Real Estate Information

Grand Rapids Real Estate with Mark Brace

Mark Brace


Displaying blog entries 21-30 of 126

Market Pulse

by Mark Brace

As compared to last year the market this year is up significantly. Housing prices are also on the rise which is a great indication of where the market is headed.

We are still not out of the woods yet but it is looking promising that next year will match or surpass this year in terms of the housing market.

Below is a link to the article.

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

Explanation of the New 3.8% Tax

by Mark Brace


The National Association of Realtors has prepared a new guide on the 3.8% tax affecting some real estate transactions. The tax is not a transfer tax on real estate sales and similar transactions (The Real Estate Transfer Tax is a tax on the sale, granting, and transfer of real property or an interest in real property).  Not long after the tax was executed, misleading documents went viral on the internet and created a great deal of confusion. Due to this confusion the tax was generally misunderstood.  

The new tax does NOT eliminate the benefits of the $250,000/$500,000 exclusion on the sale of a principal residence.  Therefore, only that portion of a gain above those thresholds is included in Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and could be subject to the tax.

For example: John and Mary sold their principal residence and realized a gain of $525,000. They have $325,000 AGI (before adding taxable gain). The tax applies as follows:


John and Mary sold their principal residence and realized a gain of $525,000. 
h ey have $325,000 Adjusted Gross Income (before adding taxable gain). 
h e tax applies as follows:
AGI Before Taxable Gain $325,000
Gain on Sale of Residence $525,000
Taxable Gain (Added to AGI) $25,000  ($525,000 – $500,000) 
New AGI $350,000 ($325,000 + $25,000 taxable gain)
Excess of AGI over $250,000 $100,000  ($350,000 – $250,000)
Lesser Amount (Taxable) $25,000  (Taxable gain)
Tax Due  $950 ($25,000 x 0.038)

AGI Before Taxable Gain $325,000 

Gain on Sale of Residence $525,000

Taxable Gain (Added to AGI) $25,000  ($525,000 – $500,000

 New AGI $350,000 ($325,000 + $25,000 taxable gain)

Excess of AGI over $250,000 ($100,000)= ($350,000 – $250,000)

Lesser Amount (Taxable) $25,000 (Taxable gain)

Tax Due  $950 ($25,000 x 0.038).

REALTORS® should familiarize themselves with the tax, but should advise upper income clients or clients who have a large capital gains to seek the guidance of a tax professional.  The amount of tax will vary from individual to individual because the elements that comprise AGI differ from taxpayer to taxpayer.

Sources and links:

Below is a chart listing the tax changes with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts.$FILE/government_affairs_health_ref_marg_tax_rates.pdf

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

Grand Rapids Labeled #1 Place in America to Buy Real Estate

by Mark Brace

Sept 14, 2012.

ABC's weekday hit "The View" interviewed nationally renowned real estate mogul and expert Barbara Corcoran, on Where the best place to buy in America are. She listed Grand Rapids MI real estate the #1 place in America to buy real estate!!!!

ABC's "The View" Click to see her interview:


Barbara Corcoran Mentions that a typical home is $108,000, and prices are going up quickly! That $150,000 will buy you a Castle! "which is all true" She also said the cost of living is also 15% lower than anywhere else in the country. That Grand Rapids has lots of jobs and lots of good schools, which always assures good real estate values.

I'm so happy Grand Rapids is finally getting the national attention it deserves; it is such a cool place to be with ArtPrize and all of the local philanthropy from business owners, and being very close to some of the best fresh water beaches in world. We have been also working our way to become the microbrewery capital of America too!!! It seems like every other week a new microbrewery is opening. If you haven't figured it out yet Grand Rapids is the Place to be!!!

Great TV Commercial About House Hunting

by Mark Brace

I just had to share this really funny Commercial about house hunting.

Sometimes the home you think you don't like ends up being the best one, after you see everything that is available.

I think more and more home buyers in the Grand Rapids, MI area are starting to feel like this since we are sooo short on quality inventory!

Displaying blog entries 21-30 of 126

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.