, Mi.  For residents like myself and many others who love to peek into gorgeous homes and pick up the latest tips for home decor and furnishings, the Spring Parade of Homes Tour is an event which is highly anticipated.

However, this year, the Parade of Homes will feature a tour with significantly fewer offerings than in recent years.  In 2006, there were 200 homes featured in the Parade of Homes, last year (2007) the number was 133.  This year, 83 homes will make their debuts in the Parade…far fewer entries than just 24 months ago. (click here to continue reading)

This year, the Parade of homes will feature less than 1/2 of the homes entered in the 2008 year.  The 2009 Parade debuts with 42 homes as it marks 50 years.  A search for the nucleus of this story traces back to the number of building permits issued in Kent County in 2009.  A number which has been declining for the past several consecutive months to just 25 for the entire county in March of 2009; down from 61 in the same month of the previous year 2008 according to data obtained from the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors®.  

For the first quarter of the year, permits are being issued at about 1/2 the rate of last year 2008…which was already a less than stellar year for new home construction.

But, West Michigan has always been a resilient community which prizes innovation and creativity.  This year, the Parade of Homes will feature six Green Homes, a Brand New offering.  Not only will the public be able to view quality built, affordable, environmentally sustainable home construction, there will be classes available for those who would like to learn more.

Last year, I visited a green built home in my neighborhood.  I thoroughly enjoyed talking with the builder and learned a lot about how smart investments can save a future homeowner money and increase the enjoyment and comfort of the residence.  If you’d like to tour a Parade home, look for the signs which mark each home or visit this site for additional tour information including scheduling for the Green Homes which are open on Thursdays.


Visit www.auduhomes.com to view NEW home construction in all price ranges!

Care-free Condo Living! 1028 Ada Place Dr. SE GR, MI 49546

Care-Free Condo living! 1028 Ada Place Dr. SE Grand Rapids, MI
1028 Ada Place Dr. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546  PRICE REDUCED to: $125,000
Click to View Show

Broker:  Lola Audu, CRS, GRI, e-Pro
Telephone: 616-791-0511
MLS# 752130

Very nice setting & great condo living in Forest Hills Schools. This bright and airy contemporary unit is conveniently located to freeways, shopping and some specialty malls.

It’s an energy efficient 3 bedroom, 2.5 baths unit which includes a finished daylight basement that could be used as 4th bedroom or an additional family room.

This home features a private entry across from a one stall car garage, a gas fireplace in the living room and central air conditioning.

This condominium is located in the Ada Place Condominium project. While many condo projects do not allow pets, you can have cats and small dogs here.The Homeowners association fee is $150.  Contact us at 616-791-0511 for all the items listed in the association fee.

The complex is very nicely maintained and residents have access to a play area for kids and a pond.

*Pets must be registered

Here’s to an early spring…

Spring showers...

Spring showers...

I’m sooooo ready for an early spring!  And it looks like the real estate market in Grand Rapids, MI is too.  If you’re a well priced foreclosure or shortsale home, you’re due for some early spring showers in the form of multiple offers as we’ve recently witnessed during several offer negotations.  If you’re interested in seeing what’s available on the market right now, visit us online:  www.auduhomes.com 

When You’re in the Top 5…you’d think you would Celebrate!

Golden Nest Egg

Golden Nest Egg

When the news broke that Grand Rapids was the 5th most affordable city in the United States, you would have thought there would be cheering and dancing in the streets.  After all, isn’t affordability a great thing in the era of recession fears and increasingly dire economic news?
Well, if there was such thing as negative miracles, somehow this normally great news is being apprehended by the boogie man…fear of the unknown.  News reports indicate that potential buyers fearful of further declines in the market are determining they won’t buy now even though prices haven’t been this low for 20 years!  Wow!

I’m glad that I’m living in a parallel universe to some degree.  These past two weeks have been some of busiest we’ve had at Audu Real Estate.  We’re taking buyers out and some of the deals that we’re seeing are so good that we’re offer #2 or #3.  Today, I fielded several requests for home showings!

When opportunity knocks,  we don’t want to be sleeping ’cause we’ve found that it’s better to open the door because often opportunity doesn’t stick around.  Like FDR said, ‘the only thing to fear is fear itself.’

If you’re a homeowner who would like to sell your home or a home buyer who wants to check out what the incredible options are right now….give us a call or e-mail us at info@auduhomes.com. We’re eager to be of service.

Click here to pre-view homes

1805 Clearbrook SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508 ~ Classy Contemporary Decor

Click picture to watch 1805 Clearbrook SE, Grand Rapids, MI  49508

Click picture to watch 1805 Clearbrook SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508

This is a home of distinction. which has been impeccably maintained and tastefully furnished.  This ranch style home has style and class.  All the rooms are spacious.  The dining area connects to a well designed kitchen with upgraded counter-tops and the upstairs living room area enjoys the addition of a fireplace. 

Other features to note include a roof which is less than a year old, a large heated in-ground pool which opens up to a tiled Florida style three season room. 

The downstairs area is outfitted with an office, a laundry room and a spacious recreational room which also includes the second fireplace. 

This is simply a beautiful home and an irresistible value in a great SE neighborhood.  Don’t miss out!  Contact Takara Taylor ~ Client Specialist with Audu Real Estate for additional details or for a pre-view tour: 616-514-7214.

3 Tips to Speed up the Selling Process During a Short Sale!

Grand Rapids, MI…

Bucking the trends...

Bucking the trends...

Homeowners in Grand Rapids, MI have witnessed a startling increase in the rates of homes sold through foreclosure sales and short sales.  In the early portion of 2007, the percentage of home sales that were ‘crisis sales’  hovered between 14% – 16%. 

But by the end of 2008 and into early 2009 the numbers had escalated dramatically to account for over 70% of the homes sold by the members of the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors Board.

Selling a home within this type of environment requires a different approach.  Although marketing a home has never been easy, the challenges of the current crisis require a firm resolve and focus to do whatever it takes to succeed. 

That is…IF you intend to sell your home.   Now, this market is not for everyone.  If you have recently purchased a home or don’t have a compelling need to move such as a change in life circumstances or employment, this may NOT be your market.

There are some things which you can do to assist in a more efficient process if you have to sell your home for less than what you owe on the mortgage aka  as a Short Sale.  Here they are:

Document your financial hardship

You will be required to give a fairly detailed accounting of your financial condition which will include statements from all bank accounts, investment accounts, a credit report, and a letter documenting your situation.  Be prepared to submit this documentation and include a letter/statement which authorizes the bank to speak to the appropriate professionals such as your real estate broker if your home is listed.

Set the Stage…

Just because your home is being sold under less than ideal circumstances does not mean that it should be portrayed this way in your marketing efforts.  The goal of a short sale should be to sell your home.  Remember that your home will be competing  with potentially hundreds or thousands of homes.  Unless a home buyer falls in love with your home, you won’t have the chance of negotiating a short sale.  It should also be noted that home buyers are often wary of the long drawn out process that the negotiation of a short sale requires so make it worth their while to wait!

Price to Compete!

One of the most interesting points during my listing presentation is when I show home owners a map of just how many homes are listed or have sold within their community.  Most people are more than a little surprised.

There’s a lot of activity happening in the real estate market right now and you owe it to yourself to have an accurate understanding of your neighborhood market.   Run the other way if an agent shows up at your door to take your listing in hand without documenting in detail WHY and HOW he/she has arrived at a pricing strategy and number.

Proper pricing and subsequent adjustments are critical if you are to succeed.  A market rife with foreclosures makes for a ‘moving target’ when it comes to determining the right price.  Be prepared to make adjustments quickly to reflect market realities.  Emotional attachment about why this should not apply to your particular home will not serve you well when you’re dealing with buyers who are primarily looking at the bottom line. 

On the other hand…a good deal cannot be hidden!  We’re seeing homes priced competitively getting several bids and sometimes selling above the listing price.  These homeowners took the time to understand their market and to respond accordingly.  My counsel if you’re determined to Sell Your Home…is to take note.