Are you thinking of living in Grand Rapids, Mi
A conversation with Lola Audu, Broker w/ Audu Real Estate ~ Grand Rapids, Michigan
About Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids, MI combines the best in big city sophistication with plenty of green space to spread out and relax. The city, which is sometimes referred to as ‘Michigan’s West Coast’ is located along the banks for the Grand River. It is approximately 30 minutes from Lake Michigan, the fifth largest fresh water lake in the world.
Grand Rapids is part of a larger metropolis of smaller communities commonly referred to as West Michigan. For many years, Grand Rapids was recognized as the ‘furniture capital’ of the world as several of the world’s largest furniture companies including Steelcase and Herman Miller had their headquarters and factories in the area. Today Grand Rapids has a diversified economic base and is a leading center for healthcare and biotechnology in the mid-west.
The city of Grand Rapids is recognized as having the most LEEDS certified buildings per capita of any city within the United States. In 2009, the ArtPrize festival brought thousands of pieces of artwork and sculpture to the area from artists across the world. In addition to spectacular lakeside sunsets and over 2,000 acres of parks & recreational areas, the city has some of Michigan’s finest museums, restaurants and hotels. It’s a great place to visit or come home to.
Why Do People Choose Grand Rapids, MI?
People move to Grand Rapids, MI for a number of reasons. If you’re visiting in summer, you can’t help but notice the scenic beauty which abounds in an area with thousands of small and mid-sized lakes in addition to the ‘big lake’…Lake Michigan. Grand Rapids offers a stable community with relatively low crime rates for a city of its size. The area also is home to several university campuses which include: Calvin College, Grand Valley State University, Western Michigan University, Davenport College, Aquinas College, Grand Rapids Community College and Cornerstone University.
Barbara Corocoran, a leading author and speaker on real estate issue recently chronicled the most important issues for communities which seek to attract people seeking an active retirement life in her book, ‘Nextville, Amazing Places to Live the Rest of Your Life’. She lists several factors which include: safety, good weather, affordable housing, friendly people, healthcare, and a nearby airport as the top considerations. In all these areas (with perhaps the exception of cold winters) Grand Rapids, MI ranks extremely favorably.
Grand Rapids has continued to innovate and re-invent itself in the wake of the challenges that Michigan has faced. A recent Fortune magazine article on Grand Rapids, MI chronicles the remarkable transformation which is occurring in West Michigan today. The downtown area has experienced a renaissance with the addition of the Van Andel Arena, the JW Marriott, Grand Valley State University’s downtown campus and a 1 Billion dollar medical complex which includes a medical school, research center and specialized treatment facilities. The focus on re-engineering and re-tooling has allowed the city to expand in spite of a harsh economic climate. Grand Rapids, MI is poised to become a leading center for economic growth in the future.
Realtors & Technology
The Grand Rapids Association of Realtors has been actively engaged in providing solutions which utilize advanced technology to serve the real estate needs of residents in the area. The association website receives approximately 5 million hits per month. To further enhance the flow of information that consumers seek when purchasing a home, the association has undertaken a project to build a consumer centric website which will provide a wide range of demographic and neighborhood data in addition to real estate trends analysis.
In an effort to boost the skills of real estate practitioners, the association has significantly expanded the education offerings available to its members to include cutting edge technology training featuring a ReBar Camp, Blogging Classes and online communication via popular social media websites.
The real estate trends numbers have just been released for June 2010. The past couple of months have been slower than normal, a trend which seems related to the expiration of the Home Buyer Tax Credit. On a brighter note, the average home price has continued to rise at a moderate level for the past 7 months. Today’s home prices are roughly equivalent to what homes were retailing for in 2003. This presents some unique opportunities for home buyers entering the marketplace who have the benefit of historically low interest rates coupled with an ample selection of inventory and attractive home prices.
Preparing to Buy…
Is this a good time to buy or sell real estate in Grand Rapids? Well the answer is…it depends. It depends on who you are, what your goals are and what resources you have available to you. While homeowners who purchased within the last seven years have sometimes taken significant losses when selling their properties, some home buyers have reaped substantial gains by purchasing during this time. There are a couple of factors to consider if you’re thinking about a home purchase in the Grand Rapids, MI area.
Get a professional evaluation of your credit and mortgage options early in the process.
The mortgage process continues to experience a lot of volatility. Seeking the counsel of
a qualified professional can save you time and grief. Obtaining the best rates today will require that you have a down payment and decent credit scores. In addition, the review will encompass a look at your job history and the ratios of your liabilities and assets. It’s wise to put off making any large purchases until you have cleared the obstacle course which is increasingly a part of the home buying process today.
One of the benefits that home buyers have today is the ability to research their options online. In Grand Rapids, you can even plan/schedule Open House tours online with accompanying directions. It’s also wise to begin the process of researching the home buying process and the agent who will assist you. One of the best ways to do this is to visit the agent’s blog in addition to their website. Following a real estate blog overtime will give you a pretty good idea about the agents’ knowledge, ability and experience in problem solving…skills you will want them to put to good use when negotiating your transaction.
Words of Wisdom…
*For Home Sellers
Selling a home in Grand Rapids today requires tenacity, determination and a clear comprehension about the market conditions in your specific neighborhood. While some communities have experienced significant declines, others have remained fairly stable in regards to selling price.
Regardless of the neighborhood, it’s important to ensure that your home presents itself well. I highly recommend you consider hiring a staging professional to provide a consultation if your real estate professional does not have the ability to advise you in this area. Remember, the competition is quite fierce. There is currently just under 9 months of inventory in the marketplace, so it is important that your home presents well and is remembered within the context of multiple home showings.
*For Home Buyers
Take the time to look around. Become a knowledgeable home shopper. Visit Open Houses, browse listings online and read about the home purchasing process. Being an informed consumer is one of the best ways to ensure that you recognize a great deal when you come across one.
Select a great team to support you in the home purchasing process. The advice of professionals who really know and care about their craft is invaluable in times like this. A good real estate agent can be instrumental in helping you to make an intelligent offer and negotiating significant concessions. A good mortgage broker may mean the difference between getting the home you love… or watching that dream evaporate before your eyes.
In times like this, experience matters. Interview the professionals you are considering working with to determine how long they have been involved in their profession, how many transactions they complete successfully every year and what tools they will use to facilitate your success, including the latest technology.
About Lola Audu
I’ve lived in the West Michigan area for 27 years. The past 15 years have been some of the most remarkable periods of time to be a part of the real estate industry. Real estate has allowed me to raise two young boys who are now young college age students and serve my clients and the community.
Real estate is an art and science. I believe that there are no ‘cookie cutter’ transactions. Every individual and situation is unique and requires a custom fit in order to accomplish the best success. I strive to listen to my clients and keep them informed about the process. It has been my pleasure to assist in hundreds of transaction with individuals from various parts of the United State and the world over the years. I’m actively involved in my real estate association and currently serve in the position of President-Elect for my local real estate board. It is my pleasure to be of service.
Lola Audu, CRS, GRI e-Pro
Designated Broker ~ Audu Real Estate
3659 Alpine Ave NW Suite 102
Comstock Park, MI 49321
616-791-0611 – phone
616-791-0535 – fax
firstname.lastname@example.org – e-mail