Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Winter Wonderland


I visited with a client at Schuss Mountain in Antrim County yesterday and was amazed at the beauty, family fun and the abundance of visitors enjoying Northwest Michigan's Winter Season. Sometimes living here it takes an outsider to point out how fortunate we who live here are in that we truly have a 4-Season playground.
I have a client and friend who due to job opportunity now lives in San Antonio, TX but he and his family own waterfront properties here and their heart is in Northwest Michigan (sorry Texas). They travel to Michigan whenever possible and regardless of the season find great family activity every time they visit. From our morel mushrooms sprouting in the Spring waiting to be found; the Summer fun on our lakes and rivers; the Fall colors when hiking or hunting; and of course the plethora of Winter activities all within short driving distances, Northwest Michigan is truly a 4-Season playground.
Owning and investing in Northwest Michigan real estate will always provide outdoor fun only limited by one's imagination. Real estate here is at very attractive prices and there is a good selection of property in all price levels. Working with a Waterfront Realtor to help you find your Homewaters is the smart choice for all Sellers and Buyers.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Local Real Estate Sales Up in 2009

The five county region consisting of Antrim, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Leelanau and Benzie Counties show that sales of real property have more than doubled in 2009 over 2008 for the eleven months ending November 30, 2009. Both total dollar volume and units more than doubled over 2008 and are well ahead of 2007. While our sellers have had to be very aggressive in the current market in order to compete, I believe overall our waterfront properties have held up well when compared to residential and commercial properties. The sales have increased in every price category - up to $1,000,000 and over which saw 2 sales this year, none in 2008 and 1 in 2007.

Going into 2010 I am excited that the market seems to be moving at a good pace with the help of great mortgage rates and aggressively priced properties. It will still be a year of high inventory levels which will continue to keep pricing in check. Our Sellers need to make sure that there property is clean, maintained and one of the most aggressively priced if they want to sell under the current market conditions.

Friday, December 18, 2009

No Change from Fed

In a week full of major economic news, mortgage rates ended with little change. Wednesday's Fed meeting produced little reaction in mortgage markets. The PPI inflation report was higher than expected, but the more closely watched CPI report was right on target, remaining at low levels. Economic troubles in some developing nations produced a flight to safer assets, which helped mortgage markets late in the week.
As expected, the Fed held the fed funds rate steady and made no indication that it will raise this rate any time soon. Its statement contained no surprises. Of note, it described improvement in the job market since the last FOMC meeting, as the "deterioration in the labor market is abating." The Fed expects inflation to remain low. Finally, the statement reminded investors that the $1.25 trillion mortgage-backed securities purchase program will conclude at the end of the first quarter of 2010. Mortgage investors were generally pleased that there was no unfavorable news from the Fed meeting. The housing sector data released during the week was mostly favorable. November Housing Starts rose 9%, and Building Permits, a leading indicator, showed similar results. The December NAHB Homebuilders Sentiment index surprisingly dropped slightly, to the lowest level since June. Given the passage of the extension and expansion of the homebuyer tax credit, the index was expected to rise.

For a free custom mortgage rate quote please email keith@frontstreetmtg.com or call 231.946.6300.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Waterfront Options in Kalkaska County

Not many people can afford some of the very expensive waterfronts available on some very impressive bodies of water. However, one can enjoy Torch Lake, for instance, by purchasing a lot in a charming private wooded area just outside the Village of Alden, build your vacation or retirement home and walk off the back of the lot to what has been described as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. This lot is listed at $29,900 and is a very affordable option to have access to great water.

Kalkaska County has 90 lakes and 3 rivers in it - there is an abundance of waterfront property at various prices and types. Little Log Lake just outside the Village of Kalkaska is a quiet lake with loons, fishing and natural waterfront views. It is a very peaceful setting adjoining state land. This charming cottage offers a half acre and 110 ft. of frontage on Little Log Lake. The cozy home is insulated for year around use and has unique custom features like a stainless steel Kitchen and Jacuzzi Tub.

There are a myriad of options for someone wanting to invest in Waterfront Real Estate at the best prices in years. Variables such as private/shared frontage; all-sports or quiet lake; river or stream; quality and size of structure. Homewaters is a great resource for all waterfront buyers of Northern Michigan waterfront property. It is my goal this year to help more people find their Homewaters.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

All market segments are not created equal

There are a lot of indicators out there that values may have hit bottom and we may be seeing a bit of a bump in some markets. Especially in the lower priced homes, we've seen a tremendous number of properties that received multiple offers and sold for more than list price. This should allow for list prices on these properties to bump up a bit.

In other market segments we're still seeing a large discrepancy between true market value and the list price of properties. Grand Traverse County's Silver Lake is an example of this. With more than 40 available properties in 2009 and only a couple sales, it's apparent that the listed prices on most of the homes is not in line with what the market will bear. Some sellers have recognized this and have made substantial price reductions. This property (click image for details) right on Silver Lake, for example, was listed for $379,900, but was reduced late this fall to $299,900 which is a more accurate reflection of actual sales prices in the area. We saw an immediate jump in interest in this property and hope to have a buyer soon. I would expect to see more sellers bring their list prices in line with market value as we move forward. Once this happens, more buyers will jump into the market and should drive values up again.

No generalities can be made about the market as a whole. That's one big reason I tend to give no weight to national sales numbers. Each segment of the market has it's own unique factors that influence values. It's all supply and demand. If you're looking to buy your first home in Traverse City because you can take advantage of the first time home buyer tax credit, you may be better served to offer list price or even higher in order to ensure you are able to get the property you've identified as "the one" because many of these homes are seeing multiple offers within days of the property hitting the market.
This terrific log home (click image for details) on The AuSable River's North Branch, for example, was listed by our agent, Mark Bear, for only 12 days and already has an accepted offer for very close to list price. I'm sure there are a number of buyers who saw this one hit the market and decided they'd look at it after the holidays. Unfortunately it's already gone!

If, however, you've been watching a market that has seen very few sales which would indicate a glut of listings and list prices probably a bit above market value, it may be time to really work on negotiating a more favorable sales price. Too many people are out there right now watching a property or two that would be ideal, but the price seems too high. They're waiting and watching for the list price to be reduced before making a move. My advice is to go a head and make an offer. You never know what the seller's mindset might be. You may be able to negotiate a very attractive price that works for your budget regardless of the list price. The risk of waiting for a list price reduction may mean another buyer more willing to write a lower offer will snatch up the property that otherwise may have been a great fit! There's no way to be able to tell what amount a seller will be wiling to take without putting pen to a purchase agreement and trying to negotiate.

One of the great advantages to working with a solid Realtor is that we have access to detailed sales information and an in depth understanding of the markets we service. We'd love the opportunity to help with your next purchase. Please contact us at your convenience to learn more about how we may be able to help ensure you end up with your dream property at a price and terms that work for you!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bullhead Lake Natural Area

Located in the middle of Long Lake Township, Bullhead Lake Natural Area is a 33-acre gem that almost wasn't. Formerly owned by a local veterinarian, this phenomenal parcel with majestic trees, rolling terrain, a small lake and with wildlife sprinkled throughout, was slated for development in the early 1990’s.

Once word of development spread, friends, family, neighbors and conservationists alike came together to form “The Friends of Bullhead Lake” in hopes of preserving this unspoiled jewel. Through their efforts as well as with the help of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund and Long Lake Township, Bullhead Lake was spared from development. The Natural Area remains home to many species of fish, birds, frogs and other critters that depend on the forest and wetlands for survival.

Utilized primarily by the residents of Gull Wing Estates, the Nature Area has also been host to many field trips by Westwood’s Elementary and Long Lake Elementary Schools.

Although inconspicuous, the trail head is located off of Edgewood Avenue. At the “fork” is a large boulder engraved with the names of the individuals who supported the project.

I consider myself fortunate to be able to literally walk out my back door and enjoy the Natural Area in all it’s splendor. Which reminds me, it’s time for my walk!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Get Social with Homewaters


We'd like to make sure that all our potential buyers and sellers can stay in the know about the market and what we're up to as a firm. No matter how you prefer to gather information, you can find Homewaters and get up to date content from all our agents and brokers. We have a page on Facebook (click the logo to the left to view) that you can become a fan of to stay in touch through that site. We regularly post information about new listings, sales in our service area, recent news important to those looking to buy or sell real estate and much more.

We also have a Twitter account (click the logo on the left to view) you can follow for quick updates and links to new listings and market conditions. We feed the Facebook page into the Twitter account as well so you'll get both updates by signing up through Twitter.



The blog you're reading now is the forum we use for more detailed insight and topics that just can't be covered easily in a very short format. You can become a follower of this blog if you want to receive updates when a new post is made.

It's sometimes difficult to keep everything straight, but we're working hard to ensure that anyone who is interested in hearing our thoughts is able to get those thoughts in exactly the manner they prefer. We also have telephones as well. I know it's a bit "old school", but we will actually answer the phone if you call and have a direct conversation with you. Our phone system is set up to directly find the agent who is most likely to help you and connect directly to them regardless of where they happen to be a the time.

Are you sitting down for this one? We will even actually get in our cars and drive to your location so we can speak face to face. I know it sounds crazy, but that's how committed we are. Whether you're a tech savvy 20 something looking for your first place or a "seasoned" veteran that actually prefers to see the person they're doing business with, our agents and brokers are committed to providing the finest experience possible in the search for your own piece of "Home Water".

Monday, November 30, 2009

Updated Agenda for Flies Only Change

Just talked to someone at NRC and they provided this link for an "updated" version of the proposed changes. The flies only sections that are currently in existence will remain according to this document. They will be combining type 5,6, and 7 water into one category, but will keep special language in place to protect the flies only water. Sorry about any confusion. Take a look at the document yourself because there are many more changes presented and you never know what might come up next!!!

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/FO-200_301082_7.pdf

Change to flies only regs on AuSable and others?

I've received a number of e-mails over the weekend in regards to an upcoming meeting of The Natural Resources Natural Resources Commission. Apparently one of the topics to be discussed is the possibility of a change in regulations that would open sections of river currently regulated as "flies only" to allow for use of artificial lures as well. This would dramatically change the make up of the fisheries on most of the better trout water in our state. From a private property standpoint, it would diminish the value of those properties currently located on sections of rivers that are currently regulated as "flies only". Because these sections end up being much more productive due to the regulations, values on these sections can be as much as 20% higher than other sections of the same river. The AuSable River Holy Water, North Branch, and South Branch as well as the flies only section of The Manistee are prime examples of this. I've not been able to see any detail on the proposed changes other than the agenda for the meeting which will take place at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday in Lansing, MI at The Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health 4125 Beaumont Road. The meetings are open to the public if you can make time to attend. You could also reach the director of The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Rebecca Humphries at her e-mail humphrir@michigan.gov to voice your concerns. Here is a link to the names and contact numbers for the members of the commission. http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-39002_11862-26986--,00.html. It's very special to have these sections of river that have been proven to have much higher survival catch rates than sections of river regulated with more generous parameters. This serves to not only provide a fantastic fishery that draws a tremendous number of people to our state each year, but allows for terrific reproductive rates that help all sections of these rivers to flourish. The number of miles of "flies only" water is a small percentage of the total miles of high quality trout water in our state and is a truly unique and special resource that will hopefully remain so for quite some time.

Long Lake is "Honey Hole" for Marble Eyes

Long Lake, Grand Traverse County’s largest inland lake at 2,860 acres, and one of the areas favorite all-sports lakes, has been rated as one of the top four lakes to jig this winter for walleye, by Tracy Breen, pro Walleye extraordinaire.

Breen gives Long Lake two gills up for winter fishing and goes on to say in the Dec/Jan issue of
Michigan Sportsman Magazine, that Long Lake is one of his favorite lakes to fish in the winter and is often overlooked even by serious anglers. He states it is not uncommon to catch walleye in the 21”-25” range. What makes it ideal for the marbled eye monsters are the “humps” and “points” where fish like to hang out. Even slight disturbances in “clean water” can easily spook walleye so be sure to tip toe and be very very quiet! Although there may be a fish or two lurking for a mid-day snack, the most active and productive times are early morning or just before dark. Simply a fish tale, directionally challenged or typographical error, Breen also favors fishing off the public boat launches on the south east side of the lake. (For the record the boat launches are located on the northwest/southwest side). Another suggestion; and one which I would second, is to take a few days off and fish while everyone else is working!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Standing Out in a Sea of Many



In these tumultuous economic times, many sellers or potential sellers might be a little discouraged about the likelihood of selling their home or cabin. There are many buyers out there ready to buy, the rest is up to you and your Realtor.

Standing out in a sea of many is the way to make the sale happen. Wondering how to do just that? Pricing is the most important factor right now. Sellers must be realistic about the market and be priced competitively. Next, make sure your property shines! It can be as easy as clearing clutter and touch up paint. Be ready for your agent to take pictures of your property. Clean up the counters, touch up scuff marks on the walls and trim, remove extra furnishings that could crowd the rooms. Working with your agent to make sure the pictures posted on line are the best of the best in your home or cabin can help your home be listed on the buyer's "Must See list." So many buyers are researching properties on line and will disregard viewing a home based on how it feels in pictures.

When preparing for showings, the simple things matter. Cleanliness counts! Dust, paint, scrub and organize. Buyers will look everywhere to make sure they have room for all of their belongings. Boxing up things you use once in a while to make more room in the kitchen cabinets, and linen closets are easy fixes. Have you been wanting to change out a light fixture,ceiling fan or cabinet hardware? No time like the present. Buyers are looking for a move in ready home. Small changes can make a big difference in the appearance of your home or cabin and will help your property stand out. One of the Homewaters agents can help you figure out where to start, or can assist you in finding a handyman to make those small changes.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I Love My Job!


Living and working in Northern Michigan has allowed me to live my dream every day. I worked 9-5 every day for too many years inside an office looking out. I have lived in Northern Michigan most of my life. I have traveled extensively but nothing compares with the beauty of the forests, the calming of the rivers and streams, and the backdrop of some of the most beautiful clear clean lakes anywhere.
There is nothing I like more than going out with clients and looking for that perfect property that fits their needs exactly. We have a perfect storm in our market right now where prices are at their lowest level in years and mortgage rates are also. The expectations of both buyers and sellers today need to be realistic. There are some very motivated Sellers who understand our market and are willing to negotiate. There are some very bright Buyers who are really doing their market research and are finding the best deal to fit their needs. A Buyers Agent can help find your perfect fit at the right price.
On a personal note, a year ago right now we had snow on the ground and the ski areas were opening up. Today, when I took the picture above on Starvation Lake, it was 65 degrees out - the same temperature as in San Diego when I was there the week before. Gotta love Michigan - if you don't like the weather, just wait, it will change! Happy Thansgiving to all.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Grandpa always said....

When I was a little younger, I was talking to my grandfather about the new pontoon boat he had just bought for his cottage on Higgins Lake. He had traded in one that was in pretty good shape and he shared with me what he got on trade in. I couldn't believe how he had been taken advantage of by the boat dealer. I made the comment that he should have called me and I would have given him more. I'll never forget his response. "That guy has to make a living too".


Just a few years ago I asked for some advice on a transaction from my former business partner, Dave Felker, of 45th Parallel Realty. It was in regards to a transaction I was negotiating in which I had to potentially offer up a share of the total commission to make sure the deal came together. His words of advice were, "Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered". I had the opportunity to put a few bucks of my own money aside and, in the end, help a seller move on with their life and a buyer begin building memories for their family. A pretty easy decision when I thought about it in those terms.



I keep both of these little words of wisdom at the forefront of my mind and use them as guiding principals in my business and personal life. Maybe more now than at any point in my career, I've had the unfortunate experience of working with clients who are in a real financial bind and really need to get their property sold or suffer serious consequences. On the flip side of this is a mentality among some buyers that these are the ideal sellers to find because you can really "stick it to them". I'm not saying that we don't help buyers get good deals when opportunities arise. After all, any seller is only going to put together a transaction that helps them out of a sticky situation. It is a fantastic buyer's market and I also believe that it's important that those buyers get the best price and terms possible.

I just hope as you move forward in the process of finding the right property that you try to keep these bits of wisdom in mind. If you've found your dream property and it's listed at an attractive price and you've been able to even get some movement off that price with your offer, try to consider your fellow man before you make the decision to really turn the screws. Have a wonderful holiday season and please let us know if we can be of any help.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Homeowner's Tax Credit 101

Is it true, did the government actually extend the tax credit? The answer is “Yes” they did! Officially it is known as the Worker, Homeowner and Business Assistance Act of 2009. Originally the program was to run from January 1, 2009 through November 30, 2009. The extension, however, took effect November 6, 2009 and will run through April 30, 2010. Some circumstances will allow for the end date to extend to June 30, 2010. The extension allows for an increase in income limits for eligibility and adds a benefit for current homeowners as well.
The program was originally designed to allow for a tax credit for first time homeowners. A “First Time Homeowner” is defined as someone who has not owned a principal residence in the last three years. If married, neither spouse can have owned a principal residence in the last three years. Now, current homeowners are also eligible for a tax credit if they have lived in their current principal residence for five consecutive years of the last eight.
The modified extension pertains to those individuals who earn less than $125,000 annually or married couples earning $225,000 jointly. Reduced allowances are available for individuals with a modified adjusted gross income of $145,000 and couples earning $245,000. It is important to contact your tax advisor about your specific situation. Home purchases must be closed with title transferring on or before April 30, 2010 to be eligible. Though the principal residence cannot be purchased from a family member, the definition of principal residence does include many options home buyers. Single family dwellings, condos, townhomes, manufactured homes and even houseboats can all be considered for the tax credit. New construction also qualifies for the credit as long as possession occurs before the deadline or a binding sales contract is in effect prior to the deadline. The tax credit for first time home buyers is equal to 10% of the purchase price up to $8,000 and current homeowners are also allowed the 10% up to $6500 in credit. The maximum allowed purchase price for either is $800,000.
Claiming the tax credit is as easy as adding the amount determined by completing IRS form 5405 and entering the amount on line 67 of your 1040 income tax form for 2009 (you may also claim it on your 2008 taxes by adding the amount to line 69 of your 2008 1040). For those purchasing in 2010, make sure to contact a tax advisor to determine the appropriate line to enter the information. There are no applications or pre-approval necessary; however, it is important to make sure you qualify for the credit. Attach a copy of your closing statement (HUD-1 settlement form) to your tax return as proof of the home purchase.
If waiting until you file your taxes seems a daunting task, there is another option for prospective buyers. Qualified homebuyers can reduce the amount of income tax withholding on their W-4 or through quarterly estimated tax payments up to the amount of the tax credit. This money can then be applied to the down payment. If the tax credit qualified home purchase does not take place, then you will be responsible for repayment of the income tax along with possible interest charges and penalties. HUD has also decided to allow buyers using FHA Insured mortgages to preemptively apply the anticipated credit to their home purchase. This is done by FHA approved lenders allowing short term loans up to the maximum amount of the tax credit. These funds can be put toward certain expenses such as down payment and closing costs. Some government and housing finance agencies may also be issuing additional tax credit loans to allow home buyers to reach the FHA requirement of a 3.5% down payment. Make sure to ask your lender about all possible tax credits or discounts available.
The tax credit does not need to be repaid by the homeowner; however, he or she must occupy the home for three years. If the property is sold prior to the three year mark, the full amount of the credit will be recovered at the time of sale. For more information about the tax credit, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=204671,00.html for more details.
Contact Cheri Wickman at cheri@homewaters.net or 231-392-9365 to start looking for your new home!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Iceman Cometh to Kalkaska and Grand Traverse Counties

Saturday, November 7, 2009 bike riders from throughout the U.S. and Canada converged to participate in one of the premier cross country bike races in the country - The Iceman Cometh . Having watched the start of this race many times in its 20 year history, the weather was outstanding on Saturday. I also watched the start of the race last year with 6 inches of snow on the ground and it was still coming down. Racers started in the Village of Kalkaska, rode a grueling 27 mile race through the trails of the Pere' Marquette National Forest and finished in Traverse City at Timber Ridge. Economically, these bike riders were a huge boost to the area's tourism. Why not find your homewaters and discover all the fun to be enjoyed in Northwest Michigan.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Where Blue Meets Green

Where Blue Meets Green is the new logo for the Environmental Committee of the Traverse Area Association of Realtors. Our environment is so fragile and being good stewards is supported by the Realtor Association. 20% of the World's Fresh Water supply is located in the Great Lakes Basin. Northwest Michigan boasts some of the most pristine Lakes, Streams and Rivers in Michigan. Northwest Michigan is home to thousands of acres of inland lakes, Lake Michigan, rivers and streams providing sport fishing, boating, recreation and unsurpassed beauty. We have nature in abundance. Why not find your Homewaters
and discover for yourself what makes our part of the World so special!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

SNOWMOBILE DREAMING IN KALKASKA COUNTY

Yes, Winter Fun is just around the corner and Kalkaska County offers one of the best groomed snowmobile trails in Northern Michigan - the Blue Bear Trail which provides miles and miles of outdoor fun!! Trails throughout Kalkaska County taking you through forest wonderland and picturesque rides. Now might be the time to think about purchasing that get away that can be used year around in Kalkaska County. There are 183 properties on the MLS today in Kalkaska County up to $100,000 and many of these are located within minutes of state land and snowmobile trails. Why not consider purchasing your Homewaters on one of Kalkaska County's 90 lakes or 3 rivers and enjoy it year around. Kalkaska County provides easy access to I-75 and a short trip to Boyne Mountain, Shanty Creek or Crystal Mountain for skiing and snowboarding fun. An investment in your recreational property will provide 12 months of fun for the entire family!! Come visit and see the possibilities of owning real estate in Kalkaska County, Michigan.

Monday, October 26, 2009

8 Tips for Your Home Search


Tips for looking for a full time residence or your ideal recreational property can be exciting and fun. It also can be exhausting and frustrating. The choice is up to you. There is a great inventory available on the market; you’ll never have the time to see everything that strikes your fancy. Nor do you want to. Chances are that many of these listing will not be right for you for one reason or another. Narrow down your list before you set out in your car to look at property. Consider contacting a buyer’s agent who can help you find exactly what you are looking for. Here are some general tips to get you started:


1. Research before you look. Decide what features you most want to have in a home, what neighborhoods you prefer, and how much you’d be willing to spend each month for housing.

2. Be realistic. It’s OK to be picky, but don’t be unrealistic with your expectations. There’s no such thing as a perfect home. Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property.

3. Get your finances in order. Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and closing costs. Then, talk to a lender and get pre-qualified for a mortgage. This will save you the heartache later of falling in love with a house you can’t afford.

4. Don’t ask too many people for opinions. It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion, but be ready to make the final decision on your own.

5. Decide your moving time line. Is there a job transfer involved? Do you have children who need to be enrolled in school? In Michigan, sometimes the weather plays a role; want to be settled before the snow arrives? Review your calendar and set a date.

6. Think long term. Are you looking for a house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you.

7. Insist on a home inspection. If possible, get a warranty from the seller to cover defects for one year.

8. Get help from a REALTOR®. Hire a real estate professional who specializes in buyer representation. Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is to the seller, a buyer’s representative is working only for you. Buyer’s agents are usually paid out of the seller’s commission fee.

Real Estate Needs? Mark Bear, Home Waters ~ 989-889-5037 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Home Inspections


Before you make your final buying or selling decision, you should have the home inspected by a professional. An inspection can alert you to potential problems with a property and allow you to make an informed decision.

What a Home Inspection Should Cover
Home inspections will vary depending on the type of property you are purchasing. A large historic home, for example, will require a more specialized inspection than a small condominium. However, the following are the basic elements that a home inspector will check. You can also use this list to help you evaluate properties you might purchase..

Structure: A home’s skeleton impacts how the property stands up to weather, gravity, and the earth. Structural components, including the foundation and the framing, should be inspected.

Exterior: The inspector should look at sidewalks, driveways, steps, windows, and doors. A home’s siding, trim, and surface drainage also are part of an exterior inspection.

Roofing: A well-maintained roof protects you from rain, snow, and other forces of nature. Take note of the roof’s age, conditions of flashing, roof draining systems (pooling water), buckled shingles, loose gutters and downspouts, skylight, and chimneys.

Plumbing: Thoroughly examine the water supply and drainage systems, water heating equipment, and fuel storage systems. Drainage pumps and sump pumps also fall under this category. Poor water pressure, banging pipes, rust spots, or corrosion can indicate problems.

Electrical: Safe electrical wiring is essential. Look for the condition of service entrance wires, service panels, breakers and fuses, and disconnects. Also take note of the number of outlets in each room.

Heating: The home’s heating system, vent system, flues, and chimneys should be inspected. Look for age of water heater, whether the size is adequate for the house, speed of recovery, and energy rating.

Air Conditioning: Your inspector should describe your home cooling system, its energy source, and inspect the central and through-wall cooling equipment. Consider the age and energy rating of the system.

Interiors: An inspection of the inside of the home can reveal plumbing leaks, insect damage, rot, construction defects, and other issues. An inspector should take a close look at walls, ceilings and floors, steps, stairways, and railings.

Ventilation/insulation: To prevent energy loss, check for adequate insulation and ventilation in the attic and in unfinished areas such as crawlspaces. Also look for proper, secured insulation in walls. Insulation should be appropriate for the climate. Excess moisture in the home can lead to mold and water damage.

Fireplaces: They’re charming, but they could be dangerous if not properly installed. Inspectors should examine the system, including the vent and flue, and describe solid fuel burning appliances.

10 Questions to Ask Home Inspectors
Ask these questions to prospective home inspectors:
1. Will your inspection meet recognized standards? Ask whether the inspection and the inspection report will meet all state requirements and comply with a well-recognized standard of practice and code of ethics.

2. Do you belong to a professional home inspector association? Insist on members of reputable, nonprofit trade organizations; request to see a membership ID.

3. How experienced are you? Ask how long inspectors have been in the profession and how many inspections they’ve completed. They should provide customer referrals on request.

4. How do you keep your expertise up to date? Inspectors’ commitment to continuing education is a good measure of their professionalism and service. Advanced knowledge is especially important in cases in which a home is older or includes unique elements requiring additional or updated training.

5. Do you focus on residential inspection? Make sure the inspector has training and experience in the unique discipline of home inspection, which is very different from inspecting commercial buildings or a construction site.

6. Will you offer to do repairs or improvements? Some state laws and trade associations allow the inspector to provide repair work on problems uncovered during the inspection. However, other states and associations forbid it as a conflict of interest.

7. How long will the inspection take? On average, an inspector working alone inspects a typical single-family house in two to three hours; anything significantly less may not be thorough.

8. What’s the cost? Costs can vary dramatically, depending on your region, the size and age of the house, and the scope of services. The national average for single-family homes is about $320, but customers with large homes can expect to pay more.

9. What type of inspection report do you provide? Ask to see samples to determine whether you will understand the inspector's reporting style. Also, most inspectors provide their full report within 24 hours of the inspection.

10. Will I be able to attend the inspection? The answer should be yes. A home inspection is a valuable educational opportunity for the buyer. An inspector's refusal to let the buyer attend should raise a red flag.

Real Estate Needs? Mark Bear, Home Waters ~ 989-889-5037 

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Manistee...The Finest Trout River in Michigan?

The case can easily be made that The Upper Manistee River is not only the finest trout river in Michigan, but possibly the Eastern United States. While The AuSable gets much more press and adoration, those who spend time on The Manistee and know what sections to fish will tell you The AuSable is much better.......... so you won't bother them on The Manistee! Just about every year there are trout of 30" taken in The Manistee and rarely do you hear of 24" fish on The AuSable, especially the flies only section. We recently helped a client purchase a large acreage parcel on The Manistee and are selling their cabin they've had on The AuSable for 5 years. I received a text from him a week after closing letting me know he'd taken 3 fish over 20" in front of his new cabin. When I asked the last time he caught a fish of that size on The AuSable, the response was never. The largest trout he had taken in 5 years was 16". A week later, he caught a 26" Brown Trout right in front of his new cabin! Because of the prolific hatches on The AuSable, the trout can be extremely difficult to catch unless you do everything absolutely perfect. On The Manistee, the fish tend to be a bit more optimistic and will often take a fly that's "good enough" making for a happy angler on the other end. There are also portions of The Manistee that are extremely private in relation to most of The AuSable. If you're looking for large acreage parcels, The Manistee is also the place to go. Many parcels were protected by deed restrictions by Consumers Power long ago which has kept large stretches of The Manistee largely undeveloped. I'm anxious to see some responses from AuSable fans or maybe even Mark Bear, our AuSable agent, but it's definitely worth taking a look if you want privacy, scenic beauty, great property at a relatively reasonable price and some of the best trout fishing to be found East of The Mississippi. Here are just a few examples.




Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Facebook

If you haven't checked out Facebook yet, you may want to reconsider. We originally began using it as a way to stay in touch about property updates, price changes, company news and other information with other Realtors and the agents within our firm. It quickly snowballed into a way for me to personally stay in touch with family and friends through a personal profile and to drive business through our Facebook Page. In the last month, it has actually become the second leading source of leads coming into our website, http://www.homewaters.net/. We're getting more active with the page now and posting advanced notice of price changes, new listings, market conditions and more. It's just one more way for us to stay in touch with a different audience through a rapidly growing communication form! Just click the Facebook logo to view the page and select "become a fan" once there. You'll automatically receive the latest and greatest from the brokers and agents of Homewaters when you log in to your Facebook account!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Kalkaska the Beautiful!


What a beautiful time of year to visit Kalkaska County and all that it has to offer. There are two special places that are particularly enchanting in the Fall. Rugg Pond is located on Valley Road North of Kalkaska and is a beautiful place to visit. Rugg Pond is an historical site and is a damn which at one time provided power to the village of Kalkaska. Watch the mighty rush of water as it feeds into the Rapid River. Next, travel down Valley Road to Seven Bridges a 314 acre preserve owned by the state of Michgian and managed by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. Take the hiking path which has seven different bridges all crossing the Rapid River as it winds through this property. It is an amazing hike for all family ages. People are surprised to learn that Kalkaska County boasts 90 lakes and 3 rivers within its borders. It also has state land within minutes from anywhere in the county. Many of these lakes are small quiet natural lakes. However, three of the cleanest lakes in the state of Michigan are here - Starvation Lake, Big Blue Lake and Bear Lake. These three all-sports lakes are deep, clean and great recreation. If you have ever driven west out of Kalkaska towards Traverse City you have also seen the spectacular Skegemog Lake from the highway. Skegemog is also an all-sports lake which provides boaters and fishermen access to both Torch Lake and Elk Lake. If you have any Fall color tour time at all on your calendar I suggest you make time for a trip to Kalkaska County - you won't be disappointed. Also, while you are here stop by Cherry Street Market - the infamous little Farm Market on M-72 for the best selection of fresh fruits and vegetables plus deli and landscaping items.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Going Swimming in Torch Lake?

While Torch Lake has long been recognized as one of the most scenic lakes in the world, not many people realize what an amazing fishery the lake offers. From Atlantic Salmon to Smallmouth Bass to panfish and even giant Muskie, Torch offers truly world class fishing. A great example of this is the new state record Muskie that was caught just a couple days ago by a local angler who's been chasing them for about 7 years now. He apparently has taken about 70 of the huge fish over those years, but none larger than this new state record. It weighed in at a staggering 50lbs, 80z and beat the old record by 2.5 lbs. Just one more reason to consider Torch Lake as your place to vacation or retire! Prices have fallen steadily over the past couple of years making properties on Torch priced within reach for a lot more buyers! Click the photo to view all the available properties on Torch Lake.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

SEV vs. Market Value

In today's volatile real estate climate, buyers are working hard to educate themselves to ensure they make a wise purchase decision. One of the most available sources of property valuation is the County SEV or State Equalized Value of a given property. While I understand that buyers look to this number as a valuable source of information, it's very important to recognize that it's not usually a very good indicator of actual market value. It's simply impossible for a local assessor to individually evaluate each property and take into account many of the factors a potential buyer may see as vital. Quality of view, forest type, level of privacy and condition of the buildings are just a few items an assessor does not have the benefit of knowing when valuing a property. They're using raw data on paper to weigh properties against each other. I recently pulled the data of all the sales on The Upper Manistee River for a client who is placing an offer on a property there. The findings did not surprise me, but I think it's worth sharing with potential buyers.

SEV, Assessed Value (SEV x 2), Actual Sales Price, Difference
$94,900 $189,900 $120,000 -36%
$66,200 $132,400 $133,000 +.4%
$84,400 $168,800 $185,000 +9.5%
$86,300 $172,600 $227,500 +31.8%
123,000 $246,000 $325,000 +32.1%

The property that sold for only $120,000 and had an SEV of $94,900 was a manufactured home that needed a new roof system and had some interior water damage. I have no idea how they determined it's value to be higher than that of almost every other property that sold for more, but it's a perfect example of the inexact science that goes along with determining an SEV. I'm not saying these numbers apply to all market segments or that it will always be the case, but it hopefully provides some insight that should be taken into account as you go through this process. Good luck in the hunt for your property! Please get in touch with us if you need any assistance.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Crystal Clear Inland Lakes in Kalkaska County

The Northeast corner of Kalkaska County has three of the top five cleanest lakes in the State of Michigan. All-sports Big Blue Lake, Starvation Lake and Bear Lake all boast clean clear water with clarity beyond one's wildest imagination. These lakes are popular not only because of the clean water but they are all located in a great recreational area where year-around activity boasts snowmobiling on the Blue Bear Trail, cross country skiing and snowshoeing on a vast amount of state land. Because of the thousands of acres of state land surrounding these lakes one experiences a true "Up North" feel of serenity and peacefulness as soon as you arrive. Campfires, smores, story telling, fishing, boating, or just plain relaxing, this is an ideal place to purchase your Homewaters. The weather has been beautiful and Fall color is just weeks away. Great time to shop and see what is available. There is no better time to buy than right now.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Traverse City Named Top 3 Places to Retire by Money Magazine


In case you did not catch the latest results from Money Magazine's Top 25 Places to retire, Traverse City was listed at number three. This is something we have known for quite some time. For an active lifestyle, lower cost of living and wonderful arts and entertainment, Traverse City is the place to be. One thing to consider for selecting your retirement community is Health Care Services and Munson Medical Center is ranked among the top 100 hospitals in the country. International events such as the Traverse City Film Festival and world class fishing within an hour of the city limits make this a wonderful place to live and retire.

My spouse is from Traverse City and we have lived in the area since 1997 and have chosen not to retire to the Traverse City area, but to live and raise our family in this wonderful town in Northwestern Lower Michigan. We live about 12 miles from downtown, nestled between Duck and Green Lakes in the small town of Interlochen.

Most of my service area is within 45 minutes or less from Traverse City and if you are interested in seeking a retirement home, seasonal cottage, or are looking to relocate, please call me and I will be happy to work with you to find a property that will suit your needs. There are some wonderful values on the various waterways I service. Contact me via email-brian@homewaters.net

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Worth 1,000 Words

What are you waiting for?

On a recent trip to The Torch Lake Sandbar, we had the opportunity to bring a couple of the neighbor kids along for the ride. This is a shot of Brendan Endres taking a leap of faith off the back of our boat into 3 feet of water. Take a close look at his expression. You'd think he just cliff dove off a 100' sheer face into inches of water. This photo is perhaps the best example I can find of why most people are really looking to buy property in Northern Michigan. With so much focus on finances and the economy, it's easy to lose track of the real purpose of having your own piece of Homewater. While many people wait to time the elusive "bottom" of the market, their kids are getting older and may miss their opportunity to feel the rush Brendan is feeling in this shot. Prices have steadily declined throughout this season and it's spurring a lot of late season deals. As more inventory is removed from the market, it's sure to drive more competition and prices will indeed begin to increase. Just keep in mind the real reason for your search as you're going through the process and decide how long you're willing to wait on moments like these.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Homewaters in Michigan Blue Magazine

When it came time to do research for their upcoming Sporting Life edition, the Co-Publisher and Editor of Michigan Blue Magazine spent a few days touring Northern Michigan with our Broker and Owner, Chad Brown. The article appears in the September issue which is on news stands now. Click the image to read an expert from the article. Thanks very much to Lisa Jensen and Randy Prichard for allowing me to give them a glimpse into our world of riverfront real estate! We also arranged for them to stay at Rayburn Lodge on The AuSable River which is a spectacular B and B on The AuSable River that we sold a few years ago and the lodge is also featured in the article. If you haven't read Michigan Blue yet, it's a phenomenal lifestyle publication that includes regular features about all things related to waterfront living in Michigan.

World Record Brown Trout Caught in Manistee River


A little while back, I did a blog entry about the tremendous quality of the fishery on The Manistee River. I didn't realize then that a new world record would be caught there this year. A Rockford area man hooked and landed this monster trout of more than 41 lbs while fishing for salmon in the lower Manistee River. It surpasses a slightly smaller trout taken in Arkansas' White River years earlier. It eclipsed the previous state record by more than 4 lbs. Click Here for a local news story and video. There's no doubt that Michigan is among the nation's great fishing states and when it comes to trout, we now have the world record to prove it!!! Contact our friends at Schmidt Outfitters or The Northern Angler to book your trip on The Big Manistee and a shot and becoming the next world record holder!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

$30K Price Reduction-Close to Crystal Mountain, Bear Lake-30+ Acres, Pond, Creek, Newer Ranch, Barn and Much More



Here is a fantastic deal on a 4 year old ranch with a barn, pond, creek and backs up to state land. The owner says he wants it gone and has reduced the price to $209,900.00 for 30 acres. Priced well below SEV and recent appraisal value. Close to Bear Lake, 7 miles to Crystal Mountain, bring the horses or snowmobiles as this property backs up to state land with trails. This is an incredible value in Northern Michigan Real Estate. Would make a great getaway, retirement home, or year round home for you or your family.

If this property doesn't meet your needs, give me call and let me know what you are looking for, as I will be happy to work hard to find you the ideal property. Contact Brian Pitser at 231-342-9133 or brian@homewaters.net

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Low and Outside... How low should you offer?


With all the press about how terrible the market is (or was very recently) many of the buyers contacting us have it in their mind that they'll be able to automatically get a tremendous discount off list price if they throw a low ball offer at a property. Before taking this tact, there are a few things to be considered. If you truly are only looking for the property you can get for the lowest price possible and have no interest in acquiring the one that best fits your family's needs, then throw away. You'll likely miss out on a few before finding the seller who is in a position to move well below market value, but will probably find one willing to dump their property. More often than not, however, most sellers are somewhere in the middle. They'd obviously like to sell their property or it wouldn't be on the market. But, despite a lot of the dooms day press, most of our sellers are not in a situation where an immediate sale is essential and they are definitely going to hold out for a reasonable sales price.
Particularly if you are looking for the property that best suits the needs of you and your family, a low offer may end up costing you in the end, especially in regards to vacation properties. If you've done your research with the help of a good Realtor, you likely have a good gauge on what you will be able to get for your money. If you find a property that is ideal and appears to be priced at a fair market value, why risk losing that property with a horribly low offer. Most sellers will actually react more favorably to a fair offer because they have more confidence that the negotiations have a chance of coming together and the transaction was not started from an adversarial position. The moment you place a low ball offer, the seller files your motivations somewhere between a sleazy investor and a total jerk who isn't worthy of carrying on the great memories they've built on the property. If you come in with a reasonable offer, however, they simply see you as an interested party who understandably is trying to acquire the property for the best terms possible. They're much more likely to work with you from this mindset. It's up to you how you choose to approach the offer when the right property is located, but that initial offer will set the tone for the entire negotiations. You really want to give some hard thought to just how low you want to go. Have fun in the search and please let us know if we can be of any assistance!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Is this the bottom?

Recent statistics from The National Association of Realtors showed a 7% increase in home sales for the month of July! That's the fourth straight month of home sales increases and that's the highest increase since 2005 which many believe to have been the peak of the market. Click here for the article from NAR. Every day I receive updates of reduced prices on some terrific waterfront properties and many buyers are finding sellers willing to come down substantially form their list price. Whether this is the absolute bottom or not is very tough to say, but there is no doubt that some terrific deals are being found and many who thought waterfront property was out of their financial reach are finding some very solid properties they can now afford.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Late Summer Price Drops

If you've waited to this point of the season and some of the properties you had your eye on are still available, now can be a great time of the season to take advantage of price drops. A lot of sellers take this as their final opportunity to reduce their price before we are through our busiest season. It can lead to great buying opportunities on top of already attractive pricing this year. You might want to take the time to pull up those old listings to see what the price is now. Even on those that have not reduced price, the tail end of summer can be a great time to get a great deal. Just like boats, convertible cars, and campers, the end of the season is when most sellers are most motivated. The thought of holding their seasonal property through another winter can lead to a higher level of motivation than they may have felt in May. With the stock, market steadily creeping up and unemployment numbers coming in check a bit, 2009 could prove to be the bottom of the market! Sunshine and temps in the 80's are in the forecast for the upcoming week, so take advantage and make your way north for a great time and maybe the one chance you'll have to pick up your own property in Northern Michigan!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Open House on Otsego Lake!

Looking for your own home water on a fabulous all sports lake? Join me Saturday, Aug 1 to view this cozy home on Otsego Lake. Hours: 11:00 am- 3:00 pm. See "view detailed listing" for location & directions. See you there!

Leelanau County...A Great Place to Retire


With the recent downturn in the stock market and the economy, many people believe their plans for early retirement or just retirement have been dashed. However, an article in the July 26th issue of USA Weekend.com mentions that many people in their fifties are purchasing their perfect retirement home. This article ranked Traverse City, Michigan #4 in The Top 5 Places to Retire.


Leelanau County is essentially an extension of Traverse City and has so much to offer retirees. Beautiful lakes and rivers to buy your dream retirement home, as well as a plethora of things to do and see. There are many festivals and art walks each year. History is easily explored in various museums and in Historic Fish Town in Leland. Take dance lessons at the Old Art Building or visit the wineries to learn more about local wine and how it is made. the list of things to do is much to long to list!


If you have not seen the Leelanau County Chamber website, it is a great place to collect information about this area. Visit http://www.leelanauchamber.com/ to see the calendar of events, find local businesses and things to do in Leelanau County. You will be amazed to see how much is available to you in one of the Top 5 Places to Retire.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sunset Over Mullett Lake

Homewaters Recreational Real Estate is pleased to invite you to an evening of casual conversation on Saturday, July 18th beginning at 6:30pm.
Property owners on Mullett Lake and area contractors have been invited to meet members of the Homewaters Team and visit a fantastic home and property.
Information and representatives of several area conservation organizations will be on hand for those residents interested in the well-being of Mulett Lake and its associated watershed.



Our address for the evening event is 4278 Temple Street, Indian River. We're looking north up the lake from Pigeon Bay past Parrott Point. http://www.fishweb.com/maps/cheboygan/mullett/

Wine, cheese and assorted chocolates will be offered to our guests courtesy of Ken's Village Market and Drost Chocolates of Indian River. We look forward to seeing you there!
Please contact Lance Weyeneth at 877.820.1194 (ext.6) or via e-mail with any questions. Lance@Homewaters.net




Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Consider The Manistee....Seriously

We recently sold the adjacent property to this spectacular estate. The buyer had a cabin on The AuSable Holy Water for five years, but was looking for a higher degree of privacy for his family. In the first two weeks, he caught 6 brown trout over 20". I asked him when the last time was that he caught a 20" trout in front of his place on The AuSable and the answer was never. The largest trout he had taken in five years was a 16" brown. This isn't to say that The AuSable is not a fantastic river. It's definitely earned it's reputation among the finest dry fly trout rivers in The Eastern United States. I only mention it because some people overlook just how good The Manistee can be, especially when it comes to the potential to grow truly trophy trout. If you're looking for premium riverfront and have your heart set on The AuSable, you may want to broaden the search to include The Manistee. This is just one great example of what you might find.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Buying Process IV

Congratulations to the new home owner!
When I began the blog posts about this specific transaction, I have to admit that I had hoped for some oddities or bumps in the road that might help our visitors gain an understanding of how to maybe work through unforeseen issues that might come up. Fortunately for the seller and buyer it was the smoothest transaction we've had in quite a while!! It closed a week or so ago and the new owner has had an opportunity to already enjoy the property. In fact, the second time he fished there, he caught two Brown Trout of 20" or more during a Hex hatch!!! What a way to start out with the new property!! They owned a property for a few years prior to that on a different river and he'd never taken a trout of more than 16" there. He's definitely happy with the purchase and the seller loved that the property went to such a great young family. He'd owned this property since the early 1970's and had some wonderful memories, but was ready to pass the torch and let someone else build memories of their own.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Get A Manistee Cabin While There Are Some Left!

Based on what we're seeing so far, buyers have been much more aggressive in 2009 as compared to last year. If you've been waiting to buy until your late summer vacation, you may have already missed out on some of the best cabins on The Manistee, in particular. Just this weekend, we put together deals on two more Manistee River cabins to go along with the two we've already sold this year. That's more than half of our inventory already gone!
Even more interesting is the ratio of list to sale price has been very impressive. It's taken a while for sellers to reduce their prices to reflect market
conditions, but it appears many list prices are now reflecting fair market values, at least on The Manistee. Here's the run down on the cabins pictured to the left from top to bottom. You may recognize one or more as a place you've had your eye on.
Top left; Sold! Was listed for $325,000 and sold for full price at $325,000 with multiple offers in place. Second from top; Sold! Was listed for $139,900 and sold for $135,000. Third from the top; Sale Pending! Is listed for $237,500, but I cannot divulge the sales price until close. The bottom property on the left is listed for $199,900 and has an accepted offer to purchase for an undisclosed amount.
Hopefully you haven't missed out on one of these properties. With the warm weather now upon us and more people travelling north to take their summer vacations, the real estate market is really heating up. We look forward to hearing from you soon so we can help you find just the right property.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Stay Connected

“Stay connected with Mark Bear & Home Waters”

Bear Pic

  • You found your way here…so you already know you’re at Home Waters. Visit often to view highlights and showcases of Northern Michigan properties. Sit back and enjoy the scenery!

  • Want some more fun on the net? Visit me at Twin Bridge Gillie & tbg home journal for the ramblings of a Realtor living on a trout stream in Northern Michigan.

  • When you’re ready for some personalized service, contact me at bear@homewaters.net or call (877) 820-1194 ext. 4

“Looking forward to hearing from you!… thanks for staying in touch, Bear”

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rare AuSable River Acreage

With sales of $750,000, $640,000 and two of $600,000 on The AuSable River in recent years, the argument could be made that it is among the strongest markest in the state or even this part of the country! Every high dollar listing on The AuSable last year sold, except for one that was listed at $1,395,000. This property is the only acreage parcel availabe on The Holy Water section of the river and will be a terrific family estate for some lucky buyer.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Breathtaking AuSable River Estate

We're very proud to have been chosen to represent perhaps the finest private estate on The AuSable River. The lodge is a terrific mix of Classic Northern Michigan charm and modern conveniences. Granite counters, stainless appliances, slate flooring and tiled baths were all chosen to completement the classic lodge character.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Be Resourceful, Get Results!

I have some wonderful clients, Bill & Mardi who love to send me some weekly humor. Here's one that reminded me that we live in times where being creative and resourceful is integral to getting the job done!

An old Italian lived alone in New Jersey . He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, as the ground was hard. His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:


Dear Vincent,
I am feeling pretty sad, because it looks like I won't be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot.. I know if you were here my troubles would be over.. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days.
Love, Papa

A few days later he received a letter from his son:

Dear Pop,
Don't dig up that garden. That's where the bodies are buried.
Love,Vincent

At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies.. They apologized to the old man and left.That same day the old man received another letter from his son:

Dear Pop,
Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances.
Love you, Vincent

Visit Bill & Mardi's Property

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Oooh Honey, Take Me Fishing!



Looking for a place to call your own "Home Water"? It's all about trout fishing on this...


Wonderful fishing retreat on the flies only water of the AuSable North Branch. This well maintained getaway offers great views and privacy. Major updates have been done to the cabin. Very close to the river with fabulous stone barbecue. You'll enjoy for years to come! Make an appointment to see this one and bring the waders & fly rod!


For Sale: 2BR/1BA Single Family House in Grayling, MI, $179,900

Offered through Homewaters LLC
Listing Agent ~ Mark Bear
877 820-1194 Ext 4

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

No Place Like Home


Perhaps the best thing about living in Northern Michigan is coming back from travelling to other places. I had an opportunity to spend the last five days touring through Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Southern Michigan. While we saw some great scenery and had a wonderful trip, it made me reaize just how special and unique the lakes and rivers of Northern Michigan are. I cannot wait to get back home (just 1 1/2 hours to go)! If you haven't been Up North in a while, come visit and remember what you'be been missing!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Loving my "job"

Started out this morning on The Manistee River showing beautiful acreage properties to a wonderful couple from Chicago looking to buy a family getaway. It was sunny and 70 degrees and we had a terrific time and helped them gain some valuable knowledge about the market. I spent the afternoon working with a long time client looking to buy a home for retirement on The AuSable River in rain and low 50 degree temps. I think we found two great options for them. I now sit on the banks of The Boardman River where I stopped to visit a client's property on my way home. The sun is shining and it is absolutely a spectacular evening. These are the days where I truly appreciate where I have the pleasure to work and play! I hope we'll get the opportunity to see you soon in Northern Michigan!