Michael Jordan’s Suburban Chicago Lake Forest Mansion Fails at Auction

This Monday Former Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan attempted to auction off his home in MJ 23Lake Forest Illinois located at 2700 Point Ln with a minimum bid of $13 Million and there were no takers. The home is Michael_Jordan_23_Bulls_Jersey_HD_Wallpaper56,000 square feet on three floors with 9 bedrooms, 5 fire places and sits on 7 acres. A guest house to rival most homes you and I would live in is included.
He lived in the home with his former wife and children who are now grown and have moved on. The home has a full size regulation basketball court and huge workout room that is like his own health club. Randy Brown was part of a group of former players who would go to his weight room and work out and play ball before they would even go to the official practice. They called the get together “The Breakfast Club” because his private chef would prepare meals for his cronies who have talked about the sessions they had enjoyed.
With a tennis court, wet bar, dry bar in ground pool and fire places indoors and out what more could you want? There are not many who could afford such a house and maybe that is why it did not sell? One problem is that it is located 3 miles from Lake Michigan and most homes getting anywhere near that price tag include beach access.
The home was once listed in the MLS at $29,000,000, dropped to $16,000,000 but still did not attract any offers. Do you think MJ is hurting for the money? I don’t think so. He is still one of the highest paid former professional sports figures with a fairly untarnished image unlike Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods.
Imagine getting the commission on selling that house.
MJ’s House Video

800 Elgin, Optima Horizons, Evanston IL Northwestern Students

Today I closed a sale on 800 Elgin, the Optima Horizons unit 1509 a 2 bedroom 2 Bath Evanston Illinois condo steps from Northwestern University and all parties are very happy. Why is this, the 800 Elgin building is the favorite among students and facility in town because it has all the amenities and is right in downtown Evanston IL.
800 Elgin 2
There are restaurants all over, many shops, and public transportation is right at your finger tips. A great building with a door person, huge swimming pool, deck, exercise room, party room and management on site 5 days a week. If you want to learn more about 800 Elgin or any of the Optima communities of Evanston Illinois I suggest you visit 800 Elgin and take a peak.

The property we closed on today was for a buyer who invested to help his daughter a fine student at NU and she is a very excited young lady judging by the huge smile on her face.

Want to talk more about it? Call or click Coldwell Banker Evanston at (800) 858-7917 9:00 am to 9:00 PM and we can help make your dreams become reality.

800 Elgin Optima Horizons

The view of Evanston from this property

800 Elgin

Renting Is Not A Good Option Prices Are Rising, Buy Your First Home

The national average shows rentals are up about 3.9% this year. In our area of Evanston IL which is a College town rentals in areas close to public transportation, eating establishments, stores and general areas of interest are harder to come by. Incomes are not keeping pace with rent increases and that makes it even tighter for people who haven’t purchased property.

New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston are the five most expensive rental cities and others are rising at sometimes an even higher rate the 3.9% mentioned. In the last year Houston, Miami, Boston, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., and San Diego experienced the highest rent increases. As an example in the last year Boston has gone up 5.5%. save money

Forbes magazine reported this year that buying is much more affordable than renting in all of the 100 largest metro areas in the nation. According to mortgage lender Freddie Mac, buying is an average of 41% cheaper than renting nationwide.

This is a good reason to save up and make the plunge into home ownership. As we have all been told, the American dream is to be a home owner. Because of the rising rental prices renters should compare the price they are spending per year and getting nothing out of it compared to what it would really cost to become a home owner.

Please contact your local Realtor and ask for a comparison chart so you can learn for yourself. You will get it back when you sell.

Is this going too far?

I’ve heard of people paying for their entire wedding by having it “sponsored” by advertisers.  I’ve heard about people being paid by advertisers to wear certain clothing around town.  But this is new to me.

A couple from California are having their mortgage paid for a year by a company called Brainiacs from Mars.  If you put a billboard advertising their services in front of your home, they will cover your mortgage expenses.  The company started advertising this service on their site in April of last year.  Since then, they’ve received 38,000 requests.  The CEO said he’s hoping to add billboards to 1,000 homes this year.

I have to say I’ve never heard of anything like this before.  I can definitely say it’s creative advertising, for sure.  If it helps keep people from losing their homes, great.  However, what do the neighbors think?  I wonder if any car accidents happen from people driving down the street and stopping suddenly to notice the huge billboard in front of the house.

I’m guessing A LOT of communities wouldn’t even allow homeowners to do this because of zoning laws and city codes.  But it has me wondering how many people would consider doing this if the city allowed it.  Would a year of mortgage payments be worth it to you?

 I’d absolutely love to hear your thoughts on this.  You can contact the Brainiacs to apply (although the majority of the requests are coming from California, Florida, and Nevada – the three states with the highest foreclosure rates) through their Web site.  And more information on the program can be found in this CNBC article.  But please leave me your opinions.  I’d love to start a good conversation going!

Lawsuits for nation’s largest banks

Another lawsuit is in the works for the mortgage industry.  I had recently blogged about the Obama administration’s plans to create a Justice Department unit whose main goal and intent was to prevent mortgage fraud by bringing together investigators from across the country aimed at finding out what the causes of residential mortgage backed securities.  They want to know what led to it and how to continue to prevent it.  

Well, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has taken it one step further by suing Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo.  His lawsuit accuses the three big banks of deceit and fraud over their use of MERS, the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems.

He has a few claims here.  (1) That the banks submitted court documents that appeared to provide authorization for foreclosures with false and misleading information. (2) The system stores inaccurate data.  (3) It prevents homeowners from being able to track property transfer information from public records.

Schneiderman said, “Once the mortgages went sour, these same banks brought foreclosure proceedings en masse based on deceptive and fraudulent court submissions, seeking to take homes away from people with little regard for basic legal requirements or the rule of law.”

He’s claiming that over 70 million loans were affected and that the banks saved over $2 billion.  Of course, none of the banks had any comments in response to the lawsuit when it was filed Friday.  More information can be found in this USA Today article.

So the question is, will this affect the mortgage industry and homeowners in the long run?  If anything, I can see a possible settlement by the banks rather than fighting it in court.  It seems to be something that will continuously happen throughout the next few years, banks being sued because of inaccuracies that led to false foreclosures.  Do you see this as something that can drastically change how banks loan money to future homeowners?  To me, it seems like another check mark on a checklist but nothing that would change lending terms as a whole.  Please leave me your comments.  I’d love to hear from you!

Mistakes you can make with a lowball offer

Yes, yes, I know.  It’s a buyers’ market.  So much inventory, low housing prices, so the buyer gets their pick at the price they want.  But not so fast.  Yes, lots of inventory, lower housing prices.  However, there is still power to negotiating.  And you don’t want to insult the seller with a lowball offer and lose your dream home because of it.  Here are some mistakes that can be made with a lowball offer:

1. Not knowing the market.  And each one is different.  What may be a more acceptable offer in one market won’t be the same in another.  There could be an area where sellers are pricing homes more aggressively; therefore, they’re sticking close to their asking price.  Another neighborhood might be mostly made up of foreclosures and short sales, so the bank wants to get rid of the home ASAP and are willing to accept less.  So you’ll need to do your research with the help of a qualified Realtor (see #2)

2. Not picking the right Realtor.  They have the experience and the background and know the area you’re looking to purchase, so they’re your best asset going into a negotiation.  But you have to make sure they’re solid negotiators, since they are working on your behalf.  They’re not going to tell you not to present a really low offer, but they might say the sellers will reject it offhand so you might want to consider raising it by X amount or offering to waive one of your contingencies.  Trust their advice.  You’re working as a team and you want to make sure your agent also has your best interests at heart.

3. Not knowing what you’re willing to pay.  A lot of people these days in this market are focused on getting the best price.  But you have to be careful.  You have to know what your limit is so you don’t overpay.  And sellers will know what they need to walk away from the closing table or they won’t be able to make the sale.  No matter how wonderful the home is and how perfect your furniture will look in it and that you can see yourself having your morning coffee on the deck overlooking the pond, there comes a point where no deal is worth it at a certain price. Know that before you start negotiating or you’ll let your emotions get the better of you.  

You can also lose your positioning power by being too hard a negotiator at the beginning.  Don’t make your first offer your final offer and then start negotiating.  The seller will know that you aren’t serious and has the ball back in their court.  Make your offer one that you’re willing to negotiate and have your Realtor tell the seller you want to work with them and make the deal happen.

This MSN article has a few more mistakes that can be made and how to avoid them.  My Web site has some other great articles and tips for buyers.  Have a great week!

New homeowners’ fees to increase

Let’s start with the good news first.  If you are in a home, paying a regular mortgage, nothing’s changed, you don’t have to worry.  No added fees for you.  

However, those that are purchasing a new home at the beginning of this year or planning to refinance, you’ll be paying an additional fee in your mortgage to help fund the payroll tax cut bill that the Senate passed over the weekend.

A quick review.  Originally planning to expire on January 1 (Sunday), a payroll tax cut and long-term unemployment benefits were extended two months when the Senate voted this weekend.  It should go through the House this week.  With this extension comes a $33 billion price tag.  So who pays for it?  Yep, you guessed it.  New homeowners and those refinancing.  That fee rises about a tenth of 1 percentage point and, therefore, increases the fee that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae charge to insure home mortgages.  It will also increase if your loan is backed by the Federal Housing Administration.

So on a $200,000 mortgage, your rate will increase approximately $17 a month.  Nothing huge but still considerable in the scheme of things.  Obviously, for a higher mortgage it goes up and a lower mortgage will have a smaller fee.  About 9 in 10 mortgages are backed by Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, or the Federal Housing Administration.

So my question is, is this fair?  Is it the homeowners’ responsibility to pay for this?  Looking at the large picture, I’m sure many people are thrilled that these benefits have been extended, given the state of the current economy.  And if it’s not covered this way, I would think Congress would tax us higher on something else, such as gasoline, income tax, or property tax.  They’ll get their money some way.  I’m curious to hear if you think this is right or if you have a better solution.  Please leave me a comment!  You can also reach me via my Web site.