Monday, July 28, 2008

Host a USA Hockey Player

One of the many very cool things in Ann Arbor is that the USA Hockey National Team Development Program (NTDP) makes it's home here. There are more than 25,000 young hockey players who participate in this program nationwide, and each summer, USA Hockey chooses the best 46 from around the country to take part in the elite NTDP program.

Each year, dozens of exceptional Ann Arbor families open their homes to these 46 of the finest American amateur hockey players in the nation, who are aged 15 to 16. These selfless families "adopt" a player to come live with them for the school year. These families become vital to the success of the program. USA Hockey is always in need of families to take in players and provide homes and a family environment for the student-athletes who attend Pioneer High School.

Since the NTDP was founded in 1996, a total of 19 alumni have gone on to play at the University of Michigan, three of whom went on to serve as Captains -- Eric Nystrom, Matt Hunwick, and Kevin Porter. Porter was named the winner of the 2008 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, given annually to college hockey's top student-athlete.

The NTDP was created to prepare student-athletes under the age of 18 for participation on the US National teams and success in their future hockey careers. It's efforts not only focus on high-caliber on-ice performance, but in creating well rounded individuals and good citizens off the ice.

Over 140 NTDP players have been drafted by NHL Teams, including number one overall selections -- Rick DiPietro, Erik Johnson and Patrick Kane. Over 40 NTDP alumni saw action in the NHL last year. More than 300 NTDP players have signed national Letters of Intent with NCAA Division I hockey programs.

Mary and I "adopted" a NTDP player, who stayed with us for two years. He was a great young man with a great work ethic, who was an inspiration to our whole family. Not only that, we have become life-long friends with his family. He has gone on to play collegiate hockey, and is currently playing for Yale University.

If you choose to become a host family, not only do you get the opportunity to help the program and create great friendships, you also get the opportunity to watch some pretty incredible hockey.

All host families receive a monthly stipend from USA Hockey, as well as free season tickets. If you would like more information on becoming a host family, please contact USA Hockey at (734) 327-9251 x24

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Avoiding House Pricing Torture

If you currently have your house for sale, what is your pricing strategy? If you are considering putting your house on the market, what will be your pricing strategy? Unfortunately, some of the typical pricing strategies we see in the market do not correlate with the reality of today's real estate market. If you want to sell your home, you need to face some hard market facts.
Understandably, sellers are emotionally attached to their homes, and can have a tendency to be in denial that their home is not the exception to the market rule.

Step 1 is to emotionally detatch yourself from your home. The minute you decide to sell, your home is a house, a commodity, a product. It is no longer your "home". The sale of your home becomes a business transaction.

Step 2 is to determine your pricing strategy. The most common pricing strategy is to pick an inflated "Let's test the market" price, which, frankly, does not work. Home buyers are smarter and better informed that at any time in history. We even know of buyers who 'Google' home sellers to find out the sellers Bios and possible motivations to sell. By the time home sellers realize that this strategy does not work, valuable marketing time has been lost, the home becomes "market worn" and buyers theorize that the seller is unrealistic.

In today's market, if you really want to get your home sold, you will need to price your home 10% below what comparable homes have been selling for. This is a big pill to swallow, and is often too big for many sellers to handle. The unfortunate consequence is that people price their homes at above market value, and over time, reduce the price at a rate lower than the decline in the market, and never truly get their home priced in the market range. This is known as Pricing Torture. Sellers reduce the price, bit by bit, over time, and still cannot understand why the lowering in price does not result in increased showings and/ or offers.

The statistics are showing that the Ann Arbor real estate market is flat to down just under 1% per month. The moral of the story is that if you need to drop the price, make one large cut. Not baby steps.

Monday, July 14, 2008

How Much Home Will $300,000 Buy in Ann Arbor?

A quick search of the Ann Arbor Multiple Listing service shows 74 homes currently on the market in the immediate Ann Arbor area, priced between $275,000 - $325,000. As you can imagine, there is a wide variety of styles, ages, and designs. On the one end of the spectrum is an 825 square foot home for sale at $285,000 ($343/ sq. ft.) and another home over 3100 square feet at $299,000 ($87/ ft.). The average $300,000 home is just shy of 2000 square feet, at an average asking price at $143/ ft.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Troy VanderStelt

I cannot stop thinking about Troy VanderStelt. I did not know him, yet I feel as if I did know him.

Troy was a fellow father, husband, and Michigan Realtor. From what I have read, much of what he did focused on doing the best he could in those three roles.

Troy was not responsible for the depressed Michigan real estate market. He did not misrepresent the state of the market. All he did was go in to work on July 1, and work to provide for his family and service his clients to the best of his ability in an extremely difficult market. For those efforts, Troy was shot and killed in his office on a Tuesday morning.

It is extremely easy to attempt to rationalize the irrational by application of the 'lone nut' theory, or by speculating that he or some other individual 'must have' said or done something that somehow contributed to this heinous and unspeakable act. This attempt at rationalization allows us to convince ourselves that something like this could never possibly happen to us. You might as well just stick your head in the sand.

The fact is that we currently are living in very stressful financial times. And that is putting it mildly. We know that our home is often our largest investment, and we have come to depend on our home as an appreciating asset. We also become so emotionally attached to our homes that we choose to ignore the realities of the declining market around us. It is when the reality actually begins to set in that we lash out with a knee-jerk reaction of shifting blame. We live in a self-centered, self-obsessed, instant gratification, the rules-don't-apply-to-me world.

We, as a society, have collectively created and perpetuate an environment where we do absolutely everything possible to place blame for our individual circumstances everywhere else than where the blame actually resides. The tragic examples of this phenomenon are, unfortunately, endless. School shootings, workplace shootings, postal shootings, and other random shootings continue to multiply. It seems to me that there are no efforts being made to get to the root of these problems. I don't have the answer. I can only pray for the VanderStelt family, and pray the Serenity prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
I encourage you to do the same. That's a start, anyway.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Tragedy Beyond Measure

On July 1st, 2008, Troy VanderStelt, a Real Estate Agent with Nexes Realty Inc. of Muskegon Michigan, was brutally murdered at his office by a former client who, unfairly and unjustly, blamed Troy for the declining housing market and his home’s falling value.

In a premeditated act, the murderer tossed a folder on the desk for distraction, pulled his pistol, and executed Troy with a single bullet below the left eye. Troy was gone in that instant.

Troy has left behind his loving wife, Bridget, and four children, Matthew (16), Lainey (14), Corbin (2 1/2) and Ava, (18 mos.) Troy will also be dearly missed by his two younger brothers Todd and Trent, his two parents, Dennis and Carole, and a community of family and friends.

The void left by Troy’s passing is heartbreaking. His family has been ripped apart. His youngest children will never know the man who loved them with his whole life. He was the leader of his family. His Christian values were strong, and the life he lived, exemplary. To say he will be missed is terribly inadequate.

None the less devastating however, Troy was the bread winner of his family. He was torn from this world at the time his family needed him the most, leaving his four children to be raised on a single income.

To help overcome, an educational trust has been established to support Troy’s children. Donations can be made online through the “Donate” link on this page (PayPal and Credit Cards Accepted) or can be mailed directly to:

“The Children of Troy VanderStelt Educational Trust”
C/O Community Shores Bank
1030 W. Norton Ave,
Muskegon, MI 49441

This Post is a reprint from the Please help the family of Realtor Troy VanderSteldt Facebook Group.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ann Arbor Condo Sales Report: June 2008

Ann Arbor Condominium sales in June 2008 were up by 3% compared to June 2007. Year to date, Condo sales, in units, are flat, and average sales price is down by 13.3%.

Here are the latest statistics from the Ann Arbor Board of Realtors. These numbers are for Condominiums. Please see earlier post for Single Family Home sales statistics.

Condo Listings in June 2007: 279
Condo Listings in June 2008: 200
Decrease: 18.4%

Condo Listings Y.T.D. 2007: 1,772
Condo Listings Y.T.D. 2008: 1,154
Decrease: 35%

Condo Sales June 2007: 93
Condo Sales June 2008: 96
Increase: 3%

Condo Sales Y.T.D. 2007: 318
Condo Sales Y.T.D. 2008: 315
Decrease: 1%

Condo Avg. Days on Market June 2007: 75
Condo Avg. Days on Market June 2008: 89

Condo Avg. Days on Market Y.T.D. 2007: 83
Condo Avg. Days on Market Y.T.D. 2008: 85

Condo Median Sales Price June 2007: $158,000
Condo Median Sales Price June 2008: $140,000
Decrease: 21.4%

Condo Median Sales Price Y.T.D. 2007: $159,945
Condo Median Sales Price Y.T.D. 2008: $142,500
Decrease: 11%

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ann Arbor June 2008 Home Sales Statistics

The dramatically positive Ann Arbor home sales uptick we experienced in May did not carry over into June the way we had hoped. Yes, the number of listings continue to trend down from a year ago, which we continue to hope translates into price increases due to increased demand, but we are definitely not there yet. There is still plenty of inventory.

June 2008 sales were down by 2% compared to June 2007 after a 25% sales spike of May 2007 - May 2008 numbers. Year to date, residential sales, in units, are up 4%, and average sales price is down by over 9.5%.

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

SFH Listings in June 2007: 1,216
SFH Listings in June 2008: 808
Decrease: 33%

SFH Listings Y.T.D. 2007: 6,746
SFH Listings Y.T.D. 2008: 4,926
Decrease: 27%

SFH Sales June 2007: 364
SFH Sales June 2008: 357
Decrease: 2%

SFH Sales Y.T.D. 2007: 1,380
SFH Sales Y.T.D. 2008: 1,436
Increase: 4%

SFH Avg. Days on Market June 2007: 75
SFH Avg. Days on Market June 2008: 77

SFH Avg. Days on Market Y.T.D. 2007: 83
SFH Avg. Days on Market Y.T.D. 2008: 85

SFH Avg. Sales Price June 2007: $267,571
SFH Avg. Sales Price June 2008: $232,162
Decrease: 13.3%

SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2007: $246,269
SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2008: $223,082
Decrease: 9.5%

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Friday, July 4, 2008

3898 Mill Pond Ann Arbor Home for Sale

Gorgeous Home for Sale, MUST SEE!

You're Invited! Local Ann Arbor Real Estate Investors Group

This group has been created to help YOU learn about creating wealth by investing in real estate in the south east Michigan area. We take a long term, strategic, disciplined, and educational approach. It is NOT a get rich, find-and-flip group. Meet local Ann Arbor, Michigan area experts, seasoned investors, money people, vendors, and fellow Real Estate owners, buyers and investors. Come to this new, dynamic local Real Estate Buying & Investing group to:
1) Learn how to create successful investment strategies
2) Learn how to evaluate opportunities
3) Learn how to create and assemble your investment team,
4) Discuss Case Studies of successful and unsuccessful deals
5) Analyze properties currently on the market
6) Learn contract negotiation strategies
7) Learn about financing options
8) Anything else about land and realty.

We will discuss single family homes, duplexes, triplexes, quad-plexes, multi-family apartments, student rentals, vacant land, commercial, Limited Partnerships, foreclosures, and much, much more!
Our meetings will be informational, fact-filled, and valuable.
We ARE NOT selling "systems", subscriptions, books, CD's or other programs.
We will become a part of the National Real Estate Investors Association, the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce, as well as other local and national real estate organizations.
Come and check us out, you'll be glad you did!
Our next meeting is Tuesday, July 8, 2008 at 6:30PM at Real Estate One; 555 Briarwood Circle #333, Ann Arbor, MI
We'd love to have you come! If you'd like to join us, please RSVP to Brian Bundesen