Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Thought for the Day

It is better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The World is Yours At This Scarface Mansion

Scarface Ariel View

How much would Tony Montana's place be worth these days?  David Cross and the Movoto blog try to figure it out.

Montana, outrageously successful drug dealer until his sudden demise, sure had a banging pad.  Place for the lions to live, an office with a balcony and a hidden gun closet, awe-inspiring stairway in the foyer, no extravagance was spared.

On the other hand, there was too much neon and garish decor.  And do you really want lions where you live?  Plus all of those outdated security devices will need a major upgrade.  All of this before we even start talking about vacuuming up all of the white powder that is EVERYWHERE in the place.

I only have two things in this life, and one of them is not a vacuum.

Oh well, those are all things that can be fixed.  What you need to know is that the place used in the movie was not actually in Coral Cables, Florida, but was in California.  So, putting a price on the place is a matter of transferring the specs and charging the square foot price of Coral Cables ($1,115!) and that gives you $11 million or so.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Update: Fugitive Mortgage Fraudster No Longer Fugitive

Ronnie Duke, who skipped town rather than start a 13-year sentence for massive mortgage fraud, has been apprehended.

Duke also owes $95 million in restitution.  That's a lot.

He was supposed to begin serving his sentence in June, but never reported.  He was apprehended in Saline, Michigan on Monday.  At his arraignment in court, he assaulted the female prosecutor on the case.  Not a smart move.

As an aside, he hired former strippers to process the bogus loan applications, laundered the money through straw buyers, and pocketed huge amounts of cash.  He spent it on fast cars and undoubtedly squandered a huge portion of the proceeds.

Original Story (December 23, 2013): Mortgage Fraudster is on the Lam

Thought for the Day

No individual has sufficient experience, education, native ability, and knowledge to ensure the accumulation of a great fortune, without the cooperation of other people. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Thought for the Day

It is impossible to get something for nothing for a sustained period of time. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Thought for the Day

You once held a world record when you were born for being the "Youngest Person on The Planet."

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thought for the Day

You can't get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Thought for the Day

You wouldn’t be who you are or where you are today without all of the difficult times. Be thankful even during the trials.

Property Inspection Weirdness


The Bigger Pockets blog recently posted "20 of the Weirdest Things Documented During a Property Inspection."  I wasn't sure if it would be interesting, but it turned out to be pretty darn funny and interesting.

I'll put up a couple of pictures as a tease, but save some of the best ones for you to discover by clicking on the link.



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Claude Lemieux Can't Go Turtle Here Anymore


He may still be one of the most unpopular people in the world around metro Detroit, but Claude Lemieux had a very good NHL career and was paid enough money playing hockey to live the good life.  Now he has unloaded the Phoenix-area home he used when he played for the Coyotes in the twilight of his career.  We've got lots of pictures and snarky comments.

Thought for the Day

The strongest people aren't always the people who win, but the people who don't give up when they lose.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Thought for the Day

The superior man blames himself. The inferior man blames others.

Section 8 Housing Basics

Landlords out there, the Housing Choice Voucher Program, more commonly known as Section 8 housing may be the way to go.  There are advantages to participating in this rental-subsidy program, with the biggest one being the regular monthly check that comes from the government like clockwork.  Anyone who has heard excuses about sick relatives and car repairs can understand how important that can be.  Rental rates are mostly competitive.  Your property will need to pass an inspection.  Here's how to get into the program.

On the other hand, tenants who qualify can get needed assistance to live in a decent place with affordable terms.  That can be a huge quality of life plus.  Even if you, gentle reader, do not need to know this, you probably know somebody who does.  How to apply for section 8 housing?  Like this.

Downriver, Section 8 housing is coordinated by Wayne Metro Community Action Agency and local communities.  You can find them here.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Good News!

As many of you may know, I struggle to keep a human element in my business as a landlord.  It has at times cost me money.  One lesson I learned the hard way is that there is a point where you are not helping a tenant who is falling further and further behind in their obligations.

I thought I might have reached that point with one of my tenants recently.  Starting in December, he stopped paying rent.  Although he made a payment in January, it did not even cover the January bills.  Although I did not doubt their intentions, I wondered if they were in a place they could not afford.  The businessman in me was pushing to evict, but I wanted to give them another couple weeks.

On Thursday, the tenant gave me a large payment that went a long way to catching up, in spite of continuing difficulties the family is having.  I believe the rest of the money will be forthcoming soon.  Plus I was able to stay true to what I wanted this business to be like, with a human face and not just run by numbers.

Sometimes believing in people can have it's own reward.

Capitol Park Artist Lofts Can't Survive

Curbed Detroit examines the lofts in a downtown Detroit building at 1217 Griswold, in the Capitol Park neighborhood.  The falling-apart structure was recently purchased by Dan Gilbert (who buys EVERYTHING downtown) and current residents are being told to vacate the death trap so that it can be renovated.  Reports indicate it would never pass a code inspection currently.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thought for the Day

DISCIPLINE is just choosing between what you want NOW and want you want MOST.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thought for the Day

The worst mistake you may ever make is trying to persuade yourself to accept a false truth. 

Home Buyers Will Find Less Competition This Spring

First Time Homebuyers
"You really like the front door?  Of course we can buy it, honey!"

According to, people looking to find a home should find a little bit less competition this spring, especially at the low end.

Investors, who are more likely to come in with cash offers, are going to slow their activity compared to last year's buying frenzy.  Those investors spurred higher prices, which means that real estate becomes less attractive to them now.

“Real estate investors, both large and small, played a crucial role in helping to stabilize markets during the darkest days of the housing recession, but a decline in investor activity now isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and could have real benefits for buyers,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries.  (Okay, who else did not know they had a Chief Economist?)

There's a lot more analysis if you follow the link to their article.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Thought for the Day

God has a bigger plan for me than I have for myself.

Porsche Design Tower Miami (with video!)

Photos: Porsche Design Tower in Miami

Leave it to Porsche to put up rich digs for car lovers.

Down in Miami Beach, FL, they arebuilding what might be the ultimate in luxury condo living.  Prices start off at $4 million for the cheap units, and go to over $30 million for the penthouse.  One key feature of this design is the sky garages which take your car up to the unit, where you can then sit in your living room and keep an eye on your vintage 911 (or Rolls).

How they plan to do that is kind of cool, so I included this video to explain it:

The place is scheduled to open in 2016.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Thought for the Day

When you get yourself under complete control, you can be your own boss.

Mansion Tuesday: George Washington Did Not Sleep Here

But the garden of this Bingham Farms house is patterned after Mt. Vernon, so Washington would have felt right at home.  If the decor is any indication, there is probably a picture of him up on a wall somewhere, too.

This place, currently for sale for a hair under three million, is featured by the Freep.  I thought it worth passing along.

One interesting story in the article is about a previous owner coming back to review changes to the property.  But you can click through to read about that.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Wake Here All Over Again--Groundhog Day B&B For Sale

Apparently, if you have seen the movie, you recognize the place.  Since I never really have, I have to trust everyone on that.

But the Bed & Breakfast that was used to film the movie is definitely for sale, and for about $1 million.


Thought for the Day

Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Featured Listing: 47 Anchor, River Rouge

Last week we should you a Grosse Ile riverfront spec house.  Today, we take you to River Rouge for this foreclosure bargain.  We can use it to discuss what to look for in low-end housing purchases.

This is a starter property for someone who wants to quit renting.  You can't get a mortgage for this amount, so you usually have to have cash.  Still, it is a lot better financially than renting in this area.  You come out ahead after maybe two years or so.

Thought for the Day

You meet thousands of people, and none of them really mean anything to you. And then you meet one person, and your life is changed forever.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Thought for the Day

It’s not the epitaph on your tombstone but the record of your deeds that may perpetuate your name after death.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Real Costs of Transaction Costs

Buying and selling your home, or any other real estate, is more expensive than most people think.  The cost of selling your home run well past the five or six per cent commission to your broker.  Add in repairs to get the house up to market standards, carrying costs, title insurance, staging, and recording fees and you end up with about ten per cent of the sale, actually.  And don't forget that this percentage goes up for cheaper homes, because some of these costs are not proportional.

Thought for the Day

Being defeated is often a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Thought for the Day

To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail.

Magnum P.I. Slept Here, Now You Can

The house used in the beloved eighties show "Magnum, P.I." is up for sale.  And if you remember the show, you know this is not just some run-of-the-mill property.  This is Robin's Nest.  Actually, it's name is Pahonu (means "Turtle Enclosure").

Nope, this is in Hawaii, for starters.  Specifically Waimanalo.  Since real estate there is worth it's weight in pineapples, any house for sale costs an arm and a leg.  Then you put it on the ocean with great views.  Hit the multiplier button for the price.  Add in that it is a luxury estate and that a popular tv show filmed there and it becomes downright expensive.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Thought for the Day

Seldom is there any single right answer in business. Often there are any number of right answers. 

Habitat for Humanity is Awesome

Every so often, we plug Habitat for Humanity, especially their stores.  You can get donated or recycled building materials for a great price while helping a good cause.  There is a store in Monroe, along with one in Ann Arbor, Plymouth, and Detroit.  Unfortunately, the Monroe store website is down, so the link here is more generally about Habitat for Humanity.