Articles Tagged "Holland MI"

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Uncategorized | 10 Posts
Holland, MI | 5 Posts
Home ideas | 2 Posts
West Michigan | 5 Posts
September
12

The Best Holland Restaurants For National Cheeseburger Day

Holland is full of spots to find a tasty burger. Here are the restaurants you have to visit.

If you've been craving a juicy cheeseburger lately, then you might want to make plans to stop by your favorite Holland restaurant on September 18th. It just happens to be Cheeseburger Day

While burgers are a staple of American cuisine, many people believe this delicious creation actually originated in Germany in the early 1900s. Since then, burgers have become a mainstay of many menus around the world. From diners to bars and grills, almost every traditional American restaurant does its own spin on a good burger.

In honor of Cheeseburger Day, our real estate agents pulled together a list of top burger destinations around Holland:

  • Hops at 84 East - 84 E 8th St, Holland, MI 49423
    One of Holland's premier burger destinations, Hops 84 East has everything you want in a traditional downtown craft beer bar and grill, but their award-winning Trumpet Burger is a must-try. This 70:30 grind of brisket and Pebble Creek mushrooms is topped with bacon, Roelli Red Rock cheddar bleu, pickled shallots, arugula, and duck mayo. If you enjoy your meal and want to come back, you might be interested in one of these nearby Holland homes for sale.

  • Windmill Restaurant - 28 W 8th St #220, Holland, MI 49423
    This homey traditional American diner offers counter-style seating and grills up some delicious burgers for lunch. Choose from a 1/4 lb. or a 1/2 lb. burger, and add your favorite toppings at Windmill Restaurant. Or, try the 3 Star Burger — a 1/4 lb. burger with grilled onions, mushrooms, and green peppers. Veggie burgers and black bean burgers are available as well.

  • Big E's Sports Grill - 121 E 8th St, Holland, MI 49423
    A classic Michigan sports bar, Big E's Sports Grill is the go-to place to catch the game, have a beer, and enjoy a great burger. The menu features 6 "Gridiron Classics," such as the Screamin' Demon (volcanic sauce, jalapenos, and pepper jack cheese) or the Hawaiian (grilled pineapple, provolone cheese, teriyaki sauce, and fried onion). You'll also find an extensive draft list making it easy to pair your beer with your favorite brew.

  • Brann's Steakhouse And Grille - 12234 James St, Holland, MI 49424
    The Pretzel Burger at Brann's Steakhouse And Grille is always one of our favorites. This burger is served on a gourmet pretzel bun and is topped with smoked bacon, aged cheddar, fried egg, mayo, lettuce, and tomato. Just make sure to save room for a Brownie Sundae or Cookie Monster for dessert!

  • HopCat - 80 W 8th St, Holland, MI 49423
    With two burgers named after University of Michigan players, HopCat had to make the list. First up is the Erick All burger, which is two smash patties, American cheese, haystacks, bacon, lettuce, and tomato. The second is the Payton Thorne burger, which adds a sunny-side-up egg and a pretzel bun. Both are delicious!

  • Beechwood Grill - 380 Douglas Ave, Holland, MI 49424
    This cabin-style restaurant grills some of the best burgers in town. Choose from The All American, Boursin Bacon Burger, Olive Burger, or the Rise N Shine Burger at Beechwood Grill. Draft beer, wine, and cocktails are available, and be sure to check out the Happy Hour drink specials Monday through Saturday from 3 pm to 5 pm.

Great dining options are just one of our favorite things about living in Holland. Contact us today to schedule a tour of one of our spectacular local listings.

August
23

Practice Your Photo Skills With These West Michigan Scenic Spots

West Michigan is a photographer's paradise. Here's where you can snap stunning pictures.

Photography is one of our favorite art forms, and it's especially fun when you live in a beautiful place like West Michigan. When you're surrounded by tulips, shorelines, lighthouses, and windmills, you won't have trouble finding beautiful subjects for your photo shoots.

Great photography takes a good eye and a lot of practice. Our real estate agents have been dabbling in photography lately and are always on the lookout for new beautiful landscapes to hone their skills. Here are some of our favorite places to snap amazing pictures in West Michigan:

  • Windmill Island Gardens - 1 Lincoln Ave, Holland, MI 49423
    Windmills are not only a sign of Dutch heritage, but they also make for beautiful photo opportunities. You can snap some great windmill pics at Windmill Island Gardens. The main attraction here is the historic 'de Zwann' windmill, but there are also dozens of acres of parks and exhibits where you can also take pictures. Among the other attractions are an annual themed garden during the summer and 150,000 blooming tulips in the spring. While you're in town, be sure to check out these Holland homes for sale, which are just down the road from the park.

  • Riverview Park - Central Ave, Holland, MI 49423
    You'll find ample photo opportunities at Riverview Park in Holland. Also known as "Window on the Waterfront," this park has boardwalks, open space, and viewing decks that offer amazing views of the Macatawa River. Not to mention the park is home to more than 100,000 blooming tulips every spring. With so much natural beauty, it's easy to snap a few shareable pictures.

  • Saugatuck Dunes State Park - 38th Ave, Holland, MI 49423
    Capture gorgeous photos of the sandy dunes along the Lake Michigan shoreline at Saugatuck Dunes State Park. The park consists of over 100 acres with 13 miles of trails that weave in and out of beach, dune, and forest landscapes while providing amazing coastal views. The park is even home to three endangered plant species.

  • Lighthouse Connector Park - Grand Haven, MI 49417
    Also known as "The Boardwalk," Lighthouse Connector Park is a 1.5-mile recreational area extending from the Chinook Pier to the South Pier. It features a trail, beach access, and an upfront look at the amazing Grand Haven South Pierhead Inner Light. It's nice to have a beach in your own backyard, and these Grand Haven homes for sale offer just that.

  • Grand Haven State Park - 1001 S Harbor Dr, Grand Haven, MI 49417
    Snap some awesome beach photos at Grand Haven State Park — a 48-acre park consisting of sandy beaches, dunes, and two lighthouses. It's also one of the best local places to take beautiful pictures of the sunset. If you want to make a weekend out of it, the park has fantastic campgrounds and lodging.

  • The Grand Haven Musical Fountain - 1 N Harbor Dr, Grand Haven, MI 49417
    See an amazing orchestration of lights, water, and music at the Grand Haven Musical Fountain. This theatrical fountain puts on a free 25-30 minute show every evening all summer long. Enjoy some great musical hits while practicing your photography skills. With a variety of shows, it's always worth stopping back and seeing something new.

Living in a beautiful place can do wonders for your mental health and energy, which is why we love calling West Michigan home. Contact us today to explore local listings.

August
8

The Best Hiking in Holland

The Best Hiking in Holland

Looking for the best hiking in Holland? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping, and more around Holland. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top hiking spots in and near Holland

  • Holland, Michigan

    Riley Trails

    3.07 mi / 115 ft gain
    Riley Trails is a loop trail that takes you through a nice forest located near Holland, Michigan.
    Read more
  • Holland, Michigan

    Mount Pisgah Dune Boardwalk

    0.47 mi / 95 ft gain
    Mount Pisgah Dune Boardwalk is an out-and-back trail that takes you through a nice forest located near Holland, Michigan.
    Read more
  • Holland, Michigan

    Climb the Stairs up Mt. Pisgah

    4.3
    0.5 mi / 80 ft gain
    Feel the burn in your calves and thighs! If you don't feel it, pick up the pace or do it all again! The good news is it is actually just a large dune, not an entire mountain. It should not take you very long to run, even though there are over 200 steps here. Every 25th stair is marked and there a...
    Read more
  • Holland, Michigan

    Sanctuary Woods

    0.96 mi / 95 ft gain
    Sanctuary Woods is a loop trail that takes you by a lake located near Holland, Michigan.
    Read more
  • Holland, Michigan

    Explore Tunnel Park

    4.0
    Of course, you can come any time of the year, this is always a lovely small park! It is guaranteed to be crowded and cost money (unless you have the Ottawa County park pass) in the summer, though, and I've had better luck with parking and personal space at Holland State Park. I've found that the ...
    Read more
  • Zeeland, Michigan

    Upper Macatawa Natural Area

    3.83 mi / 157 ft gain
    Upper Macatawa Natural Area is a loop trail that takes you by a river located near Zeeland, Michigan.
    Read more
  • Holland, Michigan

    Saugatuck Dunes Loop

    1.88 mi / 118 ft gain
    Saugatuck Dunes Loop is a loop trail that takes you through a nice forest located near Holland, Michigan.
    Read more
  • Holland, Michigan

    Saugatuck Dunes South Trail

    5.25 mi / 456 ft gain
    Saugatuck Dunes South Trail is a loop trail that takes you by a lake located near Holland, Michigan.
    Read more
  • Saugatuck, Michigan

    Tallmadge Woods and Crows Nest Loop

    2.1 mi / 303 ft gain
    Crows Nest Loop is a quiet hike on publicly accessible land. It takes you along dunes that hover above the Kalamazoo River. The loop leads you to an overlook with views of Ox-Bow Lagoon and Lake Michigan. This loop is suitable for all levels and is about a 2.1 mile hike.  The trailhead can be tr...
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  • Saugatuck, Michigan

    Mount Baldhead

    0.88 mi / 26 ft gain
    Mount Baldhead is a loop trail where you may see beautiful wildflowers located near Saugatuck, Michigan.
    Read more
  • Holland, Michigan

    Pigeon Creek Short Loop

    1.71 mi / 184 ft gain
    Pigeon Creek Short Loop is a loop trail that is good for all skill levels located near Holland, Michigan.
    Read more
  • Holland, Michigan

    Red Pine Loop

    2.8 mi / 322 ft gain
    Red Pine Loop is a loop trail that takes you by a river located near West Olive, Michigan.
    Read more
  • West Olive, Michigan

    Hiawatha Trail

    1.35 mi / 75 ft gain
    Hiawatha Trail is a loop trail that takes you through a nice forest located near West Olive, Michigan.
    Read more
  • West Olive, Michigan

    Kirk Park Loop

    1.15 mi / 43 ft gain
    Kirk Park Loop is a loop trail that takes you by a lake located near West Olive, Michigan.
    Read more
  • Georgetown Township, Michigan

    Grand Ravines Loop from South Trailhead

    2.34 mi / 276 ft gain
    Grand Ravines Loop from South Trailhead is a loop trail that takes you by a river located near Jenison, Michigan.
    Read more
  • Georgetown Township, Michigan

    Hager Park Loop

    0.69 mi / 66 ft gain
    Hager Park Loop is a loop trail that takes you through a nice forest located near Jenison, Michigan.
    Read more

    August
    1

    National Girlfriend Day

    National Girlfriend Day

    Ladies, it's time for some real talk. Today is National Girlfriend Day, an annual event that rolls around every August 1. Unlike National Boyfriend Day, this day isn't for boyfriends to appreciate their girlfriends (let's be honest, that should happen every day), it's about women supporting women!

    Romantic partners will come and go. Jobs are won and lost. But no matter what happens, your girls will be there in a crunch.  It's a time to honor your "ride or die" crew of homegirls! So, why do we love our girlfriends so much? Because they're like sisters but without any of the growing-up baggage. Plus, when times are tough, your girls will let you vent and when you're done; they will offer up the support you need to get through.

    Spa days, weekend retreats, pajama parties complete with wine and nachos are even better when your girlfriends join in the fun.  This year on National Girlfriend Day 2021, spend some delicious time gossiping about lovers past, present and future. Discuss your hopes and dreams in a really safe space, the circle of sisterhood.

    HISTORY OF NATIONAL GIRLFRIEND DAY

    It's not known for certain who created National Girlfriend Day on August 1 but the strongest claim seems to stem from Mistress Susan who runs a luxury website. She says that she created and celebrated the date in 2004 as a chance for gal pals to express gratitude to each other.

    The history of female friendships and gal pals is of course much longer than the day itself. Girls have been friends for so long that there is no way we can trace back to the first-ever female friends, so instead, we'll mention some of the more notable gal pals from recent times.

    The Edinburgh Seven were a group of female friends who fought to become the first women to go to medical school in the UK in the 1860s. Despite studying medicine at Edinburgh University they were barred from graduating and becoming doctors. Their determination put women's rights on the national agenda and led to laws in 1876 that allowed women to study medicine at university. The Edinburgh Seven had paved for the way for the female doctors of the future.

    Around the same time as this, Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were forming a friendship that would become revolutionary. The two were the founders of the women's rights movement in the United States and were the trailblazers that pushed for white women's suffrage. The two initially met in 1851 and it was in 1869 that they formed the National Woman Suffrage Association.

    On a more sporty note, we raise a special mention for The Rockford Peaches, the founding members of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in the 1940s. Their achievements were a huge stride forward for female athletes in the U.S.

    One of our favorite stories of female friendship involves Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe, with Fitzgerald attributing her big break to Monroe? The singer tried to book a gig at the Mocambo in Hollywood in 1955 but the manager turned her away because she didn't have enough "sex appeal." Monroe called the manager and said that she would sit front row every night if Fitzgerald got the job, which would pull in the press and crowds that the manager craved. Fitzgerald would say later. "After that I never had to play a small jazz club again."

    More recently Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert showed that even the fiercest of rivals can be best friends. The two did battle in an incredible 61 tennis tournament finals during the 1970s and 1980s but were still the best of friends off the court and would often travel to tournaments together and hang out between matches.

    Gal pals are always there for each other and have a history of fighting against the tide to achieve great things together. Make sure you take some time out on National Girlfriend Day 2021 to let your girlfriends know how much you appreciate them.

    Here are some other female-orientated holidays to observe and celebrate.

    NATIONAL GIRLFRIEND DAY TRADITIONS

    As this day is all about hanging out with your girlfriends the main tradition is to spend some quality time with your friends. People tend to spend National Girlfriend Day having fun with their girlfriends in and doing activities that they have previously bonded on together.

    So, whether it is watching a movie, spending the night partying, going shopping, or eating out at a nice restaurant, the traditions of National Girlfriend Day are really the traditions that built that friendship in the first place.

    NATIONAL GIRLFRIEND DAY BY NUMBERS

    6 – The number of best friends the average woman has in her lifetime.
    16 years – The lifespan of the average female friendship
    1 in 10 – Women admit to having more fun with their bff than with their partner.
    47% – Women wish they could spend more time with their best friend.
    1 in 4 – Women think their best friend knows them better than their partner.
    67% – More time women spend improving romantic relationships compared to friendships.
    23 years – the average friendship length for women over 55.
    9 – The number of close friends the average American has
    2% – The number of people who claim to have no close friends.
    73% – The number of Americans satisfied with their friendships

    HOW TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL GIRLFRIEND DAY 2021

    1. Organize a paint night with your girls

      Painting and drinking? Sign me up! Going to a paint nite is a sweet idea for a night out with your girls—you even get a souvenir to remember it. For those who are not so artistically-inclined, the staff gives easy-to-understand instructions for the painting of the night. If yours still comes out bad.... just blame the alcohol.

    2. Instagram or it didn't happen

      Nothing says "I love you" than a selfie with the favorite females in your life. Why can't #WCW be every day?

    3. Everyone loves a spa day

      Invite the girls over for a spa night! Make your own pedicures, facials, the works. Your girlfriends will thank you for the pamper-filled day.

    August
    1

    Ready To Make An Offer? Make Sure You Do This First

    Before making an offer on your dream home, make sure you cross these tasks off your list.

    Shopping for a new home can be an emotional rollercoaster, and the process often takes several weeks or months. Once you discover that perfect home, it's normal to feel a mix of excitement and anxiety, which often leads buyers to act with a sense of urgency. However, before you have your agent draw up an offer, it's important to take some time to thoroughly evaluate the property and consider your terms.

    Our real estate agents always encourage clients to take these steps before submitting an offer:

    • Make a Pros and Cons List
      Finding a home that checks every box is challenging, and first-time buyers usually need to make some concessions. However, you do want to make sure the home is a good fit before making an offer. Sit down and make a list of all the pros and cons of the home. Consider the asking price, location, age, size, yard, garage, and any other components that are important to you. A pros and cons list will force you to consider every element of the home and can help you determine how aggressive to be when making an offer.

    • Have Your Agent Ask If There Are Other Offers
      Listing agents aren't able to disclose the details of other offers, but simply knowing whether the property has received multiple offers is good info to have. If there are already multiple offers on the property, you'll want to work with your agent to come up with the most competitive offer you feel comfortable putting forward.

      If there are no offers, you may want to start at or around the asking price. If more offers come in, agents usually will come back and ask for the "highest and best" at a later date, which will give you the chance to adjust your bid.

    • Estimate Your Mortgage Payment
      Before deciding what to offer, you'll want to make sure you're able to afford the down payment, mortgage payment, and closing costs. Your down payment will likely be somewhere between 3% and 20%, depending on what your lender pre-approved. Your mortgage payment is likely to fluctuate based on current interest rates, but you can use an online mortgage calculator for a close estimate. Your lender should also be able to provide you with a closing cost estimate based on the zip code and offer price. Bottom line -- you want to make sure you can afford what you're offering to pay.

    • Evaluate The Market
      The real estate market is constantly fluctuating these days due to the lingering effects of the pandemic as well as rising interest rates. As a result, it's important for buyers to keep their finger on the pulse of the market. Check out the asking prices on some other Holland homes for sale, and use those data points to inform your decision. Home prices generally appreciate over time, but as buyer demand wanes, prices could start to drop.

    • Check The Home's History
      The property's historical transactions could tell you a lot about the home. For example, if the current owners have only lived there for a short time, it could suggest a problem, and it's worth asking the listing agent for more information. Historical transactions can also tell you how much the current owners paid for the property and how the home has appreciated over time.

    Submitting an offer on a home is exciting. But before you get carried away, make sure you do your homework. Contact us today for more home buying tips. 

    July
    18

    Hard Water Can Damage Your Home: Here's How To Address It

    It's not always easy to inspect your plumbing. Here's how you can ensure hard water won't ruin your pipes and appliances.

    Did you know hard water can negatively impact your home over time? While it's safe to drink, hard water can lead to many interior problems, which is why our real estate agents recommend addressing it as soon as possible. Hard water is common across much of the US, especially in the Midwest. As a result, it's an issue most homeowners have to contend with. Below, we'll tell you all about hard water and share some simple solutions for treating it in your home

    What Is Hard Water?
    While most water contains minerals, hard water contains high levels of calcium and magnesium. Water accumulates high levels of these two minerals when it streams through deposits of limestone or chalk.  It's usually easy to tell if you have hard water as it often leaves a chalky film on your dishes, or it can even have a strong taste or odor. However, there are also inexpensive hard water test kits available that can tell you for sure.

    How Can Hard Water Affect Your Home?
    The effects of hard water range from short-term mild inconveniences to significant long-term damage. In any case, it's a good idea to address the issue right away. Here are some examples of the effects hard water can have in your home:

    • Taste And Odor - Hard water often smells bad (like a rotten egg) and has a metallic taste.
    • Residue - It can leave a white residue on your dishes that is difficult to remove, and it can also leave water stains on your sink, bathtub, and toilet.
    • Dry Skin - It makes your skin feel extra dry after you wash your hands and take a shower.
    • Laundry Issues - It can make your clothes feel stiff, and it can dull or fade colors.
    • Plumbing Problems - It can lead to build-up or corrosion in your pipes, which can ultimately result in lower water pressure
    • Poor Appliance Performance - It can affect the overall performance and energy efficiency of water-based appliances such as water heaters, washing machines, and dishwashers.

    How Do I Treat Hard Water?
    The easiest and most common way to treat hard water is with a water softener or filtration system. Some of these systems use negatively charged magnetic beads to collect calcium and magnesium particles while simultaneously allowing water to flow through. Other systems filter out calcium and magnesium from your water while pumping in sodium ions. The later types come with a separate salt tank, and the salt needs refilling periodically; however, the good news is water softener salt is usually inexpensive.

    Once the process is complete, the water then flows out of the filtration system and into your home's plumbing. Water softeners range in price, but purchase and installation are usually around $1,500 on average. However, many of these gorgeous Holland homes for sale are already equipped with a water softener.

    Eliminating hard water from your house can help you avoid unwanted water stains, unhealthy skin, and plumbing and appliance issues. It's definitely worth the investment. For more home maintenance tips, contact us today.

    July
    13

    Best Places to go for a Swim in Holland, MI

    Our Favorite Beaches: the Inside Scoop

    Beach time in Holland means plenty of sand and sunshine! Many people head right to Holland State Park to soak up the sun, but we have a few suggestions if you're looking for something a little different.

    Beach time in Holland means plenty of sand and sunshine! Many people head right to Holland State Park to soak up the sun, but we have a few suggestions if you're looking for something a little different!

    The perfect family beach: Tunnel Park. With an extensive play area, a sand dune for running and easily accessible restrooms, families will find just what they need. Take a concrete tunnel "through" the dune, then head down a short flight of stairs to a beautiful white sand beach. A picnic shelter and sand volleyball courts are available.

    A picturesque place to watch a sunset, Tunnel Park is named for the concrete tunnel that cuts through a sand dune and provides access to a sparkling Lake Michigan beach. This 22-acre park with its extensive Lake Michigan beachfront is a great place for swimming, sunbathing and picknicking.  In addition to the unique tunnel through the dune, this park has a children's playground complete with a dune climb and a dune stairway with scenic views of Lake Michigan. Beach volleyball courts, picnic tables and grills, restrooms, and a great playground make this a very family-friendly beach.

    Tunnel Park is part of the Ottawa County Parks system; there is a per-vehicle parking fee from April 1 to October 31. Please refer to the county pet policy for information about bringing your dog to Tunnel Park.

    Want a quiet place to watch the sunset? Try Laketown beach, on the south side of Holland. Be prepared as parking is limited and there are no restrooms! A stairway over the dunes is your "admission" to the beach. (6710 142nd Ave.)  

    A bit off the beaten path, Laketown Beach, between Holland and Saugatuck, offers spectacular views of Lake Michigan from a wooden stairway that climbs up and over the dunes to the beach.  (The stairway helps protect the fragile dune environment.)  Enjoy panoramic lake vistas and a small slice of Lake Michigan's sandy beachfront. 

    Bringing your furry friend? Check out the new dog beach at Kirk Park, a county park a few miles north of Holland State Park. A short hike through a wooded dune will bring you to a beach with an off-leash dog area and plenty of room for families to spread out.

    High bluffs, wooded dunes, and more than 1/3-mile of sandy Lake Michigan beach define popular Kirk Park. You'll find a swimming beach, hiking trails that include a handicap accessible loop, ungroomed cross-country ski trails in winter, modern restrooms (closed in winter), a horseshoe pit, kids' play area, off-leash dog beach, Lake Michigan overlook deck, a couple of picnic shelters (which you can reserve), picnic tables, and grills. 

    (*Off-leash dog beach accessible year-round using south beach stairs.)

    Holland State Park: the classic. With ample parking adjacent to a wide expanse of sandy beach, visitors love the accessibility of the Holland State Park. Get the perfect view of Big Red Lighthouse, too! Enjoy a walk on the pier or a dip in the lake. Restrooms, concessions and sandy volleyball courts are available.

    Holland State Park is one of Michigan's most visited state parks. Once you take a look at the beautiful beach or take in a sunset over Lake Michigan, you'll know why! The expansive beach is open to all who have purchased a day pass or a Recreation Passport. View Big Red Lighthouse directly across the channel to the south, or take a stroll north along the beachfront. Holland State Park offers fishing, a boat launch, a concession stand with modern restrooms and changing area, a small playground and camping.  During peak hours (weekends, holidays), we recommend to arrive early.

    Miles of beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline are waiting for you to explore! Find a full list of Holland's public beaches on our website. Share your favorite beach with us in the comments below, and don't forget to use the #discoverholland hashtag on Instagram and Twitter!

    July
    11

    HOLLAND, MI - REAL ESTATE APPRECIATION & HOUSING MARKET TRENDS

    HOLLAND, MI

    DESCRIPTION:

    HOLLAND, MI HOUSING MARKET TRENDS

    With a population of 34,378, 2,755 total housing units (homes and apartments), and a median house value of $222,408, Holland real estate and house prices are near the national average for all cities and towns.

    Single-family detached homes are the single most common housing type in Holland, accounting for 56.06% of the city's housing units. Other types of housing that are prevalent in Holland include large apartment complexes or high rise apartments ( 13.66%), row houses and other attached homes ( 12.68%), and a few mobile homes or trailers ( 11.34%).

    Owner-occupied, three and four bedroom dwellings, primarily in single-family detached homes are the most prevalent type of housing you will see in Holland. Owner-occupied housing accounts for 71.31% of Holland's homes, and 54.62% have either three or four bedrooms, which is average sized relative to America.

    There is a lot of housing in Holland built from 1970 to 1999 so parts of town may have that "Brady Bunch" look of homes popular in the '70s and early '80s, although some of these houses were built up through the early '90s as well. There is also a lot of housing in Holland built between 1940-1969 ( 32.63%). A lesser amount of the housing stock also hails from between 2000 and later ( 14.84%). There's also some housing in Holland built before 1939 ( 1.57%).

    HOLLAND HOME APPRECIATION RATES

    In the last 10 years, Holland has experienced some of the highest home appreciation rates of any community in the nation. Holland real estate appreciated 117.53% over the last ten years, which is an average annual home appreciation rate of 8.08%, putting Holland in the top 10% nationally for real estate appreciation. If you are a home buyer or real estate investor, Holland definitely has a track record of being one of the best long term real estate investments in America through the last ten years.

    Appreciation rates are so strong in Holland that despite a nationwide downturn in the housing market, Holland real estate has continued to appreciate in value faster than most communities. Looking at just the latest twelve months, Holland appreciation rates continue to be some of the highest in America, at 21.76%, which is higher than appreciation rates in 79.14% of the cities and towns in the nation. Based on the last twelve months, short-term real estate investors have found good fortune in Holland. Holland appreciation rates in the latest quarter were at 7.72%, which equates to an annual appreciation rate of 34.65%.

    Relative to Michigan, our data show that Holland's latest annual appreciation rate is higher than 80% of the other cities and towns in Michigan.

    One very important thing to keep in mind is that these are average appreciation rates for the city. Individual neighborhoods within Holland differ in their investment potential, sometimes by a great deal. Fortunately, you can use NeighborhoodScout to pinpoint the exact neighborhoods in Holland - or in any city or town - that have the best track record of real estate appreciation, by the latest quarter, the last year, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, or even since 2000, to assist you in making the best Holland real estate investment or home purchase decisions.

    DATA:

    AVERAGE HOME VALUES

    MEDIAN HOME VALUE:
    $222,408

    NUMBER OF HOMES AND APARTMENTS:
    2,755

    HOLLAND APPRECIATION RATES

    RENT & OWNERSHIP

    AVERAGE MARKET RENT:
    $1,320 / per month

    HOUSING MARKET DETAILS

    July
    5

    Why You Should Call Western Michigan Your New Home

    Western Michigan is full of exciting opportunities. Here's why you should make it your new home.

    There are many factors to consider when choosing a new place to live, and the decision isn't always easy. But for those searching for a great climate, a strong economy, and quality education, Western Michigan checks every box. In fact, our real estate agents say people from all over the world move to Western Michigan thanks to its many amenities. Once you see what our great communities have to offer, we're sure you'll be eager to call this area home.

    If you're on the hunt for a new place to live, here are a few reasons why you make sure Western Michigan is on the top of your list:

    • You'll Never Run Out Of Things To Do
      In Western Michigan, you can fill your weekends with fun outdoor activities and take advantage of all the local amenities our communities have to offer. For example, you can relax on a Lake Michigan beach during the day, and then grab dinner and shop in Holland or Grand Haven. Or head downtown and enjoy some of the great restaurants and breweries Grand Rapids has to offer. Festivals and community events are also a big deal in Western Michigan, which can be fun for the whole family.

    • Easy Access To Fantastic Healthcare
      Grand Rapids is home to "Medical Mile," a collection of some of the nation's best hospitals, clinics, and medical research institutions. As a result, you don't have to travel far to get the care you need. There are actually more than 10 hospitals in the area. Easy access to healthcare is also one of the many reasons why people choose to raise a family or retire in Western Michigan.

    • A Strong Job Market
      Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, and Holland offer tons of job opportunities in a wide range of industries including manufacturing, health care, and food processing. Meijer, Spectrum Health, and Merrill are all large employers that call Western Michigan home. Commuting to a job in Grand Haven or Grand Rapids is an easy drive from these Holland homes for sale.

    • High-Quality Education
      There are more than 15 colleges and universities in Western Michigan, including Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College, Davenport University, and many more, so quality higher education is easy to find. Western Michigan has tons of great public schools as well. According to Niche.com, Grand Haven received an "A" public school rating, and Holland received a "B+". There are also 22 public charter schools and 45 private schools across the area, and 5 Western Michigan schools actually rank top in the nation.

    • Fantastic Weather
      The best part about Western Michigan weather is you truly get to experience all four seasons. Summers are warm and pleasant, while winters are snowy and beautiful. You can enjoy the beauty of fall foliage and blooming tulips in the spring. With plenty of lakes and mountains, there are ample opportunities for seasonal outdoor activities like boating, biking, and skiing.

    Western Michigan has so much to offer, so it's easy to see why so many people love calling it home. Contact us to explore local listings in our area.

      June
      20

      The Most Common Landscaping Mistakes — And How To Avoid Them

      Great landscaping requires a lot of prepping and skill, which is why it's so easy to make these mistakes. Here's how you can avoid them.

      With so many of us spending summer weekends doing yard work, our real estate agents thought it'd be a great time to share some landscaping tips.

      Great landscaping is both an art and a science. We know creating the perfect yard takes time and practice, and it's well worth it. Remember, beautiful landscaping can make or break your curb appeal. Therefore, learning best practices and avoiding mistakes can really help boost your property value and attract attention when it comes time to sell your home.

      If you're busy working on your yard this summer, here are some common landscaping mistakes you should try to avoid:

      1. Don't Over Mulch
        The purpose of mulch is to maintain soil temperature and lock in moisture. When you apply a mountain of mulch around a tree or shrub, it actually causes the roots to rot and creates a paradise for destructive insects. It may be tempting to apply generous amounts of mulch; however,  you should limit it to only a thin layer around your plants so you can be sure your roots have room to breathe.

      2. Choosing The Wrong Plants
        When shopping for plants, it's easy to gravitate towards the most beautiful options; however, don't forget to consider whether the plant is a good fit for your yard. Where will you place it? If it's a plant that thrives in the shade, you don't want to put it in an area with lots of direct sun exposure. Also, consider if it matches your facade and the rest of your landscaping. If you need some inspiration on choosing the right plants, check out some of the landscaping at these Holland homes for sale.

      3. Planting Too Deep
        We know soil is necessary for plant growth, but you should avoid trying to bury your plant's roots too far below the surface for the same reason you shouldn't over-mulch. You run the risk of ultimately suffocating and damaging the plant roots by restricting airflow. When determining how deep to plant, use the plant's original container as a guideline.

      4. Forgetting The Importance of Sun Exposure
        Homeowners are often so concerned about where plants look the best that they actually forget to place them in an area with adequate sun exposure. In order to ensure your plants grow big, bright, and healthy, they'll need to receive adequate sunlight during most daylight hours. Don't plant them in a shady area under a tree or on a side of the house with limited sun.

      5. Cutting Your Grass Too Short
        Cutting grass in the summer is a weekly occurrence, and many homeowners falsely believe that cutting it as short as possible can buy some extra time. However, when your lawn is exposed to the summer sun all day long, your grass can dry out and die quickly. As a result, you actually want to leave a bit of extra length on your grass blades to provide some extra shade and hold moisture.

      Landscaping can be a fun summer hobby, but it's also essential for maintaining your curb appeal and home value. Contact us today for more landscaping ideas.

      June
      7

      The Best Places In Holland For Exceptional Wine And Dining

      Looking for an unforgettable dining experience? Here are the Holland restaurants you should visit.

      Planning a weekend with friends or date night? In Holland, we take local dining very seriously. Our real estate agents are always talking up our local food and beverage scene — and for good reason! From upscale restaurants to classic brew pubs, Holland has it all.

      Dining out on the weekends is one of our favorite things to do. If you're looking for a new place to wine and dine around Holland, you can trust our recommendations. Here are some of our top choices this year:

      • Hops at 48 East - 84 E 8th St, Holland, MI 49423
        This restaurant has everything you'd want to see in a classic neighborhood pub. Enjoy brick-oven pizzas, tons of local craft beers, a great wine list, and friendly people at Hops at 48 East. You'll find local live music on Fridays and Saturdays, as well as an excellent brunch menu on Sundays. The best part: you can easily walk to this restaurant from these Holland homes for sale.

      • Seventy-Six - 52 W 8th St, Holland, MI 49423
        High-end American fare, great wine, and a contemporary atmosphere can be discovered at Seventy-Six. The restaurant, which is named for its co-owners' anniversary year, is one of the most stylish and comfortable restaurants in Holland. With a menu section titled "High-End Junk Food" and a unique cocktail menu, you know you're in for an unforgettable dining experience.

      • Butch's Dry Dock - 44 E 8th St, Holland, MI 49423
        Butch's Dry Dock offers one of the best wine selections in Holland. Owner Butch TerHaar sources world-class wines from many countries around the world. Enjoy them with your dinner or purchase some to-go in the retail shop attached to the restaurant. This fine-dining restaurant is an excellent place to celebrate a special event with friends or family. Happy Hour is daily from 4 to 6 pm.

      • Boatwerks - 216 Van Raalte Ave, Holland, MI 49423
        Enjoy classic American cuisine and spectacular waterfront views at Boatwerks.  Located on Lake Macatawa, this restaurant offers a unique dining experience perfect for special family celebrations. The menu has something for everyone, and you're sure to love the homemade desserts! Dinner on the patio makes for an unforgettable summer evening.

      • Salt And Pepper Pub - 11539 E Lakewood Blvd #50, Holland, MI 49424
        Another local neighborhood pub and restaurant, Salt and Pepper is a great place to catch the game, enjoy a business lunch, or catch up with friends. Choose from a wide range of traditional pub dishes, steaks, burgers, pasta, and more, as well as a huge selection of beer and wine. The laid-back outdoor patio is a popular hangout spot on the weekends.

      • HopCat - 80 W 8th St, Holland, MI 49423
        One of the largest beer lists in Holland can be found at HopCat, an excellent local pub and neighborhood hangout. Enjoy tasty bar snacks and appetizers and several unique takes on classic American entrees in a fun, artsy atmosphere. Happy Hour is Monday through Thursday from 3 to 5:30 pm burger and drinks specials on beer, wine, and cocktails.

      Fantastic local pubs and restaurants are just one of the many great things about living in Holland. Considering a move to our area? Contact us today to explore local listings.

      May
      16

      Critter Barn

      Critter Barn

      9275 Adams St
      Zeeland, MI 49464
      Phone: 616-748-1110
      The Critter Barn is a delightful place to meet bunnies, ducklings, chicks, calves, hogs, goats, donkeys, cats, and sheep. Milk a goat or bottle-feed a kid. Collect eggs in the chicken coop. Visit the kitty corral. Plant seeds in our idea garden. Cuddle and pet baby animals. Learn about wool. Feed the critters. Enjoy and relax at a real farm. Click on the link to the Critter Barn website to learn about public open hours, school tours, prices, and more!
      Open six days a week, year-round, this active farm provides an unforgettable hands-on learning experience for the whole family.  The Critter Barn strives to educate with its teachings and demonstrations on animal care, agriculture, and even instructional education on how local farmers grow our food! Bottle feed a calf or kid, milk a goat, play with the kittens in the kitty corral, hug a bunny, and even find eggs from the hens! With a heated barn, the Critter Barn is a favorite year-round destination!
      May
      16

      Here's How You Can Get Ready For Your Home's Appraisal

      The home appraisal is a crucial step in the process of selling a home. Here's how you can prepare for it.

      Planning to sell your property or refinance your mortgage this year? Our real estate agents usually recommend an appraisal as a good first step. Knowing your home's true value can ultimately help you land more money when you sell (though keep in mind, that the buyer's lender will likely require their own appraisal). An appraisal is also required if you're planning to refinance.

      While the home appraisal process is actually fairly simple, it is in every homeowner's best interest to do everything possible to maximize the appraised value. Spending time on home improvement projects can help you realize a higher return. Here are some simple ways you can prepare for your appraisal.

      • Do Your Own Inspection
        Starting with your own home inspection is the best way to uncover problems and fix them before the appraisal. Do a thorough walkthrough and examine everything. Look for any leaks, signs of roof damage, cracked flooring, missing siding, or anything that might make an appraiser pause. As a general rule, minor damage or dated elements usually take a $500 hit on the appraisal, so fix what you can.

      • Make Your Home Shine
        Prior to listing a home (and the appraisal), make sure to clean like you have never cleaned before! This includes both the interior and the exterior. Go through each room and declutter, shampoo your carpets, and clean your windows and baseboards. You may even want to consider hiring professional cleaners. On your exterior, power wash your siding and remove any debris from your yard. If you need some cleaning inspiration, check out these spotless Holland homes for sale.

      • Upgrade Your Appliances
        If you have dated appliances, upgrading to new stainless-steel models can make a great impression on appraisers and buyers, which can result in a higher home value. You'd be surprised how much of a difference a new refrigerator, dishwasher, or oven can make when it comes time to sell.

      • Don't Neglect Your Landscaping
        Your appraiser will spend a good bit of time examining your exterior, so make sure your landscaping is in good shape. Mow the lawn, weed the garden, and trim trees and shrubs. Good landscaping is a great way to make a solid first impression.

      • Highlight Your Upgrades
        During the process, make sure you let your appraiser know about any recent upgrades you've made. This could include roof replacements or repairs, a new furnace or hot water tank, updated siding, or any kitchen or bathroom renovations. You'll want to be sure your effort is reflected in the appraisal.

      • Do Some Local Research
        Your own neighborhood can provide a wealth of information about local home values. Check out the recent sale prices on some similar-sized nearby homes. This can give you a frame of reference when it comes to your own appraisal. Additionally, if there are new local amenities, such as stores, restaurants, or schools, it might be worth telling your appraiser so he or she can factor that into their analysis.

      When it comes to a home appraisal, a little extra work can go a long way towards boosting your property value. If you're planning to list your home on the market this year, contact us today.

      May
      2

      16 Places Readers Recommend to try a Margarita on Cinco de Mayo

      16 Places Readers Recommend to try a Margarita on Cinco de Mayo

      Great places around Michigan to celebrate Cinco de Mayo

      Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Mexican's army victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, during the Franco-Mexican war. Although a quiet holiday in Mexico, here in the United States it's usually a rowdy celebration of Mexican heritage, foods and drinks. MLive readers have some great suggestions of where to visit this Cinco de Mayo.  Always celebrate responsibly, try downloading the Uber app, an easy way to get a ride if you need one.

      Reader suggestions

      Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Mexican's army victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, during the Franco-Mexican war. Although a quiet holiday in Mexico, here in the United States it's usually a rowdy celebration of Mexican heritage, foods and drinks. MLive readers have some great suggestions of where to visit this Cinco de Mayo.  Always celebrate responsibly, try downloading the Uber app, an easy way to get a ride if you need one.

      Skeetown Tavern: Muskegon

      While on the search for Michigan's Best Steakhouse, we were surprised to have a killer Margarita at the Skeetown Tavern in Muskegon. The drink includes fresh lime, Jose Cuervo Silver tequila and other items. On the rocks, of course.

      Lindo Mexico, Grand Rapids

      In a new location this year, Lindo Mexico has one of the best mango margaritas we've ever tried. Why? Because it's a chili mango margarita, sweet plus heat is a winner. Linda will have Mariachi music from 6-8pm, free giveaways, and margarita flights.

      Mi Pueblo, Detroit

      Reader Tommy Z said that Mi Pueblo in Detroit's Mexican Town is "Regular, true lime, on the rocks..not overdone like a lot of places." Sounds perfect. They'll have a margarita happy hour from 2-7pm on Thursday.

      Las Palapas, Livonia

      The drinks at Las Palapas in Livonia are cold, tasty and cheap. Justin, an, MLive reader, said "not only are they good but you get a lot of bang for your buck." This Cinco de Mayo they will also have a kids happy hour from 3:30 to 8:30 featuring carnival games, face painting and balloon animals. A great reason to stop by for dinner.

      Agave Mexican Grill, Traverse City

      Agave Mexican Grill is located in Traverse City, and they have had events going on all week to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. "Super friendly and efficient service. Very consistent and fresh. Great selection of premium tequila" says MLive reader Amy. Both locations will be celebrating all week long with a $9.99 all you can eat taco dinner.

      Isalita, Ann Arbor

      John says "Isalita has very solid margaritas in Ann Arbor." Jessica concurred, as did several other Ann Arbor area readers. Love that it's straight up, and not messing around.

      Michigan on Main, Frankenmuth

      A Margarita in a Bavarian village? Why not? They focus on Michigan ingredients at Michigan on Main. The Michiganrita at the Michigan on Main Bar in Grill in Frankenmuth, recommended by reader BRFamily2, features New Holland Brewing Hopquila in it. Specials on Thursday include a grilled chicken quesadilla (one of their most popular appetizers), and a tostada salad.

      Frita Batidos, Ann Arbor

      A margarita served in a fishbowl? Si, por favor at Frita Batidos. A Cuban inspired restaurant, they don't have a special party planned for Cinco, just their usual great food and drinks.

      Luna, Grand Rapids

      Featuring fresh squeezed citrus, Luna GR makes a classic, traditional margarita, as well as the Mexican favorite the Paloma. Luna goes through over 15 cases of limes every week making their margaritas, and have over 30 different premium tequilas to choose from. On Cinco de Mayo, all Margaritas will be $2 off.

      Red Mesa Grill, Traverse City

      The "biggest Cinco de Mayo party in the North" features special edible gastronomy Margaritas and sparkling Palomas from Red Mesa Grill in Traverse City. Live music will make for a hopping party.

      Beltline Bar, Grand Rapids

      Beltline Bar in Grand Rapids makes their signature Margarita with 3 ounces of liquor, a salted glass and a lime wedge. For Cinco de Mayo, you can join them for $5 Jimador margaritas. Live music starts at 8. And, of course, you can have one of West Michigan's favorite wet burritos.

      Jose's Cantina, St. Ignace

      Jose's Cantina is a great stop any time, with a beautiful lakeside setting overlooking the Straights of Mackinac. They have their signature Margarita, the Traverse City Cherry, pictured here. This Cinco de Mayo, the party starts at 7pm with taco and appetizer specials. We recommend the fish tacos, as well as the super spicy mango habanero chicken tacos.

      Coco Loco, Bay City and Saginaw

      MLive reader Jessica said that Coco Loco had a good Margarita, plus two locations, in both Bay City and Saginaw. They also have events throughout the weekend, including bottomless Mimosas for Mom on Mother's Day, Sunday May 8th.

      Mexican Gardens, Southgate

      Located Downriver, near Detroit, Mexican Gardens, has live music all day on Thursday, as well as a piñata, clowns, and face painting for the kids. They'll open their doors at 11am. This long time local favorite also has a great botana.

      Cuatro Amigos, Bay City

      Cuatro Amigos in Bay City was named Michigan's Best Taco in 2014 by John Gonzalez, who said "We found the tacos so fresh, so tasty and so memorable that we would love to spend a whole week there, trying everything on the menu." Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with $4 lime Margaritas and $5 prickly pear ones, plus $2 chicken tacos.

      The Little Fleet, Traverse City

      The Little Fleet will be hosting a Cinco de Mayo party featuring a Margarita bar and pinatas. Reader Dianna loves the tacos from Happy's Taco Shop, and they'll have their truck there on Thursday.  Starts at 3pm. They will also be having a hot pepper eating contest, all ages welcome.

      May
      2

      Celebrate The Tulip Time Festival In Holland

      The Tulip Time Festival is one of West Michigan's biggest attractions. Here's why you should visit the festival this year.

      People travel to The Netherlands from all over the world every spring to see beautiful Holland tulips, but thanks to our Dutch heritage, you can see the same beautiful tulip displays right here in Holland, Michigan. In fact, our city is home to more than 500,000 tulips every spring.

      Tulips are a big part of our history and culture, and we'll be celebrating this wonderful flower at the 2022 Tulip Time Festival, which takes places from May 7 to May 15. This is a great opportunity to see colorful tulip displays, enjoy fun events, and interact with the local community. The event is free and takes place at various locations across downtown Holland.

      Our real estate agents are very much looking forward to this year's celebration. If you're planning to head on out to the festival this year, here are some fun activities you won't want to miss:

      • Explore The Tulip Immersion Garden
        A walk through the Tulip Immersion Garden provides an amazing visual experience at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds. Lose yourself among 50,000 vibrant tulips of multiple colors while reading all about the history of this beautiful spring flower.  It's a great chance to snap some Instagram-worthy pictures. Tickets for this event range from $15 to $20 for adults, $5 for children between 5 and 12, and the event is free for kids under 5.

      • Shop At The Artisan Market
        You never know what creative local gifts you'll find at the Artisan Market. With loads of handcrafted, original paintings, pottery, glass, and other unique art, it's a great place to find some new home decor. This shopping event takes place May 8 from 10 am to 5 pm and May 8th from 12 pm to 5 pm.

      • Take A Walking Tour Of Holland
        Join a 1.5-hour walking tour of beautiful Holland. You'll not only see some awesome tulip displays, but you'll also have the chance to learn all about the rich cultural history of our city. It's also a great way to get some exercise and fresh air. Tours are just $35 per person. While you're out walking, you might even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of one of these Holland homes for sale.

      • Sip Some Of Holland's Best Craft Beverages
        One of the best ways to get to know Holland's local bars and wineries is with the Klomp On Passport. During the Tulip Time Festival, you can use this free passport to sample drinks from various downtown Holland locations. Each location will even give you a stamp for your passport.

      • Buy Your Own Tulips
        It's natural to want to bring Holland's beautiful tulips to your own backyard, and you can do just that with the Pre-festival Tulip Sale. The Tulip Pot Sale is a fundraiser for local events — you can buy a 10-inch pot (10 bulbs) for $15. The sale starts on May 15.

      • Tour The Tall Ship Friends Good Will
        Jump onboard this 1810 replica Great Lakes sloop and take a step back into Dutch Maritime history. The boat docks on the North wall near Boatwerks Restaurant on May 7 and tours run daily from 10 am to 4 pm.

      The Holland Tulip Time Festival attracts visitors from all over the country, brings neighbors together, and also helps to support local businesses. For more information on living in Holland, contact us today. 

      April
      4

      The Best Tips For First-Time Home Buyers

      Buying a home for the first time can require quite the learning curve. Here are some tips to help you hit the ground running.

      The state of the real estate market over the last two years has created numerous challenges for first-time homebuyers. With rising home prices, low inventory, and now rising interest rates shoppers are facing unprecedented challenges. 

      Our real estate agents believe navigating the complexities of the current market is not impossible; however, to be successful, you need to start planning ahead of time. With some preparation, patience, and a good real estate agent, you can still easily land the home of your dreams. Here are our best tips for first-time homebuyers:

      1. Save, Save, And Save
        First-time homebuyers are often caught off guard by the various expenses associated with closing on a home. The first and most important is the down payment. Depending on your type of home loan, you may be required to put down anywhere from 3.5% to 20%. The more you put down, the more home equity you'll earn and the lower your monthly payments. 

        Buyers are also on the hook for closing costs, including various mortgage fees and tile fees and usually add up to another 3% to 6% of the purchase price. You may also be required to pre-pay insurance premiums, interest, or property taxes.

        Don't forget to also save for unexpected home maintenance costs. 

        Bottom line — you're going to need to start saving as early as you can.

      2. Check Your Credit
        Your credit score plays a huge role in your ability to secure a mortgage, and it also influences the mortgage rate you're eligible to receive. You can request your credit score from one of the three large Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian, or there are various apps and services that provide free credit scores. You want to make sure your credit score is in good shape before starting house hunting.

      3. Get Preapproved
        A preapproval letter from a lender signals to sellers that you're serious about home shopping and your lender has done a high-level assessment has been done on your financial situation. Preapprovals often require you to provide W2s, paystubs, and bank statements. Your lender will also look at your credit report. If everything checks out, they'll issue a letter stating you'll be pre-approved up to a certain amount. Once you obtain your letter, you can then begin touring some of these amazing Grand Haven homes for sale.

      4. Define Your Location
        Location is always one of the very most important factors to consider. Make sure to pay attention to the neighborhood. What are the average home prices? Is it walkable? How is the school district? Remember that the quality of your neighborhood and your location will be very important when it comes to resale value. If you're trying to find the right location, don't forget to check out some of these Hudsonville homes for sale.

      5. Don't Forget The Inspection Contingency
        As a first-time homebuyer, your home inspection contingency is an important protection. It gives you the ability to walk away from a deal or renegotiate without losing your earnest money if the home inspection uncovers something unfavorable.

        Remember, you can't possibly uncover every issue with a home during a quick tour. The home inspection gives you the opportunity to do a thorough visual examination of the property with a professional. While some buyers waive the home inspection contingency to sweeten the offer, this generally isn't recommended for first-time homebuyers.

      Buying your first home can be a stressful process, but by doing your research and finding the right agent, the process can be a lot easier. Contact us today for more tips!

      March
      28

      The 10 Best Sports Bars in Michigan!

      The 10 Best Sports Bars in Michigan!

      Sports bars are the perfect place to unwind after a long week and watch the big game with friends. Michigan's best sports bars provide an atmosphere comparable to that of a live event. So if you're looking for a great spot to snack on some wings, drink with friends, and watch your team go for the win, check out our favorite sports bars in Michigan! 

      1. Jamboozies Sports Bar and Grill, Sterling Heights, MI

      Featuring a wide array of food and drink—pretzel pizza with the beer cheese dip comes up frequently—and a 107-inch television backed up by 13 smaller screens to show all the gaming, Jamboozies delivers on the watching and eating. It will even round out the experience with trivia nights, karaoke, and theme events just to round it out.

      2. Andrews on the Corner, Detroit, MI

      It's not just the "million 60-inch plasmas" that get people coming in here-though there's no shortage of screens showing games. It's the frequent appearance of actual sports figures from broadcasters to coaches, and even former players, that pop in for a bite and a relaxing evening of sport.

      3. Monelli's Italian Grill and Sports Bar, Portage and Wyoming, MI

      The watchword of the day at Monelli's Italian Grill and Sports Bar is "versatility." Whether at the Portage or Wyoming location, Monelli's is not just a sports bar with plenty of screens—including a nice projector at the Portage location—but it's also a fully functional Italian restaurant. Pizza, pasta, burgers...all the best in sports bar and Italian food are right here to go with your sports viewing. Throw in a substantial array of live tap beers—including beer flights—and you'll have an evening on your hands.

      4. Steel Cat Bar, Grand Rapids, MI

      Regarded as one of the best sports bars in Grand Rapids, the Steel Cat Bar focuses on its delivery. Featuring the first Frost Rail system Michigan has ever seen—and at last report, the only such item—a cold drink is top priority for the Steel Cat. It also boasts a Chillrite 32 tap system that serves up draft beer at exactly 32 degrees. That's amazing enough—any colder and it'd be solid—but throw in a wide array of draft options and plenty of live events and Steel Cat will deliver in a big way.

      5. Big-E Bar and Grill, Holland, MI

      Head to Holland for the Big-E, billed as the "only true sports grill" in downtown Holland. Featuring a staggering array of televisions for game watching, a few playable games—including a claw game—for good measure, and a dizzying array of food choices, it's all about big at Big-E. Throw in such spectacles as over 80 taps of beer and a "video wall" measuring nine feet in height and Big-E will deliver big...in a big way.

      6. Booyah's Bar and Grill, Muskegon, MI

      Muskegon sports fans have a friend in Booyah's, a sports bar that focuses on the food first. Featuring an array of dishes from burgers and wings to ribs and perch, Booyah's is out to fill up its sports fans just as much as—potentially even more than—entertain them. Naturally, the array of flat screens showing the games off won't disappoint sports buffs, but the sheer variety of dishes on hand here will make Booyah's the match of most any restaurant around.

      7. Nuthouse Sports Grill, Lansing, MI

      Michigan's capital, Lansing, plays host to Nuthouse Sports Grill, a sports bar that pushes value. Featuring regular daily specials—Tuesday, for example, features dollar-off drafts and half-off wings—alongside the normal lineup of exciting food and beverage options, the Nuthouse seeks to deliver a value that few can match. From pizza to grinders to even salads, there will almost certainly be something new at the Nuthouse every time you go in.

      8. State Street Grille, Traverse City, MI

      Leave it to Traverse City to offer up a top-notch sports bar in the State Street Grille. It's a local haven in many senses, offering an array of beers including plenty of Bells, New Holland and Petoskey as well as spirits from the Valentine Distillery and Traverse City Distillery. You'll also be able to get in on what amounts to the Monte Cristo pickle, a dill pickle wrapped in ham and Swiss cheese, then deep fried in a wonton shell. After that, the sports will almost be an afterthought.

      9. Merl's Tavern, Saginaw, MI

      One of the most recent additions to the sports bar space in Michigan, Carrolton Township's Merl's Tavern offers an array of choices in food and drink as well as special events. For Cinco de Mayo, Merl's brought out the Cinco de Merl combo dinner featuring beans and rice and a taco, along with $3 margaritas. Add in Team Trivia functions—always fun—and signature drink the Merlixer, which is a combination of wine and vodka along with a suite of fruit juices, and Merl's Tavern will be a great destination.

      10. The 906 Sports Bar and Grill, Marquette, MI

      Not even the Upper Peninsula has escaped the sports bar fondness the rest of Michigan enjoys, and in Marquette lies one of Michigan's best. The 906 Sports Bar and Grill offers plenty of food and drink options, including a full bar. Throw in pool tables and keno for those who want to play rather than watch, and 13 separate televisions for those who prefer watching, and the whole waterfront is covered. Add in a special "country night" every Friday with live performances, and the 906 will deliver a top-notch value for area residents. Just to round it out, the 906 even boasts a view of the Ore Dock, one of the greatest sights in Marquette.

      March
      23

      Creative strategies to buy a house in 2022

      Creative strategies to buy a house in 2022

      Want to become a homeowner in 2022?

      The 2022 housing market looks a lot like 2021: bidding wars abound, houses are getting snatched up in record time, and demand still outstrips supply.

      How can home buyers succeed despite the obstacles?

      Get creative, say the experts.

      Following the status quo when home shopping and making an offer just won't cut it in today's market.

      Read on for pro tips that can help you score a deal, outmaneuver your rivals, and achieve your homeownership dreams.

      Verify your home buying eligibility. Start here (Mar 23rd, 2022)

      What to know about the 2022 housing market

      Sure, the market is tough. That's no secret. But homes sold at a record pace in 2021 – which means millions of buyers were successful in their quest.

      So how did they do it? What tactics can you use to score a home when competing against many other buyers?

      "If you want to own a home, and believe that homeownership is a strong financial move for you, then you must be prepared to fight for the available inventory," says Glenn Pizzolorusso, a licensed associate real estate broker with Compass in Connecticut. "Winning a multiple offer situation takes creativity today."

      Jay Zigmont, a certified financial planner with Live, Learn, Plan, based in Mississippi, echoes those thoughts.

      "Rising house prices require buyers to be smarter about what, where, and when they buy a home. This may require, for example, looking at smaller homes and different locations or buying with a partner to keep the house affordable," says Zigmont.

      But being inventive and resourceful doesn't mean you have to go it alone.

      Work closely with a trusted real estate agent, or at least a real estate attorney, who can help you devise the right approaches that can help you find and claim the right home. Once you have strong representation lined up, explore each of the following strategies.

      Verify your home buying eligibility. Start here (Mar 23rd, 2022)

      Creative ways to save for the down payment and closing costs

      You don't need 20% down to buy a home. In fact, many buyers can get into a home with as little as 3% or even zero down.

      But saving up for a bigger down payment can help your chances of scoring a home in today's competitive market. Remember that the more money you put down, the stronger your offer appears to a seller and the more motivated they will be to accept.

      If you're having trouble coming up with funds for your down payment and closing costs – or want to boost the savings your already have – try these tips:

      Tighten your financial belt

      The ability to reduce your spending depends on your current income and financial situation, of course.

      But, where possible, experts recommend that you stop eating out, cancel unnecessary subscriptions, shop around for cheaper insurance, choose a less expensive grocery store, and cut out unnecessary spending as much as you can.

      These might feel like sacrifices in the short term, but even small changes can make a big difference in your long–term homeownership goals.

      Look into a down payment assistance program

      There are thousands of down payment assistance (DPA) programs available nationwide and locally that offer grants, loans, and credits to qualified home buyers. To help find DPA programs, check out these links:

      Ask for help from loved ones

      Most mortgage loan programs allow you to cover part or all of your down payment using gifted money from a loved one. Note that the donor will need to write a gift letter to the lender verifying that the funds are a gift, not a loan that needs to be repaid.

      Use a low– or no–money–down loan

      If your primary goal is to buy a home sooner rather than later, your best bet might be a low–down–payment mortgage. By lowering the down payment bar you can often buy much earlier than if you waited to save 20% down.

      Conforming mortgages – the most common type of home loan – have flexible down payment requirements: You could put 3%, 5%, 10%, or 15% down if you don't have the full twenty.

      FHA loans are another great option with just 3.5% down. And qualified buyers should look into the government–backed VA and USDA loan programs, which allow 0% down.

      Compare home loan options. Start here (Mar 23rd, 2022)

      Creative ways to find an affordable home

      "Locating an affordable property in an area you prefer is the single most important box on the list to check," says Pizzolorusso. "My advice? Find the worst house on the best street and take your time improving it into your own oasis."

      Evan Rosenblum, a Realtor with JMG Realty in Los Angeles, has simple advice.

      "Look for homes that you can make perfect, not homes that are perfect right now that everyone else is fighting for," he says.

      Keep in mind that the prices of homes tend to decrease the further you get from a city center or other similar location. So it doesn't hurt to broaden your horizons and widen your map.

      "Look for homes that are technically further away but are a short commute or near public transportation," Zigmont suggests. "You might find considerable savings by adding a bit more to your commute."

      If you work from home, you can get more creative about the location.

      "Living out in a country area further from a city may save you considerably, while you can still visit the city for fun occasions. Just make sure the rural location you choose has sufficient infrastructure, resources, and amenities, including broadband access," notes Zigmont.

      Creative ways to get the seller to accept your offer

      Here's where you'll need to be extra clever and have the right timing.

      "Choose a real estate agent or broker who understands game theory and valuation comparables," says Nik Shah, CEO of San Francisco–based Home.LLC. "A quality real estate agent can be the difference between closing the deal or losing it."

      "Speed and simplicity will help you with your offer. In this market, you can't wait weeks or even days to put in an offer on something you love," Zigmont cautions. "Know your math going in, and then you can make informed decisions when you find the right house."

      For best results, consider these suggestions:

      • Focus only on the homes you truly want to purchase. "Don't put in offers on every home just because you haven't gotten accepted," says Rosenblum. "Tighten up your criteria and be hyper–focused on your search"
      • Use an escalation clause. This clause says that you will offer "X" amount but beat any higher offers that are presented by the amount you specify. "This will allow you to always try and present the highest offer," Rosenblum explains. "Just be sure to put a cap on your escalation to the max price you are willing to pay for the property"
      • Consider waiving key contingencies. "In a competitive market, you might want to rethink how many contingencies you include. Removing your financing contingency, appraisal contingency, and/or inspection contingency could give you a better shot at winning the offer," Shah suggests
      • Request an appraisal waiver from your lender. "If you are putting at least 20% down, see if your lender can confirm that the property will qualify for an appraisal waiver; therefore, you can waive your appraisal contingency," says Rosenblum
      • Ask your lender about tightening your terms. "Can you shorten the length of the escrow period? Can you get the loan pre–underwritten so that you can reduce the timeline for or remove your financing contingency completely?" Rosenblum asks
      • Ask your agent to reach out to the listing agent and establish a stronger relationship. "By developing a rapport, your agent can help you put a face to the name on the offer," recommends Rosenblum
      • Write a love letter to the seller. Explain who you are and why you love this home
      • Explore an all-cash offer. Companies like Ribbon, Knock, and FlyHomes can lend you the money to make an all–cash offer, which should convince the seller to choose you

      Creative alternatives in case you can't find a home you want

      Still no luck finding the right house or cinching a deal? Drastic times call for even more creative measures.

      Buy a fixer–upper on the cheap

      "Find a fixer–upper. You will be able to purchase at below–market prices and improve to above–market prices," says Pizzolorusso. "If you can take an outdated home and bring it into the modern day, you will come out far ahead when it's time to sell."

      To make this strategy easier, there are special loan programs that let you finance the home purchase and repairs with a single mortgage. If you're considering the fixer–upper route, look into:

      Build your home instead of buying

      Alternatively, explore hunting for a parcel of land or infill site and constructing a new home on it.

      The benefit here is that no one else will be bidding against you on your new home. And you can have it built to your exact specifications.

      However, "the problem with this tactic is that building prices are still way too high to make this a wise choice in most markets. You don't want to find yourself upside down on your mortgage upon completion," Pizzolorusso continues.

      Split the cost of buying

      Or, get a partner to come in on the deal with you as a co-borrower or co-signer on the loan, which can come in handy if you're having trouble qualifying for a mortgage loan or you're worried about affording the costs of homeownership.

      "Buying a house with a friend or other person you are not married to is an option, but you need to make sure you have a good lawyer to help on the paperwork," says Zigmont.

      Start your home buying journey

      Are you ready to get serious about buying a home in 2022?

      If so, then it's time to connect with a mortgage lender and get preapproved.

      Every prospective home buyer needs a preapproval to learn how much they can afford, which types of mortgage they qualify for, and how expensive their payments will be. Not to mention, your preapproval letter gives you the clout to make a serious offer on a home you love.

      March
      21

      Boost Your Home's Value With These Fixes

      Your home is usually your largest investment. Here's how you can make sure it holds its value.

      Your house isn't just a place to live, it's also a major investment and vehicle for accumulating wealth. While homes generally appreciate over time if you keep them in good shape, there are also things you can do to help generate an extra return when it comes time to sell. At the end of the day, investing in a more livable home is the best way to boost your sale price.

      Here are some top recommendations from our real estate agents to maximize your home value:

      • Focus On Curb Appeal
        The view of your home from the street is so important when it comes to selling because it's usually front and center in your listing photo. Good curb appeal is critical for garnering online attention, but it's also the first thing buyers see when they pull up to the home. Simple things like painting the front door, installing a new mailbox, and keeping up with lawn care are all great ways to keep your curb appeal top-notch. Some of our favorite Grand Haven homes for sale have stunning curb appeal!

      • Focus On Energy Efficiency
        Green living is an important characteristic for buyers today, so energy-efficient features are a must. You don't have to install solar panels to make your home energy efficient — there are many simple things you can do, including:
        • Install a smart thermostat to optimize heating and cooling costs.
        • Reapply caulking around your windows.
        • Replace incandescent bulbs.
        • Invest in double-pane windows for extra insulation
        • Install ceiling fans in bedrooms and living rooms to minimize cooling costs.

      • Fix-up Your Kitchen and Bathrooms
        If you're planning a remodel or a major renovation, prioritize the kitchen and bathroom over other areas of the house. These are often the two most important rooms when it comes to attracting buyers. Installing new flooring, lighting, sinks, or counters in the kitchen and bathroom are often considered to be some of the best ways to improve home value. Need some inspiration? Check out some of the beautiful kitchens in these Hudsonville homes for sale.

      • Finish The Basement
        An unfinished basement presents an excellent opportunity to unlock additional value in your property. Buyers seek finished basements to serve as game rooms, dens, extra living rooms, or even home offices. Make upgrading unfinished basement space a top priority.

      • Upgrade The Major Appliances
        Buyers don't want to worry about making major replacements or upgrades shortly after moving in. Furnaces and hot water heaters typically last 10 to 15 years, so if yours is reaching the end of its lifespan, it might be worth upgrading prior to listing your home. Convincing buyers they won't need to worry about major fixes for years to come can really help increase the home's appeal.

      • Take Care Of The Roof
        An aging roof comes with an expensive price tag, and this could quickly turn off buyers. You may want to consider a roof replacement prior to listing your home. However, depending on the cost — it can be difficult to recover your entire investment. At a minimum, make sure to take care of any cracked, missing, or warped shingles that may be leading to leaks in the attic.

      When thinking of what repairs and upgrades can drive value, put yourself in the shoes of a buyer. Try to imagine what would make your home more comfortable, liveable, and convenient. Contact us today for more home improvement tips.

      March
      7

      International Women's Day 2022

      International Women's Day 2022 Theme

      The theme of 2022 International Women's Day is "gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow".

      "Advancing gender equality in the context of the climate crisis and disaster risk reduction is one of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century. Women are increasingly being recognized as more vulnerable to climate change impacts than men, as they constitute the majority of the world's poor and are more dependent on the natural resources that climate change threatens the most. At the same time, women and girls are effective and powerful leaders and change-makers for climate adaptation and mitigation…This International Women's Day, let's claim "Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow"," reads a statement by the United Nations.

      International Women's Day Significance

      International Women's Day is celebrated to recognise the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

      Organisations like colleges and institutions across the world celebrate International Women's Day by holding public speeches, rallies, exhibitions, workshops and seminars on themes and concepts, debates, quiz competitions, and lectures.

      March
      2

      Mortgage and refinance rates today, March 1, 2022

      Today's mortgage and refinance rates

      Average mortgage rates tumbled yesterday. And that wiped out more than two weeks of rises. But, of course, those rates are still significantly higher than they were at the start of the year – or the month.

      And there may be more good news today. Because markets are signaling that mortgage rates today might fall again.

      Find your lowest rate. Start here (Mar 2nd, 2022)

      Current mortgage and refinance rates

      Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
      Conventional 30 year fixed 3.954% 3.977% -0.14% 
      Conventional 15 year fixed 3.357% 3.393% -0.14% 
      Conventional 20 year fixed 3.836% 3.872% -0.13% 
      Conventional 10 year fixed 3.27% 3.339% -0.15% 
      30 year fixed FHA 4.147% 4.91% -0.11% 
      15 year fixed FHA 3.597% 4.219% -0.15% 
      30 year fixed VA 4.058% 4.264% -0.12% 
      15 year fixed VA 3.63% 3.98% +0.27% 
      5/1 ARM VA 4.75% 3.9% -0.03% 
      Rates are provided by our partner network, and may not reflect the market. Your rate might be different. Click here for a personalized rate quote. See our rate assumptions here.

      Should you lock a mortgage rate today?

      On the day I wrote, "It's the Fed, stupid!" markets took me down. True, I predicted a fall yesterday. But I wasn't expecting such a significant one.

      As it turns out, the Federal Reserve was last Friday's focus. And the cumulative economic effect of the international community's sanctions on Russia dominated market movements yesterday. And still is this morning.

      But for how long will that last? I shouldn't be surprised if it were to end soon.

      Read on to discover why I think investors might soon switch their gaze back to their real obsessions, which are inflation and the Federal Reserve's plans to counter it. If and when that switch happens, mortgage rates are likely to rise again.

      Of course, I wouldn't lock a mortgage rate on a day, such as today, when those rates look likely to fall. But, given that I think that might turn out to be a brief period, my personal rate lock recommendations overall remain:

      • LOCK if closing in 7 days
      • LOCK if closing in 15 days
      • LOCK if closing in 30 days
      • LOCK if closing in 45 days
      • LOCK if closing in 60 days

      Market data affecting today's mortgage rates

      Here's a snapshot of the state of play this morning at about 9:50 a.m. (ET). The data, compared with roughly the same time yesterday, were:

      • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes tumbled to 1.77% from 1.87%. (Very good for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
      • Major stock indexes fell, though not as sharply as yesterday, soon after opening. (Good for mortgage rates.) When investors are buying shares they're often selling bonds, which pushes prices of those down and increases yields and mortgage rates. The opposite may happen when indexes are lower. But this is an imperfect relationship
      • Oil prices soared to $101.52 from $94.96 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
      • Gold prices edged up to $1,924 from $1,917 an ounce. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) In general, it is better for rates when gold rises, and worse when gold falls. Gold tends to rise when investors worry about the economy. And worried investors tend to push rates lower
      • CNN Business Fear & Greed index – inched down to 22 from 23 out of 100. (Neutral for mortgage rates.) "Greedy" investors push bond prices down (and interest rates up) as they leave the bond market and move into stocks, while "fearful" investors do the opposite. So lower readings are better than higher ones

      *A change of less than $20 on gold prices or 40 cents on oil ones is a fraction of 1%. So we only count meaningful differences as good or bad for mortgage rates.

      Caveats about markets and rates

      Before the pandemic and the Federal Reserve's interventions in the mortgage market, you could look at the above figures and make a pretty good guess about what would happen to mortgage rates that day. But that's no longer the case. We still make daily calls. And are usually right. But our record for accuracy won't achieve its former high levels until things settle down.

      So use markets only as a rough guide. Because they have to be exceptionally strong or weak to rely on them. But, with that caveat, mortgage rates today might fall. However, be aware that "intraday swings" (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.

      Find your lowest rate. Start here (Mar 2nd, 2022)

      Important notes on today's mortgage rates

      Here are some things you need to know:

      1. Typically, mortgage rates go up when the economy's doing well and down when it's in trouble. But there are exceptions. Read 'How mortgage rates are determined and why you should care'
      2. Only "top–tier" borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you'll see advertised
      3. Lenders vary. Yours may or may not follow the crowd when it comes to daily rate movements – though they all usually follow the wider trend over time
      4. When daily rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
      5. Refinance rates are typically close to those for purchases.

      A lot is going on at the moment. And nobody can claim to know with certainty what's going to happen to mortgage rates in coming hours, days, weeks or months.

      Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?

      Russia

      So why do I think markets might soon pay less attention to Russia's economic woes? Because, despite its military power, the country simply isn't important enough to the global economy.

      Russia is "basically a big gas station," in the words of one Harvard economist. And it does supply a chunk of Europe's oil and natural gas. However, with spring imminent, demand for those will fall sharply soon. In the meantime, existing reserves should tide Europe over. And it has several months to find alternative sources.

      But Russia's hardly an economic superpower at the best of times. Indeed, as economist Paul Krugman noted in The New York Times (paywall) yesterday, "Britain and France are medium–size powers; Russia's gross domestic product is only a bit more than half as large as either's."

      "It's still the Fed, stupid!"

      You can see why Russia grabbed markets' attention yesterday and continues to do so today. It's created the biggest geopolitical event in decades by invading a sovereign European nation. And the international community's sanctions are likely to cause lasting damage to Russia's economy.

      But let me remind you of the two Financial Times headlines from Monday I quoted yesterday:

      1. Ukraine war unlikely to deflect Fed from path of interest rate rises – Officials are convinced of the need to tighten policy even as Russia's invasion clouds the economic outlook
      2. Investors brace for flood of mortgage bonds when Fed trims balance sheet – US central bank is set to unwind massive pandemic–era stimulus measures

      For American mortgage rates, those are ultimately likely to have much more impact than some economic dislocation thousands of miles away. Yes, a horrible human tragedy is causing those problems. But, while investors may be shocked personally, they focus on the numbers professionally.

      And the numbers say mortgage rates are likely to move higher soon. So, if I were you, I'd hold off locking my mortgage rate to gain as much from current falls as possible. But I'd be ready to lock as soon as those rates begin to climb again.

      Uncertainty

      Of course, I can't tell the future. And it's still possible that Russia's invasion of Ukraine could push mortgage rates lower.

      The most likely scenario that could cause that is the war forcing oil prices to spike so high that it tips the global economy into recession. That could force the Fed to rethink its planned counter–inflationary measures. And mortgage rates might fall.

      But if oil prices spike without causing a recession, that would fuel higher inflation. And then the Fed would likely have to come up with even more aggressive measures – pushing mortgage rates even higher.

      And then there are all the usual other economic risks that could push mortgage rates lower. Imagine if a new variant of COVID–19 were to emerge that was as infectious as the Omicron variant and as deadly as Delta. Or if the stock market were to crash. Or if Russia were to drag America into a shooting war.

      These and other threats are possibilities. But let's hope they remain improbable.

      For a more detailed look at what's happening to mortgage rates, read the latest weekend edition of this report.

      Recently

      Over much of 2020, the overall trend for mortgage rates was clearly downward. And a new, weekly all–time low was set on 16 occasions that year, according to Freddie Mac.

      The most recent weekly record low occurred on Jan. 7, 2021, when it stood at 2.65% for 30–year fixed–rate mortgages.

      Since then, the picture has been mixed with extended periods of rises and falls. Unfortunately, since last September, the rises have grown more pronounced, though not consistently so. So far in 2022, rises have been appreciable and relatively consistent.

      Freddie's Feb. 24 report puts that weekly average for 30–year, fixed–rate mortgages at 3.89% (with 0.8 fees and points), down from the previous week's 3.92%.

      Note that Freddie expects you to buy discount points ("with 0.8 fees and points") on closing that earn you a lower rate. If you don't do that, your rate would have been well over 4% that week, which is closer to the rates we and others quote.

      Expert mortgage rate forecasts

      Looking further ahead, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) each has a team of economists dedicated to monitoring and forecasting what will happen to the economy, the housing sector and mortgage rates.

      And here are their current rate forecasts for the four quarters of 2022 (Q1/22, Q2/22, Q3/22, Q4/22).

      The numbers in the table below are for 30–year, fixed–rate mortgages. Fannie's were published on Feb. 18 and the MBA's on Feb. 25. But Freddie now publishes these forecasts every quarter, most recently on Jan. 21.

      Forecaster Q1/22 Q2/22 Q3/22 Q4/22
      Fannie Mae 3.5% 3.6%  3.7% 3.7%
      Freddie Mac 3.5% 3.6%  3.7% 3.7%
      MBA 3.8% 4.0%  4.1% 4.3%

      Of course, given so many unknowables, the whole current crop of forecasts may be even more speculative than usual.

      Find your lowest rate today

      You should comparison shop widely, no matter what sort of mortgage you want. As federal regulator the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says:

      "Shopping around for your mortgage has the potential to lead to real savings. It may not sound like much, but saving even a quarter of a point in interest on your mortgage saves you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan."

      Show me today's rates (Mar 2nd, 2022)

      Mortgage rate methodology

      The Mortgage Reports receives rates based on selected criteria from multiple lending partners each day. We arrive at an average rate and APR for each loan type to display in our chart. Because we average an array of rates, it gives you a better idea of what you might find in the marketplace. Furthermore, we average rates for the same loan types. For example, FHA fixed with FHA fixed. The end result is a good snapshot of daily rates and how they change over time.

      February
      23

      What is mortgage preapproval?

      Homebuyer tip:

      You may qualify to borrow more money than you are comfortable spending on a home. But that doesn't mean you have to spend more. It's a good idea to limit your home search to houses priced at an amount you can comfortably afford. Explore the mortgage amount that best fits into your overall budget by using Bank of America's Home Affordability Calculator

      What is mortgage prequalification?

      Prequalification is an early step in your homebuying journey. When you prequalify for a home loan, you're getting an estimate of what you might be able to borrow, based on the information you provide about your finances, as well as a credit check.

      Prequalification is also an opportunity to learn about different mortgage options and work with your lender to identify the right fit for your needs and goals.

      What is mortgage preapproval?

      Preapproval is as close as you can get to confirming your creditworthiness without having a purchase contract in place. You will complete a mortgage application and the lender will verify the information you provide. They'll also perform a credit check. If you're preapproved, you'll receive a preapproval letter, which is an offer (but not a commitment) to lend you a specific amount, good for 90 days.

      Homebuyer tip:

      Expect surprises! Lenders look at every detail of your finances when granting preapproval. You might be asked about a car loan payment you made with a credit card, for example. Be prepared to answer lender questions as soon as they come up.

      Getting preapproved is a smart step to take when you are ready to put in an offer on a home. It shows sellers that you're a serious homebuyer and that you can secure a mortgage – which makes it more likely that you'll complete your purchase of the home.

      How long does prequalification or preapproval take?

      Aside from their distinct roles in homebuying, prequalification and preapproval can take different amounts of time. Prequalifying at Bank of America is a quick process that can be done online, and you may get results within an hour. For a mortgage preapproval, you'll need to supply more information so the application is likely to take more time. You should receive your preapproval letter within 10 business days after you've provided all requested information.

      What information do I need to provide?

      PREQUAL PREAPPROVAL
      Income information Copies of pay stubs that show your most recent 30 days of income
      Credit check Credit check
      Basic information about bank accounts Bank account numbers or two most recent bank statements
      The down payment amount and desired mortgage amount Down payment amount and desired mortgage amount
      No tax information required

      W-2 statements and signed, personal and business tax returns from the past two years

      Which is right for me?

      First-time homebuyers are more likely to find that getting prequalified is helpful, especially when they are establishing their homebuying budget and want an idea of how much they might be able to borrow.

      Preapproval can be extremely valuable when it comes time to make an offer on a house, especially in a competitive market where you might want to stand out among other potential buyers. Again, a seller will be more likely to consider you a serious buyer because you have had your finances and creditworthiness verified.

      Ready to prequalify, get preapproved or apply? Get started with the Digital Mortgage Experience.

      PREQUALIFICATION VS. PRE-APPROVAL COMPARISON

        PREQUAL PREAPPROVAL
      Benefits You can start house-hunting knowing how much you might be able to borrow You'll be ready to make an offer with confidence—and gain a competitive advantage
      Process Provide basic information to a lender and quickly get a prequalification amount After submitting documentation to a lender, you should receive a decision within 10 business days
      Documentation Answer questions for this process, plus a credit check Provide proof of financial details, plus a credit check

      February
      21

      Holland State Park Beach, Holland, Michigan

      Holland State Park Beach, Holland, Michigan

      Holland State Park Beach, Holland, Michigan

      Holland State Park Beach, Holland, Michigan

      Holland State Park is well known for its enormous sandy beach on Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa. Popular among locals and tourists alike, the beach is perfect for any beach activity you like, from sunbathing and volleyball to building sandcastles, surfing, or just relaxing. Holland State Park has two large campgrounds, a number of picnic tables, grills, and fire pits.

      It also has beach volleyball courts and a small beach house. If you like to fish, the walkway and pier along the harbor channel are the best spots for it. You can also enjoy watching the passing sailboats, waiting for the sunset, or taking photos of the Big Red lighthouse. There is a concession stand if the kids get hungry from all the activities. Holland State Park Beach is one of the best things to do in Holland, Michigan.

      2215 Ottawa Beach Rd, Holland, MI 49424, 616-399-9390

      Fun day trip ideas close to me, things to do this weekend, small towns, best weekend getaways: Getaways in CaliforniaEast Coast beachesNC quick tripRomantic weekend getaways

      Holland State Park Beach, Holland, Michigan

      February
      18

      How to buy a house in 2022

      How to buy a house in 2022

      What to consider

      Is now a good time to buy a house?

      Yes and no. Mortgage rates reached record lows in early 2021 and have stayed low by historical standards throughout the year even as they fluctuated.  However, strong demand for homes pushed prices up and frustrated many potential homebuyers. According to the CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index, property prices rose by 18 percent between September 2020 and September 2021. Time may be running out to lock in an affordable mortgage because experts predict interest rates will continue to trend upward this year. In many areas of the country, Realtors reported intense competition for homes last year, with some properties getting dozens of offers and going into contract within days of being listed.

      That reality has created inevitable concerns about buying at the peak. Home values go up over time, but there is a possibility that prices in some places have hit a plateau.

      "I would be careful about buying near the top of the market, especially if I want to be in the home for only a few years," says Ken H. Johnson, a real estate economist at Florida Atlantic University and co-author of the Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent Index. "If you look to buy, bargain aggressively and be willing to walk away. Real estate most definitely is a good investment, but don't just buy now because that's what everybody else is doing."

      Should I buy a house?

      Taking the leap to homeownership can provide a feeling of pride while boosting your long-term financial outlook, if you go in well-prepared and with your eyes open.

      When thinking about buying a home, consider whether you want to put down roots or maintain flexibility with your living situation. How secure is your job, and can you comfortably budget for home repairs and maintenance on top of monthly housing payments? Are you ready to stay in one place, and do you have kids or family members to consider?

      When should I buy a house?

      In normal times, spring is the traditional start of the home-buying season, with many listings typically hitting the market. The market still hasn't quite returned to normal since the coronavirus upended that schedule, however.. This winter should be relatively slow for buying, but with low housing inventory, it will still feel competitive compared to pre-pandemic off-seasons. 

      At any rate your own financial readiness is more important than the time of year. This means having your finances organized and your credit in order so that you'll be able to smoothly secure a reasonable mortgage.

      In addition to a down payment, potential homebuyers should have enough money set aside to cover closing costs, which can range from 2 percent to 4 percent of the purchase price.

      When budgeting for your monthly mortgage payment, factor in not only the principal amount and interest, but also property taxes, homeowners insurance, homeowners association fees (if applicable), plus private mortgage insurance if you're putting down less than 20 percent. Don't forget to set aside money for ongoing maintenance and those unexpected repairs that are bound to pop up, too.

      Here's a step-by-step guide on buying a house:

      1. Understand why you want to buy a house

      Purchasing a home is a major decision that shouldn't be taken lightly. If you're not clear on why you want to buy a house, you could end up regretting your decision.

      How to get started: Define your personal and financial goals. "Buyers should think about things like when they intend on moving, what they want in a home (such as) amenities, ideal location and how long it could take them to save for a down payment," says Edwence Georges, a sales associate with RE/MAX in Westfield, New Jersey. "These are all important to help define the goals they would like to meet."

      Key takeaways:

      2. Check your credit score

      Checking your credit score will help you determine your financing options; lenders use it (among other factors) to set your loan pricing and see if you're able to repay your mortgage. The better your credit history, the better the chances you'll have of securing financing with the best terms and rates. 

      How to get started: You can get your credit report and score from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, for free once a year. Your bank or credit card company might offer free access to your score or credit report, too.

      Key takeaways:

      • Consider how different credit score ranges impact your interest rate, monthly payments and total interest. In general, the lower your credit score, the more expensive your mortgage will be.
      • Pull your credit reports from each of the credit bureaus for free every 12 months at AnnualCreditReport.com. If you discover any discrepancies, contact each agency and report the error.
      • Learn other ways to get your free credit report and score from Bankrate.

      3. Create a housing budget

      Setting a realistic budget for your new home will help inform what you can afford and how much your all-in costs will be.

      How to get started: The purchase price isn't the whole picture. Carefully factor in other expenses to determine what you can afford.

      "Buyers tend to forget to factor in other costs like (homeowners association) fees and setting money aside for maintenance costs. Just because you can afford a mortgage and a down payment doesn't mean you can afford those long-term costs after you move."

      – Paige Kruger, Realtor, Founder, Signal Real Estate, Jacksonville Beach, Florida

      Key takeaways:

      • Determine the maximum loan you qualify for.
      • Decide how much you can set aside for a down payment, plus a buffer fund for ongoing or unexpected maintenance costs. 
      • See if your monthly budget can handle the mortgage payment along with other bills such as day care, tuition, utilities, groceries and more.

      4. Save for a down payment

      To avoid private mortgage insurance, or PMI, you'll need to save at least 20 percent of the home's purchase price for a down payment. Some lenders offer mortgages without PMI with lower down payments, but expect to pay a higher interest rate.

      How to get started: Research the down payment requirements for the loan you want so you know exactly how much you'll need. If a friend, relative or employer has offered to provide a down payment gift, initiate a conversation early on to learn how much they plan to contribute and if there's any shortfall you'll need to cover — and secure a gift letter from them well in advance, too.

      Key takeaways:

      • If you don't have much saved for a down payment, consider options backed by the federal government. FHA loans, insured by the Federal Housing Administration, require just 3.5 percent down, while VA loans and USDA loans have no down payment requirement.
      • Conventional loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac require just 3 percent down.
      • Look into a local or state first-time homebuyer assistance program to help with closing costs or your down payment.

      5. Shop for a mortgage

      Getting preapproved for a mortgage is helpful when you make an offer on a house, and it gives you a firmer handle on how much you can afford.

      How to get started: Shop around with at least three lenders or a mortgage broker to increase your chances of getting a low interest rate.

      Key takeaways:

      Sign up for a Bankrate account to determine the right time to strike on your mortgage with our daily rate trends.

      6. Hire a real estate agent

      An experienced real estate agent can save you time and money by helping you find your dream home and by negotiating with the seller on your behalf. 

      How to get started: Contact several real estate agents and ask to meet with them for a conversation about your needs before choosing one. "Someone with knowledge of an area can also tell if your budget is realistic or not, depending on the features you desire in a home," Kruger says. "They can also point you to adjacent areas in your desired neighborhood or other types of considerations to help you find a house."

      Key takeaways:

      • Before hiring a real estate agent, find out about their track record, knowledge of your desired neighborhood and what their workload is like. You don't want someone who is over-scheduled.
      • Agents can refer you to other professionals like home inspectors, contractors, appraisers and title companies; however, you should still shop around and compare fees from other professionals.

      7. See multiple homes

      Simply viewing listing photos isn't a substitute for visiting homes in person — with appropriate precautions in the pandemic — and getting to know the neighborhood and its amenities.

      How to get started: Let your real estate agent know what specific kinds of homes you want to see, or search for homes online yourself. Your agent can create your profile in the local multiple listing service (MLS), a database of homes for sale, and set up automatic searches for those that meet your criteria. You may not be able to check off everything on your home amenity wish list, so you'll want to prioritize what's most important to you aside from location.

      Key takeaways:

      • Drive through neighborhoods you like to see what's for sale, and attend open houses for homes that pique your interest. Remember to keep notes on each property you visit. After a few showings, it's easy to forget which homes you liked and why.
      • Keep your schedule open so you can pounce when a great home is listed, especially in a competitive seller's market. You could gain an edge over other buyers the sooner you see it and put your offer in.

      8. Make an offer

      Understanding how to make an attractive offer on a home can help increase your chances the seller will accept it, putting you one step closer to getting those coveted house keys.

      How to get started: Once you find "the one," your real estate agent will help you prepare a complete offer package, including your offer price, your preapproval letter, proof of funds for a down payment (this helps in competitive markets) and terms or contingencies.

      Key takeaways:

      • Sellers might counteroffer on your price, terms or contingencies. You can respond to the counteroffer if you wish, or reject it and move on.
      • Once an offer is accepted, you'll sign a purchase agreement that includes the price of the home and estimated closing date. You'll need to pay an earnest money deposit, typically 1 percent to 2 percent of the purchase price. The seller may have a right to keep the money if you back out.
      • Contingency clauses are designed to protect the buyer and typically include appraisal, financing and home inspection. If a home inspection report shows major problems, you can often back out of the contract and get a refund.

      9. Get a home inspection

      home inspection helps you get an overall picture of the property's mechanical and structural issues. The home inspection will help you determine how to proceed with the closing process. You might need to ask the seller for repairs, or you might decide to back out of the deal if you have a contingency in the contract.

      How to get started: You can get recommendations for home inspectors from your real estate agent, but also be sure to do your own homework before choosing one. Depending on your contract and state of residence, you'll generally need to complete a home inspection 10 to 14 days after you sign a purchase agreement. As a buyer, you're usually responsible for paying the home inspector, and while the fees can vary, you'll pay an average of $270 to $400, according to HomeAdvisor by Angi.

      Key takeaways:

      • To make sure the home inspector has enough experience, read online reviews, ask for past client references and look at their credentials.
      • Look at the home inspection checklist to understand what is and isn't covered.

      10. Negotiate repairs and credits

      Your home inspection report may reveal major or minor issues. Major problems will likely need to be dealt with before your mortgage lender will finalize your loan, while minor issues can often wait till you take possession of the home.

      How to get started: Enlist your agent's help to negotiate with the seller. Ask for the seller to either do the repairs or give you a credit at closing.

      Key takeaways:

      • If there are hazards like structural damage or improper electrical wiring, your lender might not approve your loan. Likewise, you might not have the budget or desire to handle such repairs after buying the home.
      • Some sellers won't agree to extensive repairs, and that's why a home inspection contingency is a good idea — to give you a way out of the purchase if the home isn't in ideal shape.

      11. Secure your financing

      Getting final loan approval means you need to keep your finances and credit in line during underwriting. Once you're ready to close, you won't want to open new credit lines or make other major purchases until the paperwork is signed.

      How to get started: Respond promptly to requests for more documentation and double-check your loan estimate to ensure all the details are correct so there are no hiccups later. You may need to submit additional paperwork as your lender completes the underwriting process, such as:

      • Bank statements
      • Tax returns
      • Additional proof of income
      • Gift letter or written statements explaining major deposits into your bank account

      Key takeaways:

      • A preapproval doesn't mean you're in the clear until a lender has given the final stamp of approval. Keep your finances and credit in good shape from preapproval until closing day. If you can, avoid changing jobs before closing on your new home, too.

      Also, avoid running up credit cards, taking out new loans or closing credit accounts. Doing any of these things can hurt your credit score or impact your debt-to-income ratio, and that can imperil your final loan approval.

      12. Do a final walk-through

      final walk-through is an opportunity to view the property before it becomes yours. This is your last chance to view the home, ask questions and address any outstanding issues before the house becomes your responsibility.

      How to get started: Come with your home inspection checklist and other documents, like repair invoices and receipts for any work the owner conducted, to ensure everything was done as agreed upon and that the home is in move-in ready condition.

      Key takeaways:

      • Ask your real estate agent to be there so they can act as a witness and help answer any questions you may have.
      • If repairs or issues haven't been addressed, have your agent communicate immediately with the seller and your lender. Your closing date might have to be delayed to ensure those issues are remedied first.

      13. Close on your house

      Once all contingencies have been met, you're happy with the final walk-through and the closing agent has given the green light to close, it's time to make it official and close on your home. In this final step, your lender will issue you a "clear to close" status on your loan.

      How to get started: Three business days before your closing date, the lender will provide you with a closing disclosure that outlines all of your loan details, such as the monthly payment, loan type and term, interest rate, annual percentage rate (APR), loan fees and how much money you must bring to closing. At the closing, you (the buyer) will attend, along with your real estate agent, possibly the seller's agent, the seller, in some cases, and the closing agent, who may be a representative from the escrow or title company or a real estate attorney. This is also the time where you'll wire your closing costs and down payment, depending on the escrow company's procedures.

      Key takeaways:

      • Before closing, review the closing disclosure carefully and compare it to the loan estimate to ensure closing fees and loan terms are the same. Ask questions about your loan and correct any errors (like your name or personal details) before you sign closing paperwork.
      • On closing day, review all of the documents you sign carefully, and ask for clarification on anything you don't understand.
      • Make sure you've been provided all house keys, entry codes and garage door openers before leaving closing.
      • You'll leave closing with copies of the paperwork (or a digital file) and your new house keys. Be sure to store your paperwork in a safe place for future reference.

      Once all of the paperwork has been signed, the home is officially yours and you'll get those house keys. Congratulations! Now comes the fun part: moving in and making the house your home.

      February
      16

      Mortgage and refinance rates today, Feb. 16, 2022

      Today's mortgage and refinance rates

      Average mortgage rates rose modestly yesterday. It was the ninth consecutive business day on which they've increased. So, fearsome February continues.

      This morning, markets are fairly quiet, despite better–than–expected retail sales figures. And mortgage rates today might be unchanged or barely changed. But, as always, things might turn out differently as the hours pass.

      Find your lowest rate. Start here (Feb 16th, 2022)

      Current mortgage and refinance rates

      Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
      Conventional 30 year fixed 4.196% 4.219% +0.01% 
      Conventional 15 year fixed 3.431% 3.461% +0.02% 
      Conventional 20 year fixed 3.954% 3.986% +0.02% 
      Conventional 10 year fixed 3.477% 3.543% Unchanged
      30 year fixed FHA 4.309% 5.095% +0.16% 
      15 year fixed FHA 3.644% 4.211% -0.05% 
      30 year fixed VA 3.905% 4.109% -0.14% 
      15 year fixed VA 3.38% 3.711% -0.13% 
      5/1 ARM VA 4.75% 3.86% Unchanged

      Should you lock a mortgage rate today?

      It's been an extraordinarily bad couple of weeks for mortgage rates. Of course, they're bound to fall again sometime.

      But, unless that's triggered by some huge event, you should probably expect any decreases to be limited and relatively brief. I'd be surprised if they recovered more than a fraction of the ground that these rates have lost recently.

      So my personal rate lock recommendations remain:

      • LOCK if closing in 7 days
      • LOCK if closing in 15 days
      • LOCK if closing in 30 days
      • LOCK if closing in 45 days
      • LOCK if closing in 60 days

      Market data affecting today's mortgage rates

      Here's a snapshot of the state of play this morning at about 9:50 a.m. (ET). The data, compared with roughly the same time yesterday, were:

      • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes fell to 2.03% from 2.05%. (Good for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
      • Major stock indexes were lower. (Good for mortgage rates.) When investors are buying shares they're often selling bonds, which pushes prices of those down and increases yields and mortgage rates. The opposite may happen when indexes are lower. But this is an imperfect relationship
      • Oil prices moved up to $93.56 from $91.42 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
      • Gold prices rose to $1,865 from $1,854 an ounce. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) In general, it is better for rates when gold rises, and worse when gold falls. Gold tends to rise when investors worry about the economy. And worried investors tend to push rates lower
      • CNN Business Fear & Greed index – inched higher to 38 from 37 out of 100. (Bad for mortgage rates.) "Greedy" investors push bond prices down (and interest rates up) as they leave the bond market and move into stocks, while "fearful" investors do the opposite. So lower readings are better than higher ones

      *A change of less than $20 on gold prices or 40 cents on oil ones is a fraction of 1%. So we only count meaningful differences as good or bad for mortgage rates.

      Caveats about markets and rates

      Before the pandemic and the Federal Reserve's interventions in the mortgage market, you could look at the above figures and make a pretty good guess about what would happen to mortgage rates that day. But that's no longer the case. We still make daily calls. And are usually right. But our record for accuracy won't achieve its former high levels until things settle down.

      So use markets only as a rough guide. Because they have to be exceptionally strong or weak to rely on them. But, with that caveat, mortgage rates today might hold steady or nearly steady. However, be aware that "intraday swings" (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.

      Find your lowest rate. Start here (Feb 16th, 2022)

      Important notes on today's mortgage rates

      Here are some things you need to know:

      1. Typically, mortgage rates go up when the economy's doing well and down when it's in trouble. But there are exceptions. Read 'How mortgage rates are determined and why you should care'
      2. Only "top–tier" borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you'll see advertised
      3. Lenders vary. Yours may or may not follow the crowd when it comes to daily rate movements – though they all usually follow the wider trend over time
      4. When daily rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
      5. Refinance rates are typically close to those for purchases.

      A lot is going on at the moment. And nobody can claim to know with certainty what's going to happen to mortgage rates in coming hours, days, weeks or months.

      Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?

      To me, the prospects for mortgage rates look grim. Yes, they're bound to fall sometime. But there seems to be little prospect of their doing so in a worthwhile and sustained way.

      The current main hope that they'll fall further and for longer relies on yesterday's announcement by Russia – that it's started to withdraw troops from the Ukrainian border – being a feint. Such deception is certainly within President Vladimir Putin's playbook.

      But wagering your next mortgage rate on his duplicity seems unwise. And I certainly wouldn't make such a bet.

      The Fed

      While the Ukrainian situation is being resolved (or not), mortgage rates might move up and down with news from the region. But, overall, they are likely to continue higher, though, with luck, more slowly than recently. That's because markets fear the Federal Reserve's reactions to high inflation, which are likely to drive all interest rates higher.

      In an e–newsletter this morning, Jeff Sparshott of The Wall Street Journal summed up the situation admirably:

      "[Fed Chair Jerome] Powell responded to the pandemic by doubling down on strategies developed by his predecessors to combat prolonged high unemployment and very low inflation. When the labor market healed rapidly and high inflation emerged as the bigger threat, he and his colleagues were caught by surprise. No Fed chairman since Paul Volcker in the early 1980s has had to grapple with inflation this high. The risk now is that his fight against inflation will cause a new recession, as Mr. Volcker's did."

      No doubt Mr. Powell is well aware of all this and will do everything he can to avoid a new recession. And many economists believe that current inflation is structurally very different from what Mr. Volcker faced. But, as long as the current Fed is seen to be acting decisively to counter inflation, the pressure on mortgage rates to rise will continue.

      For a more detailed look at what's happening to mortgage rates, read the latest weekend edition of this report.

      Recently

      Over much of 2020, the overall trend for mortgage rates was clearly downward. And a new, weekly all–time low was set on 16 occasions that year, according to Freddie Mac.

      The most recent weekly record low occurred on Jan. 7, 2021, when it stood at 2.65% for 30–year fixed–rate mortgages.

      Since then, the picture has been mixed with extended periods of rises and falls. Unfortunately, since last September, the rises have grown more pronounced, though not consistently so. So far in 2022, rises have been appreciable and relatively consistent.

      Freddie's Feb. 10 report puts that weekly average for 30–year, fixed–rate mortgages at 3.69% (with 0.8 fees and points), up from the previous week's 3.55%.

      Expert mortgage rate forecasts

      Looking further ahead, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) each has a team of economists dedicated to monitoring and forecasting what will happen to the economy, the housing sector and mortgage rates.

      And here are their current rate forecasts for the four quarters of 2022 (Q1/22, Q2/22, Q3/22, Q4/22).

      The numbers in the table below are for 30–year, fixed–rate mortgages. Fannie's were published on Jan. 19 and Freddie's and the MBA's on Jan. 21.

      Forecaster Q1/22 Q2/22 Q3/22 Q4/22
      Fannie Mae 3.2% 3.3%  3.3% 3.4%
      Freddie Mac 3.5% 3.6%  3.7% 3.7%
      MBA 3.3% 3.5%  3.7% 4.0%

      Personally, I was surprised that Fannie Mae only slightly increased its rate forecasts in January. It believes that rates for 30–year, fixed–rate mortgages will average 3.2% over the current quarter. But, on the day its figures were published, we reported those for conventional loans were already up to 3.87%.

      Do Fannie's economists expect those rates to plummet later this month or in February or March and remain lower in the following quarters? If so, they know something that I don't. And that their peers in Freddie and the MBA's teams don't, either, though I'm less optimistic than any of them.

      Of course, given so many unknowables, the whole current crop of forecasts may be even more speculative than usual.

      Find your lowest rate today

      You should comparison shop widely, no matter what sort of mortgage you want. As federal regulator the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says:

      "Shopping around for your mortgage has the potential to lead to real savings. It may not sound like much, but saving even a quarter of a point in interest on your mortgage saves you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan."

      Show me today's rates (Feb 16th, 2022)

      Mortgage rate methodology

      The Mortgage Reports receives rates based on selected criteria from multiple lending partners each day. We arrive at an average rate and APR for each loan type to display in our chart. Because we average an array of rates, it gives you a better idea of what you might find in the marketplace. Furthermore, we average rates for the same loan types. For example, FHA fixed with FHA fixed. The end result is a good snapshot of daily rates and how they change over time.

      February
      14

      Craft Brews, Spirits, and Wines Bringing local flavor to your beverage!

      Craft Brews, Spirits, and Wines

      Bringing local flavor to your beverage!
      handcrafted passport] |
      In a state known for its award-winning breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs, Holland can hold its own.  We are home to several breweries that pride themselves on creating fantastic craft beer, artisan spirits, and locally made wine using the finest locally-grown ingredients. We even have our own Hops Farm that supplies our local brewers with the finest Michigan-grown hops!  From tasting rooms to tours, locally-grown hops and grapes to handcrafted cocktails and ciders, you will be sure to find the perfect pour!

      Handcrafted Passport

      Check out our "Handcrafted Passport" featuring breweries, wineries, distilleries, and cideries in the greater Holland area.


      With the 'handcrafted' and 'keeping-it-local' scene becoming increasingly popular, the passport offers an opportunity for an adventure, to sit and hear the individual establishment's story, and to learn about their unique handcrafted product.  Having a 'passport' (that includes a place to jot down tasting notes), provides a handy reference for visitors and locals alike!  

      The passport is free and available to anyone (21 and over) who enjoys artisan beverages. Passports can be picked up at the Holland Area Visitors Bureau (78 East 8th Street) or can be mailed within the continental U.S.

      February
      9

      Mortgage and refinance rates today, Feb. 8, 2022

      Today's mortgage and refinance rates

      Average mortgage rates just edged higher yesterday. That was a relief after much sharper increases last Thursday and Friday. Yes, we're looking at the highest rates in nearly 30 months. But those 30 months saw the lowest rates in history. And all we're seeing now is a return to normal.

      First thing this morning, markets were signaling that mortgage rates today might rise again. But any increase is likely to be moderate. And you need to be aware that the current volatility makes those markets even less predictable than normally.

      Current mortgage and refinance rates

      Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
      Conventional 30 year fixed 3.972% 3.994% Unchanged
      Conventional 15 year fixed 3.118% 3.148% +0.02% 
      Conventional 20 year fixed 3.694% 3.728% -0.03% 
      Conventional 10 year fixed 3.221% 3.284% +0.02% 
      30 year fixed FHA 4.04% 4.847% +0.02% 
      15 year fixed FHA 3.244% 3.851% -0.09% 
      30 year fixed VA 3.908% 4.108% +0.02% 
      15 year fixed VA 3% 3.328% +0.11% 
      5/1 ARM VA 4.611% 3.689% +0.16% 

      Should you lock a mortgage rate today?

      Following fairly sharp rises in mortgage rates on the last two working days of last week, I've been talking about a time when they're likely to briefly plateau or dip a bit. If this Thursday morning's employment data are worse than expected, those rates might resume their climb. But, if they're better, we could see a longer plateau or even some worthwhile falls, depending on what the figures say.

      I doubt these rates will continue increasing as quickly as they have over the last four months. But I also doubt they'll fall very far unless some dramatic and unlikely event intervenes.

      So my personal rate lock recommendations remain:

      • LOCK if closing in 7 days
      • LOCK if closing in 15 days
      • LOCK if closing in 30 days
      • LOCK if closing in 45 days
      • LOCK if closing in 60 days

      Market data affecting today's mortgage rates

      Here's a snapshot of the state of play this morning at about 9:50 a.m. (ET). The data, compared with roughly the same time yesterday, were:

      • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes rose to 1.97% from 1.93%. (Bad for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
      • Major stock indexes were mixed. (Neutral for mortgage rates.) When investors are buying shares they're often selling bonds, which pushes prices of those down and increases yields and mortgage rates. The opposite may happen when indexes are lower. But this is an imperfect relationship
      • Oil prices fell to $89.67 from $91.32 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
      • Gold prices edged up to $1,823 from $1,815 an ounce. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) In general, it is better for rates when gold rises, and worse when gold falls. Gold tends to rise when investors worry about the economy. And worried investors tend to push rates lower
      • CNN Business Fear & Greed index – climbed to 35 from 28 out of 100. (Bad for mortgage rates.) "Greedy" investors push bond prices down (and interest rates up) as they leave the bond market and move into stocks, while "fearful" investors do the opposite. So lower readings are better than higher ones

      Caveats about markets and rates

      Before the pandemic and the Federal Reserve's interventions in the mortgage market, you could look at the above figures and make a pretty good guess about what would happen to mortgage rates that day. But that's no longer the case. We still make daily calls. And are usually right. But our record for accuracy won't achieve its former high levels until things settle down.

      So use markets only as a rough guide. Because they have to be exceptionally strong or weak to rely on them. But, with that caveat, mortgage rates today might rise. However, be aware that "intraday swings" (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.

      Find your lowest rate. Start here (Feb 9th, 2022)

      Important notes on today's mortgage rates

      Here are some things you need to know:

      1. Typically, mortgage rates go up when the economy's doing well and down when it's in trouble. But there are exceptions. Read 'How mortgage rates are determined and why you should care'
      2. Only "top–tier" borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you'll see advertised
      3. Lenders vary. Yours may or may not follow the crowd when it comes to daily rate movements – though they all usually follow the wider trend over time
      4. When daily rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
      5. Refinance rates are typically close to those for purchases.

      A lot is going on at the moment. And nobody can claim to know with certainty what's going to happen to mortgage rates in coming hours, days, weeks or months.

      Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?

      This week

      There's nothing in the news so far today that's likely to affect mortgage rates much. And nothing's changed since I laid out this week's agenda in yesterday's edition of this rate report.

      So click that link if you're catching up. Otherwise, I've nothing new to tell you.

      For a more detailed look at what's happening to mortgage rates, read the latest weekend edition of this report.

      Recently

      Over much of 2020, the overall trend for mortgage rates was clearly downward. And a new, weekly all–time low was set on 16 occasions that year, according to Freddie Mac.

      The most recent weekly record low occurred on Jan. 7, 2021, when it stood at 2.65% for 30–year fixed–rate mortgages.

      Since then, the picture has been mixed with extended periods of rises and falls. Unfortunately, since last September, the rises have grown more pronounced, though not consistently so.

      Freddie's Feb. 3 report puts that weekly average for 30–year, fixed–rate mortgages at 3.55% (with 0.8 fees and points), unchanged from the previous week.

      Expert mortgage rate forecasts

      Looking further ahead, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) each has a team of economists dedicated to monitoring and forecasting what will happen to the economy, the housing sector and mortgage rates.

      And here are their current rate forecasts for the four quarters of 2022 (Q1/22, Q2/22, Q3/22, Q4/22).

      The numbers in the table below are for 30–year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie's were published on Jan. 19 and Freddie's and the MBA's on Jan. 21.

      Forecaster Q1/22 Q2/22 Q3/22 Q4/22
      Fannie Mae 3.2% 3.3%  3.3% 3.4%
      Freddie Mac 3.5% 3.6%  3.7% 3.7%
      MBA 3.3% 3.5%  3.7% 4.0%

      Personally, I was surprised that Fannie Mae only slightly increased its rate forecasts in January. It believes that rates for 30–year, fixed-rate mortgages will average 3.2% over the current quarter. But, on the day its figures were published, we reported those for conventional loans were already up to 3.87%.

      Do Fannie's economists expect those rates to plummet later this month or in February or March and remain lower in the following quarters? If so, they know something that I don't. And that their peers in Freddie and the MBA's teams don't, either, though I'm less optimistic than any of them.

      Of course, given so many unknowables, the whole current crop of forecasts maybe even more speculative than usual.

      Find your lowest rate today

      You should comparison shop widely, no matter what sort of mortgage you want. As federal regulator the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says:

      "Shopping around for your mortgage has the potential to lead to real savings. It may not sound like much, but saving even a quarter of a point in interest on your mortgage saves you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan."

      February
      4

      4 Tips for Buying a Home in 2022

      4 Tips for Buying a Home in 2022

      A happy couple looks sitting on the floor between moving boxes and drinking coffee.

      There are plenty of good reasons to buy a home -- financial stability, building equity in a place of your own, and not having to follow a landlord's rules. If you're eager to buy a home in 2022, here are four important tips to help make that happen.

      1. Research home prices ahead of time

      Home prices have soared this year due to high buyer demand and limited housing inventory. Come 2022, those circumstances could remain unchanged. It makes sense to research different neighborhoods in advance and see which ones have home prices within your financial reach.

      Some buyers embark on a home search before looking at numbers. But it's better to take the opposite approach -- first figure out where you can afford to look, and then start driving out to see different homes in person. If you go the opposite route, you might fall in love with a home or town you can't afford.

      2. Work on boosting your credit score

      Chances are, you don't have the money to buy a home outright next year. Rather, you'll probably need a mortgage. The higher your credit score is, the more likely you'll be to get approved not only for a home loan, but for an affordable interest rate as well.

      You can boost your credit score in a number of ways. First, make sure to pay all of your bills on time. Next, if possible, pay off a chunk of existing credit card debt, especially if you're carrying a high balance relative to your total credit limit across all of your cards. Finally, check your credit report for errors and correct those that could be dragging your score down.

      3. Sock away extra money for a down payment

      Because home values are so inflated, you should expect to pay up in 2022. And if you want to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI), you'll need to bring a 20% down payment to the table for a conventional loan. If you don't have that much saved yet, work on boosting your cash reserves. A good way to do so is to get a side gig on top of your main job.

      4. Be prepared for competition

      Though housing inventory may pick up in 2022, there's no guarantee that will happen. It could also take months for enough inventory to hit the market to satisfy buyer demand. That's why if you're aiming to buy a home next year, you'll need to prepare to duke it out with other buyers. Now is a good time to read up on different strategies for winning a bidding war.

      One step worth taking in this regard is getting a mortgage pre-approval letter. That sends the message you're a serious home buyer whose finances have already been vetted. And it may prompt a seller to accept your offer over a comparable one.

      Though 2022 may end up being a challenging year to buy a home, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of success. Be sure to check off these boxes if your goal is to become a homeowner over the next 12 months.

      A historic opportunity to potentially save thousands on your mortgage

      Chances are, interest rates won't stay put at multi-decade lows for much longer. That's why taking action today is crucial, whether you're wanting to refinance and cut your mortgage payment or you're ready to pull the trigger on a new home purchase.

      Our expert recommends this company to find a low rate - and in fact he used them himself to refi (twice!).

      February
      2

      PERFECT DAY TRIP FOR COUPLES :: HOLLAND, MICHIGAN

      PERFECT DAY TRIP FOR COUPLES: HOLLAND, MICHIGAN

      You may have heard of Holland, Michigan for its Tulip Festival in May, but it's a great town for couples to explore year-round, especially while staying at our bed and breakfast near Holland, MI.  With two lakeshores (Lake Michigan & Lake Macatawa), and six blocks of shops and restaurants, Holland makes for a perfect day trip destination during your stay at Castle in the Country. Located within a 30-minute drive from our Allegan, MI B&B, the downtown area has a variety of boutique shops, home accessory stores, outdoor outfitters, and bicycle shops. After shopping, you can duck into any one of a number of cafes, restaurants, or brewpubs where you can recharge with a cup of coffee or sip a glass of Michigan craft beer or wine.   Window-shopping or just people-watching is a favorite pastime along 8th street and heated sidewalks make this the perfect nearby city to enjoy during any season of the year.

      Some of our favorite recommendations for couples to do in Downtown Holland are:

      – Fustini's Oil and Vinegar specialty shop for tasting and buying a variety of olive oils and balsamic vinegar infused with many different spices, herbs, and fruits.

      – The Seasoned Home where you can find shelves upon shelves of spices from around the world and a knowledgeable staff that is ready to offer advice on which spices to use to add spectacular flavor to any dish.

      holland-mi-farm-market-rs

      -The Holland Farmer's Market is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the months of May-December. Find an assortment of fresh produce from the area, fresh flowers, pumpkins and gourds for fall. During the holidays, visit the Christmas market to find gifts for loved ones and, of course, yourselves.

       Warner's Wine Tasting Room where guests have a chance to taste some of the 22+ wines made by the oldest winery in Michigan.

      – New Holland Brewing Company – Brew Pub & Restaurant to enjoy an artisan craft beer including, but not limited to, their very own "Dragon's Milk". On Saturday afternoons, go on an educational tour of their production facility, or enjoy their outdoor Bier Garden.

      Ten local Art Galleries – many couples think of Saugatuck when they think of art in Southwest Michigan, but Holland is home to plenty of art galleries as well. Many of them are on 8th Street right in the main downtown area, but there are also a few scattered about the town as well.

      butchs

      Restaurants we recommend:

       Butch's Drydock offers a fine-dining experience for a romantic dinner while celebrating the union between food and drink. Today Butch's is one of fewer than 800 restaurants worldwide to hold the Wine Spectators Best of Award of Excellence. Have a glass with your meal or browse the shelves of the wine cellar, stocked with more than 700 wines from around the globe, and purchase a bottle to enjoy back in your suite at Castle in the Country.

       Curragh's Irish Pub offers hearty Irish fare in a relaxed environment that encourages great conversation either indoors or outdoor patio dining.

      – Boatwerks, located right on the waterfront of Lake Macatawa, has good food and an even better view. The outdoor seating is a huge patio with umbrella tables overlooking the water during the warmer months, but couples can't go wrong dining inside either as there is still a perfect view through the massive floor-to-ceiling windows lining the waterfront.

      After you've wandered, shopped, satisfied your hunger, and quenched your thirst, come back to your whirlpool/fireplace suite at Castle in the Country, the premiere bed and breakfast near Holland, MI where a romantic and relaxing evening awaits you.

      January
      24

      Where to Catch a Game: 5 Sports Bars in the Grand Rapids Area

      Where to Catch a Game: 5 Sports Bars in the Grand Rapids Area

      In addition to being the home of several competitive sports teams such as the West Michigan Whitecaps and the Grand Rapids Griffins, Grand Rapids sports fans know there are tons of great places to catch a game on TV. Long-time residents can bank on a seat with a view at Peppino'sSpeakEZ Lounge  (especially good for soccer fans), Buffalo Wild Wings, or The Score on Plainfield. Dave & Busters on 28th Street has great screens and space too.

      While sports lovers in Grand Rapids have plenty of great spots to cheer on their team, there are few venues you might not know about, or might not think of, when it comes to watching sports. Check out these five sports bars the next time you're ready to yell, "Go, team!"

      GP Sports

      With 40 TVs and a large projector-sized screen, every seat at GP Sports offers a view of the game. Although it's housed in the Amway Grand Plaza Curio Collection by Hilton, you won't find anything formal or stuffy at GP Sports.

      It's fun to walk through the elegant four-star hotel lobby with its beautiful gold leaf ceiling and into the sports bar, where you can kick back in a casual, fun atmosphere and comfortably enjoy a drink and game in jeans. Try the black Angus beef burger – it doesn't disappoint!

      Monelli's

      The first time you walked into Monelli's in Wyoming you may think, "Wow. Why haven't I been here to watch games before?"

      Monell is had six-count 'em – six projection TVs as well as 54 other TVs throughout the restaurant and at the bar. The TVs feature stadium-quality sound, so you can hear what's happening from anywhere in the restaurant. Fans show up for games in droves because they know there will be a great view regardless of their seat and the atmosphere is downright electric during big sporting events.

      If that's not enough, sports fans, it also has 52 beers on tap. Game on!

      JT's Pizza & Spirits

      JT's Pizza has been serving up amazing homemade pizza and other Italian favorites from scratch since 1975, making it a long-time neighborhood favorite.

      It upped its game last year with a 2,500+ square foot addition focused on sports fans. The new space features over 15 large TVs, a cozy, indoor fireplace, and 12 taps.

      JT's designed the addition with garage doors that serve as walls. When warm weather arrives, they throw the garage doors open and allow guests to bask in the beauty of a Michigan summer. Sports, made-from-scratch goodness, and Michigan sunshine…what could be better?

      Atwater Brewery

      You may know that Atwater Brewery opened its doors in Grand Rapids in October of 2016 and has 40 rotating taps, but did you also know it's a good place to catch a game?

      In addition to a large projection TV, it has six others, including four in the dining area and a couple at the bar. You're closer to the taps when you catch the game at the bar, making it my favorite place to watch. Its speaker system is hooked up to the projector TV, which allows it to play the audio for big games.

      Atwater is housed in an impressively renovated space, originally built in 1923. In addition to simply being a beautiful old building, the high ceilings make it easy to take a peek at other screens when you want to keep track of multiple games.

      Vitale's of Comstock Park

      Vitale's has long been a favorite spot for great Italian food, grabbing drinks with friends, and watching a game. With six huge screens in the dining room as well as lots of TVs around the 36-seat football-shaped bar, sports fans don't miss any of the action-watching games here.

      If you haven't visited its gorgeous, new patio – which they use for three seasons – you'll want to plan a visit soon. With glass garage doors and radiant heat flooring, it's a light, airy, and cozy place for sports fans to gather. It has five large TVs and a second bar that seats 14. Cheers!

      This list doesn't nearly cover all of the great venues in Grand Rapids where you can catch a game. For other ideas, check out our full listing of sports bars.  And be sure to let us know your favorite. It's always fun to experience watching a game in a new place!

      January
      17

      Home Improvement Resolutions You Can Start Today

      If you're looking for ways to upgrade your home in the new year, add these resolutions to your list.

      2022 is finally here and many of us are thinking about what home renovations we'll be making this year. Home improvements make for great New Year resolutions because they not only provide a sense of personal achievement but also benefit you financially in the long run.

      The tricky part about planning home improvements is it's often difficult to know where to start. If you're looking for some ideas to start your year off right, here are some recommendations from our real estate agents:

      • Declutter One Room A Month
        Decluttering can have a positive impact on mental health; however, it can also be a massive undertaking. For many people,  the job can seem too large to handle. This often leads people to lose motivation partway through. Instead of tackling the project all at once, make it an effort to declutter one room each month. This will help you break things down into more attainable goals.

      • Focus On Curb Appeal
        Curb appeal is a term that describes how your home appears from the street. Enhancing curb appeal is especially important if you want to make your property stand out among these Holland homes for sale. It can also drastically increase your home value.

        To improve curb appeal, consider painting your front door, cleaning your siding, improving your landscaping, or even purchasing a new mailbox. By taking these simple steps, your home will stand out in no time.

      • Increase Energy Efficiency
        Making your home more green not only benefits the planet but also can decrease utility bills. Going green doesn't necessarily mean investing in solar panels — there are so many simple ways to improve your home's energy efficiency. Install ceiling fans, invest in double-pane windows, and reapply caulking and sealant. You can also evaluate your insulation and make sure to tackle any overdue roof repairs, which may be allowing warm or cool air to escape. A programmable thermostat is also a great way to improve energy efficiency.

      • Create Your Home Office
        Many of us have been working from home since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, if you're still setting up your laptop at your dining room table, it's time to start thinking about your home office.

        Even if you don't have an extra bedroom, there are many places you can build a home office. If you have unused space under the stairs, in the corner of the basement, or in the upstairs hallway, these could all be suitable options. Just invest in a desk that fits and matches the space, a comfortable chair, and some basic office decor. Remember, home offices are critical selling points these days.

      • Enhance Your Outdoor Space
        Make 2022 the year you create your outdoor paradise. Enhance your porch or patio with new furniture, rugs, and mood lighting. Perhaps invest in a new grill or outdoor table, so you can be prepared to entertain company when warm weather arrives.

      • Update Your Kitchen
        The kitchen is often considered the most important room of the house when it comes to home value. If your kitchen is long overdue for an upgrade, 2022 is the year to get it done. Invest in new matching appliances, apply a new coat of paint, update your lighting fixtures, and perhaps invest in a new kitchen table. If you're thinking about adding a new color scheme, check out the Behr or Benjamin Moore  2022 Colors of The Year

      Contact us today for more home improvement recommendations!

      January
      10

      Crane's In The City

      Crane's In The City

      It all started when…

      Crane's In The City opened its doors on July 27, 2010, at 11 East 8th Street in the beautiful downtown Holland. Chad & MaryJo Creevy are co-owners of the original restaurant, Crane's Pie Pantry in Fennville, MI (MaryJo is a niece of the original founders, Bob and Lue Crane).

      Our urban restaurant brings all the fun foods from its rural roots like Sloppy Joes, homemade soups and chili, and, of course, their famous homemade pastries. Our menu is full of delicious Salads, Sandwiches, and Soup that are great for lunch or dinner. You can sit and dine with us in-house or take your food to go! We are speedy! There is seating for about 35 in-house, including a dozen patio seats outside.

      We are proud to serve Crane's homemade pies. Our selection includes over 12 fruit pies and crisps, apple-walnut cake, strudels, apple dumplings, and the famous cider donuts made fresh daily in-house. We also offer coffee and espresso drinks of all sorts and serve the delicious Plainwell ice cream atop your favorite slice of pie, or all on its own.

      We also have Crane's classic line of blueberry and raspberry preserves and of course apple butter, local honey, hot fudge, and caramel sauce.

      We've had a great crowd since we opened back in 2010. Downtown Holland is a fun place to be! Eighth Street seems to be the center of activity, and even in the Snowbelt, there is always something going on.

      January
      5

      HOLLAND MARKET DATA

      HOLLAND MARKET DATA

      Holland Real Estate Market Snapshot

      Homes for Sale 1 110 -22.0% decrease in inventory
      New on Market 53 -48.5% decrease in new listings
      Avg. Asking Price/Sq.Ft. $175 $7 decrease in List Price/Sq.Ft.
      Avg. Sale Price $316,156 $20,768 decrease in avg sale price
      Avg. Sale Price as % of Asking Price 99.8% -1.7% decrease in Sales to List Price
      Avg. Sale Price/Sq.Ft. $172 $1 decrease in Sale Price/Sq.Ft.
      Avg. Days on Market of Sold 52 2 decrease in days on market

      HOLLAND REAL ESTATE MARKET DATA

      January
      3

      Warm Up To American Comfort Food From Holland Restaurants

      Some local American-style comfort food may be just what you need to warm up this winter. Here are the Holland restaurants to visit.

      Burgers, steak, chicken, sandwiches, and pizza, what's not to love about classic American cuisine? Not only does American food combine flavors from a variety of cultures, but there is also something very comforting about it. Whether it's a diner breakfast or a classic American entree for dinner, our real estate agents love warming up each winter at these Holland restaurants:

      • Hopcat - 80 W 8th St, Holland, MI 49423
        Tasty burgers, delicious sandwiches, and fresh salads — Hopcat is an awesome destination for traditional American cuisine. Warm up this winter with the spicy Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich, served with a side of Cosmik Fries and pickle slices. They also have a huge rotating selection of craft beer on draft. If you like dining out downtown, then be sure to check out these awesome Holland homes for sale just around the corner.

      • Windmill Restaurant - 28 W 8th St #220, Holland, MI 49423
        For a classic American dining experience and some of the best local breakfast food, you must try the Windmill Restaurant. For the ultimate comfort foods, try a hashbrown omelet or some home-baked bread and gravy. You can also order some of the best cinnamon rolls in Western Michigan. The restaurant is open daily for breakfast and daily.

      • Waverly Stone Gastropub - 20 W 8th St, Holland, MI 49423
        A true foodie destination, Waverly Stone Gastropub's extensive menu of classic American entrees features combined with a wide selection of draft beer and cocktails makes it a great date night location or a great option for a family celebration. Pork Belly Pasta, Norweigian Salmon with Duck Fat Potatoes, and Roasted Chicken with Wild Mushroom Risotto are just a few of the many highlights of this menu. Online ordering is available if you'd prefer to eat at home.

      • Seventy-Six Restaurant - 52 W 8th St, Holland, MI 49423
        Named after its co-founders' wedding anniversary year, Seventy-Six Restaurant's mission is to provide high-end modern American cuisine and great service in a stunning atmosphere, and it succeeds on all three fronts. You'll have no trouble finding delicious comfort food — the menu sections include "High-End Junk Food," "Cast Iron Skillets," "Things We Put on Plates," and "Knife & Fork Sandwiches." Beer, wine, and cocktails are also available.

      • Beechwood Grill - 380 Douglas Ave, Holland, MI 49424
        This classic American steakhouse is known for its delicious food, great service, and generous portions. Enjoy your favorite steak, burger, fish, or sandwich, it's easy to find something for everyone at Beechwood Grill. The atmosphere is comfortable and the walls are actually lined with old metal panels that have been used for grilling their famous chicken over the years. Stop in or order takeout online.

      • Wooden Shoe Restaurant - 441 US-31, Holland, MI 49423
        Another classic American diner, the Wooden Shoe Restaurant has been a Holland staple for more than 50 years. If you're looking for the best breakfast in town, this is your place. Try eggs, sausage, pancakes, or one of the many famous omelets. The atmosphere is fun, light, and homey. Dine in, take out, or order curbside pickup.

      It's not hard to find classic American cuisine in our nation's heartland. Contact us today for more information on the Holland area.

      December
      29

      Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

      Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

      Preparing to buy tips

      1. Start saving early

      Here are the main costs to consider when saving for a home:

      • Down payment: Your down payment requirement will depend on the type of mortgage you choose and the lender. Some conventional loans aimed at first-time home buyers with excellent credit allow as little as 3% down. But even a small down payment can be challenging to save. For example, a 3% down payment on a $300,000 home is $9,000. Use a down payment calculator to decide a goal, and then set up automatic transfers from checking to savings to get started.

      • Closing costs: These are the fees and expenses you pay to finalize your mortgage, and they typically range from 2% to 5% of the loan amount. You can ask the seller to pay a portion of your closing costs, and you can save on some expenses, such as home inspections, by shopping around.

      • Move-in expenses: You'll need some cash after the home purchase. Set some money aside for immediate home repairs, upgrades and furnishings.

      2. Decide how much home you can afford

      Figure out how much you can safely spend on a house before starting to shop. NerdWallet's home affordability calculator can help with setting a price range based on your income, debt, down payment, credit score and where you plan to live.

      3. Check and strengthen your credit

      Your credit score will determine whether you qualify for a mortgage and affect the interest rate lenders will offer. Take these steps to strengthen your credit score to buy a house:

      • Get free copies of your credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — and dispute any errors that could hurt your score.

      • Pay all your bills on time, and keep credit card balances as low as possible.

      • Keep current credit cards open. Closing a card will increase the portion of available credit you use, which can lower your score.

      Mortgage selection tips

      4. Explore mortgage options

      A variety of mortgages are available with varying down payment and eligibility requirements. Here are the main categories:

      • Conventional mortgages are not guaranteed by the government. Some conventional loans targeted at first-time buyers require as little as 3% down.

      • FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration and allow down payments as low as 3.5%.

      • USDA loans are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They are for rural home buyers and usually require no down payment.

      • VA loans are guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. They are for current and veteran military service members and usually require no down payment.

      You also have options when it comes to the mortgage term. Most home buyers opt for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which is paid off in 30 years and has an interest rate that stays the same. A 15-year loan typically has a lower interest rate than a 30-year mortgage, but the monthly payments are larger.

      5. Research first-time home buyer assistance programs

      Many states and some cities and counties offer first-time home buyer programs, which often combine low-interest-rate mortgages with down payment assistance and closing cost assistance. Tax credits are also available through some first-time home buyer programs.

      6. Compare mortgage rates and fees

      The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends requesting loan estimates for the same type of mortgage from multiple lenders to compare the costs, including interest rates and possible origination fees.

      Lenders may offer the opportunity to buy discount points, which are fees the borrower pays upfront to lower the interest rate. Buying points can make sense if you have the money on hand and plan to stay in the home for a long time. Use a discount points calculator to decide.

      7. Get a preapproval letter

      A mortgage preapproval is a lender's offer to loan you a certain amount under specific terms. Having a preapproval letter shows home sellers and real estate agents that you're a serious buyer, and can give you an edge over home shoppers who haven't taken this step yet.

      Apply for preapproval when you're ready to start home shopping. A lender will pull your credit and review documents to verify your income, assets and debt. Applying for preapproval from more than one lender to shop rates shouldn't hurt your credit score as long as you apply for them within a limited time frame, such as 30 days.

      Home shopping tips

      8. Choose a real estate agent carefully

      A good real estate agent will scour the market for homes that meet your needs and guide you through the negotiation and closing process. Get agent referrals from other recent home buyers. Interview at least a few agents, and request references. When speaking with potential agents, ask about their experience helping first-time home buyers in your market and how they plan to help you find a home.

      9. Pick the right type of house and neighborhood

      Weigh the pros and cons of different types of homes, given your lifestyle and budget. A condominium or townhome may be more affordable than a single-family home, but shared walls with neighbors will mean less privacy. Don't forget to budget for homeowners association fees when shopping for condos and townhomes, or houses in planned or gated communities.

      Another option to consider is buying a fixer-upper — a single-family home in need of updates or repairs. Fixer-uppers usually sell for less per square foot than move-in ready homes. However, you may need to budget extra for repairs and remodeling. Renovation mortgages finance both the home price and the cost of improvements in one loan.

      Think about your long-term needs and whether a starter home or forever home will meet them best. If you plan to start or expand your family, it may make sense to buy a home with extra room to grow.

      Check out potential neighborhoods thoroughly. Choose one with amenities that are important to you, and test out the commute to work during rush hour.

      10. Stick to your budget

      A lender may offer to loan you more than what is comfortably affordable, or you may feel pressure to spend outside your comfort zone to beat another buyer's offer. To avoid financial stress down the road, set a price range based on your budget, and then stick to it.

      Look at properties below your price limit to give some wiggle room for bidding in a competitive market.

      11. Make the most of open houses

      Online 3D home tours have become more popular amid the COVID-19 pandemic. These tours let shoppers virtually walk through a home at any hour and observe details that regular photos don't catch. They don't supply all the information in-person visits do — like how the carpets smell — but they can help you narrow the list of properties to visit.

      Open your senses when touring homes in person. Listen for noise, pay attention to any odors and look at the overall condition of the home inside and out. Ask about the type and age of the electrical and plumbing systems and the roof.

      " MORE: How 3D home tours work

      Home purchasing tips

      12. Pay for a home inspection

      A home inspection is a thorough assessment of the structure and mechanical systems. Professional inspectors look for potential problems, so you can make an informed decision about buying the property. Here are some things to keep in mind:

      • Standard inspections don't test for things like radon, mold or pests. Understand what's included in the inspection and what other inspections you might need.

      • Make sure the inspector can get to every part of the house, such as the roof and any crawl spaces.

      • Traditionally the buyer attends the inspection. By following the inspector around you can get a better understanding of the home and ask questions on the spot. If you can't attend the inspection, review the inspector's report carefully and ask about anything that's unclear.

      13. Negotiate with the seller

      You may be able to save money by asking the seller to pay for repairs in advance or lower the price to cover the cost of repairs you'll have to make later. You may also ask the seller to pay some of the closing costs. But keep in mind that lenders may limit the portion of closing costs the seller can pay.

      Your negotiating power will depend on the local market. It's tougher to drive a hard bargain when there are more buyers than homes for sale. Work with your real estate agent to understand the local market and strategize accordingly.

      14. Buy adequate home insurance

      Your lender will require you to buy homeowners insurance before closing the deal. Home insurance covers the cost to repair or replace your home and belongings if they're damaged by an incident covered in the policy. It also provides liability insurance if you're held responsible for an injury or accident. Buy enough home insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding the home if it's destroyed.

      December
      20

      DIY Holiday Crafts You Can Make With Your Family

      Looking for a fun way to build some holiday cheer with your family? Try making one or all of these holiday crafts at home.

      Nothing gets our real estate agents in the holiday spirit quite like DIY holiday crafts. Holiday crafting is not only a great opportunity to spend time with friends and family, but it also is a chance to create some beautiful holiday decor that you can use to liven up your home for the holiday season. If you're looking for some creative ideas before heading out to the craft store, here are our four most popular DIY holiday craft ideas:

      • Make A Holiday Wreath
        Creating a holiday wreath from scratch is easier than you think. For the base, you can simply use floral wire, twigs, or Styrofoam. For the greenery, you can use juniper sprigs, eucalyptus pods, evergreen boughs, or anything you can find. Them, simply collect your greenery into groups and attach it to your base with floral pins, tape, or craft glue. Lastly, top it off with some holiday bows or other decor. Crating a holiday wreath is not only a ton of fun, but it can make a great addition to your home's facade. Some of our favorite Holland homes for sale have some beautiful holiday wreaths on display this year.

      • Craft Some Simple Ornaments
        Christmas tree ornaments are super easy, and there are so many different types of ornaments to make.

        To make a simple ornament, cut your ornament base from cardstock using any holiday pattern you'd like, and then add some paint and glitter to one side. String a nice ribbon through a hole at the top and bead it on the other end.

        Want to take your homemade ornament game to the next level? Replace the cardstock with a jingle bell, snow globe, or engraved wood, and swap out your ribbon for decorative pipe cleaners. Creating holiday ornaments is also a great crafting idea for the kids.

      • Build A Lighted Pinecone Basket
        Lighted pinecone baskets are one of our favorite crafts. Gather a half dozen sturdy pinecones and apply a coat of clear spray paint. Then, add some gold glitter to the wet paint. While the paint is drying, line a small weave basket with some gold string lights, and then place the pinecones inside. Once you plug in the lights, it should look as if the lights are coming through both the pinecones and the weaved basket.

        A beautiful lighted pinecone basket makes for a great mantle piece or can even fit nicely on the kitchen counter.

      • Design Creative Christmas Cookies
        Decorating Christmas cookies is a DIY craft project that's fun for all ages. Bake some delicious gingerbread cookies, butter spritz cookies, chocolate bark cookies — the opportunities are truly endless. Buy some holiday cookie cutters, icing, and candy, so you're ready to decorate as soon as your cookies come out of the oven. 

      Before you start crafting, don't forget to set the holiday scene. Turn on some nice Christmas music, turn on all the lights, and light a fire in the fireplace. It's the perfect way to spend a chilly December afternoon.

      For more tips on holiday decor, contact us today.

      December
      15

      International Tea Day 2021: Date, history and significance

      International Tea Day 2021: Date, history, and significance

      International Tea Day is observed on December 15 in many countries including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Uganda, India, and Tanzania. Tea is an aromatic beverage that has a great demand in the world market.

      International Tea Day 2021: History

      The first ITD was held in New Delhi in India in 2005. However, in 2015, the Indian government proposed to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation to expand International Tea Day across the world.

      The reason for the UN celebrating May 21 as International Tea Day is that the season of tea production begins in May in most of the tea-producing countries.

      About Tea:

      The growing of tea requires intensive care and effort. Thus, to draw the attention of the government and public about the problems besetting tea production and how tea plantations, small tea growers, and consumers are being affected by the global tea trade, every year International Tea Day is observed.

      According to the UN, tea has medicinal value and has the potential of bringing health benefits to people.

      Variations of chai that you should try!

      • Kashmiri Kahwa
      • Ginger Tea
      • Tulsi Tea
      • Sulaimani Tea
      • Ronga Saah
      • Masala Tea
      • Lemongrass Tea
      • Cardamom Tea
      • Lembu Chai
      • Green Tea
      • Gur Gur Chai/Butter
      December
      13

      National Hot Cocoa Day

      National Hot Cocoa Day is Dec. 13, 2017

      If you live in a climate where winter winds tend to send a chill to your bones and put goosebumps on your arms and legs, then you know just the thing that helps warm you up after you've been out in the cold. It's hot cocoa! National Hot Cocoa day is right around the corner on Dec. 13, 2017.

      Did you know there are many health benefits that are associated with cocoa? It's true! According to The Weather Channel's "5 Ways Hot Cocoa is Good for Your Health," cocoa is nutritious, contains antioxidants, promotes heart health, aids in memory, and can make you happy. Let's take a closer look:

      If you love hot coca but want to take it to another level, don't be afraid to add something new to your mug to liven things up. If you have kids, it's likely they will love being able to pick and choose some of these ideas for jazzing up your hot chocolate, suggested from Start Cooking:

      • Caramel
      • Ice cream
      • Cinnamon extract (nutmeg or vanilla extract, too)
      • Orange zest
      • Espresso or coffee
      • Peppermint stick
      • Dark or white chocolate shavings
      • Peanut butter
      • Habanero pepper or hot sauce
      • Hot cherries
      • Coconut milk
      • Maple syrup

      Dec. 13 will be here soon enough and you'll want to be sure you're ready. So grab your favorite blanket, cuddle in to watch a movie, find that festive mug and pour yourself a nice, big cup of hot cocoa.

      To learn about the positive impact children and families are experience due to Michigan State University Extension programs, read our 2016 Impact Reports: "Preparing young children to success" and "Preparing the future generation for success." Additional impact reports, highlighting even more ways Michigan 4-H and MSU Extension positively impacted individuals and communities in 2016, can be downloaded from the Michigan 4-H website.

      December
      10

      Why is Hanukkah so early this year?

      Why is Hanukkah so early this year?

      Hanukkah is an eight-day "festival of lights" that takes place during the winter, oftentimes at or around the same time as Christmas.

      The holiday is also known as the Jewish Festival of Rededication and is often celebrated with the lighting of the menorah, gifts, traditional foods, and games.

      But the date of Hanukkah varies every year based on the Gregorian calendar.

      Here is why that tends to happen every year, and why Hanukkah is so early in 2021.

      The Hebrew calendar matches up with the lunar cycle, so the dates of Jewish holidays on the Gregorian calendar can change from year to year.

      This means Hanukkah can start as early as late November and can even fall as late as late December, according to the Farmer's Almanac.

      Hanukkah, which is defined as "dedication" in Hebrew, begins on the 25th of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar.

      December
      6

      Mortgage and refinance rates today, Dec. 6, 2021

      Mortgage and refinance rates today, Dec. 6, 2021

      Today's mortgage and refinance rates 

      Average mortgage rates just inched lower last Friday. And they ended last week very slightly lower than they started it. But, amid unusual volatility, it was a close-run thing.

      So far this morning, it's looking as if mortgage rates today might rise. But it's especially common now for markets to change direction as the hours' pass.

      Find your lowest rate. Start here (Dec 6th, 2021)

      Current mortgage and refinance rates 

      Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
      Conventional 30 year fixed 3.292% 3.312% Unchanged
      Conventional 15 year fixed 2.529% 2.558% Unchanged
      Conventional 20 year fixed 3.151% 3.185% +0.03% 
      Conventional 10 years fixed 2.64% 2.702% +0.02% 
      30 year fixed FHA 3.307% 4.072% Unchanged
      15 year fixed FHA 2.585% 3.229% Unchanged
      5/1 ARM FHA 2.177% 3.098% +0.01% 
      30 year fixed VA 3.207% 3.401% Unchanged
      15 year fixed VA 3.027% 3.371% +0.03% 
      5/1 ARM VA 2.559% 2.454% +0.01% 

      Should you lock a mortgage rate today?

      My advice for the last week has been to float your rate. And average mortgage rates have dropped over that time. But only very slightly.

      For the future, everything depends on how economically damaging the Omicron variant of COVID-19 turns out to be. (More on that below.) And that's far from clear. So, amid so much uncertainty, the financially conservative might prefer to lock their rates today. Others may prefer to gamble on lower rates turning up by continuing to float.

      I may well have to change my personal rate lock recommendations soon. But, for now, those remain:

      • FLOAT if closing in 7 days
      • FLOAT if closing in 15 days
      • FLOAT if closing in 30 days
      • FLOAT if closing in 45 days
      • FLOAT if closing in 60 days

      Market data affecting today's mortgage rates 

      Here's a snapshot of the state of play this morning at about 9:50 a.m. (ET). The data, compared with roughly the same time last Friday, were:

      • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes fell to 1.38% from 1.45%. (Good for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
      • Major stock indexes were mostly higher soon after opening. (Bad for mortgage rates.) When investors are buying shares they're often selling bonds, which pushes prices of those down and increases yields and mortgage rates. The opposite may happen when indexes are lower. But this is an imperfect relationship
      • Oil prices fell to $67.71 from $68.98 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity 
      • Gold prices inched up to $1,778 from $1,774 an ounce. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) In general, it is better for rates when gold rises, and worse when gold falls. Gold tends to rise when investors worry about the economy. And worried investors tend to push rates lower
      • CNN Business Fear & Greed index — fell to 20 from 26 out of 100. (Good for mortgage rates.) "Greedy" investors push bond prices down (and interest rates up) as they leave the bond market and move into stocks, while "fearful" investors do the opposite. So lower readings are better than higher ones
      Note

      Why am I saying mortgage rates might rise today when so many of those indicators are showing "good" movements? Because most of those movements happened on Friday. And many markets' directions of travel this morning are less friendly.

      Caveats about markets and rates

      Before the pandemic and the Federal Reserve's interventions in the mortgage market, you could look at the above figures and make a pretty good guess about what would happen to mortgage rates that day. But that's no longer the case. We still make daily calls. And are usually right. But our record for accuracy won't achieve its former high levels until things settle down.

      So use markets only as a rough guide. Because they have to be exceptionally strong or weak to rely on them. But, with that caveat, mortgage rates today look likely to rise modestly. But be aware that "intraday swings" (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.

      Find your lowest rate. Start here (Dec 6th, 2021)

      Important notes on today's mortgage rates

      Here are some things you need to know:

      1. Typically, mortgage rates go up when the economy's doing well and down when it's in trouble. But there are exceptions. Read 'How mortgage rates are determined and why you should care
      2. Only "top-tier" borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you'll see advertised
      3. Lenders vary. Yours may or may not follow the crowd when it comes to daily rate movements — though they all usually follow the wider trend over time
      4. When daily rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
      5. Refinance rates are typically close to those for purchases. And a recent regulatory change has narrowed a gap that previously existed

      So a lot is going on here. And nobody can claim to know with certainty what's going to happen to mortgage rates in coming hours, days, weeks or months.

      Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?

      Today

      An epic struggle is underway behind the scenes in key markets.

      On the one side, the economic dangers created by the new Omicron variant are trying to pull mortgage rates lower. On the other, warm inflation and hints from the Federal Reserve that it's likely to accelerate its tightening of its monetary policy are trying to push those rates higher.

      The Fed has been keeping mortgage rates artificially low for about 20 months now. And it's already said that it plans to "taper" (slowly withdraw) that support. But now it's hinting that it may do so more quickly.

      That would also likely see it hike its own interest rates sooner than expected (earlier in 2022), which would have a knock-on effect on all variable-rate loans, including credit card balances. Of course, that also includes rates on existing adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) that are past their fixed-rate introductory period.

      In theory, the Fed plays no part in determining rates for new mortgages. But, in practice, its hiking of its own rates is likely to add more upward pressure on those mortgage rates.

      And the winner is …

      Nobody yet has a clue which side will win this epic struggle. If Omicron hadn't reared its ugly head, mortgage rates would almost certainly have continued to rise in response to inflation, Fed actions and other pressures. And that may still turn out to be the case.

      But it all depends on how economically damaging Omicron turns out to be. And we can't begin to guess that until public health researchers have had a chance to definitively answer three questions about the variant:

      1. How infectious is it? — So far, that's looking bad. Yesterday, The Guardian reported, "Tom Wenseleers, an evolutionary biologist at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, estimates that Omicron can infect three to six times as many people as Delta, over the same time period"
      2. Will Omicron produce better or worse health outcomes than Delta for those who become infected? — The early signs are good. But its initial spread has mostly been among young, healthy people. And we won't know for sure until it reaches the general population
      3. Are vaccines and past infections going to provide adequate protections? — Nobody knows. Many experts think that existing vaccines will help reduce hospitalizations and deaths. But we're weeks away from getting enough data to be sure

      You've spotted the theme: We're just going to have to wait and see.

      What this means for mortgage rates

      The principle couldn't be more straightforward. Mortgage rates tend to rise when the economy's doing well. And fall when it's in trouble.

      Right now, the economy's still recovering strongly. But the investors who largely determine mortgage rates are trying to peer into the future. And they — like the rest of us — can't see the ends of their noses.

      And, until their view becomes clearer, they're likely to respond (sometimes sharply) to passing news stories, government statements and medical research bulletins. So expect lots of volatility. But little sense of direction.

      For more background, read Saturday's weekend edition of this daily report.

      Recently

      Over much of 2020, the overall trend for mortgage rates was clearly downward. And a new, weekly all-time low was set on 16 occasions last year, according to Freddie Mac.

      The most recent weekly record low occurred on Jan. 7, when it stood at 2.65% for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages.

      Since then, the picture has been mixed with extended periods of rises and falls. Unfortunately, since September, the rises have grown more pronounced, though not consistently so.

      Freddie's Dec. 2 report puts that weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 3.11% (with 0.6 fees and points), slightly up from the previous week.

      Expert mortgage rate forecasts

      Looking further ahead, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) each has a team of economists dedicated to monitoring and forecasting what will happen to the economy, the housing sector and mortgage rates.

      And here are their current rate forecasts for the remaining, current quarter of 2021 (Q4/21) and the first three quarters of 2022 (Q1/22, Q2/22 and Q3/22).

      The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie's were published on Nov. 18 and the MBA's on Nov. 22.

      Freddie's were released on Oct. 15. It now updates its forecasts only quarterly. So we may not get another from it until January.

      Forecaster Q4/21 Q1/22 Q2/22 Q3/22
      Fannie Mae 3.1% 3.2%  3.3% 3.3%
      Freddie Mac 3.2% 3.4%  3.5% 3.6%
      MBA 3.1% 3.3%  3.5% 3.7%

      However, given so many unknowables, the whole current crop of forecasts may be even more speculative than usual.

      And none of these forecasters had any idea that Omicron might entirely change the models on which they're based.

      Find your lowest rate today

      Some lenders have been spooked by the pandemic. And they're restricting their offerings to just the most vanilla-flavored mortgages and refinances.

      But others remain brave. And you can still probably find the cash-out refinance, investment mortgage or jumbo loan you want. You just have to shop around more widely.

      But, of course, you should be comparison shopping widely, no matter what sort of mortgage you want. As federal regulator the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says:

      Shopping around for your mortgage has the potential to lead to real savings. It may not sound like much, but saving even a quarter of a point in interest on your mortgage saves you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

      Show me today's rates (Dec 6th, 2021)

      Mortgage rate methodology

      The Mortgage Reports receives rates based on selected criteria from multiple lending partners each day. We arrive at an average rate and APR for each loan type to display in our chart. Because we average an array of rates, it gives you a better idea of what you might find in the marketplace. Furthermore, we average rates for the same loan types. For example, FHA fixed with FHA fixed. The end result is a good snapshot of daily rates and how they change over time.

      December
      6

      Holland Attractions To Get In The Holiday Spirit

      It may be chilly in Holland, but that doesn't mean you should stay cooped up indoors. Here are fun local attractions to check out this winter.

      It's the most wonderful time of the year, especially if you live in the Western Michigan area. There are so many wonderful seasonal attractions and events around beautiful downtown Holland, so it's not hard to get into the holiday spirit. A visit to Holland is certain to brighten your holidays.

      Our real estate agents are busy planning their pre-holiday weekends and here are some top recommendations for local activities and attractions:

      • Griff's IceHouse - 4444 Holland Ave, Holland, MI 49424
        Ice skating is a great way to get into the winter spirit while also getting some good exercise. Glide around one of the two public indoor ice rinks at Griff's IceHouse. Enjoy public skating sessions, skate lessons, or drop-in hockey. It's fun for the whole family. You can also rent out rooms to host your own party. If you love ice skating, you might enjoy living near Griff's, and there are some fantastic Holland homes for sale not too far away.

      • Kerstmarkt - 150 W. 8th Street, Holland MI 49423
        You can get the true European holiday experience right here in Holland. The Kerstmarkt is a festive outdoor market with holiday shops, art, and food. Stop by Friday, December 10 from 3 to 8 or Saturday, December 11 from 9 to 5. Special events include dogsled demos, handbell concerts, and a Sinterklaas procession. Check out the Kerstmarkt website for event times.

      • Shopping Jam - 150 W 8th St, Holland, MI 49423
        Need to get some last-minute shopping done? Holland's annual Shopping Jam takes place on December 18 from 8 to 10 am. Participating local shops and restaurants will all be offering 30% off of one item from 8 to 9 and 25% off of one item from 9 to 10. It's a great way to finish your Christmas list while also supporting our great local businesses. You're sure to find a great deal!

      • Holiday Guided Tours At The Felt Estate - 6597 138th Ave, Holland, MI 49423
        Enjoy a special holiday tour of one of Holland's most historic homes. Inside the Felt Mansion, you'll find over 20 Christmas tree decorations, each representing a different period of the building's history. You'll also see spectacular light displays and festive outdoor scenes. It's truly a sight to see. Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for children and seniors. Buy your tickets online by visiting the Holiday Guided Tours website.

      • Winter Holiday Menu: Cooking Demonstration - 24 E 8th St, Holland, MI 49423
        Are you in charge of your holiday dinner this year? If so, you might consider honing your cooking skills. The Winter Holiday Menu - Cooking Demonstration Class is just the way to do it. The event takes place Fustini's Oils & Vinegars and is hosted by local Chef John VanderJagt. You'll learn to make Butternut Pear Fusion, Roasted Beat Salad, Lavendar Honey Glazed Duck, and Chocolate Hazelnut Torte for dessert. Tickets are $59 per person.

      With so much to do in Holland, it's easy to enjoy the holiday season with your friends and family. Contact us today for more information on local businesses and activities.

      December
      1

      NATIONAL MUTT DAY

      NATIONAL MUTT DAY

      Let's throw this day to the dogs! Not just any dog, though. Today, we toast to the mixed breeds of the world, so raise your water bowls high … because these ones are for the mutts! There are no ifs, and, or mutts about it — December 2 is National Mutt Day, and we're here to celebrate. In fact, we love this day so much, we celebrate it twice a year. The next National Mutt Day is July 31!

      NATIONAL MUTT DAY TIMELINE

      1866
      ASPC is established

      The non-profit organization 'The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is founded to prevent cruelty to animals.

      1968
      The Snickering Hound

      Hanna-Barbera Productions create the fictional dog Muttley, who is a sidekick to cartoon villain Dick Dastardly.

      2005
      National Mutt Day is born.

      Animal welfare advocate Colleen Paige started this holiday to shine a light on the problem of abandoning mixed breed dogs.

      July 31, 2005
      The More the Mutt-rier

      National Mutt Day is also celebrated on July 31 annually.

      NATIONAL MUTT DAY SOCIAL MEDIA BUZZ

      National Mutt Day 2017
      National Mutt Day 2018

      NATIONAL MUTT DAY ACTIVITIES

      1. Volunteer at your local shelter

        Animal shelters are always looking for volunteers, and you'd make a great one! Check-in with your local rescue to see how you can get involved.

      2. Offer to dog-sit for a friend

        Chances are, you've got plenty of mutts in your life. While every dog owner loves their pet, they'd probably still appreciate a day off.

        3. Adopt a mutt

        The ultimate way to celebrate this holiday! If you've been thinking about getting a dog, open up your heart to a mutt and you won't regret it.

        WHY DO WE LOVE NATIONAL MUTT DAY

        1. It encourages the adoption of mixed-breed dogs

          This is what National Mutt Day's all about! While all dogs at shelters need adopting, purebred dogs tend to have much better luck, so mutts often end up being left out to dry.

        2. They've got the best temperaments

          Most purebreds were bred for specific traits, so they're likely to have a more extreme personality. Mutts, on the other hand, have a blend of traits from different sources, which often leads to a more mellow mood. In fact, purebred dogs are more likely than mutts to have genetic disorders, including cataracts and hypothyroidism.3. They're all so different

        1. With all the dog breed combinations out there, there are nearly an infinite amount of possibilities. Just think about it this way: 4-digit combination locks have ten thousand combinations, and there are over 300 breeds of dogs. You can [try to] do the math.

        NATIONAL MUTT DAY DATES

        Year Date Day
        2021 December 2 Thursday
        2022 December 2 Friday
        2023 December 2 Saturday
        2024 December 2 Monday
        2025 December 2 Tuesday
        November
        29

        Dog Park at Van Raalte

        Dog Park at Van Raalte

        Dog Park at Van Raalte

        The Dog Park at Van Raalte - (located within Van Raalte Farm, off the 24th Street entrance) is three acres of fenced-in safety, mature shade trees, and a separate area for small dogs. The Dog Park is open daily 6 am - 11 pm.

        PARK AMENITIES 

        • Enclosed, Heated, Dog Wash Station 
        • Play Structures for Pets
        • Water Fountain for Pets
        • Pet Clean-Up Waste Stations with Trash Bins
        • Year-Round Restrooms 
        • Benches for you to relax
        • Water-Bottle Filling Stations

        Dutch Walking

        November
        17

        Avoid These Hosting Mistakes This Holiday Season

        Seeing all your friends and family over the holidays is rewarding but also a little hectic. Here's how you can make gatherings easy and enjoyable.

        This time of year, you're probably thinking about all the family and friends that will be visiting or staying at your home for the holidays. Problem is, parties haven't been the norm for a while, so you may be as much of a hosting wiz as you used to be. The good news is our real estate agents are pros of holiday hosting and have gathered some tips to help you get back in the swing of making guests feel welcome and comfortable.

        If you're prepping your home you acquired from Holland homes for sale, follow this guide to make the holidays nothing but smooth sailing.

        1. Don't Fuss Over Food
          Complicated, home-cooked dishes are great, as long as you have the time to cook them. On the other hand, you'd be surprised by what you can find at your grocery store that's already prepared or just needs heating up in the oven. If you have some holiday hosting cash set aside, you can even look into catering or restaurant party offers.

        2. Think About Flow
          You need to think about the best way to keep people moving and avoid traffic jams. If it makes sense to move furniture, do it! You can always move things back to the way you like in the new year. Small tables can also be useful if you stock them with refreshments, so you can avoid a crowd in your kitchen.

        3. Make Sure Guests Can See Refreshments
          Just because you tell guests to make themselves at home doesn't mean they will. Placing food, drink, plates, cups, and napkins in plain sight will help guests know they don't have to wait to be served. This will also avoid any unwanted rummaging through your refrigerator and pantry.

        4. Mix Drinks First
          You want to chat and enjoy the company of your guests too, so if you're planning to make some tasty alcoholic drinks, mix them beforehand. That way, guests can pour what they want instead of having to wait for you.

        5. Have A Variety Of Drinks
          Water is great, but you'll probably want some more options. Coffee, soda pop, or flavored soda water make a nice selection. Your guests will appreciate having some choices, and they may want more than one type of drink throughout their stay.

        6. Seating Isn't Everything
          Most people won't mind standing up, especially if they had to drive a ways to get to your home. They'll also be moving around the room and chatting. If you are inviting older friends or family, make sure they have an opportunity to sit down. Usually, as guests depart through the night, more seats open up and offer new spots for people to chat.

        7. Keep The Bathroom Stocked
          Make sure there's plenty of toilet paper, room air spray and matches, soap for washing hands, and clean towels so guests won't have to look for these items.

        8. Mind The Temperature
          Even in winter, it can get stuffy with so many people in your home. If you have the heat, oven, and maybe even a fire going, your guests might find it a little too warm. Crack open a window or two, turn down the thermostat, or turn on your ceiling fans to keep air circulating.

        9. Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help
          Ask a friend or relative to help with the setup and to direct traffic while you answer the door. Hosting friends and family is a lot of work, so any help you receive will make the process that much easier — and more enjoyable!

        Our real estate experts know how to get the most out of your West Michigan home. Contact us today to learn more.

        October
        25

        Warm Up In Holland With These Coffee Spots

        With chilly fall weather in the air, these Holland coffee shops and cafes will keep you warm this season.

        As a place to sit, relax, work, or socialize, coffee shops make for the ultimate community gathering place. Every fall and winter, our real estate agents love spending weekend mornings at cozy, local coffee shops with their favorite warm caffeinated beverage. Luckily, you're never far from a great coffee shop in Holland.

        If you're looking for the best way to start your day or simply need a comfortable place to catch up with friends, these great Holland coffee shops are the perfect destinations:

        • Lemonjello's Coffee - 61 9th St, Holland, MI 49423
          Grab your favorite brewed beverage at this low-key shop that serves a wide range of coffees, juices, salads, sandwiches, and baked goods. Lemonjello's Coffee is a popular yet quiet shop and a great place to get work done while enjoying your favorite drink. Looking to try something new? Check out the Honey Lavender Latte. The shop is open until 6 pm on weeknights and 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

        • Simpatico Coffee Joint - 714 Michigan Ave, Holland, MI 49423 
          Looking for a coffee shop conveniently located near some of these great Holland homes for sale? Then Simpatico Coffee Joint is your place. All roasting is done in small batches locally in Holland, which means the coffee is exceptionally fresh. Enjoy your drink in their comfortable atmosphere or grab a coffee through the drive-thru. Simpatico is open seven days a week.

        • The 205 Coffee Bar - 205 Columbia Ave, Holland, MI 49423
          Delicious coffee, wonderful pastries, and tons of local art — what more could you want in a coffee shop? It's no wonder The 205 Coffee Bar is one of the most popular shops in Holland. This shop is open and breezy in the summer and warm and cozy in the winter. With an extensive menu of coffees, waffles, and baked goods, it's the perfect weekend hangout spot. Stop by Tuesday through Sunday before 1 pm.

        • Ferris Coffee & Nut Co. - 57 E 8th St, Holland, MI 49423
          Friendly service, great beans, and plenty of table space are just a few of the reasons why Ferris Coffee & Nut Co. has become such a Holland staple for coffee lovers. This isn't just a coffee shop; it's also a cafe and store featuring a wide selection of coffees, nuts, and brewing equipment. Stop by for a drink and also do some holiday shopping for the coffee lover in your life. Ferris Coffee is open Monday through Saturday.

        • Joe2Go - 166 E Lakewood Blvd, Holland, MI 49424
          This family-owned and operated shop serves up delicious coffee, espresso, and smoothies. They also have a large menu of flatbreads, wraps, and breakfast sandwiches, and all ingredients are made fresh daily. Joe2Go is great for grabbing coffee or food on the fly, but it's also a good option for breakfast or lunch with a friend. The shop is open Monday through Saturday.

        Coffee shops are an important part of any community, and Holland has no shortage of great options. For more information on local businesses, contact us today.

        October
        12

        All The Different Ways To Use Your Fall Pumpkins

        Pumpkins only come around for a short time each year, so you want to make the most of them. Try out these creative projects for using your fall pumpkins.

        October means pumpkin season. Everywhere you go, there are pumpkins: food, decor, and crafts, and they seem to be everywhere, from shops to front porches. You're sure to spot some while touring beautiful Holland homes for sale. If you want to go above and beyond with your pumpkins this year, our real estate agents have put together a list of some novel ways you can use pumpkins this fall. Sourced from bloggers, designers, decorators, and artisans, these ideas bring out the best in those lovely pumpkins, gigantic or mini, you're bringing home this year.

        1. Spectacular jack-o'-lanterns
          Tired of the same old jack-o'-lantern design? Interesting and fresh designs for carving and decorating unique jack-o'-lanterns abound in magazines, craft books, and the internet. You can go as simple or as wild as your imagination takes you, adding glitter or paint (you can always forgo the carving and paint the pumpkin or draw on it with a felt tip pen), or hot gluing textural pieces. You can help preserve the pumpkin by cutting the bottom off instead of the top, hollowing out the pumpkin thoroughly, and covering the inner walls with petroleum jelly.

        2. Pumpkin candles
          Not a fan of pumpkin-flavored foods? No worries. Enjoy pumpkins by turning them into fun projects, like a  mid-size pie pumpkin or smaller half-pumpkin, transformed into a candle. Just like the jack-o'-lanterns you carve from fresh pumpkins, the candle holder won't last all that long and instead will dry out and shrivel up. So if you want a candle holder that lasts longer, use an artificial pumpkin. You'll also need soy wax flakes, wicks, cinnamon sticks, a pencil to hold the wicks, and if you choose, wax coloring and cinnamon flavor for the scent.

        3. Harvest pumpkin seeds.
          Sure, you can buy these at the store, but it's more fun to show the kids how to harvest and prepare their own tasty and nutritious pumpkin seeds. Harvesting seeds is easy because you can take them out of the pumpkin before carving the face of your jack-o'-lanterns. Place seeds and pulp in a bowl of water or a strainer, and separate the seeds from the pulp. Once you're done, rinse the seeds under cool water. You can rub seeds together to remove any leftover pulp. Lastly, drain the seeds and spread them on a dishtowel to dry.

          Once dry, spread them on a baking sheet, and drizzle with melted butter or cooking oil. Season with salt (or garlic salt to be extra fancy), and roast at 275 degrees till done.

        4. Make pumpkin cookies.
          Canned pumpkin is usually available on grocery store shelves, but when fresh pumpkin is available, it makes cookies that much better. Pumpkinpatchesandmore.org has a recipe for a light pumpkin cookie that you can dress with decorations or simply adding a splash of orange food coloring to the icing. It calls for freshly cooked pumpkin and has illustrated directions for how you can make this ingredient. And don't worry if you have some leftover, since you can freeze your pumpkin puree and use it later for more cookies or something else, like pumpkin pie or muffins.

        5. Pumpkin as a planter.
          The best pumpkin to use for a planter is one that's round and has a flat bottom. Get some flowering bedding plants and soil and you're ready to make your planter! Slice off the top of the pumpkin, then scoop out the innards with a garden trowel (or do it by hand and harvest the seeds). Fill the hollowed pumpkin half to two-thirds full of potting soil, then place the plants in the soil. Fill in any gaps and keep the plants watered. When the pumpkin starts to deteriorate, you can place it in your garden. The pumpkin will provide great nutrients to your garden and can help feed the squirrels.

        Looking for your dream home where you can watch the leaves change every fall? Contact us today to start your home search.

        September
        13

        Prep For Cold Weather With These Home Improvement Projects

        Winter weather can take a toll on your home, but with the right prep, you can easily protect your home before it gets cold.

        Summer is closing fast, and before you know it, fall will be in full swing. It's not too early to wrap up home improvement projects and start preparing our homes for the cold weather that lies ahead. Our real estate agents often recommend preparing our homes for winter in September and early October while temperatures are still mild. However, remembering to take care of everything can be challenging, especially for first-time homeowners, so we put together a short checklist to help you:

        1. Service Your Heating System
          You don't want to wait until winter to find out that your heating system doesn't work or needs maintenance. We recommend servicing your furnace or HVAC system in September. Test your safety controls, ensure the furnace burner and switches are working, and inspect your unit and ductwork for possible leaks. Also, be sure to replace the batteries in your thermostat if necessary, and also swap out your furnace filter if you haven't already done so.

          If you don't have experience with heating systems, be sure to call a professional. Your system should always be inspected annually.

        2. Take Care of Your Lawn Mower
          Once you've done that final mow of the year, be sure your lawn mower or tractor gets the care it needs before storing it away for the winter. Your lawn mower should be cleaned at the end of every season. If any parts are broken or aging, now is the time to make the necessary repairs — don't put it off until next spring.

        3. Repair Your Roof
          Wind, rain, hail, and constant sun exposure can take their toll on your roof over the summer. Therefore, September and October are great times for a roof inspection and a good cleaning. Inspect your shingles or roofing materials for cracks, bends, missing pieces. If you notice problems or have a leak, it's best to take care of it now before you have to deal with snow buildup on your roof.

          Also make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear of debris. We don't recommend actually climbing onto your roof unless you're experienced, so in most cases, it's best to call a professional.

        4. Clean Your Siding
          High winds and storms blow debris against your siding all spring and summer, so by the fall, it can start to look a bit grimy. If you want nice, clean siding like these Holland homes for sale, you'll want to do a thorough cleaning every fall. Depending on your siding, you may be able to clean it yourself with a pressure washer, but calling a professional to take care of it is always an option.

        5. Trim Tree Branches
          Trees with dead branches are likely to come down during the winter, so it's usually a good idea to remove them ahead of time. Use a rope saw or pole saw to trim those hard-to-reach branches. You'll always want to be sure to eliminate any branches that are hanging directly over your roof or chimney, as these could lead to roof damage or even become a fire hazard in the winter.

        6. Service Your Garage Door
          Taking care of your garage door is an easy, but often neglected home maintenance task. Remove any debris from the garage door tracks and lubricate all hinges and springs. Also, wipe down the inside and outside of the door to eliminate any dirt or grime that has accumulated throughout the year.

        Starting winter maintenance ahead of time means you don't have to scramble once holidays roll around. For more tips on home improvement, contact us today.

        August
        30

        Visit West Michigan With These Sights

        Feeling like planning a trip? Look no further than these scenic West Michigan Destinations

        The stunning beauty and culture of West Michigan makes it a popular destination for travelers all over the world. From its beautiful forests to its miles of beaches along Lake Michigan, it's truly one of the best places for outdoor activities. Our area is also filled with rich history, fine dining, and diverse culture. 

        With so much to do, our real estate agents enjoy providing visitors with great recommendations for things to check-out while they're in the area. If you're planning a visit to West Michigan, make sure these five things are on your list:

        • Holland State Park - 2215 Ottawa Beach Rd, Holland, MI 49424
          This 142 acre West Michigan state park is actually one of Michigan's most popular. Holland State Park sits between Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa, making it an ideal spot for swimming, sailing, kayaking, hiking, or simply relaxing on the park's sandy beaches. While you're there, make sure to get a picture of the famous "Big Red" lighthouse. If you enjoy your time at the park, there are some spectacular Holland homes for sale just down the road.

        • The Felt Mansion - 6597 138th Ave, Holland, MI 49423
          One of the most beautiful, historic homes in all of Michigan is found in Laketown Township. This 12,000+ square foot mansion has over 25 rooms across three floors. Built in 1925 by the Dorr Felt, The Felt Mansion has been a staple of West Michigan history for decades. Today, the mansion offers tours, hosts fun events, and is even a popular wedding venue.

        • Tanglewood Winery - 15811 Riley St, Holland, MI 49424
          Some of the finest, tastiest West Michigan wines can be enjoyed at the Tanglewood Winery in Holland. Stop by to enjoy a variety of farm-to-table fruit wines in a relaxing tasting room. If you love their products, you can even join Tanglewood's Wine Club which provides access to exclusively produced small batch wines. Tanglewood is a great local spot for a romantic date or to hang out with friends.

        • Nelis' Dutch Village - 12350 James St, Holland, MI 49424
          Take a step into Dutch History at Nelis' Dutch Village. This one-of-a-kind amusement park resembles an old Dutch village and celebrates the Netherlands' history. You'll find unique shops such a wooden shoe factory and a cheese making shop. There are also outdoor rides and tons of events for the kids. A trip to the Nelis' Dutch Village makes for a fun and educational weekend event.

        • Veldheer Tulip Gardens - 12755 Quincy St, Holland, MI 49424
          After you're done exploring Dutch history, top off the day with a visit to the beautiful Veldheer Tulip Gardens. With over 5 million tulips, it's one of the most beautiful attractions around. It's the perfect place to shop for beautiful perennials, or to simply take a walk around and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The most popular time to visit is late April through Mid-May; however, they also have a ten-acre perennial garden on display from June 1 through Mid-October. The garden features thousands of flowers set amongst traditional Dutch scenery such as windmills and canals.

        West Michigan's beautiful scenery, Dutch influence, and rich history make it one of the most livable places in the mid-west. For more information on local activities, contact us today.

        August
        9

        Find The Perfect Home Decor With These 6 Tips

        Struggling to find decor that matches your style? Here are some tips to jumpstart your interior design.

        One of the hardest parts about interior decorating and design is figuring out your own style and tastes. To further complicate things, our styles and taste are constantly evolving. Some people like everything, which can make it difficult to narrow down your ideas into a single concept. Others are extremely picky and have trouble finding anything that matches their personality. Bottom line — if you struggle to define your own tastes, picking furniture, room colors, and decor can be quite the challenge.

        Luckily, our real estate agents are here to help. We've seen thousands of homes and designs, so we know the importance of individual style. We compiled a list of the top 6 ways to define your own interior style and preferences:

        1. Use Your Closet For Inspiration
          If you're struggling to define your style, start by taking a look in your closet. Your clothing will say a lot about your personal tastes. If you're constantly buying the same colors and styles, then it'd probably be a safe bet to incorporate those elements into your interior design. If your clothes are mostly neutral colors, then you might enjoy neutral tones in your decor.

        2. Check Out Blogs And Magazines
          One of the easiest ways to define things you like and dislike is by checking out blogs, magazines, and websites like Pinterest. If you find something you like, simply bookmark a page or rip out a section of a magazine and start a collection. When it comes to time to design a room, you'll have a bunch of content to use for inspiration.

        3. Look At Other Homes
          Shopping for homes will help you quickly realize what you like and dislike when it comes to home decor. Attend some local open houses, check out online listings, or schedule an appointment with a real estate agent. If you want to see some truly beautiful home decor, check out some of these Holland homes for sale.

        4. Stop By Some High-End Stores
          Browsing some local high-end home decor shops will definitely give you a number of design ideas. You'll undoubtedly notice displays, colors, and styles that you like and dislike. You're not obligated to buy anything, but you can still get a sense of what you like and then seek our similar decor at a less expensive store.

        5. Conduct Some Experiments
          If you'd like to experiment with design concepts in your home, shop at a store with a generous return policy. Buy some furniture or tables that catch your eye, and stage them in your own living room. If you don't like it, take it back and try something else.

        6. Determine What You Don't Like
          If you're having trouble deciding on your style, it might help to start by figuring out what you don't like. If there are certain colors or patterns that are a no-go, thinking about what you dislike can actually be helpful when it comes to evaluating future concepts.

        Interior design and decorating can be tricky, but remember to start with what you know you love. You're the one who will be living in your home, so you should ensure you're surrounded with decor that matches your tastes. For more tips on interior decorating, contact us today.

        January
        12

        Drew Deters Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

        Congrats to our own Drew Deters for receiving the annual Lifetime Achievement Award from our local real estate association. Drew is a past president of WMLAR, has been on many committees, and is our current broker at Five Star. He has had made a difference in this business, and this is a well deserved honor!

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