Stuff to Do in Grand Rapids, MI on a Friday Night if you’re over 40…

SEARCH WEST MICHIGAN HOMES FOR SALE – Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate Statistics

I’m looking through the list of recently released movies available in the Grand Rapids area tonight and the pickins’ are pretty slim.  Not much worth spending my money or time to go and see.  So, what do you do on a Friday night in Grand Rapids if you’re not a high school or college age student?  It seems that the options for them remain endless.

Well, fortunately, Grand Rapids, Michigan affords all sorts of great things to do…many of which don’t cost a lot of money.

Downtown Mall Walking & Historic Buildings Tour…Monroe Mall offers some interesting eateries.  It’s in the downtown area with some great architecture.  Grand Rapids has a number of beautiful old buildings.  I love architecture.  There are many gorgeous historic homes in the Heritage Hill area which is close to downtown.  The summer gardens are blooming and it’s a pleasure to stroll or ride by through the Hill district at this time of the year. Looking for a classy Asian restaurant with a reasonable price…try  XO on the Monroe mall.

Stroll the Grand…Park your car and stroll the Grand River.  Walk up the side of the Amway Grand Plaza and cross the bridge to the Gerald Ford Museum.  Talking about museums, there are several great ones in Grand Rapids, including the new Art Museum and the Van Andel Museum.

Take A Walk on the Wild Side…Visit the zoo. It’s not expensive and it’s a fun, educational experience.  Just across from the zoo is John Ball Park, a great place to spread out an impromptu picnic by the pond.

Cozy up with a book…Grand Rapids has several bookstores.  My favorites are Schuller Books and Barnes & Nobels.  Both all feature a nice cafe to pick up a quick dinner or dessert AND tons of great books.

Splash in the Lake…while Grand Rapids, Michigan has numerous lakes and ponds…nothing beats the big one…Lake Michigan.  With a 30 minute drive you can be in Grand Haven to stroll along the pier or on the Lake Shore in the Holland area.  Many public access points allow you to enjoy the beauty of this magnificent lake.  If you’re in Grand Haven, there’s nothing like picking up an icecream cone and strolling down the pier…

If you’re thinking about some good or unusual eateries…here are some suggestions…

The Green Well…environmentally focused restaurant in East Hills community.  Great food w/local focus.  Tends to be busy on most weekends.

Chez Bayou…New Cajun restaurant.  Have not been there yet.

Benthams…in Amway Grand Plaza; on the riverfront

Sans Chez…Tapas Restaurant;

Steak Houses…Louis Bentons…Great steak & The Chop House…have not been there, hear it’s good but expensive.

Chinese…XO on the Monroe Mall.


Marcos’ formerly Hud’s Italian Eatry…off Cascade Rd…small, but good food.


Restaurant Bloom…ecclectic and interesting New American cuisine on the Monroe Mall…

Marie Catribe…closes at 8 p.m….great food and prices.





What I Know to Be True…

It’s almost 3 years since Audu Real Estate set out an independent shingle. As I was going through an old notebook, I came upon a letter which I had written to people in my circle of friends celebrating the one year company anniversary that had just been completed a few months earlier.

As I re-read this letter, which I had all but forgotten, I was struck by some of the thoughts that I shared. In addition to giving a brief update on the business and my family, here’s an excerpt which I wrote about “What I Know to Be True…”

This I know to be true. There are some significant foundational things in my life which change at great peril. Faith and confidence in God’s goodness and His amazing wisdom and love through Jesus Christ are not negotiable. On the other hand, gathering places in which His love is expressed may be.

This I know to be true. Peace, Wisdom, Love & Courage are really big deals! Their worth in life cannot be quantified. They are faithful companions and incredible teachers. When expressed through the pages of a good book, they are delicious to the soul. When found on the lips of a precious friend or in the kindness of strangers; they carry the very breath of life! I am so grateful to have access to both sources.

This I also know to be true. My career in real in real estate has never been simply about selling homes. The greatest gift has been the lessons learned in life. Working with so many different kinds of people has forced me to more fully know myself.

I have found this to be true. Often difficult circumstances have been resolved only when I have understood that these lessons were primers for my own life. It is then that I was able to see faults within me that needed to be remedied before I was ‘qualified’ to pick out the proverbial ‘lint or speck’ in another’s eye.

It’s a joy to be in service. Thank you for your personal gift of presence in my life. I pray that you would have the wisdom and grace to know what should not change and the courage to embrace fully that which must.

Well, that was written in 2006. And, it still rings true as What I Know to be true.

Copyright 2008 Audu Real Estate All Rights Reserved

Super Charming, Northwest Grand Rapids Home (1532 Pine Ave NW)…The Real Deal @$114,900!

One thing which can be said about Grand Rapids, Michigan homes is that there are some great opportunities right now in the housing market.  Take a look at this home, listed by Therese Vandermeer of Audu Real Estate @ $114,900.  Totally new on the inside.. and within walking to Richmond Park.  What a great way to enjoy summer!

1532 Pine Ave NW. 2 Bedrooms, 2 Baths, hardwood floors, hickory cabinets, Professional style decor…

Grand Rapids, MI


Jamaican Dave’s…Enjoy A Taste of the Carribean in Grand Rapids, MI!

It’s over 80 degrees in the shade when we pull into the parking lot of Jamaican Dave’s this past weekend.  Inside, it’s not much cooler…but the folks behind the counter are totally cool…they’re chillin’.  And before long so are we!

If you’ve been to the Caribbean Islands or Jamaica, a stop at this restaurant on Wealthy Street will feel like you’re back in the tropics.  The walls are decorated with pictures of the royals (from England) visiting Jamaica, the ginger beer and soft drinks are ice cold and the food is pleasantly spiced. 

We’ve ordered a variety of dishes which have included…their meat pies, the curried chicken, jerk chicken and curried goat with plantain and rice.  All very good.  Jamaican Dave’s also does catering, so if you want to bring a taste of the tropics home to your family and friends, this place can deliver.

1059 Wealthy St SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506-1583
Phone: (616) 458-7875

Tempest in a Teapot…How Stormy Conditions are Creating Positive Change for Michigan Real Estate Consumers

Summer weather roared in with blazing high temperatures and strong storms here in Grand Rapids, Michigan!  It’s been a little while since I’ve been able to look out my window at a clear blue sky and gently swaying trees.  In some ways the recent rush of climatic activity is a metaphor for the real estate situation here in West Michigan.

2008 has been a year in which we have seen some stormy conditions.  The year commenced with the down draft in the mortgage sector due to the sub-prime lending crisis.  In fact, until just recently, most of West Michigan was considered a declining market which meant that New Home Buyers were being asked to bring additional money to the closing table to close loans.  Money which many of them were hard pressed to find. Zero down programs evaporated into the cosmic ethers.

Yet, not all the news was bad.  In the midst of this tempest, affordability levels increased as the prices of homes plummeted sharply creating all sorts of opportunities for buyers and investors to pick up properties at rock bottom prices.  Home owners learned hard lessons about the laws of supply and demand Because bank owned properties now constituted almost 1 out of every 3 sales, marketing times increased to almost a year and homes that were not priced correctly were all but ignored.

In an environment in which so many winds of change are raging, it’s often difficult to decipher exactly what is going on.  Recently, Jennifer Granholm the Governor of Michigan signed some important legislation into LAW!  It’s the Agency Responsibility Act (ARA)  I think that this legislation is one of the best things to emerge out of the storm which has engulfed our industry.

The Governor’s signature on the acts is the culmination of the Michigan Association of Realtors hard fought efforts to clarify for consumers the real estate services that were being provided by various agencies.  This movement was brought about by the amazing discovery that the ONLY duties imposed by statue or rule of law when representing seller or buyers or real estate property were:

The duty of agents to present offers to sellers within a reasonable period of time

The duty of listing brokers to review and sign the closing statements.


While most Realtors® were offering substantially MORE than this, the public had limited understanding of the potential vast difference of service levels between brokers because all brokers were using the “Exclusive Right to Sell Contract.” (Buyers usually are serviced under a Buyer Agency Agreement)

As a result of this legislation, brokers who do NOT provide the required MINIMUM service levels will now have to use a LIMITED SERVICE AGREEMENT form which clearly defines exactly what they are doing or NOT doing.  The ARA also amends the law to make it a VIOLATION of the Occupational Code if a Realtor FAILS to provide all Statutory Services unless they are expressly waived by a client in a limited services agreement.

The is a huge advancement forward for the rights of consumers to ensure they understand exactly WHAT they are getting when they sign up with a real estate broker.  I think it will help to dispel some of the misunderstanding and confusion which has marred the positive perception of the real estate industry. 

Sometimes, it takes a storm to bring out the best in nature.  Today, my lawn is a gorgeous green and the flowers are blooming.  It may have been a little rough getting here, but the results I’m witnessing make it worth it.  The Act becomes effective as law on July 1, 2008. My hope is that the turmoil in our industry will continue to yield changes which serve the good of our profession and the clients we have the privilege of assisting.

Copyright 2008  Audu Real Estate  All Rights Reserved

Cobblestone Manor…A Michigan Original

Cobblestone Manor, Auburn Hills, MichiganWe stumbled upon this Bed & Breakfast on line.  With gas prices as high as they are, staying closer to home for a short Memorial Day get away was a priority.  Apparently, this was something that a lot of folks in Michigan were thinking as we found that many hotels were booked. 

Which made the discovery of Cobblestone Manor, a historic inn & bed & breakfast such a remarkable find!  It’s a wonderful place to stay if you’re ever thinking about a nice vacation spot in the Auburn Hills area just outside of Detroit Michigan. 

Our stay marked our wedding anniversary.  We met several couples who were newly weds or celebrating their anniversary as well.  In fact, on the second day, chairs had been set on on the lawn for a picture perfect wedding.  It was interesting to hear the story of the wedding from the bride and groom the next morning at breakfast.

Now, the breakfast at the Cobblestone Manor is exceptional.  Imagine the delight of being seated at a nicely set up table with real china reflecting the soft glow of candlelight. 

The gracious inn keepers, the Crandalls served the breakfast which consisted of an assortment of fresh fruits, yogurt, and home made granola.  That was just the first course.  The second portion of the meal included on day 1 a delicious French Toast with a orange glaze syrup, and on day 2, a mouth watering fritatta…Heather Crandalls’ recipe. 

The rooms are clean and comfortable.  Attention is paid to keeping the furnishings in a style which reflects the historic nature of the property.  We were fascinated to learn about the extensive renovation which transformed this 1840 home into the gracious dwelling that guests from far and near enjoy today.

We enjoyed our stay enormously and think that you will too! 

Waiting for the bride~ Cobblestone Manor

special events at the Cobblestone manor

Cobblestone Manor is located on 3151 University Dr in Auburn Hills, MI 48326
(248) 370-8000

Copyright 2008  Audu Real Estate  All Rights Reserved