Real Estate Information Archive


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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


Grand Rapids: Beer City USA 2012

by Mark Brace

Chalk up another award for Grand Rapids. Earlier this year Grand Rapids (along with Asheville, NC who statistically tied with Grand Rapids) won Beer City USA 2012.  Generally speaking the more awards a city receives, the better the value of the area. Just another reason why Grand Rapids is among the top places to live. Take that Milwaukee!

Below is a link for an awesome video showcasing the best breweries in Grand Rapids, and also below are more detailed articles on G.R winning Beer City USA 2012.


-Mark Brace

Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3

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.