Friday, December 11, 2009

November 2009 Ann Arbor Home Sales Report

Here's the deal. The Nov. 30 deadline for the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit was a huge shot in the arm for residential Unit sales: An increase of 32% in unit sales over November 2008.

Another definite trend of note is the dramatic increase in the average sales price. It is still in negative territory over 2008, but shows a marked improvement in the last 90 days. The Year to date average sales price drop improved over the past 90 days by a whopping +13.8%. (From -17.8% in August to -15.5% in October; to -4% in November).

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 November 2008: 428
SFH Listings in November 2009: 346
Decrease: 28.4%

SFH Sales November 2008: 202
SFH Sales November 2009: 268
Increase: 32%

SFH Sales Year to Date 2008: 2,860
SFH Sales Year to Date 2009: 2,794
Decrease: 2.4%

SFH Avg. Sales Price November 2008: $183,738
SFH Avg. Sales Price November 2009: $176,543
Decrease: 4%

SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2008: $214,156
SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2009: $182,704
Decrease: 14.7%

Thursday, November 12, 2009

October 2009 Ann Arbor Home Sales Report

October 2009 comparative analysis shows an average sales price drop of 7.4% over October 2008. The Year to date average sales price drop improved over the past 60 days by +2.3%. (From -17.8% in August to -15.5% in October). Also notable in October is an 11.2% increase in unit sales over October 2008. This is primarily attributed to the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit. 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 October 2008: 655
SFH Listings in October 2009: 502
Decrease: 23.4%

SFH Sales October 2008: 249
SFH Sales October 2009: 277
Increase: 11.2%

SFH Sales Year to Date 2008: 2,648
SFH Sales Year to Date 2009: 2,524
Decrease: 4.7%

SFH Avg. Sales Price October 2008: $186,324
SFH Avg. Sales Price October 2009: $172,698
Decrease: 7.4%

SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2008: $216,833
SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2009: $183,426
Decrease: 15.5%

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Top 5 Home Improvement Projects Based on Cost & ROI, one of the first websites to offer Web-based free instant home values, announced that it has released the results of its nationwide home improvement and home staging Home Sale Maximizer survey.

HomeGain’s recent survey shows the top do-it-yourself home improvements that Realtors recommend to home sellers. HomeGain received responses from nearly 1,000 Realtors nationwide and configured a list of the top 12 do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvements that cost under $5,000 and benefit sellers most when they sell their homes.

According to the HomeGain survey, the top five home improvements that Realtors recommend to home sellers based on cost and return on investment (from highest to lowest ROI) are:

1. Cleaning and de-cluttering ($200 cost / $1,700 price increase / 872% ROI)
2. Home staging ($300 cost / $1,780 price increase / 586% ROI)
3. Lightening and brightening ($230 cost / $1,300 price increase / 572% ROI)
4. Landscaping ($320 cost / $1,500 price increase / 473% ROI)
5. Repairing plumbing ($385 cost / $1,250 price increase / 327% ROI)

Cleaning and de-cluttering continues to rank as the top suggested home improvement (since the survey was originally conducted in 2000), recommended by 98% of Realtors, costing less than $200 and returning a value of nearly $1,700 to the home’s sale price, or an 872% return on investment.

“Many Realtors agree, especially in a buyer’s market, that sellers who make these recommended home improvements often get their homes sold faster and at higher prices,” stated Louis Cammarosano, General Manager at HomeGain. “We have customized our Home Sale Maximizer online home improvement tool to help identify and prioritize the projects that can increase the salability and selling price of a home.”

Rounding out the top 12, the list of low cost, do-it-yourself home improvements includes: updating electrical, replacing or shampooing carpets, painting interior walls, repairing damaged floors, updating kitchen, painting outside of home, and updating bathroom/s.

The home improvement projects with the highest price increases to a home’s resale value are updating the kitchen ($1,200 cost / $2,850 price increase), followed by painting the outside of the home ($900 cost / $1,815 price increase) and home staging ($300 cost / $1,780 price increase).

For more information, visit

Monday, November 9, 2009

10 Cities Where Home Prices Are Improving

Ten cities with improving home sales market conditions from, sourcing the Schiller/ Case Price Index:

1) Minneapolis
2) San Francisco
3) Detroit
4) Chicago
5) Phoenix
6) San Diego
7) Los Angeles
8) Washington DC
9) Denver
10) Seattle

CLICK HERE for the full atricle.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ypsilanti City Wide Open House is Almost Here!

The City of Ypsilanti, MI, in partnership with Eastern Michigan University, Michigan State University Extension, SPARK East, local businesses and local Realtors are taking the traditional Open House concept to a new level, hosting the first City Wide Open House this Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009.

I'm excited to be a part of this. The event was organized by P.J. Moffett, one of my associates here at Real Estate One. This has been her brainchild for a couple of years, and she along with her team, have put in a lot of long hours to make this event a success. P.J. calls it: "A true demonstration of partnership. We will display Ypsilanti's finest in education, homes and community spirit."

Event goals are to raise awareness of what Ypsilanti has to offer new visitors, prospective university students, as well as prospective area home owners. The event is also designed to raise the city's visibility. Events scheduled throughout the 10AM to 2PM time period include:
  • Explore EMU: Eastern Michigan University's open house attracts potential high school and transfer students to visit EMU and meet with academic and admissions advisors, take a campus tour, and apply. Then, they can hop on a free shuttle to visit Downtown and Depot Town. Visit: for more info.
  • Open Houses: Stop by SPARK East, located at 215 W. Michigan Av to meet representatives from schools and neighborhoods, learn about incentives for house hunters, pick up maps of homes for sale. Visit: for full details.
  • Depot Town and Downtown: Discounts will be available to participants at the EMU Student Center and at the SPARK East location for restaurants, retail and other services in Downtown and Depot Town. Shuttle services will be available between the Student Center, SPARK East and Depot Town.
  • Video Competition: Enter the pre-event video contest and tell why you love Ypsi. Videos will be posted on a You Tube site for voting. Visit: for more information.

You're invited to check out this great town. If you're in the area, stop by. I'm hosting one of the Open Houses at 1208 N. Congress.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

September 2009 Ann Arbor Home Sales Report

September2009 comparative analysis shows an average sales price drop of just 2.9% over September 2008. This is an average sales price improvement of +7.5% over the prior month (August - August) comparison. The Year to date average sales price drop improved from -17.8% in August to -16.1% in September. Also notable in September is an 8.1% increase in unit sales over September 2008. 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 September 2008: 633
SFH Listings in September 2009: 533
Decrease: 15.8%

SFH Sales September 2008: 244
SFH Sales September 2009: 264
Increase: 8.1%

SFH Sales Year to Date 2008: 2,398
SFH Sales Year to Date 2009: 2,245
Decrease: 6.4%

SFH Avg. Sales Price September 2008: $188,774
SFH Avg. Sales Price September 2009: $183,344
Decrease: 2.9%

SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2008: $220.089
SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2009: $184,829
Decrease: 16.1%

Friday, October 9, 2009

Ann Arbor Homes For Sale Hotsheet: Week of 10/02 - 10/09/2009

31 homes have come on the market in the immediate Ann Arbor area in the past week. On the high end is a 4 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath newly renovated 3475 foot Energy Star home in the Angell School district listed at $875K, or almost $252 per square foot. On the other end of the spectrum is a 3 bedroom 1 1/2 bath, 975 square foot ranch, listed at Short Sale at $89K, or $92.20/ sq. ft..

There are a total of 637 active listings in Ann Arbor, which is up 3.7% over the same time last year. There are a total of 31 homes on the market at $1 million or above. The high is a 15,000 square foot home listed at $2,990,000. The average listing is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2368 square foot home, which is on the market at $412,982, or $164.17/ sq. ft. This is up by 1% over the October 2008 Average List Price of $408,891.

Our Real Estate One First to Know program can make you an area Real Estate Insider. By signing up with our program, you can be emailed detailed information on new homes that meet your search criteria, the minute they hit the market. Real Estate One has all listings throughout the state of Michigan, not only in Ann Arbor. If you would like more information on First To Know, please visit, or contact me for more details.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ann Arbor Listing Inventory: October 2009

Let's kick-off October with a new regular post regarding home inventory for Ann Arbor, Michigan. A quick look at our MLS shows a total of 542 Active Listings in the immediate Ann Arbor area. The listings range from a 702 Square foot, 2 BR, 1 BA home on the market for $39,900 to a 7 Bedroom; 7 Bathroom 15,000 Square Foot home on the market for $2,990,000. The 542 listings average out as 3 bedrooms; 2 bathrooms, 2434 square feet at a list price of $437,235, or $169.62 per square foot.

The 542 Listings break down by price as follows:

Up to $100K = 13 listings
$101K - $200K = 139 listings
$201K - $300K = 135 listings
$301K - $400K = 61 listings
$401K and up = 194 listings

If you have any interest in learning more about any of these listings, please feel free to drop me a note or give me a call.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ann Arbor Area MLS Now Searchable by Foreclosure, Short Sale, etc.

Better late than never. The Ann Arbor Area Multiple Listing Service database is now, finally, searchable by the data fields of Short Sale, Private Owned, Bank Owned, and Government Owned. For the first time, prospective buyers can set their search parameters based on the ownership status of the property. Prior to today, it was pretty difficult and cumbersome for buyers and their agents to easily determine the ownership staus of a house without sorting through listings individually for identifiers within the 'remarks' section of the listings.
Agents are now required to enter the ownership staus as they input the data when they take new listings. This should prove interesting in some circumstances. For example, one Asset Management company that I work with makes it very clear that they do not want their listings identified, advertised, or promoted as Bank Owned. Now that this is a local Board of Realtors requirement, it should make for an interesting discussion.

Friday, September 11, 2009

August 2009 Ann Arbor Home Sales Report

August 2009 comparative analysis shows an average sales price drop of 9.4% over August 2008, bringing the Year to date average sales price drop to 17.8%. 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 August 2008: 677
SFH Listings in August 2009: 528
Decrease: 22.1%

SFH Sales August 2008: 343
SFH Sales August 2009: 282
Decrease: 17.8%

SFH Sales Year to Date 2008: 2,141
SFH Sales Year to Date 2009: 1,976
Decrease: 7.8%

SFH Avg. Sales Price August 2008: $218,626
SFH Avg. Sales Price August 2009: $198,121
Decrease: 9.4%

SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2008: $224,287
SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2009: $185,028
Decrease: 17.6%

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

You're Invited to Join the Washtenaw Real Estate Investors Group

You're invited to join, learn, and get all your questions answered about investment properties in and around Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Our group, the Washtenaw Real Estate Investors, has been meeting for more than a year, and is now 46 members strong, and growing! At our monthly MeetUps we learn about market conditions, successful strategies, hear from interesting Guest Speakers, discuss opportunities, and share experiences. We're meeting next Tuesday, and you're invited to join us.

We're planning a full agenda for next Tuesday's MeetUp. Here's a quick overview of who we are:

First, our approach is to seek out, learn from, and implement successful investing strategies from other successful investors. Our groups "Bible" is the book: 'The Millionaire Real Estate Investor' by Gary Keller. You will get the most value out of this group if you purchase and read a copy of this book.

Second, once we have an overview of a successful Real Estate Investing career, we implement one of Steven Covey's 7 habits by Beginning With The End in Mind, and creating our own, individual written Business Plans. Skeleton Templates were provided at our last MeetUp and will be made available to new members and those who attend our MeetUp's in person. Each member has their own Real Estate 'Success Book' in the form of a 3-ring Binder, filled with the information and discussions from each MeetUp.

Third, moving forward, we will be discussing other valuable books, which are more specific in focus than the Keller book. The next book we will read and discuss will be: "Investing in Duplexes, Triplexes, and Quads" by Larry Loftis.. You can purchase a copy on Amazon for about $11.

Fourth, we have been very fortunate to have had a series of knowledgeable Guest Speakers who have shared valuable information with us over the past several months. We are grateful for their contribution, and are working to get more Guest Speakers for our group in the future.

Finally, I'm very excited that I have in development, a proprietary WREI Investment Analysis Software Program. My plan is to have this available by November.

We have a dynamic group of 46 members who are committed to learning, encouraging and helping each other have successful real estate investment careers.

Please check out our groups website, and make plans to attend next Tuesday's MeetUp.

Thanks again, and I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, 9/15/2009.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Live in the Moment and Be Thankful

Unemployment numbers are distressing. We all know family and friends impacted by the economy. Perhaps our own businesses have been negatively impacted by the economy. It would be easy to wallow in the bad news, and lose track of the good news. Today's message is an encouragement to turn all the bad news 180 degrees into good news by completing the following exercise:

Begin your day by writing down or saying aloud: "I thank you Lord, for . . . " filling in the blank with 25 or 30 specific things, great and small, for which you are grateful.

Encourage your spouse and children to join in this. Express thanks for the food you are eating, your health, the clothes you are wearing, the school you're attending, and for your business. Express thanks for family, friends, teachers, colleagues, clients, customers and neighbors. Give thanks for fire departments, police departments, our military. Give thanks for church leaders and political leaders (yes, them too).

Once you boldly make these expressions of thanks out loud, you will have established the mind-set of being in the moment of today with immense gratitude, and will help build up in you the resilience t handle any obstacles that you encounter during the day. When you are armed with your arsenal of thanks, any problems you encounter are just little annoying bugs on the windshield of life.

Make it a GREAT day, and a GREAT week!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Time is Running Out for First Time Home Buyer Credit

The $8,000 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit expires November 30, 2009. In order to claim the tax credit, the IRS requires that you've closed on or before that date. December 1, 2009 is too late.

But that doesn't mean that first-time home buyers should target November 30, 2009 as a closing date. In fact, there may not be a worse day in 2009 on which to try to close on a home. The optimal time is during the week of November 16, 2009 and the earlier in the week, the better.

To understand why, let's start with the fact the home sales volume is through the roof, and then we'll look at a calendar.

New Home Sales data and Existing Home Sales data has been unexpectedly strong and first-time buyers account for nearly 1/3 of all transactions. Furthermore, the Pending Home Sales reports tell us sales volume is still growing.

It's reasonable to infer, therefore, with home prices still low and with mortgage rates still down, buyer interest will stay strong all the way through the November 30, 2009 deadline -- especially as trade groups trumpet "The End Of The Incentive". There will be a mini-panic as everyone tries to close in time to claim their $8,000.

This is when it starts to get messy. Check out the calendar.
November 30, 2009 is the Monday after Thanksgiving Weekend.
November 28-29, 2009 is a weekend. No closings on weekends.
November 27, 2009 is the Friday after Thanksgiving -- an unofficial holiday.
November 26, 2009 is Thanksgiving -- an actual holiday. No closings.
November 25, 2009 is the day before Thanksgiving -- a national "half-day".
So, that backs up the November 30, 2009 first-time home buyer tax credit deadline by 6 days to November 24, 2009 -- a Tuesday.

Also, closing on Tuesday, November 24, 2009 is a bad idea. You're going to want a cushion between the "the problem" and "the deadline".

Maybe it will be a problem on your final walk-through, or with your mortgage loan documents. But as the buyer of a home -- the largest purchase you've made in your life to-date -- the last thing you're going to want is to feel pressured into signing your paperwork because of worries over an $8,000 tax credit.

Therefore, don't mess. Schedule your closing for the week of November 16, 2009, instead. That way you'll have plenty of time to work through whatever needs to be worked out in connection with your home and your home loan. With a closing set for the 16th, you'll meet your tax credit deadline with plenty of time to spare.

That said, the clock is winding down. If you haven't started your home search yet or aren't under contract, it's seriously time to get cracking. Purchase closings come 60-day default. Sometimes, you can negotiate them down to 45 days or 30 days, but, for the most part, 60 days is the standard-- especially if you're buying a short sale.

Counting backwards from November 16, therefore, renders September 17, 2009 the last day to go under contract and be sure of collecting that $8,000 tax credit.
It's a scant 24 days from now.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

July 2009 Ann Arbor Area Home Sales Report

July 2009 comparative analysis shows an average sales price drop of more than 15% over July 2008, bringing the Year to date average sales price drop to 19% over the same time period in 2008. 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 July 2008: 791
SFH Listings in July 2009: 622
Decrease: 21.4%

SFH Sales July 2008: 349
SFH Sales July 2009: 330
Decrease: 5.5%

SFH Sales Year to Date 2008: 1,794
SFH Sales Year to Date 2009: 1,688
Decrease: 6.0%

SFH Avg. Sales Price July 2008: $236,209
SFH Avg. Sales Price July 2009: $199,973
Decrease: 15.4%

SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2008: $225,447
SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2009: $182,832
Decrease: 19%

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ann Arbor Area Homes Under $100K

A quick search of the Ann Arbor area MLS shows 147 homes for sale in Washtenaw County for less than $100K. The bulk are in the Ypsilanti area, and 12 of them are in Ann Arbor. It feels as though I've been in all 147 in the past few weeks, but I've really only been in 25 - 35 of them. 90% of the ones I was in were either Short Sales or foreclosures. While the conditions of the houses I saw ran the gamut, overall conditions were very, very bad. I'd estimate that repairs needed on most of these homes range from $20K to $60K. Quite eye opening. Especially in the foreclosures, I've seen pristine condition to totally trashed. It's very sad to envision the situation of the displaced homeowner when you see such things as ripped out fixtures, punched out and kicked drywall, and other conditions I will leave to your imagination. Still lots of opportunity for first time home buyers and investors.

A quick reminder to First Time Buyers: The $8,000 Credit expires on December 1, 2009. Realistically, you would need to have a sales contract in place by October 15 to leave yourself enough time to comfortably work through the closing process. That leaves you under 90 days from today to find your home.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ann Arbor Home Sales Market Report: June 2009

Well, one month does not a trend make. After last months good news of a comparative increase in average sales price of almost 9%, June 2009 comparative analysis shows a dip back into negative territory at a (4.7%) and a Y.T.D. (2008 vs. 2009) average sales price drop of just over 20%.

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 2008: 808
SFH Listings in May 2009: 678
Decrease: 16.1%

SFH Sales June 2008: 357
SFH Sales June 2009: 346
Decrease: 3.1%

SFH Sales Year to Date 2008: 1,436
SFH Sales Year to Date 2009: 1,350
Decrease: 6.0%

SFH Avg. Sales Price June 2008: $232,162
SFH Avg. Sales Price June 2009: $206,738
Decrease: 4.7%

SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2008: $223,082
SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2009: $178,431
Decrease: 20.1%

Friday, July 3, 2009

Market Upturn + Appraisal Process = Catch-22

So we've all grown up believing that in a free and open marketplace, an item or product is "worth" what someone is willing to pay for it.

Not so, it seems, when it comes to residential real estate when a declining market takes an upturn. In the Ann Arbor real estate market, we experienced a distinct market upturn in May, with the average sales price rising by almost 9%, the first time the average sales price has risen in more than a couple of years. The June market statistics will not be published for another week or so, but all indicators point to another positive month. Now, two months do not a trend make, but signs are strong that the residential real estate market (at least in Ann Arbor) has hit bottom, and is on the rebound up.

The local market has been really popping over the past 8 - 10 weeks. Personally, I have been involved in several multi-offer situations, with a few offers the first day homes hit the market at over asking price. Several other agents in my office report similar activity, and several other cooperating agents from other offices are scratching their collective heads at the pleasant spike in showings, offers, and multiple-offers. Given this great upsurge, you would think everyone would be happy.

Not so fast. Once a sales price is agreed upon, the purchasers Mortgage Company sends out an Appraiser to assess the value of the home. In the past, this was typically a 'rubber-stamp' approval of the agreed upon purchase price, especially with the Mortgage Broker sending an Appraiser of his or her own choosing.

The recent market melt-down has turned this process into a quagmire of red-tape, unbelievably ridiculous requirements and regulations, and irrelevant standards being imposed which all result in a homes "worth" being decided by a third party. I do not know of any other transaction where a third party can effectively kill a deal between a willing seller and a willing buyer. This would be like agreeing to purchase a car, and the Finance company telling the buyer and seller that the car is not worth what they have agreed to.

At a recent office meeting, several of my associates have said that they have had appraisals come in at $10,000, $20,000, $40,000, and even $100,000 below the agreed upon sales price!

It works this way: When an Appraiser is called in, they must base their appraisal on recent comparable sales (Comps). Some underwriters have tightened the parameters so tightly, that it gives an unrealistic picture of the market, and actually serves to perpetuate a declining market. The Appraiser must only use sales within the past 90 - 120 days, within a tight geographic area. In the past, they were not allowed to use foreclosures and Short Sales as Comps, but do now. Using these sales as comparables dramatically decreases the "worth" of the subject property.

In addition, Appraisers now must be chosen by lenders on a 'blind draw' which means that quite often, the Appraiser is from out of the area, and is not attuned to the local market.

Bottom line: The Appraisers say they can't appraise at a higher price until the comparables are higher, yet there is no way the comparables get higher until Appraisers appraise higher. Hence the Catch-22. We are told to wait until the market "Sorts itself out." In the meantime, willing sellers can't sell, and willing buyers can't buy because of the unrealistic regulations imposed by the Mortgage Industry. The very same Mortgage Industry that got us in this mess in the first place!

Fun things to do in and around Ann Arbor...

July is just chock full of great things to do in and around Ann Arbor. This list of events was originally published by my friends over at Ann Arbor SPARK, but are worth sharing here:

Final weekend through July 5
Ann Arbor Summer Festival, 7 - 11pm
Free music and free movies. Movies at 10pm (Sunday-Thursday) and at 10:30pm on Fridays.
Location: Ingalls Mall at Washington, Ann Arbor

July 4
Ann Arbor Jaycee's 4th of July Parade, S State at E William, Ann Arbor, 10am
The Ann Arbor Jaycees are proud to host the 19th Annual Ann Arbor Fourth of July Parade. The parade starts at 10:00 am, on Saturday, July 4, 2009. Bike decorating contest at 8am.
Location: South State at East William

Now through Aug 22
"Wake" - a World Premiere Comedy by Carey Crim at the Purple Rose Theatre, Chelsea
Agoraphobic mortician Molly Harrison must realize what is truly important in her life before the power of love can finally inspire her to embrace the world again. Recommended for ages 12 and up. Directed by Guy Sanville.

July 9 - 11
Saline Celtic Festival at Mill Pond Park, Saline
Music, dancing, outdoor markets and much more!

July 9 - 12
Ann Arbor Jaycees - 58th Annual Carnival at Pioneer High School, Ann Arbor
Location: 601 W Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor

July 13
Townie Street (Pre Art Fair) Party, 5 - 9:30pm, Ann Arbor, Free Admission
Come party with the locals to kick off art fair week. Live music, children's art fair, and more!
Location: North University between Thayer and Fletcher
Parking: Free parking is available at bagged meters on Fletcher, State, and Liberty. Paid visitor parking available at UM Thayer and Palmer Parking Decks.

July 13 and on
Learn to Row with the Ann Arbor Rowing Club
Classes begin on July 13

July 15 - 18
Ann Arbor Art Fairs
Ann Arbor Street Art Fair (AASAF)* -

July 16
56th Annual Manchester Chicken Broil, 4-8pm

July 31 and Aug 1
8th Annual Riverfolk Music and Arts Festival, Carr Park, Manchester MI

Outdoor Recreation
Delhi Metropark (on the Huron River): Metropark Information
Canoe Rentals, swimming pools

Music / Concert Sources
The Ark, Ann Arbor -
The Firefly Club, Ann Arbor -
The Ypsilanti Symphony -
University Musical Society -
General Music Events, Ypsilanti -

Resource and Entertainment Guides

Ann Arbor's Home on the Web - Ultimate City Guide

Ann Arbor Attractions
News, Attractions, Maps, Hotels, Jobs, Travel, History, Real Estate

Ann Arbor Area
Links to Parks, Sports, Recreation, Hobbies and Clubs

Detroit's Festivals and Fairs

State of Michigan Events
Plan your next trip using this event calendar - exhibits, shows and more

Michigan Art Show Directory

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Freecycle Ann Arbor is Very Cool

The amazing worldwide phenomenon known as Freecycle(TM) started in Tucson, Arizona in 2003 by Deron Beal. Freecycle harnesses the power of the Internet to connect people who have stuff to throw away with others in their area who would like that stuff, so it doesn't wind up in a landfill. We ALL have things in our garages, closets, attics, offices, etc., that we don't need. Freecycle lets you find someone who does. No item is too big or too small but ALL must be 100% FREE with NO strings attached. A perfect consumer/earth friendly circle is no overhead, no money, no waste and no catch. After all, there is no point in throwing something away when it still has good life in it or it can be of use to someone else. And you know what they say - The only difference between a yard sale and trash is proximity to the curb. So, get that good stuff off the curb and share it with your community instead!

Post offers for all the good stuff you don't need anymore... furniture, appliances, toys, clothes, lawnmowers, car parts, etc. If it's still good, then someone probably could use it.

If you are new to Yahoo Groups and don't have a Yahoo profile yet, please go to and set one up ASAP. You do NOT have to put your full name and info on the profile but you should have one to access mail delivery options, view the pictures in the photo album, participate in polls, and do all that other good stuff. It only takes a few minutes to complete, so just do it already. You'll be glad you did!

*To post via the web page, go to

Monday, June 29, 2009

Brian's Summer Reading Bookshelf

Summer's here, and if you're planning to take some time off over the next several weeks to recharge your batteries, you are encouraged to read some books that will energize you, and cause you to take action towards achieving your BHAG's. Remember: The difference between the person you are today and the person you will be in 5 years is based on the people you meet and the books you read.

Here are some of my recommendations:

Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

The 29% Solution by Dr. Ivan Misner

The Little Teal Book of Trust by Jeffrey Gitomer

Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life by Larry Winget

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Dare to Win by Mark Hansen

Never Give Up by Joyce Meyer

10-10-10 by Suzy Welch

Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins

People are Idiots and I Can Prove It by Larry Winget

Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen

Make it a GREAT Day & GREAT week!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ann Arbor Single Family Home Sales Report: May 2009

The good news for this month, and a new, positive trend year to date is (finally) in the category of average sales price for Single Family Homes in the Ann Arbor area.
Average sales prices for May 2009 were up by 8.7% over May 2008.

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 May 2008: 886
SFH Listings in May 2009: 696
Decrease: 21.5%

SFH Sales May 2008: 303
SFH Sales May 2009: 233
Decrease: 23.2%

SFH Sales Year to Date 2009: 1,001
SFH Sales Year to Date 2008: 1,074

SFH Avg. Sales Price May 2008: $217,849
SFH Avg. Sales Price May 2009: $236,897
Increase: 8.7%

SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2008: $216,882
SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2009: $170,973
Decrease: 21.2%

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ann Arbor Home Sales Report: April 2009

A spiked increase in Ann Arbor Single Family Home sales (in units)of 13.5% in the month of April 2009 (over April 2008), has been cause for optimism in the local market. However, average sales price continues to decline, year over year.

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 April 2008: 872
SFH Listings in April 2009: 663
Decrease: 24%

SFH Sales April 2008: 229
SFH Sales April 2009: 260
Increase: 13.5%

SFH Sales Year to Date 2009: 766
SFH Sales Year to Date 2008: 767

SFH Avg. Sales Price April 2008: $222,798
SFH Avg. Sales Price April 2009: $145,611
Decrease: 34.7%

SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2008: $217,631
SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2009: $151,111
Decrease: 30.6%

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Finally, Some Real Estate News Worth Blogging About

A tip of the cap goes to reporter Paula Gardner of the Michigan Business Review and her article yesterday about the encouraging turn-around in Ann Arbor Real Estate for the month of April 2009.

With the average home sales price in virtual free-fall for the past 2 years plus, many buyers understandably had stayed on the sidelines. On the front lines in Ann Arbor in the past 8 weeks or so, it feels as if this log-jam has broken, and buyers have taken the plunge. Many local brokers and agents are reporting a huge spike in sales, with multiple offers on many properties, and homes selling within days of coming on the market. Within the past few weeks, we sold one of our listings the first day it was on the market, worked with one buyer who made an offer on another home the first day it was on the market, and worked with another buyer who missed out on a house that sold the first day it was on the market.

We know that this time of year is always the peak of the annual market, but we are certainly happy to see it here, and see that buyers have plunged in and have heeded the message that now is a great time to buy, and that they will never be able to actually time the bottom of the market.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ann Arbor Real Estate Sales Report: March 2009

Ann Arbor Single Family Home average sales prices in March 2009 dropped by 25.9% from March 2008, and have dropped by 28.4% year to date.

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 March 2008: 815
SFH Listings in March 2009: 707
Decrease: 13.4%

SFH Sales March 2008: 219
SFH Sales March 2009: 209
Decrease: 4.6%

SFH Sales Year to Date 2009: 505
SFH Sales Year to Date 2008: 534

SFH Avg. Sales Price March 2009: $150,263
SFH Avg. Sales Price March 2008: $202,569
Decrease: 25.9%

SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2008: $214,911
SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2009: $154,015
Decrease: 28.4%

6 Questions Foreclosure Buyers Should Ask

Purchasing a Foreclosure or Short Sale is a completely different animal from a traditional home sale. RealtyTrac and Realtor Magazine have published a list of six great questions you should ask if you are contemplating the purchase of a forecloure property.

1) Is now a good time to buy a foreclosure?

This is a very common question from both real estate professionals and prospective buyers. Obviously, because local market conditions vary, the answer is different from market to market. But there are questions that buyers in any market should be asking before they make an offer on a property in foreclosure.

2) What’s the first step buyers need to take?

Require buyers you work with to be preapproved for a loan before you help them shop for a foreclosure. If they’re thinking of buying a foreclosure as an investment or second home, they need to understand that financing the home will be more difficult and more expensive than financing a primary residence. Lenders typically charge higher interest rates and require a larger down payment for investment or second homes.

3) How can you tell a bad foreclosure from a good one?

Certainly there are great deals in many markets for both investors and buyers looking for a primary residence. But making a sound deal can be tricky. Buyers need to be wary of unpaid liens, including mortgage debt, taxes, construction loans, home equity lines of credit, and possibly a second or third mortgage. Any or all of these financial obligations could become your clients’ responsibility when they purchase a property in foreclosure. Unless the property goes through a foreclosure auction and becomes a bank-owned REO, the outstanding foreclosure liens and fees could be simply transferred to the new owner—your clients. Don’t let them fall into the same financial trap as the previous owner.

4) If I’m a qualifying borrower, can I appeal to banks for better loan terms?

Lenders are drowning in defaults—particularly in hard-hit real estate markets such as Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, and Ohio—so they may be motivated to cut a deal. If your clients have a good credit score, many banks will offer them a below-market-rate loan on a bank-owned home. Unlike paying down with points, this doesn’t cost anything in fees, and it gives them the ability to spend more for the home.

5) What are the costs of buying a foreclosure?

It takes money to make money. The best opportunities are for buyers with cash. If your clients are planning to rent out the property or even resell it for a quick profit, make sure they consider the carrying costs, including sales commissions, marketing costs, vacancies, taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs. Once you’ve calculated all the expenses, add on another 10 percent to 15 percent. If they don’t build in a "surprise fund," your clients might be the next foreclosure statistic.

6) How does choice of neighborhood affect foreclosure investments?

Clients looking for a good investment should generally avoid neighborhoods overrun with foreclosures, particularly newer subdivisions in overbuilt exurban areas. Investors will be tempted to buy foreclosures in these areas because they offer the steepest discounts—but they also carry the most risk of further depreciation. Look in well established neighborhoods with good schools and transportation. If you’re in a market where prices are still falling, encourage your clients to factor falling prices into any offer they submit on a foreclosed property.

Source: James J. Saccacio is chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, a Web site that tracks properties in foreclosure.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Potential Legal Issues in Short Sales

Short Sales are a quagmire of potential problems that do not exist in a traditional real estate transaction. If you are in the unfortunate situation of being involved in a Short Sale, you and your agent must be aware of the legal risks that exist. These include.

1. Misrepresenting tax consequences
2. Misrepresenting how secondary debt is treated
3. Acting on inappropriate lender requests for seller contributions
4. Breaching fiduciary duty
5. Providing poor oversight of a loss mitigation company
6. Lacing the required license to undertake loss mitigation
7. Facilitating transactions not listed on the HUD-1 form

Please get the advice and counseling of professionals should you get involved with a Short Sale.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What Will Make the Real Estate Market Turn?

The most common questions we are asked are: "When will the Ann Arbor Real Estate market turn?" or "What will it take for the market to turn?"

I have come across a great explanation of what it will take, recently published in a real estate industry newsletter called Keeping Current Matters

In order for the real estate market to come back in a powerful way, five conditions must be met. Those are:

1. Increased buyer confidence in their jobs and income levels
2. Ease of housing price declines to market stability
3. Affordable housing in relation to household income
4. Access to mortgage financing with low interest rates
5. Ability to sell one's own home in order to move into a new one

Two of these conditions are in effect right now-- affordable housing in relation to household income and access to mortgage financing with low interest rates. The other three have not yet been accomplished. The market will turn around when all five forces combined can drive the rebound.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ann Arbor Residential Home Sales Report: Feb. 2009

Ann Arbor Single Family Home average sales prices in February 2009 dropped by 27.1% from February 2008, and have dropped by 29.5% year to date.

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 February 2008: 730
SFH Listings in February 2009: 514
Decrease: 29.6%

SFH Sales February 2008: 173
SFH Sales February 2009: 135
Decrease: 22%

SFH Sales Year to Date 2009: 288
SFH Sales Year to Date 2008: 315

SFH Avg. Sales Price Feb. 2008: $224,864
SFH Avg. Sales Price Jan. 2009: $164,106
Decrease: 27.1%

SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2008: $223,491
SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2009: $157,673
Decrease: 29.5%

Saturday, February 28, 2009

FREE First Time Homebuyer Seminar This Tuesday

The market has dramatically changed in recent months, and all indications are that there will be more dramatic changes in the next 90 days. Come to this FREE, No obligation 45 minute Seminar to learn:

--Current market conditions in Washtenaw County, Michigan.
--Short Sales, Foreclosures, and private party sales. Similarities and KEY differences
--Explore financing options.
--Learn the 5 Key thinks that professional home inspectors look for.
--Much, much more

The Bundesen Team at Real Estate One has been teaching First-Time Home Buyer Seminars for more than three (3) years, and we are launching our all new series for 2009.

Our Seminars are fast-paced, fact-filled, and give you a look at what goes on 'in the trenches' of today's Ann Arbor area real estate market.

This is an hour well spent. You will definitely learn something you didn't know before.

FREE! FREE FREE! No Cost, No Obligation, and you don't need to be pre-qualified by a Lender to attend.

Seminar will be Tuesday, March 3 at 7:00PM to 8:00PM
Real Estate One
555 Briarwood Circle #333

CLICK HERE for additional details

Thursday, February 12, 2009

January 2009 SFH Sales Report Ann Arbor, Michgan

Ann Arbor Single Family Home average sales prices in January 2009 dropped by 31.8% from January 2008, and have dropped by 21.5% from December 2008.

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 January 2008: 818
SFH Listings in January 2009: 615
Decrease: 24.9%

SFH Sales January 2008: 142
SFH Sales January 2009: 152
Increase: 0.07%

SFH Avg. Sales Price Jan. 2008: $224,831
SFH Avg. Sales Price Jan. 2009: $153,486
Decrease: 31.8%

SFH Avg. Sales Price Dec. 2008: $173,343
Dec - Jan Decrease: 21.5%

Monday, February 9, 2009

Appealing Property Taxes: What an Oxymoron!

There's nothing appealing about your property tax bill, which is in the mail very shortly. To most of us, it is a mystery how they are calculated. In today's Ann Arbor Real Estate market, one of the most common questions centers on the idea that if the market value of a home goes down, doesn't it naturally follow that your property tax bill will also automatically go down? Not so fast Kemosabe. Once that high water mark of your tax bill is achieved, it is quite a quagmire to sort through the bureaucratic noise and learn exactly how you would go about getting your property tax bill lowered.

The Bundesen Team at Real Estate One and The Washtenaw Real Estate Investors Group is proud to be sponsoring a brief 30 minute overview about the process of appealing your property taxes. Michigan Tax Tribunal Judge Victoria Enyart will cover the market and taxable values in Michigan as well as the appeal process up to and through the Michigan Tax Tribunal.

What: Appealing Your Ann Arbor Property Taxes
When: Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009 at 6:30 - 7:00PM
Where: Real Estate One: 555 Briarwood Circle #333
Who is Presenting: Judge Victoria Enyart, of the Michigan Tax Tribunal
Cost: FREE

Sunday, January 25, 2009

You're Invited to a Very Special Presentation from the MML.

If you refuse to participate in this recession, and have made the commitment to keep and grow your business in Michigan, this presentation is for you.

Rob Ferrari of the Michigan Municipal League will join us for a Special Hour of Power, where he will outline what is being done on a local level to grow Michigans economy.

The MML is VERY interested in the efforts that Local Entrepreneurs (like us) make to help the local and state economies.

The Michigan Municipal League is the one clear voice for Michigan communities. Through advocacy at the state and federal level, they proactively represent municipalities to help them sustain highly livable, desirable, and unique places within the state. We create and offer our members services and events that range from traditional to cutting edge, in order to help educate and inspire them to remain focused on their passion for the area they represent. They are a non-profit. They act with the fervor of entrepreneurs. Their people are dynamic, energetic and highly approachable, passionately and aggressively pushing change for better communities.

PLEASE RSVP if you would like to attend. Seating is limited. We look forward to seeing you on the 5th.

Michigan Municipal League Presentation
Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009 6PM
Huron Valley Financial
2395 Oak Valley Dr. #200
Ann Arbor, MI

This event is Sponsored by:
Huron Valley Financial
The Bundesen Team at Real Estate One
A2 Biz Insights Professional Development
Ann Arbor Power Network
Washtenaw Real Estate Investors

Thursday, January 15, 2009

. . .and another thing about your homes value

If you're contemplating placing your home on the market this year, and think that remodeling projects will increase it's value, please study carefully the table.

A scant two to three years ago, it was well worth the expense at completing rehab projects, but as house values have shrunk, so have the returns on remodeling jobs when it comes time to sell. This table outlines which projects bring the best return.


Percent of Cost Recouped

Percentage Drop Since 2005

Replace Siding



Minor Kitchen Remodel



Window Replacement



Major Kitchen Remodel



Bathroom Remodel



Deck Addition



Monday, January 12, 2009

5,000 New Jobs in the next 2 Years Predicted in Washtenaw County

In its annual economic report, the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations of the University of Michigan, reported that the positive momentum from Washtenaw’s knowledge-based and health-related sectors dominate, providing for a gain of 2,000 jobs in 2009 and 3,000 in 2010.

Economically, the community has held on to jobs because of its diversity.Two quotes from the report:

“It is a tribute to the underlying resiliency of the Washtenaw County [where Ann Arbor lies] economy that the job hit overall was not much harder. One sector that has come to the rescue in these times is health care, both private and public."

"Ann Arbor's promise is rooted in its endowments of a world-class research university and a well-educated populace. The region does have to weather its immediate problems, but it does not have to change its essence to thrive in the economy of the future. Washtenaw County is already out front on this."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

December 2008 Ann Arbor Home Sales Report

It's not a pretty picture. Ann Arbor Single Family Home average sales prices are down by almost 30% from November 2007, and the Year To Date comparison shows 15.6% average sales price decline, or 1.3% per month.

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 December 2007: 442
SFH Listings in December 2008: 409
Decrease: 7.5%

SFH Listings Y.T.D. 2007: 11,131
SFH Listings Y.T.D. 2008: 8,529
Decrease: 23.4%

SFH Sales December 2007: 224
SFH Sales November 2008: 216
Decrease: 3.6%

SFH Sales Y.T.D. 2007: 3,062
SFH Sales Y.T.D. 2008: 3,082
Increase: 0.006%

SFH Avg. Days on Market Dec. 2007: 81
SFH Avg. Days on Market Dec. 2008: 73

SFH Avg. Days on Market Y.T.D. 2007: 77
SFH Avg. Days on Market Y.T.D. 2008: 80

SFH Avg. Sales Price Dec. 2007: $244,897
SFH Avg. Sales Price Nov. 2008: $173,343
Decrease: 29.3%

SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2007: $250,286
SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2008: $211,342
Decrease: 15.6%