Thursday, October 31, 2013

Haunted Dining Options

Since tonight is when the costumed kids will be running around Downriver accumulating candy, we thought it would be a good idea to post some ideas for the adults who won't be busy with Halloween.  The Free Press had a nice little feature on some dining establishments that might be appropriate for tonight.

Thought for the Day

1) Decide what you want. 

2) Decide how you'll get it. 

3) Out work everyone else. 


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Boo! Buy a Home in a Haunted City

Feeling brave?  Thought Ghostbusters was not based on a true story?  Then maybe you should look to relocate to some of these haunted houses.  These homes are for sale in cities that have a murky past of one sort or another.

For example:

526 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA
A French Quarter condo is available on Dauphine Street, which is also home to The Sultan’s Palace. The Sultan was a wealthy businessman who rented an estate in the 1800s and came to be known for his lifestyle of partying and holding women against their will. But the creepiest part of the story is how The Sultan died. Some say it was a pirate, while others say it was his brother vying for the sultanate. Either way The Sultan was reportedly buried alive while his family was hacked to pieces.
Maybe you would be more interested in the house where an axe murderer was, or a former lunatic asylum.  Apparently the possibilities are limitless.  Celebrate Halloween by checking out what is available and scarily intriguing at Zillow.

As the Packard Plant Turns

This weekend, I analyzed the Packard Plant situation and determined that, even if the winning bidder fell through at $6 million, the second bidder at $2 million was still a good prospect.  The second bidder was a developer and knew what they were doing, even if the first bidder was crazy and would not deliver the money.

Then Sunday and Monday brought what seemed to be positive vibes, as the winning bidder indeed had a plan and investors and guaranteed they would be paying for the place soon.  Modular homes, they said.  We're going to build modular homes and ship them all over the world.  We speculated that this would be happening.

Tuesday brought the bizarre to the situation.  Big bizarre.  The Detroit Free Press has the details here.  And it turns out there are people from the modular home industry saying that it's better to make them close to where they are sold.

A virtually incoherent press statement from the good Dr. and her associates from Texas makes us wonder why we gave her any benefit of the doubt.  And no money yet.

We're back to relying on the second bidder.

Update: Bidder Two is the one who couldn't get the money together in August after striking a deal for $1 million.  He bid $2 million and promises he can raise it.  Paging Bidder Three....

Thought for the Day

Your biggest opponent is the one in the mirror.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Drew Barrymore Buying In New York?

She's moving on up (moving on up) to the east side, to finally get a piece of the pie.  Okay, maybe not, but anytime you can get a Jeffersons reference in is an opportunity you have to take.

Insert gratuitous Drew Barrymore picture here.

Drew has long lived in California, but her husband is from New York City, so it makes sense that they would be looking to pick up a place in the Big Apple.

Rumor has it that they have settled on this Park Avenue duplex, four bedrooms for $8.3 million.

You can read more about it and see more pictures by following this link here.

Thought for the Day

You either ride life or it rides you. Your mental attitude determines who is “rider” and who is “horse.”

Monday, October 28, 2013

Auction Winner to Close on Packard Plant

Following up on yesterday's post, today's news brings word that there were other investors supporting the winning bidder on the Packard Plant, investors who have a background in real estate development, and that there is a definite plan going forward.

We predicted yesterday that the auction presaged a positive development for the property, which has virtually been in zombie mode for the last 50 years since it shut down.  Although nothing is certain until it actually happens, a significant down payment is expected immediately with the balance of the $6 million payable within a week or two.

The property will be turned into a facility producing modular homes for shipment "all over the world."

Here's the Detroit News article.

Here's the Free Press.

Thought for the Day

Money is either a good or bad influence, according to the character of the person who possesses it.

Tenants: A True Story

Answering calls about an available rental posted on Craigslist can be a source of amusement.  My latest adventure can offer tips to tenants and renters about what not to do.

I had a tenant leave (okay, I got a court order and he had to), so I had a place available.  First step is to place an ad on the internet and put a For Rent sign up in front of the house.  The sign drives more traffic than you would think, because people really do drive though neighborhoods seeing what is available for rent.  It also makes it easier for them to find your house if they see it on the internet and drive over to check it out.

Don't forget to put a phone number on your sign.  

By the way, if you use, you will get you pretty good internet exposyure.  Postlets sends your ad automatically to Craigslist, Trulia, Zillow, and other major sites.

At least in Michigan, I think newspaper ads are a waste of money.  

So the calls started to come.  Firstly, if you EVER want to respond to a Craigslist ad, don't make your first question about something that is in the headline of the ad, like "How much is the rent?" "As the ad says, $700/month."

Second, don't make your next question something in the body of the ad, like how many bedrooms. "Like the ad says, three."

Really, people will call, mention where they saw the ad, and then ask the questions that are already answered.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Third or Fourth Look at Packard Plant Auction

The most unusable industrial site in Detroit may be turned into something usable again.  Detroit's Packard Plant, a huge sprawling tract of land bereft on police and fire protection whose size, location, and pollution have caused it to be abandoned for almost fifty years may finally have escaped real estate purgatory, as the latest developments offer hope that the site will eventually be cleaned up and put back into use.  Even if the winning bidder fails to deliver on Monday (and plenty of people are wondering about that), the property will go to someone who knows what they are doing and has plans for the complex. 
The plant probably would have sold a long time ago if all it needed was a little sweeping up.
The complex, which has been completely empty for at least 15 years and would be a prime zombie breeding ground for about 50 years, was sold at the tax foreclosure auction on Friday for a smidgen over $6 million.  That's kind of a big deal, since the most recent development prospect before the auction couldn't get his underwriting to fund the purchase at $1 million.  

Saturday, October 26, 2013

You Can Buy Art Van Founder's Mansion With No Interest for Four Years!

The French chateau on Lakeshore Drive in Grosse Pointe Shores owned by Art Van Elslander is on the market for $15.9 million dollars. It is the most expensive home for sale in the State of Michigan.
Built in 1990, this is the first time the home has ever been on the market.  

Art Van Elslander (and his wife), founder of the successful chain of Art Van furniture stores, is putting his house up for sale.  The Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan French Chateau is listed for $15.9 million.  You can click here for the slideshow and article from the Freep.

The French chateau on Lakeshore Drive in Grosse Pointe Shores owned by Art Van Elslander is on the market for $15.9 million dollars. It is the most expensive home for sale in the State of Michigan.

The home features an indoor and outdoor pool, a basketball court, putting green, tennis court, sand traps, 28,000 square feet of space total (including the carriage house), 6 bedrooms, and 3.75 acres of prime shoreline space on Lake St. Clair.  Why a guy that old would want a basketball court and a tennis court is beyond me.

Apparently the Van Elslanders are downsizing in their golden years.  Last year, this Boyne City lakefront home went on the market for a little less than $4 million.

Still, if you are looking for the best place in Michigan to live and money is no object, you might want to look at what has been described as a "luxury playground."

Thought for the Day

Many successful people have found opportunities in failure and adversity that they could not recognize in more favorable circumstances.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Thought for the Day

Where will you be ten years from now if you keep on going the way you are going?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thought for the Day

Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future.

Best Places in America for Your Real Estate Investment

Invest in what you know, that is something I believe in and practice as an investor.  I know parts of metro Detroit, and that is where I look for prospects when I want to invest in real estate.  I don't pull up listings for Dayton, Ohio, even though it would be an excuse to visit my brother in law, Jim.

So I'm not sure how many of our readers (and you are appreciated) would consider investing in real estate outside of the immediate area where they live.  But if you do, or if you are wondering where we rank, these things are ranked.  Bigger Pockets has the background, etc.

But if you just want to see the rankings (Detroit is Medium Risk):

Low Risk
Score range: 6 to 10
Medium Risk
Score range: 3 to 5
Score range: 1 to 2
Score range: -10 to 0
Abilene,   TX  6Akron,   OH    4Albany,   NY   2Anniston-Oxford,   AL   -1
Ann   Arbor, MI   8Albuquerque,   NM    4Albany,   GA    1Atlantic   City, NJ    -3
Atlanta,   GA    6Allentown,   PA    2Alexandria,   LA   1Bangor,   ME    -1
Austin,   TX    8Amarillo,   TX  3Altoona,   PA    1Dalton,   GA    0
Bakersfield,   CA  6Anchorage,   AK    5Augusta,   GA    2Decatur,   IL    -4
Baton   Rouge, LA    6Appleton,   WI    4Beaumont,   TX    1Huntington,   OH    0
Billings,   MT    8Asheville,   NC    3Binghamton,   NY    1Lima,   OH    -1
Bismarck,   ND    10Athens,   GA    4Bloomington-Normal, IL     2Johnstown,   PA    -1
Boise,   ID    8Auburn,   AL    5Bloomington,   IN    2Kingston,   NY    -2
Boston,   MA    6Baltimore,   MD    3Bridgeport,   CT    2Mansfield,   OH    -5
Boulder,   CO    6Barnstable   Town, MA  3Buffalo-NiagaraFalls, NY    1Norwich,   CT    -2
Burlington,   VT    6Battle   Creek, MI   3Camden,   NJ  2Providence,   RI     0
Fort   Myers, FL    6Bellingham,   WA    3Charleston,   WV   2Racine,   WI    -1
Charleston,   SCBend,   OR    3Charlottesville,   VA    2Rockford,   IL    0
Cheyenne,   W Y    6Birmingham,   AL    3Cleveland,   OH    2Rocky   Mount, NC    -5
Columbus,   OH    6Blacksburg,   VA    4Dothan,   AL    2Saginaw,   MI    -1
Corpus   Christi, TX    7Bowling   Green, KY   3Dover,   DE    2Shreveport,   LA    -1
Dallas,   TX    7Bremerton,   WA    3Duluth,   MN    2Springfield,   OH    0
Daytona   Beach, FL    6Brownsville,   TX    3Gary,   IN    2Vineland,   NJ    0
Des   Moines, IA    6Canton,   OH    3Glens   Falls, NY    1
Denver,   CO    6Cedar   Rapids, IA    5Grand   Junction, CO   2
Destin,   FL    6Champaign-Urbana, IL    4Gulfport-Biloxi,   MS    1
Durham,   NC    6Charlotte,   NC    4Hagerstown,   MD    2
East   Lansing, MI    6Chattanooga,   TN    3Hartford,   CT    2
Fargo,   ND    6Chicago,   IL    3Hickory,   NC    2
Fayetteville,   AR    8Chico,   CA    3Huntsville,   AL    2
Flagstaff,   AZ    7Cincinnati,   OH    5Johnson   City, TN    1
Ft.   Worth, TX    7Clarksville,   TN    4Joplin,   MO    1
Ft.   Lauderdale, FL    8College   Station, TX    5Kingsport,   TN    2
Gainesville,   FL    6Colorado Springs, CO     4Lake   County, IL    2
Gainesville,   GA    6Columbia,   MO    5Marietta,   WV    2
Grand   Rapids, MI    6Columbia,   SC    3Medford,   OR    2
Grand   Forks, ND    7Columbus,   GA    3Milwaukee,   WI    2
Holland,   MI    6Davenport,   IA     4Montgomery,   AL    2
Thibodaux,   LA    6Dayton,   OH    4Muncie,   IN    2
Houston,   TX    7Decatur,   AL    3Myrtle   Beach, SC    1
Ithaca,   NY    7Detroit,   MI    3Newark,   NJ    2
Jonesboro,   AR    6Dubuque,   IA    5New   Haven, CT    2
Killeen-Ft.   Hood, TX    6Eau   Claire, WI    4New York-Jersey City NY 2
Knoxville,   TN    6Edison,   NJ     3Benton   Harbor, MI    1
Lafayette,   LA    8El   Paso, TX    4Poughkeepsie,   NY    2
Lake   Charles, LA    6Elkhart,   IN    5Portland,   ME    2
Lexington,   KY    6Erie,   PA    3Pueblo,   CO    2
Laredo,   TX    6Eugene,   OR    5Sheboygan,   WI    2
Lubbock,   TX    6Evansville,   KY    3South   Bend, IN   2
Las   Vegas, NV    8Fayetteville,   NC    4Springfield,   MA    1
Merced,   CA    6Flint,   MI    3St.   Louis, MO    2
Miami,   FL    7Florence,   SC    5Syracuse,   NY    2
Minneapolis,   MN    6Florence,   AL    6Texarkana,   TX-AR  2
Midland,   TX    10Ft.   Collins, CO    7Toledo,   OH    1
Modesto,   CA    6Ft.   Wayne, IN    6Utica,   NY    2
Morgantown,   WV    6Ft.   Smith, AR    3Wheeling,   WV    2
Napa,   CA    9Fresno,   CA    4Williamsport,   PA   2
Naples,   FL    7Greeley,   CO  5Winston-Salem,   NC    1
Nashville,   TN   6Green   Bay, WI    5York,   PA    2
New   Orleans, LA   6Greensboro,   NC    3Youngstown,   OH    1
Oakland,   CA    7Greenville,   NC    4
Ocala,   FL    4Greenville,   SC    3
Odessa,   TX    10Harrisburg,   PA    3
Ogden,   UT    7Hattiesburg,   MS    4
Oklahoma   City, OK    7Honolulu,   HI    5
Orlando,   FL 7Indianapolis,   IN    5
Peabody,   MA    6Iowa   City, IA    5
Pensacola,   FL    7Jackson,   MI    3
Phoenix,   AZ    8Jackson,   MS    3
Port   St. Lucie, FL    6Jackson,   TN    5
Prescott,   AZ    6Jacksonville,   FL    4
Provo,   UT    7Janesville,   WI    3
Reno,   NV   7Kalamazoo,   MI    4
Sacramento,   CA  6Kansas   City, MO    3
Salt   Lake City, UT  7Kennewick,   WA    4
San   Antonio, TX  7LaCrosse,   WI    5
San   Francisco, CA  8Lafayette,   IN    4
San   Jose, CA  7Lake   Havasu City, AZ   3
San   Luis Obispo, CA  9Lakeland,   FL    3
Santa   Ana, CA   8Lancaster,   PA    4
Santa   Cruz, CA  7Las   Cruces, NM    4
Santa   Rosa, CA  7Lincoln,   NE    5
Sarasota,   FL   7Little   Rock, AR    5
Seattle,   WA  6Longview,   TX    5
Silver   Spring, MD  6Los   Angeles, CA    5
Sioux   City, SD  6Louisville,   KY    5
Springfield,   MO  6Lynchburg,   VA    5
St.   George, UT    6Macon,   GA     3
Stockton,   CA    6Madison,   WI    5
Tuscaloosa,   AL    6Manchester,   NH    3
Tucson,   AZ   6McAllen,   TX    4
Tulsa,   OK    6Memphis,   TN    3
Vallejo,   CA    7Missoula,   MT    5
Waco,   TX  6Mobile,   AL    3
Warren,   MI    7Monroe,   LA    5
Washington   DC  6Muskegon,   MI    4
West   Palm Beach, FL   7Nassau,   NY    4
Winchester,   VA    6White   Plains, NY    3
Olympia,   WA    4
Omaha,   NE    5
Oshkosh,   WI    4
Oxnard,   CA    5
Palm   Bay, FL    5
Panama   City, FL    3
Pascagoula,   MS    5
Peoria,   IL    3
Philadelphia,   PA    4
Pittsburgh,   PA    5
Portland,   OR    4
Raleigh,   NC    4
Rapid   City, SD    5
Reading,   PA    3
Redding,   CA    4
Richmond,   VA    3
Riverside,   CA   3
Rochester,   MN    5
Roanoke,   VA    3
Rochester,   NY    4
Salem,   OR    4
St.   Cloud, MN    4
Salisbury,   MD    3
Salinas,   CA     5
San   Diego, CA    5
Santa   Barbara, CA    5
Santa   Fe, NM    4
Savannah,   GA    4
Scranton,   PA    3
Spokane,   WA    3
Springfield,   IL    5
St.   Joseph, MO    3
State   College, PA    5
Tacoma,   WA    4
Tallahassee,   FL    3

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Latvians are Sneaking In

Without much fanfare, and not all at once, our audience from Latvia has become the third largest on our blog, behind only the United States and Russia (who are probably a bunch of hackers trying to destroy us).  Welcome to our new favorite Baltic country in the whole world!

Thought for the Day

Every day holds the possibility of a miracle.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Thought for the Day

Opportunities are never just handed to you; they must be created. 

Landlord Monday: Screening Tenants

We're going to start a new feature on the Downriver Homes and Real Estate Blog: Landlord Monday.  Landlord Monday will feature tips and advice for those investing in rental properties, especially in the Downriver area.

One of the best websites out there for real estate investors is  It is one of my favorite spots to access to learn more and find out the answers to any questions I might have.  I am always on there and I can truthfully say that it has made me a better landlord.  You can set up keywords to alert you to subjects that interest you.  All in all, it is awesome.

Here is a great video on tenant screening from Bigger Pockets.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Thought for the Day

If you have something you don’t need, give it to someone who needs it. It will come back to you in one way or another.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thought for the Day

If you have something you don’t need, give it to someone who needs it. It will come back to you in one way or another.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Thought for the Day

Do you have a continuous improvement program for your most valuable asset-your mind? 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thought for the Day

You are made to make a difference, so embrace every opportunity to do so.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thought for the Day

Review your long-, intermediate-, and short-term goals, and measure your progress to date. Are you on schedule for their completion? Ask yourself, “What information do I not have that would help me achieve my goals?” Then gather the information you need and get into action. 


Happiness is a listing you are interested in, and a picture of the basement pops up with a furnace still there.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Thought for the Day

Stand for what you believe, even if that means standing alone.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Thought for the Day

A negative mind spawns only negative ideas.

How To Install a Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans are a pretty popular feature of homes in our area.  Between various houses, I bet you I have installed about 20 of these things.  It's not hard, any of you could do it, I bet.  Follow the instructions, make sure your electrical connections are secure when you go to put the fan in, and use an electric screwdriver or your arms will get tired installing all those blades over your head.

If your fan is heavy, have someone help you.  There is no worse feeling than trying to hold a fan over your head with one hand while using the other hand to put a screw in and having the screw fall down where you might not find it, but it doesn't matter because you have to keep holding up the fan or the wires will come loose when you put it down.  See how long that sentence was?  See how stressful it was just reading it?  If your fan is heavy, have someone help you.

Here is a helpful video.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thought for the Day

The amount of happiness that you have depends on the amount of freedom you have in your heart

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Thought for the Day

The two kinds of people who never get ahead are those who will not do what they are told and those who do only what they are told.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Interior Painting Tips

I do not like painting, and that is partly because I am never happy with the job I do when I do paint.  I am getting better, however.  I don't overload the brush as much as I used to.  I have fewer drips.  I recognize the value of prepping and priming before putting on the main color.

Of the tips here, I especially like the one about keeping some extra paint in a labeled glass jar for when you need to do touchups. 

Overall, painting is one of the best things you can do.  It freshens up a look, adds value, and does not cost much.

Thought for the Day

Both success and failure are largely the results of habit.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Thought for the Day

The man who does his job precisely as he would do it if he owned the business may see the day when he will own that business or a better one.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Mozambique is Heard From

We always like to recognize international visitors in our blog readership.  For the first time we are aware of, someone from Mozambique has stumbled across our pages.  Whether by accident or design, we wish them a hearty welcome!

Gotta love the AK-47 as a national symbol.

Thought for the Day

Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How Not to Sell a House

Anything wrong in this picture?

primary photo for 24638 NOTRE DAME ST, DEARBORN, MI 48124, US

To me, it looks like a house with major foundation issues, a house that is falling down on the left side.  But it is in a good neighborhood in the suburbs, priced a little high in my opinion, and is described as "excellent condition" and "well-maintained."  I can only surmise that the photographer put the camera crooked when he took the picture and nobody cares about what the listing looks like.

Realtors, don't try this at home.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Black, White, and Porch All Over

If you haven't figured out that I like traditional homes, you haven't been paying attention.

This stunning porch caught my eye.  The rest is just gravy.  Click here for the slideshow.

The grand old house they chose--a 4,000 square feet in Greek revival style--is a labor of love for the Kyros. In their 21 years in the home, they have renovated it, inside and out.