Judy Levin
July 2022
Leelanau County Specialist

What’s a Good Debt-To-Income Ratio?
You’ll see the term debt-to-income ratio a fair amount if you're applying for a mortgage. Debt-to-income ratio is also known as DTI.
      This is a measure of your monthly debt payments divided by your gross monthly income.
      Lenders use DTI and your credit history to determine whether or not you can repay a loan. Every lender will have its own DTI requirement.
      Calculating Your DTI A lender wants to see a low DTI because this shows them that you’re more likely to be able to manage your monthly payments successfully.
      When you have a low
U.S. averages as of July 2022:

30 yr. fixed: 5.81%
15 yr. fixed: 4.92%
5/1 yr. adj: 4.41%

debt-to-income ratio, it’s a healthy balance between your debt and how much you're making. The lower this percentage, the higher the chances you’ll get a loan or line of

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The Top Reason People Get Turned Down for Mortgages
     The idea of getting turned down for a mortgage is anxiety-producing for many people. Despite having risen significantly in the past few weeks, mortgage rates are still somewhat low, and so increasingly, people are looking to jump into the market before they go much higher.
      That leaves them wondering whether or not they’ll be approved.
      Only around 8% of mortgage applications were denied in 2020, according to a NerdWallet study. However, there were 58,000 more denials in 2020 than in 2019. Some of that was due to the uptick in applications in 2020.
      So what was the number one reason for denials?
      The Leading Reason for Mortgage Denials The most

Is the Housing Market In a Correction?
     According to analysts, the housing market shows signs that it might be in a correction, so what does this mean for prices? How will it affect both buyers and sellers?
      Mortgage rate demand has been spiraling, and at the same time, home prices are still rising. These two converging factors are partially why experts are predicting the real estate market is either on the cusp of a correction or already in one.
      Home sales are declining, and fewer buyers seek mortgages because they can’t afford interest rates, home prices, and inflation. Real estate agents are already reporting smaller bidding wars, and sellers are cutting prices.
      Prices have started falling in some parts of the country.
      Mark Zandi, who serves as chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, believes a correction has already begun. Zandi says there



 July 2022 Blog


Bardenhagen Berries Offers First-Ever Tours To Celebrate 150 Years Of Leelanau-Farmed Strawberries

By Kandace Chapple | The Ticker


It’s strawberry season — and we have two new things to add to the usual strawberry shortcakes running rampant in Michigan kitchens right now. How about strawberry tours? And strawberry cocktails?

We knew they’d get your attention.

For the first time ever, Bardenhagen Berries in Lake Leelanau is offering guided tours of their 150-year-old farm. The fun has kicked off and tours run every Friday through July. In fact, there is one today (June 24) at 2:30pm that may include their strawberry harvesting, a rare treat. And the cocktail we mentioned? In partnership with their neighbor, Aurora Cellars, guests receive a gift card to indulge in a specialty wine cocktail: The Luminous Strawberry Lemonade featuring local Bardenhagen strawberries.

After strawberries are done around the 4th of July, the tours will then showcase their cherry orchard and “market gardens” — gardens which include a wide variety of veggies like tomatoes, cabbage, carrots and kale. “The idea behind the tours is to get people closer to where their food comes from,” says Kristi Radakovic, events manager at Bardenhagen Berries. “This is something we’ve always wanted to do, to help people see farming up close and learn more about it. Bardenhagen Berries is a 5th generation family farm and the tours go over their growing practices, “behind the scenes” information on their strawberries, fruit orchards, potatoes, cut flowers, and give insight to their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

Tours run every Friday at 2:30pm, last about 1.5 hours and are limited to 30 people. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online. A portion of proceeds goes directly to the Leelanau Conservancy. “I went on the first tour last Friday, and I highly recommend it,” says Devon Kessler, digital manager at Aurora Cellars. “You walk around the gorgeous property, you get the history, you see the farm and the family. What stood out to me was that the owners of Bardenhagen Berries still live in the same farmhouse as 150 years ago. It’s a family run, long-standing local farm that continues to produce delicious produce.” Kristi Radakovic’s great, great grandfather homesteaded the first 160 acres of the farm (before going to fight in the Civil War) and built the home in 1872.

Another 24 acres were added later across the road, and, in 2006, the family worked with the Leelanau Conservancy to protect the land, preserving it to be used as agricultural land only. “About half of the acreage is farmable,” Radakovic says. “And about 60 acres of it is woodland forest.” The tour includes stories that go back in time at the family farm. “Most of Traverse City got electricity between 1916 and 1920, but we didn’t get it until 1939,” she says, adding that back then, they cut ice blocks out of the lake to use as refrigeration. In addition, the tour covers the realities of farming, as well as the measures the family has taken to make the farm sustainable. “While people may know strawberry harvest season lasts two to three weeks, we’re taking care of them almost year-round,” shares the berry farm’s co-owner Pam Bardenhagen. “You’ll learn about organic practices like the addition of solar panels and cover crops – crops that naturally help protect against pests,” adds Radakovic.

This year, Bardenhagen Berries has about 7.5 acres of strawberries and will harvest the much-sought-after flavorful Earliglow strawberry first, followed by the ever-so-perfect Jewel… And the harvest is considered full-on as of today, so it’s time to enjoy the “fruits” of their labor. The Bardenhagens have an online farm stand (you can buy jam there too!) and have limmited tour tickets available here. Aurora Cellars is open until 6 pm on Fridays, so plenty of time to enjoy a cocktail after the tour. Read more about the history of the farm here. Images: Local Strawberries, Courtesy of Bardenhagen Berries; Strawberry Lemonade Courtesy of Aurora Cellars/Meg Simpson Photography



Photo of the Month


Shalda Creek Iris by Michigan Nut Photography

John got this shot of wild Iris along the banks of Shalda Creek in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.


Property of the Month 

South Fouch Road
MLS 1901653
Vacant land with shared access on South Lake Leelanau! Here is your opportunity to build a tiny home close to Traverse City. Zoning allows a 400sf building footprint with the ability to go to a second story at 800 sf. An even more unique ability is to join the Timberlee Property Owners Waterfront Clubhouse, Marina, tennis courts and hiking the 10 acres of common area because this lot has been in the same family since 1892 and qualify as they are in possession of the original Plat of the Village of Carp Lake which gives you access to buy into the waterfront use. You can buy in whether you build or not. This gives you access to putting your boat into the marina with your membership and reasonable fees. Please look at the attached documents in this listing. Go to the D tab near the picture and that will pull all of this up. It will give you the yearly costs. Buyer must do their own due diligence to get their permits for septic, well, driveway and survey. Seller will not warranty or pay for any of the permits and survey. According to Solon Township zoning the build must be a single-family auxiliary building. Mobile homes are not allowed but modular and manufactured permissible. House has to be 80ft set back from the road. Another idea is to find out how long you may park an RV at this parcel. Attached are the enlarged plat map and the original plat of the village of Carp Lake. In the pictures is the seller's Great Great Grandfather fishing in the spillway just down the road from the lake lot. As you can see 100 years ago the spillway flowed like Niagara Falls. He was the original owner of all the lake lots in that area from Perrin's Landing to the spillway. According to the seller he will accept, cash, conventional mortgage and a unique partial exchange. With certified inspections and professional appraisal, seller will do a partial trade for a 2012-2016 Tesla as long as it has a lifetime free super charging. Seller's first choice is a 2016. So many things to use this parcel for your Leelanau Dream!!

Click here to view the full listing

Real Estate Update




South Blake Lane Lake Leelanau
MLS 1901534

This 2.5-acre parcel offers a very nice elevated building site that provides beautiful water views, unbeatable Lake Leelanau sunsets and a countryside backdrop that will surely leave you in awe. Nestled in a quaint neighborhood where privacy and nature are guaranteed...Leelanau County is your playground! A long, tree lined paved (partially shared) drive leads back to your own private building site that is open and surrounded by luscious hardwoods. Minimum build size 1,100 sq. ft., prepped for natural gas & electricity!

Click here to view the full listing




4042 Juniper Dr Kewadin, MI
MLS 1899984

Exquisite custom-built estate located upon the pristine water of grand Traverse Bay only 10 minutes from downtown elk Rapids! Enjoy true peace and serenity watching sunsets on your private beach with your feet in the sugar sand. Enter the property through a gated driveway to see the unique stone exterior of the home and additional oversized garage with large. Pride of ownership shows throughout this well-maintained property with nearly 3000 ft.² of living space and water views from every room! Three bedroom, 2 ½ bath with main floor master suite and bathroom and an additional office space. Boosting so many incredible custom features such as custom woodwork including the living room ceiling with lighting etc. Spacious open floor plan to the well-designed kitchen featuring handmade Birdseye maple cabinets, built in subzero fridge, Viking range, and Bosch dishwasher, walk-in pantry and mudroom/laundry room that leads to the attached garage with a utility sink. Her downstairs to the family/entertainment room with a kitchenette, two bedrooms, a bathroom, utility room and a great storage space. Walk out to the water on the beach or over the Pond on the custom boardwalk to the deck! The entire .75 acres is landscaped and has a sprinkler system. This private property is like no other, must see!

Click here to view the full listing



Restaurant of The Month 





PHONE 231-256-9971


This is one of my favorite places to eat in Leelanau County. Such as beautiful location and the ambiance is wonderful. The new owners have really done a great job in updating the Inn. Check this favorite out.


Recipe of the Month  

Pesto Pork Chops


¾ cup pesto, divided

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon salt

2 pork chops

10 fresh basil leaves

¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese



Step One: Mix together ½ cup of pesto, the extra-virgin olive oil, black pepper, and salt.

Step Two: Place the pork chops into a shallow bowl or plastic bag. Pour the pesto mixture on top of the pork chops.

Step Three: Marinate the pork chops in the pesto mixture for 5 minutes.

Step Four: Get a frying pan, and into it place the pork chops. Cook on each side for 5 minutes.

Step Five: When done cooking, put the pork chops onto a plate, and top with ¼ cup of pesto, fresh basil leaves, and Parmesan cheese.

Serve, and enjoy!

Recipe from




What’s New For ’22? Summery News From Leelanau’s Wine Country

By Kandace Chapple | The Ticker

Wine-sipping season is officially upon us. Last year’s work, sweat and vines are in the bottles and it’s time to enjoy the labor of love. With planting, product releases, and renovations underway at several Leelanau Peninsula wineries, we reached out to a handful to see what was new for ’22:

Dune Bird Winery
Dune Bird’s brand new Rosé has just landed! Dune Bird managing partner/owner Nicole White says this sunset-hued sipper is best “paired with sunshine, laughter, boats and for sure: shorts.” Consider this an easy-drinking beach- patio- or boat wine. Dune Bird also has a full coffee bar in the tasting room. The 24-hour-steeped cold brew — which we hear is a locals' go-to — will be in constant rotation for the warmer months, as will iced oat milk lattes. Renovations are also underway at this winery-turned alpaca farm-turned winery: The Whites are converting the property's former alpaca barn into a “barndominium.” Watch their Facebook stories for updates. 

MAWBY Vineyards and Winery
MAWBY in Suttons Bay is offering four new wines for summertime: Freestyle, Neon, Eff Nat and Sandpainting X — which is their 10th iteration of this bottle-fermented beauty. Every year it is a little different and this time it’s inspired by German-style Sekt wines. This year’s blend is 80 percent Riesling and 20 percent Pinot Gris from Leelanau County. (They suggest you enjoy it with whitefish tacos or popcorn!)

Another new product alert: An aperitif made from Riesling, called Domaine Leelanau Yarrow (pictured above). The Riesling is infused with lemon verbena, yarrow and elderflower all grown here in Northern Michigan. This light beverage, meant to spark the appetite, can be enjoyed on its own, with sparkling water or with a splash of sparkling wine.

Green Bird Organic Cellars & Farm
Try Green Bird’s new “ginger pear” wine, made from organic pears from Gene and Kathy Garthe’s farm right up the road in Northport, and fresh ginger from Meadowlark Farm in Lake Leelanau. Plus, they are featuring a new rye whiskey barrel-aged cider made with their own Ida Red apples and aged in a Northern Latitudes barrel. Learn more about this out-of-the-way farm and winery’s sustainable growing practices here

Chateau Fontaine
Wednesdays just got better at Chateau Fontaine in Lake Leelanau: The winemakers now have a bite to graze on with your wine and “Wine Club Wednesday.” Enjoy half off a glass of wine, free large cheese ball with crackers and 20 percent off a case of wine for club members on Wednesdays.

Good Harbor Vineyards
Good Harbor has given their tasting room a brand new pop of color and a remodel, which includes an extended bar area with a new marble bar; renovated bathrooms, seating area and retail area; plus a new electric fireplace. Also in the works is a new wall mural you will see as you walk in the front door. 

The winemakers have a several new wines released this season: Albariño, Zweigelt, 2021 Pinot Blanc, 2021 Pinot Noir Rose and a 2020 Pinot Noir Zweigelt. (You can learn more about them on their blog.) They have also added new small plate options: an artisanal charcuterie board and a snack plate that includes pretzel crisps and locally made Leelanau Cheese Fromage Blanc.

Aurora Cellars
New this summer: “Cellar Sunday” events, featuring a food and drink special, plus live music once a month. Check out Rhett & John this Sunday, June 12. Aurora Cellars also has new wines released this season: Sparkling Pinot Grigio “Leora,” 2020 Pinot Noir, 2021 Sauvignon Blanc, and 2021 Rose. (Here is a blog for more tasting notes on the wines.) The tasting room added to its food menu a snack board with asiago-artichoke spread made by The Cheese Lady and crostini, potato chips and artisan olives. 

Shady Lane Cellars
Making its debut in 2022 at Shady Lane Cellars is a wine slushy! Similar to the popular “Frosé...theirs is called a FroBlanc. The recipe features their Coop de Blanc as its base which is made with 100 percent Vignole grapes, which has fermenting aromatics of juicy pineapple, tangerine, honey, white flowers, and ginger. The wine is whirled together with a refreshing lemon syrup and frozen.

Rove Estate
Rove has added new local food offerings to their patio menu, and just released seven (yes, seven) new wines. On the farm, they are planting six more acres of vines, (pictured above)including more of their best-selling varietals, as well as new ones. The product of these new vines should be in glasses in 3-plus years.

Black Star Farms
Black Star Farms is re-opening their Hearth & Vine Café in Suttons Bay this month, with a completely new menu, new front of house team and all new culinary team. They are now perfecting their menu — whitefish pâté, apple beet, and a braised beef sandwich topped with a BSF red wine BBQ sauce will all make an appearance — and stay tuned for the grand re-opening date here

Leland Wine & Food Fest
After a two-year hiatus, the Leland Wine & Food Festival is back, this Saturday June 11, from 12-6 pm with a venue change and special “come-and-go” entry for 2022. Due to continuing construction in the Leland Harbor and Fishtown, the 35th Leland Wine and Food Festival will take place at The Leland Lodge. The festival, hosted by the Leland Chamber of Commerce, is offering “come-and-go” wristbands that allow guests to leave to explore the beaches, shopping district and Historic Fishtown, and return to the main event as many times as they wish. 5-Ton Tours will offer festivalgoers rides between the village and The Lodge. The Leland Lodge will host non-stop live music at the festival which also features 12 Leelanau wineries, a brewery and various local food vendors. Tickets are $30 advance and $40 at the event


10 Homemade Remedies for Bug Prevention

Written by Lydia Lee

Unwanted pesky bugs and pests can put a dent on the delight you should get from your home. Surprisingly, there are common household products you can use to get rid of flies, ants, aphids, spiders, and other insects you want to steer away from your space. Try mixing some of these natural ingredients and make your own bug prevention solution. These are some helpful homemade remedies to keep your house free of unwanted visitors.


#1 Citrus

Orange and lemon essential oils are great in discouraging bugs away. Create a natural spray that can repel those itsy bitsy spiders by mixing 5 drops essential oil, 5 drops biodegradable dish soap with 4 cups of water. If you have 100% undiluted lemon juice, you can it mist around cracks in your home. Then, place orange or lemon peels on bookshelves, cupboards, and other locations where spiders and other bugs like to stay. Lemon peels are also found to be efficient against moths lurking in closets, same with cedar.

#2 Peppermint

If you are battling with pesky ants, dried mint leaves and essential oil can be your best allies. Add 8-15 drops of peppermint essential oil in one cup of water and put it in a spray bottle. Shake the container well and spritz along cracks or areas where ants are seen. Adding a few drops of biodegradable dish soap to the mixture can be great as it would kill ants on contact. Mint can also help deter flies away.

#3 Garlic Oil Spray

Garlic Oil Spray is perhaps one of the safest and effective natural insect repellents. Just add three to four cloves of chopped garlic into two teaspoons of mineral oil. Allow it to sit for 8-12 hours and then, remove the garlic out of the oil through a strainer. Mix two tablespoons of the oil with one pint of water and put a teaspoon of biodegradable dish soap. You can store the garlic oil mixture in a separate jar and dilute it with water whenever needed.

What works magic for this mixture is the compounds in garlic called diallyl disulfide and diallyl trisulfide. These two are irritating and fatal to most insects. The oil and soap allow the mix to stick on stems and plant leaves. If you are looking to repel aphids, beetles, and whiteflies, this spray will keep them away. Be cautious, though. Don't spritz the mixture on a hot sunny day as the oil may cause the leaves to burn quickly.

#4 Lavender and Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Mosquitoes are undoubtedly irritating and can carry viruses that can jeopardize your family's health. It's great that you can avoid them from sucking your blood off by using a mix of lavender and eucalyptus oils. Moreover, the blend helps heal any existing bites you got. The mixture has a natural fragrant odor which you can adore, but, on the other hand, mosquitoes don't find appealing. Lavender oil is one of the few essential oils you can apply directly to your skin. It is advisable, however, to consult with your doctor first for any allergy concerns.

#5 Coffee Grounds

Bug and other pests don't like coffee the way you do - they actually hate it. You may use recycle leftover coffee grounds and sprinkle them around in areas outside your home where you think critters are emerging. For ants, coffee is fatal, while other pests can't endure the odor of the ground and will steer away.

#6 White Vinegar

Vinegar might be the most versatile ingredient from your kitchen. Not only it pickles your cucumbers, clean your windows, or remove stains from your clothes, it's also efficient in avoiding ants and other pests from meddling in your space. Half of the white vinegar mixed with half water in a spray container works much in repelling annoying critters. You can spritz the mixture in the perimeter of your house, around a tent or a screen house or on the legs of tables where you place food to get rid of flies. Just reapply the concoction as it wears off or when necessary.

#7 Banana Peel and Tin Foil

Don't throw those banana peels away. You can chop them and place them on the soil around the stems of your plants. While it steers aphids and others pests away, it also adds nutrients to the ground. Another trick to deter aphids is by placing foil on the base of your plants. Sun rays will bounce from the foil onto the bottom side of the foliage. Be wary enough, though. Too much sunlight might burn your plant.

#8 Apple Cider Vinegar Fruit Fly Trap

Another way to get rid of flies is by creating this fruit fly trap. Get a bottle or other container with funnel-shaped opening, choosing such will allow flies to get in but not out. Put apple cider vinegar and any chopped fruit pieces, you no longer have to endure that buzzing sound in your ear.

#9 Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper is another valuable ant deterrent. If you sprinkle it in areas where ants usually gather, like locations near sugar or crumbs, they will steer away. What pepper's spice does is that it tricks the ants by signaling to them that none of their favorite sweet stuff is there. It can be quite messy, though, to spatter cayenne pepper in locations that aren't utilized often. Make sure to use it in your discretion, most likely on areas that have sweet goods or baking supplies.

#10 Basil

While it works magnificently on our dishes, sweet basil can also be useful if you want to get rid of flies. Just plant one in your patio and place it in a sunny area next to your frequently used door. Flies won't be wandering in your home anymore.

It's essential to feel comfortable in your beloved home and not be bugged by those pesky critters. Try the following home remedies about to ensure that you always at ease, or visit Pestwiki's site to get more tricks in getting rid of flies, ants, aphids, spiders and other uninvited visitors.





 By: Realty Times


Judy’s Movie Reviews




I really enjoy Melissa McCarthy, but not this time. She and her Husband Ben Falcone team up in this movie. A tech support employee finds love exactly the same time he becomes the unwitting messenger of God. The script is weak and it’s unbelievable they don’t work well together. 2.5 out of 5 stars

 Click here to view the trailer




RUN DON’T WALK TO SEE THIS NETFLIX SERIES. The original movie, Lincoln Lawyer starred Matthew McConaughey which was terrific! I like this version as much and maybe even more. It’s about a criminal lawyer who works out of his Luxury Lincoln Vehicle. A drama and a fast-paced thriller. Yum Yum 4.5 out of 5 stars

Click here to view the trailer




One of the best baseball films…. So good. Kevin Costner is at his funniest and most charismatic.  It’s a film that is wise about relationships as it is about minor league baseball. Another Kevin Costner favorite baseball film for me is FIELD OF DREAMS. Critics and audience loved Bull Durham and so do I. 4.5 out of 5 stars 

Click here to view the trailer



  Video of the Month    



Click here to view the Video

Great video showing you all the great stuff in Leland

Video by – How to have fun outdoors


Local Information

The City Opera House

The State Theater and The Bijou By the Bay

Old Town Playhouse

Leelanau County Farmers Market

Met Opera

 Cherry Capital Airport guide 

  Daily News and Advice

Read about the events shaping the Real Estate market today, find current interest rates, or browse the extensive library of advice and how-to articles written by some of the top experts in Real Estate. Updated each weekday.
More Articles
June Real Estate Roundup
Home Listings Spike Amid Fears of Missing Out
Styling the Most Welcoming Guest Room
How Appraisers Determine Comps
When Should You Lower Your Home’s Listing Price?

Judy Levin, CRS e-PRO
231- 218-7653
Coldwell Banker Schmidt
71 W. 4th Street
Suttons Bay, MI 49682

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