Real Estate

Biggest bang for your real estate buck | Features

What a dollar today gives you for a new home… or a new look
By Ross Boissono | April 30, 2022

The past two years have seen an unprecedented boom in residential property sales. The pandemic has prompted many city dwellers to move to areas that promised breathing space and bragged about cultural amenities… areas like northern Michigan. Add to that the area’s growing appeal for those second homes and income-producing vacation properties — and the fact that very few homes were built during and right after the Great Recession — and you’ve got a recipe for a seller’s market.

Home prices have skyrocketed across the region, with many properties being offered multiple offers. Homes with access to the outdoors, high-speed Internet, and being near the water or downtown are fetching tens of thousands of dollars higher than they could have earned three or four years ago. Real estate agent James Newhouse, who represents real estate in western Michigan, says things may vary by city or neighborhood, but the market is hot everywhere. “It’s competitive. Some homes get multiple offers and sell out in hours,” he says.

Below, we look at four price points from $250,000 to just under $1 million in properties across the region. Although they were active listings at the time of writing, you may have received and accepted offers by the time you read this.

Cadillac Zone: 4197 S 39 Rd, Cadillac: $259,900
This grand four-bedroom home is located just minutes from Cadillac Lake, shopping, skiing, and all downtown amenities, but feels like it’s out of the country. The light-filled house has an open plan and high ceilings, giving it the feel of a much larger home. According to the listing agent, its best feature may be the heart of the house: Its spacious kitchen features plenty of storage space, granite countertops, and a large island. “It has a huge kitchen and ten-foot ceilings,” says realtor James Newhouse.

Oddly enough, the house was originally built as a kennel business, although it was never commercial. Thus the previous owners were able to take advantage of the setup to create a laundry room on each level (with separate water heaters!). The huge master suite has its own balcony overlooking the backyard on a one-acre plot. An attached garage, back deck, and private fenced back yard complete the listing.

Lillanao County: 11870 Lee Man Road, Northport: $499K
vintage charm? check. updates? check. space? check. This farm sits on five acres and features a 304-foot private frontage on Ennis Creek. While it is currently being used as a weekly income-producing rental property, listing agent Kian Culloty says it would be an ideal home as well. It has four bedrooms and two full bathrooms (one of the bedrooms not matching). “It’s been in the family for 100 years, but has been updated for 10 years,” he says.

It is in a prime location on the corner of the M-22 and Lee Mann Road between Omena and Northport, making it just minutes from many activities and all of the local attractions. Hit the beach, check out nearby wineries, and take advantage of all of Northport’s up-and-coming offerings, yet it’s only a short drive from Traverse City. Kolotti says the three plots of the property have already been divided, enabling the future owner to sell some of the land if he wants to recoup some of his investment. Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of interest and Culloty had a number of shows. “It’s a wonderful house,” he says.

Travel City: 5797 E Duck Lake Rd, Traverse City: $774,995
Country live at its best! This custom built house four years ago has four bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, and features two large covered porches with wood ceilings, a cathedral ceiling in the living room (also made of wood), and even cherry wood interior doors. kitchen cabinets; Oh, yeah, the kitchen: granite countertops, pantry, stainless appliances, tons of storage, and peninsula benches overlooking the dining area. “The house is authentic,” says Ron Williamson, who represents the property.

Additional features include a large extra room, large floor sink, custom closet systems, central air, and a garage finished with built-in closets. The basement provides plenty of space where you can unleash your imagination, with exit windows, a recreation room and additional bedrooms, and plumbing already in place for an additional bathroom.

Is this it? Well, no, because six acres offer an RV parking space, with septic and a well, even though it’s not yet electrically plugged in. But a column barn makes an ideal place to store toys. “It’s very difficult to find a combination of a house with a column barn,” Williamson says. Indeed. The 40′ x 56′ post barn has concrete floors, 14′ by 14′ loft doors with joist and 16′ eaves height.

Petoskey: 08445 Bear Cove Lane, Petoskey: $919,000
Welcome to the wonderful waters of Lake Walloon. Park your car in the three-car garage, then try this three-story, 5,700-square-foot home, five spacious bedrooms, five full bathrooms, and a large open-concept room with Old World Romanesque design influences. (All built in 2004.) Gorgeous inside, yes, including the final lower level – but don’t forget the outside.

An exit from the basement opens onto a beautifully manicured backyard, while a wraparound porch provides the perfect setting for entertaining or evening stargazing. Outdoors you’ll find mature hardwoods, gorgeous landscaping, and did we mention the crystal waters of beautiful Lake Walloon? Hop in the golf cart or take a short stroll to your boat, which is located on your private slip. With in-house marina services and your own boat storage, lake life couldn’t get any easier.

I love her – don’t tell her
As buying a new home becomes more difficult, perhaps the answer is to stay where you are and remodel to give your space the update that makes it work best for you. But the question remains .. What is the cost?

Stephanie Baldwin, president and owner of Edgewater Design Group in Petoskey, says while new construction costs start at $400 per square foot, the rebuilding price is hard to predict. “You really need some kind of design or idea to show a construction worker to him or her to appreciate it,” she says.

Colin Bushong of CMB Construction in Traverse City agrees. “I don’t like to talk about him [general] recovery. It varies a lot,” he says.

Both say the key with the redesign and schedule is to get the customer to make selection decisions as soon as possible and get the items needed. Many contractors will not start work until all the materials are on hand, which can take months of waiting. (For another curve ball in the chart, Baldwin notes that lumber yards only warrant 10-day quotes instead of the usual 30.)

But, if all the stars align, here’s what moves the needle in time, money, and resale value to homeowners.

What types of remodeling do contractors get the most orders for?
Most remodeling jobs involve the kitchen or bathroom. The cost of these spaces can vary greatly due to the choice of cabinets, worktops, and appliances. For example, a modest kitchen might cost $30,000, or $100,000 if a customer wants quality appliances, like a Subzero refrigerator and a Wolf/Viking combination with ovens and hoods. These devices alone are $15,000 each.

Which takes longer to complete?
Currently, kitchens are taking longer because appliances take a very long time, as do cabinets and worktops. It takes 10 to 12 months to acquire high-end devices. Countertop schedules doubled. Any reconfiguration work that requires new windows takes a long time; The lead time for windows is about 20-22 weeks.

What offers the most profit in return on investment and resale value?
“The best resale value is the kitchen, then the bathroom, then the basement finish,” Baldwin says. “Most buyers want an open concept, so that’s to be expected. It’s not a huge added value; that’s just what most people want.”

Bushong comes from the homeowner’s website rather than the potential seller’s website. “My intuition tells me you get the most out of your basement,” he says. “In a house with an unfinished basement, that will make your biggest immediate change happen.”

However, he was quick to note that what works for one person may be much lower than someone else’s priority list. “In today’s market, people buy what they can get as long as it is in an area they want. Everything about a home is personal. Someone may need a larger bathroom, or want more living space. Homes are a reflection of their occupants.”