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Marcy Swanson's Blog

By Marcy Swanson | Agent in 49512
  • 10 Considerations for Finding the Perfect School District for Your Children

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Grand Rapids  |  August 15, 2012 11:39 AM  |  144 views  |  No comments


    10 Considerations for Finding the Perfect School District for Your Children

    1. Does the school and the surrounding neighborhood meet your expectations? How are the teachers and students when you talk to them: outgoing, open-minded, confident, friendly, etc.? 

    2. What special services does the school offer? Do they offer a special needs or gifted/talented programming? Do they offer athletics & extracurricular activities that your child would enjoy?

    3. Very Important Question: What is the student-teacher ratio?  Is there a proper mix of teaching & self-guided instruction to engage your child in their education?

    4. Does the curriculum assist in preparing your child for the diverse working world of people they will meet?

    5. How does the school bring technology into the classrooms? Is there a high level of technology integration in the school's curriculum? Does the school have a well-equipped media center that is easy for the student to utilize?

    6. Will there be consistency in the curriculum, the staff, and in your child’s friends from year to year?

    7. How is the school's communication with families & surrounding community members?  Are parents encouraged to be involved in their children’s education?

    8. How does the school handle disciplinary matters? What is the parent’s expected involvement in disciplinary matters, and does it meet your needs and desires?

    9. Does the school provided transportation, and will it allow your child to participate in the before & after school events?

    10. Overall, what is the school doing to meet demands for encouraging a student's higher achievement? Are parents, teachers & administrators actively involved in ensuring the curriculum and technology are up to date? Is the school going to set a strong foundation for your child's future higher education.

  • 20 Fun & Savy Ways to Save $$$ This Summer

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Grand Rapids  |  August 6, 2012 10:47 AM  |  154 views  |  No comments

    It's a HOT summer this Michigan.  With the kids home and the appeal of
    exotic vacations, meals out and days at expensive amusement parks is
    at its peak, here are a few ways to rein in the temptation to SPLURGE.
     Use a few of these money-saving tips for summer, and make it a season
    for saving instead of breaking the bank.
    1. Check to be sure your refrigerator/freezer are set to efficient
    temperatures! Keep the fresh food section between 37- 40 degrees, and
    the freezer at 5 degrees.
    2.  Did you know switching the temperature from hot to warm can cut a
    load's energy use by 50%?
    3. Mow your lawn less in the summer -- the grass blades will shade
    soil and allow for better water retention.
    4. Place a full water bottle (atleast 16oz) in the tank of your toliet
    to cut down on the amount of water used in the flushing each time.
    (Many new toliets use more than enough water to flush)
    5. Set up carpools for work or for your children's summer activities.
    6. Prevent cold air from leaking outside by caulking and sealing all
    windows and doors.
    7. Use a programmable thermostat to make sure you're not wasting
    precious A/C when you're not at home. Consider setting the temperature
    to 78 during the day, rather than the standard 72.
    8. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and aligned -- this can
    increase gas mileage up to 3 percent!
    9. Empty your trunk. Having unnecessary weight in the car will
    decrease gas efficiency.
    10. Pack snacks (ie. nuts, crackers) to have in your vehicle to cut
    back on fast-food stops
    11. Use a free music-streaming site, like Spotify, Grooveshark or Pandora.
    12. Find the best deal on gas with one of many free smartphone apps,
    from Gas Buddy to Fuel Finder.
    13. Wash your car in the driveway with buckets of collected rain water
    instead of taking it to a carwash.
    14. Find a friend at work and rotate bringing packed lunches from home
    for each other.
    15. Gather friends and family and schedule a day at the theme park
    together. Group rates can slash ticket prices.
    16. Turn down the temperature on your water heater a few degrees. You
    don't need the extra warmth in the summertime, and it will
    dramatically decrease your electricity or gas bill.
    17. Make a call to your cellphone provider to see if there are any
    upgrades, discounts or deals on your plan (especially if you've been a
    loyal customer for a few years)
    18. Consider upgrading old appliances, like washers, dryers and
    refrigerators, to energy-efficient models. It's spending money to save
    money, but if you're in the market, it's often worth the savings.
    19. Join the public library and check out the wealth of free or
    low-cost activities: from renting movies for free to book clubs to
    story times, chess clubs and computer classes.
    20. Clean out your closet and have your friends do the same. Then
    bring all your castoffs together for a trash-to-treasure exchange.
    You'll add new pieces to your wardrobe without spending a dime, or get
    some very nice items for your children in a kid's clothing swap too!
  • The Mood Changing Power of Color in Your Home

    Posted Under: Home Buying, Home Selling, Design & Decor  |  June 12, 2012 1:22 PM  |  202 views  |  No comments
                

        H
    ave you ever wondered what makes one living room feel cozy and another give you the chills?  Most of us may not spend time thinking about a room color, but it affects every day of our lives.  The power of a room color can influence not only our mood, but our thoughts as well. Certain colors or groups of colors tend to get a similar reaction from most people, with the overall difference being in the shade or tones used. So it’s important to choose wisely.  To have a beautiful home, you DO NOT have to worry about trends. The trick is choosing color combinations that feel good to you.  Two of the most important questions when getting started are:  What mood do you want to create? Which colors will help you achieve that mood?

    Here are some helpful hints on using certain colors and how they affect one's mood. 

    Orange and Red

    • While orange and red are different colors, they are close in hue and related in emotion stimulation. Orange stimulates activity, appetite and encourages conversation. It bursts with joyfulness and is know to be a mood lifter . Red has been shown to raise blood pressure and pulse rate, as well as stimulate the adrenal glands (the source of adrenaline). Use these colors in entrances, dining, living and play rooms.

      Purple

      • The favorite of past royalty, purple is confident, dignified and purposeful. Purple is the combination of red and blue, providing a balance of heightened awareness mixed with a calming relaxing effect. Use in living rooms and bedrooms and use light lavender-like purples in bathrooms as well.

        Blue

        • The blue of water and sky produces the well-known relaxing and calming effects inherent in both. Blue is used to ease tension and encourage gentle communication. Use this color in areas of reflecting and thought, but avoid in areas where activity is encouraged (such as the kitchen and home office).

          Green

          • Green is refreshing, renewing and calming. Green is very useful for a wall that serves as a backdrop to accessories, because it's a color that will produce its effects without being conspicuous and in your face.

            Pink

            • Pink calmly nurtures, reassures and soothes, reminiscent of a comforting maternal embrace. Best when used in living rooms, children's rooms and bedrooms. The color pink is thought to suppress the appetite, so use sparingly in kitchens. Note that you don't need to paint an entire room pink; accents in decorations or flowers can provide the same effects!


  • There's an Interior Designer in Everybody!

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Grand Rapids, Remodel & Renovate in Grand Rapids, Design & Decor in Grand Rapids  |  June 8, 2012 7:45 AM  |  292 views  |  No comments
    Are you thinking about redecorating but don't know where to start? Looking for some inspiration? I have some great ideas to motivate the interior designer in you!

    1) Find a photo that has a combination of colors that you adore and that show off your style:

           

    2) Now pick out each of the color hues that make that photo work and apply those to the room you want to update:

              


    3) A great way to bring character to a room is through accents and details. This is easily done by using pillows, artwork, flowers, curtains and lamps:
    .

    4) Once you have your color choice, your accents and your style you can start designing. Be creative and look to magazines and tv shows for unique ideas. Anything you can imagine is possible!
  • The Language of Loans

    Posted Under: Financing in Grand Rapids  |  June 1, 2012 9:30 AM  |  212 views  |  No comments

    Do you find yourself at a completely loss when it comes to understanding loans? Sometimes discussing housing loans can be like listening to another language. Well, to help you out I have gathered some of the most used vocabulary to help clear things up!

    Balloon Loan: A short-term loan with low monthly payments that are not enough to pay off the                         entire loan amount, so a balloon, or lump-sum payment, is due at the end of the                         loan term. This type of loan may have a provision to refinance when the balloon                         payment is due.

    Closing: The time when the sale of a property is finalized. The buyer pays the mortgage, and the              closing costs are also paid.

    Closing Costs: Various fees that are required by the lender at closing. If you don't know what a                         certain fee is make sure you ask!

    Foreclosure: The legal process for selling a mortgaged property or home when a loan is in                             default.

    Equity: The difference between the current market value of a property and the amount the                     homeowner owes on the property.

    Fee: Any charge added to a loan.

    Home-equity loan: A loan based on the equity that a borrower has in his or her home.

    Interest: The fee paid to borrow money. It is a percentage of the amount borrowed.

    Points (or loan discount points): A one-time charge by a lender to lower the interest rate on a                                                    loan. Each point is equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.

    Prepayment penalty:  A penalty some lenders charge for paying a loan off early. Check to see                                    if a loan has a penalty and how long it will be in effect. If you plan to                                         make payments before they are due, or think you might sell your home                                     before the loan is paid off, a penalty could be costly to you.

    Principal: The amount of money borrowed.

    Refinancing: The process of paying off one loan with the proceeds from a new loan secured by                        the same home or property.

    Congratulations! You are now ready to go out and speak the Language of Loans! But always remember, you are never on your own! Your Realtor is always there to help translate any uncertainties!

    Credit for the definitions goes to the Fannie Mae Foundation "Borrowing Basics. What You Don't Know Can Hurt You"

  • What Do Buyers Look For In a Condo?

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Grand Rapids, Home Buying in Grand Rapids, Home Selling in Grand Rapids  |  May 25, 2012 11:54 AM  |  286 views  |  No comments

    Did you know that Condo's are a hot commodity during the peak home buying season? They are (figuratively) flying off the shelves when the housing market is on the rise! For first time home buyers, condos are both an affordable and accessible choice. Another reason people choose condos is the lack of maintenance responsibilities. Put away the lawn mower and paint because you don't have to fix up that exterior!


    Here are just a few things that buyers look for in a Condominium:


    Low Condo Fees
    Good Building Security
    Attractive Interior Design
    Energy-Efficient Building Features
    Professional Condo Management
    A Balcony 
     
    And finally, one of the major selling points no matter what the house type? LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!! It has to be located in a great area  - like Grand Rapids for example!

    If you think buying a Condo is the right choice for you, contact me today!

    Your Real Estate Professional,

    Marcy Swanson





  • It's Time To Celebrate Summer!

    Posted Under: General Area in Grand Rapids, Parks & Recreation in Grand Rapids, In My Neighborhood in Grand Rapids  |  May 16, 2012 11:12 AM  |  302 views  |  No comments

    Summers coming up and the sun is out in full force! What better way to celebrate the heat than with a day out at the park? Pack yourself a picnic and grab the sunscreen because you'll be out all day at these local parks:

    Millennium Park:  Located at Maynard Ave Sw and Butterworth Dr ,Grand Rapids, Millennium Park is perfect for the whole family. With 6 acres of beach, a splash pad, and nearly 20 miles of trails you can bring the kids and some extra energy for a day of adventure! Just in time for the hot weather, the beach and splash pad open Saturday May 19th!

    Hillcrest Park: Its all gone to the dogs! This park is great for you dog lovers to spend some time with your furry friend. Located at 1415 Lyon NE, Grand Rapids, this is the only official dog park in the city.

    Canal St Park: In close proximity to downtown Grand Rapids, Canal St Park is the perfect stop to experience Grand Rapids. Running along the Western Shore of Grand River at 941 Monroe NW, this park is perfect for relaxing before exploring what downtown has to offer!

    Fulton Street Farmers Market: Although not technically a park, it would be a mistake to leave out this Grand Rapids classic. Located at 1147 E Fulton, this market was established in 1922! Stock up on fresh locally grown fruit and veggies, local art and delicious baked goods! Open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 8:00am-3:00pm.

    Grand Haven State Park: Conde Nast Traveler named the Lake Michigan shoreline one of the 25 best in the world so you can't go wrong with a day at Grand Haven Beach! Not too far of a drive from Grand Rapids, 1001 Harbor Ave, Grand Haven, is home to endless shopping, restaurants, and a beautiful beach complete with pier. One of Michigans most valuable treasures, Grand Haven is your stop for non-stop fun in the sun!

    Although I could continue forever, this is just a small snapshot of what Western Michigan has to offer in the area of recreation! I recommend you pack some snacks, put on your walking shoes, grab the family and explore these parks for yourself! Enjoy!

    Your Real Estate Professional,

    Marcy Swanson
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