Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 93

2015-2016 Housing Economic Forecast

by Mark Brace

Realtor Magazine just published the economic forecast for the 2015-2016 housing market and the numbers continue to trend upward. As the market continues to improve however, interest rates also are forecasted to rise. The forecast is predicting 2015 interest rates to average in around 4.9% and will continue to rise to 6% in 2016. If you're thinking of making a move, this is further proof that 2015 will be a great year to do so. While 6% is still a low interest rate historically speaking, you will have higher purchasing power in 2015 and that will continue to decrease as interest rates increase! Keep in mind that for every percentage point that interest rates rise your affordability drops by roughly $20,000! The forecast is outlined below:

Paws, Claws & Corks Event 2014

by Mark Brace

Don't forget to buy your tickets for a great charity event on March 24, 2014! Mark Brace & his wife, Kara Brace will be working this wonderful event!


Taking place in the Steelcase Ballroom at DeVos Place, this 2nd annual event is benefiting our local Kent County Humane Society.


Check out the details below courtesy of


Humane Society of West Michigan is excited to present the 2nd annual fund raising party, Paws, Claws & Corks!

This extravagant event will feature the hottest restaurants, breweries, and wineries in West Michigan.  Guests will enjoy fabulous cuisine, wonderful wine and beer samples, as well as opportunities to bid on exciting packages including adventures, trips, wine, sports memorabilia and much more!  Most importantly, money raised will benefit the Humane Society of West Michigan in our mission to promote the humane treatment and responsible care of animals in our community through education, example, responsible placement and protection.

This year’s event will feature the following restaurants:
The Catering Company
Cygnus 27
B.O.B.’s Brewery
San Chez Bistro
FOODesign by Chef Brech
One Trick Pony Grill & Taproom
Reds on the River
FireRock Grille
Reserve Wine & Food

Paws, Claws & Corks
Monday, March 24 at 6:00 p.m. in the Steelcase Ballroom at DeVos Place

$100 per person ($50 of each ticket is tax deductible)
Corporate tables are $1,000 each and include reserved seating for 10, corporate signage, quarter page ad in program book, and complimentary wine at each table.

Reserve your place at this once a year evening by contacting:  Tammy Hagedorn at [email protected] or 616-791-8138.  You won’t want to miss it!

Dress code for the event: Cocktail Chic or Business Attire

Down Payments

by Mark Brace

While the market for mortgages has been a lot tighter post 2006, it seems that things are beginning to turnaround.

Lenders are beginning to loosen the restrictions for down payments and as such are allowing more homebuyers into the game.

Below is a link to a great article that explains in further detail.

Selling Your Home?

by Mark Brace

Many people when they are thinking about selling their home underestimate the power of making the home look neat and tidy.

Realtor Magazine has compiled a list of 13 things that will help you in getting the most value and appeal out of your home.

Click on the link below for the article.

Mad Cap Coffee Top 15 In USA

by Mark Brace

Awesome! Mad Cap Coffee in downtown Grand Rapids is in the top 15 indie coffee shops for the entire nation. 

Posted below is the link to all 15 of the best.!12-madcap-coffee-company

5 Emotional Mistakes A Seller Can Make

by Mark Brace

A Great Article Posted Via Trulia.Com! Check it out!


Grand Rapids Top 12 City in US for Sustainability

by Mark Brace

In 2011, The Daily Beast included Grand Rapids in a slideshow of Americas dying cities. In 2012 Grand Rapids is included in the top 12 cities for sustainability. Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell responded to the editor listing several awards and qualities that show Grand Rapids is continually growing. Since then, Heartwell has launched a new recycling program that allows Grand Rapids residents to put all recyclables like paper, plastic, cardboard and glass into a single container. By doing this it simplifies the recycling process by keeping everything together. After the items are collected the city sorts through them. The program has increased recycling in Grand Rapids 80 percent and saves the city $100,000 because there is less trash to incinerate. 

-Mark Brace

Grand Rapids Top 10 City For Job Growth

by Mark Brace

Check out the link below to see the top cities for job growth. Grand Rapids being listed at number 10.

US top Cities for Job Growth

-Mark Brace

Grand Rapids $100 Home Energy Audits

by Mark Brace

Grand Rapids $100 Home Energy Audits

Affordable home energy audits are available in the Grand Rapids area.

Normally, these consultations would cost $300-$400, but the State of Michigan has designed a program through BetterBuildings for Michigan with $30 million in federal grant money to help homeowners reduce energy usage. This is available in Grand Rapids currently.

Before you decide that this will not save you any money in the future, or even right now, you should think about the facts of having a free home energy audit. Many people have reported that after having an audit they saw savings as low as $235 and as high as $800 a month.  Seems like a no brainer right? 

The Team installs energy efficient light bulbs, showerheads,faucets, and programmable thermostats at no additional charge. The team can also consult you on whether or not your old appliances are weighing down your electric usage.  The team will suggest alternative solutions to help lower your energy costs. Speaking of costs, the team offers financial assistance to people who are wanting to take greater diligence in reducing energy consumption. There are rebates available for this of up to $5000.

BetterBuildings for Michigan in Grand Rapids: 616-451-3051 ext. 40 or go to


Michigan First Time Home Buyers Grant

by Mark Brace

The First time home buyer grant became available in Michigan December 7th. A first time home buyer is classified as a buyer who has never owned a home, or has not owned a home within the last 3 years. This will be checked through credit, tax returns, and previous addresses (in the case of a land contract).

 There is only $15 Million reserved for this. My best guess is that this may only be available for 2 weeks in Grand Rapids since it is on a first come first serve basis. This is part of a nationwide class action lawsuit, so it is not the same as the first time home buyers assistance of the past where there is a chance for more funds to be allotted. A $3,000 grant is available for first time, non-military buyers, and a $5,000 grant available for first time buyers who are veterans, or currently active in the military.

 Files must be fully approved and clear to close before they can be sent to MSHDA for approval of the grant. That being said, anyone who is out looking at homes currently may not have a chance to get these funds. Most likely only those buyers with files in process at this time.

 Funds can only be used towards:

  • Down payment
  • Closing costs
  • Pre-paid items

Any funds that are not used toward the above can be used to execute a principal reduction at close. (No cash back at close except for EMD, or application fees).

  •  No re-payment of grant and no income restrictions
  • Valid for FHA, RD, VA, Conventional, and JUMBO purchase mortgages
  • Payoff of a land contract not acceptable
  • Buyer purchasing a home for cash, not eligible for grant


  • Title Company must be approved through MSHDA to receive these grants as the money comes directly from MSHDA to the title company. PLEASE make sure your title company is signed up and approved for this grant.
  • From the time that our file is clear to close, until we can close with this grant program, plan on 10 days. This could cause delays or needed extensions with the purchase agreement.


-Mark Brace


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 93

Contact Information

Mark Brace, Realtor, ABR, GRI, CRS, SRES, e-PRO, A
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate
3000 East Beltline NE
Grand Rapids MI 49525
Direct: (616) 447-7025
Cell: (616) 540-7705
Fax: (616) 447-7025

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Michigan Real Estate is a full service, locally operated real estate brokerage company backed by the strength of a solid national and global brand. Our full service businesses include Residential, Commercial, Relocation, Mortgage, Insurance, Home Services and New Homes & Land. Our core values, service philosophy, cutting edge technology, and most importantly our people are what make us the leading real estate company in Michigan. We are committed to providing the highest quality real estate services possible and making each customer's experience one that surpasses their expectations.