Grand Rapids Real Estate News

Oct. 4, 2016

To Tree or Not To Tree: A Realtor's Take On Trees Part 2 of 2

Photo Credit: Pookte under CC BY 3.0 Via Wikimedia Commons



Last week we explored just a few of the potential benefits of having trees on your residential property. From adding seasonal beauty to reducing energy costs during the hot summer months to even increasing the sale price of your home, fully grown and mature trees can offer homeowners quite a few benefits in addition to their supplying clean air. There are some potential drawbacks to trees, however, that should be explored if you are considering a property with trees or are looking to plant trees in the near future.


Trees Can Be Pretty Messy

One of the biggest complaint of homeowners who have properties with trees on them is the amount of work and care it takes to maintain a clean yard when you have certain kinds of trees. Deciduous trees drop their leaves every fall (although some species, including certain kinds of oak trees, will hold their dead leaves all winter and drop them in the spring). That can leave a huge mess for homeowners. They either have to rake up and dispose of all those leaves or hire someone else to do it. For fruiting trees like apples or crab apples, and flowering trees like the Northern Catalpa or the Magnolia tree, those fruits and flowers will also drop, requiring additional cleaning and work in the yard.


Trees Can Cause Issues With Neighbors

If you have a tree close to the property line, its location can be a real issue. If your neighbor doesn't like the shade it provides, or the incursion of roots under their land, or the leaves it drops in the fall, you could being butting heads with your neighbor. They may want to trim the tree. They could go so far as to ask you to remove it or trim it back. In most cases, you aren't required to pay for the tree's trimming, but your neighbor does have the legal right to have the branches that overhang their property trimmed back to your property line. This can lead to tension, even lawsuits if the trimming was poorly performed and damages or kills the tree.


Trees Can Damage Your Home

Sometimes, if there is a strong wind storm or the tree itself has been compromised by age, insects, or disease. Big branches can come down, damaging your roof. The whole tree could be uprooted if it's been compromised before a storm, falling onto your home, garage, or vehicle with expensive results. Of course, this risk can be minimized by performing regular assessments of your trees' health and ensuring that dead branches are trimmed once they are noticed. Thankfully, except in the cases where it's glaringly obvious that the homeowner failed to perform maintenance, homeowner's insurance will typically cover damage caused by falling trees or branches.



Overall, whether you want trees on your property is a personal decision. They can offer a lot of benefits, but here are potential drawbacks as well.

Posted in Feature
Sept. 27, 2016

To Tree or Not To Tree: A Realtor's Take On Trees Part 1 of 2

Photo Credit: Pookte under CC BY 3.0 Via Wikimedia Commons

For many homeowners and prospective homeowners, trees can be an important consideration when it comes to choosing their home and placing a value on it. For those who own a home, planting a tree can add quite a bit to the overall value of the property. Planting shortly after buying can give homeowners the joy of watching the tree grow and thrive while they live in the home, which is multiplied when that grown tree adds thousands of dollars to the sale price of their home. For prospective homeowners, tree can represent some place for their children to play, shade during the hot summer months, or in some cases, a headache in terms of cleaning up leaves and dropped nuts or fruit. Read on for a Realtor's analysis of the benefits of trees on your property.


Trees Add Value

Trees, especially deciduous hardwood trees, can add substantially to a home's valuation. Because they take so long to grow, many new homeowners don't want to have to plant a young tree and wait decades for its shade and beauty. They'd rather purchase a home with a well established tree in the lawn or the backyard. Oak trees and maple trees are often favorites, given that they have long lives, strong trunks, and minimal dropage during their fruiting seasons. Oak trees may drop acorns, but they often skip years. Additionlly, acorns can be very simple to clean up. Either leave them for the local squirrels or rake them up once they're done dropping.


Flowering Trees Add Beauty

While the most ornamental trees can require a little extra clean up and annual work on the part of its owners, the payoff can be huge. Have you ever seen (or smelled, for that matter), a magnolia tree in bloom? Have you had the joyful experience of knowing that the end of winter is nearly here because your ornamental Japanese cherry is in full bloom? Have you seen the profusion of delicate flowers that burst out in late June from Northern Catalpa trees? Needing to rake up the fallen flowers or petals is a small price to pay for an annual display of beautiful flowers. All of these and more ornamental flowering trees can make buyers very excited about your property, if they view it in the right season. Note that taking pictures of the tree in full bloom can be helpful for off-season listings later in the year.


Trees Help Reduce Cooling Costs

As crazy as it sounds, having a well established tree in your yard can actually save you quite a bit in energy bills over the years. Green leafy trees provide shade and protection from the harsh summer sun every year, reducing the amount of heat your home and property absorb during the summer. In the fall, when their leaves drop, they open the space up, ensuring that the sun will reach your home during the winter to help heat it.

Posted in Feature
Sept. 22, 2016

Forest Hills Listing: 1936 Beard Drive

Imagine coming home to your own little slice of peaceful heaven, nestled in among the trees, but still close to everything you could ever want. This home on nearly a full acre, located at 1936 Beard Drive SE, in Grand Rapids, is a one-of-a-kind dream home within a short drive of everything that Grand Rapids proper has to offer.


Located in the highly coveted Forest Hills Central school district within the Beard Farms subdivision, this home has something many neighboring houses lack: a full-sized, accessible back yard! That yard is not only well-maintained, it is also upgraded thanks to the spacious elevated deck off of the rear of the home. When you're not out enjoying the green grass and trees, you can be admiring them from the comfort of your lovely wooden deck. You can get out to that deck via any number of large, glass sliding doors that not only provide egress onto the deck but also flood the main floor of the home with natural light, despite the treed surroundings.


Custom built by Ben Brinks, this home boasts four bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms, ensuring there's never a fight for the sink or shower in the mornings. Two of those bedrooms are on the main floor, while the other two are on the lower level of this lovely walk-out ranch home. The main floor also features a pristine laundry room.


The kitchen is modern, bright, and cutting edge. From the quartz counter-tops topped with lovely cupboards for ample storage to the stainless steel kitchen appliances (which stay with the home upon sale), it has every amenity a modern cook could desire. Throughout the main floor, the flooring is hand-scraped Acacia hardwood, which is distinctive and truly upscale. This helps tie together the open floor plan, which makes the kitchen feel like the very heart of this home. The spacious master bedroom on the main floor adjoins an updated master bathroom, which features dual sinks as well as a tiled shower.


The lower lever offers two more bedrooms, as well as living and play space. The flooring in the downstairs level has recently been updated, with fresh carpet throughout to keep any thoughts of Michigan basements far away. This lower level is truly comfortable living space! There's a theatre room with a fully plumbed wet bar, a large craft or storage room, a full family room, and the other two bedrooms.


This home also boasts beautiful brick fireplaces, run by gas, on both the main floor and the lower floor. These brick masterpieces not only two both levels of living space together, they help to make this home a truly standout, one-of-a-kind living space.


Originally constructed in 1984, this home shows like a much more modern space. You'll be hard-pressed to find anything inside that looks like it's 32 years old. The interior has been fully updated over the years, meaning that this custom home shows like it is brand new! The sellers are including all window treatments with the sale of the home, as well as the owned water softener and humidifier.


 There is an attached two stall garage that has a remote garage door opener, along with additional storage space for any outdoor supplies or gas-powered toys that need to be housed. That means there will be plenty of space for whatever you need to care for the yard, which is comprised of a prime, sizeable 0.99 acre parcel. Contact the team at Pyxis Realty to schedule your showing of this amazing home today!  

Posted in Listings
Sept. 15, 2016

Do Open Houses Matter for Home Sellers? Part 2 of 2: Maybe Not

Photo Credit: Paul Brennan under Public Domain via Public Domain Pictures

As we discussed last week in our Pyxis Realty blog post, open houses, which were once the primary means of rapidly reaching a large audience with your home for sale, have started to fall out of favor with home sellers, home buyers, and real estate agents of all sorts. While the open house has a storied history in the process of selling and buying real estate, these days, buyers seem more likely to request individual showings that a group showing with an unknown number of other potential buyers there to distract them. Last week, we explored how open houses can help connect sellers and seller's agents with the right potential buyers and buyer's agents. This week, we'll talk about reasons why you may not want to host an open house.


Open Houses Are Risky

Simply put, having a large number of un-vetted individuals tromp through your home can be dangerous for you, as the seller. In addition to facing financial liability if someone manages to get hurt while looking at your home, there's the increased potential for theft. Certain items, like small electronics, jewelry, and prescription medication can be very tempting to the unscrupulous during an open house. While these items can also go missing when individual showings are scheduled, it's much less likely. After all, the would-be thief knows that you have their name, as well as the name of their Realtor. With open houses, anyone can walk in off the street and saunter back out with a pocket full of your possessions or medication.


Open Houses Can Be Expensive

No doubt about it, the nicer the open house you're throwing, the more costs are incurred. While they are typically absorbed by the Realtor showing your home, they can sometimes be passed on to the seller or the eventual buyer in the form of fees and open house expense charges. From food to professional carpet cleaning, there are a lot of potential expenses involved in creating an appealing open house. If you are trying to keep the cost of selling your home as low as possible, skipping the open house and scheduling individual showings may be more cost effective (and less stressful overall).


Should You Have an Open House?

At the end of the day, the decision of whether or not to have an open house rests with the homeowner and the seller's agent or Realtor they are working with for the transaction. Depending on the home, the market, and the price, your agent can help you make the best decision when it comes to marketing your home, including whether or not to host a public open house.



If you're about to list your home for sale and are unsure about how to market it or how to maximize the return on one of your biggest investments, call or email the team at Pyxis Realty. Our team is made up of some of the most dedicated West Michigan Realtors who pride themselves on service and attention to detail.  

Posted in Feature
Sept. 6, 2016

Do Open Houses Matter for Home Sellers? Part 1 of 2: Open Houses Can Help

Photo Credit: Paul Brennan under Public Domain via Public Domain Pictures

In modern real estate, things move much more quickly than they did a decade or two ago. Depending on how long you've been living in your current home, things may have changed dramatically since the last time you bought or sold a piece of real property. These days, thanks to the internet, potential buyers are able to do a lot of their research before even considering viewing a property. They can take a digital tour, look at floor plans and photographs of the rooms and the land around the home, and even look up what the last selling price for your home was (as well as other homes in your area).


With all of these changes, does it even make sense to have an open house when you list your property? We'll be exploring both sides of this issue over the next two weeks. This week, we'll be looking at the ways in which an open house can benefit you, as the seller.


Open Houses Bring Traffic

In days gone by, open houses used to be the primary way in which a seller's agent or seller themselves could reach out to and connect with potential buyers, as well as buyer's agents. These days, with digital listings and free online classifieds, there are many more ways for potential buyers (and their agents) to find and look into your property. However, especially if you're going to be selling more than one property or your home is on the more expensive side of average in your community, an open house can draw the right buyers and agents who represent buyers with the purchasing power to make your home their own. Having an open house, even an open house that is only available to buyer's agents and other Realtors, can improve the odds of having your home snapped up more quickly.


Open Houses Give Instant Feedback

One of the best things about an open house is that it allows the seller or their agent to get immediate feedback on pricing, staging, and other factors from those with the greatest insights: potential buyers and their agents. Having an open house the first weekend that your home is on the market can help you fine tune your listing, your staging, and even your pricing to make the property more attractive to potential buyers.


Let Pyxis Realty Help You Sell Your House!


Selling a house, from completing the listing documents to staging the property for any open houses you may schedule, can be a very stressful process. Between the scheduling and the paperwork, it can become a full-time job in an of itself. Instead of struggling to handle everything on your own, call or email the team at Pyxis Realty today. Not only will we handle all the details and documents, we'll help make sure that your home is priced and marketed properly! When you're ready to sell your home, work with some of the best West Michigan Realtors: the team at Pyxis Realty.  

Posted in Feature
Aug. 29, 2016

Get to Know Sparta: A Small-Town with Big City Fun!

Photo Credit: Lonepointe under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

West Michigan has a great assortment of amazing small towns and suburbs to go along with our beloved bigger cities, like Grand Rapids, Holland, and Kalamazoo. When you're looking for a West Michigan realtor, you want someone who not only understands the West Michigan real estate market (and Grand Rapids real estate market), you want someone who knows and loves the diverse local communities in our area, like the team at Pyxis Realty!


Located northwest of Grand Rapids proper, Sparta is a long-established farming community. If you take Alpine Avenue north, it becomes M-37, one of the fastest ways to travel on the west side of the state. M-37 skirts the western boundary of Sparta Township, allowing visitors a quick and easy way to come into town. There is also an exit off of US-131 that allows for quick access, but it is actually several miles north and east of the township. Whichever way you travel, there's plenty to see!


Sparta is surrounded by sprawling orchards and agricultural areas. From industrial corn and soy to fields full of pumpkins, all kinds of plants and produce are grown by people in the Sparta area. Of course, as the host of the Michigan Apple Festival every fall, Sparta is best known for its pome fruit, but that is far from the only kind of farming that takes place around this township.


The town itself is quaint, with many traditional and historic buildings on the main streets. The residential areas have seen substantial growth over the last decade, with new subdivisions and housing bringing even more people into this town. There are separate school facilities for the grade school, middle school, and high school, though they are all grouped together at the south central part of the township. There are several parks, with big expansions to area outdoor recreational spaces rolling out over the next few years. Those parks host a wide assortment of events, from Harry Potter at the Park to movies and concerts at the Roger's Park bandstand every summer.


When it comes to food, Sparta has a lovely assortment of options. From the Maxine's, where there are great breakfast specials and Maria's Pizza to Downtown Trini's, a well-loved local Mexican restaurant with a full bar, there are plenty of options without even mentioning the variety of chain restaurants available in the township as well. Sparta has some excellent options when it comes to drinks, as well! Cellar Brewing has made Sparta its home since the business' inception and has recently expanded its offerings from just amazing, local brews to include locally-distilled hard liquors!



Whether you're looking for a nice home in the town itself, within walking distance of the incredible, two-story library, or a sprawling parcel outside of town to call your own hobby farm, there is a lot to be found in Sparta. If you're in need of a Sparta realtor, call the team at Pyxis Realty today to see what's available!  

Aug. 25, 2016

Buying Before Winter: How to Approach a Time Crunch When Looking for a Home

Photo Credit: Mark Moz under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

So, you want to buy a home in Grand Rapids or West Michigan. You've read that the Grand Rapids real estate market is strong, and you've seen yourself how homes are coming on and off the West Michigan real estate market rather quickly. You're starting to feel a little stressed out, because winter is fast approaching, and you don't want to have to worry about a move during the holidays or restarting a home search after the New Year. If you have a personal deadline for buying a home on a hot market, you can meet it, but you'll need the help of a Grand Rapids Realtor, such as a member of the Pyxis Realty team. What can you do to make sure you're closing before it's snowing?


First and foremost, you need to be ready to move on a property when you are sure it's what you want. Pre-qualifying for a mortgage is the best move. That way, you don't have to be stressed about how much home you should be looking for while home shopping. Instead, you'll know exactly how much you can afford and how much you can offer when it comes to your dream home.


Once you've found a home in your financing (or cash purchase) price range, you need availability to view it as soon as possible. Call your West Michigan Realtor immediately and ask for a showing. Or, when your Realtor calls you with a potential match, be as open and flexible as possible about getting in to see the home as quickly as you can. Know what you're looking for and as soon as you know a home meets your personal criteria, move! Because the market is hot, you need to be aggressive if you want to close within a certain timeframe.


Keeping in mind that many sellers will get multiple offers within a day or two, you want to make your offer as tempting as possible. No one wants to overpay for a home, but chances are good that if you lowball, your offer will be ignored. Depending on how constrained you are for time, opening with your best offer may be a solid idea; if it's your dream home, you wouldn't want to lose it over a meager $5,000, would you?


Flexibility in terms of neighborhood and amenities can help make it easier to find and make a successful offer on a home in a fixed period of time. Of course you shouldn't compromise on the big, important factors (like enough bedrooms for all of the kids). Knowing what is a need and what is a want in terms of the home you are searching for can help quite a bit!



In brief, to buy a home quickly on a hot market, you need to be willing to make a market-value offer, quickly, and to be flexible. With some help from a professional Realtor, like the team at Pyxis Realty, you can surely find a home worth jumping on within your preferred time frame!  

Posted in Feature
Aug. 17, 2016

Artprize Season and Selling Your Home

Photo Credit: Steven Depolo under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

It is nearly upon us: ArtPrize 2016. With Restaurant Week already successfully underway again this year, downtown businesses are now setting their sites on ArtPrize money which will soon, theoretically, begin pouring into the city via art lovers. If you are thinking of selling your home, this may be an excellent time to consider listing your home with one of the agents at Pyxis Realty.

  1. Downtown properties will have lots of foot traffic. If you're selling your home in the downtown area, there will be thousands of people from West Michigan traipsing down Division, wandering all through Downtown and nearby areas. If you live in the downtown area, there's no better time to advertise to foot traffic. People from all over will have an opportunity to see that your home has been listed for sale and may call your Realtor to schedule a showing if they are in the market for a new home.


  2. ArtPrize draws tourists, too. West Michigan is considered to be a great place to raise a family and also retire. When young couples or soon-to-retire adults visit ArtPrize, they may see the charm and appeal of West Michigan and wish to relocate. Houses on the market stand a decent chance of drawing interest from out-of-state visitors who are considering moving to the area.


  3. The winter cool-off isn't here yet. While the Grand Rapids real estate market and the West Michigan real estate market remain hot, when the snow starts falling, interest levels in homebuying can drop. Right now, temperatures are great and curb appeal is high! There's already a robust demand for home for sale in the West Michigan area, even without the added traffic created by ArtPrize.


  4. Community pride is high. That leads to increased perceived value of homes in the area during cultural events like ArtPrize. Capitalize on that sense of community and the desire of some to join that community by listing your home. Even if ArtPrize itself doesn't draw your eventual buyer to your home, the buzz about Grand Rapids during the event can't hurt.


  5. You'll have something to do during showings. One of the most difficult parts of selling a home can be the need to quickly leave for an hour while someone else walks through it. During ArtPrize, you'll have any number of interesting possible places to visit to check out venues and individual pieces of art. Instead of tapping your toes at a coffee house, you can lose track of time while arguing about the symbolism of an eighty-foot long fork.



Whether you're listing your home in the next few weeks or early next year, it makes sense to get in touch with the expert team at Pyxis Realty soon! With the help of our educated, client-focuded West Michigan Realtors, you can get you home listed when and how you want with little headache or stress for you! Call or email us today and let us helping you make selling your home a pleasant memory.  

Posted in Events, Feature
Aug. 12, 2016

How Realtors Help Solve Waterfront Living Drawbacks

Photo Credit: glynn424 under public comain via Pixabay


Many people dream of retiring to a comfortable, beautiful home situated with a view of one of the most precious parts of Michigan life: water. Whether you dream of a lakefront home or a cabin on a river, you share a dream with many people in our state. Especially when thinking about a dream retirement home or a second home (such as a cabin), it's easy to fall into the trap of over-romanticizing.


1.What's the waterfront mark-up? Many landowners, particularly savvy ones, will purchase waterfront properties as investments. When they have owned it long enough, they will re-divide the parcel into a number of buildable sites and sell those for much more than they paid for it.You can end up investing way more than you can hope to get out of the finished property if you don't make a careful decision.

Possible solution: Talk with your Realtor to decide if a $30,000 parcel that is less than a quarter acre is a sound investment or a money sink.


2. How are the bugs? If you haven't walked the property at dusk during the middle of the summer, you don't really know. Many waterfront properties are plagued by biting insects, such as mosquitoes. With diseases like West Nile and Zika becoming ever more common, avoiding insect bites is a major concern for those whose health is compromised and those with small children.

Possible solution: Ducks and other waterfowl are great at picking off mosquito larva in the bodies of water they frequent. If you or neighbors keep them (or wild ones regularly visit), there should be less of an issue. Additionally, there are a variety of sprays and machines which reduce bug issues.


3. Can you afford insurance? Most homeowner policies have limited floor or water damage coverage. If the property you are looking at is in a flood plane, even the 100-year flood plane, it may be difficult or impossible to obtain affordable flood insurance for the property.

Possible solution: Check FEMA flood plane maps and property hunt based on their recommendations. Ideal waterfront properties have an excellent view while not sitting in the 10, 25, 50, or 100 year floor planes.


4. What traffic can you expect? Even if your home is tucked back on a dirt road and unpaved driveway, deep in the trees surrounding the lake, you may be dealing with Jet Skis or motor boats at all hours of the night and morning, making your waterfront haven a noisy prison.

Possible solution: Talk with your Realtor about noise levels, tranquility, and other factors before making a purchase. Knowing what kind of traffic is permitted on the body of water you're considering can ensure that its the right fit for you and your family!



If you are considering buying a waterfront home or a buildable plot, you need a savvy, hard-working Realtor to ensure you'll be getting what you pay for! Contact the professional team at Pyxis Realty today to discover the joys of waterfront living without the potential drawbacks!  

Posted in Feature
Aug. 3, 2016

What to Expect During a Home Showing As a Seller

Photo Credit: Chefkeem under public domain via Pixabay

Selling your house can be nerve-wracking. Any real estate sales transaction carries with it substantial investigatory and bureaucratic requirements, and if the property being sold is your primary residence, you can add peer pressure and social judgment to the list of stressors you will likely experience during the sales process. Maybe your neighbor is interested in your home for his kid, but he expects you to offer it to him for $20K less than market value. Or maybe you've invested heavily in fixing up what was once the least valuable home in your neighborhood and can't wait to see the looks on your neighbors' faces when they see how it looks now. Whatever the situation, showing your home can be one of the most stressful and emotionally fraught parts of the home selling experience. Here are a few tips on what to expect and how to make the most of your showings.


  1. Expect limited feedback. This is one of the aspects of selling a home that are most stressful for sellers: most buyers won't give in-depth feedback unless they are hoping to negotiate on price. This can particularly difficult for those who want to sell their home quickly and wish they knew why those viewing the home haven't been making offers. You can always ask your Realtor to provide you with any feedback they receive, but chances are strong that they are already doing that whenever they get direct feedback.


  2. Don't hang around. This plays off of number one. When people sell their home, it's natural to want to see and hear the reactions of interested parties and prospective buyers. However, nothing is a bigger turn-off to the average buyer than being followed or questioned aggressively by the current owner of a home. After all, they want to imagine themselves in the space, not you and your family in it. It's best for everyone concerned if you leave before the buyers arrive and provide plenty of buffer time at the end of the appointment window so that you don't cross paths at the end of the viewing either.


  3. Prepare staging for last minute showings. Evening and weekend showings are common, and many buyers will only give a day or less notice that they want to view a property. You won't have a day or more to clean and stage your home, so try to keep the various rooms as close to their staged appearance as possible. With any luck, they showing process will only last a week or two, and it won't be an ongoing issue.

  4. Expect for your home to be treated with respect. Although your seller's agent has likely had you execute a hold harmless agreement for any possible damages and thefts that occur during home showings, most buyers and their agents will treat your home with respect. If you return home to find something missing, broken, or a mess, you should let your agent know right away so that they can address the issue with the buyer's agent who showed the property.



Selling your home doesn't have to be a drawn-out, stressful experience. Working with dedicated Realtors, like the staff at Pyxis Realty, can do a lot to reduce the potential stressors and pitfalls of the homeselling process. If you're ready to list your home for sale, don't hesitate! Contact the team at Pyxis Realty today!

Posted in Feature