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Reported to day: Grand Rapids will be having a foreclosure forum to talk about the steps to stay out of foreclosure or what to do if you are heading that way. See the Grand Rapids Press for more information.
Date: February 14th
Where: Delta Plex
Property taxes tend to adjust a lot in the first year or two of you purchasing your home. This tends to happen because the local assessor’s office is now aware of the true value of the home. The home may have been well under assessed if the seller of the property owned the home for several years.
Here is how you can tell if you are paying the right amount of property taxes. In January 2008 you should receive a statement from your assessor’s office that looks like this. I have included an example that should help you recognize the form I am describing.
To figure out how accurate your assessment is, you must take the taxable value times two. This is not a perfect test, but it will get you very close to paying the correct amount of property taxes. When you take the taxable value times two and the amount you come up with is much higher than your home is worth you should act immediately.
Disputing your taxable value to the local assessor’s office usually requires immediate action. In the City of Grand Rapids, the assessment form is sent some time in January, and the dispute form has to be delivered to their office by the middle of February. Time is of the essence with most assessors’ offices. Your best bet is to contact your local assessor’s office immediately if you would like to dispute your taxable value and ask them what is the easiest and most efficient way to go about getting this corrected.
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Home Staging a living room need not be a daunting task. Keep in mind that the function of a formal living room is plain and simple, a cozy room to invite friends to sit to have a conversation. If you are fortunate enough to have a formal living room, it is wise to market the “formal” in the room. This means no televisions, exercise equipment, or toys.
When determining how to stage the living room, stand in the doorway at which buyers will first be entering, usually the foyer. Ask yourself, “Does the room invite me to want to come in and sit? Is there a clear path to maneuver around the room without having to swerve around the furniture?” If not, the furniture needs rearranging and if your home is like most, it may have too much furniture for marketing the house for sale. Furniture should also fit the scale of the room. Oversized couches and chairs make a room look smaller.
In Grand Rapids, fireplaces are a sought after feature so if your living room has a fireplace it should be played up as the focal point of the room. This is accomplished through the placement of furniture and decor. Personal items and collections should be packed away so they do not distract buyers and little hands don’t disturb them. When selecting décor, keep in mind that Grand Rapids is generally a conservative community. Simple décor is what we are looking to achieve so remove any excess books or knick-knacks and replace them with a few larger, tastefully selected items. Remember, a buyer is looking to purchase your house, not your stuff – effective home staging places the emphasis on the product for sale, the house.
Ample lighting, especially in the winter months, also helps to reveal the appeal of your living room. Make sure you have enough lamps to light the entire room sufficiently. All drapes and blinds should be open to let in as much natural light as possible. This may unveil some flaws that you haven’t noticed so carefully inspect the carpet, trim, and walls. Freshly cleaned carpet, painted walls (in a warm, neutral color), and sparkling windows will impress buyers that you have taken care of the home.Contributed to GrandRapidsResource.com by: Heidi Herbruck at Simply Staged
How to finance a foreclosure has been a popular question for me lately in this Grand Rapids, Michigan Market. There are many homes in Grand Rapids, Michigan that in foreclosure right now that many purchases that I’ve financed over the past 6-12 months have been properties that have been foreclosed on. A home goes into foreclosure when the original owner of the home fails to keep the commitment of the original loan they signed when they purchased or refinanced the home. Once the foreclosure process is complete, the bank will typically become the owner of the home.
Financing options for a home that has been foreclosed on is not that much different than if you were buying a home from a family that is living in the home. The main difference is that you are negotiating with a bank who is the owner and not an individual or a family. Mortgage options for a buyer are still based on credit scores, income level, down payment or assets available, and the property type.
The biggest concern most lenders have when lending money on a home that is in foreclosure is the current condition of property. Foreclosure is a difficult thing for anyone to go through and often times a disgruntled home owner will destroy or take many of the big ticket items from a home with them when they are forced out of the home. I have seen people take out kitchen sinks, counter tops, flooring, water heaters, plumbing fixtures, etc…
The media glamorizes the opportunity to make a lot of money on foreclosures. I believe there are great opportunities to buy today and it may not necessarily mean the only good deals are on bank owned properties. When purchasing a home you have to ask yourself, what is my motivation for purchasing a particular home? Do you want to purchase a home for your family to live in for the next 10 years that will not require a lot of work? Do you want to buy a property that is terrible condition, renovate it, and sell it as quickly as possible? Any type of home purchase is a large investment and whether a home has been foreclosed on or not should not be the end all reason for purchasing a particular property.
If you are interested in purchasing foreclosures or other distressed properties I would suggest seeking out the advice of a couple professionals early on in the process. This type of transaction has the potential to be more complicated than most and requires the skill and expertise of experienced mortgage professionals and Realtors.
I look forward to hearing any questions or concerns you may have about this post. Please let me know if there is anything specific you would like to hear from me about.
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