Uncategorized

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!

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

 

 

 

A Winter Visit to Mackinac Island

As a Realtor, driving through the snow and showing homes in the winter can occasionally be a challenge in Grand Rapids. When one of my lifetime clients considered purchasing a summer home on Mackinac Island I was up for the task. What I discovered though, was that this trip would be one of the most memorable times of showing homes of my career. Northern MI Realtors have more fortitude and can have way more fun!

The adventure began with a 4 hour drive north, stopping at a favorite stop in Cadillac, Clam Lake Beer Company for lunch. I highly recommend them for their extensive menu, great food, and of course spirits and craft beer. Crossing the majestic Mackinac Bridge at night was a first for me. At 5 miles in length, it’s the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere! For the feint of heart, they have vehicle escort service across the bridge.

Then it’s rise and shine at 6:30 to catch the 8:00 Star Line Mackinac Ferry to the island. The usual 20 minute summer ride can take more than twice that long as the boat cuts through the ice. Meanwhile, we are toasty warm inside the boat with an occasional sneak outside to photograph and video.

 

getting around via winter taxi

winter taxi

Upon our arrival, the docks were busy with construction workers unloading lumber and supplies as this is the season for hotels and shop owners to get their projects done before tourist season. We saw windows being replaced, front porches partitioned off in plastic while buildings were undergoing a facelift. Our hotel was the only one open this weekend, and we were very happy with the accommodations at the  Pontiac Lodge. There was one restaurant open,  Cawthorne’s Village Inn (same ownership as the Grand Hotel) where Planked Whitefish is a favorite. I especially liked that they had the Grand Pecan Roll, a fudgy ice cream classic featured at the Grand Hotel.

The Mustang Lounge was our alternate choice that was open for food and drink. Our server/bartender  Miranda made a great Cosmo, instantly adding her to my friend list. They also serve breakfast, lunch and appetizers. Except for historic Doud’s Market which has been servicing the island with groceries since 1884, all of the other stores and eateries were in hibernation and the street was filled with parked snowmobiles and the occasional horse drawn island taxi. Our host, and listing agent for our home tour was Billy Borst from Mackinac Island Realty. My client, Cindy, rode shotgun behind Billy and I scored the sled and off we sped through the snow covered streets, up and down hills to view available inventory and see some pretty exciting scenery. Showing homes by snowmobile was a first for me!

We also did a lot of on foot touring that day. From Mission Point Resort  through Main Street to the breathtaking beauty of the Grand Hotel  The sky was blue and even in the crisp afternoon the sight of the Grand Hotel closed for the season sparked memories of Jack Nicholson and the movie “The Shining” but there was no sign of the 2 little girls or boy in the hall or voices of “redrum”. Imagination run wild!!!

Grand Hotel in winter

Grand Hotel closed for the winter

In the evening we joined my daughter, Alicia and her partner Thomas for a twilight cross country ski trail lined with lanterns. Beautiful groomed trails took us past the Arch Rock and Sugar Loaf rock formations and ended at a bonfire complete with hot chocolate.

Twilight XCountry Trail

Twilight XCountry Trail

Arch Rock

Arch Rock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following a fabulous meal and a good nights rest, we were back out in the morning to take a taxi to the airport. The ferry doesn’t run on Sunday’s in the winter, so taking a small plane to the mainland was our only option. I don’t mind saying I was slightly terrified. William, the pilot, assured me that he had 15 years of flying experience so Cindy and I along with our 2 other flying companions hopped in the plane, me in the co pilots seat. It’s a 5 minute plane ride from Mackinac Island to St. Ignace and the views of the Mackinac Bridge were fabulous. I found myself disappointed that the ride was over so soon. As I left the island after our winter view,  I am now anxiously awaiting my return trip for our closing on Cindy’s new condo at the end of April. Then, of course there is always the Lilac Festival, Fourth of July, the Labor Day walk across the bridge, etc. etc.  ………..

flying over the Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Island Air transportation to St. Ignace

with Alicia VanHeulen, Thomas Birks, Cindy Idema & me, Karen Gill

snowmobiles parked everywhere on Main Street

A little story with a moral …

3 weeks ago my husband Bill had total knee replacement surgery and was doing relatively well. At his 2 week followup appointment we went in to have his staples removed. I dropped him off at home around noon to ice his knee and rest and went dashing around on errands. I called him at 1:00 to see if he wanted anything to eat, and he said he wasn’t feeling well. He may just have been very tired from going out after surgery for the first time, but at 3:00 he thought we should go in to the emergency room to be checked. At 3:45 in E.R. he had an EKG and 20 Dr’s and nurses came flying into the room. He was having a heart attack. At 4:15 he was in the cardiac cath lab having a blockage cleared.  Bill didn’t have big clues like crushing chest pain or pain in his left arm, just some general “discomfort”. He is doing well now, and having experienced this, we want you to know that if you, or someone you love has that nagging thought that something is wrong, listen to your body and please go to the ER, or better yet, call 911. It may turn out to be nothing, but you may just be having something serious happening, and time is of the essence.

Warning signs of a heart attack

Happy New Year from Karen & Robbie

New Years Eve at Crystal Springs

New Years Eve at Crystal Springs

 

We are very grateful for our business and all of our clients that we have worked with in 2015, and look forward to helping anyone wanting to buy or sell in the coming year. All signs are pointing to a fabulous real estate market in 2016. Cheers.

Listing your home during the holidays

If you’re ready to make a move you may be hearing, “Wait until the spring market”. What really happens to potential buyers for your home over Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and even DEER HUNTING SEASON?!? When exactly is the spring market?

Festive outdoor lighting

Grand Rapids has been a global corporate relocation area for quite some time with people coming and going from the other side of the state, other states, and from across either ocean. Ask any human resource manager if they’re furloughed in November, December, and January and you will hear a resounding “NO” and an occasional “I WISH”. People still retire, change careers, and accept transfers during the holiday season. Home inventory is low, so there are less homes to choose from and these homes are full of warm and cozy feelings allowing potential buyers to get a real idea of what life could be like for them in any given home. As a seller you have less casual lookers and more serious buyers who mean business and your home is already looking fantastic with greenery, decorated mantles, tinsel on the Christmas tree, and 2,500 LED lights hanging from the trees and soffits welcoming them in the door.

 

Christmas lights

Let’s talk about the spring market….. 1,613 homes were sold and closed in Kent County during the months of January, February, and March in 2015? This means they were shown and under contract during or shortly after the holiday season. If  you recall, the last two winters weren’t exactly dry and balmy. Compare moving in winter with its crisp dry air and clean fresh snow vs. fall and spring with rain and mud, or summer when it’s so hot you could fry an egg on your washing machine as the movers bring it into your house. Moving is moving. You can use the winter months to unpack boxes and arrange your furniture so that when spring and summer come around you can hang out at the beach while your neighbors vie for the attention of buyers with 2 or 3 times as many homes competing for their attention.

Now then, are you ready for us to pop over with that “for sale” sign?!? Cheers!!! Continue reading