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4/11/2013 Dont Be Fooled By These 3 Real Estate Myths


As the real estate market significantly rebounds, some buyers and sellers are dipping their toes in the waters for the first time. Inevitably, they come into the market with assumptions about how it works. Their assumptions may come from TV reality shows or watching their parents house-hunting experiences. Maybe they have learned about real estate from a co-workers recent home buying or selling experience. The trouble is, the new buyer or sellers assumptions are sometimes based on outdated or generalized real estate myths. Here are three such myths that many less-seasoned home buyers and sellers assume are true.

Myth No. 1: Spring is the best time to sell a home.  Historically, real estate seasons were tied to summer and the end of the school year. Families were the typical buyers or sellers, and they wanted to move during the summer so their kids could start anew in September. Thats how spring became the prime selling season. Its true there are still more homes for sale in the spring, which means theres a lot of activity and buzz. But spring isnt necessarily the best time to sell a home anymore.

The reality: The best time to sell is during the holidays and right after.  Today, more than half of buyers arent married, and their decisions arent based upon school schedules. So spring isnt as relevant as it used to be. Instead, the best time to sell a home is in November, December and January.

Its a supply-and-demand issue. Most sellers assume buyers arent seriously looking during this prolonged holiday season. And yet, many buyers are looking at properties in person and online right up until Christmas Eve. If the right home goes on the market in mid-December, a serious buyer and there will be a lot of them will take note.

After New Years Eve, most buyers jump back into their routine with a resolve to get into the real estate market, even though many sellers wouldnt even consider listing in January. The net effect: Savvy sellers will face less competition for a still-strong pool of buyers during this period. And that makes November-January a great time to sell.

Myth No. 2: Always start with your lowest offer.  Theres no generalized strategy for making an offer on a home anywhere, ever. A seller could have overpriced or underpriced the home on purpose. Some markets may be more competitive than others. But, somehow, in the back of the buyers head is good old Uncle Bob saying never offer the full asking price. That strategy might work if youre trying to buy a used computer on eBay. And it worked in some real estate markets years ago. But times have changed.

The reality: A low offer may get you nowhere fast.  A buyer in a strong, tight inventory market today would be wasting their time making low offers right from the start. Its likely a home thats priced right and shows well can receive multiple offers, sometimes even over the asking price. In this environment, constantly throwing in low offers because thats what your Uncle Bob advised you to do will likely lead to disappointment. Instead, work with a good local real estate agent understand the market. Youll quickly learn after a few weeks on the open house circuit (and maybe a disappointment or two) that starting low may not get you anywhere.

Myth No. 3: A cash offer trumps all.  Theres an assumption that a seller, considering two different offers, will always go with the cash offer because theres less risk. As a result, many buyers who hear theyre competing with a cash offer assume they wont get the home. They may not even make a formal offer. At the same time, many cash buyers assume that because theyre paying cash, they can make an offer below the asking price, and it will likely be accepted.

The reality: A savvy seller may be more tempted by a solid financed offer.  Consider a seller with a home priced at $399,000. The seller receives two offers: One is a cash offer of $375,000. The other is an offer for the full asking price, with 25 percent down, a bank pre-approval letter and swift contingency periods.

A good buyers agent, upon learning their client is competing with a cash offer, will arm the seller with lots of data supporting their clients finances, such as a credit report and verification of income or assets. The agent might even arrange a call between the seller and the buyers lender.

Learn your market. When you become a buyer or seller, especially for the first time, the most important thing you can do is learn your market. Talk to a savvy local agent, and dont make assumptions based on what you think you know. Real estate is local. Every market is different, with its own customs. If you believe there are general rules for real estate strategy that apply everywhere, anytime, youll likely be fooled not only in April, but every other month of the year.


4/10/2013 Housing Market Healing, but Recovery Takes Time

As home prices rise, do you think they'll ever go back to the levels seen in 2005 during the housing boom?

Yes, we will someday see the 2005 prices, but it (will) be a very long time, and (there will be) many more ups and downs in the real estate market. The 2005 prices were fueled by extraordinarily lax lending standards -- standards that I hope we do not see again.


As the inventory of homes for sale shrinks, many homebuyers are willing to pay more than the asking price. However, the appraisal doesn't always support the price the buyer is willing to pay. How big of an obstacle do you think this is for the housing recovery?

Appraiser(s) have a heck of a time in rapidly appreciating markets. Appraisers need to document today's (higher) values using yesterday's (lower) closed sales. The solution is cash. A seller can wait for a cash offer, or a buyer can put more cash into the deal.


Many real estate experts say there's never been a better time to buy a home, as mortgage rates are near record lows, home prices remain attractive and rents keep rising. Do you agree with that notion? Do you think those who keep renting will miss an opportunity to buy low if they don't shop for a home soon?

The key to this issue is expected tenure. Housing transaction costs are expensive. If there is a good chance you will have to move again in one to five years, renting is usually the best option financially. If you expect to be in the property for the long term, low interest rates and current housing prices make purchasing an attractive option.


Is house flipping back?

I don't think "flipping" has ever disappeared. I know of plenty of cash investors who have been taking advantage of deeply discounted distressed properties throughout the housing market downturn. It is when property prices are increasing that flipping becomes popular and a lot of people get into it as a sideline.


Are bidding wars coming back? What should a buyer do if a bidding war erupts over a house -- participate in the impromptu auction, or find another house to make an offer on?

The Fresno, Calif., housing market currently has just 1 one half months of inventory, so we are seeing multiple offers, or "bidding wars." I recommend that buyers be patient -- real estate markets fluctuate and the market will change. Visit a few new-construction developments in the meantime.We would like to thank J. Andrew Hansz, director of the Gazarian Real Estate Center at California State University in Fresno, for his insights. Holden Lewis, assistant managing editor for Bankrate.com, contributed the questions for this interview.



Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/04/09/housing-market-healing-but-recovery-takes-time/#ixzz2Q6RWeLOD
3/26/2013 Gilbert buys Vinton Building on Woodward Avenue

Dan Gilbert has added the Albert Kahn-designed Vinton Building at 600 Woodward Ave. to his downtown real estate portfolio.Vinton Building

The 44,000-square foot building was sold to a limited liability corporation that lists Jim Ketai, who heads up real estate purchases for Gilbert through Bedrock Management Inc., the entity that Ketai and Gilbert co-own.

The vacant building was sold on Dec. 28, 2012, according to Washington, D.C.-based real estate information service CoStar Group Inc.

A limited liability corporation listed as the building's seller lists Aaron Alston as its manager and owner.

Paula Silver, vice president of communications for Gilbert's Quicken Loans Inc., said in an email to Crain's Tuesday afternoon that there was "nothing to report at this time" about the sale.

Built in 1917, the 12-story building is north of Congress Street near Cadillac Square and Campus Martius.

Added to the Michigan Register of Historic Places in 1982 and the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, the Vinton Building once housed the Vinton Co., founded in 1858, and then the Detroit Bar Association.

A group of 10 investors that included formerDetroit Lion Robert Porcher had planned on converting it into loft and commercial space in the mid-2000s for $5 million, but that project never materialized.

What Gilbert paid for the Vinton Building is unknown, but the Detroit Downtown Development Authority last sold it in September 2005 for $500,000.

News of the building's sale comes two days before Gilbert, the founder and chairman of Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures LLC, plans to discuss retail space and place-making at City Theatre on Thursday.

Other speakers at the event, branded as an opportunity to present the "Woodward Corridor Place-making and Retail Strategy," will include Gilbert; Dave Blaszkiewicz, president and CEO of the Downtown Detroit Partnership; Matt Cullen, president and CEO of Rock Ventures; George Jackson, president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.; Fred Kent, president of the Project for Public Spaces; and city of Detroit officials.

Gilbert also closed on the purchase of the 275,000-square-foot 1001 Woodward office building last week.

Article Source: http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130326/NEWS/130329903/gilbert-buys-vinton-building-on-woodward-avenue

Picture Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/71288712@N00/8117999519/sizes/o/in/photostream/

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