Saturday, November 30, 2013

Trending: NYC Walk-Up Apartments

Apparently, it is cheaper to purchase an apartment in New York if you don't have extra costs like doormen, or elevators.  With that in mind, the New York Times reports that Walk-Up Apartments are Trending Up.

The lady in the picture said the third floor stairs are a part of her daily exercise.
I don't get why people would accept a place on the fifth floor, say, that they have to walk up to.  I didn't like living on the third floor in my dorm in school, and that's when I was young and in shape.

Only in a place like New York does this make sense to the real estate owners.


Thought for the Day

Friendly cooperation will get you far more than unfriendly agitation in any market.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Post Thanksgiving Reflections

Here at the Downriver Homes Blog (related to JOK Homes LLC), we wanted to express our thanks to our readers.  Some of you share our writings with your social media.  Some of you comment on our work.  Some of you read what we put out there.  All of you are valued.

As for those involved in our landlord property management business, we appreciate our vendors and renters.  You are all good people who it has been a pleasure working with.

Thought for the Day

If you really are smarter than others, show them with your actions.

Black Friday-type Discount on Most Expensive Listing in America UPDATED January 14, 2014

Here's your featured listing for Friday, Black Friday edition.

Not one, but two turrets.  And the place is on discount.

UPDATE (1/14/14): The price has been dropped to $130 million!  

Got a $140 million mortgage pre-approval, but thought that $190 million dream house was stretching yourself a little too much?  Well, here is good news for the day.  You can get that house after all, and bargain down enough from there to afford the furniture you need for it.  The asking price has recently been cut a staggering $50 million.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Truck Runs Into Wyandotte Real Estate office, Was it Deliberate?

I guess this is one of those things that you will have to make your own judgement on.  Here is today's post on the News-Herald:

A black Ford pickup truck reportedly rammed into the building occupied by Re/Max On the Boulevard, 1200 Ford Ave., in Nov. 15. Police received a call about the incident just before 9 p.m. A witness said the truck ran into the building, then fled west on Ford Avenue. An officer arrived to find fresh damage to the north side of the building. A portion of the wall had collapsed, with bricks scattered about. The witness, an employee of a nearby business, said she was outside at the time the crash occurred. She observed the vehicle traveling north on 12th Street, without its headlights on. The truck never slowed down as it rammed into the building. She ran across the street to check on the driver, however, the truck backed up and fled.

Thought for the Day

You don't get what you wish for, you get what you work for.

Homes for Sale Should Look Lived In

Oddly enough, you can pay to professionally stage a home and have it look too perfect.  Potential buyers need to be able to envision things being just a tad askew in order to feel comfortable with the space.  Especially families.  Or so says this writer, who is a real estate agent.

But a couple of these homes lacked that warm, lived-in feeling. This turned off the young couple with the two small children. I saw them squirm and cross their arms. They made generic statements about how this is nice and that looks pretty, but not buying-sign comments.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Green Home of Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady

Gisele B├╝ndchen and Tom Brady's Los Angeles home
Yes, it does have a moat.  Stocked with Koi.
The Brentwood, California home of Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen has got to be epic, right?  One is a future Hall of Fame quarterback, the other is a supermodel.  Well, it is epic.  

Architectural Digest gives us some details, along with great pictures.  

Thought for the Day

If you do the work you get rewarded. There are no shortcuts in life. -Michael Jordan

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thought for the Day

Far too many people spend their entire lives waiting for that glorious day when the perfect opportunity presents itself to them. Too late, they realize that each day held opportunity for those who sought it out.

Dress Up That Front Door!

You know the old saw about first impressions?  Remember the saying about curb appeal?  How about the one that goes that nobody sees the interior if they don't get out of the car?  How your house looks is important, whether you are trying to sell or trying to get tenants to rent it.

The front door is the key to the whole curb appeal thing.  Is yours a boring white, maybe a little bit scuffed?  Well, Bob Vila has some ideas that work a lot better than you would guess at first glance.!1

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Live View Weather Report from Downriver


View out the Back Window

Mistakes Young People Make About Real Estate

There is an excellent article in the Huffington Post about mistakes young people make concerning real estate.   It is well worth a read.

Probably the biggest mistake is not putting in the time and effort to make an informed decision when buying.  You can buy a car and sell it in a couple of years if you don't like it.  Real estate is more difficult to undo.  Yes, you can sell it, but there are transaction costs.

An interesting fault the author finds is those who live at home with their parents because it's free and they want to blow their income on other things.  For that, I blame the parents for letting it happen..

Thought for the Day

Knowledge is only potential power. It becomes power only when, and if, it is organized into definite plans of action and directed to a definite end. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Featured Listing: 104 Superior, Wyandotte, Michigan 48192

This week, we are all about the curb appeal.  Just check out this outstanding appearance:

Some of the details: 5 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms, 2459 sq. ft., $259,900, all on a corner lot.

Built in 1891, this Victorian is gorgeous with leaded glass detailing inside.

Interested?  Downriver Real Estate Group is listing it.

Judging by the address, this would be within easy walking distance of the Detroit river.

Thought for the Day

The person who complains that he or she never had a chance probably hasn’t the courage to take a chance.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Check Got Here!

Fernando Palazuelo, Peruvian/Spanish Developer (and potentially a stunt double for the Most Interesting Man in the World) has wired his deposit to the Wayne County Treasurer and is therefore still on track to acquire the Packard Plant.  Even though he sent the money yesterday, Wayne County had trouble receiving it until today.  In any event, he is about $40,000 in and $360,000 to go before he gets title.

Here is an electric DIY project you can do yourself.

Thought for the Day

With supreme confidence, determination and disregard for obstacles and other people's criticisms, go after your dreams.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thought for the Day

When you start giving out, you’ll soon begin taking in.

Most Expensive Celebrity Homes on the Market

It's Mansion Tuesday, but instead of focusing on just one ultimate abode, we are going to give you access to views and information about a slew of them. compiles the list.

Bob Hope's Home
You'd never guess who had this built for them.

Who has their places up for sale?
  • Celine Dion
  • Richard Gere
  • Bob Hope
  • Jon Bon Jovi
  • Bob Weinstein (producer)
  • Tommy Lee Jones
  • Barry Bonds
  • Michael Jordan
  • Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
Keep in mind that these people all have more than one place

Monday, November 18, 2013

Are You Cut Out to Be A Landlord?

Some people should be landlords.  Many people should not.

Wondering if you have what it takes?  Here's a test.

Thought for the Day

IF you're tired of starting over, STOP GIVING UP!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Video: Latest News and Analysis from the Packard Plant

Featured Listing: 14105 Helen, Southgate

14105 Helen St, Southgate, MI 48195

Our featured listing this week (one day late, sorry about that) is a fine ranch in Southgate.  It is a short sale, so you cannot plan on immediately taking possession.  However, it features four bedrooms, which is a rare find in this neighborhood.  It is one of the cheaper listings in Southgate, at $49,000.  Considering that I used to routinely see home listed for under $25k as recently as two years ago, you might want to jump on this.  It is listed by Century 21 Riverpointe.

Thought for the Day

Don't be afraid to go out on a limb. That's where the fruit is.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Hults misses deadline, Packard Plant is going to bidder #3

I will have more on this later (busy with other projects at the moment), but the Freep is reporting that William Hults has failed to come up with the money he promised.  Peru investor Fernando Palazuelo, who was the third-highest bidder at around $400,000, will now be asked to pony up.

I wish I could say we predicted this last week.  Oh, wait, we did.

Detroit Area Housing Rebound Tops in Nation

Courtesy of Bigger Pockets:

Q3 2013 Ten Top Turnaround Towns

Q3 2013 Rank
(Metropolitan Statistical Area)
Qtrly Year/Year   Median List Price
Qtrly Year/Year   Median Age of Inventory
Qtrly Year/Year   Inventory
Detroit, MI
Santa Barbara-Santa   Maria-Lompoc, CA
Reno, NV
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Ann Arbor, MI
Dallas, TX
West Palm Beach-Boca   Raton, FL
Boston-Wrcstr-Lwrnce-Lowll-Brcktn,   MA-NH
Boulder-Longmont, CO
Las Vegas, NV-AZ

Thought for the Day

So many people never get anywhere in life because when opportunity knocks, they're in th backyard looking for 4leaf clovers

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thought for the Day

A bull may have good qualities, but you will never bring them out by waving a red flag in his face.

Change Your Decor, Make Your Winter Room Warmer

Now that winter is coming to the midwest, you might want to consider some changes to your home to adapt to the colder weather.  The Detroit Free Press has some ideas on that score.  Among them:

  • Reverse your ceiling fan, so that warm air on the top is pushed down to the floor.
  • Change to Cree brand LED light bulbs, which will pay for themselves within one year.
  • Put a propane-powered space heater on the deck or patio to keep your outside space usable.
  • Switch in a Nest thermostat, which saves 30% off your energy bills compared to a regular thermostat.  It also can be remotely controlled by your iPad.  They also look really, really cool.

There are plenty of other ideas in the article, of course, for things like carpeting, drapes, and fireplaces.  The article is well worth a quick read.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thought for the Day

What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.

Another Month, Another Month of Higher Home Prices in Metro Detroit

The good news for real estate values in Metro Detroit continues with the latest numbers showing an increase of 42%  in sale prices in October compared to last October.  Wayne County beat that average slightly with a 43.6% gain. Here is a breakdown by county with selected cities broken out.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mansion Tuesday: Wayne Newton's Legendary Vegas Digs For Sale

Don't know how we could have possibly missed this, but here is it November and this news broke back in September.  Newton lost it during his bankruptcy, so the mansion and grounds are not his anymore.

Thought for the Day

There is no one right answer — but an endless number of right answers — to most of life’s problems. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thinking of Being a Landlord?

Coming Up With The Money
If only it were always like this.

Thinking of being a landlord?  There's no doubt it can be a path to financial security, or supplement what you are already doing.  Properties are still comparatively affordable, rents in this area have been stable, the opportunity is definitely there.

On the other hand, people are living in a house you own, they may not pay you, and it is a lot of emotion and stress.  What to do?

Salute to our Veterans, Spotlight on VA Home Loans

We owe our veterans.  To set your own life aside in service to our country is beyond repayment.

One good thing our country has created is a special home loan program for our veterans.  Although some may see it as a special benefit, our country also benefits from making them homeowners.  Simply put, if you are a veteran, there is no way to get a better mortgage.  In case you are interested, here is more information.

Incidentally, there are also loans for veterans wanting to start a business.

Thought for the Day

Failure doesn't mean you are a failure... it just means you haven't succeeded yet

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lincoln Park Part of Trend to Special Taxes

As the News-Herald reports, Lincoln Park is considering a special tax for lighting in the city.  That comes on the heels of an added fee for garbage collection.

This is part of a trend in Michigan.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Landlord Happiness

It bears repeating:

Happiness is a Tenant Paying the Rent On Time.

Video: Grouting Tile Right

Grouting tile, you'd think it was easy.  It's not.  At least if you want to do it right.

Thought for the Day

Remember that the faults of humankind are pretty evenly distributed among all of us.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Update: Hults Deadline is Next Friday for Packard Plant Payment

In the latest breaking Packard Plant news, the Wayne County Treasurer indicated that Real Estate Developer Bill Hults has until next Friday to come up with the $1.8 million to match up with his $200,000. Otherwise, he stands to lose the deposit. Here is the whole story.

Chicago-area developer Bill Hults wants to convert the Packard Plant site on East Grand and Mount Elliott into a commercial, residential and entertainment development.
Like Hults, we look at this and see luxury condos here.  

Why William Hults Will Not Buy the Packard Plant

In which, for the first time, I do a blog post via video.  Forgive the scruffy appearance, but I am not at work today.  Don't forget there are plenty of pictures of me in a suit and tie if you want to look at that.

Featured Listing Friday: Lincoln Park Starter Home

Today, we introduce a new weekly item for our blog: Featured Listing Friday.  We will pick out a house for sale in the Downriver area.


This is a great little starter home, available for sale for $27,000.  It is a new listing.  Understand that, when you are in this price range Downriver, you will have to look past unusual interior colors that need covered up.

Like this:

Still, this is a great price for a Lincoln Park home.  It is also typical of what many people start with and plenty of people are able to live entire lives in complete happiness in homes like this.  I grew up in bungalows like this.  Give Ron LaCasse a call and check the place out.

By the numbers:
2258 Fort Park Blvd., Lincoln Park
Listing Price: $27,000
1183 sq. feet
3 bedrooms
2 full baths (unusual for this size!)


Thought for the Day

Success requires no explanation; failures must be doctored with alibis.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hults Pays A Little, But Still Can't Deliver On His Packard Promises

No, developer Bill Hults still has not paid the entire amount that he said last week was already available.  But he did come up with another $100,000 of the $2,000,000.  That makes a total non-refundable deposit of $200k.  It probably means he found his second investor.  So he's in for 10% so far, has hired a local architect and lawyer, and promises it will all work out, with rainbows and unicorns and daisies all over the place.

Thought for the Day

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Corktown Gold Rush Is On

'Some people want to buy as a way to support the city, and others think they are getting bankruptcy prices,' said James Horn, a broker for Wilhelm & Associates, who was involved in one of the five pending Corktown sales made in the past month.

This is good news for the region.  Maybe this uptick is not just for Downtown.

Packard Plant Bidder is not Houdini"

Like watching a magic show, we keep waiting for Packard Plant bidder William Hults to make $2 million suddenly appear out of thin air.  We been watching this trick for months now, and Hults still hasn't pulled if off.

Developer Bill Hults at the Packard Plant in Detroit.
"The check is in the mail!"

To the shock of no one with a clue, Hults did not make yesterday's postponed deadline after he missed the deadline to come up with another $300,000 to follow his $100,000 that he did actually pony up late after the deadline for that last Friday.  The next $300 large was going to be a deposit so that he could have until next Monday to come up with the rest of the money.  Since we're already to Wednesday, anyone silly enough to think that he will come up with the whole amount by Monday?

What probably happened is that Hults is using his accepted bid to try to raise the money after the fact.  Apparently he got the first $100k from someone who will regret it pretty soon.  But the rest of the money is not happening.

Calling Peru.  Mr. Paluzeulo, please put your seat in a full upright position, as the plane will be taking off for Detroit soon.

Thought for the Day

Success without humility of heart is apt to prove only temporary and unsatisfying. 

Cool Halloween Light Show--What Does the Fox Say?

The song that has been burning up the internet has spawned this great house lighting display for Halloween last week.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Shocking: The Packard Plant Money Didn't Arrive On Time

Thought for the Day

The reason why people give up so fast is because they tend to look at how far they still have to go, instead of how far they have gotten.

Mansion Tuesday: Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Stunner

It took 20 years of additions and renovations to turn one of the earliest homes built around Bloomfield Hills' Cranbrook Community into this 8000-square-foot showplace. Although the core of this house is 100 years old, there is no sense of age. After a generation of remodeling and expanding, it has the same feel and finish of a luxury house built in the last 20 years.
Maybe a bit too much white?  Even the dog is white in this living room.  Just being honest.

8,000 square feet.  Built over four years, finished in 1912.  Refurbished and renovated over the last 20 years.  What is not to like about this place?  Six bedrooms, six full and five half baths.  Oh, $3.3 million.  Yes, it's for sale.  Read all about it here.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Normal Amount of Fires for Devil's Night in Detroit

Back in the Eighties and Nineties, Detroit had a big problem on Devil's Night and the days near it.  People would set houses on fire.  Usually vacant ones, but not always.  It got really out of hand.  So it's good to see that the problem has now disappeared.  There were no more fires than a usual day in Detroit this year.

Detroit fire fighters battle a fire at an abandoned two story home on Racine at Nashville in Detroit on Thursday 10.31.13.

You can read all the details here.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Packard Plant: #2 Delivers $100k Deposit, Rest Due on Monday

He came up with the deposit, $100,000.  As a side note, he technically was an hour and 45 minutes after the 3 pm deadline on Friday, but Wayne County stayed open late and took the deposit.  Now Chicago developer Bill Hults has to send in the rest of the money by Monday.   Then find about $850 million somewhere.

This is all surprising because Hults could have had the property for about $1 million instead of the current $2 million just two months ago.   But his coming up with the deposit may be a step back for the property and it's future.  Talk around town is that Hults is in over his head and will not be able to put the whole thing together.

Developer Bill Hults at the Packard Plant in July.
If Hults doesn't have the full amount on Monday, he just wasted $100k Friday.
Having struck a deal ahead of the auction, Hults had a clear path to picking up the property without competition two months ago and was not able to follow through, despite repeated assurances.  Now he delivered a substantial wad of cash that he will not be getting back.  So what gives? According to Wayne County Chief Deputy Treasurer Dave Szymanski, Hults is getting the balance of the money from another real estate transaction (not identified what it is) that apparently took place on Friday.  Maybe Tony Soprano is now a partner.

This could go one of several ways.  

Thought for the Day

Before you can build anything worthwhile, you must first create it in your mind. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Packard Plant Chat Friday at Noon

The Detroit Free Press is hosting a chat with their reporters to answer questions about the status of the Packard Plant.  You can access it here.

We will recap the highlights in a post this afternoon.

Thought for the Day

Money has no character, no personality, no values. Its actions only reflect the desires of its owner.