I often have people call me to inquire about rental properties. It is common in large cities for Realtors to help people find rentals, but it is not really the case in Grand Rapids. I do not have any special access to rental property information like I do with homes for sale. Although I do not work with renters, here are some tips and resources that will help you in your search.
The first place most people will start to look is online. Here are some good rental websites to check out:
1) zillow.com- Zillow has been an increasingly popular place to list rentals. The website is easy to use and allows for lots of photos. Over the last few years, it seems to be the best place to look.
2) apartments.com- Much like Zillow, Apartments has a great website that is easy to use, has good search functionality, and multiple photos of properties. A popular site that has a lot of inventory.
They say home ownership is the American dream. Do you desire to own your own home? Or maybe you are content with renting and less responsibility for maintenance? As long as you plan to stay in the same area for an extended period of time, owning makes a lot more sense than renting. Here are the top 4 reasons why paying a mortgage is better than paying rent.
Did Someone Die in this House?
Here is an interesting NBC New article about deaths in real properties and how it affects their value. In Michigan, it is not necessary for a seller to disclose a death in the house. The law reflects the idea that someone dying in a house does not affect its value. That doesn't mean that potential buyers are not concerned about it. Now there is a website consumers can check diedinhouse.com. I wonder how accurate it is? Before paying for a search at this site, the first step would be to ask the seller the question outright. Legally, they cannot lie to a direct question. If someone still has doubts or concerns, then I guess the website would be the next step.
Over the past few weeks, I completely refurbished my deck. I did not rebuild the entire thing, but rather replaced all of the top boards. The frame was still in good shape, but the top boards were cracking and some of them were starting to rot. I would like to share some of the things I learned:
LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Buildings that are LEED certified are designed to be efficient in heating and cooling. Low flow toilets and faucets help limit water usage. Low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint prevents further ozone deterioration.
The idea of green building is to use our resources more efficiently. The goal is sustainability, which is the ability to balance what we consume with what we produce. A great example of a sustainable resource is bamboo. Bamboo has become a popular choice for flooring in recent years. Because it is durable, yet grows quickly, it is a resource that will not disappear over time.
Does Staging Really Matter?
Does Staging Really Matter? The short answer is ABSOLUTELY!!
The goal of prepping and staging a property is to make everything look so nice and perfect, that potential problems do not even cross a buyer's mind. The buyer thinks, "wow, this looks so great, they must take such good care of this home." How often do you hear someone say after they purchase a home, "this house just gave us a feeling. We knew it was the right one." The buying decision is generally more emotionally driven than logically. People respond to colors, smells, and feelings. Experts say a buyer makes a decision of whether or not they like a home in the first thirty seconds. Thirty seconds is not long, and that is your only chance to make a first great impression.
Step 1: Dig a 7” deep (or more depending on the height of the wall) trench where the retaining wall will be located. Set up a level line using stakes and string along the entire length of the wall, near ground level above the trench. Fill the trench with about 5” compacted gravel. Fill in another 1” with leveling sand. Be sure to follow your level line- this is the most important thing to ensure the retaining wall will look nice and be long lasting.
Step 2: Now that you have a level base to start, place retaining wall blocks in their approximate places. The first row of blocks should be slightly below the ground line. Each individual block will need to be leveled. Use a rubber mallet to pound on the blocks and make adjustments. Check the level left to right and front to back. Once the entire first row of blocks is level, the project is almost finished!
Alger Heights is generally the area between Eastern and Kalamazoo, and Burton and 28th street. My favorite thing about this neighborhood is the architecture. All of the houses are so varied in style and full of character. Most of the homes in this area were built between the 1920s and the 1940s.
Driving past, you'll see brick, arches, leaded glass windows, and other nice architectural details. No two homes look alike. The residents must realize they have cute houses, because many have equally cute yards to match. I always see people outside and walking around in this neighborhood. With so many shops close by, it has great walkability. Heritage Hill aside, this is one of the more interesting and well maintained older neighborhoods in Grand Rapids.
Food wise, this is one of the best Mexican restaurants in the Grand Rapids area. In Wyoming, this place gets lost in the midst of the many restaurants on Rivertown Parkway. It is tucked away in a small strip mall near Walgreens, on the SW corner of 44th and Ivanrest. The atmosphere is a little lacking at this location, but the food is fabulous.
There is a large selection of items on the menu. My personal favorite dish is the Texas taco salad. Anything prepared "Texas style" comes with a trio of grilled chicken, steak, and shrimp. Combine this with awesome guacamole and a crispy shell, you have Mexican food at its best. To top it all off, they serve 44oz margaritas! I like places like El Arriero, La Cantina, Beltline Bar, and The Dungeon, but El Burrito Loco tops them all. There are also locations on Alpine and near Knapp's Corner. Check one of them out!
April is Fair Housing Month
Federal fair housing laws prohibit discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of homes based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. Steering is one of the biggest issues that affects fair housing.
Steering is when a Realtor guides a home buyer toward or away from a particular neighborhood based on race. The problem is sometimes this happens subconsciously and not on purpose. People can be discriminatory without even realizing it. In order to battle this problem, Realtors regularly take fair housing education so it is always on the forefront of our minds.
Realtors cannot legally comment on the safety of a neighborhood or about the racial composition of a neighborhood. We can suggests resources such as the US Census Bureau, and other sources of information for people and crime data, but we cannot be that resource because everyone has different perceptions and biases.
Great info on everything real estate.