Date Archives: January 2022

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January
31

01TUE
Black History Month, also known as African American History Month, begins on February 1st and lasts throughout the whole of February, where African American people's achievements are celebrated, and their roles in American history are praised and recognized.
Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year and Spring Festival, is celebrated in the United States by its large Chinese community. It marks the beginning of the new year in the Chinese lunar calendar, and it falls on the first day of the month of the calendar, which is marked by the new moon that usually appears between January 21 and February 20. Chinese New Year celebrations last for 15 days, also marking the beginning of Spring and the end of Winter in China.
National Freedom Day is an observance in the United States and is celebrated every year on February 1st. The day commemorates the signing by Abraham Lincoln of a resolution for the 13th amendment to the American Constitution, that proposed the abolishment of slavery. It is not a public holiday, therefore businesses follow normal working hours.
02WED
Groundhog Day is an American tradition observed every year on February 2nd, which celebrates the weather prediction made by a groundhog.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed on February 2, 1848, and marked an important event in American history. Officially, the document is titled the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits, and Settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic and it was the treaty that put an end to the Mexican War (1846-1848). It was this document that drew the border between the United States and Mexico at the Rio Grande and the Gila River, and that established the purchase of the territories of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Texas, and California by the United States from Mexico.

It was the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that officially completed the territorial expansion of the United States.

Candlemas Day

On February 2nd Christians observe Candlemas, also known as the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus Christ, or the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary for Catholics, is a Christian Holy Day that celebrates the presentation of Jesus at the Temple, where he was officially converted into Judaism, and the purification of the Virgin Mary after giving birth to a child. This Feast Day focuses on hope, renewal, and purification.

On the same day in the United States, some people have replaced Candlemas celebrations with Groundhog Day. What many don't know, is that Groundhog Day was inspired by Candlemas. There is an ancient tradition where Candlemas was linked to weather predictions, and the weather on February 2nd would determine how much longer winter would be.

Candlemas is an important Christian holiday, but it is not a public holiday in the United States, so businesses and schools remain open.

National Signing Day

The first Wednesday of February is known as National Signing Day, the day when high school senior football players can officially sign their contracts to play football in the college of their choice. College football is one of the most followed sports by fans and the media, and every year, star players will announce what team they are signing with. While in recent years there has been an early signing period has begun in late December, many top players choose to wait until National Signing Day as it gets the most attention and coverage. The signing period ends at the start of April.

03THU
National Golden Retriever Day on February 3rd celebrates one of the most popular dog breeds in America. Loyal, friendly, intelligent and playful, golden retrievers make for the perfect furry best friend and family dog! Plus, because of all these qualities, they are also great service dogs for people with disabilities and can be trained to aid in search and rescue. As you can see, golden retrievers are great companions and can even save lives, so no wonder there is a whole day dedicated to them!
World Cancer Day is observed every year on February 4. This international day is led by the Union for International Cancer Control, and it aims to raise awareness about cancer, educate more people about the disease, and encourage governments to take action. The goal is for everyone across the globe to join forces to make life-saving cancer treatment accessible to everyone, regardless of where they're from, thus preventing the illness and millions of cancer deaths. World Cancer Day is observed by the United Nations' member states.
06SUN
Super Bowl Sunday, also known as Super Sunday or Big Game, takes place every year on the first Sunday of February. It is the day of the final game of the National Football League championship and marks the end of football season, which starts on the previous year after Labor Day. Although not recognized as a public holiday, many think of Super Bowl Sunday as an Unofficial National Holiday, because it is so widely celebrated in the country.
February 9th is National Pizza Day! Whether you prefer it the Italian way with a thin crust, deep dish, or Chicago-style, no one can resist a slice of cheesy pizza, so it's no wonder this is one of America's most popular food holidays. With all the different possibilities there are for toppings, pizza is a food that anyone can enjoy. It is foolproof party food, it brings people together, and it is also the perfect comfort food to enjoy on the sofa. Impossible to resist! And on this day, everyone has the perfect excuse to enjoy their favorite pizza.
12SAT

Lincoln's Birthday, also known as Abraham Lincoln's Birthday, Abraham Lincoln Day or Lincoln Day, is celebrated annually on February 12, the date of President Lincoln's birth, in 1809. It is a legal holiday in some states, namely Illinois, Kentucky, Connecticut, Missouri, New York, Ohio, California and Indiana.

Other states celebrate Abraham Lincoln's birth on Presidents' Day, also known as Washington's Day.

13SUN
Galentine's Day is a pop-culture holiday, celebrated on February 13. It originated in the TV show Parks and Recreation and was quickly adopted by people in real life. Galentine's Day is like Valentine's Day for female friendships, a day to celebrate your women friends and shower them with gifts and appreciation. Female friendships are one of the strongest bonds between people, women love to support their friends, they are great listeners, and are always there for their friends, so it's no wonder this fictional holiday became so popular!
14MON
Valentine's Day, or alternatively Saint Valentine's Day or Feast of Saint Valentine, takes place every year on February 14th. As it is not a federal holiday, businesses and schools hold normal working hours.
15TUE
Singles Awareness Day is celebrated every year on February 15. During the period around Valentine's Day, we are constantly bombarded with adverts, merchandise, and messages about love and relationships, and single people can sometimes be made to feel sad or inferior. This is why they decided to fight back and create Singles Awareness Day as an anti-Valentine's Day holiday. It is a push back against the idea that you have to find yourself a partner, and an affirmation that people can be very happy even if they're single. It also reminds people that you do not need another person to complete you, and there are actually many advantages to being single - more freedom, more money, and fewer responsibilities.
17THU
On February 17 let yourself be inspired by Random Acts of Kindness Day to bring joy to the people you come across. The day encourages people to do good deeds, and celebrate the pay it forward mentality. It also reminds us that doing something kind for someone else can have a big impact not only on their day, but also on ours - being kind to others makes us happier, and makes us realize we need to be kinder to ourselves too. An act of kindness doesn't have to be a big gesture either, sometimes the smallest act can have the biggest impact.
20SUN
February 20 is National Love Your Pet Day, a holiday where people show love and appreciation for their companions and best friends, their pets! The bond between humans and their pets is very strong, and National Love Your Pet Day is all about celebrating that relationship. Pets love us unconditionally, so today is all about doing the same for them.
21MON
Presidents' Day, or, officially, Washington's Birthday, is an American Federal Holiday that is celebrated yearly on the third Monday of February.
21MON
On February 21st countries around the world celebrate linguistic diversity on International Mother Language Day. Language is one of the main things that define a country or a community and its culture and identity. Language encompasses tradition, memory, and unique ways of thinking and expressing oneself, it is rich in meaning and present in every component of our lives. Sadly, as globalization spreads across the world, some languages are in danger of disappearing. International Mother Language Day was created to promote multilingualism and cultural diversity, and it aims to preserve all different languages as they are important symbols of identity and heritage for all cultures.
22TUE
World Thinking Day is celebrated every year on February 22 by millions of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world. On this day, the girls are encouraged to celebrate their sisters from all different countries and think about them and the impact that the Guides and the Scouts have on a global scale. Eventually, each World Thinking Day has observed a different theme each year with a focus on important international issues that affect each of the five world regions where Girl Guides and Girl Scouts exist. This gives the girls an opportunity to learn about other cultures, and be more aware and sensitive to different global concerns.
24THU
Celebrating the ultimate winter comfort food, National Chili Day is observed every year on the fourth Thursday in February. Traditionally known as chili con carne, this spicy dish is made with mincemeat, beans, chili peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and onion, but many people have their own variations and ingredients that they add to the basic chili recipe. Chili is so popular in America that there are often city and state-wide competitions to choose the ultimate chili recipe. Chili is the perfect homemade meal to bring families and friends together, so get together to celebrate National Chili Day and get that warm feeling in your belly.
28MON
Rare Disease Day is observed on the last day of February. It raises awareness about rare diseases that are not commonly known, it aims to make treatment and medical representation more accessible for people who suffer from a rare disease, and to give their families more resources to learn about the diseases and how to care for their loved ones. There are currently around 7,000 known rare diseases in the world, but the general public is still not well-educated on them, and treatment for them is often inadequate. Rare Disease Day organizers advocate changing this.
January
26

Today's mortgage and refinance rates 

Average mortgage rates held steady yesterday. Another fall had seemed likely but some markets whiplashed yesterday, meaning they changed direction sharply.

First thing this morning, it was looking as if mortgage rates today might increase or hold steady. But, as we saw yesterday, they often change direction sharply as the hours' pass. As CNN Business put it this morning: "Get ready for more wild swings. Volatile markets are back."

Current mortgage and refinance rates 

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 3.772% 3.796% Unchanged
Conventional 15 year fixed 3.089% 3.128% -0.02% 
Conventional 20 year fixed 3.426% 3.466% -0.01% 
Conventional 10 year fixed 3.007% 3.079% -0.01% 
30 year fixed FHA 3.857% 4.634% +0.01% 
15 year fixed FHA 3.079% 3.73% -0.02% 
5/1 ARM FHA 3.75% 4.012% +0.06% 
30 year fixed VA 3.982% 4.188% +0.04% 
15 year fixed VA 3.275% 3.616% +0.01% 
5/1 ARM VA 3.606% 3.115% +0.18% 

Market data affecting today's mortgage rates 

Here's a snapshot of the state of play this morning at about 9:50 a.m. (ET). The data, compared with roughly the same time yesterday, were:

  • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes rose to 1.74% from 1.72%. (Bad for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
  • Major stock indexes were sharply lower. (Good for mortgage rates.) When investors are buying shares they're often selling bonds, which pushes prices of those down and increases yields and mortgage rates. The opposite may happen when indexes are lower. But this is an imperfect relationship
  • Oil prices decreased to $83.59 from $83.91 a barrel. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity 
  • Gold prices edged up to $1,842 from $1,834 an ounce. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) In general, it is better for rates when gold rises, and worse when gold falls. Gold tends to rise when investors worry about the economy. And worried investors tend to push rates lower
  • CNN Business Fear & Greed index — dropped to 36 from 38 out of 100. (Good for mortgage rates.) "Greedy" investors push bond prices down (and interest rates up) as they leave the bond market and move into stocks, while "fearful" investors do the opposite. So lower readings are better than higher ones

Caveats about markets and rates

Before the pandemic and the Federal Reserve's interventions in the mortgage market, you could look at the above figures and make a pretty good guess about what would happen to mortgage rates that day. But that's no longer the case. We still make daily calls. And are usually right. But our record for accuracy won't achieve its former high levels until things settle down.

So use markets only as a rough guide. Because they have to be exceptionally strong or weak to rely on them. But, with that caveat, mortgage rates today are likely to rise or hold steady. However, be aware that "intraday swings" (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.

Important notes on today's mortgage rates

Here are some things you need to know:

  1. Typically, mortgage rates go up when the economy's doing well and down when it's in trouble. But there are exceptions. Read 'How mortgage rates are determined and why you should care'
  2. Only "top-tier" borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you'll see advertised
  3. Lenders vary. Yours may or may not follow the crowd when it comes to daily rate movements — though they all usually follow the wider trend over time
  4. When daily rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
  5. Refinance rates are typically close to those for purchases.

A lot is going on at the moment. And nobody can claim to know with certainty what's going to happen to mortgage rates in coming hours, days, weeks or months.

Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?

Tomorrow, at 2: p.m. (ET), we'll see the publication of a statement by the Federal Reserve's monetary policy body, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). Thirty minutes later, Fed Chair Jerome Powell will host a news conference.

And what's said and written that day could have a big impact on mortgage rates, even though no major announcements are expected. Because we might get some hints over its plans for its asset balance sheet.

As of last Wednesday, the Fed owned $2.7 trillion ($2,686,262,000,000) worth of mortgage-backed securities (MBSs), the type of bond that largely determines mortgage rates.

It acquired the bulk of those to keep mortgage rates artificially low. Its purchases pushed up the price of MBSs, which sent their yields (and therefore mortgage rates) lower. Bond prices always move inversely to bond yields.

The Fed's already announced that it's slowing those purchases and will stop adding them to its balance sheet in March. However, it will continue to spend the money it receives when these bonds mature on new ones. So it's not completely ducking out of the market.

Two big questions

The first of two big questions is: For how long? The last time it ended a similar round of MBS asset purchases, it kept reinvesting receipts from maturities for 30 months. But some members of the FOMC are already saying that's too long. The sooner it fully pulls out of the market, the greater the upward pressure on mortgage rates.

The second big question is: When will it reverse the policy, reducing the MBSs on its balance sheet by selling them? No doubt, it will dribble them onto the market when it does. But that's still bound to add more pressure on mortgage rates to rise.

Tomorrow

Nobody's expecting the FOMC to lay out a detailed timetable for changes to its treatment of MBSs tomorrow. But signals and hints are a different matter. That's how the Fed operates: by softening up markets ahead of actual announcements through series of those signals and hints.

In response, markets have turned the reading of those hints into an art form, parsing every sentence and poring over every word. And it can take a while for markets to do that. So, sometimes, it takes time for them to respond.

In other words, don't necessarily expect an immediate, sharp reaction to the Fed's words tomorrow. Unless their meaning is immediately clear, it may take days or longer for the message to sink in.

If you subscribe to The Wall Street Journal and wish to know more, read Fed Steps Up Deliberations on Shrinking Its $9 Trillion Asset Portfolio.

Why mortgage rates could yet fall

Even when mortgage rates were amid an obvious upward trend, I'd occasionally trot out a list of things that could turn them around. And I'd say they were possible but highly unlikely. Suddenly, some of them seem a bit less unlikely.

My list would often include a new and highly damaging COVID-19 variant, a war involving the US, and a stock market collapse.

Hmm. The possibility of a new variant has never gone away. But the situation in Ukraine is a new danger. The Pentagon has put 8,500 troops on high alert and other NATO forces are also rallying in response to a highly credible threat from Russia.

Meanwhile, last week, Jeremy Grantham, co-founder of Boston-based fund manager GMO, wrote about his fears of a "superbubble" in stock and property markets. And he's expecting that bubble to pop soon. Of course, there are always a few doomsayers around Wall Street predicting such events. But, as The Guardian put it this morning, Mr. Grantham "called the dot-com and 2006-08 crashes with impressive precision."

Writing in a Wall Street Journal e-newsletter this morning, Jason Zweig acknowledged the risk: "I don't know whether we're on the cusp of a cataclysmic decline, or whether this is one of the market's normal see-saw rides." Food for thought.

So, mortgage rates might fall if any of these scenarios comes to pass. But at what cost!

For a longer overview of where mortgage rates are going, read the weekend edition of this daily rates report.

Recently

Over much of 2020, the overall trend for mortgage rates was clearly downward. And a new, weekly all-time low was set on 16 occasions last year, according to Freddie Mac.

The most recent weekly record low occurred on Jan. 7, 2021, when it stood at 2.65% for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages.

Since then, the picture has been mixed with extended periods of rises and falls. Unfortunately, since last September, the rises have grown more pronounced, though not consistently so.

Freddie's Jan. 20 report puts that weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 3.56% (with 0.7 fees and points), up from the previous week's 3.45%.

Expert mortgage rate forecasts

Looking further ahead, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) each has a team of economists dedicated to monitoring and forecasting what will happen to the economy, the housing sector and mortgage rates.

And here are their current rate forecasts for the four quarters of 2022 (Q1/22, Q2/22, Q3/22, Q4/22).

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie's were published on Jan. 19 and Freddie's and the MBA's on Jan. 21.

Forecaster Q1/22 Q2/22 Q3/22 Q4/22
Fannie Mae 3.2% 3.3%  3.3% 3.4%
Freddie Mac 3.5% 3.6%  3.7% 3.7%
MBA 3.3% 3.5%  3.7% 4.0%

Personally, I was surprised that Fannie Mae only slightly increased its rate forecasts in January. It believes that rates for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages will average 3.2% over the current quarter. But, on the day its figures were published, we reported those for conventional loans were already up to 3.87%.

Do Fannie's economists expect those rates to plummet later this month or in February or March and remain lower in the following quarters? If so, they know something that I don't. And that their peers in Freddie and the MBA's teams don't, either, though I'm less optimistic than any of them.

Of course, given so many unknowables, the whole current crop of forecasts may be even more speculative than usual.

Find your lowest rate today

You should comparison shop widely, no matter what sort of mortgage you want. As federal regulator the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says:

"Shopping around for your mortgage has the potential to lead to real savings. It may not sound like much, but saving even a quarter of a point in interest on your mortgage saves you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan."

Show me today's rates (Jan 26th, 2022)

Mortgage rate methodology

The Mortgage Reports receives rates based on selected criteria from multiple lending partners each day. We arrive at an average rate and APR for each loan type to display in our chart. Because we average an array of rates, it gives you a better idea of what you might find in the marketplace. Furthermore, we average rates for the same loan types. For example, FHA fixed with FHA fixed. The end result is a good snapshot of daily rates and how they change over time.

January
24

Where to Catch a Game: 5 Sports Bars in the Grand Rapids Area

In addition to being the home of several competitive sports teams such as the West Michigan Whitecaps and the Grand Rapids Griffins, Grand Rapids sports fans know there are tons of great places to catch a game on TV. Long-time residents can bank on a seat with a view at Peppino'sSpeakEZ Lounge  (especially good for soccer fans), Buffalo Wild Wings, or The Score on Plainfield. Dave & Busters on 28th Street has great screens and space too.

While sports lovers in Grand Rapids have plenty of great spots to cheer on their team, there are few venues you might not know about, or might not think of, when it comes to watching sports. Check out these five sports bars the next time you're ready to yell, "Go, team!"

GP Sports

With 40 TVs and a large projector-sized screen, every seat at GP Sports offers a view of the game. Although it's housed in the Amway Grand Plaza Curio Collection by Hilton, you won't find anything formal or stuffy at GP Sports.

It's fun to walk through the elegant four-star hotel lobby with its beautiful gold leaf ceiling and into the sports bar, where you can kick back in a casual, fun atmosphere and comfortably enjoy a drink and game in jeans. Try the black Angus beef burger – it doesn't disappoint!

Monelli's

The first time you walked into Monelli's in Wyoming you may think, "Wow. Why haven't I been here to watch games before?"

Monell is had six-count 'em – six projection TVs as well as 54 other TVs throughout the restaurant and at the bar. The TVs feature stadium-quality sound, so you can hear what's happening from anywhere in the restaurant. Fans show up for games in droves because they know there will be a great view regardless of their seat and the atmosphere is downright electric during big sporting events.

If that's not enough, sports fans, it also has 52 beers on tap. Game on!

JT's Pizza & Spirits

JT's Pizza has been serving up amazing homemade pizza and other Italian favorites from scratch since 1975, making it a long-time neighborhood favorite.

It upped its game last year with a 2,500+ square foot addition focused on sports fans. The new space features over 15 large TVs, a cozy, indoor fireplace, and 12 taps.

JT's designed the addition with garage doors that serve as walls. When warm weather arrives, they throw the garage doors open and allow guests to bask in the beauty of a Michigan summer. Sports, made-from-scratch goodness, and Michigan sunshine…what could be better?

Atwater Brewery

You may know that Atwater Brewery opened its doors in Grand Rapids in October of 2016 and has 40 rotating taps, but did you also know it's a good place to catch a game?

In addition to a large projection TV, it has six others, including four in the dining area and a couple at the bar. You're closer to the taps when you catch the game at the bar, making it my favorite place to watch. Its speaker system is hooked up to the projector TV, which allows it to play the audio for big games.

Atwater is housed in an impressively renovated space, originally built in 1923. In addition to simply being a beautiful old building, the high ceilings make it easy to take a peek at other screens when you want to keep track of multiple games.

Vitale's of Comstock Park

Vitale's has long been a favorite spot for great Italian food, grabbing drinks with friends, and watching a game. With six huge screens in the dining room as well as lots of TVs around the 36-seat football-shaped bar, sports fans don't miss any of the action-watching games here.

If you haven't visited its gorgeous, new patio – which they use for three seasons – you'll want to plan a visit soon. With glass garage doors and radiant heat flooring, it's a light, airy, and cozy place for sports fans to gather. It has five large TVs and a second bar that seats 14. Cheers!

This list doesn't nearly cover all of the great venues in Grand Rapids where you can catch a game. For other ideas, check out our full listing of sports bars.  And be sure to let us know your favorite. It's always fun to experience watching a game in a new place!

January
19

Why do we have Martin Luther King Jr day?

This Monday, January 17, we celebrate a national holiday in honor of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, a tireless fighter for the civil rights of African Americans who was assassinated in 1968. For this reason, many offices and other entities will be closed throughout the country. We also tell you what will open.

The date is commemorated on the third Monday of January, a date close to January 15, the date of his birth in 1929.

What will be closed?

  • All federal offices will remain closed.
  • All state offices.
  • County offices.
  • Public schools will not teach.
  • USPS post offices.
  • Regular mail service of FedEx and UPS will not be operating.
  • The Stock Exchange will remain closed, therefore the markets.
  • Public Libraries.
  • Most of the banking institutions close but make sure to check directly with your bank.
  • The courts will remain closed.
  • Most National Parks, although some of them just admit free entrance. Other state parks remain open. Make sure to check first if you have plans to visit.

What businesses will be open?

  • Shops and supermarkets.
  • Liquor stores.
  • Public transport usually works normally but there may be changes in schedules.
  • The garbage collection service works during normal hours.
  • Recycling collection continues to operate with the same schedule
  • Some universities have events and parades.
  • Other important activities scheduled for this day include the "Let Freedom Ring" concert or visiting the MLK tribute statue in Washington D.C.

Why do we have Martin Luther King Jr day?

Martin Luther King was a man who from a very young age defended the causes and rights of the African-Americans and people of color, which at that time were the victim of racial segregation and violence.

He led several protests, for which he was very besieged by white segregationists, who considered him a real danger, however, he achieved many transformations so that the rights of African Americans were accepted, such as the use of transportation or entry to public places.

He was the victim of several attacks, until, in 1968, he was shot to death while he was in the city of Memphis, United States, where he would participate in a strike organized by an African-American movement.

Just four days after the assassination of activist leader Luther King in 1968, Democratic congressman from Michigan, John Conyers, was the first to introduce legislation for this commemoration, but the proposal did not have enough impact in Congress, despite the signatures of more than 6 million people.

Each year, Conyers and Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, a Democrat from New York, sent the proposal to Congress at the beginning of the session, but it was not successful. During 1982 and 1983 the civil rights marches on Washington constituted significant public pressure. And finally in 1983 US President Ronald Regan enacted the holiday.

January
17

If you're looking for ways to upgrade your home in the new year, add these resolutions to your list.

2022 is finally here and many of us are thinking about what home renovations we'll be making this year. Home improvements make for great New Year resolutions because they not only provide a sense of personal achievement but also benefit you financially in the long run.

The tricky part about planning home improvements is it's often difficult to know where to start. If you're looking for some ideas to start your year off right, here are some recommendations from our real estate agents:

  • Declutter One Room A Month
    Decluttering can have a positive impact on mental health; however, it can also be a massive undertaking. For many people,  the job can seem too large to handle. This often leads people to lose motivation partway through. Instead of tackling the project all at once, make it an effort to declutter one room each month. This will help you break things down into more attainable goals.

  • Focus On Curb Appeal
    Curb appeal is a term that describes how your home appears from the street. Enhancing curb appeal is especially important if you want to make your property stand out among these Holland homes for sale. It can also drastically increase your home value.

    To improve curb appeal, consider painting your front door, cleaning your siding, improving your landscaping, or even purchasing a new mailbox. By taking these simple steps, your home will stand out in no time.

  • Increase Energy Efficiency
    Making your home more green not only benefits the planet but also can decrease utility bills. Going green doesn't necessarily mean investing in solar panels — there are so many simple ways to improve your home's energy efficiency. Install ceiling fans, invest in double-pane windows, and reapply caulking and sealant. You can also evaluate your insulation and make sure to tackle any overdue roof repairs, which may be allowing warm or cool air to escape. A programmable thermostat is also a great way to improve energy efficiency.

  • Create Your Home Office
    Many of us have been working from home since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, if you're still setting up your laptop at your dining room table, it's time to start thinking about your home office.

    Even if you don't have an extra bedroom, there are many places you can build a home office. If you have unused space under the stairs, in the corner of the basement, or in the upstairs hallway, these could all be suitable options. Just invest in a desk that fits and matches the space, a comfortable chair, and some basic office decor. Remember, home offices are critical selling points these days.

  • Enhance Your Outdoor Space
    Make 2022 the year you create your outdoor paradise. Enhance your porch or patio with new furniture, rugs, and mood lighting. Perhaps invest in a new grill or outdoor table, so you can be prepared to entertain company when warm weather arrives.

  • Update Your Kitchen
    The kitchen is often considered the most important room of the house when it comes to home value. If your kitchen is long overdue for an upgrade, 2022 is the year to get it done. Invest in new matching appliances, apply a new coat of paint, update your lighting fixtures, and perhaps invest in a new kitchen table. If you're thinking about adding a new color scheme, check out the Behr or Benjamin Moore  2022 Colors of The Year

Contact us today for more home improvement recommendations!

January
10

Crane's In The City

It all started when…

Crane's In The City opened its doors on July 27, 2010, at 11 East 8th Street in the beautiful downtown Holland. Chad & MaryJo Creevy are co-owners of the original restaurant, Crane's Pie Pantry in Fennville, MI (MaryJo is a niece of the original founders, Bob and Lue Crane).

Our urban restaurant brings all the fun foods from its rural roots like Sloppy Joes, homemade soups and chili, and, of course, their famous homemade pastries. Our menu is full of delicious Salads, Sandwiches, and Soup that are great for lunch or dinner. You can sit and dine with us in-house or take your food to go! We are speedy! There is seating for about 35 in-house, including a dozen patio seats outside.

We are proud to serve Crane's homemade pies. Our selection includes over 12 fruit pies and crisps, apple-walnut cake, strudels, apple dumplings, and the famous cider donuts made fresh daily in-house. We also offer coffee and espresso drinks of all sorts and serve the delicious Plainwell ice cream atop your favorite slice of pie, or all on its own.

We also have Crane's classic line of blueberry and raspberry preserves and of course apple butter, local honey, hot fudge, and caramel sauce.

We've had a great crowd since we opened back in 2010. Downtown Holland is a fun place to be! Eighth Street seems to be the center of activity, and even in the Snowbelt, there is always something going on.

January
5

HOLLAND MARKET DATA

Holland Real Estate Market Snapshot

Homes for Sale 1 110 -22.0% decrease in inventory
New on Market 53 -48.5% decrease in new listings
Avg. Asking Price/Sq.Ft. $175 $7 decrease in List Price/Sq.Ft.
Avg. Sale Price $316,156 $20,768 decrease in avg sale price
Avg. Sale Price as % of Asking Price 99.8% -1.7% decrease in Sales to List Price
Avg. Sale Price/Sq.Ft. $172 $1 decrease in Sale Price/Sq.Ft.
Avg. Days on Market of Sold 52 2 decrease in days on market

HOLLAND REAL ESTATE MARKET DATA

January
3

Some local American-style comfort food may be just what you need to warm up this winter. Here are the Holland restaurants to visit.

Burgers, steak, chicken, sandwiches, and pizza, what's not to love about classic American cuisine? Not only does American food combine flavors from a variety of cultures, but there is also something very comforting about it. Whether it's a diner breakfast or a classic American entree for dinner, our real estate agents love warming up each winter at these Holland restaurants:

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