Local builders, developers resurrect Tour of Homes

Just drive around some of the newer subdivisions in the area and you'll see signs that the home building industry is alive and well, local Realtor Nancy Schindlbeck said recently. "We've been struggling for three to four years now,' said builder Ron Stroup, who has held a building license since 1967. "This is the worst of the four recessions I've been through and we're still standing.' "New construction is selling,' Schindlbeck countered.
Becky Vargo
Sep 13, 2011

 

They are just two of the local builders and developers who have put business competition aside to show a sign of force and salvage a home tour that was canceled a couple of weeks ago.

“The Shoreline Home Builders Association has become basically inactive,” said Robert Sorensen of Eastbrook Homes. “So, it was hard for them to put (the tour) together.”

Only six homes had been scheduled for the tour, so the builders and developers got together and decided to come up with their own event.

The West Michigan Lakeshore Tour of Homes  — featuring 12 houses — will be held over two weekends: Sept. 16-18 and 23-25.

Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at any one of the homes in Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Fruitport, Norton Shores and Muskegon. All of the proceeds will go to Tri-Cities Love INC.

“This is another way us builders are giving back to the community,” said Martha Thomas, also of Eastbrook Homes.

David J. Bos, director of marketing for David C. Bos Homes, said the goal was to make the event bigger and better.

“We want to make it more fun for the people to attend,” he said.

The group has cut back on the number of days and made the tour more centralized.

Most of the prices range in the $200,000 to $300,000 area, with the lowest asking price set about $165,000 and the highest at $550,000.

“You’re going to see new color trends, new cabinet styles,” Thomas noted. “And people not interested in buying a new house might just want to come out and look for ideas.”

One of those ideas is thinking longterm, for residents who want to stay in their homes longer as they grow older. It’s called Aging in Place, and some of those adaptive features are found in the David C. Bos tour home located at 17802 Lost Pond Lane. The Prairie-style home is located near the end of the Wildwood Springs Parkway, off Old Grand Haven Road in Spring Lake Township.

The homeowner, who asked not to be identified, said the house has halls and doorways big enough to accommodate walkers or wheelchairs, should they be needed. The shower in the master bedroom has no door or threshold, and the controls are placed at a lower level. The bathroom cabinets were also designed to be easily restructured if someone ends up in a wheelchair.

The homeowner said the walls in the toilet area are reinforced so that grab bars can be added. There’s pocket doors that go between the laundry area and the master bedroom closet, and there’s room for a ramp to be added in the garage, if that becomes necessary, she said.

“It’s designed primarily to be lived in independently on the top floor,” the homeowner said. “The lower floor is primarily for guests.”

The home is also one of the first new houses in the area to meet the new energy code that went into effect in the spring, she said. The furnace and water heater are more energy-efficient. There are new rules about taping the insulation boards for a better seal. The code also includes insulating the inside of concrete walls in the basement, even in storage areas, she said.

The homeowner said some of the Aging in Place and energy features add more upfront costs to the home, but will help them lead a more comfortable life in the long run.

Best time to buy

Sorensen said there hasn’t been a better time to buy than now, because buyers could get an interest rate at just over 3 percent for a 15-year loan.

Schindlbeck said she recently had a client lock in on a 30-year loan at a fixed rate of 3.9 percent. The buyer asked Schindlbeck what her payments would be.

“I said I don’t know — I’ve never figured something that low,” Schindlbeck said.

Sorensen said values have hit bottom and are starting to increase. Homes are starting to sell.

“It’s a cautious, positive growth,” he said. “We’re not going to see what we saw in 2004.”

Schindlbeck said she thinks people are adjusting to the home values.

“This is the new normal,” Thomas said. “People are realizing this is what the market is.”

“In the end, it all falls back to the homeowner’s dream,” Sorensen said. “People still want to own their own homes and we’re excited to show our own stuff.”

Homes on the tour

The Tour of Homes West Michigan Lakeshore will be held over two weekends: Sept. 16-18 and Sept. 23-25. The homes will be open 1-8 p.m. on Fridays, and 1-6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Some homes will not be open on the two Sundays. Tickets are $5 and all proceeds will go to Tri-Cities Love INC. Tickets are available at the homes.

1. 5540 Lister Court, Muskegon: Smith Development

2. 2505 E. Turning Leaf Way, Fruitport: Ron Stroup/Builder

3. 859 Katie Court, Norton Shores: Eastbrook Homes

4. 6348 Wilmington Drive, Norton Shores: Eastbrook Homes

5. 16172 Old Orchard Drive, Spring Lake Township: Michelle Tanner Homes

6. 18252 Lost Creek Lane, Spring Lake Township: David C. Bos Homes

7. 17802 Lost Pond Lane, Spring Lake Township: David C. Bos Homes

8. 603 Lakeview Lane, Spring Lake Township: Ron Stroup/Builder

9. 16241 Grand Point Court, Grand Haven Township: Jeff Gale Builders

10. 13808 Sugarbush Lane, Grand Haven Township: Eastbrook Homes

11. 12932 Mariposa Ave., Grand Haven Township: Jim Tibbe Builders

12. 16820 Watersedge Drive, Grand Haven Township: Jim Tibbe Builders

 

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