Friday, October 31, 2014

Thought for the Day

If you’re going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big. - Donald Trump

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hottest Real Estate Markets, Overpriced in California

Fortune magazine has a list of 13 of the hottest real estate markets.  In this instance, "hottest" includes overvalued.  Most of the list are places in California (are you reading this, Neil Kramer?), but the number one market where prices have outpaced reality is in Texas.

Michigan did not have any places on this list, which is not really a shock.  Truth be told, this is a list of overbought areas where values are likely to drop or at least stagnate.  It is not the kind of list you really want to be on.  One of the things I like about this area is its affordability.

So let's be glad this is one list of top places that Michigan is not on.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Strathmoor Leads Group Who Bundled

Developer Herb Strathmoor has taken credit as being the focal point of the consortium who bid on the huge bundle of Detroit properties and has now won them.  Keep in mind that these properties were bundled together with the idea that they would not sell and then the Detroit Land Bank could try to make something of them.

I will have my own take on their plans later this week, but for now it is important to know that mr. Strathmoor already has tax leins on properties in Detroit.  Oopsie.


Art Van Elslander Mansion Sells at Auction

Aerial of the rear of the Art Van Elslander estate. To register to bid in the "absolute auction," a $200,000 certified check payable to the escrow agent, wire transfer or a personal check along with bank letter of guarantee is required, according to the brochure listing the sale.

The wonderful mansion of Art Van founder Art Van Elslander, after a year on the real estate market for $15.9 million, was sold at auction yesterday.  We have a link to the Detroit News story on this, but it was covered in other places as well.  It was for sale for a year before being put on the auction block.

Not just any ordinary auction.  In order to bid, you needed to deposit $200,000 in cash or certified funds.  How much the place went for and who bought it is still undisclosed.

We have previously covered the sale of the place, here and here.  It is absolutely stunning and might be the best residence in Michigan.

I'm just hoping the undisclosed bidder is not my wife.  Like many, she would love the place.  But we can't afford the yearly upkeep on a place like this.



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Thought for the Day

Opportunity lets you put your foot inside the door of success, but it doesn’t break the door down for you.

Monday, October 27, 2014

How People Violate Fair Housing Laws

When you are selling or renting a property, you want to avoid running afoul of the various anti-discrimination provisions.  Even if the Federal Government does not think you are worth going after, an aggrieved potential buyer or renter could bring their own lawsuit and hit your wallet.  Not to mention that some organizations, including government agencies, send undercover folks to see if they can find examples of discrimination.

Don't let your mistake on one day be the basis of legal trouble.  Instead, read up on the laws and stay clear of the kind of questions or comments that can get you in hot water.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Top Professions of Renters

So, when it comes to homes, who rents and who buys?  The answers might surprise you.

You probably think that people who own make more money.  And that is partially true.  But what about lawyers renting more than firemen?  And why are ballerinas renting so much?

Fortunately for us, the Wall Street Journal is on the case.

Part of the reason may lie in the fact that a lot of fireman have second jobs in some type of home improvement business.  Being handy, it is easier to own a home that you can DIY yourself.  At least that is my theory.

What do you think?  Any other results surprise you?  Feel free to leave your comments below.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Thought for the Day

Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Apps for Real Estate Investors

Memphis Real Estate Investing has a great post talking about apps investors should be using for their smart phone.  I plan to check out a few of these that I did not know about.

I especially am interested in the app for CRT.  By the way, there are good suggestions for both Apple and Android phones.


Thought for the Day

If you don’t believe it yourself, don’t ask anyone else to do so.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thought for the Day

Rage against the Dying of the Light!

My Thoughts on the Detroit Bankruptcy

I posted these thoughts on Bigger Pockets in response to this thread, but thought it might be interesting to see what blog readers think.  The discussion basically centered on why Detroit went bankrupt and what the future held.  Feel free to comment below.
1) A portion of Detroit's deficit can be attributed to changes in the state's municipal funding system, changes which victimized urban and fully developed areas and rewarded small towns and open areas.  When the state ran into their own financial issues, they chose to cut local revenue sharing (meant to replace other money lost in another tax change).  That change alone meant $200 million less for Detroit.
2) The real estate collapse hit Detroit worse than just about anywhere else.  Tax revenues plummeted.  Then, thanks to certain unique aspects of Michigan law, residential taxes did not bounce back when prices bounced back up.  It will be 2028 before taxable valuations are at 2008 levels.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

UPDATED: 6000+ Homes Bundle in Tax Auction Has a Bidder

Wayne County bundled 6,350 properties together in their most recent round of tax auctions.  Instead of the usual starting price of $500, these were grouped together.  Probably about 2,000 of those are vacant lots, and another 3,000 or so are beyond help and will need to be demolished.

The $3,183,500 bid relieves the Detroit Land Bank of the estimated $24 million cost to demolish those homes, so Detroit officials have got to be happy about that.  Rumors are that others may yet bid and drive the price up. 

So the buyers get 1300 decent houses, 3000 that need torn down, and 2000 vacant lots. $24 million to demolish the bad ones should be figured into the bid. The vacant lots are not worth anything, really. $27 mil to 1300 decent houses works out to about 21000/house, unless they figure they can do the demolitions cheaper. Sounds like a win-win to me.

The auction ends in seven days.


Bam! The House Won't Sell!

Poor Emeril Lagasse.  His New Orleans mansion has been on the market since March of 2013, cut the asking price several times, and still has not sold.  You can read my own theory on why after the jump.

I know you want to see what the kitchen looks like.  Here it is.

6700 square feet, great location, four bedrooms, four baths, three first floor powder rooms, a 1500 sq. ft. kitchen (bigger than many people's entire houses), this place has it all.  And yet, from the initial ask of $1.625 million dropping down to $1,45 mil, nary a purchaser in sight.

Bam!  Living Room is kicked up a notch!

Thought for the Day

Successful people are decisive people. When opportunities come their way, they evaluate them carefully, make a decision, and take appropriate action. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Thought for the Day

Too many people spend more time planning their weekends than their future. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Thought for the Day

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

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Miters for your Mouldings

Glue and Sand for a Seamless Fit

Family Handyman is a great site for good information for non-professionals (like YOU!).  Here are some tips on mitering corners if you follow the link.


Thought for the Day

Don't compare your progress with that of others. We all need our own time to travel our own distance.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Kelly Ripa Sells Her NY Place

kelly ripa's living room
Living room of the penthouse, featuring a great staircase.

Kelly Ripa and her husband have sold their New York penthouse for $20 million.  I'm not going to go into all of the details (that's what links are for), but I will put up a gratuitous picture of Kelly.


Thought for the Day

Sometimes it is wiser to join forces with opponents than to fight them.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fear the Professional Tenant

There are unscrupulous tenants out there who will game the system and make life miserable for you if you rent to them.  Even though you treat them fairly and are honest, they will lie to your face and use legal delays to live rent-free in your place until you can finally get rid of them thousands of dollars later.  Then they will move on to their next victim.

I had a bad experience with one of these, although he was more passive and played on my sympathies for his family than anything else.  He just wanted to live there as cheap as possible and did, until I got a court order to evict them.  Sadly, future tenants needing a bit of understanding will pay the price for his manipulations.

A landlord and attorney in Massachusetts with some experience in these matters offers some helpful hints on spotting these people before they get approved to live in your place.

I'd be interested in hearing from the other side of this,  Anybody want to share a bad landlord story?


Thought for the Day

Instead of complaining about what you don’t like about your job, start commending what you do like and see how quickly it improves.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Metro Detroit Home Prices Soar, Especially in Hot Spots

DFP 1010_real_estate_hot_spot.jpg
This nice couple from South Lyon are in the middle of a real estate
market upswing more dramatic than we are seeing Downriver.
It's no secret that Metro Detroit real estate prices are going up, and have been for a while.  After the big crash in the second half of the last decade, up is about all they could go.

What is not so apparent, but should be known, is that not all areas are going up uniformly.  Some areas lead the pack and some areas lag.  In our area, we have no leaders, at least according to the article.  We do have a laggard, Romulus.

Statistics don't lie.  I am not shocked that the Grosse Pointes are once again in vogue.  What I don't understand is why more people do not realize the great neighborhoods and cities Downriver and give them a little love.  Our area gets an unfair rap, in my humble opinion.

Oh well, read the story in the Free Press anyways.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Thought for the Day

Never stand begging for that which you have the power to earn. - Miguel de Cervantes

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Thought for the Day

If you have the will to succeed, you will somehow find a way, regardless of the obstacles you encounter.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Florida Mansion is Most Expensive Listing in USA

I could not resist.  I had such fun last year covering a Greenwich, CT listing (Copper Beech Farm) which, at $140 million, was the most expensive listing in the country at the time.  I told our intrepid readers when it had a Black Friday sale moment.  I shared when it finally sold.

In my mind, part of the value of that property was the location.  This new mansion seems to be priced more on the basis of the building itself, although to be sure it is still an awesome location with a lot of oceanfront.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ellen DeGeneres, Real Estate Mogul


This is worth a look, even if the news is from the summer.

Ellen DeGeneres bought a house in Los Angeles for $40 million.  Right after she did her renovations, Napster founder Sam Parker wanted to buy it for $55 million.  So Ellen said, "Uh, okay" or something like that.

TMZ has the scoop.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Thought for the Day

I may not have my dream life at this moment, but each day it's worth striving to reach toward that dream to make it a reality.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Art Van's Spectacular Estate On Auction Block

The Lake St. Clair-facing rear view and back yard of the Art Van Elslander estate in Grosse Pointe Shores.  The estate of the Art Van Furniture founder and his wife, Mary Ann, is up for auction. It was initially listed for $15.9 million on the Grand Estates Auction Co. website.

The founder of Art Van furniture is selling his house.  Everything must go!  You get the bargains!  Buy now!  Free financing for five years!

We're kidding about the financing, but the exclusive abode of Art Van Elslander has been for sale for over a year at $15.9 million without a sale, so now it is going up for auction, instead.  Considering that this is the highest listing price ever in Michigan, it was going to take a certain type of buyer (paging Dan Gilbert!) at the right time to make a sale on this.  So to the auction house it goes.  The Detroit News has the info, along with a ton of great pictures from the auction listing.  Put your bids in on October 28th.

We wrote about this place before, when it first went up for sale last year.  Actually, we had a wittier headline when we wrote about it before, too.  At the time, we called it "the best place in Michigan to live."  It is spectacular.  A lot more pictures after the jump:

The Art Van Elslander estate in Grosse Pointe Shores.

Thought for the Day

It is easy to be objective when it comes to criticizing our friends, family members, and business associates, but it is far more difficult to be honest about our own shortcomings.