June 18, 2019
Fireworks Displays …In The Mitten

Fireworks displays are one of our favorite summer activities! Whether you plan to celebrate this summer with a small back yard sparklers or go all out with a large professional display, fireworks are sure to please. And if you don’t want to do all of the work? Check out some of these recommended displays happening in Michigan this month and next!

Detroit
The Ford Fireworks Detroit

Website Here
June 24th
Fireworks at 9:55pm

White Pigeon
White Pigeon Days

Website Here
June 29th
Fireworks at dusk

Sturgis
Sturgis Fest Fireworks

Website Here
June 29th
Fireworks at dusk, around 10pm

Mackinaw City
All American 4th of July

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks at dusk

Bay Harbor
Fireworks and Steel Drum Band

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks at dusk

Grandville
4th of July Celebration

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks begin at 10pm

Saugatuck
Fourth of July Waterfront Festival

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks begin at dusk.

Battle Creek
Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks begin at 10:30pm

Lansing
4th of July Parade and Fireworks

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks begin after concert, which starts at 8pm

Mason
Fourth of July Celebration

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks begin at 10pm

Bay City
Bay City Fireworks Fesitval

Website Here
July 4th, 5th and 6th
Fireworks at 10pm

Grand Rapids
Amway Family Fireworks

Website Here
July 6th
Fireworks begin at 10:30

 

A small tip from your REALTOR® friends and neighbors: remember when doing your own fireworks displays to abide by all laws, policies, and procedures for your neighborhood, city/town, and county. Also be respectful of those with small children or pets that may not enjoy fireworks displays!

June 13, 2019
5 Severe Weather Tips for Homeowners

In Michigan we don’t often have to worry about many severe weather disasters – we’re lucky to avoid tsunamis and hurricanes, and tornadoes, fires and earthquakes are few and far between. But especially during the spring and summer months, the chance for thunderstorms, hail, damaging winds, and the occasional tornado do increase. So, what to do when those severe weather patterns strike? We’ve got the top tips from REALTORS® to keep your family and your home safe.

Make emergency plans for your home.
Ready.gov has an amazing guide for making an emergency plan for your home. They break it down in to four easy steps:

  1. Discuss key questions: How will I receive emergency alerts? What is my shelter plan? What is my evacuation route? What is my family communication plan?
  2. Consider specific household needs: ages, access needs, barriers, dietary needs, religious considerations, pets, etc.
  3. Fill out a Family Emergency Plan
  4. Practice your plan with the family/household

Research Insurance Options
It surprises so many homeowners every year, but your current home insurance policy may not cover you in the event of some natural disasters and weather events. Consider if your home is in a flood zone, if the area is prone to high winds, etc, and address this accordingly with your insurance company. If you’re ready to explore other insurance options, your REALTOR® is an excellent resource!

Create an Emergency Kit
In the event of an emergency, you won’t always have time to gather necessary items, severe weather often strikes fast. Taking the time now to create an emergency kit will save you precious moments and could help to keep your family safe. We recommend these essentials:

  • Non-perishable foods – ideally a 3-day supply for each person
  • Filtered or bottled water – ideally a gallon per person per day for at least 3 days
  • Lantern, candles, or flashlights
  • Battery powered or hand crank radio
  • Extra batteries (consider for flashlights or cell phones)
  • Basic tools to turn off utilities
  • Cell Phone chargers
  • Local maps
  • First aid kit
  • Blankets or extra clothing

Also consider your individual needs – if medication is necessary, do not forget to include this. Copies of important family documents can also come in handy – be sure they are protected from the elements. And finally, if you have pets, do not forget their essentials!

Clean Up and Seal Your Home
Especially in the event of high winds or rain and flooding, cleaning up and sealing your home from the outside can provide a lot of protection. You want to inspect and clean out all gutters and downspouts to allow water to properly flow away from your home. Seal small cracks with caulking to prevent water from getting in through those areas. Check trees for signs of weakness – it may be best to remove them before they can come down on or around your home.

After Severe Weather

  • When severe weather has passed, you may need to process, clean up, or restore your home. Be sure to consult professionals when appropriate and take necessary safety precautions.
  • Always assume any down power lines are live and thus dangerous.
  • Contact your utilities to turn off or restore services as needed like natural gas, electricity and water.
  • Do not venture in to flood waters, even if they appear shallow or safe.

We hope that severe weather does not strike, but in the event it does, remember, your REALTOR® is a great resource for you to find professionals that can help rebuild or repair, to find community opportunities, and ultimately, to be a sounding board for you on all matters of your home.

June 4, 2019
Ice Cream Parlors …In the Mitten

We don’t know about you, but when the weather gets warmer, we crave ice cream! Michigan has so many iconic ice cream flavors, like Superman, a wild blue, red and yellow ice cream. We tried one from Kilwin’s that had Blue Moon, Red Pop and lemon flavors.  Another favorite is Mackinac Island Fudge from Hudsonville Dairy, a West Michigan creamery – it has delicious fudge chunks and butter fudge in a vanilla ice cream. Can you say “Yum?!”

Tucked away in every corner of Michigan, there are the cutest little ice cream shops serving some of Michigan’s best scoops. Here’s some of our favorites:

 

LANSING MICHIGAN AREA
Scoopy Doo’s – Dewitt, MI

126 N Bridge St, DeWitt, MI

Visit Scoopy Doo’s brand-new digs on Bridge St. in Dewitt – they just re-opened Memorial Weekend! We love the fun Scooby Doo theme and their Hudsonville Ice Cream selection.

 

EASTERN MICHIGAN AREA
Creamy Freeze – Commerce, MI

602 W Commerce Rd, Commerce, MI

Featuring both soft serve and hand scooped ice cream, Creamy Freeze is a local favorite! They feature new flurry flavors every week, like Samoa girl scout cookie, brownie fudge, and pecan praline caramel.

 

SAGINAW MICHIGAN AREA
Mooney’s Ice Cream and Cakes – Saginaw, MI

5716 State St., Saginaw, MI

Mooney’s is a Saginaw area favorite for a long time – it has been in business for over 20 years! Stop in a pick up a triple scoop sundae or try one of their unique ice cream cakes.

 

NORTHERN MICHIGAN AREA
Kilwin’s Chocolates – Petoskey, MI

316 Howard Street, Petoskey, MI

The original Kilwin’s opened its doors in Petoskey in 1947. From their delicious ice cream flavors, to their amazing chocolate treats, their slogan really says all you need to know about the stores: “Sweet in every Sense since 1947.”

 

GATEWAY MICHIGAN AREA
Sand Lake Party Store – Nottawa, MI

25595 M 86, Nottawa, MI

This one is truly a hidden gem! The Sand Lake area party store is home to all sorts of goods (can you say “24 flavors of bratwursts”?!) but they are also known for their HUGE servings of ice cream. Try a “bellyache” – that’s 5 giant scoops – of their most popular flavor, Hudsonville chocolate!

 

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN AREA
Sherman’s Dairy Bar – South Haven, MI

1601 Phoenix Street, South Haven, MI

In South Haven’s shopping district, Sherman’s Dairy Bar is a quaint little community staple. Serving up Sherman’s Ice Cream, which opened in 1916, their ice cream is known for the real ingredients that make up their flavors. Check out the strawberry – you’ll see real whole berries in there!

 

GRAND RAPIDS MICHIGAN AREA
Frosty Boy – Cascade, MI

6886 Cascade Rd SE, Grand Rapids, MI

Situated right in the cute downtown Cascade area, Frosty Boy is everything we need from a neighborhood ice cream parlor. They have a few snacks, some dinner items like hot dogs and broaster chicken, and of course, ice cream! Also serving up Michigan’s own Hudsonville ice cream, this is a must stop when in the area.

 

May 28, 2019
The Pitfalls of For Sale by Owner (FSBO)

Especially in the spring real estate market, selling your home as For Sale By Owner (FSBO) might feel like a no-brainer. Post to Zillow, easily receive an offer, and avoid a REALTOR® commission. What could go wrong?

Actually, quite a few things could go wrong, which is why we recommend starting with a qualified Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate REALTOR®. If your home is currently listed FSBO, you might recognize some of the problems below, or if you are thinking about FSBO, here’s the top things to be look out for.

Pricing Your Home Correct for the Market

As a homeowner, you know what you paid for your home, and you might have a small idea, thanks to Instant Home Value tools like Zestimate, of what it could be worth. But all instant home value tools are using historical data, which means you could be getting outdated info. Only a REALTOR® has real-time, live market knowledge to accurately price your home. You could risk over-pricing your home and missing well-qualified buyers, or even worse, you could risk underpricing your home and leave valuable money on the table.

Advertising Your Home

Sure, you can publish your home For Sale By Owner on Zillow. But on average, prospective homebuyers are looking at over 15 sources when house hunting. If you put all of your eggs in one basket, you are hoping buyers will see your home and like it enough to take a gamble. A professional REALTOR® will put together a robust marketing plan for your home, including syndication to the top 40-50 real estate websites in the country, a large network of REALTOR® colleagues (who all have buyers), and will showcase the features of your home that are most likely to get you a favorable result.

Open Houses, Showings and Offers

It is not uncommon in this market for a new home for sale to get outrageous traffic in the first day it is listed. That may sound like a great thing – more eyes = more offers, right? But remember, as a FSBO, you are responsible for scheduling the showings, coordinating with multiple buyer’s agents, accepting and evaluating offers with complicated clauses and addendums. All while likely still trying to work your normal schedule, coordinate family life, or relax in your home. A REALTOR® takes all of those struggles away from a homeowner, making your selling process so much easier and more streamlined.

Negotiations

We hear at least once a week a story about the listing that “got 50 offers in the first 24 hours” – and as a FSBO, all of those offers are coming directly to you. What’s the difference between Offer A and Offer B, both at full price, both with closing costs covered by the seller, both with inspection waived? A REALTOR® will help you evaluate each offer with your end goal in mind, whether that is the offer with the most money at the end of the day, the offer that gets you into your new home the quickest, or whatever your home selling goals may be. And what if you only get a few offers, and they aren’t what you had hoped? A skilled negotiator can help you counter those offers without skipping a beat.

Have we convinced you of the pitfalls you can avoid by using a trusted REALTOR®? Search for a Michigan Real Estate agent here and get started with the process today.

May 22, 2019
Farmers’ Markets …In the Mitten

 

For this week’s “…In the Mitten” feature, we’re covering Farmers’ Markets! Farmers’ Markets are a summertime staple in Michigan. Professional farmers, home-growers, and often times craft-makers get to show off their skill weekly, and the market is a community hotspot in just about every corner of this awesome state! Here’s our favorite farmers markets that are a must see this summer.

 

Eastern Michigan – Plymouth Community Farmers’ Market

The Gathering – 736 Penniman Ave, Plymouth MI

Photo Credit: Plymouth Township, Michigan

Tucked in the adorable downtown area of Plymouth, MI is the Plymouth Community Farmers’ Market. Held on Saturdays, you can stop by, grab some fresh produce, and have a picnic in Kellogg Park, or stop by any of the other local shops all in walking distance.

Saturdays, 8:00am – 1:00pm

May 4th – October 26th

Website

 

Saginaw Area – Downtown Saginaw Farmers’ Market

203 S. Washington Avenue (M-13), Saginaw, MI

Photo Credit: City of Saginaw MI

Farmers’ Markets have been running for over 100 years in the Saginaw area. The current version features over 50 vendors 4 days per week and offers an awesome place for community engagement in the heart of downtown Saginaw. We love their website too – it features all sorts of great resources and education about fresh food from their vendors.

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10:00am – 3:00pm

Saturdays, 9:00am – 1:00pm

May 24th – October 30th

Website

 

Northern Michigan – Cheboygan Farmers’ Market

401 N Main St, Cheboygan, MI

Photo Credit: Cheboygan Farmers Market Facebook

Located at Festival Square in downtown Cheboygan is the Cheboygan Farmers Market. Rain or shine come visit this quaint market featuring 10-20 quality Cheboygan area vendors. You can pick up fresh produce of course, but there are also craft goods like hand spun yarn, jams and jellies, and fresh baked goods.

Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8:00am – 1:00pm

June through October

Website

 

Lansing Area – East Lansing Farmers’ Market

Valley Court Park, 280 Valley Ct, East Lansing, MI

Photo Credit: East Lansing Farmers’ Market Facebook

Steps away from the MSU campus, the East Lansing Farmers’ Market is for growers only – meaning you get some of the best farm grown produce and products that Michigan has to offer! Occasionally, you can also find artisan goods, flowers and more! The market accepts SNAP/Bridge cards, and the Double Up Food Bucks initiative for those that qualify.

Sundays, 10:00am – 2:00pm

June 2nd – October 27th

Website

 

Grand Rapids Area – Fulton Street Farmers’ Market

1145 East Fulton Street, Grand Rapids, MI

Photo Credit: Fulton Street Farmers Market Facebook

The Fulton Street Market is actually one of the few farmers’ markets in Michigan that is open almost year round. Featuring an indoor market and an outdoor market, Fulton Street has dozens of vendors each week offering produce, dairy products, meat and eggs, farm products, baked goods, beverages, artisan products and more!

Main Market: Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 8:00am – 2:00pm

May 4th – October 26th

Artisan Market: Sundays, 11:00am – 3:00pm

June 9th – September 29th

Website

 

Southwestern Michigan – Kalamazoo PFC Farmers’ Market

1204 Bank Street, Kalamazoo, MI,

Photo Credit: Kalamazoo PFC Farmers’ Market

Featuring over 100 businesses each week, the Kalamazoo Farmers’ Market has everything you want. Conveniently located in downtown Kalamazoo near Upjohn Playground, the Farmers’ Market has a central pavilion with restrooms, often features live music or entertainment and is the place to be on summer weekends! Visit for the fun activities, entertainment, or Food Truck Alley, and stay for the amazing home grown products.

Saturdays, 7:00am – 2:00pm

May through November

Tuesdays, 8:00am – 1:00pm and Thursdays, 2:00pm – 6:00pm

June through October

Website

 

Gateway Area, Southern Michigan – Three Rivers Farmers’ Market

Market Pavilions at Scidmore Park, 138 West Michigan Avenue, Three Rivers, MI

Photo Credit: The Huss Project

Located in beautiful Scidmore Park, the Three Rivers Farmers’ Market is not only an amazing place to find fresh produce in the summer months, but they are a great community resource for all things Three Rivers. Visit their Facebook page to see info about local crafters, businesses and resources for residents. They also host Summer Movies in the Park, which sounds so fun!

Thursdays, 2:00pm – 7:00pm

June 20th – September 19th

Facebook Page

 

May 14, 2019
Warm Weather Homeowner Tips

In Michigan, we are finally having some consistently warm weather, so you know what that means: it’s time to ready your home for those rising temperatures!  Check out our tips below for quick and easy ways to make sure you stay cool and comfortable in the warm temps.

Get an A/C Tune Up

We know all too well that a nice summer day can quickly derail if the A/C unit isn’t working. So, protect yourself from sweltering temps by getting an A/C tune up. Many local companies offer tune up specials this time of year. Especially if your air conditioning unit was fully exposed to the elements, it’s good to have a professional take a look and make sure all fluids are still present, lines are in good condition and fans are functional.

Tune Up or Check Lawn Equipment

Especially if your lawn equipment was stored outdoors or in an outdoor shed all winter, now is the time to get it out and cross your fingers as you tug on that pull cord. Your lawn equipment will thank you (and you will be so much happier) if you check your oil levels, replace with new gasoline (if needed) and clean out any debris that may be left from last season.

Clean your Windows and Screens

This one is less for actual functionality, and more just quality of life! Enjoying those gorgeous summer views from clean windows is sure to improve your mood each day. Plus, cleaning your screens can help with indoor air quality, can help keep mold growth down and can save time and money on repeat window cleaning.

Inspect Outdoor Plumbing

As you clean up your lawn, add the extra step to carefully inspect your outdoor plumbing. It may be rainy enough now that the lawn doesn’t need watering, or your plants are already growing like weeds, but inspecting now can save you valuable time when you do need to water the lawn, fill up the pool, or play in those sprinklers! This may be a great time to call in a professional if you do see anything wrong.

Plan for Summer Days Outside

Do you have a pool, playscape or outdoor patio furniture? Now is the time to get those items out, clean them and then relax. If you do have a pool or outdoor water feature, make sure you follow proper guidelines or consult a professional. For playscapes and patio furniture, use this time to tighten any loose screws, check for anything that could splinter or cut, and oil any chains or attachments if needed.

Clean Out the Mudroom

Finally, we can say goodbye to the winter jackets and snow boots. Assess the quality of each family member’s clothing – is it time to retire the old jacket from the 90’s? Do the kiddo’s snow boots that they used once not fit anymore? Donate whatever can be and toss the rest. Remember, you can use Marie Kondo’s tips to tackle the mudroom. Then bring out your sneakers, flip flops, light jackets and hats!

 

Feeling like that backyard or outdoor space is not the right fit anymore? Springtime means the spring real estate market, so we have tons of available homes to choose from! Start your search today at bhhsmi.com.