There are two new laws recently enacted which affect the recording of documents with the Register of Deeds, which will go into effect on September 18th. Learn more regarding these changes at the links below!
As we head into late summer here in the Upper Peninsula there are still a lot of great waterfront properties on the market. We currently have some amazing properties available on Lake Superior, Lake Michigamme, Portage Lake, Chocolay River, Twin Lakes, Copper Harbor, Sand Lake, Rice Lake, Perch Lake, Blue Lake, Bass Lake, Menominee River, Lake Pellisier, Sturgeon River, Lake Michigan, Torch Lake, and more!
Contact our agents today and we will match you with your perfect waterfront property.
Click here to see all of our currently available waterfront listings in the Upper Peninsula.
Timber prices are at a record high. The tragic wildfires of last summer and trade disputes as well as an increase in demand for new residential housing have all caused the price of timber to skyrocket. With low supply and high demand, timberland owners are sitting on a potential gold mine. To make the most off of the high prices, you’ll need to tread carefully. Here’s how to make the most out of the booming market.
Check The Timber Mills
Is your local log mill looking for a particular kind of log? Many mills are willing to pay extra for logs that meet their specific standards and may dock your pay if they do not. Some mills even pay less for logs that are larger than usual. This means you are getting less money for more timber! Scope out the pricing of your local mills to find out where your tress will make the most money.
Patience is the name of the game when it comes to timberland. Prepare to lose money for the first few years because you will need to spend money planting and taking care of the trees. Since timber doesn’t provide immediate returns, many people might be hesitant to invest.
However, timber has historically produced strong long-term returns. Many financial websites, such as CNN Money and Investopedia, recommend investing in timber as a way to diversify your portfolio. The returns tend to move countercyclically to other markets, providing your portfolio with a safety net. Not only is investing in timber a smart financial move, it is a good investment in your land. Timber is a hearty, relatively low maintenance tree that will produce steady returns for years.
To Cut Or Not To Cut?
When you cut your trees doesn’t only impact your current crop, it will also determine the growth and health of the next generation of trees. With prices at a record high, it can be tempting to cut down your trees as soon as they mature. Try to plan harvests around times that would benefit the saplings as well as when your timber is at its highest value.
Taking care of your timber now will result in high-value trees down the road. Regular thinnings, regeneration harvests, and timber stand improvements (the culling of undesirable trees and saplings) are all practices that result in healthier (a.k.a. more valuable) trees. Healthy trees mean healthy saplings and a whole new generation of high-value trees. It’s a never-ending cycle of profit!
Sky-high prices and an increasing demand have created a modern day gold rush. Although it can be tempting to chop down all your trees and cash in on the craze, long-term planning is the best option for you to make the most money off of your timber.
To learn more about timber, be sure to check out the newly updated LANDU course Timberland Real Estate on August 1st being hosted by the RLI Alabama Chapter.
This article was originally posted to the National Land Realty blog.
About the Author: Laura Barker is the Membership and Communications Specialist for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and has been with RLI since October 2017.
When it comes to competitive markets, these are mistakes buyers should avoid and beware of when submitting offers. To many times I have seen a buyer make one of these mistakes and miss out on their land or home purchase. It is important to be aware of these to not trip yourself during the buying process.
“Dragging your feet”, being undecided on whether you want to purchase a property or home could lead to you paying more money in the end. The old adage goes, if you like it then someone else likes it. You ended up in a bidding war and now are forced to pay more because you waited to get your documents inline or make a decision. Buyers need to have their pre-approval letters, bank documents, or supporting funds documents ready from day one. Having these documents gives the buyer strength in the negotiating process because they are not contingent on being approved for financing. Sellers are more willing to accept an offer that has the approval in place vs one that may be slightly higher but still has not yet been approved to purchase.
Making a max offer based on pre-approval
When you are home shopping or even looking for some recreational land, beware of this pitfall. If you qualify for a certain amount (say $100,000), you find a home that is listed around $110,000, and you offer a bid of $100,000. The seller may accept your offer but you have left yourself no wiggle room if they choose to counter. Without covering the additional costs yourself you will likely miss out on this home or property.
Having a general pre-approval letter is best as this does not show your hand to what you can afford, only that you are able to be approved for purchasing that real estate. Coming to the table with an approval letter stating you are pre-approved for the exact amount of your offer could make a listing agent and the seller uncertain about your ability to close the transaction.
Everyone wants a deal. Not all real estate is over priced. Make sure that your buyers agent is educating you on current market trends and values. Making a low ball offer could insult the seller and make them not want to work with you right out of the gate. Submitting a low offer is not bad as long as it is in the general area of the current market conditions. Use the data your agent provides you to justify your offer. Low ball offers more times than not backfire, as sellers will generally reject the offer outright or even counter at a higher than asking price just to show what they think of your offer.
Waiving inspection periods
This can be very dangerous for a buyer. If you choose to waive your home inspection or property inspection period be very careful. Those inspection periods are there to protect you the buyer from any undisclosed information that would be found during an inspection. Until your inspection period is complete you should never waive your right to these. Waiving your inspection periods could also cost you your earnest money deposit if you choose to back out of the deal.
Not presenting yourself as a strong buyer
In today’s market buyers need to be prepared for competing offers. Your agent and you need to present yourself as a strong and reliable buyer. The sellers agent is helping them make the decision on which party they think would be the easiest to work with and which is most likely to close. Avoid being nit picky, be confident in your offer, and don’t fret over items that can be changed such as paint color.
The best approach to take is listen to your agent. They have access to all of the data. Use that data to make your decision in the negotiating process and don’t wait to make your offer or you could miss out on your dream home or property.
How Do You Want Your Real Estate Marketed?
How do Realtors sell your home? Short and sweet….MARKETING. Some do it well, others not so much. In the day of ever changing technology and ideas, you want a company that knows how to target the right audience for your real estate. Whether that be vacant land, lakefront homes, residential, or large private tracts of land. Our team of experts know how to find the buyers for your real estate. When you are looking for something on Google one of the first things that comes up is videos. There are some agents out there that make video slideshows of the images they took. Others go above and beyond and incorporate internal video of your home. If you had to choose, which would you want from your agent? I know I would my agent to do everything in their power to attract the most buyers to my home or land.
Talk to one of our agents about marketing your real estate with video today.
If you would like to see some samples of our work look below or check out our YouTube channels at the bottom.
Check out our new waterfront listing inventory that just hit the market! We have options on Lake Superior, Bass Lake, Peshekee River, Pike Lake, Lake Michigamme, Granite Lake, Nelligan Lake, Dam Lake, the Michigamme River, Thomas Lake, and Horseshoe Lake.
This Spring has been one of the best we’ve had for new waterfront listings. Our waterfront inventory spans great options on the Great Lakes, inland lakes, private lakes, and rivers throughout the Upper Peninsula. We have so many options, we invite you to explore our invetory but also welcome emails or calls for assistance in finding a property to suit your needs. Sometimes a wealth of options can be overwhelming and makes it difficult to locate the right property for a particular buyer. That is exactly what we are here for and we welcome the opportunity to help narrow the options for you.
U.P. wildlife is out and active as Spring comes upon us in the Upper Peninsula.
It is Spring in the U.P. and despite the weather, we are seeing all kinds of wildlife out in the field. On a particular Saturday in mid April, I saw a number of grouse, deer, woodcock, ducks, geese, turkeys, and a rooster pheasant! Game seems to be relocating, migrating, and moving about to find mates or fresh food sources.
We’ve been seeing a pleasantly surprising number of grouse and woodcock this spring. This one in the photo above jumped up into view when I slowed to look at a property line. Without that movement, I would have never spotted it. From what I’ve seen of mature birds this winter and Spring, we should have a strong population this coming fall if the hatching season has good conditions.
This whitetail doe gave us a chance to snap a few pics while browsing just off the Hilltop Kelso Road in Iron County. Spring in the U.P. brings fresh buds and green up that the deer seek out. This doe was feeding on regeneration in an old clearing just off the main road. We had several other deer sightings this day, but this was the only camera friendly encounter. The deer numbers in the U.P. seem to be higher this year than in recent memory. We’ve seen more live deer, highway kills, and sign in the woods than in recent years. Hopefully this will translate to a healthier herd going forward.
One of the great aspects of what we do is being outdoors throughout the seasons and enjoying the U.P. wildlife. While traveling to view new properties we cover much of the Upper Peninsula and are blessed with the opportunity to see the great variety of wildlife that the U.P. has to offer.
We receive requests from out-of-state buyers constantly who want to view property or homes in the Upper Peninsula. Buyers reach out because they may be feeling pressure from a family member or friend to use a specific agent in their area as a referring agent. They may have a friend or family member who is a REALTOR® that have said they would find an agent for them in the area they are looking. The buyers generally have no idea of who they are being referred to.
What is that agent really doing? The friend/family member (who was a REALTOR®) is looking for a local agent that is willing to pay a referral fee for sending them the buyer. Most referral fees tend to be on average 25% in the real estate market. The percentage is taken off of the buyers side of the commission in this example. Buyers tend to believe they are being referred to an gent that is personally known by the family member or friend. In all reality, they agent they are being referred by is just trying to make some extra money and didn’t know the agents here. This means that the buyer is being treated as a financial item, not a person trying to purchase their next dream home or recreational property.
This is a pretty common scenario. Many REALTORS® are trained to be ruthless in an effort to be part of any real estate transaction that involves someone they know. REALTORS® are encouraged to constantly be part of the conversation within their “internal circle”. If you are in that circle, you may be constantly bombarded with pitch lines and other marketing ploys so that you are mentioning those agents to anyone you know.
Now, I am not saying this is a bad thing if the REALTOR® you know is truly a professional and always looks out for their clients. But don’t assume that a REALTOR® is good just because they are great at networking. What makes a great REALTOR® is someone who will look out for their clients best interest regardless of what the commission is or who their friends are.
The competency of your agent has a huge impact your real estate transaction. Buyers nowadays feel like they know everything their is to know about real estate with all the information available online. The reality is that a real estate transaction is not always a one size fits all deal. Choosing the right REALTOR® can make all the difference in your transaction.
Some buyers, and even sellers, think that an agent is only there to open the doors for you to view homes on the market, write a contract, and collect a check at closing. If this is how you were serviced than you were poorly served by your agent. An agent should constantly be involved throughout the process, providing you with education, knowledge, and guidance.
The reality is that a real estate transaction is not always a one size fits all deal. Choosing the right REALTOR® can make all the difference in your transaction. Here are 3 things buyers can sacrifice when feeling obligated to a friend or family member:
Security of Personal Information
It is crucial that you feel that your information will be kept secure and protected throughout your transaction. Working with an agent who is a close friend or family member, or close with those individuals, can be very awkward if you have details of your transaction you did not want out get released. Having an independent 3rd party separate from your personal life is a good way to eliminate that problem.
Your agent may be very talkative and this could lead to them inadvertently letting out details that would hurt you in a negotiation process. Professional REALTORS® know that personal information about their clients should never be exchanged to anyone without their clients written consent. Some agents feel they can speak on your behalf or even make decisions for you because they know you so well by being related or friends of a relative. This is a terrible mistake, but it happens all too often. Before hiring a REALTOR® who has been referred to you, make sure that they have a are professional and can assure you that they are not “loose lip talkers”.
Avoiding The Hard Truths
If your agent ensures that you fully understand a situation, you are much more likely to get the results that you are looking for. Being properly informed is a major advantage when buying or selling a home. When you are working with an agent who is referred, there is a good probability that they make not be as experienced as one of the top local agents. They may not be as willing to be upfront and honest with you, as they may be concerned with offending you. Having an agent who is straightforward and tells you what needs to be told is vital to manage expectations.
There are a great deal of details and information to cover in a real estate transaction. Unfortunately, choosing an agent who is not able to communicate all of these details fully, may leave you confused and unsure about certain critical items. Being uncertain on any part of your deal can cause additional undue stress and potentially cause your deal to fall apart. Before you hire an agent that has been refereed to you, make contact with them. Make sure they communicate in a way that makes you feel comfortable about the working relationship you are getting into. Ensure they provide factual information and not just their opinions. Remember, a home purchase is probably the largest transaction you will have in your lifetime. Ensuring that your agent represents you in the way you want is important to avoiding a lifelong mistake.
Navigating Legal Minefields
When working with an agent who has been referred to you, ensure that they understand the common legal issues that can affect a real estate transaction. If your agent is related to you, you may need to disclose that with the other party, based on your State’s regulations. Some states require this disclosure because it has such a strong influence on a Realtors decision making process.
Find out if your agent has been or is involved in any lawsuits pertaining to there practice. Agents are not attorneys. Many times REALTORS® are asked legal questions that they should not be answering. When working with someone associated with your friends or family, they can be tempted to advise you out of personal opinion.
When legal issues become part of the real estate transaction a good real estate agent knows how to navigate these obstacles and provide you with the guidance and direction you need. The information an agent provides needs to remain objective and without personal opinion. Your REALTOR® should always recommend that you hire an attorney if you feel the need to. This should never discouraged. They should be more of an “advisory” role, rather than a salesperson or someone helping you shop for a home or property. A good real estate agent should follow your lead on every decision and keep you properly informed throughout the process.
It is unwise to plays roulette and go with first REALTOR® that is referred to you. Most importantly, determine what the motivation of the person referring the agent to you is. Find out if they have used that agent previously and had success with them. If they do not know that agent personally or are only referring them because of a referral fee, you may need to find another agent. Conduct your own due diligence and be cautious before partnering up with an agent.
Use the internet to your advantage and research any agent you find online. If they have no reviews and no web presence, ask them point blank why that is. If you feel that the agents answers are vague or misleading, use common sense to determine if you should find another realtor. REALTORS® have much more leverage over your success than you may realize. Don’t hire an agent who is questionable. There are plenty of great, hardworking, honest REALTORS® in your area. Find an agent who is highly reputable and offers you the best service that you can find. You will be extremely glad that you did!
The market for waterfront properties in the Upper Peninsula is on the move in a positive direction. This market might have seen the greatest increases in values of any market in the U.P. during the mid 2000s. Terms that applied to markets throughout the country such as “Real Estate bubble”, certainly applied to the Upper Peninsula’s waterfront market. Many buyers were purchasing properties on speculation that this market would continue to see large gains in value.
Much of the purchasing power for these waterfront properties came from home equity loans. As the national housing market ran high, many homeowners refinanced and took their equity out to make waterfront purchases. When the Real Estate “bubble” burst in 2008, the market for U.P. waterfront properties soon followed. As the finances of many investors and homeowners alike took a hit, the buyers for our waterfront parcels almost disappeared. Combined with the lack of buyers, a flood of sellers looking to get money out of the market pushed inventories high and values down.
It took a few years after 2008 for this market to really hit the bottom. It took even more time for much of the inventory to reduce and buyers to come back to this market so that values could stabilize. Well, we are now happy to say that this has definitely happened. In the past four years, we have seen steady increases in sales volumes. In the past two years, we have started to see an increase in market values. Real Estate markets in the U.P. vary greatly from location to location, but generally, things are positive.
While the bottom of the market may have passed, the time to buy has not. Some of our lakes, rivers, and other non-residential property types have just started to see this positive movement. A buyer can take comfort in this stabilization while also getting into the market at a good value point. The best news here may be for sellers. Sellers that may be thinking the market isn’t good enough to move their property, very well may be wrong.
If you have a waterfront property in the U.P. and you’ve been thinking that conditions are not good enough to sell, please reconsider. We have seen strong increases in sales within this market for several years in a row now. This winter, we have seen an increase in buyers in this marketplace. While pricing new inventory, we are also seeing increases in values over previous years.
So as we transition from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market, there are good opportunities for both buyers and sellers. If you are either, please contact us to discuss your specific property type and location. Waterfront markets can literally vary from lake to lake, so let us know where you’d like to buy or sell and we can provide up to date accurate information on the current status of that market.
While we may not be back at the pre-crash levels of the 2006-2007 markets, we feel like this market has definitely turned the corner. As other similar markets have pressed to all time high levels, we feel like there is significant room to move in this market as well. The U.P. has so many great waterfront properties to offer and now is a great to buy, or sell one of these.