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Wednesday, April 19, 2017   /   by Paul Wolfert

Really Thinking Outside the Box: Shipping Container Homes

By: Paul Wolfert


I don’t know about you, but when I used to hear the term “affordable housing” I’d think of value-priced Michigan condominium listings, some of the nicer area mobile home parks, or maybe fixer-uppers likely to be snatched up by professional house flippers (ultimately to become slightly less affordable housing).
When I heard “affordable housing,” I did not think “packing crate.” Nor did I think, “steamer trunk” or “storage unit.” That turns out to be entirely appropriate; nobody is volunteering to live in those.
Where I missed the boat was that I did not think, “shipping container.”
But that was then—this, as they say, is now. Those simpler days are behind us. Shipping containers, it turns out, are the latest in affordable housing. And I must say there are some real possibilities for tricked-out shipping container homes.
Before dismissing the idea out of hand, first, con ...

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017   /   by Paul Wolfert

Experts Shocked About Increase in New Home Sales

 By: Paul Wolfert


Michigan home sales do usually respond in the same seasonal pattern that’s common in most other areas.


Spring and summer lead the way for weather-related, financial, school scheduling and other family-related reasons. From now into well past July (and sometimes even August), home sales activity here in Michigan and beyond can be counted on to peak.


Those are the normal expectations.


But when any segment of U.S. house sales numbers quadruple expectations even before spring bulbs see daylight, that’s worthy of special attention.


That was the case last Thursday when the Commerce Department reported that in February, purchases of newly built homes rose by more than 6%. Since The Wall Street Journal’s panel of experts had forecast 1.4%, it drew headlines.
In fact, this was the second month in a row for sharp rises in U.S. new home sales—and what could be a bright sign for Michigan’s own prospects as the spri ...

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  paul wolfert, paul wolfert century 21, paul wolfert real estate, selling family home, michigan home sales, interest rates

Monday, March 27, 2017   /   by Paul Wolfert

Pricing Any Home in Michigan from Each Side

 By: Paul Wolfert



When it comes to the reality of pricing a home in Michigan, it’s natural that buyer’s and seller’s points of view reflect their different roles and objective.


In a way, they’re mirror images of each other.


From the seller’s point of view, pricing their Michigan home starts out from the reality check of the “comps”—the prices registered in recent comparable neighborhood sales. From there, the pricing decision revolves around the tradeoff between maximum asking price versus the desire for a speedy sale.


Even if there's no time pressure at all, serious sellers will still set the asking price below a level that indicates disregard for current market realities. Rather than communicating “this place is worth more than what people are willing to pay,” overpricing only serves to needlessly put off buyers and their agents.


If time pressure is an issue, experienced sellers will peg t ...

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Friday, March 24, 2017   /   by Paul Wolfert

Confidence and Emotions Affecting Michigan Real Estate Market

By: Paul Wolfert


The attachment we build to the places we live in is an easy-to-understand human emotion.


Almost everyone who has ever moved away from or sold a family home has experienced a sense of loss that can be overwhelming.


Those places are jam-packed with memories. Good, and bad.


But that’s only one of the emotional connections that come into play where real estate is involved.


Even though we tend to think of such important decisions as buying and selling Michigan real estate in more hard-headed terms, a host of complicated human factors can play an important role.


One of them is becoming more prominent—and is likely to grow more so as we move into Michigan’s peak spring and summer real estate selling season...the hard-to-pin-down factor of general well-being: the fuzzy—but real—sense of optimism or pessimism that’s shared by just about everyone.


It’s undeniable that when people feel good about the ...

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017   /   by Paul Wolfert

Rate Hike No Shock for Michigan Home Buyers

By: Paul Wolfert


Michigan house buyers and sellers shouldn’t have been at all surprised about last week’s Federal Reserve decision to kick up the Fed Funds short-term rates.


For once, anticipating the move had been easy. The surrounding factors—the economy, employment, and consumer confidence measures—were all in unison, pointing to a meaningful improvement now underway.


Already, a day before Wednesday’s announcement, Michigan readers could confirm what was coming: “Mortgage applications rise 3.1% as borrowers rush to lock in rates,” per CNBC on Tuesday; “Mortgage rates jump as economy revs up,” echoed MarketWatch.


The editors at CNNMoney, well aware that the “news” was not likely to gather much attention, wisely chose a more direct appeal by promising to explain “What a Fed rate hike means for you.” The listed major impacts:


savings accounts will pay more (it would be hard to im ...

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