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Grand Rapids Community College Offers Film Training

Michigan is one of the few states courting the film industry with

rebates and tax incentives.  This should bring more film makers

to Michigan in 2009.  In anticipation of the films and film crews

that will be needed to bring these projects to completion,

Grand Rapids Community College is offering 4 different courses

in training for film production.

These classes run from $125 to $1750 for tuition fees and some

require some technical knowledge and expertise.

TicTock Studios in Holland MI is co-sponsoring the Basic Film Set

Training to supply needed expertise to film makers here.  These

programs are state approved and might qualify for No Worker Left

Behind funding to participate in the film training program.

Henry Ford Community College is also offering classes.

The classes at GRCC start in March, so check out the links and

you could be working on a movie set this year!


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Grand Rapids Ada Real Estate  Five Star Real Estate LLC

Copyright 2009  All rights reserved


The U.S. News and World Report has published their annual survey of  the

best public high schools across the country.

These top open enrollment schools were placed into gold, silver,

bronze, and honorable mention categories.

Six public schools in Kent County were mentioned. Two Grand Rapids

inner city schools and  4 Grand Rapids suburban schools were named

in Best High Schools Kent County 2009.

City Middle/ High School, East Grand Rapids High School, Forest Hills

Central High School, Lee High School, Lowell High School, and Ottawa

Montessori School all received Silver or Bronze awards.

FHCentral entrance

Schools are an important consideration when buying and

selling a home.  Public schools in the Grand Rapids area

are some of the best in the country.

Grand Rapids Ada MI Real Estate ~ Five Star Realty

copyright 2009 All rights reserved

Photo of Forest Hills Central High School by Bonnie Westbrook

As bizarre as this sounds, that is exactly what is being promoted

by the Kent District Library’s One Book One County Reading

Program for Saturday, January 10th.

The book that will be chosen for this year’s program will be unveiled

at the John Ball Park Zoo’s Aquarium building at 11:00 am.

Besides announcing the new book for this year, the zoo staff will

give tours and presentations, and the zoo will be free from

11:00 until 2:00 pm for visitors.

Winter isn’t the usual time you think about going to the zoo, but

lots of animals are more active in the winter months, such as

the tigers, who have warm coats and like cooler weather.  

Grand Rapids Ada Real Estate ~ Five Star Real Estate

Copyright 2009 ~ All rights reserved

UPDATE:  The Stone Falls of Ada Apartment complex has went up fast.

Our last post was  in June.  The units are up and some are occupied. Not

all units are completed yet. In the short video here, you can see the

approach to Stone Falls of Ada on Spaulding Ave and just how big this

complex is.  There was a little excitement a few weeks ago when an empty

unit caught fire, the damage can be seen on our video tour.

I am leaving my original post, so you can the how fast the project has

went up.

Stone Falls of Ada Apartments








Original Post about Stone Falls of Ada:

A new 210 unit luxury apartment complex is taking shape in Ada, Michigan.

The new complex, named Stone Falls of Ada, is scheduled to be completed

in spring 2009. The Dayton Ohio based group that is constructing the

development, the Miller-Valentine Group,and their partners, Boston based 

Cross Harbor Capital Partners LLC reports that the complex will have one,

two, and three bedroom apartments ranging in size from 856 square

feet to 1460 square feet. The location of the project is on the east side

of  Spaulding Avenue just south of Fulton Street.  

stone falls of ada mi

As you can see, construction is well under way.  The buildings in the far

background are the Townhouses and condominiums of Clements Mill.  This

part of the Clements Mill project was sold to be completed as apartment

dwellings.  This is a fairly new feature in Ada Township.

Prior to this development 98 per cent of the homes in Ada Township were

single family residences.  There are a lot of apartments in the Grand Rapids

area but very few in Ada. It will be interesting to see if Ada is attractive to


Grand Rapids Ada Real Estate ~ Westbrook Realty

Copyright 2008 All rights reserved.

photo by Bonnie Westbrook

Wyoming Michigan is a large suburban community of Grand Rapids, MI. 

Wyoming MI homes are moderately priced, which should make it an active

market in this economy.  

Obviously the lower price levels have affected the average price

(low price $54,200 vs high price of $236,835).

I  assume some of the lowest price levels are bank owned foreclosures

negatively affecting the market price.

As you can see by the graph pictured below, Wyoming homes listed at a

 high price are not selling until the price gets close to the average or below.


188 Wyoming MI Homes Actively on the Market October 2008

36 Wyoming MI Pending Sales for January to November

61 Wyoming Sold Homes for January to November



Wyoming MI chart of November 2008 listings

Wyoming MI chart of November 2008 listings


Wyoming MI  November 2008 listings price

Wyoming MI November 2008 listings price



Wyoming MI Nov 2008 listings $/sqft

Wyoming MI Nov 2008 listings $/sqft

Wyoming MI Nov 2008 listings DOM

Wyoming MI Nov 2008 listings DOM


In Wyoming, MI there is a lot of sold activity in the lower price brackets,

$ 50,000 to  $ 85,000.  There are some great bargains here for

savvy home buyers.  The lowest average sold prices have risen about

$15,000 since August.  At the top end, it looks like the higher prices have

started moving towards the middle, they have lost about $13,000 in

average sold prices.


Wyoming MI Market Report August 2008 

Wyoming MI Market Report Sept 2008



If you have any questions about Wyoming or Grand Rapids Homes,

contact me directly at:    1-888-240-1968 ext 0


Grand Rapids Ada Real Estate  Five Star Real Estate

Copyright 2008 All rights reserved

All information is subject to verification and no liability for error or omission is assumed.


We had an interesting start to our day yesterday. We had a sit down talk with

 William Seidman, commentator for CNBC, former FDIC chairman, and Grand

 Rapids native son.  Well, actually we were sitting in the audience with about

 200 other Grand Rapidians while Bill told us how he believes we got into this

 financial crisis.  He was scheduled to talk about  which candidate would be

the best one for our financial times.  With all that hashappened in the last

few weeks, his advice was sage and to the point.

                   Check out their financial advisors.

Neither candidate is a businessman or financial expert, so they will be

getting lots of advice.  Try to find out who is advising them and vote

for the candidate whom you considered to be well advised.  He also said

 we are in uncharted waters with this whole financial mess. It will take

some original thinking to get us out. And we need to come out of the

 “PANIC STAGE” we are in now.

We caught a few minutes of Bill’s Talk at the GVSU downtown campus

that you can sample on this short video:

Bill Seidman Talk at GVSU 10-9-08

When we sit down with potential clients to list their home, there are so many

issues and hot buttons to discuss.  Inevitably we come to the one where we

really have to agree  to get the home sold quickly and for the most money. 


Most homeowners want to start high and then come down – if they have

to – to sell.  Of course, they are hoping their home is an exception, it will

sell for more than the market value of all the other homes in the area. 

We see this over and over again.

If you don’t price your home within the price bracket it will eventually

sell for, you are hurting your chances of selling it for top dollar.  If you

 price your home correctly,    You are not giving away money!!  


Money, Money, Money

Money, Money, Money


 I repeat,



This phantom money that you think you might get if the one person

comes along who will do anything, pay anything to own your “special”

home does not exist. 

Let me repeat that  –

The uneducated buyer with money falling out of their pockets,

sprinkled in fairy dust,  so you can make the money you would

like to out of your home sale —–

                   DOES NOT EXIST!!!

You are not letting go of money, you are letting go of the dream

scenario where you get the price that is 25-30% over market value. 

 It isn’t going to happen.

What will happen, is your home will be posted on the MLS, online,

many places where buyers can look at it.  Buyers then compare your

 price to others, and say, why would I buy this house??  There are

10-15 others I can look at that are competitively priced and look great.


 Then….  they are gone. 

Walking Away

Walking Away


They don’t come back and revisit your home as an option. Other homes

are new on the market to consider. Yours has been rejected as:

  • too expensive
  • too much work
  • not what they are looking for


Buyer Activity Chart

Buyer Activity Chart


The charts above illustrate the buyer trends we tell our sellers  about. 

 These charts of buyer activity are on actual listings that are currently

listed by us.  

 You can see that the first month is usually the only month that gets

high traffic.  

Some of our sellers will listen, most don’t.

Sadly, two, six, eight months later, we are still trying to get them to

 agree to the price they should be listed at, if they want their home to sell

 Chasing this downward price spiral is not the best way to get top dollar

from your home.  When it first hits the market it has the most exposure

and best chance of getting the best price!


Grand Rapids Ada Real Estate ~ Five Star Real Estate

Copyright 2008 All rights reserved

Photos from Flickr Creative Commons photostream


Crystal Springs Development in Caledonia, MI is a large, residential

suburban housing development that was started in the late 1980’s and

most construction was finished in the 1990’s although some newer homes

have been built since 2000. There are also a few vacant lots left to develop.

This development covers a large area around the Crystal Springs Golf Course

grounds south of 68th Street to 72nd Street and encompassing Kalamazoo

Avenue on the east and west.  This development has single family homes and

 condos, many located right on the Crystal Springs Golf Course. (See related

article on the acquisition of Crystal Springs Golf Club)

The public school system is Kentwood, even though the address is Caledonia.

Crystal Springs is close to the shopping plaza at 68th and Kalamazoo,

Kentwood High School, and a short hop to M-6, which is the south beltline for

 the Greater Grand Rapids area connecting US 131 on the west and I96 on the

 east side of the city.


birdhouse in tree

                          September 2008 Real Estate

                          Residential Market Report

                        Crystal Springs Neighborhood

                       29 For Sale, 2 Pending, 17 Sold

Address                Price     Sq Ft  $/SqFt  DOM


1424 Silver Springs    219,900   2544    86.43     95

1285 68th St             159,900   2349    68.07      7

1481 Crystal Valley    299,900   2270   132.11    52

6958 Fairway Vista     169,900   1504   112.96   163

7535 Barn Swallow Ct 169,900   1516   112.07   119

1931 Hollow Creek    184,900    2000     92.45  171

6950 Kalamazoo       189,900   1765   107.59   150

6892 Crystal View      199,900   1714   116.62     86

1634 Sweet Grass      199,900   2000     99.95   164

2026 Blackmountain   219,000  2112    103.69     8

7211 Meadowgrass    229,900   2164    106.23   142

1563 Old Lantern Ct   234,900  2402      97.79   228

7450 Missoula Dr       207,609   2736     75.88   239

7439 Stillwater Dr      449,900   3200     140.59    18      

7320 Old Lantern       249,900  2016     123.95     46

1845 Hollow Creek     224,900  2000     114.95    101

7277 Misty Morning   259,900 2270      114.49  171                                                                                                                             

7272 Misty Morning    275,000  2386     115.25   160

7036 Crystal View       279,000  1683     165.77  150

7368 Old Lantern       279,900   2390    117.11  170

7394 Old Lantern       289,000   3100     93.22    49

7387 Old Lantern       289,900   2875   100.83     45 

7096 Summit Hill       299,900   3022     99.23    23 

7095 Crystal View       315,000  2555    123.28   95

7350 Old Lantern       349,900   3031   115.44    53

1907 Landoshire Ct    214,900   1820   118.07     36

6882 Crystal View       249,000   1806   137.87     41

1438 Silver Springs    289,900    2628   110.31     25

7350 Heather Rdg      350,000    3500   100.00    28



2078 Eaststone St     169,900   1924     88.36     84

1588 Crystalline Dr    104,900   1620    64.70    148



1361 68th St             226,500   1771  134.10    182

1460 Crystal Valley    213,000  2652       90.12    85

6950 Old Lantern Dr   145,100    2671     54.32    6

2086 Eaststone          145,500   1644     88.50    46

2116 Glen Canyon      153,000   1368    110.38   47

7377 Misty View Ct      161,000   1407    114.42  104

1776 Spring Meadow    165,900  1592    103.95  102

7193 Meadowgrass      166,500   1536   108.39    30

7079 Old Lantern Dr    175,000   2135     81.96     8

7561 Barn Swallow      178,000    1189    149.70   88

7458 Misty View  Ct     219,000   2112    103.69   36

7474 Old Lantern Dr    270,000   2500    108.00   40

7361 KingsCrossingCt  280,500   3220      87.11   71

1370 KingsCrossingDr  390,000   4954     78.72   105

7350 Royal Ridge      335,000   3900     85.89    77

7429 Old Lantern Dr   298,000   3800    78.42     77

7222 Crystal Stone    155,900   1504   103.65     48


550 homes have sold so far this year in the Kentwood

School District and the average price is $121,303.


If you would like additional information about Caledonia

or Kentwood Homes, please contact me directly at

1-888-240-1968 ext 0

Grand Rapids Ada Real Estate  Copyright 2008 All rights reserved

photo of birdhouse by Bonnie Westbrook


If you are a golf addict like me, you will be watching the Ryder Cup this


My friend and Watermark Golf Pro, Mark Wilson, will be the Chief Referee –

 The Big CheeseThe Ultimate Decider – concerning the rules of the game

of golf.  Mark, along with team captains, Paul Azinger and Nick Faldo, have

formed the “captain’s agreement,” a document that covers several

contingencies:  the sealed envelopes with the lineups, the pace of play,

 and local rules on the host course, among other things.  Mark has

officiated at the Ryder Cup before, but not as Chief Referee.

The Ryder Cup is one of the golf world’s most prestigious tournaments.

 It pits an European team and an United States team against each other. 

Europe & The United States each put together their “dream team”  to win

 the Ryder Cup.

Europe won in 2006, the United States last won in 1999, so are anxious to

reclaim the Cup.  “It elevates the game and makes each player more intense

because they are playing for the team, not themselves” says Chief Rules

Official Mark Wilson. 


Mark Wilson, Chief PGA Rules Official Ryder Cup 2008

Mark Wilson, Chief PGA Rules Official Ryder Cup 2008

 Mark has officiated at other major tournaments, such as

The Masters, The British Open, and other PGA Tournaments since 1990.

The Ryder Cup Tournament takes place at Valhalla Golf Club,

Louisville, Kentucky this weekend.  Hurricane Ike has dumped a

storm on the Louisville area on Sunday and they are scrambling to

clear the course of debris before the first ball is teed up.  Power was

still out in the area last nite as the Ryder Cup teams flew into the airport

to prepare for the big event.  Let’s hope they have power restored in

time to put this event on the air.  Opening ceremonies at at 4 pm

Thursday EST will be broadcast on the Golf Channel. 

All of us here at Watermark Country Club in Grand Rapids Michigan

will be watching and keeping an eye out for our Pro, Mark Wilson,

to make a rules decision.

Grand Rapids Ada Real Estate   Copyright 2008 All rights reserved

Mark Wilson photo courtesy of Watermark Country Club website

We like to use local companies. We like to know the people who work there.

We feel supporting local businesses is the right thing to do and the way

to make our area prosperous.  In over 35 years of doing business in the

Greater Grand Rapids real estate market, we have seen lots of businesses

 come & go.

We salute those businesses that tow the line every day. They go to work and

make our lives easier, better, warmer, colder, they fulfill our needs, whatever

they may be. They do this every day and serve their community by being

experts in their specific fields.  Jacobson Heating & Cooling is a company

we trust. 

Jacobson Heating & Cooling is one of those local companies that

 we are grateful we can call.  If you wake up and your furnace isn’t working,

Jacobsons Heating & Cooling will send an expert out to give you the good

news (it can be repaired) or the bad news (it can’t be repaired and you need

a new furnace).  Yikes, is the credit card full?


Jacobson Heating & Cooling

Jacobson Heating & Cooling


We have used Jacobson Heating and Cooling in our own home and for our

rental properties. We know we can rely on them to do a good job at a fair price.

 If you are looking for heating/cooling service and/or new equipment we highly

 recommend them.  An annual furnace inspection is always a good idea.


Jacobson Heating and Cooling is a family owned and operated company that

 was established in 1932. Bob Vanderson Sr. has been with the company for

almost 50 years and now owns it with his three sons, Bob Jr., Tom, and Jeff.

They service the greater Grand Rapids area with residential and light

commercial installations as well as providing award winning service. They

 pride themselves in taking care of their customers, they have won several

awards, including the BBB (Better Business Bureau) Best in Customer Service

 in 1993 and 1997, and Business of the Year in 1998. They were also awarded

 the National ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America) Award for

Residential Excellence in 2000.

For help with any of your heating and cooling needs contact them at


Grand Rapids Ada Real Estate  Copyright 2008 All rights reserved

Jacobsons Heating and Cooling facts taken from their website.

We have received no remuneration or compensation for our referral of

Jacbosons Heating & Cooling but Bob might give me strokes on the back 9.


Grand Rapids Photos


December 2018
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