On the realtor exodus, and houses for under a grand

I just received a note from a woman who wanted me to know that, as of today, there were no “major” realtors represented in the city of Ypsilanti. I haven’t confirmed it yet, but she said that Keller and Williams had closed their downtown office, and that they been the last of the larger firms doing business here. Apparently, while there are still a few independent agents in the area, all the more significant offices have either gone out of business or been consolidated outside of Ypsi.

While we’re on the subject of the local real estate market, it’s also worth noting that, for the first time that I can recall, Ann Arbor has shown up on a list of real estate wastelands. My friend Dave in Portland just sent me a link to an article on homes to be had for under a grand, and, there, among the usual suspects, like Detroit, Bethehem, PA, Indianapolis, and Las Vegas, was Ann Arbor. While I’m sure that it’s more Ypsi and the surrounding area than it is the city of Ann Arbor itself responsible for the designation, it’s weird to see the name of our much more prosperous sister city on a list of down and out communities… Here, for those of you who don’t believe me, is an image taken of the page linked to above:


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  1. Posted April 30, 2009 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    I don’t suspect any of the 22 houses presently listed for under $1,000 are in the city of Ann Arbor, or, for that matter, even in the Ann Arbor school district.

  2. Posted April 30, 2009 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    And I hope, for Ypsi’s sake, there aren’t a lot of stories like this. I don’t think our friends in Ann Arbor would like us as much if they knew that we were dragging them down with us in the national press.

  3. Paw
    Posted May 1, 2009 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Didn’t Google come up with some kind of image search thing, where you could put in a photo and it would find other instances where it’s being used online? If so, we could put in this photo and find out exactly where this house is, and how much it’s listing for.

  4. Posted May 1, 2009 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    The 1000.00 houses you see are rentals. We now put rentals in the MLS. Yes KW closed in Ypsi as did Reinhart, and Surovell.

    The reason is the overhead, the agents there will still serve Ypsilanti but just work out of Ann Arbor locations.

    With the market being what it is Brokers are having to merge Satellite offices, which is fine most Realtors are not in the office anyway. A huge waste of space.

    Buyers start their searches online so the day of walk in buyers has long been over.

  5. Posted May 2, 2009 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Thanks for update, Missy. I appreciate it.

    So, these places they’re counting are $1,000 per month rentals, and not homes selling for $1,000? That seems like a huge problem with their methodology.

  6. Posted May 2, 2009 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Glad Missy beat me to it. Curiosity leads me to do periodic market scans – what’s available where in what price ranges? I long since learned that you can’t search for, say, “under $25k” or “under $50k” as your bottom range – because the rentals around Ann Arbor/Ypsi show up as your first several dozen pages of hits. Instead, you have to search, say, “$2,500 – $25k” as your bottom bracket, to cut out most of the rentals. I’m amazed that the article linked to seems to have so carelessly done their data collection as to not notice that they were scooping up rentals.

    I actually don’t think the Ypsi market is nearly as bad as you do, Mark. For example, do a search on HUD homes in the area. The lowest listings in Ypsi are $20,000. (One city, one township.) Try Detroit for comparison – that’s where you’ll find the listings for $360, $700, etc. (Though not nearly all of them are that low – still lots and lots for 5 digits.)

    I don’t think our friends in Ann Arbor would like us as much if they knew that we were dragging them down with us in the national press.

    And I don’t think catastrophizing is the best way to respond to this. Maybe you should stick to the cheap housing can be good for artists line of a few weeks back…

  7. Posted May 2, 2009 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think I catastrophize, Murph… I mean, I do catastrophize, but I don’t think I’ve done so here. If anything, I should be accused of inflating the value of Ypsi properties, as most of my posts here are about how wonderfully cool of a city this is… But, yeah, when I read the piece and saw that they’d found 22 houses under $1,000 in the “Ann Arbor area,” I assumed that they must be here in Ypsi, as there wasn’t any way an empty lot in the Ann Arbor school district would go for less that a grand. I’m glad to hear that wasn’t the case. And, yes, I agree that cheap houses give us an advantage over the surrounding area when it comes to attracting young, energetic people. I’ve said as much thousands of times.

  8. Rob
    Posted May 2, 2009 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Here on the south side, when you throw in the “foreclosure factor” these “sale” numbers really drop– Especially all these older half-capes and bungalow cottages that are a little worn and smaller than a thousand square feet. I happen to know that the small house directly across the street from me which would probably have listed at around fifty thou ( at best) in this economic climate was picked up for ten grand plus back taxes by one of our area’s better known “flippers”. Also on the street behind me a guy with a crew of eastern europeans fresh off the boat, built a spec house in our hood– It’s been on the open market now for more than a year. The original asking price was 129,000– It’s now listed for 89,000– A brand new three bedroom, two bath house

  9. Posted May 4, 2009 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    If you’re looking for a local realtor, there’s none better than Dennis Longo of Premier Choice Realty. He’s been in the business in Ypsilanti for 30+ years, and he’s your go-to-guy! He is probably more knowledgable than any other Realtor about this area’s market and will be totally honest with buyers and sellers about what they can expect.

    Dennis had experience with Century 21, Re/Max and Charles Reinhart before forming his own business, Premier Choice Realty, in 2005. Check out the company’s website (www.premierchoicerealty.biz), email him at dennis@premierchoicerealty.biz, or call him at 734-961-6600. You’ll be glad you did!!!

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