Saturday, March 21, 2009

Investors Find Real Estate Gold in Detroit

This is a very interesting article posted on I am working with a wholesale Real Estate firm here in the Phoenix area and we’re doing the exact same thing, only with a little better climate and economic outlook. The company is buying up foreclosures and bank-owned properties at a fraction of the appraised value. They make a few needed repairs, mark them up minimally and sell them in less than 30 days at prices still far below appraised values. I hope you find the article informative.
All the best,

Thom Mahan
Realtor/Investment Advisor
Arizona Realty One Group

Investors Find Real Estate Gold in Detroit
By Tristan SmithCNN
Tue March 17, 2009

DETROIT, Michigan (CNN) -- Jeremy Burgess likes the location and layout of the three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath home in the Grandmont neighborhood of Detroit, Michigan. The home is large for the area, around 1,600 square feet. By far the most attractive feature for Burgess is the price. While he says it may appraise at around $110,000, he bought it on March 11 for a mere $12,000.

"I'm selling it next week to an out-of-state investor for a little over $17,000," he says.
His company, Urban Detroit Wholesalers, buys, renovates, then flips or rents homes in Detroit, something that may seem foolhardy to some observers in one of the most economically depressed cities in the nation. But Burgess, who started the company in 2007 with partner Jared Pomranky, says Detroit is a great place for real estate investment.

"Detroit to me is like the wild, wild West," he says, "You can't get cheap land in the West anymore. The cheap land is in the Midwest now."

Browsing through the real estate ads in Detroit can be depressing. Property owners, whether they are individuals or banks, are doing anything they can to sell unwanted homes. With so much of the local economy tied to the struggling Big Three automakers, some owners inside the city limits have resorted to offering homes for as little as a dollar, many for $50. The average is about $7,000.

Burgess says there is a reason these homes are so cheap. Most listings are in economically depressed neighborhoods where people are trying to leave, not buy. "I have seen tons of $50 houses," Burgess says, "but the house needs $80,000 of worth of work, and you can't get an appraisal above $8,000."

He says the prices on those homes are so ridiculously low because owners just want to get rid of the tax burden and the liability of owning them. It costs more to tear down these homes than the property is worth, so it's cheaper to give them away.

"Out of [the most recent] 800 sales, 10 of them will be true sales to home owners and the rest will be distress sales," he says, pointing out the low percentage of homes sold in a normal business transaction in the city. Pomranky says contrary to Detroit's national image, there are still clean, well-kept, middle-class areas people want to live in. "What we do is invest in neighborhoods that people are moving to," he says.

They target mostly middle-class neighborhoods on the far northwestern and northeastern edges of the city. The homes in these neighborhoods have stayed relatively high in value. Many of the homes are foreclosures. Some properties are bought from homeowners who have lost their jobs, and a few have been donated to nonprofit organizations, which then sell them to Burgess' company.

Pomranky says the attraction is the price point and the opportunity, something often missed by local investors. "Many investors in Michigan and especially Detroit, they are a little too close to see the opportunity," he says. Their investors are coming from out of state, mostly the West Coast and California, and occasionally from out of the country. Many of them are looking for alternatives to investing in the stock market.

Many homes are sold to investors for around $35,000 after they have been renovated.
"Some go straight to rentals, some go to rent-to-own lease options," Pomranky says. "And some are sold to new homeowners. It's about a 60 percent rental to 40 percent homeowners."

Burgess says his company can get a 12 percent to 20 percent return on its investment and that outside investment money benefits more than just the buyers and sellers. "All this money is spent in Detroit. I live in Detroit. Our office is in Detroit," he says. "The Home Depot where all the materials are bought is in Detroit," he says. "Everyone hired, 95 percent of them live in Detroit. So we are paying them. I would say that 90 percent of it stays inside the city of Detroit."

In 2006, Burgess was a supermarket baker in Washington state, trying to invest in local real estate. But high buy-in costs and high appreciation made success difficult. A friend of his in Detroit was making money in investing and told him to try his luck there. "I thought he was crazy, and I am the type of person who has to prove it. The more I tried to prove him wrong about Detroit, the more I proved him right."

Burgess ended up buying around a dozen properties in Detroit before he came to Michigan. But when he finally did move to Detroit, the bottom fell out of the national housing market. "I showed up in Detroit with about $35,000, a bunch of properties going on and a lot of financing options." He says "by October [2007] I had nothing."

That same year he met Pomranky and formed Urban Detroit Wholesalers. Together they retooled the business model and found that working with a local nonprofit and in targeted neighborhoods helped both succeed.

Burgess says because there was never a housing boom in Detroit like California, the market stayed relatively stable. But when financing dried up, everything changed. "This last drop I think is totally due to lack of financing options, and when cash is king, prices drop significantly. I see it as an artificial drop in value, and I am obviously taking advantage of it. So are my investors."
He believes that the prices will go back up when the credit market loosens up and home owners are able to secure their own financing.

Despite being in the middle of rebuilding their business, Burgess and Pomranky say they made money in 2008. But for them it wasn't just about making a quick buck. They say they knew for their continued success, Detroit had to prosper, too. So they teamed with a nonprofit organization called the Motor City Blight Busters, which provides a low-cost work force that renovates the homes for Urban Detroit Wholesalers to sell.

"It is our goal to stabilize and revitalize the neighborhoods." says John George, president of the organization. "By being able to partner with investors, it allows us to expand our capacity to do what we do.

"Acquiring the property and cleaning them out, restoring them and putting a responsible family in that home is really key to stabilizing and revitalizing," George says.
He wants to see more home ownership by local families in these neighborhoods, but he knows that may take some time.

"We always focus on home ownership. That's key," he says. "But in this market we have to invite everyone to participate." Most of the labor force is made up of recently released convicts looking for a trade and a chance to earn a living. Some of the homes they renovate are being donated to Blight Busters, which then place families in them.

Burgess thinks teaming a for-profit business and a nonprofit is a win-win scenario.
"I think this is a perfect example of what a nonprofit and a for-profit with investors can do to solve a problem that governments are having a problem solving. While 100 or so homes we do a year is significant in Detroit, we realize that we're barely a blip on the national radar. But imagine if there were hundreds of companies like ours across the country."

Obama administration expected to unveil bank rescue plan early next week

Thom Mahan
Realtor/Investment Advisor
Arizona Realty One Group

“Did you know that more millionaires were made during The Great Depression than in any other period in U.S. history?”

Obama administration expected to unveil bank rescue plan early next week

From Ed HenryCNN Sr. White House Correspondent
March 21st, 2009

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will announce early next week the administration’s long-awaited plan to try to get toxic assets off the books of the nation’s ailing banks, two senior administration officials confirm.

The plan will have three major prongs, the officials said. In one part, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation would set up investment partnerships and lend those partnerships about 85 percent of the money needed to buy toxic assets. In the second part, the Treasury Department would hire several investment firms to raise private funds, in order to try to lessen the burden for taxpayers. The third piece involves Treasury working with the Federal Reserve to expand lending, in an effort to make it easier for consumers to get mortgages, and auto and other kinds of loans.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plan has not been announced.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Phoenix Expert Sees Real Estate Boom Ahead

Thom Mahan, Realtor/Investment Advisor
Arizona Realty One Group

Phoenix Expert Sees Real Estate Boom Ahead
Author H. L. Quist is on record in calling all the past five boom and bust cycles in the US since 1990.

Phoenix, AZ (PRWEB) August 10, 2008 — H L Quist, a Valley resident for thirty-six years, believes that the local real estate market will bottom this year and forecasts another boom starting in 2009. In April, 2005, H. L. Quist forecasted that the “Greenspan Plan” to promote all forms of consumer borrowing and spending would implode causing the real estate and credit meltdown aftermath experienced in 2007 and 2008.

Quist, who has taught “Cycles & Trends in Real Estate at the Southwestern School of Real Estate for the past fifteen years, says that, “All markets move on fundamentals and emotion. The new ‘Housing & Economic Recovery Act of 2008′ just passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush, changes the fundamentals. The bill greatly expands the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) which will insure up to $300 billion in new loans for desperate homeowners who cannot qualify for FHA loans under the existing rules and law. The new FHA along with the Hope Now Alliance will slow the surge in foreclosures permitting the market psychology to also change.”

The Aftermath of Greed: Get Ready for the Coming Inflationary Boom.“Based upon information available as of this date, here’s an example of how the new FHA program might work,” explains Quist.

“A homeowner (who has spent at least 31% of their income on a mortgage) has an existing high interest sub-prime loan with (let’s say) Countrywide Financial. The loan may already be in default as is 48% of Countrywide’s $30 billion sub-prime portfolio. The borrower can refinance with the new FHA on a 30-year fixed rate loan at an interest rate significantly lower than any prime borrower on a conventional basis. Countrywide agrees to write down their mortgage to 90% of the current appraised value in exchange for a new loan guaranteed by FHA. The borrower presumably now has a loan that is affordable, Countrywide owns a loan that is fully valued on its balance sheet and the risk of default is assumed by taxpayers.”

Quist, now retired, worked thirty-five years in financial services and ten as a real estate developer and is the author of “The Aftermath of Greed: Get Ready for the Coming Inflationary Boom.” He is also the author of 3 other non-fiction and fiction books.

Top Five Reasons to Invest In Real Estate

Thom Mahan, Realtor/Investment Advisor
Arizona Realty One Group

Reason #1 to Invest During this Real Estate Bust:
Real estate, like all free markets, moves in cycles … it just moves a lot slower than commodities, stocks, bonds and many other types of investments. History shows that real estate booms occur about every 7 to 10 years.

The last downturn in U.S. residential real estate was in the early-to-mid 1990s. That means we were very overdue for the bubble to bust, especially since the Federal Reserve bolstered the real estate market during the dotcom bust and ensuing recession of 2001-2003. By 2005 it was pretty obvious the market was oversold.

Reason #2 to Buy Real Estate Soon:
What else will you invest your money in as we enter 2009? Some experts are saying to buy gold and silver, but those markets are always volatile, offer no leverage and probably have peaked or are close to a peak already.

Stocks may be a good option but with consumers pulling back on spending and job losses looming on the horizon, demand seems to be headed even further down, which will put a squeeze on corporate profits.

Unless you are among the doomsayers who predict global economic disaster is ahead, keeping your money in cash or cash equivalents doesn’t make much sense either.

Reason #3 to Purchase an Income-producing Property:
Rents have increased steadily even as home prices have dropped; this is only logical since people have to live somewhere and if they can’t finance a home they have to rent. So, regardless whether you are a tenant or a landlord, it makes sense to invest in real estate.

Reason #4 to Buy a Home while Prices are Low:
Buy low, sell high … of course. It’s only obvious that real estate values will return; the only question is how soon. There isn’t a huge rush. You can’t time the exact bottom of any market and real estate is no different than any other market in this regard. Wait for signs that money is available again, home sales start to pick up and then you’ll know it’s time to invest.

Reason #5 to get into the Real Estate Market Soon:
We will never see U.S. home prices this low again. As far in the one direction as home prices soared during the boom, the pendulum is swinging even further in the opposite direction now. The reasons are many and complex, having to do with bogus derivatives in the mortgage industry, rapid increases in home foreclosures due to sub prime lending practices and other factors.

But the fact remains that this has created huge opportunities in real estate markets such as Florida, where homes that sold for $300,000 or more just a few years ago can now be bought for $75,000! Where can you find an investment opportunity like that?
Even if you can’t get a home loan right now you could just pay cash in some of the hardest-hit residential real estate markets. And in a year or 2 you can always get a loan, recovering much of the capital you have invested and re-invest it elsewhere.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Buy Real Estate Now

Thom Mahan
Realtor/Investment Expert

This is a great article from Forbes Magazine. There are some unbelievable bargains in the Phoenix metro area right now. I have several wholesale properties available; visit the featured properties on my website.

If you are looking for a real estate agent that puts your needs before anything else, than I would love to represent you and help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Please feel free to contact me directly at 623-476-9092 or via email at

Buy Real Estate Now
Stephane Fitch, 11.05.08, 06:00 AM EST
Forbes gathered four real estate experts to examine the broken, but perhaps bottoming sector.

11.27.08 - First, the bad news. New home sales in the U.S. haven't been this low since 1991, according to the Commerce Department. Now the good news. New home sales in the U.S. haven't been this low since 1991.

This means prices are back to where they had been in 2004, which is where they had been when this market really started to roar. Even better news for the real-estate minded is that some experts see that even if we're not near a bottom of the housing market, we are on the right track. Jeremy Grantham, the chairman of GMO, and a well-respected market prognosticator, said back in October that the U.S. market is at least halfway to a full correction. Also, even now, some markets are holding up reasonably well. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index over the past year the Dallas housing market has seen its values fall 2.7%, still a loss, but much better than the equities markets. Charlotte is down 3.5% in that time. Even the worst market, Phoenix is down 32% according to the index. Yes, quite bad, but the S&P 500 is down 38% over the past year.

Also, it looks like Uncle Sam is here to rescue the real estate market. The federal government plans to buy up $600 billion in debt either issued or backstopped by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This action pushed down rates nationally last week, as much as half a percent, on good old 30-year mortgages. So real estate money just got cheaper.

Real Estate Investment Trusts are also being talked up once again. In the paper "Securities for Uncertain Times" Raymond James' Director of Real Estate Research, Paul Puryear, says the sentiment against REITs has swung too far negative and recommends several to investors, including the Kimco Realty Corporation, Mid-America Apartments and National Retail Properties. All sport attractive yields, and are considered "safety first" investments by Puryear.

Forbes has done its own research in order to make sense of the real estate markets, assembling a team of experts to analyze the lay of the land. A lively e-mail exchange followed, with picks in residential real estate and stocks. The panel included Spencer Rascoff of, Michael Feder of Radar Logic, Donald Trump Jr. of the Trump Organization and Peter Slatin of Real Capital Markets. The moderator, Stephane Fitch, covers real estate for Forbes magazine.

-David Serchuk

On Halloween, Radar Logic published a new compendium of housing for the year ending in August.

The results were frightening: House prices have held up in just a precious few cities (Milwaukee, up 3%; Columbus, flat; Charlotte, down 3%). All the big California cities tanked, falling 23% to 28%. Prices in Phoenix and Vegas dropped 29% and 30%. Even prices in resilient New York City are off 7%.

These kinds of price declines in housing are unprecedented. Our friends at reported on Oct. 29 that half of American homeowners believe their residences are worth just as much or even more than they were worth a year ago.

Forbes has assembled a panel of real estate experts to discuss the current markets. A lively e-mail exchange was the result, with picks in both residential real estate and stocks. Joining us were Spencer Rascoff of, Michael Feder of Radar Logic, Donald Trump Jr. of the Trump Organization and Peter Slatin of Real Capital Analytics. The moderator, Stephane Fitch, covers real estate for Forbes magazine.

In Pictures: What To Buy And Where

Spencer Rascoff, I do think this is a great time to be buying residential real estate, with two caveats. First, you need financing, which is much more difficult than in the past. Second, you need to be smart about it. The good old days when anyone could make millions flipping homes in their spare time are over.

I have four friends who have raised investment funds in the last few months to buy up residential real estate--one in Miami, one in San Diego, one in New York/New Jersey and one in Seattle. It's a great time to be doing this, if you're sharp and well capitalized.

Time is Right to Invest in Arizona Real Estate

Thom Mahan
Realtor/Investment Expert

Due to the current market conditions, there are thousands of incredible investment opportunities available in the Phoenix, Arizona area. These include single family homes, condos, townhomes, gated communities and golf course properties. Many of these homes are being purchased for less than $40.00 per square foot.

The median single family home price in metro Phoenix fell to $130,000 in January 2009, according to local MLS data. At $130,000, the median home price in metro Phoenix has fallen 51% from the peak price of $264,800 in June 2006.

The home shown is a gorgeous 2 story 4 bedroom, 3 bath with 2,270 sq ft located in Buckeye, AZ (western Phoenix suburb). The asking price is $84,500, that’s under $38 per square foot. This home is just one of several wholesale properties that I currently have available. To see more, visit the featured properties on my website.

If you are looking for a real estate agent that puts your needs before anything else, than I would love to represent you and help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Please feel free to contact me directly at 623-476-9092 or via email at

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Forbes Magazine says "10 Million Millionaires will be Created by the year 2016"

The Great Depression: A Time of Great Opportunity!

Thom Mahan, Real Estate Investment Expert

Did you know that more millionaires were made during The Great Depression than in any other period in U.S. history? Forbes Magazine says "10 million millionaires will be created by the year 2016." So what are the most common traits of the wealthy? They reject conventional wisdom. They understand the simple and powerful truths of money. And often times, their greatest successes were birthed out of adversity. They are ordinary people just like you and me!

Most people will try to ride out the current economic crisis by simply keeping their heads above water. Many of these individuals and families will be able to tread water for a year or two but will eventually drown in a sea of debt. However, a select few will look beyond the crisis and seek out the many opportunities that are currently being created.

One of these opportunities is in Real Estate Investment. There are areas across the United States where bank-owned properties are being sold for pennies on the dollar. And these are not a small percentage of the available properties like in years past. In fact, more than 50% of the single-family homes sold in Arizona are bank-owned properties. Literally tens of thousands of homes in the greater Phoenix area will be sold for a fraction of the appraised value. The median single family home price in metro Phoenix fell to $130,000 in January 2009, according to local MLS data. At $130,000, the median home price in metro Phoenix has fallen 51% from the peak price of $264,800 in June 2006. MLS data also shows that there are over 3,000 two-four bedroom homes listed for $50,000 and less.

So how can you take advantage of these once in a life-time opportunities and become one of the next members of the Forbes List of Millionaires? My first suggestion is don’t try to do it alone. Find a solid team of real estate experts that can put their talents to work for you. The team should consist of a top-notch agent, appraiser, inspector and property manager. I am a proud member of the Real Estate and Beyond team here in Phoenix. The team is made up of honest, hard-working members that place the needs of their clients above all else.

Once you have selected a quality team that can assist you in accomplishing your financial goals it is time to design a strategy. In the past, you were able to design a stock portfolio that balanced low-and high-risk stocks to achieve your goals. Not anymore though, Wall Street has let us down and the average investor will not get involved with the stock market for several years. Real Estate has become a much more stable and attractive way to realize your financial security.

Here’s just one example of how to make the real estate opportunities in the Phoenix area work for you. Let’s say John and Mary Smith have $50,000 available to invest. They can place it in a savings account and earn 2% interest, invest in the highly vulnerable stock market or invest in real estate. They decide to go with real estate because of its solid security and potential. Mr. and Mrs. Smith purchase five homes in the Phoenix area for $50,000 a piece. They put 20% down on each property and finance the rest. Here is how their monthly financial report breaks down

Mortgage Principle and Interest at 6% = $239.82
Taxes and Insurance = $85.00
Property Management = $75.00
Maintenance = $60.00
Total: $459.82
Total for all five properties: $2,299.10

Average rental rate for a 3 bedroom home = $850.00
Total for all five properties: $4,250.00
Monthly Profit: $1950.90
Annual Profit: $23,410.80

The best thing about this strategy is that the renters are not only generating income for the Smith’s, they are also paying their mortgage for them. Their goal will be to hold onto the properties until the housing market rebounds, which historically always has. In approximately five years they will sell the homes on average for $125,000. Here is how the Smith’s five year investment breaks down:

Investment = $50,000.00
Remaining Mortgage = $189,926.20
Total: $239,962.20

Profit from rentals over five years = $117,054.00
Revenue from sale of five homes = $625,000.00
Total: $742,054.00

Total Profit: $502,091.80

By investing conservatively in the Phoenix real estate market, Mr. and Mrs. Smith made over half of a million dollars in just five years. These estimates were made using extremely conservative figures just to show how incredible this opportunity really is. And remember, you don’t need to have $50,000 like the Smith’s did. Anyone can begin acquiring property in this market for much less and take advantage of this opportunity. For more information and to see several of the properties currently available in the Phoenix market visit us at Whether you decide to use the services of my team or not, I wish you and your family all the happiness and success in the world.

"Prosperity & freedom is yours, if you want it!"