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Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 34

Grand Rapids Real Estate Off to Strong Start in 2014

by Mark Brace


Grand Rapids area real estate is off to a strong start in the new year, with housing prices nationwide now up a significant amount as compared to last year. According to Redfin, "prices were up 14 percent in January and continued to rise sharply during the first half of the year," which lead economists to wonder if the levels were inevitably going to reach a point of unsustainability. And now in 2014, reports are showing housing prices to be up another 14.3 percent.

So, what does that mean for Grand Rapids Real Estate? Below are just a few factors currently characterizing the housing market and what homebuyers might expect to see if they are preparing to buy a home in Michigan in the near future— before the busy spring buying season hits. In fact, Redfin also reports many home sellers are preparing to wait until between March and May to list homes for sale in Grand Rapids rather than listing early. Here's why:

Low Inventory

Due to these rapidly rising prices, home sellers—while confident— are willing to wait until there are more homes to buy before listing their properties. Frustrated with the limited options in the market, home sellers are contributing to the lack of inventory in local real estate markets.

Home Sellers Game

Real estate in Grand Rapids is relatively in the hands of the home sellers. Growing confident, home sellers are feeling no pressure to list their homes early. The sellers feel they will have no trouble selling their homes no matter what time they decide to list and are willing to wait until the busy spring and summer buying seasons to anticipate more homebuyers in the market. Local real estate is now looking up for home sellers as prices rise and more homebuyers feel the push to buy before they rise even further. Home sellers also believe in the upcoming months they will see a better profit than if they listed now.

Home Prices Not Slowing

Home prices are showing no signs of slowing down— the slowing trend seen in the second half of 2013 has now reversed. "Between April and October of 2013, year-over-year price growth slowed considerably from 18.7 percent to 12.6 percent before rising once again in December (13.2 percent) and January (14.3 percent)," reported MSN Real Estate. Now that the trend has reversed, home seller confidence is rising along with rates.

Interest Rates Are Increasing

Interest rates are said to rise even further this year, so for homebuyers looking to buy, you might be encouraged to buy before the spring buying season. "The Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of Realtors, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have all projected that the 30-year mortgage interest rate will be over 5% by this time next year," reported KCM. "That is an increase of almost one full point over current rates."

Refinancing Not Necessary

Many homeowners in the Grand Rapids area may have heard the "refinance now!" advice over and over before the bubble, but now that doesn't so much hold true. If you hear somebody advise you to refinance, that might not be the case and in fact, buyers are encouraged to do the math themselves before making the move. See what a refinance will really do for you— Will it lower your payment? Will it result in a shorter loan term? Can you manage the closing costs? If you answer yes to all, then go for it. If not, rethink your decision.

Are you ready for a change, ready to move to a new home in the Grand Rapids area? Let me help you decide when to make your move and time your real estate purchase with the right season in today's real estate market!

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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Make Your Grand Rapids Home Mortgage Move Faster

by Mark Brace

Buying a Grand Rapids home is on the minds of many this season, especially as we move further into the busy spring and summer homebuying seasons. From beginning the home search for Grand Rapids area real estate to closing the deal, one of the most important aspects of a home sale is securing the mortgage. Homebuyers have heard stories of lenders drawing out the process, but did you know there are steps you can take to move along your mortgage? You'll need patience and a handful of prepared documents— below you'll find some of the most important:

Your Credit

Good credit is a staple in buying Grand Rapids area homes and you'll need to have your credit in order for a lender to even consider you for home financing. What's more, you'll need a favorable credit report to secure a competitive rate. Credit is a major factor in determining how long your mortgage process will take— the better the credit, the more prepared you are on this front, the easier it will be to move this along. According to MSN Real Estate, "Loan applications with blatant blemishes may trigger additional scrutiny, which often means requests for additional documentation from you. That back-and-forth process can eat into the calendar."

Be Prepared

Help move the process along by having the necessary documents ready ahead of time. Throughout the process of obtaining your home loan, you'll be asked for documents and paperwork— keep up on it. If asked questions, respond as quickly as possible. You cannot move along a mortgage process if the lender is ultimately waiting on you to answer questions and provide information. Grab your tax returns, bank statements, documents from your employer and the like before you even speak to your lender. Having these ready will help the loan officer from the beginning.

No New Credit

If you're planning to purchase homes in the Grand Rapids area, do not take on any additional credit or make large purchases during this time. Big changes in your credit profile and rating can raise a red flag to lenders and halt the mortgage process. When viewing your eligibility for a home loan, the lenders want to see stability and reliability. When you make big purchase or take out new lines of credit, you're risking your chances of making the loan happen. Remember also that mortgages are a business of people, you can always "Explain to the people who help you through the process that you're buying on a tight deadline. Communicate constantly, and take responsibility (and quick action) when the ball's in your court," reported MSN Real Estate.

Find the Right Local Lender

Don't know how much home you can afford? We have a finance center available to Michigan homebuyers to learn all about loan options. There are several programs available and they all depend on your credit history. From Fixed Rate Loans, Adjustable Rate Loans, FHA and VA Loans, Rural Development Mortgages, and Local Homebuying Programs, we're explaining them all so you can make the best decision. You're bound to find one that's right for you and your home purchase— we've also put together a list of preferred local lenders to chat with about the process. When you partner with the right local lender, the mortgage process will be much smoother (and undoubtedly quicker) than those who go with a less experienced individual.

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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Why This Is the Year to Sell Your Homes in Grand Rapids

by Mark Brace

For many homebuyers in the Grand Rapids area, patience has paid off if you waited to list your home for sale until the market was just right. Now is the time to sell your homes in Grand Rapids for a number of reasons, many of which include the benefits of a seller's market. More homebuyers are flooding the real estate market looking for Grand Rapids Real Estate and as a result, confidence is soaring— for both buyers and sellers! Many home sellers have held out for this moment and you can rest assured, now is a great time to sell your Michigan home! Below you will find four reasons why this is the year to sell your home, from increasing housing prices and values to 2014 being marked as the "Year of the Big Move."

Homebuyer Demand is High
There is confidence present on both sides of the real estate fence (both buyers and sellers) and therefore, demand for homes for sale in Grand Rapids is high! According to the latest data from Realtor.com, "homes in November 2013 were selling 11% faster than they were a year prior," as reported by MarketWatch. Buyers are now serious about purchasing a home whether in the Grand Rapids area and listing your home now could be beneficial for everyone involved!

Supply is Increasing
According to MarketWatch, "some analysts say that the supply-demand imbalance that has helped create this seller’s market is largely due to [investors purchasing homes and turning them into rentals]." In fact, many real estate experts projecting levels to rise even more as these investors place the homes back up for sale and more home sellers begin to gain back positive equity in their homes. Selling while the demand for Michgian homes is high and before the supply increases even more could guarantee you a great selling price on your property!

Interest Rates are Rising
This seems to be the case in nearly every real estate market across the country— so strike while rates are still low! Mortgage rates are rising, along with housing prices, jumping at significant levels and real estate experts and economists predict they will only continue to climb over the next few years. “Whether you are moving up or moving down, your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home,” reported KCM.

It’s Time for a Change
Think about the reason you want to move to a new home in Grand Rapids, Michigan and why you are ready to sell your current home. Realtor.com reports that 2014 will be known as the "Year of the Big Move," with many changing homes for varying reasons— jobs, cost of living, and switching from renting to owning. Decide whether it is worth the wait and how much it might cost you and your family if you put off selling for another month or even year. With the real estate market reapidly changing, especially with increasing interest rates, a delay can really make an impact on your future.

Are you ready for a change, ready to move to a new home in the Grand Rapids area? Now may be a great time to sell your home and may prove to be the best move for your family! 

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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How to Keep Your Grand Rapids Home Winter-Weather Safe

by Mark Brace

It's a new year and a new month and the Grand Rapids area is headed into the thick of January winter weather. You've probably been wondering how you can protect your Grand Rapids area homes this winter, especially from these harsh cold temperatures. The answer is yes! Whether this is your first home, as a first-time homebuyer, or you're a long-time homeowner, the following steps can help you protect your home before the winter taks a toll on the property.

Keep the Pipes Warm

Winter weather can cause a Grand Rapids homeowner to endure expensive repairs this time of year, many of which come from burst pipes. Take heed— the rest of your home may be warm, but the water in the pipes in other areas, like the attic, basement, crawl space and back of cabinets, can freeze. To keep your pipes from bursting, MSN Real Estate suggests to "wrap the pipes in the cold parts of your house in insulation, and open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes." You can also "let water drip slowly from the faucets to help keep the water flowing."

Protect the Outside of Your Home

If you didn't already in the fall, cleaning your gutters can help to prevent water from backing up and freezing. Take a look at the downspouts and be sure the water is being routed away from your home, disconnect your garden hoses, and use weatherstripping or caulking to seal drafty windows and doors. You should also trim any low-hanging branches outside that might freeze and snap which can damage your home or nearby power lines.

Watch the Roof

The roofs of Grand Rapids homes can become problematic during the winter season if not taken care of properly. If alot of snow accumulates, the roof can actually collapse, especially those over porches or additions. Average accumulations and dry snow will not typically have negatives affects on homes, but when heavy snow begins you can use a roof rake with a long handle to remove the snow while on the ground.

Think About a Generator

Before a big winter storm hits, consider buying a generator. While you may not have time now, it's something to keep in mind to protect Grand Rapids Real Estate for the long-haul of the winter season. " A generator can help keep your heat and power — as well as your sump pump and your fire and burglar alarms — running," stated MSN Real Estate. "It can help prevent frozen pipes and keep you a lot more comfortable, too." Winter weather can often cause power outages due to ice and wet snow, therefore an automatic standby generator can be useful. This type immediately turns on after a power outage and can even qualify you for a discount on your homeowners insurance.

Want more advice about real estate in Grand Rapids? Thinking of moving this winter? I can help you with all things Grand Rapids real estate to find a home that works 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

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

Prudential Preferred REALTOR®

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Prep Your Grand Rapids Home for Holiday Visitors

by Mark Brace

The holidays are here and many Grand Rapids homeowners are expecting guests to flood their homes with holiday cheer. You may be ready, but is your home? It's time to prep Grand Rapids area homes for the holiday with the following tips to make it easy— especially helpful if you're getting ready to sell!

Work Ahead of Time
Just like your holiday meal, work ahead of time to prep your home for guests. Make your way into those guest bedrooms and clean out the closets to open up the room. The process is the same as staging homes for sale in Grand Rapids, clean off countertops and entryways, removing any unnecessary items. For the holidays, keep these items out of sight and out of mind.

Safety
Your guests don't know your home as well as you do. Install night lights and make sure your outside lights are working so they don't trip coming to the door. Bathrooms and bedrooms should also have motion activated lights to ensure safe travels through your homes in Grand Rapids.

Take Extra Precautions
Take extra precautions to ensure that all you need for holiday cooking and hosting is up and running. For instance, what would happen if the oven decided not to heat? Or the refridgerator gave out just when more guests arrived? To be proactive, don't self-clean your oven until after the holidays and avoid putting any oils, fats, or grease down your kitchen sink. You can also stick a thermometer inside your refridgerator to be sure it is at the proper temperature, and always make sure the coils at the back are free to breathe. If it is blocked in any way, it could prevent the appliance from cooling.

Make a Good Impression
Your home's entryway will be the first thing they see, make sure it's well-equipped and clean. Give doors a new coat of paint, oil hinges to prevent squeaking, and tighten door hardware. Houselogic even suggests removing "scratches from hardwood floors, stairs, and wood railings [and placing] a small rug or welcome mat at the entrance to protect floors from mud and snow."

Sleeping Arrangements
If you have a guest room, it's helpful to install a ceiling fan/light combo to help guests control the room temperature without fiddling with the thermostat.

Ready to move this holiday season? I can help you with all things Grand Rapids Real Estate to find a home that works 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

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

Prudential Preferred REALTOR®

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Grand Rapids Real Estate Market Stats

by Mark Brace

 

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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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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5 Emotional Mistakes A Seller Can Make

by Mark Brace

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

http://www.trulia.com/blog/taranelson/2013/04/5_emotional_mistakes_sellers_make?ecampaign=cnews201304B&eurl=www.trulia.com%2Fblog%2Ftaranelson%2F2013%2F04%2F5_emotional_mistakes_sellers_make

 

Why The Time is Now!

by Mark Brace

New and existing homes in the Grand Rapids and surrounding areas are flying off of the shelves. Some homes selling before they even hit the market and others selling for more than the asking price. Reason…historically low interest rates, $0 down Rural Development loan options, 3.5% down FHA loan options, 5% down Conventional loan options with no mortgage insurance and the list goes on. You can now own for less than you rent an apartment for! First time home buyers are ecstatic with their payments, growing families are selling and moving up to bigger & better homes for the same payment as their old homes. It is an incredible time for all buyers, sellers, builders, real estate agents and loan officers in West Michigan. If you are on the fence, it is time to get off quickly before this window of opportunity passes you buy. I always say, you will never know we hit the bottom until we are on the way back up and at that point the opportunity may be gone.

 

Zac Ellerbroek

Loan Originator – Lake Michigan Credit Union / Knapps Corner

616-234-6864 – Direct

616-893-6024 – Cell

616-643-0783 – Secure Fax

NMLS# 138717

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Beware: Mortgage Loan Modification Scams

by Mark Brace

Earlier this week the National Grand Rapids Foreclosures Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) Program held a web-ex about the Loan Modification Scam Alert campaign. Due to the growing number of scams, Congress asked NeighborWorks America to launch a national public education program; the campaign empowers homeowners to protect themselves against loan modification scams, to find trusted help and to report illegal activity to authorities. Keep yourself informed and aware, visit this website to stay educated www.LoanScamAlert.org.

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 34

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.