West Michigan waterfront homes in Holland Michigan. CariniRealtors.com

West Michigan waterfront homes in Holland Michigan. CariniRealtors.com

West Michigan waterfront homes in Holland Michigan. CariniRealtors.com

Carini & Associates, Realtors
Holland Michigan


There are 186 Journal Items in 24 pages and your are on page number 1

Prepping Your Home for Winter Weather

As winter approaches, the weather changes across the country. Whether your winter season consists of frigid temperatures or the start of the wet season, weíve got some ideas for getting your home ready for the change of seasons and prepping your home for winter weather.

Keep out the wet and cold. Weatherstripping is a fast and easy place to start. Check seals around outside doors and windows. Purchase foam insulation made specifically to fit behind the plates of light switches and outlets. Check with your local power company to see if they offer a free energy-efficiency checkup ó most do, and you can learn exactly where your energy dollars are being wasted.

Set the thermostat. Investing in a programmable thermostat is a smart move. Youíll never forget to turn down the temperature at night or while youíre away ó and even nicer, you can have the house warmed up for your arrival back home. The Nest is the most well-known example of this technology. Itís pretty and itís smartóit can learn your preferences, and your daily schedule, and adjust the temperature in your home accordingly.

Switch out that smoke alarm. Instead of just changing the batteries twice a year, do one better: throw out that old alarm and get yourself one of the new smoke detectors with a 10-year lithium battery. While you're at it, check the expiration date on your fire extinguishers and review your fire escape plan with your family as well. Then youíll just need to remember when 10 years have passed Ö

Wetter is warmer. Heaters deplete the moisture in the air, which can actually make you feel colder. Add it back with a humidifier ó like the new smart humidifiers, which can be controlled with an app and which will notify you when itís low on water or needs a new filter. Yup, soon even the dog bowl will be talking to us through our phones.

Maintain the equipment. Insulated blankets made especially for your water heater help it to keep the water warm while working a little less. Better still, invest in a new, self-insulated water heater that will also be more energy-efficient. Now is also the time to check the furnace, change the filters, and get it cleaned and inspected, ready for the drop in temperature.

Pack up summer. Itís time to bring in the lawn chairs, umbrellas, and beach toys and switch them out for snow shovels, bird seed, and winter sports equipment. Put away lawn furniture so itís ready for use next year.

Take advantage of natureís heater. Let in the sun as much as you can by leaving blinds and curtains open on the south side of your home. This will warm your home throughout the day. At night, close it back up to retain as much warmth as possible.

Ensure your winter is as cozy as it can be. With a little preparation, this winter will fly by.

Posted by Curt Carini on Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 12:44

Selling Your Home During the Holidays

Selling Your Home During the Holidays: Conventional wisdom used to be that trying to sell your home during the holiday season was a terrible idea. Real estate agents often counseled clients to take their homes off the market between Thanksgiving and New Yearís! Luckily, we know better now. By following a few basic guidelines, you could be ready for a holiday treat of your own: a house marked SOLD!

Keep in Mind:
There are definitely benefits to selling during the winter holiday season.

  1. Youíre not alone ó but thereís less company. Fewer people have their homes on the market this time of year, so your competition has decreased.
  2. Price to sell. You donít want lots of people trooping through this time of year. Listen to your real estate agentís advice on pricing and save yourself a lot of hassle.
  3. Youíve got a bit of a captive audience. People who are looking to buy during the holiday season may include people relocating for work, military families, people associated with the nearby college, and investors looking to 1031 or acquire more properties before the end of the year. Be sure to target them with your For Sale notices.

Set the Stage:
During the holidays, most of the staging rules for selling a home go out the window.

  1. Decorate, but donít overdo it. Holiday dťcor can make your home seem welcome and cozy and inviting, especially to people feeling the pressure of homebuying during this time of year. Keep it seasonal with winter-themed decorations rather than specifically holiday-themed trinkets; go for holly and evergreen boughs, twinkling lights and snow scenery. And keep packing up your personal items in preparation for moving!
  2. Take advantage of the shorter days. A well-lit room is inviting any time of year, but even more so during the long hours of darkness in winter. Bright lamps, a roaring fire if you have one, and candles ó real or electric ó will brighten the mood.
  3. Remember the other senses. Agents always encourage their home sellers to light pleasant-smelling candles or set out potpourri no matter what time of year it is. During the holidays, try sugar cookie-scented candles, fresh pine boughs or peppermint air freshener. Play festive seasonal music. Put out blankets that are soft and cozy to help prospective buyers envision themselves curled up in warmth and comfort.

Your real estate agent will be able to provide even more advice that will best set off your property during this time of year. If you need help finding an excellent agent in our area or you have any questions about the home buying and selling process, please give me call. Iím happy to provide assistance and help your holiday home sale go smoothly!

Posted by Curt Carini on Thursday, October 08, 2015 at 08:56

Curb Appeal Equals Increased Value...

First impressions matter. The outside of your home should draw prospective buyers in and make them want to see more. When prepping your property for sale, start with the front yard and your homeís facade to maximize its curb appeal. Here are some great ways to help your home look its best:

Clean up oil spills.
Your driveway is one of the first things people will see. For a quick and easy way to clean up your cement driveway, use a strong liquid drain cleaner (like Drano) and scrub it into oil stains.

Paint the front door and entry way.
Take a step back and really look at the front of your home. Is the paint fading, the trim chipped? Do you see any rust spots near metal fixtures? A new coat of paint ó even just a new trim color ó can give your home a whole new look. If you don't have the time or money, a quickie update is to paint the front door and entry area.

Evaluate your lighting.
As the days grow shorter, more prospective buyers will be viewing your home in the early evening and possibly even after dark. If you donít have at least a light over your front door, now is the time to remedy that. Even better, a few well-placed accent lights can showcase great landscaping, and also make the trip to the front door safer by illuminating the walkway. Concerned about the cost? Choose solar-powered light fixtures for an eco-friendly (and wallet-friendly!) alternative.

Trim trees and tame unruly flora.
When your lawn, trees, flowers, and shrubs are neatly manicured, your whole front yard looks larger. Make sure shrubs arenít covering any windows or features. Deadhead your flower garden and put down some fresh, dark mulch for a rich-looking bed. Trees should be pruned and shaped to look their best. No flowers? Put a few potted plants out front to add a splash of color. And hereís a quick and inexpensive way to brighten the whole front of the home: Turn on your sprinklers whenever a potential buyer is coming to view your home. The sparkle on your greenery and the fresh scent of water on plants will add a new dimension to your homeís curb appeal.

Park down the street.
Itís something you might not think about, but ensuring convenient parking for real estate agents and their clients ó and having open space in front of your home ó will make your property seem accessible and can also make it appear slightly bigger. Canít guarantee a front-row parking space in your neighborhood? At least be sure to remove toys, garbage cans and any other unnecessary items from your front yard. A buyer needs to see your home with nothing blocking the view.

Now, maintain this great look.
Once you have your home looking great from the street, the challenge is to keep it looking wonderful through the days (or weeks!) of showings. Make a schedule to stay on top of mowing, weeding, watering, and other lawn and plant maintenance, plus keeping the driveway clean and the porch swept. And be sure to include pulling weeds from between stepping stones or bricks on your list. All of those little details mean a lot when it comes to curb appeal.

Posted by Curt Carini on Friday, September 11, 2015 at 11:03

Buy A Vacation Home...

Great Reasons To Buy A Vacation Home

They provide another investment that includes a mortgage-interest tax deduction.

Whether you rent it out or not, you can deduct the mortgage interest as long as you use the home more than 14 days or more than 10% of the number of days the home is rented annually at a fair rental, whichever is longer.

Qualified second homes include houses, condominiums, cooperatives, mobile homes, house trailers, boats or similar properties that have sleeping, cooking and toilet facilities.

Here's an interesting twist on the mortgage interest deduction: If you take out a home equity loan on your first home and use the funds to acquire your second home, the interest on the home equity loan is also deductible. That's three mortgage interest deductions off your tax return!

Consult IRS Publication 936 for a complete discussion of how mortgage interest for a second home is deductible.

You can purchase your future retirement home now, at today's prices.

Though your second home may be a vacation home now, if you buy right you can convert it into your principal residence later.

They can produce their own income.

Renting out a second home occasionally or often can help you pay for the property with OPM (other people's money). Check with your tax advisor about how much of the upkeep and management expenses are deductible against your income.

Buying Tips From The Experts

Buy something within a reasonable distance.

Be sure you can get to your vacation home in a short amount of time. Before you make a final decision, travel the distance on a typical Friday afternoon to see whether the drive will be too much to deal with after a long work week.

Rent in the area several times before you buy.

If you really like a particular area, check it out during different seasons. This way you get to know the climate, people, pests, traffic patterns and other regional particulars first-hand.

Consult other owners.

Check with owners of nearby properties about public and private facilities, special maintenance required due to location or weather, the social climate, local development plans and prevalence of crime. Learning about the lifestyle of the area may help you narrow down your choices.

Think home first, investment second.

Although you may be able to generate rental income from your vacation home, it may not cover your ownership costs. (If you want to try real estate investments, give us a call to look at properties in the local area.)

Consider different styles of properties in a vacation area.

To minimize upkeep and have a more secure environment, a condo may be preferable to a single-family home. If you plan on converting it to a retirement home, consider what type of home you'll want as a full-time residence.

Posted by Curt Carini on Thursday, August 13, 2015 at 09:37

The Connected Home
Technology is infiltrating every aspect of our lives. Twenty years ago, who could have predicted weíd have the Internet in our pockets? Or a refrigerator that tracks our purchases? There are so many choices when it comes to connecting your home and finding fun ways to let technology make your life easier. But which new tech tools are really worth the cost?

Smart ovens.
GE has come out with a range of connected appliances. Smart ovens can be turned on to preheat while youíre still driving home from the grocery store, and you can also change the temperature or get a notification that dinner is done right from your phone, too.

Smart fridges.
According to thewirecutter.com, theyíre just not worth it ó yet. GEís Wi-Fi enabled fridges, due out in fall 2015, will let you know when the water filter needs changing or if the door has been left open. One day your fridge will be able to order more milk when youíre running low and check youíve got all the ingredients for pasta primavera. Currently, though, fancy refrigerators mostly play music and post notes for the next person nearby to buy that milk. Plus, thewirecutter says, the software in general canít be upgraded. Wait until these things have developed further.

Smart dishwashers.
Huh? Do you really need an alert when your dishwasher is done? Personally I set mine to run either overnight or in the morning before I leave for work. I find itís usually done by the next time Iím in the kitchen

Kwikset, a pretty well-known maker of locks, has developed an ekey system. You can share a key with anyone, so no more fake rocks in the yard or placing a spare above the front door (or sending your five-year-old through the doggy door, ahem). Keys can be assigned to multiple people and can be revoked right from your phone. Know when your door is opened when youíre not home. You can even create a ďscheduledĒ ekey that only allows access on certain days at certain times. Pricey, but super-convenient for key losers, especially if your car is also keyless.

Connected thermostat.
The Nest is still the top pick for most people when it comes to home technology. The Nest Learning Thermostat is not only attractive, itís smartóit can learn your preferences, and your daily schedule, and adjust the temperature in your home accordingly. So it saves you money as well as helping to keep you comfortable. Its interface with your phone is considered the best of all the smart thermostats out there, as well.

Smart lightbulbs.
Control color to suit your mood, turn lights on when youíre out late or away on vacation, or schedule lighting changes from your phone or tablet. Cree, GE, and Belkin make smart LED bulbs that get pretty good reviews.

The Hub.
Of course, you canít really hook up your smart home without a hub. Hubs help you get all of your smart devices controlled under one app, making life easier, which is really the ultimate goal of a smart home, right? PCMag recommends the SmartThings Hub and devices from IControl, and Logitech. Thereís also the Wink Connected Home Hub, Appleís Homekit, and the Insteon Hub to turn your Wi-Fi enabled home features into remotely controlled smart accessories that you access on the go. If youíre working on a budget, the Quirky Pivot Power Genius is a smart power strip that you can use to control plug-in items you already have in your home.

Our lives are getting easier ó or are they getting more complicated? Either way, these smart, connected home appliances and features can help you take care of your home with the touch of a few buttons, and soon these tools will be taking care of us!
Posted by Curt Carini on Thursday, July 09, 2015 at 08:41

Preparing Your Home for Hot Weather

As warm weather rolls across most of the country, itís time to start thinking about how to protect and care for your home when the mercury soars. What can you do to ensure the summer sun doesnít cause damage to your home?

Heat stays out, cool stays in.
Thatís the general idea, right? Check the weather stripping around doors and windows to make sure you donít have a leak where your air conditioning can escape. This is a good time to assess the state of your insulation as well. Many power companies also offer home energy-efficiency assessments ó often at no cost ó to help you pinpoint places where the heat is creeping in, and often theyíll supply solutions too.

Perform an A/C checkup.
Donít wait until you really need the air conditioning to make sure it's working properly! If something goes wrong at the height of summer, it could be weeks before repairs can be made. Replace your HVAC unitís filters, and consider having your air ducts and vents cleaned out and the seals checked.

Turn it around.
Your ceiling fan, that is: Many types have a way to reverse the direction they spin. In summer, the blades should rotate counterclockwise in order to maximize the fanís beneficial effect on your homeís temperature.

Scout the perimeter.
Most people spend more time outdoors when temperatures rise. Check the boundaries of your property for damage to fences, security lights, and gate locks. Clear away any long grass that may have grown up next to fences as they can harbor fleas and ticks. Reset timers on sprinklers and outdoor lights in consideration of the longer hours of daylight.

Paint: Itís not just for looks.
Although we generally think of a new coat of paint as a cosmetic indulgence, it actually helps to protect the home from the effects of strong heat and sun. While youíre at it, check the deck to see if it needs a fresh coat of sealant as well. Washing the windows will ensure you can enjoy the summer sunshine. And speaking of windows, check screens and shutters for damage too.

Prepare to party.
If you love to entertain outdoors, or you want to live off barbecue for the next few months, your summer fun equipment will need a good once-over. Hose down patio furniture and check cushions to see if they would benefit from a good wash and a chance to dry in the fresh air or if theyíll need to be replaced. Clean off the bbq and fill the propane tank [or stock up on briquettes].

Scale the heights.
Before it gets too hot, an inspection of the roof and attic is a great idea. Check outside for missing shingles or other signs of damage. Trim back tree branches that could be used by local critters as stepping stones to get onto and then under your roof. Check out the gutters while youíre up there too. Then head inside to examine the attic for leaks, holes, and signs of animal trespass.

We may think of summer as a time for vacations, but we never really get a vacation from taking care of our homes. I hope these tips help you have an enjoyable summer!
Posted by Curt Carini on Monday, June 15, 2015 at 07:24

Signs of a Neighborhood on the Rise

A neighborhood on the rise offers things you definitely want: a great space at a good price, and the promise of improvement (and rising home equity). But how do you know when a neighborhood is getting ready to take off? There a few signs to look for that can steer you to the next hot zip code. (Remember, Brooklyn was once considered highly undesirable!)

Itís near another hot spot
Location, location, location! If you canít afford the prices in the currently desirable metro area, then look at the neighborhoods adjoining. Itís likely the amenities youíll find there will be creeping into the adjoining neighborhoods, and yours could be next.

You can get there from here
Excellent public transportation and freeway access generally mean young people moving in, which in turn leads to Ö

Independent business and trendy shops popping up
A young demographic in a neighborhood generally attracts bars and restaurants that are chasing millennial dollars. Look for store and restaurant trends that youíll find in the already hot neighborhoods ó farm-to-fork, wine bars, even vape bars. And of course an uptick in the number of hardware and home improvement stores is always a good sign.

Upscale chain stores are also encroaching
These businesses spend a lot of money tracking demographics and conducting market research before they begin to move into an area. Let them do some of the groundwork for you. Stores catering to a higher income clientele, such as Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and of course Starbucks are the ones to watch.

Homes are selling faster and faster in the area
If you notice a lot of houses undergoing renovations or new home construction, and more For Sale signs, itís time to ask your real estate agent the average time a home in that area spends on the market. As the number of days on the market declines, the housing market in the area will be heating up. If you can get in at the beginning of this trend, youíll probably get a great price on your new property.

Crime rates are declining
Rising crime is an obvious indication that a neighborhood is going south, so it makes sense that a declining crime rate is a sign of gentrification and growth. If you see an area where a city is starting to pour in money, itís a good bet it thinks the place is worth the attention. Improving school scores and a property tax thatís staying stable are also signs to look for.

Looking for a neighborhood on the rise is always taking a chance. Thereís no guarantee youíll be getting in on the next most desirable place to live in your area. But by looking at the signs listed above ó and having a great real estate agent who knows the area and can offer guidance ó you could be getting a great place for a much lower price.

Posted by Curt Carini on Thursday, May 14, 2015 at 05:45


Grand Rapids was named one of the Top 10 Cities for Affordable Health Care, by Livability.com, a national website that ranks quality of life and travel amenities of America's small and mid-sized cities.

Grand Rapids was named the "Most Sustainable Midsize City in America" by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Civic Leadership Center and the Seimens Corp.
The Brookings Institution named Grand Rapids one of the 20 strongest-performing American metropolitan areas in MetroMonitor: Tracking Economic Recession and Recovery in Americaís 100 Largest Metropolitan Areas.
Forbes Mazagine forcasted Grand Rapids to be the most likely place to find jobs in the article The Best and Worst Cities for Jobs this Summer.
Fortune Magazine rated Grand Rapids as one of the "Top 10 Best Cities for Business."
Anderson Economic Group cited Grand Rapids as "Number one for best overall business climate."
Industry Week Magazine ranked Grand Rapids second on the "World Class Communities" list among cities of similar size.
Grand Rapids has also been cited as one of the "top five" metro areas for its number of entrepreneurs and for manufacturing growth.
The United Nations University has designated Grand Rapids as a Regional Center of Expertise (RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development.  Grand Rapids is the only city in the nation, and one of 30 worldwide, to receive this award.  (Michigan DEQ, March 2007)
Eight companies in Grand Rapids have been designated by the DEQ as Clean Corporate Citizens, the most of any city in the state. (Michigan DEQ, March 2007)
Grand Rapids has more LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings than any city in the United States other than Seattle. (Michigan DEQ, March 2007)
Greater Grand Rapids is the fastest growing region in the upper Midwest, outpacing all of our 11 peer communities in the areas of manufacturing, job creation, and wealth creation.

Posted by Curt Carini on Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 05:52

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