First Quarter Real Estate Sales Statistics 2016 For West Michigan

West Michigan Real Estate
First Quarter Sales Statistics

Statistics below are for 1/1-3/31 Single Family Homes in West Michigan

Community #Sold 2015 #Sold 2016 Pct Avg 2015 Avg 2016 Pct
Holland/Saugatuck 336 344 +2 $214,734 $200,291 -6
North Ottawa County 189 209 +11 $186,845 $235,697 +26
Muskegon County 416 449 +7 $106,662 $118,205 +10
Southwest Michigan 552 566 +2 $166,179 $164,704 -0.2

After a stellar year for real estate in 2015, 2016 is a mixed bag along the lakeshore.  Never expected to see Holland/Saugatuck with a 6% drop in the first quarter compared to last year, but things can change fast with a few high-dollar sales.  Grand Haven/North Ottawa County meanwhile, is moving at an incredible rate.  Seems the secret is out that Grand Haven is a great place to call home.


West Michigan–A Great Place To Live

Having been born and raised in the very desirable Southern California beach community of Santa Barbara, one might say I have pretty high standards when it comes to where I choose to live and raise a family.  One might also think that a guy from such a sought after community might never find a place, in the Midwest of all regions, that would fit my lifestyle requirements.  Well, au contraire my friend, West Michigan had something to say about that.

Twenty years ago or so, I was introduced to the West Michigan area and was immediately intrigued by the vast, sugar sand beaches of Holland State Park; so much so that I even had to taste the water to make certain I wasn’t being duped.  No, this was indeed real coastal living, right in the heart of our country…without the salt. As I began to explore more of the west coast of Michigan, I became more and more amazed by the beauty the state has to offer; from the towering sand dunes, where one can see for miles into the open water and enjoy beautiful sunsets, to the properties right on the beach, where walking right out onto the beach sand is as easy and convenient as any coast I have ever visited

Surfing Lake Michigan
After a day of surf

Now I admit, I do focus on the fact we have water to play in during the summer and enjoy it as much as possible…Did I mention surfing the Lake Michigan is not only possible but pretty darned popular?  Not to mention, paddle boarding, kite surfing and a myriad of family oriented water activities.  From surfing the waves in the summer to surfing the snow in the winter, this area provides ample opportunities for wonderful winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding and skating. I myself have taken up snowboarding and have enjoyed lots of fun times over the past couple of years schussing down hills at one of the many ski resorts in the immediate area, none more than about 45 minutes from anywhere.

Michigan Skiing
On the slopes at Caberfae

While some may think I am crazy for moving to the Midwest from Southern California, I say I’m crazy like a fox!

Lake Michigan Ludington Home

1901 S Lakeshore Drive, Ludington, MI

$ Click for current price

Marketing Remarks: Remarkable views of Lake Michigan and stairs down to your 135 feet of private sandy beach frontage. Interior features include 9 foot ceilings on all three finished levels, Kolbe & Kolbe windows, and urethane Insulation. Exterior is maintenance free complete with metal roof. This property is one of a kind with 1.54 acres to enjoy your own Lake Michigan retreat and just minutes from the historic downtown Ludington and entertainment and the quaint Village of Pentwater. There is much to enjoy in this area along Lake Michigan and even more to enjoy about having your own retreat in the heart of it all. This home also has a great rental history. Call for your private tour today.

Presented By:

Kersh Ruhl

Coldwell Banker Woodland Schmidt, 466 E 16th Street, Holland, MI 49423
Licensed In: MI
License #: 6501326452

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Listing data of Coldwell Banker Woodland Schmidt Holland Broker from WMLAR MLS is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed and is made available for personal and non-commercial use

2015 Lake Macatawa Real Estate Sales Statistics

2015 was a great year for Lake Macatawa Real Estate Sales!Lake_Macatawa

I’m proud to report, that with the rest of the West Michigan real estate market, Lake Macatawa did not disappoint when it came to waterfront real estate along Holland’s favorite inland lake.  After living through the dark times of the real estate crash in 2009 where only 3 single family homes were sold, and 2 condos were sold along Lake Macatawa, in 2015 we saw 26 single homes sold and 6 condos…the most in the 8 years I went back.  Yes, real estate is certainly BACK!

Single Family Homes
Year Average Sale Price Number of Sales Avg Price From Previous Year
2007 $1,031,429 7
2008 $739,440 12 -28%
2009 $604,542 3 -18%
2010 $793,233 9 +31%
2011 $674,855 11 -14%
2012 $623,948 21 -7%
2013 $686,329 17 +9%
2014 $810,618 17 +18%
2015 $788,374 26 -2%

As you can see, after a couple of very strong years price-wise, looks like we may have leveled off a bit for the moment, but as inventory shrinks with the large number of sales we are seeing, prices might be reignited and make another jump.

End of the year sales statistics for West Michigan

West Michigan Real Estate
What a good year it was!

As everyone in America that has been involved in real estate over the past year (whether you’re a buyer, seller or professional) probably already knows, the market for home sales has gotten a lot stronger this year.  So, I have taken it upon myself to see and share just how strong it really was overall for West Michigan Real Estate.

Across the board, we saw a 7% increase in average sale price, with 2,872 more homes sold in 2015 vs 2014.  Average sale price went from $147,078 to $157,042.  And while prices and number of sale were up, absorption rate was as well, as we only saw 1,443 more listings in 2015 than were listed in 2014.

Breaking it down by area for single family homes along the lakeshore

Community #Sold 2014 #Sold 2015 Pct Avg 2014 Avg 2015 Pct
Holland/Saugatuck 1,770 1,939 +9 $198,387 $219,548 +10
North Ottawa County 1,032 1,037 +0 $199,823 $218,298 +9
Muskegon County 1,964 2,184 +11 $108,985 $119,521 +9
Southwest Michigan 2829 3076 +8 $178,061 $187,837 +5

Keep reading my blog for more detailed statistics on communities and waterfront sales here in West Michigan.

9 Tips for Buying a Second / Lake Home


buy second home

Bill Fish and his family live in Cincinnati, but when he and his wife looked for ways for their children to spend more time with the grandparents, a vacation home in their resort community of Anna Maria Island, Florida, seemed perfect.

“It’s a simple three-bedroom ranch,” he said, with a “five-minute walk to the beach, and we also have a nice private pool.” His family vacations in the home twice a year and, when they’re not on site, they recoup about half their costs by renting the property.

Fish is far from alone. Last year, 21 percent of all homes bought in the U.S. were vacation homes — the highest percentage seen since the National Association of Realtors began recording the data in 2003. Investment properties remained a popular buy, too, comprising 19 percent of homes purchased in 2014.

Buying a second home can be exciting — and challenging. Before you bid on that mountain chalet or beachside bungalow, consider these tips.

1. Know How to Compare the Cost of Location

In niche markets where most vacation homes are, the cost of real estate will vary dramatically by location. “A $500,000 home on the lake may look a lot like a $300,000 home in the suburbs,” said Glenn S. Phillips, CEO of Lake Homes Realty, which specializes in lakeside properties primarily in the north Midwest and southeastern U.S. That’s because “the waterfront lot may be $200,000 more than a lot back home.”

To make more accurate comparisons between potential homes, Phillips suggests subtracting the location premium before comparing homes and prices.

2. Even Sellers Might Need More Cash Than Expected

Even if you’re just moving house and plan to sell the first home after closing on your new digs, you’ll probably need to be qualified for costs associated with both the old and new mortgage.

“Bridge loans are few and far between these days,” said Jeremy David Schachter, mortgage advisor at Pinnacle Capital Mortgage in Phoenix. “They were very popular before the housing crisis. These days, borrowers have to qualify for both mortgages if they are not selling one to buy another one at the same time.”

Keep Reading: What a Million-Dollar Home Looks Like Around the World

3. Know How Much You Can Afford

“With a second home, you would have to qualify on all your monthly debts, including any outstanding loans and the new mortgage for the second home,” said Schachter.

For a vacation home that won’t be rented out, most buyers can finance up to 90 percent of the home’s value, according to Fannie Mae. However, buyers will still need to consider all their other outstanding monthly debts, including the payment for their primary residence and the cash left in the bank — known as reserves — after the transaction is complete.

4. Plan to Have Extra Cash in Reserve

If you plan to finance your second home, have cash stashed away. Most banks require second-home buyers to have at least two months’ worth of mortgage payments in the bank, after you’ve accounted for the costs for the new home settlement.

If you’re buying an investment property, you’ll need a minimum of six months’ worth of payments stashed away. If your credit score is below 680, expect that number to be even higher.

5. Your Credit Score Matters — a Lot

Just like when you bought your primary home, your credit score affects what rate you can get for your second-home mortgage. The higher your credit score, the more attractive the rate and the more you save over the life of your loan.

The lower your credit score, the more cash the bank will expect you have in reserve. If your credit score is below 680 and you’re planning to rent your new home, you might need to have up to 12 months of mortgage payments in the bank.

Related: 24 Things You Need to Know to Build Credit

6. Be Prepared With a Large Down Payment

The vacation home market can be competitive. The more cash you have for a down payment, the stronger your offer.  “In our markets (lake homes), about 70 percent of the deals are cash deals with no mortgage,” said Phillips. “For most vacation homes, many sellers don’t have to sell. If they can afford a second home, they often can afford to wait for a desired offer and not be in a hurry to take low offers.”

If you’re planning to finance a vacation home, a 10 percent down payment will usually suffice, so long as you meet the other mortgage criteria and you purchase private mortgage insurance. If you’re looking to rent your home, even just some of the time, it will be categorized as an investment property. Mortgage lenders can be more stringent for investment home loans, requiring at least a 20 percent to 25 percent down payment, said Schachter.

7. Don’t Rely on Online Valuation Tools

While online home price estimators can be a good tool when buying into a subdivision of similar homes, they don’t always work so well in vacation home markets. “The automated tools are still young, and the data is difficult in markets where homes are influenced by lakes, oceans and mountains,” said Phillips. “And these homes are often custom-built and vary greatly.”

In other words, an in-person appraisal is often the best way to figure out a home’s worth, particularly in resort areas, where home value is highly dependent upon location and individual home amenities.

8. Work With an Agent Who Fully Understands the Area

“Many second homes are purchased to focus on recreation or nature,” said Phillips. “This can create interesting ‘gotchas’ in a home purchase.” Areas with protected vegetation, rural road restrictions or unique land situations — like lake lots that are leased, for instance — can create big problems for an uneducated buyer.

Phillips suggested working with a real estate agent who is a genuine expert in the location and type of home you want to buy. “They will know the often hidden dangers lurking for out-of-area buyers,” he said.

Read: 10 Important Questions to Ask When Buying a House

9. Be Aware of Taxes

Different tax rules apply, depending on how you use the second home. If you rent for zero to 14 days per year, you’re not required to pay federal taxes on the rental income, according to TurboTax. If you rent the home for more than 14 days, you’re required to report all rental income, although you can deduct rental expenses for when the home is rented out.

“Each state can have very different property taxes, and these can vary for second homes, even if the homestead residence is in another state,” said Phillips.

There are plenty of reasons to buy — and enjoy — a second home. The Fishes plan to hang on to theirs for as long as the kids have grandparents in the area. “I’m not quite sure if we will retire there,” he said, “but we have no intention of selling it in the next 10 years. Our boys love it.”

Private Listing at 11025 Lakeshore Dr in Grand Haven Township

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Lake Michigan at its finest!

– Announcing a price drop on 11025 Lakeshore Dr, a 7,137 sq. ft., 6 bath, 5 bdrm 2 story. Now $2,650,000.

Property information

2 Story For Sale in Grand Haven Township, Ottawa County

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Lake Michigan at its finest!

•  7,137 sq. ft., 6 bath, 5 bdrm 2 story$2,650,000.

– Exquisitely crafted brick and Texas Limestone Lake Michigan home, with 100′ of low bluff frontage, and boasting over 6100 square feet of perfectly planned living space. All 5 bedrooms of this home have lake views, including the large main floor master suite which features a generous bath with in-floor heating and is adorned with tile, stone, and custom woodwork. Gourmet kitchen also offers lake views and is finished with distressed cherry woodwork and granite counter tops. The lower level is completely finished, including a full 2nd kitchen and toy/garage storage area to park your beach gear. Spacious in-law suite above the heated and tiled garage is a great place to house guests while still providing views of the water. One of a kind bluff’s-edge grill house complete with Jenn Air grill and running water, is a perfect addition to the outdoor space and makes for easy lakeside entertaining. Living room, study/office, and lower level rec room all feature their own full masonry fireplaces with custom hand crafted closures. Entire lower level has in floor heating, making for ideal comfort on any level of this stunning home. Water levels are up, but this property still has ample beach!

Property information

Fixed-rate Mortgages Don’t Change, But Escrows Do

One of the biggest breaks homebuyers get with a fixed-rate mortgage is the escape from ever-escalating rents or adjustable rate increases. But that sigh of relief can be short-lived when you get your next property tax assessment or hazard insurance renewal.

When you buy a home with a fixed-rate mortgage, lenders require a year’s worth of escrows in advance. These are included in your closing costs which can also be rolled into your loan, if you’ve got the wiggle room to borrow a little more money.

Hazard insurance is required by lenders to protect their investment. How much coverage you get is up to you, but you have to get at least enough to repay your liens. While it costs more, you should get your home insured for replacement value because that’s the true cost of restoration.

A year’s worth of insurance will be escrowed to the lender who services the loan, including paying your premiums. Once the first year goes by, the monthly cost of your premium is escrowed. From year to year, the cost of insurance can change drastically, due to natural disasters or changes in coverage. If there’s been major flooding in your state, you insurance may decline to pay any claims related to water damage, even if the flooding was caused by an appliance. You’ll have to get a rider, which costs extra.

Your monthly payments can also rise from increases in property taxes. You should expect this because the rate you pay your first year is based on what the previous owner paid. The seller pays the taxes due up to the day of closing, and you take over for the remainder of that year’s assessment.

Your new assessment will be based on the market value of your home which you established when you purchased the home. Most city and county laws have formulas for how much your taxes can increase year-over-year. This prevents sticker shock. You’ll also have plenty of advance warning as the taxing authorities will send you an assessment at least six months ahead of any annual change.

You can always challenge your tax assessments, but you’ll need proof such as market comparables from your real estate professional. Taxing authorities use the same local multiple listing service as your agent, so expect them to have the same data you have.

A fixed rate mortgage can offer you some financial stability, but you’ll be even more stable if you’re prepared for monthly costs in the future.

Timberline Acres Open House

OPEN HOUSE, October 03, Saturday 10:00 AM – 11:30 PM
14718 Foxboro Court, Holland, MI
Get Directions Click Here
Description Features Photos Maps & Local Schools Walk Score
$ Click for current price
3 BATHROOMS (2 full, 1 half)
2346 Square Feet
Best value in Timberline acres! This 4, possibly 5 bedroom home with over 3300 square feet sits in a quiet cul-de on a 1/2 acre beautifully landscaped lot. The kitchen of this home has been totally updated, with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and perfectly accented with the low maintenance flooring. Well planned main floor space includes a living room with 2 sided fireplace, shared with the office/den. The formal dining room can accommodate a large table, perfect for those memorable family meals or dinner parties. The upper level with its master suite and walk-in closet, also features 3 more bedrooms and a large 3rd bath. Lower level is totally finished with a potential for a 5th bedroom, and features a large rec room and bar area. Fully landscaped grounds with nice
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