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More Grand Rapids, MI Homeowners Looking Outdoors

by Mark Brace

With better weather now here in the Grand Rapids area, more homeowners are looking outdoors. The latest from Realtor.com, citing a Saber Grills survey, stated that now 83 percent of homeowners find their outdoor living space to be their favorite part of their home. Up until now, the kitchen has been considered the "heart of the home," but it seems that popular opinion is swaying in favor of outdoor living spaces, peaking homeowner interest and perhaps potential Michigan homebuyer interest as well.

The survey found that "Midwesterners are the most interactive with their outdoor space. They update and accessorize most often and 75 percent use it throughout the week." Blame it on a harsh winter and too many months of snow, but we may see more Grand Rapids area homebuyers this summer favoring outdoor spaces and searching for homes for sale that have relaxing outdoor space to offer. It is being said that outdoor spaces are the new "heart of the home," especially as a whopping 81 percent of survey participants labeled it as such.

With the survey's representation of today's homeowner, nearly half said they would update their outdoor living spaces as much as their favorite interior room. Adding a grill, special lighting, a pool, a hot tub, a TV and even access to WiFi are all important to homeowners in the Midwest— our region of the U.S. was deemed the most likely to add tech upgrades like TVs to outdoor spaces. 

"We've dubbed this group 'super relaxers," said a Saber Grills executive. "The outdoor space was a major factor in their home buying decision and they are very engaged in making it comfortable. This group leads the way in defining how an outdoor space can be used and decorated."

So, what does that mean for this summer's Grand Rapids homeowners who are preparing to sell? You may want to keep your outdoor spaces in mind as Michigan homebuyers may be paying close attention to the living space beyond your home's walls. Curb appeal also plays a major factor in helping the homebuyer feel welcomed to a home, not just in the areas surrounding the home's front door, but also side yards and backyards. 

Does your home have a clean and clear path to the front door? Is your front yard landscaped and free of weeds or overgrown grass, bushes and shrubs? If the home has a fence, it is stable and free of peeling paint or faded stain? In the backyard, is your deck an eye sore or a prized feature of your outdoor space? If you have a pool, is it well-maintained? These are all projects that Grand Rapids area home sellers can tackle this summer and get their homes ready for homebuyers who may be coming into the local real estate market over the next few months.

If you're thinking of selling your home in Grand Rapids, Kent County, Forest Hills, East Grand Rapids, Cascade, Ada, Rockford, Northview, and Grandville, I would be happy to help! Let's discuss the best features of your home and how those play into what area homebuyers are looking for this season. I look forward to hearing from you!

I happily serve the areas of Grand Rapids, Kent County, Forest Hills, East Grand Rapids, Cascade, Ada, Rockford, Northview, Grandville, Kentwood, Caledonia, Walker, Cedar Springs, Sparta, Belmont, Comstock Park, Byron Center, Wyoming, Alpine, Kenowa Hills, Plainfield, Cannon, Lowell, Sand Lake, Jenison, Hudsonville, Wayland, Belmont, Alto and Kent City


Mark Brace

Brace Homes

Realtor, ABR, CRS, GRI, SRES, e-pro, AHWD, SFR

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate

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What Homebuyers Want in Grand Rapids MI

by Mark Brace

As spring winds down and summer draws closer, more and more homebuyers are beginning to come out for the busy season, especially as they start to notice local real estate market increases. Nationwide, inventory is finally seeing an increase (great news for homebuyers), as well as existing home sales and housing prices. According to a new analysis by CoreLogic, a global real estate industry firm, U.S. home prices saw increases up to 11.3% in the fourth quarter of last year compared to the previous year.

"Limited construction of new homes and low inventories of existing homes for sale contributed to the jump," said one CoreLogic economist. Also contributing to the increases are the number of "traditional" homebuyers that are making the move into the Grand Rapids real estate market. Buyers that choose homes based on their own personal wish list and desire to stay put for a good amount of time. These traditional buyers are choosing homes based on certain features that appeal to their lifestyle, including their profession.

So what types of features are drawing these homebuyers to homes in the Grand Rapids area? Or what will they be looking for as the summer buying season gets underway? One important factor is an easier commute! 

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that "seventy-three percent of recent homebuyers said that commuting costs were an important factor when deciding whether or not to purchase." Homebuyers are now weighing the benefits of being close to work as well as having shops, restaurants, schools, and transportation nearby. As of late, buyers are now factoring these into their decision to purchase a home in the Grand Rapids area

Homebuyers want to live close to their workplace and as a result, that is driving up housing prices. "It creates a positive feedback loop; the more skilled workers employed in an area, the more others want to move there." Neighborhoods also benefit from having such skilled professionals in the area as it raises the profile of the community and thus, the value of the homes. It's also a great selling point for those who may currently be living in a coveted area— so, Grand Rapids area home sellers take note!

In addition to the commute time, homebuyers in Grand Rapids, Kent County, Forest Hills, East Grand Rapids, Cascade, Ada, Rockford, Northview, and Grandville are looking for neighborhoods that are walkable. Not only do they want their Michigan homes to be close to their workplace, but also in easy-to-navigate and walk-around neighborhoods that offer a mix of homes, stores, and businesses. According to a National Association of Realtors Community Preference Survey, 60% of those looking to purchase a home agreed that they chose a home based on its walkability and proximity to such shops and businesses.

What's important to you as a Grand Rapids area homebuyer? If this is the year you're planning to buy a new home, we can work together to find a home that meets your criteria, in a great neighborhood and with your home wish list features. Contact me today to discuss which homes are available for you!

I happily serve the areas of Grand Rapids, Kent County, Forest Hills, East Grand Rapids, Cascade, Ada, Rockford, Northview, Grandville, Kentwood, Caledonia, Walker, Cedar Springs, Sparta, Belmont, Comstock Park, Byron Center, Wyoming, Alpine, Kenowa Hills, Plainfield, Cannon, Lowell, Sand Lake, Jenison, Hudsonville, Wayland, Belmont, Alto and Kent City


Mark Brace

Brace Homes

Realtor, ABR, CRS, GRI, SRES, e-pro, AHWD, SFR

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate

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Home Assets for Grand Rapids Area Home Sellers

by Mark Brace

If you've made the decision to sell your Grand Rapids area home this year, you may be focusing on all the obvious home features that a Grand Rapids homebuyer is looking for. But what about those that go overlooked? Chances are your home has features that Michigan homebuyers want, but aren't brought to their attention. This year, many Grand Rapids homes will go "under-marketed" as they glaze over these special home features— but you can be one step ahead! Start off on the right foot by teaming up with your trusted Grand Rapids real estate agent and take the following into consideration when selling your home:

Highlight the Storage

Remember, just because you're moving to a new home, doesn't mean your current home doesn't have positive features. It's important to play these up and display them in a positive light for homebuyers who are ready to buy Grand Rapids area real estate. One of those features is storage; renters are making the move to buy a home exactly for this reason. “One common beef of renters is that rental homes lack storage, which leads to belonging overflow and a cluttered life,” MSN Real Estate reported. “So, if your home has been tricked out with extra closets, pantries or other built-in storage amenities that you plan to leave,” you'll want to point that out to homebuyers!

Highlight the Eco Features

One of the most important features of a home is one that saves the owner money in the long-run. If you've upgraded your home with eco-friendly or energy-saving appliances, windows or the like, homebuyers might take an added interest in the property. Buying a home in the Grand Rapids area is a big decision and existing home features that cut costs are a huge asset. It's also important to keep in mind, “if you’ve managed to get your energy bills down way below what’s normal in your area, [that] could be a selling point you don’t want to overlook,” added MSN Real Estate.

Highlight the Location

Is your home located within walking distance or easy driving distance to local shops, entertainment or great schools? Make sure potential homebuyers are aware! It's all about location in real estate and if your property happens to be placed in an ideal area, you're already ahead of the game. What can help is thinking of yourself as an outsider when it comes to highlighting the location. Don't always assume potential a Grand Rapids homebuyer is familiar with the area. Now that most buyers begin their home search online, they tend to search homes by price rather than location— your tips about the property being in a great school district just may make your home a buyer's must-buy this year.

I happily serve the areas of Grand Rapids, Kent County, Forest Hills, East Grand Rapids, Cascade, Ada, Rockford, Northview, Grandville, Kentwood, Caledonia, Walker, Cedar Springs, Sparta, Belmont, Comstock Park, Byron Center, Wyoming, Alpine, Kenowa Hills, Plainfield, Cannon, Lowell, Sand Lake, Jenison, Hudsonville, Wayland, Belmont, Alto and Kent City


Mark Brace

Brace Homes

Realtor, ABR, CRS, GRI, SRES, e-pro, AHWD, SFR

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate

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Your Grand Rapids Area Real Estate Handbook

by Mark Brace

While spring may seem to be off to a sluggish start, homebuyers are growing increasingly confident in the local real estate market and eager to buy a new home. More Grand Rapids homebuyers will begin their home search this season and more sellers will decide to list their properties— for both parties, it's important to keep in mind a few real estate guidelines. So whether this is your first-time buying a home or your fifth, below are a few real estate rules (like consulting with your Grand Rapids real estate agent) to remember as you take advantage of this exciting time in the market:

Consult Your Agent

Your Michigan real estate agent is on your side, so ask your questions! This is likely the biggest purchase you will ever make and you'll want someone in your corner, an experienced professional who's done this before. I will work on your behalf and navigate the entire transaction with your best interests in mind. According to the National Association of Realtors, "nearly 90% of homebuyers use a real estate agent or broker." Think of your Grand Rapids real estate agent as your communication hub, all questions and concerns should go through them and don't be afraid to ask. With my help and experience, we can find you a home that fits your needs and at the right price.

Think Before You Offer

Making an offer on a Grand Rapids home is a big step, but don't be too quick to rush into your home purchase. Do the research and know what you can afford. It is wise to begin with a pre-approval letter, which means that a lender has vetted your credit and financial situation and is still willing to go through with the mortgage process. This letter is key; it will tell both the home seller and your agent exactly how much you can afford and show that you are serious about purchasing the home.

Earnest Money

Once you have your pre-approval letter in hand and are ready to submit an offer, you can make a deposit in your future with earnest money. You're moving along in the Grand Rapids real estate process and are ready to show the seller that you have the funds to back up the offer. It comes down to the "deposit" or earnest money you will put down on the property. When buying a home in Grand Rapids, it is customary that you put this money down to show you are serious about the purchase; it is typically 1-2% of the purchase price. 

Tour the Home

You've probably found a list of homes for sale in Grand Rapids that you're interested in and are ready to move forward. One of the most important real estate rules to remember is to tour the home in person. You should tour the home to see for youself if it is a good fit for yourself and your family— there is a chance a home may just not feel like the right one. Homebuying tends to be an emotional experience and you will want to begin by placing yourself directly inside the property, not just in front of your computer screen.

I happily serve the areas of Grand Rapids, Kent County, Forest Hills, East Grand Rapids, Cascade, Ada, Rockford, Northview, Grandville, Kentwood, Caledonia, Walker, Cedar Springs, Sparta, Belmont, Comstock Park, Byron Center, Wyoming, Alpine, Kenowa Hills, Plainfield, Cannon, Lowell, Sand Lake, Jenison, Hudsonville, Wayland, Belmont, Alto and Kent City

Mark Brace

Brace Homes

Realtor, ABR, CRS, GRI, SRES, e-pro, AHWD, SFR

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate

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Holiday Events in Grand Rapids, Michigan

by Mark Brace

This time of year is great for exploring and enjoying Grand Rapids! The events below offer everyone a chance to celebrate the holidays in our area— so take a look and get ready to kick off the season:

Art Van Santa Parade

November 23, 2013; 9 AM to 11 AM

Downtown Grand Rapids

Come help welcome Santa to Grand Rapids in a parade that has been a downtown tradition for nearly 100 years! Parade route to be determined.

It's a Wonderful Life

November 21, 2013 through December 14, 2013; 7:30 PM

Master Arts Theatre, Grand Rapids

Master Arts Theatre presents It’s a Wonderful Life, the American classic— the saga of George Bailey and the guardian angel Clarence who shows George what the world would have been like had he never been born. Tickets are $16.

Window Wonderland

November 22, 2013; 5:30 PM

Downtown Grand Rapids

This season there’s even more reason to venture downtown. Students from Kendall College of Art and Design and Grand Valley State University have partnered with Downtown merchants to compete in Window Wonderland 2013— a competition to create the best holiday windows in Downtown Grand Rapids.

Hudsonville Holiday Parade

November 23, 2013; 10 AM

32nd Ave, Hudsonville

It is that time of year again! Jessen Law PLC presents the 20th Annual Hudsonville Holiday Parade on November 23 at 10 AM. Along with the City of Hudsonville and the Hudsonville Area Chamber of Commerce, come out and enjoy this festive hometown event! 

The Original Charles Dickens Carolers

November 26, 2013 through December 17, 2013; 6 PM to 8 PM

Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids

Enjoy musical entertainment from carolers dressed in period costumes. The Original Dickens Carolers will roam the corridor singing holiday tunes to add to the festive atmosphere of our exhibition Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World. 

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Want more information about Grand Rapids Real Estate? I happily serve the areas of Grand Rapids, Kent County, Forest Hills, East Grand Rapids, Cascade, Ada, Rockford, Northview, Grandville, Kentwood, Caledonia, Walker, Cedar Springs, Sparta, Belmont, Comstock Park, Byron Center, Wyoming, Alpine, Kenowa Hills, Plainfield, Cannon, Lowell, Sand Lake, Jenison, Hudsonville, Wayland, Belmont, Alto and Kent City

Mark Brace

Realtor, ABR, GRI, SRES, e-PRO, AHWD

Prudential Preferred REALTOR®

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Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

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.