My Blog

Remembering Veterans


It is December, with just a couple weeks left until we celebrate the day of Christmas as a family.  The holidays bring warm feelings toward those we love and those we lost.  Add a heavy dose of patriotism to the mix and you typically find a veteran or a family member touched by a veteran.  I am one of you.  

Buried in a pile of memories is a box with 21 spent rifle shells.  My husband is a surviving son.  His father was killed in the Vietnam conflict.  A man whose child was just 6 months old.  Jim was a proud, enlisted Marine that went by ship to Okinawa.  After Okinawa, the hell in Vietnam was to follow.  No stranger to the military, he served in the Navy prior to this deployment, sneaking away from home while in high school and signing up to serve while being just 16 years old.  After the Navy and some college, he drove to California in a car he built. And through a series of bad luck in finding employment decided to enlist in the Marine Corp.  His finance couldn't have been more surprised!  Jim came home to Michigan to marry her and they moved back to California, to the base at Camp Pendleton.  The photos from their first years of marriage of their wedding and the grin on Jim's face while looking at his newborn son tell it all.  He was happy and a goofball.  I would have like him.  

He died unexpectedly.  While unloading the ship in Okinawa, Jim was responsible for guiding the chained boxes to their location on the dock.  The crane operator crossed a power line--a complete accident--and the chains Jim held discharged deadly electrical currents. Jim was electrocuted. 

I think of Jim at Christmas.

What does this all have to do with real estate, you may be asking yourself.  Well, if you find yourself ready to embrace the American dream of owning a home, as a veteran you are qualified.  Just reach out to me and I will fully assist and support your dream.  I come from a veteran family.  


Pricing Your Unique Property


Before I came to learn real estate, I was unaware about how you put a price on a unique feature of your home.  Let's pull back the curtain and show you OZ.  


First you research to find recently sold properties in your area.  'Great,' you think, 'that leaves me with hundreds if not thousands of homes.'  Next, narrow down two very similar properties located close to your home, and be sure one of the two properties has that unique feature that is most like your home: a pool, a sauna, a three season room, and more.  Now look at the price per square foot.  What is the market willing to pay for the unique feature?  Remember, you are dealing with sold homes.  Be sure you have an 'apples to apples' as a comparison.  

In practical terms, will homes match exactly in our comparison?  Probably not, so deduct or add the value of an extra bedroom or what ever the plus is on the home without the unique feature.  Call your favorite real estate agent to see if they agree.  You may have learned in a very concrete way how to price your home.  Now go confidently in the marketplace and get the best price.  You did the work, and you deserve the confidence in your listing price.       

The Seller's Letter


There was a new plaque on the house indicating the age of the home and area.  Impressive.  I opened up the door and began turning on lights and getting a feel for the property.  The former dining room was ahead, it was gutted and the long windows let in enough light to give the impression of cheerfulness.  And there it was--the Seller's letter.  A one page letter on stationery paper.   It began, "I am a pilot..." and included a story of why the seller selected this home and his lifestyle.  I looked around me and saw not one area that was renovated.  Fluff--that letter was full of fluff, and I was looking at a crumbling, unloved home that smelled of urine. 

My buyers were a darling, newly married couple that wanted to live downtown, and walk to work.  The location was perfect. We walked the gutted home that looked like squatters lived there at night.  I advised them to not go out on the sagging deck.  You can do "ugly" as a young inexperienced buyer by painting, adding new countertops, but this was too much. Hundreds of thousands of dollars would be needed to make it livable.  (I won't mention the condition of the bathrooms.)

That Seller's letter stayed with me.  The psychology behind making the Seller an adventurer.  Just wow! 

Do You Need a Bridge Loan?


There is a housing shortage in Grand Rapids, with the average time on the market being 1.5 months.  Sellers are afraid to list their homes before putting an offer on another home.  They feel their home will sell quickly.  And it will!   It is not uncommon for a home to sell the first day if it is priced right and clean.  If you find yourself in this situation and are motivated to move, you may look at a bridge loan.  

What is a bridge loan....well, it's 'a sum of money lent by a bank to cover an interval between two transactions, typically the buying of one house and the selling of another.' (according to Google)

Here's what you need to understand.  For the bridge loan, the maximum amount that can be borrowed is 85% of the appraised value.  For a home valued at $160,000, the maximum bridge amount would be $136,000.  The loan will take 30 days to process, and you will need an appraisal and title work completed.  Is a bridge right for you?  You decide. 

Andy for Grandville Mayor...Someday


Do you know someone like this?  

I met "Andy" when he moved in my neighborhood--he was a young dad, playing soccer with his son in the yard.  We chatted about our dogs, soccer and children. I saw him 'off and on' around the neighborhood, then at an Association meeting.  We both volunteered for a board position with the Association. As Andy talked at our first  board meeting, I realized that he knows a lot about our neighbors-- much more than me, because he makes a point to meet people and learn their stories.   

Six small tornadoes touched down in our community recently.  After we came out into the yards from our safe basements to assess the damage, guess who was on the sidewalk asking if everything was alright.  You guessed it--Andy.  He already knew about damage to nearby homes and who needed help in righting a pontoon boat which had flipped upside down in the storm. He was on his way to help, but, of course!  I looked at him again and thought--there goes a guy who will one day be mayor of our town.  I'm glad to know him, for he's remarkable.

As Luck Would Have It...


Count up the number of places you've lived.  The number of homes, dorms and apartments quickly add up.  I am currently on #11.  And of all the places I have lived, none has been as friendly as my current cul-de-sac on Whispering Springs Lake in Grandville, Michigan.  Here is what makes this place special: 

  • When I moved in, my neighbors invited my family to their home one evening to welcome us and give us tips on the best physicians, dentists, animal hospitals and the like.  
  • Beginning at Thanksgiving, my neighbors will come by and drop off a homemade treat that they made for the holidays.  Warm cinnamon rolls, dutch treats, cookies, bread and a bottle of wine.  
  • The view is really beautiful!  Sunsets are so expansive when you see the water in the foreground.

A small picture given by the Lake Association has rested on my kitchen counter for 3 years which states exactly how I feel about Whispering Spring Lake.  It says, "If you are lucky enough to live on the Lake, you are lucky enough."

I'm lucky enough. 



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