Articles Tagged "Things To Do"

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Buying A Home | 2 Posts
Holland, MI | 20 Posts
Home ideas | 6 Posts
Mortgage | 36 Posts
Uncategorized | 113 Posts
West Michigan | 6 Posts
November
21

Local breweries are often where you find the best food and drinks. Here are the Holland spots you should visit.

Nothing beats hanging with friends and family while enjoying craft beer, which is probably one of the many reasons why local breweries have become so popular. Our real estate agents love seeing new breweries pop up all over time, as they're great for the local economy. They offer a great place to hang out while also attracting people from out of town. Plus, they give you the chance to try a new beer! It's a win-win situation.

We've been scoping out all the breweries and brewpubs around Holland this year, and here are some of our favorites:

  • Our Brewing Company - 76 E 8th St, Holland, MI 49423
    Sip a refreshing glass of Careless Whisper IPA or a German-style Brent's Dunkel at Our Brewing Company. Don't be fooled by this nano-breweries small size, it has everything you want in a fun brewpub, including rotating taps, trivia nights, live music, and an easy-going atmosphere. It's quickly becoming one of the best breweries in Holland. While they don't have a kitchen, outside food is welcome. If you have a good time at this brewery, we recommend scheduling a tour of one of these beautiful Holland homes for sale just down the road.

  • Brewery 4 Two 4 - 321 Douglas Ave #120, Holland, MI 49424
    When it comes to the beer selection, Brewery 4 Two 4 has something for everyone. With a name stemming from the north side Holland zip code, this place strives to be a community asset and gathering space. The bar area features 20 taps of high-quality beers and ciders, and plenty of tables, as well as darts and board games.

  • New Holland Brewing - 66 E 8th St, Holland, MI 49423
    Brewers of the famous Dragon Milk Stout, New Holland Brewing is a leader in the craft beer revolution, and they call Holland, Michigan home. Enjoy your favorite beer or spirit at their comfortable brewpub and distillery. If you're hungry, bar snacks, pizzas, salads, and soups are available on the menu. Make sure to check out their daily specials!

  • Big Lake Brewing - 13 W 7th St, Holland, MI 49423
    Big Lake Brewing offers quite a unique beer selection with nearly two dozen drafts, including options like Cotton Candy Haze, Mango Habanero Haze, and Lemonade Beer. With so many variations, you'll definitely want to order a flight. The large bar area has an industrial vibe, and the large food menu is loaded with starters, snacks, pizzas, sandwiches, and salads.

  • Copper Craft Distillery - 184 120th Ave, Holland, MI 49424
    While it's technically not a brewery, Copper Craft Distillery had to make our list due to their delicious spirits, great food, and fun atmosphere. The Straight Bourbon Whiskey and the Citrus Flavored Vodka are two of our favorites. Sip your favorite spirit in the rustic-themed tasting room or browse the shop and purchase some to take home. A tour or tasting session is a fun activity for a group of friends.

Breweries and brewpubs are a lot of fun, and we have some great options here in Holland. Contact us today to learn more about local listings.

October
24

Halloween is almost here! Visit these Holland events that are fun for the whole family.

Halloween is one of our favorite times of the year. Our real estate agents love decorating for Halloween and preparing for trick-or-treating, and we also try to attend one local Halloween event every year. We truly can't get enough of this spooky time of year!

From Halloween concerts to kid's parties, there are Halloween events around town suitable for all age groups. If you're looking for a great way to celebrate the holiday with the family, here are some Halloween events to put on your calendar this year:

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September
12

Holland is full of spots to find a tasty burger. Here are the restaurants you have to visit.

If you've been craving a juicy cheeseburger lately, then you might want to make plans to stop by your favorite Holland restaurant on September 18th. It just happens to be Cheeseburger Day

While burgers are a staple of American cuisine, many people believe this delicious creation actually originated in Germany in the early 1900s. Since then, burgers have become a mainstay of many menus around the world. From diners to bars and grills, almost every traditional American restaurant does its own spin on a good burger.

In honor of Cheeseburger Day, our real estate agents pulled together a list of top burger destinations around Holland:

  • Hops at 84 East - 84 E 8th St, Holland, MI 49423
    One of Holland's premier burger destinations, Hops 84 East has everything you want in a traditional downtown craft beer bar and grill, but their award-winning Trumpet Burger is a must-try. This 70:30 grind of brisket and Pebble Creek mushrooms is topped with bacon, Roelli Red Rock cheddar bleu, pickled shallots, arugula, and duck mayo. If you enjoy your meal and want to come back, you might be interested in one of these nearby Holland homes for sale.

  • Windmill Restaurant - 28 W 8th St #220, Holland, MI 49423
    This homey traditional American diner offers counter-style seating and grills up some delicious burgers for lunch. Choose from a 1/4 lb. or a 1/2 lb. burger, and add your favorite toppings at Windmill Restaurant. Or, try the 3 Star Burger — a 1/4 lb. burger with grilled onions, mushrooms, and green peppers. Veggie burgers and black bean burgers are available as well.

  • Big E's Sports Grill - 121 E 8th St, Holland, MI 49423
    A classic Michigan sports bar, Big E's Sports Grill is the go-to place to catch the game, have a beer, and enjoy a great burger. The menu features 6 "Gridiron Classics," such as the Screamin' Demon (volcanic sauce, jalapenos, and pepper jack cheese) or the Hawaiian (grilled pineapple, provolone cheese, teriyaki sauce, and fried onion). You'll also find an extensive draft list making it easy to pair your beer with your favorite brew.

  • Brann's Steakhouse And Grille - 12234 James St, Holland, MI 49424
    The Pretzel Burger at Brann's Steakhouse And Grille is always one of our favorites. This burger is served on a gourmet pretzel bun and is topped with smoked bacon, aged cheddar, fried egg, mayo, lettuce, and tomato. Just make sure to save room for a Brownie Sundae or Cookie Monster for dessert!

  • HopCat - 80 W 8th St, Holland, MI 49423
    With two burgers named after University of Michigan players, HopCat had to make the list. First up is the Erick All burger, which is two smash patties, American cheese, haystacks, bacon, lettuce, and tomato. The second is the Payton Thorne burger, which adds a sunny-side-up egg and a pretzel bun. Both are delicious!

  • Beechwood Grill - 380 Douglas Ave, Holland, MI 49424
    This cabin-style restaurant grills some of the best burgers in town. Choose from The All American, Boursin Bacon Burger, Olive Burger, or the Rise N Shine Burger at Beechwood Grill. Draft beer, wine, and cocktails are available, and be sure to check out the Happy Hour drink specials Monday through Saturday from 3 pm to 5 pm.

Great dining options are just one of our favorite things about living in Holland. Contact us today to schedule a tour of one of our spectacular local listings.

August
23

West Michigan is a photographer's paradise. Here's where you can snap stunning pictures.

Photography is one of our favorite art forms, and it's especially fun when you live in a beautiful place like West Michigan. When you're surrounded by tulips, shorelines, lighthouses, and windmills, you won't have trouble finding beautiful subjects for your photo shoots.

Great photography takes a good eye and a lot of practice. Our real estate agents have been dabbling in photography lately and are always on the lookout for new beautiful landscapes to hone their skills. Here are some of our favorite places to snap amazing pictures in West Michigan:

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June
7

Looking for an unforgettable dining experience? Here are the Holland restaurants you should visit.

Planning a weekend with friends or date night? In Holland, we take local dining very seriously. Our real estate agents are always talking up our local food and beverage scene — and for good reason! From upscale restaurants to classic brew pubs, Holland has it all.

Dining out on the weekends is one of our favorite things to do. If you're looking for a new place to wine and dine around Holland, you can trust our recommendations. Here are some of our top choices this year:

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May
2

The Tulip Time Festival is one of West Michigan's biggest attractions. Here's why you should visit the festival this year.

People travel to The Netherlands from all over the world every spring to see beautiful Holland tulips, but thanks to our Dutch heritage, you can see the same beautiful tulip displays right here in Holland, Michigan. In fact, our city is home to more than 500,000 tulips every spring.

Tulips are a big part of our history and culture, and we'll be celebrating this wonderful flower at the 2022 Tulip Time Festival, which takes places from May 7 to May 15. This is a great opportunity to see colorful tulip displays, enjoy fun events, and interact with the local community. The event is free and takes place at various locations across downtown Holland.

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February
7

Grand Haven shops have the perfect gifts for this Valentine's Day. Here's where you can find the best chocolate and candy.

Regardless of your relationship status, Valentine's Day is the perfect opportunity to show love for those you care about the most. There's no better way to do so than with a sweet gift.

If you're looking to get out and do some last-minute Valentine's Day shopping, finding the right gift is easy in Grand Haven. We have so many wonderful local businesses serving up delicious chocolate, candy, baked goods, and more. Here are seven recommendations from our real estate agents:

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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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December
29

Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

Preparing to buy tips

1. Start saving early

Here are the main costs to consider when saving for a home:

  • Down payment: Your down payment requirement will depend on the type of mortgage you choose and the lender. Some conventional loans aimed at first-time home buyers with excellent credit allow as little as 3% down. But even a small down payment can be challenging to save. For example, a 3% down payment on a $300,000 home is $9,000. Use a down payment calculator to decide a goal, and then set up automatic transfers from checking to savings to get started.

  • Closing costs: These are the fees and expenses you pay to finalize your mortgage, and they typically range from 2% to 5% of the loan amount. You can ask the seller to pay a portion of your closing costs, and you can save on some expenses, such as home inspections, by shopping around.

  • Move-in expenses: You'll need some cash after the home purchase. Set some money aside for immediate home repairs, upgrades and furnishings.

2. Decide how much home you can afford

Figure out how much you can safely spend on a house before starting to shop. NerdWallet's home affordability calculator can help with setting a price range based on your income, debt, down payment, credit score and where you plan to live.

3. Check and strengthen your credit

Your credit score will determine whether you qualify for a mortgage and affect the interest rate lenders will offer. Take these steps to strengthen your credit score to buy a house:

  • Get free copies of your credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — and dispute any errors that could hurt your score.

  • Pay all your bills on time, and keep credit card balances as low as possible.

  • Keep current credit cards open. Closing a card will increase the portion of available credit you use, which can lower your score.

Mortgage selection tips

4. Explore mortgage options

A variety of mortgages are available with varying down payment and eligibility requirements. Here are the main categories:

  • Conventional mortgages are not guaranteed by the government. Some conventional loans targeted at first-time buyers require as little as 3% down.

  • FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration and allow down payments as low as 3.5%.

  • USDA loans are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They are for rural home buyers and usually require no down payment.

  • VA loans are guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. They are for current and veteran military service members and usually require no down payment.

You also have options when it comes to the mortgage term. Most home buyers opt for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which is paid off in 30 years and has an interest rate that stays the same. A 15-year loan typically has a lower interest rate than a 30-year mortgage, but the monthly payments are larger.

5. Research first-time home buyer assistance programs

Many states and some cities and counties offer first-time home buyer programs, which often combine low-interest-rate mortgages with down payment assistance and closing cost assistance. Tax credits are also available through some first-time home buyer programs.

6. Compare mortgage rates and fees

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends requesting loan estimates for the same type of mortgage from multiple lenders to compare the costs, including interest rates and possible origination fees.

Lenders may offer the opportunity to buy discount points, which are fees the borrower pays upfront to lower the interest rate. Buying points can make sense if you have the money on hand and plan to stay in the home for a long time. Use a discount points calculator to decide.

7. Get a preapproval letter

A mortgage preapproval is a lender's offer to loan you a certain amount under specific terms. Having a preapproval letter shows home sellers and real estate agents that you're a serious buyer, and can give you an edge over home shoppers who haven't taken this step yet.

Apply for preapproval when you're ready to start home shopping. A lender will pull your credit and review documents to verify your income, assets and debt. Applying for preapproval from more than one lender to shop rates shouldn't hurt your credit score as long as you apply for them within a limited time frame, such as 30 days.

Home shopping tips

8. Choose a real estate agent carefully

A good real estate agent will scour the market for homes that meet your needs and guide you through the negotiation and closing process. Get agent referrals from other recent home buyers. Interview at least a few agents, and request references. When speaking with potential agents, ask about their experience helping first-time home buyers in your market and how they plan to help you find a home.

9. Pick the right type of house and neighborhood

Weigh the pros and cons of different types of homes, given your lifestyle and budget. A condominium or townhome may be more affordable than a single-family home, but shared walls with neighbors will mean less privacy. Don't forget to budget for homeowners association fees when shopping for condos and townhomes, or houses in planned or gated communities.

Another option to consider is buying a fixer-upper — a single-family home in need of updates or repairs. Fixer-uppers usually sell for less per square foot than move-in ready homes. However, you may need to budget extra for repairs and remodeling. Renovation mortgages finance both the home price and the cost of improvements in one loan.

Think about your long-term needs and whether a starter home or forever home will meet them best. If you plan to start or expand your family, it may make sense to buy a home with extra room to grow.

Check out potential neighborhoods thoroughly. Choose one with amenities that are important to you, and test out the commute to work during rush hour.

10. Stick to your budget

A lender may offer to loan you more than what is comfortably affordable, or you may feel pressure to spend outside your comfort zone to beat another buyer's offer. To avoid financial stress down the road, set a price range based on your budget, and then stick to it.

Look at properties below your price limit to give some wiggle room for bidding in a competitive market.

11. Make the most of open houses

Online 3D home tours have become more popular amid the COVID-19 pandemic. These tours let shoppers virtually walk through a home at any hour and observe details that regular photos don't catch. They don't supply all the information in-person visits do — like how the carpets smell — but they can help you narrow the list of properties to visit.

Open your senses when touring homes in person. Listen for noise, pay attention to any odors and look at the overall condition of the home inside and out. Ask about the type and age of the electrical and plumbing systems and the roof.

" MORE: How 3D home tours work

Home purchasing tips

12. Pay for a home inspection

A home inspection is a thorough assessment of the structure and mechanical systems. Professional inspectors look for potential problems, so you can make an informed decision about buying the property. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Standard inspections don't test for things like radon, mold or pests. Understand what's included in the inspection and what other inspections you might need.

  • Make sure the inspector can get to every part of the house, such as the roof and any crawl spaces.

  • Traditionally the buyer attends the inspection. By following the inspector around you can get a better understanding of the home and ask questions on the spot. If you can't attend the inspection, review the inspector's report carefully and ask about anything that's unclear.

13. Negotiate with the seller

You may be able to save money by asking the seller to pay for repairs in advance or lower the price to cover the cost of repairs you'll have to make later. You may also ask the seller to pay some of the closing costs. But keep in mind that lenders may limit the portion of closing costs the seller can pay.

Your negotiating power will depend on the local market. It's tougher to drive a hard bargain when there are more buyers than homes for sale. Work with your real estate agent to understand the local market and strategize accordingly.

14. Buy adequate home insurance

Your lender will require you to buy homeowners insurance before closing the deal. Home insurance covers the cost to repair or replace your home and belongings if they're damaged by an incident covered in the policy. It also provides liability insurance if you're held responsible for an injury or accident. Buy enough home insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding the home if it's destroyed.

December
20

Looking for a fun way to build some holiday cheer with your family? Try making one or all of these holiday crafts at home.

Nothing gets our real estate agents in the holiday spirit quite like DIY holiday crafts. Holiday crafting is not only a great opportunity to spend time with friends and family, but it also is a chance to create some beautiful holiday decor that you can use to liven up your home for the holiday season. If you're looking for some creative ideas before heading out to the craft store, here are our four most popular DIY holiday craft ideas:

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October
25

With chilly fall weather in the air, these Holland coffee shops and cafes will keep you warm this season.

As a place to sit, relax, work, or socialize, coffee shops make for the ultimate community gathering place. Every fall and winter, our real estate agents love spending weekend mornings at cozy, local coffee shops with their favorite warm caffeinated beverage. Luckily, you're never far from a great coffee shop in Holland.

If you're looking for the best way to start your day or simply need a comfortable place to catch up with friends, these great Holland coffee shops are the perfect destinations:

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October
12

Pumpkins only come around for a short time each year, so you want to make the most of them. Try out these creative projects for using your fall pumpkins.

October means pumpkin season. Everywhere you go, there are pumpkins: food, decor, and crafts, and they seem to be everywhere, from shops to front porches. You're sure to spot some while touring beautiful Holland homes for sale. If you want to go above and beyond with your pumpkins this year, our real estate agents have put together a list of some novel ways you can use pumpkins this fall. Sourced from bloggers, designers, decorators, and artisans, these ideas bring out the best in those lovely pumpkins, gigantic or mini, you're bringing home this year.

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August
30

Feeling like planning a trip? Look no further than these scenic West Michigan Destinations

The stunning beauty and culture of West Michigan makes it a popular destination for travelers all over the world. From its beautiful forests to its miles of beaches along Lake Michigan, it's truly one of the best places for outdoor activities. Our area is also filled with rich history, fine dining, and diverse culture. 

With so much to do, our real estate agents enjoy providing visitors with great recommendations for things to check-out while they're in the area. If you're planning a visit to West Michigan, make sure these five things are on your list:

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July
19

Grand Haven is one of the best destinations to get out of the home and do something fun. Here are some events you can look forward to.

Our real estate agents love how much there is to do in Grand Haven. No matter what time of year it is, there's always a fun activity going on in the community. That's why we wanted to share some of the exciting things you can do this year. If you're planning on touring Grand Haven homes for sale, consider spending a day in the city for one of these summer events!

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