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Cindy Schlee's Blog

By Cindy Schlee | Agent in Grand Rapids, MI
  • Home Ownership in Grand Rapids MI

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Grand Rapids, Property Q&A in Grand Rapids, Military Movers in Grand Rapids  |  March 29, 2013 6:16 PM  |  286 views  |  1 comment

    The Benefits Of Home Ownership in Grand Rapids MI


    The decision to purchase a home is exciting and a major investment for your future.  Because there is only so much of it to go around, real estate is the top choice for many investors and the desire for most families. 


    When you own a home, you will enjoy the freedom of decorating and making any changes that you choose without needing the permission of a landlord or property owner.  In addition, you may even be able to use your home's equity to finance some needed improvements and/or repairs.  In some cases, these changes may even increase the value of your home.  An upgraded kitchen or bathroom, hardwood flooring or an additional room are examples of changes that could result in added value.


    Another advantage of home ownership is the tax benefits that are available.  The interest paid on a home mortgage as well as most property taxes paid are tax deductible.  For additional information on deducting mortgage interest and property tax, consult the IRS or a tax professional.


    In addition to providing yourself and your family with a feeling of stability and permanence, home ownership can also help strengthen your credit profile through timely mortgage payments and a steady financial history.

    Cindy Schlee, Realtor
    Grand Rapids, MI


  • Grand Rapids Michigan Garage Sale Fun

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Grand Rapids, Home Selling in Grand Rapids, In My Neighborhood in Grand Rapids  |  May 4, 2012 6:07 PM  |  235 views  |  No comments

    Making money with your spring garage sale in Grand Rapids Michigan

    If you are looking for a way to de-clutter your home, basement and garage it’s time to plan a garage sale!  If you plan this event carefully you will turn a mountain of stuff into cash.  You don’t need to have a garage to hold a garage sale just an easily accessible location.  Consider asking neighbors and call it a subdivision sale and turn your sale into family fun. 

    Advertising and marketing your sale is essential.  Newspapers, roadside signage, social media and billboards are a few inexpensive ways to get the word out.  Make sure you tell all of your friends, relatives and co-workers.

    Once you have picked a day for your sale it’s time to start deciding what you want to sell.  It is important that your merchandise is clean and in working order. There are some items that sell better than others.  Here is a list of popular sellers:

    1. Children’s clothes

    2. Children’s toys and furniture

    3. Adult clothing

    4. Kitchen utensils

    5. Sporting equipment

    6. Patio furniture

    7. Garden and outdoor tools

    Arrange the items so the prices are easy to see and the merchandise it easy to get to. Shoppers will want to negotiate prices so be ready!  Be sure you have enough money and change and a place to put your money during the sale.  You will need some bags or boxes for items that are purchased.  Have your kids prepare lemonade and cookies to sell. 

    If you have leftovers after your sale, donate them to a charity.  Garage sale are a lot of fun so plan yours properly and you will have a great time.


  • Using a listing agent as a buyer’s agent – can they truly service both sides of the deal??

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Grand Rapids, Home Selling in Grand Rapids, Credit Score in Grand Rapids  |  April 20, 2012 5:47 PM  |  227 views  |  1 comment

    Using a listing agent as a buyer’s agent – can they truly service both sides of the deal??

    In any type of legal argument, it is imperative that your attorney only look out for  their client’s best interest.  Would retain an attorney who worked for both sides of the legal issue?  Of course not because you cannot serve both side of the issue with the same about of zeal and loyalty.  So my question is, in a real estate transaction why would a buyer use the seller’s agent?  Why would a real estate buyer’s representation be any less important than an legal issue?  The answer is that is not.  When a buyer is out driving around a neighborhood looking a potential home, they see a sign with the listings agent’s contact number on it.  They call the listing agent not knowing that in Michigan the listing agent has a fiduciary duty to represent the seller first. 

    It is not illegal for the listing agent to represent both the buyer and seller.  It is called dual agency and it enable the agent to collect a larger commission.  Dual agency is legal in Michigan as long as it is disclosed and both seller and buyer sign an agreement.  I have heard all sorts of horror stories from buyers who never received important information regarding the purchase of their home when represented in a dual agency transaction. 

    Here is the truth:  buyers should ALWAYS have their own agent in any real estate traction.  There is no good reason for a buyer to agree to dual agency as it is not in their best interest.  Buyer’s don’t pay for their agent.  A buyer’s agent is paid from the seller’s side.  When you are in the market to buy a home – find your own agent.  You will be glad you it. 

  • Grand Rapids Michigan - Best City to Raise a Family!!

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Grand Rapids, Home Selling in Grand Rapids, Foreclosure in Grand Rapids  |  April 6, 2012 1:42 PM  |  294 views  |  No comments

    This week Forbes magazine reports Grand Rapids has been named as one of the best cities to raise a family according to MSA.  Grand Rapids and the surrounding area have the best of all worlds.  The award winning school districts like Forest Hills, Grandville, Hudsonville, Jenison, Rockford, Kentwood and several others boast high graduation rates, MEAP scores and special programs for all students.

    The job market in Grand Rapids is thriving because it has several manufacturing plants from furniture to food products.  With an abundance of hospitals and medical care facilities, health care jobs are overflowing.  Grand Rapids offers two malls, Woodland Mall and Rivertown Crossing Mall.  Along with great shopping, there are a lot of non-chain restaurants with local owners. 

    Real estate in Grand Rapids is doing well.   West Michigan is not get hit hard like the rest of the state.  While there are some foreclosures and short sales they don’t begin to compare with Lansing, Flint and Detroit. 

    Family entertainment includes the John Ball Zoo, Reeds Lake, Meijer Gardens, Gerald Ford Museum, Art Prize and many more.  From Grand Rapids you are approximately 30 minutes from the beaches of Lake Michigan.   


    Click link to read article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomvanriper/2012/04/04/the-best-cities-for-raising-a-family/

  • Large Real Estate or Small Real Estate??

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Grand Rapids, Home Buying in Grand Rapids, Home Selling in Grand Rapids  |  March 30, 2012 5:46 PM  |  308 views  |  1 comment

    When I first started out in my real estate career, my first broker was Coldwell Banker.  They provided a lot of training that has served me well over the years.  Back then I thought it was in my best interest to work with a large well known real estate company.  There wasn’t many small real estate brokers back then and I was convinced the Coldwell Banker’s, Keller William’s Real Estate One etc. were the only way to full customer service for my clients. 

    Ten plus years later and a bit wiser, I have learned that the bigger is not always the better.  In the last ten years or so larger brokers have had to compete with smaller brokers for agents.  Smaller broker can offer better commission splits because they have lower costs.  With the internet, now all listing in your local MLS are automatically syndicated to Google, Yahoo, Zillow and Realtor.com.  The big brokers are not number one anymore! 

    You may ask how does this matter to a buyer or seller.  Well, it does.  At least once every week I get asked “where I am from?” When I tell them I am from JGR Real Estate in Grand Rapids MI, they respond with “huh I never heard of them”.  My point it this, as long as you are working with a licensed Realtor it doesn’t matter what broker is holding their real estate license.  It is not the size of the broker,  it is the commitment of your Realtor. 

  • Appraisals - Grand Rapids

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Grand Rapids, Home Selling in Grand Rapids, Property Q&A in Grand Rapids  |  March 16, 2012 4:47 PM  |  261 views  |  No comments

    What happens when the home you are trying to buy comes back from the appraiser with a lower dollar amount that your offer?  This is something that happens and it can steal you dream home away from you.  There are some things you, as a buyer can do if this happens.  It is important that you obtain a complete copy of the appraisal.  Your mortgage lender or realtor can provide you with a copy.  Read it very carefully to make sure everything is accurate.  Ask your agent to review the comparables to make sure they were done accurately.  Your agent should be able to verify the appraiser’s comparables. As a buyer or seller you can request a second opinion.  You will have to pay for a second opinion but it may be worth the extra expense.  Your lender will have to re-order the new appraisal.

     If the appraisal is lower than the purchase price, a buyer may ask the seller to make up the difference.  If the seller refuses to pay the full difference you may ask if the difference can be split between the buyer and seller.  If that doesn’t work the buyer will have to pay the differences or walk away from the deal.  A low appraisal maybe a good thing for a buyer as it allows for negotiations that are in line with the appraisal price. 

    This is the time you will be thankful you have a Realtor representing your best interests!!

  • Seller Home Inspections

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Grand Rapids, Home Buying in Grand Rapids, Home Selling in Grand Rapids  |  March 9, 2012 3:34 PM  |  262 views  |  No comments

    Seller Home Inspections-Grand Rapids

    When a homeowner gets ready to put their home on the market to sell, they think all that needs to be done is a little clean up.  While a clean-up does not hurt the appearance of the home a lot of other upgrades will not pay off.  That being said, in my opinion, sellers should obtain a home inspection to provide to potential buyers and their Realtor.  You may ask what value that has and I can tell you that a buyer can legally withdraw from a purchase agreement if they get a less than acceptable home inspection.  It is much better for the seller to hire a home inspector and already know in advance the issues that may arise.  It shows good faith to the potential buyers that you, as a seller, have nothing to hide.  A pre-sale home inspection helps the Realtor get top dollar for your house and makes the property easier to market. 

    The other side of that coin is if the seller’s home inspection reveals repairs that need to be done the seller should disclose them.  In the Grand Rapids MI and Kent county area, not a lot of sellers invest in a home inspection but they should.  It is much better to have all the information upfront than to have the sale of your house become complicated. 


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