Spring is here, and when buyers look at homes for sale Grand Rapids and the surrounding areas are certainly hot right now. When you’re ready to sell your home, how do you make it stand apart from other Grand Rapids homes for sale? And where do you even get started with all the little things that need to be done? Below is a handy checklist to keep in mind:
When you start preparing your Grand Rapids home for sale, one of the first steps is to find out where your home should be priced in the current market. Contact Bellabay Realty for a free home valuation today, and check “find a real estate agent” off your list too!
These days, it’s a fact that most Grand Rapids homes for sale are first seen online. A potential buyer may search for a particular area or number of bedrooms, but the thing that actually attracts buyers to take a look at your Grand Rapids home for sale is the pictures.
Your real estate agent will normally take pictures of your home for marketing, showing it in its best light. But most agents are happy to include any pictures you would like to provide for your listing. More pictures means more of a selection to show off your home’s features! And if you’re in the home every day, you’ll see it in all its best moments.
If you’d like to supplement your agent’s efforts, use the best camera available to you, which may be the camera in your phone or a digital SLR. The best pictures are from a camera over 5 megapixels, with a tripod if you have one.
For interior shots:
When you take exterior shots:
Buyers love pictures! When you’re selling your home, don’t be shy about practicing your amateur photography skills. And when you are ready to sell your beautiful home, contact Bellabay Realty, and we’ll help you see the value of your home.
If you have decided to become a real estate agent, congratulations! In addition to all the other things you’ll learn about a real estate career, you may also want to begin considering whether and how to specialize. The first choice to make is whether you will sell commercial or residential property. Even within residential property, there are a surprising number of ways to specialize in your career, and below are just a few:
Once you have decided how to specialize, consider what certifications may be available to boost your credibility for that market. Possible certifications to pursue include ABR (buyers’ agent), NAR’s Green Designation, SRS (sellers), SRES (seniors), RSPS (resort property), and SFR (short sales and foreclosure). Believe it or not, there are more! Check with the National Association of REALTORS for a more comprehensive list.
Beyond that, there are other ways to develop a niche for yourself. Perhaps you’re passionate about golf, or speak a foreign language, or you have a lot of connections at a university or hospital where a lot of people need relocation services. Any of these could be a way to specialize by understanding the particular needs of a group of potential clients.
You can always combine a couple of specialties and become the executive home relocation specialist for a West Michigan community, or the first-time buyer specialist for a certain school district. And if you specialize, you don’t necessarily have to turn away business! You can simply use it as a way to focus your efforts when marketing yourself.
Whatever your specialization in your real estate career, it gives you a way to market and differentiate yourself – in your email signature, your website, your business cards, and in which publications make sense for your market. If you’re interested in learning more about real estate careers or specialization, contact Bellabay Realty today.
Photo: Hang in There
When it’s time to move and sell your home, you may find yourself a little torn about leaving your beautiful abode. After all, most homes contain some wonderful memories. And you may have invested a lot of personality, effort, and – let’s face it – money into your home over the years.
At Bellabay Realty, we have worked with many sellers in communities around West Michigan – Caledonia, Middleville, Hopkins, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, you name it. There are certain things sellers sometimes do to accidentally sabotage their home selling goal and a real estate agent’s efforts. These mistakes usually stem from the seller’s affection for their home, and the difficulty of looking at your own place with a critical eye.
How do some sellers make it hard to sell a home?
Most home sellers bend over backwards to do all they can to sell their home. But there are some things people do inadvertently that make their home take longer to sell than necessary. The honest, frank opinions of your real estate agent are essential to helping you sell your home quickly and for the best price. When you’re ready to sell your home, contact Bellabay Realty at 616-871-9200.
Photo: Travis Mortz
Whether you are looking for a home or looking to sell your home in West Michigan, for many people, the first step is to make sure you know the selling points of West Michigan communities. This is certainly true for home buyers who are not familiar with the area or who have not yet decided on a community where they want to live. It’s also true for home sellers, who may be marketing their home to people from outside the area, and may get a boost from the attractive features of the community that we come to take for granted.
With my experience in the real estate market around West Michigan, I can say that there are definitely trends that attract people to many of our local communities. These community features affect home prices, home saleability, and the market of buyers who will be attracted to a given home. Here are just a few examples of communities around West Michigan:
Caledonia – Known for its highly rated schools, Caledonia is both close to the amenities of Grand Rapids and far enough to have its own distinctive community.
Middleville – Middleville, which is located along M37 between Grand Rapids and Hastings, offers vibrant small town life a short commute from one of the largest cities in Michigan. From the Thornapple River to the Yankee Springs Recreation Area, there are many opportunities for recreation around Middleville. A charming village with an active farmer’s market and a slate of events year-round helps build a community.
Hopkins – Conveniently located along US-131 between Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and the lakeshore, Hopkins is a great place for working families who may commute to different cities. Hopkins offers a friendly village and a rural atmosphere for people who either like to get away from it all or may be interested in hobby farming, outdoor sports, lake recreation, and more.
Kalamazoo – Kalamazoo in recent years has become a hub for people attracted to the festivals, colleges, and progressive ideas of a cool city. With many walkable suburbs and nearby residential areas, Kalamazoo is an energetic city with a neighborhood to suit any lifestyle. Kalamazoo Schools are nationally known for the Kalamazoo Promise, one of the most generous scholarship programs in the nation.
Muskegon – With its location along the shore of Lake Michigan, Muskegon is an attractive and diverse city close to sugar sand beaches and miles of wilderness trails. The city of Muskegon offers a host of shopping, dining, and entertainment options, as well as a long-established economic center.
Grand Haven – Grand Haven, known for its musical fountain and Coast Guard Festival in the summer, also lies along Lake Michigan. Grand Haven is enlivened in the summer by the influx of summertime visitors, and people who choose to make a home here enjoy the year-round beauty of the lake.
That’s really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to these West Michigan communities, but the point is that all of these features attract buyers. Whether you’re looking to buy a home or sell your home, it pays to work with a real estate agent experienced in your market. Contact Bellabay Realty at 616-871-9200.
If you’re ready to sell your home, you may wonder what the boom/bust of the past several years means for you. The good news for sellers is that 2013 has seen a return to a more normal real estate market. Regardless, when it’s time to sell your home, there are a few valuable lessons that can be taken from recent history:
Set realistic expectations. During the housing bubble, people bought a home expecting the value to rise 5-10% within a couple of years. If the housing bubble taught us anything, it’s that a home is more than just an investment. Potential buyers will most likely be looking at your home with an eye towards long-term investment.
Renovations may not pay. During the housing bubble, many people engaged in “flipping” homes by buying a fixer-upper, renovating it, and reselling. Now that we’re returning to a more normal market, there is a lot less “flipping” going on. Most homeowners just invest in renovations for their own comfort in the home, not expecting to recoup their total investment. When you think about selling, you can always check out Remodeling Magazine’s annual “Cost vs. Value Report” to see which renovations have the greatest return on investment in our area. In most cases, once you decide to sell your home, major renovations will not return the same amount that you invest in them, although in some cases – say, if the kitchen or bathroom is really dated – it could make a home easier to sell.
There is always some level of buyer demand. For most of 2013, the pace of home sales has been very strong. But even during the slowest times, homes were still selling. An appealing home in the right price range will always sell. You just can’t time the housing market, because it’s always a guess whether you’re selling at the absolute high point or buying at the absolute low point.
It’s important to price it right. In any market, it just make sense to price your home competitively and accurately from the beginning. During the housing boom, many people put their home on the market at some inflated price, sometimes waiting for the market to catch up. And after the bubble burst, some people wanted to put their homes on the market for what they paid during the highest point, and ended up losing their homes. Tricky pricing strategies may easily backfire, when a home stays on the market much longer than it should.
You need an experienced real estate agent you can trust! One good thing for sellers is that a real estate agent who has been through the ups and downs of the recent real estate market will undoubtedly have valuable insights gained through a wide range of experiences. Ideally your agent should have experience with the market in your area. When you’re ready to sell your home, whether it’s in Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Grand Haven, Caledonia, Middleville, Hopkins, or the Grand Rapids area, contact Bellabay Realty at 616-871-9200.
If you haven’t bought or sold a home in the past 10 years or so, you may be surprised how much real estate has changed. Of course the Internet has come to play a much larger role, as most buyers begin their search online. However, the vast majority of real estate transactions still involve real estate agent, and still require as much finesse and determination as ever.
When you hire a real estate agent, you will naturally choose someone you can have confidence in and trust to sell your home. Having been involved in real estate throughout West Michigan for a number of years, I can offer a few tips for the best ways to use your real estate agent to accomplish your goals and make your partnership as effective as possible:
If you’re like most people, you will only be in a situation to sell your home a few times within your lifetime. Make the most of your experience by working with an agent who has your best interests in mind. When you’re ready to sell your home, contact me at 616-871-9200.
When you’re working to sell your home or buy a new one, sometimes you need a reminder to take a moment to savor fall in West Michigan. This weekend, whether you have an hour or an afternoon to take some time out for fall, look no further than the Arts and Eats event that’s going on across southwest Michigan.
What is Arts and Eats? It’s definitely a unique event, sort of a fall farm and art scavenger hunt. Held right during prime color season, Arts and Eats is a chance to tour the rural back roads and visit artist studios, farms, eateries that serve locally grown foods, and central sites that feature local artists. The event has grown in its short history, and now ranges across several counties in Southwest Michigan – Barry, Kent, Allegan, Kalamazoo, Calhoun, and Van Buren.
Arts and Eats is just one of a number of self-guided tour
events celebrating fall in West Michigan, like the well-known Kent Harvest Trails. Opportunities
like this can be a great way to get to know the area (or re-acquaint yourself) whether
you’re looking to buy a home or sell your home.
Arts and Eats is this Saturday and Sunday, October 19-20, from 10-5 each day. Whether you stop by one venue or make an afternoon of it, we hope you enjoy the event! And do stop by one of our Bellabay Realty offices while you are out and about, or call me at 616-871-9200 if you find inspiration to sell your home or find a new one.
Photo: M. Gifford
If it’s time to sell your home, you probably have a lot going on in your life. All the same, selling a home is such a priority that most people want to increase their odds so they can move on with life! Bellabay Realty has been selling homes all over West Michigan – Muskegon, Caledonia, Middleville, Hopkins, Kalamazoo, Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, and more – for so many years that we could offer hundreds of ideas to sell your home. But if you’re pressed for time, there are generally some easy things you can do to give your home that extra boost.
The easiest thing you can do, in terms of time, is to price the home right from the get-go. Find a real estate agent you can trust, and then trust that agent to help you with your pricing strategy. However, that tip involves a lot of collaboration with your real estate agent, so we won’t count that one! Beyond pricing, some of the normal helpful advice for selling your home may not fall into the category of “easy” – removing all clutter, making key renovations, making the home move-in ready.
If you’re pressed for time and looking for easy things you can do to sell your home, here are some small tips:
Those three things are often the easiest ways to help sell your home. Realistically, depending on the home itself and your local market, you may need to do more to attract potential buyers, and you want to make sure your efforts are worthwhile.
Your real estate agent’s expert opinion can be invaluable in determining where your effort will be well spent to give your home a boost and get it sold. That’s why one of the most important things you can do to sell your home in this market is to be very selective when choosing a real estate agent. At Bellabay Realty, we know your concerns when it’s time to sell your home. Contact the Bellabay Realty at 616-871-9200 to schedule an appointment today.
It’s nearing the end of summer in Michigan, and the weather may be cooling, but the real estate market is still hot hot hot. If, like many homeowners, you have been trying to decide whether to sell your home or wait, now is still an excellent time to put your home on the market. In fact, one concern homeowners may have in a hot market like this is what to do if you sell your home before you are ready.
When you put your home on the market, it’s good to have a contingency plan in case your home does sell before you find your new place. If you do end up in a situation where your home sells right away, you have a few options, and you may need to work them all at the same time:
Flexibility is key! Even though putting your belongings in storage or moving one extra time may be a hassle, it’s important for your quality of life to make sure the next home you purchase is the right one.
Wherever you are in West Michigan – Muskegon, Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, Caledonia, Middleville, Hopkins, Kalamazoo, anywhere – the experts at Bellabay Realty can help you ensure a smooth transition when the time comes to sell your home. Contact us today at 616-871-9200.