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Steve Volkers Group

 

Thank you for visiting Grand Rapids Real Estate Resource! For current information about the Grand Rapids Real Estate market, check out  www.stevevolkersgroup.com. There you can find properties for sale and for rent as well as information on new construction homes and what’s going on in West Michigan. See you there!


Center Park – Rentals Available

Check out our new rental units!

 

 

#8487: $1,050 / Month

2 Bedrooms – 1.5 Bathrooms – 1,152 Sq. Feet – Private Deck – 1 Car Garage

Welcome to Center Park Condos of Byron Center! This new condo development, by Algera Builders, is located just off of 131 on the corner of 84th and Clyde Park Ave. Center Park Condos are conveniently located about 10 minutes from Metro Health Hospital, and under 20 minutes from downtown Grand Rapids. Finishing touches are still in the process of being completed; however, 6 units are currently available! Center Park Condos offers modern living away from the hustle and bustle of city living.

 

#8491: $1,150 / Month

2 Bedrooms – 1.5 Bathrooms – 1,240 Sq. Feet – Private Deck – 2 Car Garage

Welcome to Center Park Condos of Byron Center! This new condo development, by Algera Builders, is located just off of 131 on the corner of 84th and Clyde Park Ave. Center Park Condos are conveniently located about 10 minutes from Metro Health Hospital, and under 20 minutes from downtown Grand Rapids. Finishing touches are still in the process of being completed; however, 6 units are currently available! Center Park Condos offers modern living away from the hustle and bustle of city living.


Open House February 22

 

Join us February 22 for an Open House

Noon – 3pm

216 W Main St.

$152,900

Lowell’s newest Downtown Condo Project is a trendy little haven tucked away from the bustle of city life. With 1,368 square feet you have plenty of room to spread out. Everything has been metrically picked out for the person that wants style and function. This condo includes 13 foot ceilings, wrap around kitchen, hardwood floors, and original brick to make this condo one of a kind. The unit is priced under an appraised value.


Crystal View – Newest Listing!

7451 Crystal View

$259,900

4 Bedrooms ~ 3.5 Bathrooms ~ 2,600 Sq. Feet

                    

This beautiful home has been remodeled from top to bottom. The kitchen and eating area features new cherry cabinets and elegant granite countertops as well as environmentally friendly bamboo flooring. The house has new carpet and fresh paint throughout. . The second floor master suite has cathedral ceilings and French doors opening up to the huge master bathroom, featuring a whirlpool tub, separate tiled shower, refinished cabinets and large walk-in closet.  If you still need more room, the basement has already been studded for another bedroom, full bathroom, rec room, and media room. With a full price offer, the seller will complete the drywall in the basement.  You can also pick out a range hood and backsplash at the seller’s expense!  


W Main St. Condo

Check out our new Lowell Condo!

Lowell’s newest Downtown Condo Project is a trendy little haven tucked away from the bustle of city life. With 1,368 square feet you have plenty of room to spread out. Everything has been metrically picked out for the person that wants style and function. This condo includes 13 foot ceilings, wrap around kitchen, hardwood floors, and original brick to make this condo one of a kind. The unit is currently under a year lease, but is still available for purchase under an appraised value.

Check out its article in the Buyers Guide!


New Listing 1013 Aberdeen St.



Sunday December 7th Open House

Come join me this Sunday for a tour of Union Square!!

600 Broadway Ave

1pm – 3pm

For all of our Union Square listings visit www.grdowntowncondos.com

Rentals and sales will be held open!


Saturday Open House

November, 22 from 3pm till 5pm

Come join me for an open house!

5822 36th Ave. Hudsonville, MI

4 Bedrooms – 2 Bathrooms – 2,300 Sq. Feet

Don’t miss your opportunity to view this stunning 4 bed – 2 bath Hudsonville home. The home sits on a beautifully landscaped yard with a covered porch overlooking rolling fields in the back. The home itself features a remodeled kitchen with custom cherry cabinets, granite countertops, a center island, a Viking cook top, and hardwood flooring. The house also has hardwood floors throughout, a formal dining area with a built in china cabinet, a finished basement, and tons of storage. You’ll also love having two fireplaces, and Andersen Renewal windows to keep the interior nice and cozy this winter.


Listings

Check out all of our updated listings!


36th Ave Open House

Join me this Sunday, October 26th, for an open house!

5822 – 36th Ave, Hudsonville

1p – 3p

4 bed, 2 bath, 2300 sq. feet

Don’t miss your opportunity to view this stunning 4 bed – 2 bath Hudsonville home. The home sits on a beautifully landscaped yard with a three season porch overlooking rolling fields in the back. The home itself features a remodeled kitchen with custom cherry cabinets, granite countertops, a center island, a Viking cook top, and hardwood flooring. The house also has hardwood floors throughout, a formal dining area with a built in china cabinet, a finished basement, and tons of storage. You’ll also love having two fireplaces, and Andersen Renewal windows to keep the interior nice and cozy this winter.


Do you Have Flood Insurance?

Floods are the #1 natural disaster. 

Each year, more U.S. properties within flood plains are destroyed by flooding than by fire.  Changing weather patterns, increased urban development, and the leveling of forests have reduced the land’s natural ability to absorb water. 

A Homeowners Insurance Policy doesn’t cover flooding. 

Property owners know a Homeowners policy covers fire damage, but most don’t realize that it won’t cover flood or mudslide damage.  Rising waters and debris can destroy your home, business and personal belongings within minutes.

Federal assistance is difficult to obtain. 

Most floods don’t qualify for federal disaster aid.  Only floods that are declared national disasters by the President qualify for federal assistance.

Flood damage is a growing problem. 

As more flooding occurs throughout the country, the cost of rebuilding is skyrocketing.  Floods now cause more than $2 billion in property damage each year.  That’s your tax money being used to help thousands of flood victims across the country.  There is an answer. –Flood insurance.

Flood Insurance is easy to buy. 

Anyone can buy flood insurance if his or her property is located in a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program.  Homes, condos, apartments, and business structures are all eligible.  Even renters may purchase flood insurance for their possessions.  Flood premiums are set by the U.S. government.  The average Flood policy is only $324 a year.


Home Staging Room by Room: The Bathroom

Home Staging bathrooms is where applying the three C’s of home staging is essential.  When preparing a home for the Grand Rapids real estate market, bathrooms should be clean, clutter-free, and the wall color should be light and neutral.

bathroom_1.jpg

CLEAN 

Get out your cleaning supplies and start cleaning!  In my years of home staging, I have encountered many dirty tubs hidden behind shower curtains.  Please don’t make this mistake.  Instead, impress buyers with a squeaky clean bathroom.  Pay attention to every surface, nook and cranny, even inside the cabinets.  Address any mildew or rust spots.  There is a multitude of cleaning products on the market to tackle these common problems.  For in-between cleanings I advise my clients to keep bathroom and glass wipes handy and to give their bathrooms a quick touchup each morning.  You’ll be surprised at what a difference this makes and you may even start a habit! 

Another thing to consider when it comes to clean is the bathroom towels.  The bathroom may be squeaky clean but dirty, old, or mismatched towels can give the opposite impression.  If this sounds like your towels it would be worth investing in a new set.  Some people even go to the effort of having a set of towels that are for show purposes only. 

CLUTTER-FREE 

No one likes this “C” even when it comes to home staging such a small room as the bathroom.  Clutter can be found on your countertops, inside your shower, and in your cabinets.  The first thing to de-clutter is your cabinets.  Just like the kitchen, take everything out and only put back what is absolutely necessary.  Box up the rest and you’ve started the packing process!  Secondly, clear your countertops of all items.  Find a spot in your almost-empty cabinets for only the necessities.  Thirdly, tackle the shower.  Keep out only what is used daily and stow any other necessities in the cabinets.  For the finishing touch, place one aesthetically pleasing item on the countertop to help depersonalize such a personal space.  Now, be proud of yourself and take a mental picture of your de-cluttered bathroom.  Work hard to keep it that way and remind yourself that you’ll be on your way to your dream home soon.

bathroom-2.jpg

COLOR 

Color choice is an important factor in small spaces such as bathrooms.  Bold, dark, or bright colors tend to bring the walls in and make a space feel cramped.  In order to achieve a roomier impression it is best to paint walls in a warm, neutral color.  The exception to this is a powder room where a more formal setting is desired.

 A great way to add color and interest to a bland bathroom is through temporary items such as towels and artwork.  Shower curtains, towels, and artwork should flow with the color and overall tone of the bathroom.   Neutral colored shower curtains are best.  Keep in mind that temporary items should never be the main focal point in a house for sale.  I had a client wanting to use white towels in every single bathroom.  This is fine for some bathrooms but in a refined master bathroom with dark cabinetry and darker tones, a white towel would stick out like a sore thumb.  

These three C’s of home staging can be applied to any room.  Hopefully with this bit of advice, you will create a spa-like, relaxing, and depersonalized bathroom that is sure to impress potential buyers. 

Happy Staging! 


FHA Loan Limits increased in Michigan!

I have great news to share. The FHA loan limits have just been increased.  We did see a major increase in the new loan limits which was not expected at least here in Michigan.  The new loan limit for most county’s in our area is $271,050.  That is up from $200,050.  FHA is going to be one of the absolute best mortgage solutions for people this year and potentially years to come.The program is not regulated by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac so even if the property is labeled as being in a “DECLINING MARKET” it does not change the loan structure of FHA loans.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac make lenders reduce the LTV by 5% for all properties in a declining market.  FHA does not require us to reduce LTV’s by 5%.

There are many mortgage brokers and banks in our area that have not been doing FHA’s because they didn’t believe it was a worthwhile program.  It is an absolute must in the market today.  I’m proud to say that we’ve been advising a lot of our clients in this direction over the past 6 months because of it’s flexibility on LTV, allows for 100% financing in DECLINING MARKETS, has reduced monthly PMI, allows for non-owner occupant borrowers to co-sign, and often times has lower interest rates than a Conventional 30 yr. Fixed program.

If you’d like more information on how this could benefit you or anyone you know do not hesitate to contact me.  I am extremely pleased to see the government taking action and making a positive impact on our industry.  This will truly be a saving grace for many people today.

I look forward to the opportunity to help


What do the Fed rate cuts mean to me?

The Fed has continued to lower the Fed funds rate through the first quarter of 2008.  How does this affect the interest rate on my mortgage?  Should I wait to purchase my new home until the Fed is done with its rate cuts?  I’ve been thinking of refinancing, but should I hold off on this until the Fed has stopped cutting rates?The statement and questions I wrote above are on the top of everyone’s mind today especially if you are a home owner hoping to refinance or a potential home buyer.

I have attached an article here that will help dispel the myth that when the Fed lowers the Fed funds rate that it actually reduces mortgage rates by the same amount.  The article is authored by market expert, Barry Habib.  I have been a member of Barry’s online service called “Mortgage market Guide” since 2003.  Barry’s service is a must for mortgage professionals that want to know exactly what is happening in the bond market and when the best time to lock or float interest rates for their customers.

Interest rates for mortgages such as the 30 yr. fixed loan, 15 yr. fixed loan, FHA, MSHDA, etc… are all based on the value of mortgage backed securities in the bond market.  The Fed can only control the Discount rate which is what banks can borrower money at and the Fed funds rate.  The Fed has no direct control over the bond market or how the 30 yr. fixed interest rates change on a day to day basis.

As bond prices go up, interest rates on mortgages go down.  As bond prices go down, there is less demand for bonds and then interest rates go up.  If you watch how the NASDAQ is trading throughout the day you should be able to see the bond market working in the opposite direction.  When the stock market is doing well, there is less money going into the bond market.  When there is less money going into the bond market, mortgage rates will drift higher due to less demand.  When the stock market is having a couple negative days in a row, it’s likely that the investment dollars are flowing into the bond market instead, therefore helping lower mortgage rates.

The Fed reducing the Fed funds rates helps individuals and businesses that have shorter term loans that are tied to the prime lending rate.  The reduction of the Fed funds rate often creates higher interest rates for long term mortgages that most Americans are concerned about.  Keep this in mind the next time the Fed lowers the Fed funds rate which will be on March 18. It does not necessarily mean lower interest rates on your mortgage.


Forest Hills Schools Home For Sale!

2105 Shiloh Hills Dr.
Kentwood, MI 49546

Forest Hills Schools

Priced to sell at : $214,900

  • 4 bedrooms

  • 3 1/2 Bathrooms

  • 2300 sqft.

  • 5 years old

The original owners have kept this home looking as new as it was when it was built 5 years ago. With 4 spacious bedrooms, 3 and 1/2 bathrooms in the Forest Hill School district, it’s one of the best values on the market. This home has a great yard with already established professional landscaping and underground sprinkling.

Call or Email me today to set up a showing!


Kent Count Real Estate Market Watch 1/28/08-2/3/08

  Total Total List / Sold $ Avg List $ Avg Sold $ Avg DOM Median Price $ %SP/LP
New 194 $37,906,214 / n/a $195,393 n/a 4 $141,450 n/a
Pending 98 $11,551,821 / n/a $117,876 n/a 109 $112,400 n/a
Sold 52 $7,732,485 / $7,315,038 $148,702 $140,674 99 $132,500 94.60%
Currently Active (as of today) 6115 $1,148,269,287 / n/a $187,779 n/a 129 $139,900 n/a

Our New Grand Rapids Home: Getting Prepared

My wife and I are going through the process of buying a new home! Over the next couple of months, I will walk you through the process as my wife Amy and I purchase our new house.We know that it is a buyer’s market right now, so we thought it would be a great time for us to buy a new house. We realized that we may loose on the current home that we are in, but that ultimately we will gain on the new house what we lost on the old.

We knew we were willing to do a lot of work to a house if it needed it. We wanted to look at some foreclosures and as with all foreclosures, we had to make sure that we would be ready and prepared to make a clean offer to the bank. The bank just wants to get the property sold in the quickest amount of time with the least amount of hassle.

So what did we do to prepare?

  1. We were keeping an eye on the market and researched what type of house we were looking for.
  2. We went online and filled out an application online to start the process of figuring out what loan options we have and what we could afford.
  3. We kept an eye out on houses in the price range and areas that we were interest in. For us this included the North side by Riverside Park and Alger Heights. We went to go look at a couple of different houses. Some of them were more work than what we wanted and others we knew would be out of our price range by the time we made the repairs that we would want.

These steps allowed us to be ready to make an offer right away when we found the right home.

Contributed to GrandRapidsResource.com by:

Steve Volkers at Keller Williams Realty

 


The Seven Most Costly Misconceptions About Home Inspections – Misconception #6

Misconception #6:  FHA or VA has inspected the house and/or the appraisal will cover me.

“Absolutely not.  While having FHA or VA do an inspection on your home is useful and they likely call out a number of concerns, this is far from a complete inspection.  In fact, the bottom line is that these inspectors are working to protect FHA or VA and not you.

“On top of that, these inspections are only about 30 minutes to an hour long at best – and 30 minutes is pushing it.  A real inspection that has your best interest at heart is going to take significantly longer.  It is unusual for an inspection to take less than 2 hours on smaller homes and many inspections have been known to take longer, depending on the size of the home. 

“The thought of the appraisal taking the place of the inspection scares the appraiser as much as it should scare you.  The appraisal is designed to determine the value of the home for the mortgage company.  The mortgage company simply wants to know if what they are loaning on the house is reasonable.  It is not designed at all to pick up the condition of the house, even though some times, if there is a major concern, the appraiser will bring it to everyone’s attention.  However, this is hardly an inspection, and every appraiser will be glad to tell you so.  Unfortunately, you rarely see the appraiser and you are lucky if you receive his report until you go to closing.


Kent Count Real Estate Market Watch 1/21/08-1/28/08

  Total Total List / Sold $ Avg List $ Avg Sold $ Avg DOM Median Price $ %SP/LP
New 167 $27,618,893 / n/a $165,383 n/a 5 $129,900 n/a
Pending 64 $7,241,961 / n/a $113,156 n/a 86 $90,369 n/a
Sold 17 $2,449,122 / $2,297,222 $144,066 $135,131 76 $115,000 93.80%
 
Currently Active (as of today) 5319 $1,004,105,907 / n/a $188,777 n/a 125 $138,000 n/a

 AVG: Average

DOM: Days on Market

%SP/LP: Percent of Sale price sold to List Price


First time Home Buyer NAR Video.


Grand Rapids Schools to ease rules on School of Choose.

Grand Rapids Press Reported today the easing of School of Choose rules for the 2008- 2009.
To see the story from the Grand Rapids Press click on link:   School choice rules eased
To learn more about the School District around Greater Grand Rapids: K-12 Greater Grand Rapids School Reports.

Grand Rapids to have Foreclosure Forum.

 Reported to day: Grand Rapids will be having a foreclosure forum to talk about the steps to stay out of foreclosure or what to do if you are heading that way. See the Grand Rapids Press for more information.

Date: February 14th

Time: 12pm-7pm

Where: Delta Plex


Home Staging Room by Room: The Kitchen

Home Staging the kitchen is crucial when it comes to selling your home. The kitchen includes much more than just walls, floor, and ceiling.  With so many components in the kitchen, many buyers evaluate the condition of the entire home based upon this one room.  A sparkling, well maintained and organized kitchen speaks volumes to buyers that you have attended to every detail in maintaining your home.

kitchen_picture_2.jpg

The first step in staging a kitchen is to eliminate any unneeded “stuff”.  Grand Rapids home buyers look for kitchens that are functional and spacious therefore the goal is to maximize all counter and cabinet space.  Countertops should be clear of all items except for a few decorative pieces displayed in the corners.  Leaving appliances on your countertops gives buyers the impression that your kitchen has limited cabinet space.  Also, eliminate any items inside the cabinets that you will not need for the short-term.  I recommend taking everything out of each kitchen cabinet and drawer and putting back only those things you absolutely can’t live without.  While you are at it you may as well have some cleaning supplies handy and wipe out the cabinets.  When putting items back in the cabinetry be sure to arrange them neatly and orderly.  Remember that you want the kitchen to look as organized as possible.

Next, depersonalize the kitchen spaces.  The biggie here is to totally clear off the front of your refrigerator.  Sorry, but no more photos, kid’s drawings, notes, or magnets while your home is on the market.  We all need a calendar handy so I suggest hanging it on the inside of a kitchen cabinet door.  In addition, the telephone station should be free of any papers, mail, pens, etc.  You have already cleared out the cabinets so you should have plenty of space to put these items in a cabinet or drawer near the phone.

Now it’s time to address any repairs needed in the kitchen.  Inspect the entire kitchen including the lighting, faucet, sink, appliances, floors, walls, cabinets, and countertops.  Look carefully at the caulk along the countertop and backsplash.  In many cases it is wise to freshly caulk in order to achieve the goal of an immaculate kitchen. 

kitchen_picture_1.jpg

Now that your kitchen is clutter- and repair-free, you are ready to tackle the most important “C” of home staging CLEAN!  A kitchen can never be too clean so clean like you’ve never cleaned before.  Here’s a list to get you started cleaning your kitchen:

  • Sink, including the disposal (freshen with a fresh lemon)
  • Countertops
  • Backsplash, including grout
  • Cabinets – inside and out – don’t forget under the sink too
  • Floors and baseboards
  • Stove top – use a good degreaser
  • Oven – inside and out
  • Exhaust fan and hood – degrease and change filter
  • Microwave – inside and out
  • Refrigerator – inside and out

When home staging your kitchen, please don’t ignore any of these items.  I have clients ask, “Do they really look in the cabinets and the oven?”  My answer is a definitive, “YES!”  A buyer will inspect any and everything they are considering buying.  A little elbow grease and organization will have your pristine home screaming, “BUY ME!”

Contributed to GrandRapidsResource.com by:


Heidi Herbruck at Simply Staged


Grand Rapids Real Estate Market Watch: January

homeforsalesign.jpg

Home buyers are beginning their Grand Rapids Home Search and the Spring Real Estate Real Estate will be here before you know it.Over the past week there has been an up swing in activity in my office. One listing has sold and many showings. It has been slow all through December as people enjoyed the holidays. But all signs point to the spring real estate market, which will be upon us soon.

I have noticed internet research starting and coming on very strong over the past week. Over the last week Grand Rapids Resource Blog had 100 hits per day and my featured listing on Trulia.com had 300 viewings during listing week.

I believe it will be a strong spring real estate market. Price will be down but buyers will be out buying. If your home has being on the market for a long time or if it has expired in the past month this information should encourage you to get back on the market soon.

If you would like a second opinion on your current listing or would like me to take a look at what you could sell your home for in the coming spring market feel free to call. We can sit down together, with a cup of coffee, and decide best how to sell you home in 2008.


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