Steve Volkers Group Blog

And for our next adventure: Mackinac Island. Being from an ocean town, I’m no stranger to ferries and bridges. In fact, they’re one of my favorite things. So, when we planned our trip to Mackinaw City, I couldn’t wait to take the ferry to the island and the bridge to the UP. Both adventures far exceeded my expectations but I wanted to talk about our time on the island because, WOW!

Going into this trip, I didn’t know much about Mackinac Island. I knew there was a lot of history, a lot of tragedy in the straights and a lot of beautiful scenery. The thing that floored me right off the bat: no motorized vehicles of any kind. I’m strangely obsessed with this lifestyle. You truly don’t realize how prevalent motors are until they aren’t around you. I

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I’m a big believer in transparency. I always tell my clients, I may go into the weeds a bit, but I want you to know all of the risks and all of the details. One thing that I never, ever want to hear from a client is: “You never told us this could happen!”

Most of the time the home buying process is fairly smooth, but sometimes there are surprises along the way. The more you know about what to expect and what may arise, the easier it will be to navigate through the hiccup.

I think the best way to mitigate these risks is by knowing the process and being prepared for the next step. See below for a simple “How-to” on the home buying process.

  • Step 1: Email the pre-approval letter to your agent.
  • Step 2: Review and sign the Agency Disclosure &
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By the way, what is a CTA? I get this question a lot so I thought I’d explain what it is.

CTA means Certified Tourism Ambassador and it’s a professional nationwide designation that you can earn by taking an initial class to learn the ins and outs of Grand Rapids! To renew each year, CTAs need to continue to experience the attractions in the city and log points online for a yearly renewal. So, yes, I got “credit” for recently visiting Boulder Ridge Animal Park in Alto, Butcher’s Uniondowntown (hello Bloody Mary’s!) and Millennium Park…all in the last week. I love being a tourist in my own city, so I try to rack up the points each year and see how many new places I can learn about!

Grand Rapids has one of the fastest-growing programs in the USA

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By now, I feel like it’s pretty common knowledge among condo buyers that they will have to pay association dues. But, what isn’t common knowledge are the ins and outs of the right questions to ask the association during your investigation period. Remember, the MLS isn’t always correct. It falls on the buyer, and buyers agent, to confirm association information and ask questions to minimize any risk for surprises down the road.

So what do those questions look like? (Well, kind of like that one I guess…)

And also, these:

  1. What do the association dues include?
  2. How much have monthly association dues risen in the past 5 years?
  3. Have there been any large assessments in the last 5 years?
  4. Are there any upcoming assessments?
  5. Is there a
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The real estate market is a competitive industry where it seems like everyone knows a Realtor. So, how do we make our team stand out? Steve Volkers Group believes that outstanding client communication and services is the true ‘it factor’.

We Care

We pride ourselves on a culture of service. It’s about providing the same outstanding service and attention to each and every client no matter their budget, age or background. Our team is actively brainstorming ways to help you be more successful, and make you happy. This can be anything from trying a new video marketing strategy, to bringing a client Ginger Ale when they’re sick. (True story!)

We Communicate

We’re available by call, text, email, Facebook, you name it! And we respond quickly. (FYI

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I mean who doesn’t love tacos?! Not only are tacos a way of life but also a very controversial subject around here. Because who, in Grand Rapids, has the best tacos?

Let’s start with the ever-popular choice: Donkey Taqueria on Wealthy St. Housed in a renovated gas station from the 1920s, Donkey offers authentic Mexican food with an always evolving cocktail menu, led by head bartender Justin Whitman. My go-to taco here is easily the Bruselas – crispy fried Brussel sprouts, corn, bacon, jalapeño mayo and salsa verde all wrapped in a soft corn tortilla. Nothing beats washing this taco down with one of Justin’s many cocktail features while people watching on their sunny patio.

A bit closer to downtown, and within walking distance to many other bars

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When someone finds out that I’m from the south (North Carolina, to be exact) they usually ask me two things:

1. How do you feel about winter?

2. Have you been to Traverse City?

I can finally say, “YES!” to question 2. (I plead the fifth on question 1…) Recently, my fiancé and I took a weekend excursion to Traverse City for the Cherry Festival. A quick 2.5 drive got us to our hotel where we quickly unloaded and headed out to Mission Point. We stopped by Bowers Harbor Vineyard for a tasting and delicious Cidermosa. (Yes, it was amazing!!) We also took a pitstop at the lighthouse and then grabbed dinner at North Peak Brewing. After one afternoon/evening in TC, I was hooked!

Saturday we spent most of the day at the Traverse City State

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Listen, open houses are important – but only if they are done correctly. Not every open house is the same – even in this seller’s market. Our team believes open houses are an important tool in selling your home. We’ve sold many houses AT the actual open house. It’s all in how you market the open house, work the open house and follow up afterward. That’s what sets our team apart and why we’ve made open houses successful. (Not to mention fun!)

If you’ve ever wondered what goes into an open house and what difference they make, here’s a little insight with the “Open House How-to”.

How-to: Before

Marketing, marketing, marketing! I don’t just mean Facebook and MLS, but is your agent sending invitations to other agents? In our network it’s important

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Searching for a condo can be a different journey than searching for a single family home. Each building or development has its own personality and finding the right fit can take some research, which is why you should work with an agent that is experienced in condo sales. I often find that my clients will eventually narrow their search to a building(s) that they love and then wait for the right unit to become available.

I recommend scheduling at least an hour to do a driving tour where you can get a feel for all of the options from Downtown South (Hillmount, Tapestry Square) to Downtown North (Monroe Terrace, Boardwalk) to the West Side (Seventh Street Lofts, Union Square) to the East Side (Belknap Hill, etc) and everything in between like Monroe

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Take the YOU Out of Your House to Avoid Getting HOSED at Selling Time!

Of course, your home is your sanctuary. At the end of a long workday or even a long vacation, there’s nothing quite like crossing the threshold into your own private cocoon and relaxing while surrounded by the people and things you care about most.

One of the greatest pleasures of owning a home is having the freedom to customize it as you wish, to express your style and personal tastes through window treatments, flooring type, exterior color and the like. But when you’re reaching for that paint can or countertop sample chip, be extra cautious. Sure it’s your home to love and lavish today … But where will you be two years down the line? Five? Even ten?

If there’s even the

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