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Tim White's Blog

By Tim White | Agent in Hart, MI
  • The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly in Real Estate News

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Hart  |  October 23, 2009 11:27 AM  |  1,797 views  |  No comments

    I just took a look at my inbox, and saw my latest Weekly Real Estate News from Realtor (R) Online Magazine, and it prompted the title for this post. If you were expecting Clint Eastwood, sorry to disappoint. You can always make your way to the video store.

    THE GOOD

    Big Rebound in Existing-Home Sales

    "Existing-home sales bounced back strongly in September with first-time buyers driving much of the activity, marking five gains in the past six months, according to the National Association of REALTORS®."

    YAY! We all love hearing good news! Our office in Hart, MI has seen a dramatic upswing in activity this month. 

    Source: http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2009102301?OpenDocument

    THE BAD

    Some Housing Analysts Predict Declines in 2010

    "A new housing price forecast predicts that home values will drop an average of 11.3 percent in 342 out of 381 markets by June 30, 2010."

    Source: http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2009102003?OpenDocument

    BOO! Not exactly a shocker, however. The real estate market here in Hart, MI has seen a decline in property values, like the rest of the country. 

    THE UGLY

    IRS Investigates Home Tax Credit Claims

    "The IRS has identified 167 of what it calls “criminal schemes” involving the credit. The IRS refused Monday to elaborate about the problem."

    Source: http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2009102002?OpenDocument

    EEK! Anything having to do with the IRS is ugly. Keep your nose clean on this one. If you have questions about whether or not you qualify, consult your accountant. Realtors are great sources of knowledge about real estate, but for tax info, hit up your CPA.

    There's your summary of real estate news, courtesy of Tim White, your Realtor in Hart, MI. Hope you enjoyed it. Now stop whistling that damn tune, and get back to work.


  • Creative Ways to Get Homes Sold

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Hart  |  October 23, 2009 8:56 AM  |  1,849 views  |  No comments

    If you're like me, you're sick of hearing the phrase, "Think outside the box." I've been outside the box for so long now, I can't even see the dang box anymore!

    I have had some success this year by utilizing some unorthodox means to get my real estate deals in Oceana County closed, however. The most prominent, by far, is not even original, just a resurgence of an old practice from the '80's. That's right, the infamous LAND CONTRACT.

    I have two pending sales right now that I wouldn't have had I not been able to educate both buyer and seller as to the benefits of a land contract (or a purchase money mortgage, but that's a whole 'nother blog in and of itself).

    In one of these deals, I represented the buyer, and the seller was not offering LC as one of the terms. My buyer had a three year old foreclosure, was working on repairing some credit divots, and financing wasn't looking likely. My home buyer needed a home, though, so I got flexible. I took the time to prepare a package that would excite the seller, and convince him to entertain a land contract. This is the step that I think a lot of people are missing.

    The package contained a credit report, a letter of explanation regarding the failings of the credit report, income verification (including length of employment), proof of funds for the down payment, our offer, and our earnest money deposit. Working with the seller's agent, we presented the package, and the seller accepted our offer.

    Now, I have had many calls from agents who will call on one of my listings and just ask, "Will the seller take a land contract?" In most cases, the answer would simply be, "No." (Unless, of course, the seller and I had already agreed to that in the original listing contract.)

    I have taken to getting in the practice of asking the agent to prepare a package like I described above. I then present the whole package to the seller, and have been pleasantly surprised when a few of them changed their stance and accepted a land contract offer.

    I'm not suggesting that land contracts are the answer to everything. Obviously there are issues that come into play that must be addressed, such as "due-on-sale" clauses which are in most every mortgage agreement. The seller may also need the funds to move onto their next home. So no, LC's are not for every situation.

    I do firmly believe, however, that if you're not educating your buyers and sellers on the possibilities of a land contracts and purchase money mortgages, you're missing out on business, and I don't know anyone in Michigan that can afford to do that these days.


  • Doom & Gloom Real Estate Headlines Are Misleading

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Michigan  |  April 20, 2009 5:06 PM  |  375 views  |  No comments

    "March Housing Construction Drops 10.8 Percent"

    By now you've probably seen headlines like this one. It's dramatic, it sounds like the world is ending for real estate, and it is just the kind of dramatic overstatement that makes me gag when I read the news. But have you actually READ the article? I've linked it to the headline.

    Believe it or not, there's actually a lot of good news in there. The article explains that the percentage is based largely on the fact that multi-family home starts (apartments) are down, but in fact, single family home starts have stabilized. Here are two excerpts from the article which belie the headline:

    "The much larger single-family sector actually stabilized in March at an annual rate of 358,000 units, the same level as February when single-family starts managed a small 0.6 percent rise."

    "The bad news is that home construction is still in the tank. The good news is that single-family activity may finally be stabilizing," - Joel Naroff, an economist at Naroff Economic Advisers

    question mark

    So why the mixed message? No, wait, scratch that. Why the completely misleading, borderline outright lie of a headline? The answer is simple: bad news sells.

    The media has adopted an attitude that no one wants good news. I am a fan of Fox News, which is where this article comes from. However, they are often just as prone to adopting this attitude as anyone else.

    As a Realtor, I find it encouraging that apartment starts are down. This means that people are buying homes, and are less interested in renting. With low interest rates and low prices, the consumer is realizing that renting is not their only option.

    Now, more than ever, it is extremely important that we perform as real estate educators, and not just salespersons. We have to counter this type of negativity, and make people aware that the sky is truly not falling.

    Somebody get on the phone and tell Chicken Little he can come out, we're going to be OK. All we need is a healthy dose of reality. We've seen an increase in home sales in West Michigan real estate, and I'm doing my part to make sure the word gets out. You can help by reblogging and linking this blog to everyone you know.

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