Wednesday, June 25, 2008

You're Invited: FREE First Time Home Buyer Seminar

Purchasing or selling Real Estate requires extensive due diligence. You cannot get all the information from newspapers or the internet. You need to talk to, and hear from Full Time, Professional Agents who are in the marketplace all day, every day. PLUS, with the state of today's market, including Bank Foreclosures, Relocations, and Short Sales, the purchase of a home can become pretty complicated.
You are invited to join us for our next FREE, Fact-filled, fast paced, and informative Real Estate Seminar.

At our “How to Buy a Home or Foreclosure” 45 Minute Seminar – You Will Learn:
--The Latest Market Updates
--How Much House You Can Afford
--Financing Alternatives
--Why You Need a Buyer’s Agent
--Searching for Homes Efficiently
--Differences in purchasing Short Sale or Foreclosure properties
--Viewing Homes Like an Inspector
--Contract Negotiating Strategies

This Seminar is completely FREE of charge, and are our service to YOU as Educating Real Estate Professionals. There is no obligation, nothing to sign, and no commitments to make. Please come to learn how you can purchase a home with the knowledge and information you need to make the right decisions.

The Seminar will be presented by myself (Brian) and Amaechi Udoji of Huron Valley Financial.

Please join us Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at 6:45PM at the Office of Real Estate One; 555 Briarwood Circle #333, Ann Arbor, 48108

For more information, call Brian at (734) 678-9032

Saturday, June 21, 2008

What Will $200,000 Buy in Ann Arbor, MI?

Just a few short years ago, if you called an Ann Arbor Real Estate agent, and asked for help finding a home under $200,000, you would likely get the "you've got to be kidding" response. Well, as we all are painfully aware. The times have changed. That is good news for those buyers who realize the cyclical nature of the real estate business, and have confidence that buying at the low end of the market is really a good idea.

A search of the Ann Arbor MLS today shows 170 homes on the market priced near or below $200,000. The average size of these 170 is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1300 square foot home, with an average price of $183,000, or $150 per square foot. At the top of this search is a 5BR; 2BA 2300 square foot home.

This link will show you a virtual tour of one of the homes on the market in this range which looks to be a great value for the $199,000 asking price. This one does not look to be a foreclosure or short sale, and is move-in ready.

One of our specialties is working with first time home buyers. If you have any questions about homes on the market, or about the home buying process, we would love to chat with you.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Good News! Get Your Ann Arbor Real Estate Good News Here!

Real estate agents complain that the newspapers only print bad news about the market. Well the fact is that recently, that is all there has been. We're happy to note a dramatic POSITVE trend in the market during the month of May that we hope is a sign of a strong market turnaround. Number of listings are down, and number of sales are up by over 25% May 2007 - May 2008, and number of sales Year to Date are up over 16% in 2008.

Here's the latest snapshot from the Ann Arbor Board of Realtors. These statistics are for Single Family Homes (SFH) Residential, and do not include condominiums:

SFH Listings in May 2007: 1,368
SFH Listings in May 2008: 886
Decrease: 35%

SFH Listings Y.T.D. 2007: 5,313
SFH Listings Y.T.D. 2008: 4,118
Decrease: 22.5%

SFH Sales May 2007: 242
SFH Sales May 2008: 303
Increase: 25.2%

SFH Sales Y.T.D. 2007: 1,003
SFH Sales Y.T.D. 2008: 1,074
Increase: 16.2%

SFH Avg. Days on Market May 2007: 80
SFH Avg. Days on Market May 2008: 86

SFH Avg. Days on Market Y.T.D. 2007: 86
SFH Avg. Days on Market Y.T.D. 2008: 88

SFH Avg. Sales Price May 2007: $244,404
SFH Avg. Sales Price May 2008: $217,849
Decrease: 10.9%

SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2007: $239,028
SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2008: $216,882
Decrease: 9.3%

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Be the Change

There have been a significant number of lessons learned this week. It has been a roller coaster of a completely different sort than I am used to, and it is not over by a long shot. The message through it all is perseverance, the unflinching faith that tomorrow will be better, and renewing the commitment to being the change that you want to see in your world.

On the business front, this has been a pretty dark week in Ann Arbor, and southeast Michigan. Borders Group, one of the areas largest employers, cut 20% of it's corporate work force, Spirit Airlines is closing it's Detroit hub. Pick up Truck and SUV Sales are down double-digits. Even our real estate office has seen administrative and corporate staff cutbacks. Heck, we are even trying to sub-lease some of our office space because there are no new people coming into the real estate business. Trying to sugar coat this challenging state of affairs serves no purpose. Wallowing in it is less productive. The only good that can come out of it is figuring out what we can learn from it, and how can we take what we have learned to make things better in the future.

On the real estate front, we like to think that Ann Arbor is one of the first markets on the rebound. Actually being on the rebound really requires the concerted effort of all those in the real estate transaction being part of that rebound. Unfortunately, that scenario has not played out in our most recent transaction. Long story short, an appraisal came in $35,000 below the sales price. Now this was not a home in a cookie-cutter subdivision. This was a great home which was meticulously cared for in a great neighborhood. The appraiser had many factors to consider, many metrics and comparables which could have justified the agreed on price, yet he chose the 'safe' route of the lowest comparable sales. Perhaps this is the result of being beaten down for the past 18 months of market decline, but the net result is that this action actually perpetuates the downward slide when there are indications of recovery, and is very unsettling to all parties concerned.

Anyway, this Post has been a bit of a ramble, as the situation is both complicated and distressing. I guess my underlying prayer is for people to have the courage to be part of the force that makes positive change. It is way too easy to follow the momentum of negativity.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

To the Saline 'Party Bus' Parents:

I don't know if you're aware of, or have followed the Saline Parent 'Party Bus' story, but the gist is that during the High School Prom, a group of parents decided to have a bit of a Prom Party of their own, and were drinking alcohol on a bus in the parking lot of the school while the Prom was going on. Other than it being against the law, the obvious irony is that our greatest fear as parents are our children drinking at Prom. That's not the worst of it. In what unfortunately has become the American Way, the parents have gone on to deny, cover up, and berate law enforcement for enforcing laws.

Anyway, this pervasive attitude really grinds my gears, and I have taken the 'Letter to the Editor' approach, have sent the following to the Ann Arbor News, and write an open letter to these parents:

Please, do yourselves and your children a favor: Do the RIGHT thing. Walk in to the Police Station, admit a lapse in judgment, take responsibility, pay the fine, and move on. That simple act would leave a lasting positive impression on your family for generations to come. Your actions regarding this incident and it's aftermath are yet another shining example of the "We can do whatever we want, the rules don't apply to us" attitude that permeates today's world.

Instead, you have chosen to take the road MOST travelled by: 1) Committing a crime; 2) Denying responsibility; 3) Covering up by not cooperating with police; and 4) Chastising law enforcement for doing their jobs. You don't drink alcohol on school grounds, period. Is it the crime of the century? Of course not. If you don't like the law, take it off the books. Yet again, the denial and cover up are much worse than the original crime. What a waste of time, resources, and taxpayer money.

Have we STILL learned nothing from Nixon, Clinton, Kilpatrick, et. al? I hope you are proud of yourselves when you look into the mirror each morning that you are helping to raise another generation of citizens who will go through life and do everything EXCEPT take responsibility for problems of their own making.
I doubt it will do any good, but it is now off my chest. Thanks for reading, and if you'd like, please share a comment.