Tag: real estate industry (page 1 of 3)

Let’s Talk Specifics: Real Problems With Race Inequality In Grand Rapids Real Estate

Redlining…that old fashioned sounding thing that is still happening…hopefully due to the lag of new ideas replacing old habits…It’s not OVERT racism: saying out loud that one person is better than another because of the color of their skin. It’s COVERT racism: you say out loud that everyone matters, but behind the scenes you do things to treat a person of color as less than, or you take actions to bolster white privilege.


Need to catch up: Read Let’s Talk History: Real Problems with Race Inequality In Grand Rapids Real Estate here. 


Rewind to The Housing Crisis in 2008…

What role did race play? Hypothesis: the wealth disparity correlates to race, with minorities making less…and lower income households were the first to face foreclosure, and suffer from lower home prices?

Let’s paint the picture:redlining

Housing bubble- pop! Pop Quiz: Mortgages

Decline in home prices + high household debt (MBS + CDO) people selling for less than they owe = subprime mortgage crisis (higher interest rates – lower credit or capacity to pay = default)

In our local news the Rapidian in an article called Seeing Red…”loans made to African-Americans were down by 65.9% while loans to whites were only down by 21.4% in the city.” That’s inequality.

How does that happen?!

Once Again, It’s Called Redlining. Here Is HOW It Is Done…Here Is a 2016 Example:

Art-Aldrich_332x332Meet Arthur (Art) Aldrich is a Mortgage Lender with Chemical Bank.

His bio says…”common sense approach to lending…

I am experienced in all conforming and portfolio products.”

You know what has been “common sense” in the last century? Keeping minorities in minority neighborhoods…lending to whites and not as much to minorities. See percentages above. Or go drive around Grand Rapids.

With experience it would be possible to stay within legal bounds but still accomplish a goal of covert discrimination. Mr. Aldrich had a young lady come to him with a mortgage package. She’s mixed – with mixed parents, and from Grand Rapids. She’s working full time at a job that pays 30,000-40,000 per year. She qualifies for a 100,000 mortgage. She won a bid on a house for 85,000…AND she wasn’t the highest bidder…but her realtor wrote a letter explaining this woman’s line of work, how hard she works, how she has a daughter she’s raising with full custody.

Mr. Aldrich wasn’t the first loan officer to look at her application and let it sit…and sit…and sit…on his desk. The last guy realized really late in the game that his bank couldn’t take the grant she had for her down payment…that’s why things were taking so long…Because she was not able to save thousands of dollars due to lower income, so she qualified for a grant…yet the grant barred her from service.

Keeping the down, down. Sound familiar? We feel your pain, woman.

So – Art says, “Sure..” We deal with that grant’s red tape…and then he Redlined her. He did not touch her application while telling her he was…while his superiors had been contacted by the realtor…assuring her the same…still…throwing a closing day further into the future…near 60 days…

This woman, business professional, calm-cool-collected walks in, “I’ve been displaced from my home, and my car broke down. It’s totaled because of the cost of parts, so I am trying to look into a car loan and I cannot get one because this mortgage is still in process… where is it at in the process? Can I talk to someone?” And the tellers say, “…are busy. You’ll have to come back later.” She can make eye-contact with Mr. Aldrich. He can hear her. He ignores her. art aldrich

Mr. Aldrich did nothing. And that is his crime, and that’s why it’s hard to pin him for “nothing” and probably why it keeps happening! It’s easy.

Her story has a happy ending…she switched banks, who are aware of these impropr, subtle, yet cruel business practices – awareness – acknolwedgement – compassion –

She got her paperwork back from the third bank in a mere two weeks, and the seller’s also aware – and compassionate waited. 

Sometimes redlining of this sort works because of competition – someone else gets there first, first come first served.

The first will be last…I’ve heard somewhere…

Here’s News Though, Even If You Have The Best Intentions…You Can Still Be Guilty of Redlining 

Art Aldrich could be the most stand up white male, grandfather, tithes a lot…loves black people..but, Art Aldrich’s intentions do NOT matter, his beliefs do NOT matter…his (non-action) actions matter. He is guilty of managerial racism…even if somehow you “didn’t know” the woman’s race…she is what she is and it is what it is for that reason. That’s not right.

Click Here Fill Out This Form, and Get a Call From a Person Who Is Aware of The Effects of Race and History and The Compounding Domino Effects of Being Lower-Income…Oh, And They Will Still Help You Even If You Are Wealthy and White. That’s Equality.

The LIHTC Will Bring Balance to the Force in Real Estate for Grand Rapids, MI

In real estate there’s a tension between two categories of homes:  Market-Rate and Affordable Housing. It’s almost another way to say The-Haves and The-Have-Nots…or more accurately the Haves and the Hardly-Haves.

Yoda’s job was the train the one that would save the world from a great imbalance.  The federal government here acts as Yoda, training or giving money, to the States in order to prevent great imbalance in the housed versus the homeless.  Money from the feds pours into the state at $1.75 per resident and many states have a handler for this money and deals with the applications from the builder. Michigan’s handler is Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).  Out of every 4 application 1 is awarded the credit towards their property taxes, which generally is about 9% of their project cost IF somewhere around 40% of the apartments in the project will be rent-restricted for 18 years.

Low-Income Housing Tax Credit for the High-Rise Builder

Some businesses have choosen Grand Rapids as their land for the plentiful, and just enough.  In 2015 there were 5 different LLCs, individuals or corporations who applied for this money for building projects in Grand Rapids.  The 20 East Fulton project, a mixed-use high-rise development, proposed by Midland-based Brookstone Capital, LLC was another benefactor in the past.  affordable housing

The LIHTC does nothing directly towards making buying a home more affordable for a lower-income-bracket family or individual.  The tax credit is for the builder. Directly it creates an incentive for builders (with extra time and knowledge of the application process) to create space for people or a restricted (disability, retired) or low-income (qualifies for public assistance). Without something like LIHTC there would be no force creating low-income housing, even though individuals with low-income have population growth just like upper-income or middle-income does.

The LIHTC keeps the light sabers at a stand-still. The rich do not push the poor totally away, and the poor do not kill the rich.  They live together in one apartment complex.  If you live with someone who pays way less rent than you do for the same apartment, the LIHTC might be why.  If you pay less than your neighbor does, don’t tell them.

If you still need housing click here...may the force be with you.

Driving Demand for Home Building in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Those surviving on low-income are driving the demand for home building in Grand Rapids, but indirectly. The MSHDA, Michigan State Housing Development Authority, comes in to give the businesses looking to expand a push in the right direction. Through a LIHTC, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit towards the property tax a business can make serving the demand profitable.

It’s not that Michiganders Are Lazy…

Low-income driving the demand for more, more-affordable, homes isn’t because too many people are sitting at home on their comfortable couch. Just in March 2016 the employment rate in Michigan dropped to a 4.8. That’s .2 below the National Average. That feels nice, but ‘averages’ when speaking to individuals sit with Diddy and Squat.  There’s Diddily, Squat and Average sitting on a couch..where is Tall? He’s working with you!

Meet the MSHDA:

There’s a movement around Grand Rapids to renovate old, unused spaces and create livable space. That’s a utopian dream, right. And it just so happens, there’s a high demand for low-income housing and there’s a benefit to the economy is people can live with expendable incomes. The MSHDA works on behalf of people earning too low an income to keep up, whether this is through single parent homes, disability, back-to-school (temporarily-under-employed) situation, temporary unemployment. Individually, Going the Mortgage route is one way. The MSHDA has stakes in another. Click here to read more about MSHDA. 

Meet the LIHTC:Money-Cycle-290x300

The fact that there is such a thing as market-rate rent and affordable rent is a sign, is it not? There’s a division in the market and the upper class has the money so claims the market-rent and the rest of the market can be subsidized somehow through government programs and legislation. It’s better than tearing down all the old buildings and putting up new, for only the wealthy-enough… actually even that will help. Those property taxes flow in and are turned into tax credits for OTHER businesses that will house at a rent-restricted rate. The symbiotic being of the government, business and people… amazing.

Places like Rockford Construction will come drive the Fulton stretch, Leonard St… and see an open space and throw up a new apartment complex…like the dozy going up across from adobe by GVSU and charge market-rate rent. Yeah these buildings will make it nicer, and then someone like Karl Chew with Brookstone Capital, LLC of Midland will come in and use the LIHTC to renovate an old building and have a 50-50 market-rate rent and affordable rent. Click here to learn more…

Click here to forget all that and buy a home…

 

What the MSHDA Is Doing for Real Estate Projects in West Michigan

We can say the housing market looks great but until the people who need houses have houses it’s not a great market for the market, the people. The method of calculation for a market-rate house is unclear. It appears clear to a family when affordable isn’t. The demand for affordable housing remains high all over Michigan, says the MSHDA.

Michigan State Housing Development Authority, Go Green?

Lots of things “Go Green Can mean these days.” Is there a Michigan State University affiliation?  No; they are located in Lansing but not East Lansing. This is a .gov deal. There is also a Detroit office. We see why. Don’t worry West Michigan, they still service our area.

The grass is greener? The Greens? Dollar, Dollar bills you all! Yes, maybe. The MSHDA takes in money from the federal government at a rate of about $1.75 (more recently it’s been legislated that this will increase automatically with inflation) per resident of the state, sometimes more…read here… That green sea of money is a pool that has many uses. Builders can apply for credit off their property taxes.

This West Michigan Real Estate Property is Benefiting: 20 East Fulton. Job creation in West Michigan happens when Builders can fund large projects. Without a strong employment market, there cannot be a strong real estate market. Hopetoown agrees. 

Environmentally speaking would be a really interesting twist to the command, “Go Green” Now! You better make LEAD certified buildings for the people of low-income to thrive in. THRIVE NOT SURVIVE! THRIVE NOT SURVIVE. Oh, pardon me, this writer turned into a picketer for a moment. MSHDA (sang to the tune of YMCA)!  Actually there is a “green initiative” with MSHDA; good job! The division with green initiatives has a description

“The purpose of Downtown & Community Services is to support the creation, preservation and sustainability of vibrant communities through technical assistance.”

This is a good way to word the benefit West Michigan feels from MSHDA, with it’s many different divisions.

One is section 8. Maybe you’ve heard of it, a voucher Program as rental assistance which is one solution to homelessness. The HOPE Program has solutions, too. This article might be of interest to the section 8 residents out there. 

Supporting the Creation and Preservation with Sustainability by the LIHTC is ONE MAJOR way MSHDA supports West Michigan, and beyond. But not to infinity. Only Michigan. Read more about LIHTC here.MSHDA

MSHDA Creates Incentive For Builders to House Forgotten Portions of The Market!

Are you feeling forgotten?  You can use MSHDA to find a place to rent. 

You can connect to a network of housing help here. 

Bridging the Gap Between Buyers and Builders in Grand Rapids, MI

If you are from the U.P. you call those residents under the bridge trolls.  If you are from Grand Rapids you know we don’t have real rapids, and we aren’t really trolls.  We have lots of bridges though: 6th street bridge, Gillette Bridge, the (rainbow) Blue Bridge, Fulton Street and the old railroad bridge with Punk Island, and maybe Gerald Ford’s S-Curve conglomeration counts?

There are lots of people considering the metaphorical bridges of Grand Rapids as well.  The Rapidian posted this article of one such group, the ADAPT theater company. Overall, the Grand Rapids landscape is broken into neighborhoods:

  • East Grand Rapids15551693870_6382dd2bc4_b
  • Easttown
  • Southtown
  • Cherry Hill
  • Heritage Hill
  • Southside
  • Heartside
  • Blackhills
  • Downtown
  • Westside
  • Fulton Heights
  • North side, etc.

Unfortunately and/or logically, the verdict is up to you on which, the neighborhood also correlates to race, a people-scape? This is highlighted by ADAPT in a play that performed in April 2016 at the Wealthy Street Theater called Lines: The Lived Experience of Race in Grand Rapids.  The play touched on many areas of life: religion, business, education but especially housing.

As a place grows in culture (shared ideas) and cultural diversity (different ethic groups) you are like a magnet for more culture and more immigration.  If you hit the 100,000 population the land becomes a city, and if you are in the city of Grand Rapids you have 188,040 as of the 2010 census.  Like every growing human endevour there are growing pains.  There is a tension between the newcomers and the ‘indigenous’ people. Familiar story right? There’s an awareness, an optimism in Grand Rapids that we don’t want to repeat the results of this historical story: The people with more money win and the indigenous people go on their new trail of tears.

Building Local Is The Next ‘Buy Local’

It would be pretty awesome if the new builders are the original homesteaders and outsiders came to their palace to enjoy the synecdoche (one part/you standing for the whole/Grand Rapids). Instead what we have is locals doing their small part to make Grand Rapids a great place on the whole and then outside investors want to come in and build new places for? Who? More outsiders?  This is Okay.  It’s not Grand Rapidian vs. everyone else. But what about the lower income population that did their part in giving Grand Rapids the reputation it has for that Big Wig’s profit?  There’s a gap.

South Division is a cool example, with a cool solution. The legend goes…Some low-income housing, especially for individuals with mental illness, was shut down in the late 1980’s. A big business moved in. The people had to go somewhere. The street Division in Heartside became the popular place.  Around the same time the LIHTC, Low-Income-Housing-Tax-Credit, became an option to give builders an incentive to keep part of their new buildings for a population who otherwise would be displaced.  The LIHTC helped a big business build in Heartside. Heartside grew and housed people, bridging that gap. The outside investors helps with urban decay, and the resident population is integrated into a thriving cultural life, with things like The Avenue and the Dwelling Place . Well, that’s the ideal.  Read more about LIHTC here.

Is a tax credit for investor the best way to ensure people with low-income don’t loose their place? No probably not. The builder can come in and promise that for 18 years 40ish% of his building will be stable affordable rent for those on disability, and get 9ish% of the project cost paid for the federal government.  That seems like a very convoluted way to help the poor…helping the rich get richer. Of course, the builder would be richer if it were 100% market-rate rent they were charging for 100% of a building. Does LIHTC help or hurt the Grand Rapids real estate market? Click here to read more. 

It definitely does something. The money from LIHTC, the $1.75 (adjusted for inflation)/resident, might be better spent donated to something like The Well House.

Click here…This can do something for you if you are in the real estate market. 

What the 20 East Fulton Project Will Do for Families in Grand Rapids, MI

Brookstone Capital, a Midland-based LLC, is building a new multi-use space on Fulton, right across from the Children’s Museum.   Mr. Karl Chew, president of Brookstone, is no one to scoff at around town if you are looking for a rental.Since 2006 Brookstone has built 300 rental units in Grand Rapids. This project at $37million is set to be their largest yet.

Brookstone Capital LLC, Your Next Landlord?

$3million of that budget is footed by tax payers through the Low-Income-Housing-Tax-Credit.  No, not because Karl Chew is low-income.  Mr. Chew gets the tax break because impressively 50% of the apartments will be designated for low-income families/individuals. That’s 54 affordable units and 54 market-rate.  40% of the units is typical for approval of the LIHTC. Good Job, Mr. Chew, working the system.

All people, but especially families in Grand Rapids can benefit indirectly from this development because of the prime location of this building. Broken window theory says that urban decay, empty or vandalized buildings, correlates to serious crime in that neighborhood. No, the empty building does not make crime happen. Yes, the shiny new 20 East Fulton could prevent crime from happening. If something looks nice, people are more likely to treat it nice. If something looks messy, people are less likely to take care of it.  Karl Chew is all over Grand Rapids making unused spaces livable ones.6961230324_1b0d85eb32_b

Back in the day, there were three major department stores in Grand Rapids, not on Alpine or 28th Street but right downtown.

Mr. Chew’s might be the next department store of GR at 20 East Fulton on the lower level in the 10,000 feet of retail space. No, just kidding. But something new will be there.

Looks like Rick Devos’s Artprize scheme is working! This savvy business man uses art as the medium for community, yes, that’s natural, and the American Idol model, yes, that’s capitalist, to create hype for his hometown. He wanted to give a kickstart to the economy and transform the downtown area; re-imagine a whole new thing in the ghostly buildings of the prior GR glory.

Devos can have Chew’s tennants as neighbors right across division to his big state-of-the-arts building. The new-er UICA, Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, is a similar muti-use space. At the tippy-top is an outdoor fireplace and patio for the GR elite. 20 East Fulton might have the same glitzy vibe, we’ll see, but it can boast that it’s 50/50 market-value (glitzy) and affordable (gritty).

At some point in the future, maybe someone can site this article for how past humans of GR handled gaps in income. They will write a sparkling article about how 20 East Fulton is now (then) 100% affordable housing for 100% of families. Until that day…here’s Mr. Chew helping families in GR by renovating eye sores for people to rent, encouraging the government to offer incentives to businesses that protect the marginalized, making ArtPrize look even nicer, creating some needed parking and downtown retail space in a centralized location – ultimately making Grand Rapids safer and happier.

Click here if you need housing to a part of this glitzy and gritty grand city. 

What Kind of Home Buyer Are You in Today’s Market?

You’d be surprised to know that in our current market there are many different kinds of home buyers (and consequently, home sellers). This should tell you something — that the market’s largely dictated by who you are. And if you don’t know who you are as a home buyer, you’re basically jumping into an ocean without a life jacket — pretty dangerous.

Know What Kind of Home Buyer You Are (or Rather, What Kind of Home Buyer You’re Supposed to Be!)

The beautiful thing about the budding real estate market we’re seeing right now is the ability of resources to gather data and try to make some sense out of the metrics. What houses are selling? Whyhome buyer-1 are they selling? What’s trending? What’s hot in today’s market? How do you think people find out the answers to these questions? — surveysmetrics, data, information.

Know the info, and you’ll know the market. Plain and simple. That’s home buyer 101, the first thing you learn. In order to know the info, though, you have to know where you fit in as a home buyer. Here are the current ‘types’ (for lack of a better term):

Four — count ’em — four different types of home buyers. This makes it complicated. Especially for a home seller. Especially given the fact that by default this brings to the table four different types of home sellers out there. Forget the difficulty of finding the right person for a relationship! Knowing what you want in a home is one thing — knowing if you’re dealing with a millennial home buyer, or a gen-x home buyer, or a baby boomer, or one of the ‘silent’ ones will determine whether you sell that home, buy another one, or just opt for home renting.

It Does Sound Simple, Doesn’t It?

Information is power in this ocean. And there are plenty of fish in the sea. The question is this: which fish are you, and are there enough of the smaller fish for you to snack on? Good question! WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BUYING A HOME RIGHT NOW? CLICK HERE AND SIGN UP!

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Why the Baby Boomer Generation Is Still Booming in the Real Estate Market

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It’s true, believe it or not. We’re guessing the real estate market is still so vibrant as mentioned here that even baby boomers from back in the ’80s and ’90s are still very much active when it comes to home buying. And they should be. Prospects are good. Why not take advantage of it?

There Are Four Aspects of This Market for Baby Boomers to Keep in Mind, Though

It’s not just about your age. Or the fact that you have a big salary with a career you’ve held down for a decade or more. Rather these bits can prove that you are, in fact, a baby boomer booming in the real estate market:
Just by these facts, you can tell that age isn’t necessarily what makes a baby boomer.

There’s so Much More to It Than That

While the term “baby boomer” represents a higher birth rate of kids sprouting out like fish eggs and an explosion of opportunities both on the job side as well as the business side, there’s no doubt that being a baby boomer in the real estate market means that much more. They may be an older generation — but they certainly still act young. Learn more about the other home buyer demographics as well right here!
Either way we look at it, that’s great for the real estate market.

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7 Statistics Proving Why Trends Lead to Home Buying Today

So we’re sure you’ve read somewhere in the blogosphere the fact that the national real estate market’s exploding for obvious reasons (opinionated, yes, granted) and that even foreigners are taking a major interest in, say, a certain Lone Star state (granted, it’s only one state out of the entire country). Keep in mind this important fact — trends on home buying today continue to develop, and they’re only getting better.

We’ll Prove It — Here Are Some Links Cluing You in on Why You Should Consider Home Buying Today

Fresh into the new year we are, and guess what: we’ve got the goods on home buying today, statistics home buying todayshowing that you’re most definitely in the market to buy, strangely enough partially thanks to the TRID mortgage rules and a strong employment market. Things are looking up in the nation. Here’s why:

  • Annual Existing Home Sales — This percentage will blow you away, especially after looking at the comparison here.
  • Let’s Break Down Those Existing Home Sales — One look at the western U.S. and the southern U.S., and you’ll agree.
  • Shocking TRID News — Everyone thought those new TRID mortgage rules would be the death of the industry. Think again.
  • Existing Home Prices Are Looking Great! Just how great? Check this out right here and marvel at how the market’s continuing to grow even better than it already is.
  • First-Time Home Buyers Aren’t Too Shabby Either — That’s the one nitro booster to this industry we need, and here’s why.
  • Finally, Foreclosures Are Slowly Fading — Yes, the foreclosures and short sales are great for the buyer, but not for the market; and this statistics says so.
  • Properties Are Starting to Sell a Little Faster — Want to sell your home? You stand a better chance right now because of this number.

Not bad on these numbers, right? Take heart if you’re looking to relocate or just move to the next better neighborhood in town.

It’s Getting to Be a Great Market for Home Buying Today

Don’t hesitate. You never know what the trends will show next week. Or next month. Or, heavens forbid, next year. Jump on this and see if you can upgrade. The statistics don’t lie.

REGISTER TO BUY YOUR HOME RIGHT HERE AND GET STARTED IMMEDIATELY.

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Selling Homes in the East Coast — the Latest Rage in Real Estate!

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You don’t have to be a real estate guru to know that the east coast so-called “blue” states over there are all about the real estate, real estate, real estate. Without a doubt, that’s where the market’s cutthroat, and it’s like a game of inches and timing. You strike when the iron’s hot, and you hope for some ROI in the process.

Thankfully, we have some good news for you: the entire national real estate market seems to be looking pretty good, primarily for home sellers, as home prices begin to skyrocket clear across the board –

But Just in Case You’re in One of These States, You Have to See These Numbers

Bear in mind that as a home seller, if you want some ROI for major investments you’ve made to your property and you’re looking to move out, you’ll want to wait until you start seeing these numbers. These are predictions. But as the real estate market continues to flourish as we see here, there’s no doubt that these predictions will shortly become realities. So let’s take a look:

Crazy, Right? Crazy Good!

Call that a touchdown if you will for real estate. This is a clear sign that, slowly but surely, our real estate market’s looking better and better.

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