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Grand Rapids Real Estate Content has moved!!

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!


New Listing 1013 Aberdeen St.



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.


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.


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

 


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