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Oakland County Real Estate Law Blog

Building foreclosed - what's a leasee to do?

Many businesses opt to lease the space in which they work for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they cannot afford the financial outlay required to purchase a space, or they plan to buy a space when the business grows. Whatever the rationale, there are pros and cons to renting office space.

One pro is that if something goes wrong in the building, for instance, there's a leak, the plumbing goes haywire or something else occurs, the business only needs to call the building owner to get the issue fixed. If the business owns the building then any repairs would be the business' responsibility to handle. On the flip side, if the owner of the building is slow to make repairs, this can have a negative impact on customers and the business could suffer. Another consideration is potential growth for a business. If the business is starting small, then a large space might not be necessary at first. Buying a building to meet current needs that might not meet the business's needs later could be an unwise business move.

Developers making purchases and sales with students in mind

Developers are eying East Lansing, Michigan, for the construction of apartment complexes and numerous projects are already underway. The target market they are seeking to profit from in their purchases and sales and development projects are students.

Developers are adding fitness centers, basketball courts, study lounges and tanning beds to their properties in order to appeal to the younger student demographic. The addition of granite countertops, hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances and other perks put these apartments into the luxury category. Indeed, they are being rented at prices of $600 to $1,000 a person. Interestingly, East Lansing is not the only college community that is seeing the rise of high-end student apartment complexes; the trend is happening in college towns throughout the nation.

Michigan commerical property owners turn to online sale

Across one city in Michigan, property owners are turning to the Internet and online auction to move sales. A building in downtown Detroit isn't your standard eBay listing, and the property owners are using property-based selling sites such as, but the principles of the Internet auction remain the same. By going to the Internet, property owners reach a larger audience and are more likely to sell a property at a decent price point.

Chinese bidders won a building that dates back to 1920, when it was constructed as offices. As of the 1990s, the building had been leased as apartments, and in December 2013, the bid was close to $2.8 million for the property. Another property was purchased by Chinese developers for $9.4 million in October 2013. That property was a 38-story brick skyscraper.

Sotheby's opens new Michigan office

As real estate markets in Michigan and the rest of the country improve, new real estate offices and residential and commercial real estate investment opportunities are popping up all over the place. Indeed, in recent events, Sotheby's International Reality has announced the opening of a new real estate office in Grand Rapids.

According to the manager of the location, he is excited to bring Sotheby's luxury brand to downtown Grand Rapids. He said that Sotheby's will provide Grand Rapids homeowners with the ability to show their homes to international buyers through the latest in technological resources. Among the selling strategies employed by Sotheby's is the creation of professionally edited video tours, which online buyers can use to evaluate a property from afar.

Oakland County sees increase in home sales values

The economic recession hit the United States hard, but some areas of the country suffered more than others did. One such area was the Detroit-metro area. However, a recent report by Crains Detroit Business shows that the same area is now seeing a boost in residential real estate sale prices. In fact, the average sale price has increased by more than 20 percent from last year according to June numbers from this year.

The increase in the number of houses hitting the market is also significant. According to Realcomp II Ltd., there has been an overall increase of 29.7 percent in Oakland, Wayne and Livingston counties.

Real estate purchases and sales: Michigan landmark up for auction

When it comes to purchases and sales of Detroit area real estate, there is one historic building that numerous people have admired -- and it used to be the headquarters of the Detroit Club. Built in 1892, the four-story building is made of red brick and stone and it was recently scheduled for auction. The building was constructed for the exclusive purpose of being the historic Detroit Club's home and it served as its clubhouse from the day it opened until it was sold in 2013.

The current owner of the building is no stranger to purchases and sales of real estate for investment purposes. The real estate investor purchased the building at a price of $1 million late last year. In preparation to sell the property at auction, it has been renovated. New bathroom fixtures and flooring were installed and the club's ornate woodwork was refinished.

Landlord-tenant disagreements: Construction firm to be evicted

A group of property owners has requested the U.S. Bankruptcy Court if it can issue an eviction notice to a bankrupt construction company that is inhabiting an investment property in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The petition was filed on July 16. Allegedly, the construction company has failed to pay over $45,000 in rent and has accrued late fees of about $2,300.

The real estate property at issue is a uniquely shaped cantilevered building. The main office floors of the edifice are suspended in air above its service buildings below. The now bankrupt construction firm has inhabited the premises -- which are valued at approximately $5.5 million -- since 2008.

Michigan contractor and tenants involved in housing dispute

Before entering into any real estate transaction, buyers must have a thorough understanding of everything that is — and isn't — stipulated in the contracts. Prospective buyers who do not have legal or real estate professionals review the contracts before signing may find themselves in a sticky situation as one group of Detroit residents is now discovering.

The future of the Gratiot McDougall housing project is in jeopardy, and what is sure to be a long legal battle involving landlord-tenant disagreements is currently playing out in a Wayne County court. Involved in the dispute are the current tenants in the project as well as the Oakland County developer who currently owns the property.

Downtown Grand Rapids commercial real estate increases in value

Office space in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, became more popular during the first six months of 2014. Several buildings were bought and sold, and the owners of some buildings announced remodeling and/or repurposing plans. As a result, downtown Grand Rapids has been experiencing a minor boom and a rise in leasing rates.

According to one real estate firm president who specializes in real estate in the downtown Grand Rapids area, business is better than he has seen it during the whole of his 17-year career. A 2014 mid-year report published by the Alliance of Commercial Realtors indicates that the number of new leases on office space experienced an 11.5 percent jump during the first half of 2014. The report also indicated that sales transactions increased by 45 percent.

Blighted commercial properties may be on their way out

Abandoned and dilapidated residential properties have been torn down throughout Michigan after the U.S. Treasury Department allowed money from the "Hardest Hit" foreclosure relief fund set up by the Troubled Asset Relief Program to be used to take down the homes. Now, it looks like the same thing may be happening soon with vacant and abandoned commercial properties.

According to reports, Rep. Dan Kildee has asked the Treasury Secretary to allow the funds to be used for the commercial buildings, arguing that the precedent was set when the funds were used for the residential properties. Kildee argued in a letter sent to the Treasury Secretary on July 8 that doing so would protect property values and hopefully keep residents in the area.

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