Archive | July, 2011

Real Estate Reality: Buyers Judge A “Book” By Its Cover

26 Jul

Written by Rick Pridemore

Television programs about home “staging” have exploded in popularity recently.  So much so, that many people believe that home staging is a new concept.  Not so.  Professional real estate agents have known for a long time that a little “spit and polish” goes a long way in selling a home.  Let’s look at some of the most effective areas to spend your time and money.  To begin, the importance of a good first impression cannot be overstated.  If the buyer pulls up to your property and is turned off by a messy yard, overgrown landscaping, or peeling paint, they often won’t even spend the time to look at the interior.

The psychology of the buying decision causes the client to look for validation of their first impulse.  For instance, if they pull to your house and decide that they don’t like it, as they tour the inside of the home their subconscious mind will look for negative points to validate their initial dislike of the home.  As they walk through the home, they will be subconsciously thinking “The closets are tiny, too,” or “the kitchen won’t work, there’s no counter space.”  On the other hand, if they fell in love with the exterior, their internal dialogue would go something like this: “The closets are small, but an armoire would fit over there,” or “all the kitchen needs is an island.”   So put your best foot forward, and put them in the proper frame of mind:

  • Make sure that the lawn is always freshly mowed
  • Edge the lawn
  • Make sure that fresh mulch is laid in all of the flower beds
  • Fill planting areas with blooming flowers.
  • Clear the yard of toys, hoses, sprinklers, etc. 
  • Trim all bushes and trees.
  • Power wash the driveway, porch, and sidewalk
  • Make sure that the shingles look newer, if not new.
  • If the siding is painted, honestly evaluate whether it needs a fresh coat.
  • Clean all of the windows, inside and out.
  • Paint the front door
  • If the mailbox or address numbers are mounted on the front of the house, make sure they look new and attractive

Real Estate Lessons Learned: Borders

22 Jul

As many of you may have heard Michigan-born business Borders is slated to liquidate many of their stores after years of fighting fiscal turbulence. This announcement may be a surprise to some but a predictable outcome for many who have been watching the once booming giant over the past few years.

Many experts have suggested that the number of physical stores and lease durations have had a profound impact on Borders demise. With over $1 billion in lease obligations the company has simply expanded too soon. But what is left of the 500 plus stores that are slated to be chopped?

I am particularly interested in how this will impact job lost here in Michigan, and especially the implications it has for real estate values in locations it exists. The physical store has truly been a critical element in the survival of company and serves as a lifeline for the future yet also proposes challenges for the company’s sustainability. According to the most concrete example of this is when “the company admitted in late January that it had stopped making rental payments on some of its stores.” Nationally, a little over 10 Borders stores are listed for sale, most of which 20,000 square feet or more in size having a profound effect investor risk and consumer outlook.

Other factors to consider include the time and expense to the owner if a store like Borders leaves. Most owners have a level of uncertainty about their investment. Some experts believe that retailers are looking to expand their stores in soon-to-be empty spaces like Borders. The company has a reputation of being very disciplined about taking the best locations in the marketplace. That bodes well for landlords, and ultimately communities. It’s also part of the long history of the local company that became a national name.

This in my opinion has profound effects on in the residential real estate sector. Lost of jobs and the economic consequences of a huge company like Borders leaving, could have profound effect on former employees ability to live sustainable lives, which creates a unique challenge for many real estate professionals.

Many cite Circuit City as a case study. About 30,000 people lost their jobs as 567 stores closed. Many believe Borders can avoid creating economic unrest be revamping the company’s infrastructure.

What do you think? What will it take for Borders to survive?

Why Should I Join REIA of Oakland

14 Jul
REIA of Oakland is a non-profit organization serving real estate investors in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties since 1981. Click here to join REIA or renew your existing membership.

If you are currently a member and need to update your information, please click here.

Why should you join REIA?  

  • FREE ADMISSION – REIA of Oakland members enjoy free admission to our monthly seminars.  Over the course of a year, that’s a $240.00 value!
  • Professional Support – A REIA membership will make you part of a shared information network and provide you with volunteers in several fields that you may call. Among these many helpful members we have landlords, attorneys, lenders, and real estate professionals who are available to answer your brief questions.
  • Networking – REIA offers the perfect environment and opportunities for you to meet other real estate investors in Oakland County.  Share your experiences and learn from others who understand your problems.
  • Education – Your REIA membership will offer countless opportunities to learn more about real estate investing.  We offer monthly seminars covering topics such as finding properties, accounting/tax issues, real estate law, repairs, financing, purchasing, and sales. 
  • Stay Connected – Members also receive our monthly newsletter, dedicated to bringing you the news you need to know as a landlard or real estate investor.  Learn about local and national issues that concern you. 
  • Resources – Members of REIA may obtain brief legal counsel and CPA services over the phone and free of charge from experts in landlord/tenant matters.  Plus, members have access to BOCA rulings and specifications. 
  • REIA works for you – We are continually on the alert for the latest issues affecting landlords.  Our lobbyist in Lansing keeps us abreast of state issues affecting our membership, allowing us to work with the proper state and federal public officials on your behalf.  REIA takes a positive approach to improving laws regarding zoning, building codes, housing standards, and more.
  • Discounts – Members of REIA receive discounts from local and national suppliers, such as Home Depot, Sherwin-Williams, Nationwide Insurance, and Avis Car Rental, just to name a few.

Besides being a great place to meet and interact with other like minded Real Estate Investors, REIA of Oakland membership offers the following benefits! 

A Little Bit More About…REIA of Oakland

4 Jul

Happy 4th of July All!

Just thought it would be a great idea to tell you all about what we do and who we serve. REIA of Oakland services investors who own real estate in all of lower Michigan, and even some that own property in other states!  Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Livingston counties are the main focus of most of our members, but you are welcome to join no matter where you invest, as long as it’s real estate related.

 Many of our members are just thinking about getting into real estate investing and have joined REIA of Oakland to learn as much as they can BEFORE making mistakes.  Joining REIA of Oakland is a great way to learn the ropes and get sound advise when you are beginning your real estate investment career.