Meet the Yoder Real Estate Team: Ricky Otto


Today I want you to meet one of the new members of my team: Ricky Otto.

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We have a lot of great new people on the Yoder Real Estate team because we are expanding, so I thought that you should meet them. Today's team member you are meeting is Ricky Otto, who just passed the monumental feat of obtaining his real estate license.

Ricky is 22 years old, and he got in touch with us after he decided he wanted to get into real estate and become an agent.

After I got back to him, he went through an in-depth interview process. He says that being in an office surrounded by people who are wholly interested in helping you improve as an individual has been a cool experience.

 Ricky has a big heart and is on a path of personal growth unlike any I've ever seen.

He adds that the time and resources we’ve invested in his improvement is one of the biggest benefits of working on the Yoder Real Estate team, and if you’re looking to grow yourself in real estate and beyond, this is the place for you. Also, if you're looking to buy a home in West Michigan, Ricky Otto may be the right agent for the job. Ricky has a big heart and is on a path of personal growth unlike any I've ever seen. Don't let his age fool you, though—he has a lot of wisdom that I am blown away by. If you have any questions for us or are interested in buying or selling, please feel free to contact us, we look forward to speaking with you soon.

What Do Homebuyers Need to Know About Home Inspections?


Professional home inspector John Wade joins me today to answer some of your home inspection questions.

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Today I am joined by John Wade of JW Home Inspections to talk about the importance of home inspections and answer a few commonly asked questions about them.

John has been doing home inspections in the Western Michigan area for 16 years, and out of all the home inspectors in our region, he and his company are the ones we trust to refer our buyers to most.

According to John, there are three primary inspections most home inspection companies perform—the home inspection itself, a radon test, and a termite inspection. Whether you want all three of these inspections done depends on your situation, what you are willing to spend, and the type of house you are buying. But for almost every buyer John works with, he recommends all three. Radon, for example, is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., and you are unable to know whether there are high levels of it in your home unless you test for it.

If you are purchasing a home you plan on living in for a long period of time, the home inspection is basically your only crack at inspecting the condition of every aspect of that home.

Now onto our home inspection FAQs:

1. Does the buyer need to be present at the inspection?

The buyer doesn’t have to be present at the inspection, but John prefers that his buyers are so they have an opportunity to explain what they are doing, what their findings are, and what the overall condition of the home is. In short, being present makes for a better inspection. In fact, the biggest problem a home inspection can face is when the buyer doesn’t show up for it. If you are unable to make it to your scheduled inspection, it helps to meet with your inspector sometime afterward so they can give you a full recap.

 The home inspection is basically your only crack at inspecting the condition of every aspect of that home.

2. Is it possible for radon to be present in new homes?


Absolutely. Radon can exist in a home whether it is old or new. Older homes actually tend to have lower levels of radon because their basements typically have a greater air flow. New homes, by comparison, are sealed tighter and lend themselves to higher potential levels of radon.

3. Who orders the home inspection?

The buyer. To that end, JW Home Inspections likes to list their services and pricing online so that buyers know exactly what they’re getting into before the inspection starts.

I want to thank John for joining me today. If you’d like to know more about JW Home Inspections or you have any other home inspection questions, be sure to visit jwhomeinspection.com or give him a call at (616) 889-0043.

As always, if you have any other real estate questions for me or are thinking of buying or selling a house, please feel free to call or email me. I would be glad to help you.


How to Get Your Offer Accepted in This Market


 Getting your offer accepted in today’s market is harder than it used to be. Here are a few ways that you can edge out the competition.

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I was recently interviewed on the radio by Justin Barclay of Wood Radio 1300 and we talked about the different ways that a buyer can get their offer accepted in this very challenging market. I encourage you to listen to the entire interview, but here are a few of the most important tips from our conversation: 1. Get a pre-approval letter. Looking at properties without one just doesn’t make sense anymore. Consider this: When a seller puts a home on the market, they get it ready by cleaning, staging, and photographing it. Whenever a showing is scheduled, the homeowner spends days getting it ready. Imagine their disappointment to know that a buyer was let in the home that couldn’t simply take the few hours to get a pre-approval. It’s not only a proactive measure for buyers to know the amount you can afford, but it’s also beneficial to the seller by letting them know that the buyer can afford the home and is serious about buying.

 Shortening the inspection period lets the seller know that you mean business.

2. Give the seller an occupancy period. This is when you allow the seller extra time in the home after closing. They may need it, considering they might also be purchasing a home themselves. This can go a long way in getting your offer accepted. 3. Reduce your due diligence period. In West Michigan, homebuyers typically get 10 days to have their inspections done during this period. If you shorten this up to five days or fewer, it gives the seller more confidence that the home will close on time. If you have any questions about any of these tips or you need any real estate-related advice, don’t hesitate to reach out and give me a call or send me an email.

What Would You Like to Learn About?


I’ve been trying to provide you with content that I thought you’d find valuable, but today, I’d like to know what YOU want to learn about.

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Over the last five or six years, I’ve made videos about topics ranging from the state of the real estate market to how to hire a listing agent. Hopefully the content I’ve delivered has been valuable to you, but the truth is I’m not really sure. That leads me to today’s topic, which is a favor in the form of a question: “What would you like to know about?” Would you be open to telling me what you’d like to learn about? I’ve made some speculations that my past topics are the topics that you’d like to know about, but I’d rather just ask you.
 I’ve made some speculations that my past topics are the topics that you’d like to know about, but I’d rather just ask you.

If there’s a topic you’d like me to address, feel free to reach out to me or reply back to this email. If I choose your topic, I’ll send you a gift card as my way of saying thank you for your response and helping me provide you with valuable content. I promise that I will put out insightful, accurate, and concise information that is in response to your questions. Please, let me know how I can best serve you. I wish you all the best in 2018, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Don’t Believe This Big Myth About VA Loans


Many people believe that because VA loans offer 100% financing to their borrowers, they aren’t as qualified as other buyers. The facts don’t support this assumption, though. 

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The reason I’m joined today by John Seville, loan officer and branch manager of Benchmark Mortgage, is to dispel a common myth surrounding VA loans. From a real estate perspective, and with listing agents especially, there tends to be a stigma surrounding VA loans. If we get four or five offers for one of our listings, for example, and one of those offers has VA financing, we may be less inclined to accept that offer. According to John, that perception is very common in the marketplace, and the most common myth associated with VA loans is because it offers 100% financing to the buyer, that buyer must not be as good of a buyer as other buyers who have more standard financing options like a conventional loan. This simply isn’t the case, though. The average FICO score of a VA borrower is 741, which is about 20 points higher than the average score of a conventional borrower.

A VA buyer has—on average—more in their bank account than a conventional buyer.

“The myth that 0% down means not as good of a buyer is simply not accurate,” John says. The disconnect here is the belief that someone who has 100% financing must have no money in their bank account. In reality, a VA buyer has—on average—more in their bank account than a conventional buyer. Additionally, VA borrowers still put money down 30% of the time even though they have the option of 100% financing. If you have any more mortgage questions for John, you can call him at (616) 965-2504 or visit his website at www.johnseville.benchmark.us. If you have any other real estate questions or needs I can assist you with, don’t hesitate to call or email me. I’d love to help you.

Grand Rapids Real Estate: Market Update


Our market has seen a lot of ups and downs over the last few years. Here are the numbers you need to know for future reference. 

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I’ve been waiting for some market data to come in lately and it’s finally here. My nerds and I over here crunched some numbers and put together a snapshot of the current market, as well as a forecast on where the market is headed.


Let’s begin by showing you how the market has been the last few years. In June 2015, we saw a peak average sale price of $178,000, then a bottoming to $156,496 in January 2016. By June 2016, our average price peaked again at $185,000. In February 2017, it bottomed out again at $163,000.

Our latest peak was in June 2017. This was the first time in history that our average sale price rose above $200,000 ($201,0000). The average sale price right now is $183,000. Based on what we’ve seen in the past few years, I’m fairly certain that we are going to see an average sale price between $203,000 and $209,000 this summer.

Our market is set for another peak this summer.

If you take a look at a graph of the market over the last few years (like the one in the video above), you’ll see that instead of sharp peaks and valleys, we’re seeing more of a fluid parabola with a lot of ups and downs. The good news is that by following recent trends, you can get ahead of the market.


If you’re interested in getting involved in this record market, feel free to reach out and give us a call. Your sale price will mostly depend on what other homes in your area are selling for. If you’re curious about what homes are selling for in your market or you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.