Posted in community, Finding a great Realtor, goal setting, Midland Saginaw Real Estate, Motivation, Planning, real estate, Realtor, Succeed

Overcoming Adversity

Come on, Rise to the Challenge, Persistence Pays, Stick with It, are all a few common phrases that we hear when people talk about facing adversity.  Can a couple words actually help?  What is it that really allows us to overcome adversity and why do some people do so well and others often seem mired down continuously?

 

I don’t think a phrase in and of itself is going to help us much when we are faced with adversity. And let’s be honest – we all face it and all too often whether it is in the workforce or our home life.  As a Realtor, I face it often.  You may think that sounds crazy, as many people’s perceptions and expectations of a Realtor are very low.  Granted there will always be agents who live up to that low expectation, just like in any field. However, as a professional with two degrees under her belt and more importantly, decades of experience I can tell you the real estate world is full of adversity of varying degrees.

 

In real estate I face a couple different types. The first is pretty plain and simple – how do I get enough business to survive in this dog-eat-dog arena?  The second is the type of adversity I face with clients.  Sometimes this is personal, but I’m focusing more on the struggles that we face in trying to close a deal.  A couple of recent examples have been, a buyer whose employer changed their manner of payment in the middle of a deal.  The buyer being a caretaker had always received one bi-weekly check for taking care of multiple people. Week 3 of the deal, the employer decides to pay by the patient and the buyer now receives 7 different checks.  This throws the lender into a fit. How can they verify the income? We’re involved with a big bank, supposed to close this next week.  Seller wants to walk because we should already have the clear to close and now we need to postpone. It all sounds ridiculous to us but this is out of our control.  We can’t do the bank’s work for them.  What can I do?  Well, yes I can rise to the challenge and be persistent.  What does this mean specifically?  That’s where overcoming adversity becomes possible – find out the specifics.  In this case I needed to speak with the lender daily.  I needed to speak to the seller’s agent daily to quiet their fears, to show them the income hadn’t changed, to talk to them about how putting it back on the market meant starting over and possibly a worse deal, etc. I needed to keep the spirits of my buyer up so they didn’t get frustrated over what seemed such stupidity and let them walk away.  It took an extra 3 weeks, but my buyer is now happily in his new home and the sellers walked away with their check.

 

How about when as a listing agent you recommend strongly that the seller make some type of improvement that you know (from years of experience) it will not only make their home sell faster and for a higher amount – and they choose not to follow your direction?  They may even think they know more about real estate than you do! What can we do?  Stay the Course of course.  Find those facts, show them homes that sell, dig up examples, find out how your seller’s brain works – will they respond to statistics? Or will they be more affected by photos of before and after? Approaching it one step at a time until you find out what works.

 

Your adversity is different than mine. We all have our own struggles.  Though the cliché phrases aren’t going to do anything, if we think about how those phrases came about – we are on the right track to overcoming.  What does it actually entail to “Stay the Course” or “Rise to the Challenge”? Figure out what the end result needs to be. Then step by step work toward that result.  Life is not full of many one way streets.  We may have to re-route or recalculate a few times along the way.  But if you have a goal/end result that is the most important thing.  Once we know where we want to be, we will figure out a way to get there.  It may not all be clear at the beginning.  But, we’re way smarter than we usually give ourselves credit for.  Decide what you want and then go. And as another familiar saying says, Just Do It!

Posted in bay city, Bay City Michigan, Buying Homes, community, Finding a great Realtor, goal setting, Home Buyers, Home Selling Tips, midland, Midland Michigan, Midland Saginaw Real Estate, real estate, Real Estate Bay Midland Saginaw, Real Estate Market Statistics, Realtor, saginaw, Selling Homes, Selling Your Home, Tips for selling your home faster, Uncategorized

Less Sales – Higher Prices for Saginaw County

Based on number of transactions, March 2017 fell short in Saginaw County home sales when compared to a very robust March of last year, and even behind the 5 year March average. Don’t despair! If you are a buyer or seller there is still good news.

Despite the lower number of sales, Saginaw’s 12 month average sales price ending in March 2017 was at $104,314. This is up 3.33% over last year at the same time. I remember back in 2008 when the average home sale was at a whopping $64,143 – so we’ve made a lot of progress getting back to the “Pre-crash” price in 2005 and the average was just over $107,000.

Lots of numbers. What does it mean? Well, we can’t really formulate a trend from the low March sales. I’ll be keeping an eye on it to see if it was a statistical anomaly for the month. A slow March in essence is really a slowdown of activity in January. The plus side is the increase in home values for our various communities. That’s good news for sellers.  This in turn, realistically is also good for buyers.  Why? Well, all year we’ve seen low inventory of good homes.  As word spreads that home prices are continuing to rise, more sellers are likely to get their homes on the market. This gives a buyer more choices, which also gives them more leverage when making an offer.

The March trend was different for Bay and Midland Counties, despite how closely tied our Mid-Michigan communities are.  Bay County saw 25% more transactions this March over last year which is great; however the average sales price rose less than 1%.  Midland also saw about a 20% increase in number of transactions over last March plus had a 6.13% increase in values.

Quarterly reports should be out soon and that will perhaps give a little more insight as to whether March was a trend or an anomaly. Always good to keep in touch with the heartbeat of your community.  If you would like to know more specific information for your area, please feel free to call or email me. If you’d like to receive a free home market analysis – I’d love to hear from you.

~Build a better world by building a better you

  • Monique Gilbert – Your Real Estate Matchmaker – Connecting Buyers & Sellers for a Perfect Match
Posted in bay city, Bay City Michigan, Buying Homes, community, Finding a great Realtor, Home Buyers, midland, Midland Michigan, Midland Saginaw Real Estate, real estate, Real Estate Bay Midland Saginaw, Realtor, saginaw, Uncategorized

Is Real Estate Investing For You?

Recently Saginaw was deemed the 2nd Best Housing Market in the United States. I know that seems to be contrary to what most people think when they ponder the state of Saginaw, with its loss of population and manufacturing jobs over the past decade.  There were a lot of factors that went into the study which gave us this infamous title. Though many of the factors are good things for us; higher number of residential sales in 2016 than any other in 10 years, average sales price climbing, etc – there’s more to it than that; and it and of itself could be a series of articles. But my point today is with the current changes in our market, could real estate investing be a good avenue for you?

If you are active in the stock market you are well aware of the volatility over the past years. If you’re toward the end of your working age, or recently retired – you may have had to make drastic changes to your retirement plans due to extensive losses.  What do you consider a good Return On Investment? (ROI) Many in the stock market are averaging 5-8%. You might be thrilled at a higher amount.

What if you purchased a home for $25,000 and put in $3,000 of repairs and rented it for $650-$800/month? Taking out taxes and insurance, even on a $650/month home, your income would be about $5,500. That in one year would be an APR ROI of almost 20%. Granted, you will occasionally need to do maintenance, perhaps pay a fee to a property management company. I would always suggest that for the first year, all of your rental income be kept in a designated savings account for future maintenance issues, as well as a good 10-15% each year.

With this income of 19.6%ROI annually, you would have a steady income and when the day came you wanted to sell, history tells us that you should get at least 100% of your original investment back as well. Why isn’t everyone doing this? Well, a lot of people are. I don’t have any stats about the percent of homes being purchased in Saginaw by out of area investors but I know it is much higher than any other time in the past ten years.

Let me be very clear that being a landlord, even if you hire a property management company, is not risk free.  You need to do a great job in selecting tenants (or the PM co. does) You need to be sure you’re setting those maintenance funds aside. There will be tenants who do crazy things and cost you money.

You may decide the risk for damages would be less if you were dealing with more expensive rentals. For example I recently had a client who purchased a home for $60,000 in the Township and then rented it for $1300/month.  That’s an awesome ROI, but a higher initial investment. You have to do what you think is best. And that might be nothing at all! But I believe it bears thinking about.

If you think investing might be worth looking into, feel free to call or email me. We have a great property management division here at Berkshire Hathaway too. If you want some honest advice I would be happy to sit down with you.

 

Posted in bay city, Bay City Michigan, Best Time to Sell, Buying Homes, community, Finding a great Realtor, Home Buyers, midland, Midland Michigan, Midland Saginaw Real Estate, real estate, Real Estate Bay Midland Saginaw, Realtor, saginaw, Selling Homes

…Giving Your Character That Ravishing Red…

Dear Friends:

Fall has been beautiful thus far and soon the festivities of Thanksgiving shall begin. We shall see gourds, pumpkins, shocks of corn, cornucopias, and turkeys galore. Though I personally am not much looking forward to the wintry mix that is sure to soon follow; Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite day of the year.

It is a time I am able to take just a very short break and surround myself with family, my extended family. All five of my siblings, their children, and grandchildren gather at my parents for a day or two of full tabletops, glorious wafting smells arising from the oven, mixed with laughter of children and adults alike. We have pillow fights, card games, leaf wars, football, and more.  I am blessed to have a family who loves to share these types of days together. I am blessed also that we have a wonderful home to gather in and enough in the bank to put whatever we’d like in the oven and on that table.

I encourage you, even if you aren’t a Thanksgiving Day “celebrator”, to take this opportunity to inventory those things in which you can be thankful.  As we watch the leaves turn from their bright greens to ravishing reds, glorious golds, and soft yellows we can turn our thoughts to the changes in our own lives from the past year. Maybe it wasn’t an easy year – those struggles leaving you stronger in the end, giving your character that ravishing red. Maybe there were wonderful celebrations providing you with glorious golden memories, and those little moments to cherish like the soft yellow leaves twirling down in the fall winds.  Whatever has transpired this year; we all have things to be thankful for.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, & change ordinary opportunities into blessings” – William Arthur Ward

Blessings to you and yours,

Monique Gilbert

Posted in Best Time to Sell, Buying Homes, community, Home Buyers, home ownership, Home Selling Tips, real estate, Real Estate Market Statistics, Realtor, saginaw, Selling Homes, Selling Your Home, Tips for selling your home faster

It Is NOT Too Late!

Spring, spring! It’s gotta be Spring or it’s too late! That’s what sellers often think of in regard to home sales. Reality says, it isn’t so. Sure, the highest peak months might be May and June, but looking at the graphs you will most likely be surprised that the only two really low months for closed sales are January and February.

Sales in Saginaw & Midland Counties are up in general this year (yay!) Looking at the graphic below; you can see two things. First you’ll see the difference between the 5 year average and 2016.  Most importantly if you’re thinking of selling, you will see there is not a huge drop-off. Homes are being sold EVERY month.

There is always a market for good inventory.  I would love to give you a free market analysis on your home if you’re thinking of selling or be your buyer agent for those of you looking for that new home of your dreams. Call me today! 989-475-2958!

Graph

Posted in For Sale by Owner, real estate, Realtor

Won’t I net more as a For Sale by Owner versus using a Realtor?

When you see a Realtor pose a question about a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) versus Realtor you may naturally assume I’d side with using a Realtor. But you may not know that I am one of the few crazy people who can say, “I love to do research!”. After beginning to design a marketing campaign geared toward assisting FSBO’s; with the hope that they may end up listing with me down the road – I decided to find out the real answer to the above question, “Won’t I net more as a FSBO versus using a Realtor?”. It sounds logical, right? What does the research say? Also as importantly to me, what are the motivating factors that cause people to try selling their own home, aside from believing they will make more profit? And so began my search…..

Statistics showed a resounding “NO” to the title question. You will not make more money selling your home by yourself. Not only that, but FSBO’s take an average of 19 more days to sell. Also when you consider that about 20% of FSBO’s end up listing with an agent, that average lengthens to an extra 68 days. The average difference between what homes sell for with a Realtor and FSBO more than compensates for the brokerage fee. The national average broker fee is $15,000 but the average amount Realtors garner versus FSBO in home price is $40,000. So, statistically speaking, you should be ahead of the game both financially and time-wise by listing with a Real Estate Professional.

While reading through dozens of articles online, I tried first to focus on institutions for the research facts, like the National Association for Realtors and independent entities like Quicken Loans. After that I switched gears and read some blogs and personal testimonials of people who sold or unsuccessfully attempted to sell For Sale By Owner. I wanted to know what their biggest hurdles were in the process and as stated earlier, why they went that route in the first place. Let’s take a look at those hurdles first.

Ever hear of or been a parent who was confused by their 6th grade child’s math homework? I remember being confused when my 2nd grader came home with math and it asked for her to rename the equations. I had no idea what that meant. After being stumped for half an hour I finally called the teacher, feeling like an idiot – only to be told that renaming was what we had called borrowing back in my day. Oh – pretty simple subtraction. So here I am a college graduate twice over, stumped by 2nd grade math. Why? The language. It appears that FSBO sellers biggest hurdle is the paperwork, the language. It’s not because they’re not smart, but unfamiliar. Did you know you can lose out on thousands of dollars just by having your taxes prorated in arrears if you’re in an area that customarily does them in advance? By not being familiar with language in the Purchase Agreement or title work – it could literally cost you big bucks.

How about pricing? As a home-owner it’s not easy to pull up what all the neighborhood homes have sold for. Sold prices are what appraisers and Realtors use to assess your home’s value.  Current list prices don’t necessarily reflect value. If someone isn’t willing to pay it; it isn’t worth it.  Combine the difficulty of finding sold comps and accurately pricing with the fact that only 2% of interested buyers will look at your home if they believe it to be even 10% above Fair Market Value – you could be in trouble. The first three weeks are crucial when selling a home. It is by far the greatest period of activity. If your price isn’t right from the get-go, you are eliminating a huge number of prospects.

I would state that especially in a market like Mid-Michigan; the inability to effectively market a home is the greatest trial of a FSBO. It is true there are more options for marketing now than in the past, but it just isn’t possible to get down all the avenues without having it listed by a Realtor.  When I list a home it goes to more than 1000 websites. Considering that 43% of people first find their home online; that is an important factor. The second biggest way people find homes is directly through a Realtor, 33%. The largest piece of that 43% of people who find homes online first; is marketing done by Realtors.

I’m surely not saying that selling your home yourself is impossible. In some markets, you may have the perfect home in the perfect location and it will fly right out the door. Looking at the cold hard facts though, your Realtor could be worth their weight in gold – – ok, maybe not quite but an average $40K higher is pretty good, plus you don’t have all the headaches. I do want to note that aside from “saving” money, the other biggest reason people list their own homes is because of previous experiences with a bad agent. Yup! They’re out there. I’d like to write a little bit more on that – what’s bad, what’s good, what should you expect? Since I can’t wrap that all up in a two sentence nutshell; I’ll put it in my next post.

If you are currently listing your home FSBO  and are having a hard time, please feel free to message me. I’d be more than happy to help you out, no matter where you are – no pressure, just good advice from years of experience. Have a super awesome day!

Here are a few of the first articles I read. The Public Relations Princess testimonial by Claire was a great insight from a FSBO experience.

http://www.realtor.org/         http://www.quickenloans.com/blog/sale-owner-pros-cons-seller

http://visual.ly/realtors-vs-sale-owners        http://www.realtor.com/advice/why-fsbo-sales-fail/

http://www.publicrelationsprincess.com/2012/07/for-sale-by-owner-vs-hiring-a-realtor-a-true-story.html