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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
Regardless of your relationship status, Valentine's Day is the perfect opportunity to show love for those you care about the most. There's no better way to do so than with a sweet gift.
If you're looking to get out and do some last-minute Valentine's Day shopping, finding the right gift is easy in Grand Haven. We have so many wonderful local businesses serving up delicious chocolate, candy, baked goods, and more. Here are seven recommendations from our real estate agents:
Finding the perfect Valentine's Day gift isn't always easy, but you can never go wrong with something sweet. Shopping local is the best way to find a great gift while supporting local businesses. Contact us today for more information on Grand Haven.
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:
It's not hard to find classic American cuisine in our nation's heartland. Contact us today for more information on the Holland area.
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.
" MORE: How to save money for a house
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
" MORE: Get preapproved for a mortgage
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.
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.
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.
" MORE: How to make an offer on a house
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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 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.
Looking for your dream home where you can watch the leaves change every fall? Contact us today to start your home search.
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:
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.
Our real estate agents love how much there is to do in Grand Haven. No matter what time of year it is, there's always a fun activity going on in the community. That's why we wanted to share some of the exciting things you can do this year. If you're planning on touring Grand Haven homes for sale, consider spending a day in the city for one of these summer events!
Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival
This is a tradition that dates all the way back to 1924. Then just a Coast Guard personnel picnic featuring rowing competitions, the festival has grown into the most exciting event in Grand Haven! Today's festival sees some top shows and performances on the waterfront stage: 2021's event boasts tribute performances of Michael Buble' and Bob Seger, the Grand City Skiers Ski Show, cardboard boat races, and more! There are also plenty of other events, many of which are free, like the Coast Guard Craft Show and Art Fair, Kids Day, Cruise In Car Show, and the Parade of Ships. If this is your first time visiting Grand Haven, get a sense of how great the community is by planning your trip around the Coast Guard Festival. You'll have a wonderful time, and you'll be supporting the heroic men and women who have made such an impact on Grand Haven. The festival starts July 30th and continues through August 8th.
Want to see more of Grand Haven? Here are some other ways you can experience the city:
Looking for more to do in Grand Haven and other West Michigan communities? Contact us today to start your home search.