Judy Levin
May 2019
Leelanau County Specialist

6 Ways to Update the Look of Your Bathroom Without Doing a Full Reno
The average cost of a midrange bathroom renovation is more than $20,000. If you kick that up to the "upscale” level, it’s almost $65,000. Yikes! Luckily, there are lots of little changes you can make in the bathroom to make it feel new again—or at least less old. They range in price from the cost of a family outing to the movies (with popcorn), to the cost of a couple of airline tickets to Hawaii (during a really good sale).
      Go frameless It’s not cheap to convert an outdated shower to something more updated. Frameless glass will give you the sleek look you want, but be prepared to spend a good thousand bucks for the glass
Mortgage Rates
U.S. averages as of May 2019:

30 yr. fixed: 4.2%
15 yr. fixed: 3.64%
5/1 yr. adj: 3.77%

      But add frames here Frames around your mirrors give the space a more finished look. Companies like Mirrormate


How Lenders Evaluate the Self-Employed Borrower
     One of the primary factors when issuing a loan approval is to make sure the borrowers can afford the new mortgage payment along with other monthly credit obligations. This is accomplished by comparing monthly payments with monthly income.
      For someone who receives a pay check on the 1st and 15th it’s relatively easy to figure out how much money someone makes. But for those who are self-employed and make money when their clients pay their bills, it’s not so easy. Lenders do have a method to properly calculate qualifying monthly income for the self-employed, they just take a few extra steps.
      These borrowers must show proof they’ve been self-employed for at least two years. For those who receive a

Top Tips to Make Your Offer Stick
     It’s that time again, when the Spring real estate market starts to get hot (or gets even hotter, depending on how steamy your particular corner of the world is). Multiple-offer situations and selling prices that soar over asking prices are great for sellers, not so much for buyers.
      If you’re looking for an edge to ensure you get the home you want, we have some tips.
      Work with the right real estate agent You can’t underestimate the experience and skills of a quality real estate agent. Not only will a great agent be able to guide you toward the best properties for you, but also may be able to use their network to identify homes that aren’t even on the market yet or to work closely with an agent to get your offer accepted.
      Make sure your offer is first Some sellers will hold off on accepting an offer to see if they get more offers. There


May 2019

The (New) Bay Theatre's First 100 Days -- And Its Future

By Craig Manning – The Ticker

The Bay Theatre in Suttons Bay, now operated by a nonprofit, has been making strides, with plans to move beyond just movies in the future. The Ticker caught up with two board members to discuss the first 100 days of the theater’s new structure and plans for the future.

The Bahle family, who had owned and operated the venue for decades, announced plans in November to cease operations. After a community forum in December, a group of local residents got together to discuss taking over the theater. Now a nonprofit-run, volunteer-driven entity, The Bay Theatre is more than three months into realizing the vision the Bahles pitched on that December evening: a theater “by the people, for the people.”

“One of the things we said very early on – from that first forum, really – was that we wanted to keep the lights on [at the theater],” says Rick Andrews, president of The Bay Theatre’s new board. “So, we said, ‘Let’s see what we can do very, very quickly to keep this place going.’ We felt like, if we let the theater go dark, people would see that and say, ‘Oh, it’s closed,’ and the staff would start getting different jobs, and we’d lose all that institutional knowledge.”

The Bahles had planned for The Bay to go dark at the end of 2018, which didn’t leave much time for the new leadership to get a plan in place. In particular, Andrews says it was “impossible” for his team to set up accounts with Hollywood studios to get their hands on new films. “The Bahles were really helpful in working with us on a transition plan, so that we could keep things coming.” (The Bahles still own the building)

The Bay Theatre opened its doors as a nonprofit organization on New Year’s Day, with an open house featuring live music, tours of the theater and the projector room, and several films. Since then, Andrews says the focus has been on “figuring out how to run this thing,” from accounting and bookkeeping to programming. “But we’ve shown films just about every day for the first 100 days, which is fantastic. I think we maybe missed one day because of a snow day. Otherwise, we have been completely operational.”

For Denise Genoa, a member of the board and The Bay’s volunteer coordinator, the outpouring of support from community members has been heartwarming. In addition to the committees, which each include 4-6 volunteers, The Bay also relies on two volunteers to staff the theater during each film screening. Genoa says she has been working with “tons of people who are willing to sign up” for the three-hour volunteer shifts. Often, she says, local businesses like Bonek Insurance and Suttons Bay Dental will send over two-person teams to act as theater volunteer crews.

Since going nonprofit, the theater has raised nearly $45,000 in donations from community members alone; local businesses are also pitching in, sponsoring some theater programming.

While Andrews notes that films will likely always be the bread and butter of what The Bay offers – especially during the busier summer season – he also says to expect more live events in the future. That shift could include live music, comedy shows, plays, and events for local businesses and organizations. “We want to reach out to the community and offer ourselves as a venue,” Andrews says. “We need more reasons for people to come to the theater, and honestly, we really want to be a part of the community.”

The Bay is also experimenting with new film selection strategies, in hopes of overcoming some of the profitability issues that typically plague small-town community theaters. The challenge is the restrictive nature of how Hollywood studios distribute their films to small theaters. Most studios take 65 percent of ticket sales and inhibit a theater’s ability to show multiple films concurrently. As a result, even if The Bay can get a big new release movie – such as the upcoming Avengers: Endgame– it would then need to tie up its one screen with that film for two or three weeks. Andrews says The Bay is trying to “find the sweet spot of good films that don’t tie us up too much.” That might mean booking a smaller film that will only require a one-week run, or waiting a few weeks to bring in bigger releases, at which point Hollywood studios may have relaxed their demands.

All these strategies, Andrews says, are meant to underline the major goal: keeping the theater as a valued centerpiece to the community.

“There was a great study recently from the National Endowment for the Arts, and it shows how creative arts entertainment is really important for rural economic development,” Andrews says. “It’s important for population growth, for attracting workers, and for retaining workers, because it makes for a better place to live. So, the reason that we’re doing this is because we think the theater is an anchor for the local economy, the local culture, and the local community.”


Our Tulips Welcome Spring.



Appraising Appraisals


Homeowners may be overvaluing their homes compared to appraisals, according to the Quicken Loans’ National Home Price Perception Index(HPPI) for March 2019. THe HPPI stated that the average appraisal was 0.78 percent lower than homeowners expected, widening the gap between homeowners and appraisers more than 50 percent since February.

“This month’s fluctuation in the HPPI was driven more by a dip in home values than a change in the owners’ viewpoint. Homeowners are often reluctant to believe their house has lowered in value, even at a slight monthly fluctuation,” said Bill Banfield, EVP of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans. “Depending on the area, appraised values are either growing at a much more measured pace, or have taken a step back from their meteoric rise. Homeowners are usually slower to realize change—in either direction—than the appraisers who study the market on a daily basis. This can lead to a slight widening of the perception gap when there is a turn in the market.”

Overall, appraisal values dipped in March month over month. Quicken’s National Home Value Index (HVI) reported appraisal values dipped 0.20 percent from February to March. Regionally, the West saw the biggest increase in home values, up by 0.79 percent. The annual growth ranged from a 2.19 percent year-over-year increase in appraisal values in the West, to a 4.11 percent annual rise the Midwest. According to Quicken, these increases are more modest than we have seen over the last few years, but more in line with inflation and wage growth.

“Some of the rampant buyer demand that we’ve seen over the last few years has subsided because of the affordability issues many areas are having, driven by a lack of availability,” said Banfield. “Would-be buyers have decided to sit on the sidelines to see if more home inventory becomes available at the price-points where they’re shopping. The entire housing industry is watching to see what will happen in the coming months—whether owners and builders will provide the home inventory the buyers have been waiting for, amid the recent drop in interest rates.”


The Restaurant Review for Leelanau County from Chicago Magazine. Here is a written trip around our County for all the Foodies That love our area.

Article by

Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula—a relatively narrow outcropping just north of Traverse City, with its collection of lakeside towns, farms, beaches, and rolling hills—was a fairly well-kept secret until a few years ago. That’s when Mario Batali, the New York-based celebrity chef who has a summer home in Northport, started promoting the farm-to-table restaurants, cafés, shops, and farmers’ markets like only a TV personality can. The buzz is deserved and the peninsula’s towns are thriving on the attention. Connecting them all is M-22, a gorgeous stretch of road that follows Lake Michigan.

Head up M-22 north of Traverse City, where the road winds along the shores of Grand Traverse Bay and Suttons Bay. You’ll soon see signs for Ciccone Vineyard (10343 E. Hilltop Rd.; 231-271-5553), a local winery also known for the winemaker’s world-famous daughter: Madonna. Not long after, you’ll encounter Black Star Farms (10844 E. Revold Rd.; 231-944-1270), a gorgeous agriculture estate and winery. Park your car and walk around the property, which includes a stately inn, horse stables, tasting rooms, and a distillery. It will be the first of many moments when the Leelanau Peninsula reminds you of Northern California. Stop for lunch at The Hearth and Vine Café (231-944-1297; entrées from $10); the kitchen makes a fine wood-fired pizza.

A few miles north on M-22, Suttons Bay (see “Hot Hood,” below) is one of the more popular destinations on the peninsula for its walkable central area and boutique shopping. Continue inland on M-204 toward the town of Lake Leelanau, a gold mine for fresh produce. Local farmers set up humble stands on both sides of M-204. These typically operate on the honor system—look for a basket and leave what you think you owe.

Stay on M-22 as you leave Suttons Bay, and the road will lead to the adorable tiny town of Omena. Just steps from the water, the tasting room at Leelanau Cellars (5019 N. West Bay Shore Dr.; 231-386-5201) has a wall of windows overlooking Grand Traverse Bay. While there—or at any Michigan winery, for that matter—pay special attention to the rieslings, chardonnays, and other whites, since the region’s short growing season favors white varietals over reds. Across the street from the tasting room is another treasure: Tamarack Gallery (5039 N. West Bay Shore Dr.; 231-386-5529), a decades-old shop that represents more than 60 artists from around the country.

M-22 rolls and winds for another five miles before reaching the rustic town of Northport. If you get there early enough, grab your coffee and an old-fashioned doughnut or cinnamon twist at Barb’s Bakery (112 N. Mill St.; 231-386-5851) before they’re gone. The town offers a wealth of outdoor activities: Wander by the Northport Farmers’ Market at the marina, hike the dunes of Cathead Bay, walk along Christmas Cove, jump in the lake at any of the quaint beaches, and visit the historic Grand Traverse Lighthouse.

For a casual lunch or dinner, head south to Fischer’s Happy Hour Tavern(7100 N. Manitou Tr., 231-386-9923; entrées from $11), on a section of M-22 that runs along the western edge of the peninsula and through some of its most breathtaking vistas. Fischer’s has the cozy ambiance of a backwoods lodge and serves great no-frills classics: fried chicken, fried mushrooms, fried cauliflower, and some nonbattered items like burgers and fish. During the dinner rush, expect a considerable wait—but don’t leave. Get a drink at the bar and sip it on the restaurant’s porch.

Continuing south from Northport, M-22 cuts through gorgeous rolling hills, orchards, and forests before reaching the town of Leland. In a perfect world, your trip would include at least one of the following: the Leland Wine & Food Festival (June 9); the town’s Fourth of July parade, which oozes small-town Michigan charm; or a boat or fishing trip with one of the local charters, such as Manitou Island Transit (231-256-9061; day trips $20 to $35).

You can certainly squeeze in an afternoon stroll through Fishtown, a bygone fishing village where shops and charters still operate out of weathered shacks. Head to Carlson’s (205 River St.; 231-256-9801) for the day’s fresh catch, as well as smoked chub and whitefish (the adventurous will love the fish sausage). If you’re looking for a sit-down meal, locals will direct you to the 80-year-old Bluebird (102 River St., 231-256-9081; entrées from $16) and suggest that you order the whitefish or perch. The restaurant at The Riverside Inn (302 E. River St., 231-256-9971; entrées from $21) is great for something more formal. South of Leland and inland a bit, Maple City is home to two restaurants where area chefs are known to dine on their day off: La Bécasse (9001 S. Dunns Farm Rd., 231-334-3944; entrées from $24) and Funistrada (4566 W. MacFarlane Rd., 231-334-3900; entrées from $25). But the biggest attraction is Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, a breathtaking stretch of sugar-sand dunes, beaches, and cliffs.

Watch the sun go down over Lake Michigan from the dining room at Blu(5705 S. Lake St., 231-334-2530; entrées from $25) in nearby Glen Arbor. This town feels livelier than most, especially when weekend crowds come to shop and sit outside at the restaurants and bars. At some point, pop into the Cherry Republic (6026 Lake St.; 800-206-6949), a store that pays homage to the county that “grows more cherries than any other county in the country” by—you guessed it—selling cherries, food with cherries, and trinkets involving cherries.


Dried Cherries
These tart and sweet fruits ripen in July, peaking at month’s end. Savor your trip with dried cherries from Leelanau County, available at stores throughout the area. Sold in a five-pound box ($28) at Leelanau Fruit Company (2900 S. West Bay Shore Dr., Suttons Bay; 231-271-3514), these bits of sunshine will keep for a year or longer in your freezer.


Suttons Bay

The village has old-fashioned charm, a bustling main drag for shoppers, and one of the peninsula’s must-go restaurants.

Chef/owner Martha Ryan keeps close tabs on local producers, and her menu reflects the best of what’s fresh. Start with the melty Raclette—made by Leelanau Cheese—served with roasted potatoes and cornichons. 413 N. St. Joseph St.; 231-271-2344

Sitting outside a rickety stand with ice-cream cone in hand is a must around here. Get your scoop of Moomers, the beloved Traverse City brand. 403 N. St. Joseph St.

Print-loving folks, happy to talk literature and make recommendations, run this indie bookstore. 305 N. St. Joseph St.; 231-271-7323

Stop by this quiet spot for its sophisticated and expansive art collection. You could spend hours just looking. 102 Jefferson St.; 231-271-4444

At this toy and hobby shop, you can find a telescope for stargazing or a pair of binoculars for bird watching in the woods and fields. 223 N. St. Joseph St.; 231-271-6033

Several galleries in town focus on arts and crafts inspired by northern Michigan. This one stands out. 216 N. St. Joseph St.; 231-271-3050

Shop for your picnic here. You’ll find the best local products—cheese, beer, farm-fresh produce, and cured meats—in the county. 91 W. Fourth St.; 231-271-4280

Where to Stay

Don’t procrastinate—summer weekends fill up fast. Splurge at Black Star Farms (10844 E. Revold Rd., 231-944-1251; doubles from $225), one of the area’s most luxurious properties. In Suttons Bay, Korner Kottage (503 N. St. Josephs Ave., 888-552-2632; doubles from $140) is a quintessential Leelanau Peninsula bed and breakfast in the heart of the village. In Northport, go for the quirky and memorable Old Mill Pond Inn (202 W. Third St., 231-386-7341; doubles from $85) or the elegant Days Gone By B&B (201 N. High St., 231-432-0098; doubles from $139). Snowbird Inn (473 N. Manitou Trl., 231-256-9773; doubles from $155) boasts a great central location in Leland. Two more favorites in Leland are the Whaleback Inn (1757 N. Manitou Trl., 231-256-9090; doubles from $169) and The Riverside Inn (302 River St., 231-256-9971; doubles from $110), also a dining destination.


Dark Skies by Pure Michigan - Youtube


Baked Asparagus with Balsamic Butter Sauce

1 LB fresh asparagus, trimmed
Cooking Spray
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Arrange the asparagus on a baking sheet. Coat with cooking spray, and season with salt and pepper.
Bake asparagus 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until tender.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, and stir in soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Pour over the baked asparagus to serve.


Judy’s Movie Reviews


A London writer becomes very friendly with the colorful residents of the Isle of Guernsey. She joins and learns about the book club they formed during the WWII German Occupation. I thought this was a beautiful story about very special people in an isolated island off the French and English coast . The woman writer finds everyone intriguing included a very down to earth gentleman. Although she is engaged to someone else who is very worldly, she finds him and the lifestyle on the island really wonderful. 4 out of 5 stars

Harold and Lillian eloped to Hollywood in 1947, where they became the film industry’s secret weapons. Nobody talked about them, but everyone wanted them. Theirs is the greatest story never told until now. Their part in the film industry most people never heard about, but they were tops in their field. Stream or rent this excellent documentary that will surprise you. 4.5 out of 5 stars


Is about Ann Atwater, the local community organizer and C.P. Ellis, the local Klu Klux Klan leader. Ann ran SAVE OUR SCHOOLS, an effort to facilitate school desegregation in 1970’s Durham, North Carolina. The two ultimately became good friends, hence the title of the film. After the schools were desegregated. Atwater and Ellis traveled all over the United States having discussions, lectures and town hall meetings to facilitate the success of Save Our Schools. A thoughtful and beautifully made and acted film. 5 out of 5 stars


A violent convict is given a chance to participate in a rehabilitation therapy program centered around the training of wild mustangs. This is a combination cowboy…prison movie. This movie examines successes and failures in our prison system. I thought it was enlightening but not a favorite of mine. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

The album was a top hit for so long. But there was technical difficulty with the film of this in the church. It took 40 years before the movie could be presented, as the technology now makes this work. This is the best gospel music I ever heard. This documentary was performed in the New Bethel Baptist Church She truly is the Queen. I loved Mahalia Jackson, but Aretha really could sing everything including opera and she played a great piano… this was a 5 out of 5 star documentary.

Click Here to View What is Coming Soon


During a self-imposed exile in Arles and Auvers-Sur-Oise, France, Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh develops his unique and colorful style. He is disturbed by religion, mental illness and a difficult friendship with French painter, Paul Gauguin. 3.5 stars out of 5

This is the first fully painted feature film. This is an animation film depicted in oil painted animation in the style of van Gogh. A young man comes to the last hometown of van Gogh to deliver the troubled artist’s final letter and ends up investigating his final days there. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Click Here to View What is Coming Soon

Click Here to access the METROPOLITIAN OPERA LIVE Website

Click Here to access the Traverse City Official Website

Click Here to access City Opera House Website

Click Here to access Interlochen Center For the Art Official Website

Click Here for the Leelanau Farmer Market Schedule

There are so many wonderful properties for you to buy in Leelanau County. You are never more than 5 miles from a body of water to look at and take a swim or a trip on your boat. Please call me or text me at

231-218-7653 from 8 am to 9pm. Of course, email me at

I look forward to assisting you with your goals and dreams.


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Judy Levin,CRS e-PRO
231- 218-7653
Coldwell Banker Schmidt
71 Fourth Street
Suttons Bay Michigan 49682

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