Author Archives for Karen Gill

Grand Rapids Insight 8.31.19

As we head into August there are still some exciting concerts and events going on. “Restaurant Week” will be starting August 7th- 18 so keep it on your list and try some different eats. Summer Nights at the Market continues at the Fulton Street Farmers Market, and some of you tell me you’ve not been to Dutton General Store, and to that I say get in your car immediately and head over to 3422 68th St.. It has the best shopping for gifts, clothes, bling & home decor. Cheers!

weekend in the city
weekend in the city

#RestaurantWeekGR #SummerNightsAtTheMarket #DuttonGeneralStore

Restaurant Tip Ramona’s Table

Hot weather has me craving a great salad vs. heavy lunches or dinners. Stopped in Rockford while putting a SOLD sign on a listing and stopped for my first time at Ramona’s Table in downtown Rockford by the dam. What a treat! I highly recommend you put it on your list . My choice Peach salad and my forever buddy and I split their homemade carrot cake. I have to say it may be my favorite of all time, and I’m fussy with my carrot cake. Yum, I will return.

Rightsizing for Seniors

I have been selling real estate for over 35 years and since I am over 65 considered by most to be a “senior citizen” myself. The words can sting for a minute until you change your mindset and start appreciating the fact that hey, I’m alive and I deserve this title and the freedom that comes with it. Things are not the same as when my parents were reaching this milestone. I am not needing nor wanting to retire but intend to live like my heroine, Betty White, so I have many years to plan for. I choose to enjoy my career, my home, friends and clients, and travel. Seven years ago, my husband and I sold our 2-story home in Ada and moved into a ranch in the Crystal Springs golf community. I wanted my space, but also wanted a main floor master suite. My daughters called this “flattening out” not downsizing and when they used this term I laughed for a week. While still helping first time and relocating buyers, I have decided to devote the majority of my time to helping seniors, or soon to be seniors, plan for the next chapter of their lives.

So, if this scenario, or a variation of this, may be weighing on your mind, let’s start really looking at your house and to see if it’s time for you to “RIGHTSIZE.” Have you lived in your home for a long time and have rooms that you never use? Is your lower level or basement starting to accumulate cobwebs because you don’t use any of the extra space? Are all your bedrooms on the second floor, maybe even your only full bathroom? Do you have boxes and tubs filled with “stuff”, unused small appliances and gadgets, old cookbooks, dishes, vases and car parts taking space on your shelves? It’s time to let some of that go and rightsize your life NOW while you can. Don’t put it off and have an event happen in your life whereby you must make an unexpected move quickly. It doesn’t mean you can’t have a walk out or daylight basement if you want, it just makes sense to have all your main living area on one level.   

Begin by having a heart to heart talk with whomever is most important in your life, be that a spouse, your children, or a friend you’ve had for many years and start envisioning where you’d like to live when you rightsize.

  • CONDOMINIUM Many decide to move to a condominium to free up time and energy with  outdoor maintenance. There are many varieties such as stand alone, duplex style, no steps and no basement.
  • SMALLER HOME Maybe condos are not your vision. Moving into a ranch style home where you can live on one floor, with a lower level that could be finished or unfinished may be more suited to you. You can always hire private lawn maintenance and snow removal.
  • APARTMENT Moving to an apartment could be an option if you want to free up your cash and not have the burden of a house to maintain
  • RELOCATE Are you wanting to make a long distance move to be near your children or south to a warmer climate?
  • SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITY living with other seniors could give you a sense of connection and offer you endless options of involvement, especially if you don’t have an extended social network.

Envision yourself in a space of your choosing and let’s start planning on how to get your there step by step. Follow my blog and I’m going to give you one assignment a week to start helping you arrive at the splendid next chapter of your life .

Rightsizing

What is rightsizing as it pertains to real estate? If you are single and living in a one bedroom or studio apartment and you’re soon to be a newlywed, you may be ready for your first home with more living space and a yard. That’s rightsizing.

You may be having your first, second or third baby and need even more space in that neighborhood you’ve always wanted to live in. That’s rightsizing.

Your youngest child is now off to collage and you’re ready to sell the 4 bedroom, 3 bath home for a smaller home. That’s rightsizing.

You may be retiring and traveling more, having health issues or just ready to be in a ranch style home or condominium community where all of your essential living is on one floor. That’s rightsizing.

So how do you plan for any of this and start taking the first steps? Discuss your money situation with your financial adviser, if you have one. If you’re young and haven’t really thought you needed to plan so soon, think again. You will find time goes by in the blink of an eye and you don’t want to find yourself at 50 or 60 with “should have” “would have’s” in your financial vocabulary. No time like the present to lay out your blueprint for your plans and dreams.

The next step, regardless of what chapter you are in life, is committing to a Realtor who has YOUR best interests at the top of their agenda, one who’s there to help you evaluate what kind of home best suits your lifestyle, who will find a home in your price range, and look ahead to your future. If she or he can’t say a particular home you’re considering is a great option for you, if she can’t say “if you call me in two or three years because life changed again and you have been transferred, are expecting triplets, or need to move to a senior living center, I think we will be just fine in selling this property”, you are working with an agent who has set THEIR financial needs ahead of YOURS. Of course that also takes some partnering up on your part, maintaining and improving your soon to be new home as time passes.

And finally, your third step is connecting with a trusted mortgage lender. Any Realtor will tell you that calling endlessly to seek out the lender who will save you pennies on the dollar for your new loan is not your only priority. We have years of experience in working with lenders. We know who will pre-qualify you properly, who knows how to process your loan in a timely manner, who isn’t going to drop the ball and let the sale blow up midway down the track to your closing. We all have horror stories from years past where lenders aren’t committed to a great experience with their customers, and if things don’t work out well, they are just on to the next loan. Trust your Realtors advise.

Once you have taken these three crucial steps, you are ready to start looking at your options and narrowing down your search for your new home, your new chapter in your life, your new lifestyle in a community. Enjoy the process, then look back and say it was worth every minute to prepare.

Call me if you want to discuss your own plan for rightsizing, if you need a trusted lender, financial advisor, or have suggestions for a new topic of discussion.

Meet Anna Grgurich, Photographer

Our featured Crystal Springs business is Anna Grgurich.  Anna is a photographer who enjoys every aspect of her work. She has had a passion for photography for as long as she can remember. As a          child, she was delighted in how a moment could be captured through the lens of a camera, and how time stands still within the frame of a photograph. Now she has the joy of bringing that same happiness to others. She photographs newborns, children, seniors, maternity, engagements, weddings, family portraits, as well as sports, recreational, and landscape photography. These are some of the questions I asked her and her response.

It’s High School Senior Picture time, is that one of your areas of expertise? Do you have an in-home studio or some special areas where you like to go, and what is your turn around time? I LOVE senior photos! I’m an advocate for natural light photography, and will travel anywhere within a 30 mile radius for photos (further with an added fee). I also have a studio space that I rent out for those that desire indoor photos. The studio space is in an old warehouse building with so much character! I usually try and have photos edited and released to my clients within 2-4 weeks, if not earlier.

How much lead time do you need for bookings and how do our neighbors get ahold of you?
I can be reached through my Facebook page Anna Grgurich Photography or my Instagram page @agrgurich.photography Depending on my availability, I can book photo sessions within just a few days of being contacted. I try to remain as flexible as possible for my clients because I know how busy all of our schedules can be.

Do you offer special promotions? I run several different promos throughout the year, but I am currently offering a 10% discount on all photo sessions for Crystal Springs residents.

Anything else you’d like to share? I look forward to working with everyone who is in need of photos! I try to make all of my photo sessions as enjoyable as possible for all of my clients, and want to make sure they are satisfied with their photos.

So now you have a “LOCAL FIRST” source to go to for any of your photography needs. Think of Anna for your family photos and support your neighborhood business. Cheers!!

 

 

Ignoring your side yard?

When getting your house ready for sale, or just sprucing up your landscaping, don’t forget your side yard. So often, people put their lawn clippings and yard waste where they think buyers won’t notice. They do, and your neighbors notice it, even though you think its out of sight because of a fence. Resist the “easy way out” urge and find some ideas to make your side yard look as great as the rest of your yard!

February is the Month of Love

It’s February and Valentine’s Day will be here soon. I’ve been watching online and saw that some businesses have been promoting #LoveWeek (Feb 11-17) and thought maybe it’s time that all of us inserted a whole lot of love into our neighborhood. This hit me because I read a post on NextDoor where one of our neighbors said people don’t wave or speak to each other, nor do we have community events or block parties. That made me sad and made me think maybe it’s time we let our neighbors know how much we appreciate them, value their friendship, and wish them the very best. Of course, I let this gentleman know about our Facebook page and how we are sharing stories about our neighbors, their pets, and local events. How we have started organizing some activities; Wednesday before Thanksgiving at FireRock Grille, our Halloween “Boo Bags”, and are in the planning stages of an annual Easter Egg hunt and mid-Winter Progressive Dinner. Neighbors can pick and choose to join in or pass. But I digress …

So, what is #LoveWeek that these businesses are promoting? Everyone in the work place that is interested throws their name into a hat, and everyone picks a name. The name you draw is your Human, which makes you their Secret Angel, corny but kind of cool. Your duty as a Secret Angel is to show love and appreciation for your Human throughout Love Week in creative, mysterious, and secretive ways. But what if we become the FIRST NEIGHBORHOOD to join in this phenomenon. We have well over 700 homes in Crystal Springs, and although I own several hats, the logistics of putting names in hats may be a bit overwhelming to start. But what if all of us look around and think about a neighbor that needs a little attention? You don’t have to spend a crazy amount of money to show kindness and appreciation. Be creative and buy, or better yet, make them a card, bake a loaf of banana bread, or take flowers to them, maybe take them out for a cup of coffee, a movie, and if you have an elderly or disabled neighbor, what if you showed up and shoveled or salted their walk to the house for the rest of the winter or brought them dinner? Kindness comes in many packages. Make someone smile and share your story with us. You don’t have to use their names but let’s make this an annual “event” that can grow from Fountain View Villas, to The Heathers, The Greens, The Village, and to the West side of Kalamazoo. Here is a video of one such company who started #LoveWeek to give you some ideas on what you could do. Happy Valentine’s Day Crystal Springs!

Preparing your home FOR SALE … It might be all about color …

Getting ready to put your home on the market? Winter can be a great time to prepare. If you have collections of pictures on your walls, now is the time to lovingly pack them away so that prospective owners can visualize their own life in the house without distraction. Once all or the majority of them are down, do the walls look a bit dingy or are there shadows around where the pictures were? Is there candle or fireplace residue on your walls or ceilings? Walk through your home as if you were a buyer, or better yet ask a friend, one who can be brutally honest with you, to walk with you and decide if you need to pick a good color and paint before listing. You want your walls to give a great first impression, down to the trim. White baseboards (or even stained wood), often have a layer of dust covering them. Wash or paint/stain if chipped or past clean up stage. If your kids have bright colored rooms and they are in good shape and painted well (not an inch splashed over on the ceiling or trim), well, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Check with your real estate agent to see if they need to be neutralized. I tend to be on the safe side with grays or greige, and have Sherwin Williams Perfect Greige SW6073 in my main living areas, just be careful your paint choice doesn’t have too much pink in it. And agree or disagree, the many colors of blue just might start to influence your next painting project. The perfect shade of blue looks beautiful in kitchens with white cabinets and trim, is perfectly soothing in bathrooms, and makes laundry rooms look crisp, clean and just makes you want to wash clothes, well almost. For a fresh, beach like look

Check this out if you’re deciding on a color theme for your home, you just might want to revisit BLUE

Behr Blue bathroom paint ideas

Oh, The Places We’ll Go (with our dogs)

Hail to the Queen!

For all dog lovers out there, myself included, my attention is drawn to any event that features  furry four legged buddies.  I’m currently a Golden Retriever owner, this my second one, a rescue dog, but my daughter who lives in Atlanta has always loved Corgi’s, so when I noticed this “Corgi’s in the Park” event, I told her I’d go and check it out.  And what a special day it was for these sweet Corgi’s and their owners  at Riverside Park in Grand Rapids. Corgi lovers from all over the area, even some from out of state, were on hand to play and bond with other owners and show off their stuff. Many dogs, and even some owners, came in costume as they met in the fenced in ballpark, some walking, some running and dogs having fun wrestling. There were tents set up to keep dry in case of a shower, music,

Corgi’s Under The Sea

and Two Scotts BBQ making a slightly chilly fall day well worth the trip. I chatted with many owners and was educated by a couple, finding that Corgi’s are the smallest of the herding dogs originating in Pembrokeshire, Wales, they are the preferred breed of British Royalty, (hence the Queen Elizabeth and Prince William pictures at one of the tents) and also that there are 2 distinct breeds; a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, recognized because they don’t have a tail, and a Cardigan Welsh Corgi. I am so happy I went to this event because I also fell in love with these pups. Thanks to Jari Brey  for organizing this event which also raises awareness for Paws With A Cause. Dog lovers, put it on your calendar for 2018 !

Wonder Loaf

Michigan vs. Michigan State

Cutest Ear of Corn ever!

Sombrero Guy

Favorite Motorcycle Rider

Sweetest Face

 

 

 

Moving With Kids

Did you know that plenty of experts consider moving during the school year the BEST time to move? What is the reasoning here? Moving to a state, city or even a new neighborhood in the summer may leave a space of a month or two before your child has an opportunity to meet new friends vs. jumping right into an established routine which may allow them to adapt faster to a new environment.
In working with relocating families for over 30 years, I’ve witnessed 4 and 5-year-old children assume the toys in the house they purchased will stay with the house, while worrying that their own toys and pets will be left behind. I’ve seen the nervous anticipation of an 8 or 10-year-old anxious to meet new friends while fretting about being “liked” at their new school. I’ve seen the sadness and downright rebellion of a 16-year-old boy as he blocked out his parents best efforts at making the move as smooth as possible. But, moving happens as we live in a time when relocation due to job changes are far more common than years ago when families stayed in the same home from kindergarten through high school. 

So, what can you do to make your move easier on your kids? Once you have decided on the home and have been through inspections and all is smooth sailing toward closing, see if you can tour the house once again with your family. Take pictures of the house, the yard, and each child’s bedroom. Visit the school, or at least drive by and take another picture. Another major concern of middle and high school kids? Knowing what the kids wear to school because they want to fit in! When you get back home, help them make a wall map marked with the old house and the new, add the pictures, and maybe add some places of interest that they will see once moved. Lakes, parks, the zoo, a possible new dance studio, team sports, etc. If you can’t get some of these, ask your Realtor for help. Most of us are as anxious as you to see your family happily settled in your new home.

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