Above House: 1110 Cherokee Ave, Royal Oak Michigan. $187,500 MLS#29071466

Christa Buchanan
C & G Staff Writer

There’s finally a bit of good news in real estate: Sales are up.

A combination of the up to $8,000 first-time homebuyer — technically someone who hasn’t owned a home in three or more years — federal tax credit, a plethora of homebuyer programs and the lowest home prices seen in years has helped spur home sales.

The question is what can you really get for your money?

The answer, say local Realtors, is a really great deal — from east side to west, no matter what the price range, homebuyers across the board are getting more home for their money.

“There are just some incredible deals right now, and I mean incredible,” said Realtor Kathy Wilson, one of five co-owners of Prudential HWWB Realtors, formerly Hannett, Wilson and Whitehouse Realtors, in Birmingham.

To that end, local Realtors Joanna Darmanin of Century 21 Town & Country in Birmingham, Gary Patrosso of Keller Williams in St. Clair Shores, David Reese of Real Estate One in Troy and Wilson share concrete examples of what homebuyers can get — that are move-in ready — for their money.

First things first, what does move-in ready mean? Well, the Realtors agree, that depends on the buyer, the location and the price range: For some people it means everything — the roof, flooring, furnace, bathrooms, kitchen, etc. — is updated and the house is freshly painted; for others, it means the home is structurally sound, but may need to be painted, the carpet cleaned or replaced, or the fixtures updated.

No matter where the home is located, the Realtors agree, great deals are everywhere.

"Buyers just have to identify an area where they want to live, and they can get a real good home,” said Reese.

Less than $100-grand homes
Typically, homes in this price range are being sold as foreclosures or short sales and may need a bit — or in the case of foreclosures, sometimes a lot — of work.

For those looking for move-in ready homes, Patrosso suggests looking at short sales.

“Most short sales are in much better shape than bank-owned homes because people are typically still living there and caring for the home. Short sales are a huge avenue for homebuyers to get great homes at bank-owned prices,” he said, noting that short sales often take longer to complete.

“If you’re patient and willing to wait, you can basically get a great home at half price,” said Patrosso.

He recently sold a 1,300-square-foot brick home in Harper Woods, in the Grosse Pointe schools district, for $42,000, and a similar brick ranch in Roseville for $49,000 — both, he said, were “pretty much move-in ready.”

What you can get in this price range in Oakland County, said Darmanin, really varies by location.

“It’s hard to put a number on it, but you can maybe get something a bit smaller,” she said of homes in the Royal Oak and Birmingham area. “There’s a listing in Birmingham, a tiny little condo that’s completely refinished, you can get for $100,000.”

Reese said he’s starting to see a few homes right around the $100,000 mark in the Troy area: “Some of them are in good condition, but many, especially the foreclosures aren’t — you need to go through a few to find the right one.

“Some communities have seen a 65 percent decrease in median price. South Macomb and has taken a big hit, and so has South Oakland.”

In areas like Hazel Park, Reese said, there are “lots of homes priced between $30,000 and $50,000.”

Great buys in the $150,000 range
Move-in ready homes of various styles — ranches, bungalows, colonials, and depending on the area, even newly built homes — abound in this price range.

“Most of the homes that are selling are selling for under $150,000 right now,” Reese said. “Right now, for around $150,000, you can buy a 1,700-square-foot, three bedroom, 1.5 bath ranch in Rochester.”

Similar homes are going at the same price in Troy, and in northern Macomb County, Reese said, a newer home of that size is “probably 5 to 10 percent off that price, about $135,000.”

These are homes that were selling for closer to $200,000-$250,000 just a few years ago, Reese said.

If you’re looking at short sales, said Patrosso, you can get an even better deal.

“Right now, I have a short sale in Clinton Township by Fern Hill golf course that’s listed at $170,000. It’s a 2,753-square-foot brick ranch that needs some work … but this is an area where a few years ago houses were going for around $400,000,” said Patrosso, noting that with short sales, “after a month, the price starts dropping drastically, from $5,000 to $10,000 a week.”

Meanwhile, in the Royal Oak area, homes in this price range tend to be a bit smaller, said Darmanin, but are typically in excellent condition.

“At the $150,000 mark, you can get a really nice 3-bedroom bungalow with one bath, maybe a bath and a half. … A home going for around $160,000 would be more of brick bungalow with an attached garage,” she said, adding that these homes, at around 1,200 square feet, are typically completely updated. “You maybe could get a two bed instead of three for around $120,000 in Royal Oak.

Fantastic homes for $200,000-$300,000
More than move-in ready, homes in this price range tend to be pristine.

“You can get something today in the Birmingham-Bloomfield-Beverly Hills area for $200,000 to $300,000 that you could have gotten a few years back for $500,000,” said Wilson. “In Birmingham, I have a couple of little houses in the low twos ($200,000) — completely redone — that should be $350,000 or $400,000 all day long,” Wilson said.

“There’s one in Beverly Hills that Doug (Whitehouse, co-owner of Prudential HWWB) in my office just listed for $275,000 that’s a ranch. It was totally redone from top to bottom and has a granite kitchen … and a beautiful master suite,” said Wilson. “Three years ago, I would have put it at $400,000-$450,000. So, there really are some wonderful deals right now.”

No matter which real estate company across metro Detroit, the word is the same: The deals that can be found in every price range and every community are astounding, and never before have so many prime properties been priced this far below value as now.

“This time in real estate is going to be written in the history books. We haven’t seen prices drop like this since the Great Depression, the last time prices dropped 50 percent. … The difference today is financing is available,” Patrosso said.


Post a Comment