Tag Archives: real estate investing

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

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! 

What the New Michigan Tax Law Might Mean for the States Real Estate Market

16 Jun

Governor Snyder’s changes to Michigan’s tax system are now the law. Supporters of the new law like, Business Leaders of

Rick Snyder

Michigan President and CEO, Doug Rothwell, said in a news release that “with simpler, fairer tax structure, Michigan can be more competitive and, as a result grow jobs.” The Legislature passed the bills at the end of May this year. As first reported by Crain’s Business Detroit,  the legislation enacted a business-tax cut of about $1.7 billion, ending the Michigan Business Tax and replacing it with a 6 percent income tax on “C” corporations. All other business entities — such as sole proprietorships, limited-liability companies and other individually owned businesses — would pay only individual income tax. Those entities currently pay both MBT and individual income taxes.

So, what might this news also mean for the Real Estate market and property investors here in Michigan?

Building for lease on Washington St, Royal Oak, MI

As those in the Real Estate world know, when companies grow in employee size and increase their revenues through cost savings they often times grow into larger business spaces as well. So the Real Estate hopefuls in Michigan may benefit by keeping a close watch on the many existing, available commercial spaces that may start to fill over the course of the next year, as the new Michigan tax law begins paying off for business owners.

According to large real estate search sites like cityfeet.com, there are currently over 4,600 commercial properties for lease or sale in Oakland County, Michigan alone.

Sources:

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20110525/FREE/110529937/snyders-changes-to-michigans-tax-system-now-are-the-law#

http://www.cityfeet.com/Commercial/Search/

Measuring the Value of Eco-friendly Property Rehabs

12 Jun

There is a growing school of thought on the value of rehabbing properties to make them more eco-friendly and sustainable. Rehabbing a property to meet some of the latest green/eco friendly standards may help give property owners a great primary selling point. In addition, green rehab projects may also help stimulate new pockets of real estate growth and help communities come together for common eco-friendly causes within cities that are in need of revitalization.


Initially, the rehab costs associated with eco-friendly materials are higher than standard materials used but they also give owners the ability to ask more on resale, from the increasing numbers of buyers that are becoming interested in eco-friendly properties that are both environmentally friendly and healthy to live in. With a growing number of properties on the market it might not be a bad idea to have unique, environmentally conscious features that can help a property stand out in the crowd as well.
There are many things a property investor can do to rehab an existing property with sustainable and eco-friendly features, it just depends on your budget, your target market and how far you want to take it. Here is a list of some of the things that can be done to make a property more sustainable and eco-friendly:

  • Compact fluorescent lighting
  • Solar powered outside light fixtures
  • Cedar wood for studs, decks, joists, etc. (pressure treated wood contains pesticides)
  • Solar hot water heater or on demand tanks
  • Low flow faucet fixtures and toilets
  • Non-VOC (volatile organic chemicals) paint, caulks and sealants Energy efficient appliances
  • Reverse osmosis household water filtration system
  • Recycled tile, bamboo or cork wood flooring with non-toxic underlayment, or natural fiber Carpeting
  • Greywater recycling or rain water collection system for plumbing
  • Insulated Panels
  • Natural insulation’s that are more chemically safe than average types of housing insulation
  • Solar Panels
  • Geo-thermal heat pump
  • Wind generators

“Green” building materials may not make a huge difference in the final selling price, but the right buyer is more apt to choose a property with green materials. A property owner is apt to get the most money from green assets that offer the most serious cost saving benefits to the buyer. For example, a buyer may not pay more for recycled tile but will pay for  expensive system features like- a geo-thermal heat pump that significantly lowers heat costs or a home wind generator that significantly lowers electrical costs.
For property investors new to sustainability and green projects, LEED construction is a good example of a rating system that is used for commercial building projects to rate how environmentally friendly a project is. Points are awarded for items on the building such as a rain water collection system, and also for the construction process -such as sorting trash to be recycled during construction. LEED for Homes has taken this program from commercial projects to residential. Projects are rated bronze, silver, gold and platinum, based on the number of points earned.
Rehabbing a property to meet some of the latest green/eco friendly standards may help give property owners a great primary selling point.

There are many things a property investor can do to rehab an existing property with sustainable, eco-friendly features, it just depends on your budget and how far you want to take it. The more value the new green features add to buyers the more they will be willing to pay.
In addition, green rehab projects may also help stimulate new pockets of real estate growth and help communities come together for common eco-friendly causes within cities that are in need of revitalization. Right now in Michigan the number of companies and networks that specialize in the field is growing.

Resources:
http://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=1095, http://www.hinmancompany.com/sustainability.php

High Gas prices are triggering changes in buyer behavior. Is this change also leading to changes in what appeals to home buyers in Metro Detroit?

19 May

High Gas prices are triggering changes in buyer behavior. Will this change also lead to changes in what appeals to home buyers in Metro Detroit? According to a recent survey by Coldwell Banker, the spike in gas prices is driving more buyers to seek out locations that offer a shorter commute to work and to the places they frequent the most.

The gas prices appear to be playing a factor in the renewed interest in urban living. More than fifty percent of the real estate professionals surveyed are seeing a noticeable increase in buyers that are targeting homes in urban areas, as compared to five years ago. The main reason for the growing trend in urban-area migration was cited for the shorter commute times, short walking distances to more places, and the close proximity to public transportation.

The trend in urban-migration is anticipated to grow along with the growing gas prices. Michigan real estate investors may benefit by becoming more in tune with housing properties in down town regions as valid options for home buyers who may have previously only opted for conventional family style homes in suburban settings.

Source: “Coldwell Banker Real Estate Survey Finds Spike in Gas Prices Is Impacting Where Home Buyers Choose to Live,” MarketWire (May 18, 2011)

Investing in Bank Owned Properties (REO)

10 May

Many real estate investors focus mainly on buying foreclosures as a means to locate properties with a lot of equity at a discounted price, but purchasing a bank owned, or REO (Real Estate Owned) property can be just as profitable, if not more so. An REO is a property that is returned to the bank, or other lender, after being unsuccessful at the foreclosure auction. Many foreclosed properties don’t receive any bids at the auction because the minimum bid starts out including the loan balance, any accrued interest, and any attorney’s fees or any costs association with the foreclosure process. Since what is owed to the bank is almost always more than what the property is actually worth, very few foreclosure auctions end in a successful sale. Then the property is reverted back to the bank and becomes and REO.

How an REO is Sold

Banks, or other lending institutions, always want to sell a property “as is” if possible. They want to sell the property, but they also want to spend the least amount of money on it as they can get away with. Be sure to include in your offer an inspection contingency period that allows you to terminate the sale if an inspection reveals unanticipated damages that the bank will not fix.

Even though you agree to purchase an REO in “as is” condition, always give the bank another opportunity to make repairs or give you a credit after you’ve completed your inspections. Sometimes they’ll be willing to renegotiate the price in order to save the sale, instead of having to put the property back on the market.

Advantages of Buying an REO

  • All liens against the property are removed once it becomes an REO, and taxes are paid.
  • Unlike properties at foreclosure auction, REOs can be inspected prior to contract, and are listed with real estate agents.
  • During slower markets, you can purchase an REO at a discount to the property’s actual value.
  • Lenders and banks do not like holding REOs, and try to get rid of them as quickly as possible.
  • The bank or lender that owns the property will often offer financing with better deals than they would offer on regular properties.
  • While many foreclosures are often in bad condition, REOs are typically restored to at least a somewhat decent condition by the lending bank.
  • The bank or lender that owns the property will often provide an allowance for certain repairs.
  • REOs will often times include appliances
  • REO properties are easy to find; they are usually listed on your local MLS (multiple listing service), or can be found on your local REO bank’s website.

As with any property, make sure to do your homework before making an offer. Make sure that the price you pay is comparable to other homes in the area, and consider the costs of renovations and repairs. It’s a myth that all foreclosures are a bargain.

Take Advantage of Foreclosure Investing

5 May

It seems that more and more foreclosed properties are popping up all over the place; it’s no secret that the foreclosure market is at an all time high. Opportunities for investing in real estate foreclosures are huge due to the increased volume over the last couple of years, and it appears that this trend will go on as homes continue to face foreclosure.

The foreclosure process contains three stages: pre-foreclosure, foreclosure auction, and bank owned properties or REO. Each stage in the foreclosure process can prove to be extremely profitable to the knowledgeable investor when creative real estate investing techniques are applied.

Pre-Foreclosures with Short Sales

Investing in pre-foreclosures with short sales has never been more profitable than it is today. This type of strategy involves just the real estate investor, the homeowner, and in some cases the lender. Because the homeowner has been delinquent on their mortgage payments, they are now in a position to accept offers made by investors. Short sales allow real estate investors to discount the loan from the lender, often purchasing the property for much less than it’s worth to avoid foreclosure. In addition to enjoying discounts, you can also expect very little competition from other investors when buying pre-foreclosed homes. This is a must-know technique if you want to be competitive in today’s foreclosure market.

Foreclosure Auction

The foreclosure auction can also be a very rewarding place for smart real estate investors. There are huge investment opportunities with discounts as high as 50% market value. When buying foreclosed property from the auction, it’s important to know the steps involved to maximize your profits and to have an overall good experience.

The properties are auctioned off to the public and the highest bidder walks away victorious. This can be very rewarding to those who are in a position to buy the property within a short amount of time, but can also be devastating to those who bid without proper prior financing. Most auctions require a small deposit down of the purchase price on the spot, then the remaining balance usually within 1-30 days. It’s crucial to make sure to have your deposit ready and your financing in order before you bid! If for some reason an investor is unable to get financing within the allotted time, they will most likely lose their down payment along with their auctioned property. Buying foreclosures at the auction is by far the riskiest place to pick up a foreclosure because you are buying the property “as is”. To avoid potentially catastrophic problems, it’s very important for investors to do thorough research before bidding on a property at the foreclosure auction.

Bank Owned Properties or Real Estate Owned (REO)

Bank owned properties, commonly referred to as real estate owned or REO, are one of the most common foreclosure investment practices today. These are homes that have passed through the foreclosure auction without any bids and have now become a bank owned property, or bank foreclosure. Buying foreclosures that are REO primarily involves only the lender. Since lenders don’t want to have excess inventory, they are constantly listing properties that have come back from the foreclosure auction in hopes of selling. Lenders in this situation are very motivated to sell their properties, especially if they have a large number of them to move. These properties are considered to be huge expenses that need to be eliminated, which gives real estate investors several ways to negotiate on a relatively low purchase price.

Be sure to search foreclosure listings for bank owned properties in your area!