Certified International Property Specialist – West Michigan welcomes the world home!

Certified International Property SpecialistGrand Rapids, Michigan is welcoming the world home as REALTORS expand their awareness about the world and global markets. The local association is currently hosting a national designation offered by the National Association of REALTORS to train local real estate agents about the benefits of becoming globally proficient and connected. Approximately 20 students are currently enrolled in the designation course which involves classroom time, a certain amount of practical experience with international transactions and some other requirements.

It’s especially good for me to participate in this class as it represents the fruit of seed from efforts in 2011 when the association created the International Committee. Today, this committee is active in enhancing awareness about the impact of globalization on the economy of West Michigan.

We have had the opportunity to serve people from all over the world. It is always an interesting and enlightening experience. It requires attention to detail and an awareness of some of the unique challenges that people from different parts of the world face. As an immigrant and New American, I have a real appreciation for the benefits of homeownership in America.

One of the challenges of the classroom experience is the danger of stereotyping as we seek to learn more about people whose experience differs. For instance, we’re having discussions about high context vs low context cultures. What’s emerging in the discussion is the fact that you cannot take generalizations too far. At the end of day, it’s about the individual and their culture – you can’t divorce one from the other. It’s a packaged deal.

Grandville, MI Real Estate Statistics ~ June 2010

Grandville,  MI Real Estate Statistics ~ June 2010

Like many areas of the West Michigan real estate landscape, Grandville, MI has been impacted by the rise in foreclosures and short sales which have accounted for an increasing number of transactions within the past year.

The graph below is provided courtesy of the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors.  There has been a downward trend with regards to home prices.  The median sales price is $81,000 compared to approximately $120,000 in June of last year (2009) while the average sales price hovers at around $100,000.

Current inventory on the market is just under 9 months, but home owners who are successfully selling their homes seem to understand what the market requires to get to the closing table.  Houses priced to compete effectively in the current market are selling within 93.72% of the list price.  There are currently 114 homes on the market and the average number of days on the market for homes which have sold is 72.

Chart & data provided courtesy of the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors

Grandville MI  Real Estate Sales Statistics

Grand Rapids Association of Realtors® hosts Jeff Turner @ Social Media Summit!

Jeff Turner ~ GRAR Summit on Social Media & Social Values ~ Grand Rapids, MichiganMembers of the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors are looking forward to welcoming Jeff Turner of Zeek Interactive and Real Estate Shows to the Grand Rapids, MI area on May 12th, 2010.  Jeff will be kicking off a three part summer series called the Social Media Boot Camp which is designed to help real estate agents understand the WHY,  WHERE and HOW TO  for creating intelligent strategies and solutions that provide value within social networks.

By now, much of the business community has come to terms with the fact that social media  and social networks are ideas which they need to understand.   Many in the business community have latent or expressed fear about the vulnerability which comes from not having control of the medium.  And…there’s a ton of confusion about what to do and how to do it…

At the root of all this confusion is an underlying frustration that something is missing.   That’s one of the issues that Jeff Turner will be addressing as he speaks to members of the real estate community.  The topic will be ‘Social Media and Social Value.”   What do our value systems reveal about us and how does this inform our engagement within social media?  And…WHY does this matter?  It promises to be a fascinating and insightful discussion.

I’ve always appreciated the clarity and insight which Jeff brings to the complexity that swirls around the online world.  Really looking forward to welcoming him to the West Michigan area.  The event is open to members of the public.  Click here for more information or registration.

Lola’s Favorite Grand Rapids, MI Greenhouses/Nurseries!

Well,  it’s summertime in Grand Rapids, MI…or sort of.  We’ve been enjoying more spells of cooler weather than warm lately, but that’s actually OK with me.

For one things, it’s great planting weather for the garden.   And, fall is my favorite season of the year, so a little fall in summer is not that terrible in my opinion.

In celebration of summer, we made our ritual pilgrimage to our favorite greenhouses in the area.  Although, it’s after the Memorial Day Sales, there is still a fairly good selection and you certainly can’t complain about the prices when Countryside Greenhouse has a items on sale!

Our first stop is Countryside Greenhouse in Allendale, MI.  It’s just a short drive out of Grand Rapids.  This year, the layout looks entirely different and they’ve expanded their receiving/check-out area significantly.

Over the last several years, I’ve been focusing more on perennials as I finally realised it made little sense to continue planting the same plants year after year.  So, we pick up several hydrangeas, and an assortment of other plants to fill in bare spots in the yard.

If you’re looking for some of the larger shrubs and trees, we noted some very good prices on ornamental trees.  We almost picked up a Japanese Maple, but decided against it when we checked the tag which indicated it could grow as tall as 20 feet within 10 years.  A little too much height for the area I was considering.  Check out their website to see a complete list of what’s currently on sale.

Next stop, is Motmans Greenhouse.  Large signs along the expressway beckon you to stop in and a smiling face let’s you know you’ve arrived. Motman’s  also carries fresh vegetables and today, there is a sale of some very appealing looking asparagus.  Several customers are bagging up larges bunches.

The selection at Motman’s is colorful and healthy.  I’m here to mainly see what they have left in their larger arrangements.  Motman’s also features a wide array of annuals and perennials, but the main reason I make a yearly visit to this greenhouse is because they do such a beautiful job with their arrangements.

Grand Rapids, MI has a number of greenhouses and shops which sell plants to decorate your yard this summer.  These are just two of my favorites, but there are many to choose from.  Invest in pampering your home this year.  The simple beauty which flowers and plants share with us during this time of the year is wonderful.

Motman’s Greenhouse: O-2617 River Hill Dr Grand Rapids, MI 49534 – (616) 677-1525

Countryside Greenhouse: 7235 Pingree St, Allendale – (616) 895-5000

Wealthy at Charles, A Delight for the Senses!

Wealthy at Charles, Grand Rapids MI

Wealthy at Charles, Grand Rapids MI

Although, it’s the start of fall, the garden is still open. This bountiful display of greenery is what initially catches my eye as we are cruising down Wealthy St.  

The plat is surrounded by a attractive wrought iron fence.  This segment of land, brimming with a variety of plantings is an unexpected respite in the city.

It is the garden which beckons me to stop into Wealthy at Charles and take a look around.  The store is situated within a beautifully restored  home which has been transformed into an intimate shopping experience for home style enthusiasts.  The wall colors are a dove gray and muted eggplant framed by burnished wood floors.  Very simple, very elegant…very calm.

The store features an eclectic and ever changing array of products for the home, gifts, accessories and stylish floral creations.  In between attending to clients, Mike one of the owners shares about the history of the home and the artistic accents which fill the store with elegance and color.

You feel as though you are in an artists’ studio…the displays evoke moments of unexpected spontaneity.  Luscious pillow displays and beautiful area rugs transition into whimsical mini statues and riotous bouquets of flowers.  You could spend an hour in this place and still have trouble deciding what to purchase.

I finally settle on my purchase which is carefully wrapped up with a bow and tissue.  This is certainly a store worth visiting…as much for the experience of first class service as the creativity which illumines every spare square inch of retail space.

wealthy at charles, llc
738 wealthy street se

grand rapids mi 49503


telephone: 616 458 6664


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