Your E-Pro REALTOR:
Judy Levin
January 2020
Real
Leelanau County Specialist


Should You Buy a Fixer-Upper?
Home prices continue to rise, which is keeping many a renter out of the market. But, fixer-uppers present a potential opportunity. For starters, the lower prices create the affordability that is lacking in other segments of the market. So should you be looking for one? We’re breaking down the pros and cons.
      The ability to buy a house: Median home prices are at a record high, while affordability is at one of its lowest points. The reality for many people is that there seems like there is no end in sight to renting. A fixer-upper may present an opportunity simply because of the lower price point that gets you in the door.
      Pride of
Mortgage Rates
U.S. averages as of January 2020:


30 yr. fixed: 3.74%
15 yr. fixed: 3.19%
5/1 yr. adj: 3.45%






of ownership: Pride of ownership is a real thing for homebuyers. And that pride grows even stronger when you’ve had a hand in making
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Real Estate Market Predictions for 2020
     If it’s the end of the year, it must be time for the soothsayers to come out. When it comes to predictions for the real estate market, well, there are a lot of them. We’ve taken the temperature of the experts to get a feel for what we can expect in 2020. 
      Grain of salt warning: There was widespread agreement in 2018 about rising mortgage rates in 2019, that, initially proved true. But, ultimately rates went down—and stayed there. Experts can make educated guesses based on a wide range of economic factors, but with an impeachment hearing in the Senate pending and what is likely going to be a bonkers presidential election, anything could happen. That being said, there are some predictions we feel pretty good about—and some you’ll



8 Tips for New Homeowners Moving to a New State
     No matter why you’re moving, whether you got a brand new job in a different city or simply want a change of life, it can be tough to relocate. And all of that doesn’t even take into account the process of moving all of your belongings from one state to another. In this guide, we will be going over some tips to help you pack up your life and move to a whole new state.
      1. Do plenty of research. Before you actually start the moving process, you should start by researching the city to which you plan to relocate. From local shops to schools and food chains, you should know exactly what your new city has to offer. We highly suggest doing a thorough internet search or, if possible, even driving through the city to get a better understanding of the area.
      2. Search for your new home. Before you take the plunge and move to a new city, you should spend at least a couple months beforehand finding a new home.

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January 2020

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF MY BLOG FRIENDS! -JUDY LEVIN

Downtown TC To Get Convenience Store Upgrades On East, West Sides; More Retail/Restaurant News

By Beth Milligan | The Ticker

Downtown Traverse City will soon have expanded convenience store options on both its eastern and western ends, with a new market opening in the former 7/11 space across from Northwestern Michigan College and West Side Beverage undergoing a $1.1 million expansion on West Front Street.

Angela Dhami will open her new Super 7 convenience store at 128 Munson Avenue Saturday (December 14). Dhami, who also owns Gas & Shop in Kingsley and Deeps Corner Store in Northport, says the market will sell coffee and cappuccinos, a full range of sodas and snacks, and other typical convenience store fare, along with beer and wine in the coming weeks. Dhami says Super 7 will also offer an array of fresh Indian food in the near future, with the market selling vegetarian samosas to start and expanding from there.

Wintertime hours for the new store will be 7am-10pm, seven days a week. Dhami says the prime location of the former 7/11 space – located steps from the college, Traverse City Central High School, and the Grand Traverse County Civic Center, with a high-traffic corridor in front and a residential complex in back – convinced her to pull the trigger on a third store. “It’s a hot location,” she says. “There were a bunch of people who wanted this (spot)…I consider myself lucky to get this place. There’s a need for a convenience store in this area.”

On the other side of downtown, West Side Beverage owner Tom Gretzmacher is embarking on a $1.1 million expansion of his store at 912 West Front Street. Work is already underway on the project, which will double the store’s square footage from 1,200 square feet to more than 2,400 square feet. Gretzmacher says the move will allow him to expand his inventory, as well as add a new deli and pizza counter. The reconfigured space will offer additional parking and both front and rear store access.

“I’ve owned the store for eight years now, and every year we’ve been growing substantially,” says Gretzmacher. “I did some improvements on the inside, but the outside has looked the same since the mid-fifties. I’ve enjoyed being a part of Slabtown, and I wanted to provide them with an updated facility. I had considered opening a second store somewhere else, but I didn’t think I had maximized West Side to the fullest yet.”

The renovations will require Gretzmacher to close the store after the new year for two months, with a targeted reopening date of early March. As part of the expansion, Gretzmacher is also building two 1,500 square-foot residential condominiums over the store. The owner says he and his family will live in one unit and rent out the other. Construction on the condos is anticipated to be finished by May.

In other retail/restaurant news… Home-brew supply store and “nanobrewery” UBrew is moving from Cass Road in Garfield Township to downtown Traverse City. Owners Chuck Green and Aaron Spangler are relocating to the former Sorellina building at 120 South Park Street. The business will continue to sell home-brewing supplies, as well as offer a seating area for on-site beer consumption. City commissioners approved the license for the new location by a 5-2 vote earlier this month, with Commissioners Roger Putman and Brian McGillivary opposed on the basis of past opposition to adding any more drinking establishments downtown. Other commissioners, however, noted the Park Street location previously had a bar when Sorellina was there, adding that since UBrew is already in business, the move isn’t adding a new establishment to the local market but simply shuffling locations.

Around the corner in Sorellina’s new home at 250 Front Street, Miller Snowden Development Group is undertaking a $1.1 million renovation of its four-story building that includes the restaurant and Chase Bank. Partner Adam Miller tells The Ticker the firm is renovating the entire third and fourth floors to accommodate an expansion of Hagerty, which will occupy those two floors along with the second floor under the redesign. “Chase has consolidated their employees to their space on the first floor, and they are also doing some improvements and renovations to their space as part of that move,” Miller says. Construction is underway and expected to be finished in the first quarter of 2020.

Also downtown, bridal boutique One Oak Bride is closing its doors at 121 East Front Street (Suite 300) in Front Row Centre. Co-owners Renee Sovis and Annie Zimmerman, who opened the store in late 2016, posted on Facebook that they are shutting down effective December 30. The company is offering sample-sale deals on its remaining inventory this month.

Two other businesses have also closed their doors in Grand Traverse County. National outdoor retailer Gander Outdoors has gone out of business in Buffalo Ridge Center on US-31, with signage already torn down from the building's exterior and the property vacated. “It is with great regret that we announce the closing of Gander Outdoors of Traverse City,” the company posted in a sign left on the front door. “We have enjoyed serving our customers in the community and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused by the closure of the store.” A previous Gander Mountain location in the same space closed due to bankruptcy proceedings, with the business reopening as Gander Outdoors in early 2018.

In Kingsley, husband-and-wife duo Sid Castillo and Raquel Silva have closed their Taco Castle restaurant at 413 West Main Street. The taqueria had been open since April 1. The couple announced they will reopen next year as a food truck, with their planned location to be announced at a future date.

Other ethnic eateries are also on the move. After announcing plans in October to open at the Grand Traverse Mall, chef Dhal Hossain and Golam Rabbani launched their new Taste of India restaurant this week in the mall’s food court. The duo plans to serve up classic Indian dishes including curry, paneer, vindaloo, chicken tikka masala, biriyani, aloo gobi, and side dishes like naan and basmati rice. Meanwhile, the owners of Nepalese Have Another food truck have sold the truck and launched a new catering company called West Bay Catering. The business still specializes in Nepalese food, but has expanded to a variety of other offerings and can be found at frequent pop-up nights, such as at Silver Spruce Brewing Company this weekend.

In Leelanau County, Pleva’s Meats is closing its doors at 8974 South Kasson Street in Cedar. Tom and Connie Pleva, who have owned the business for 18 years, posted on Facebook that the location will close effective February 1. “As many of you may have noticed, the building has been listed for sale and our current landlord has asked us to vacate the building to make room for other impending tenants,” the owners wrote. “We thank you to those who have supported us over our past 18 years of ownership. Although our future is unclear, we hope to still serve you again someday.”

Finally, the historic Town Club bar and restaurant has reopened after nearly a year of construction work at 133 River Street in Elk Rapids. Planned renovations led to complications that prompted management to instead tear down the building and rebuild from the ground up. Following a late November reopening, the Town Club has posted updates on its new menu and amenities – such as 10 draft taps and a bar jukebox and photo booth – and lined up holiday events, including an Ugly Christmas Sweater party on December 17.

Long-Time Local Businesses Change Hands

By Beth Milligan | The Ticker

Three long-time local businesses with a combined 236 years of history are heading into the new decade under new ownership, with Sleder’s Family Tavern, Benjamin Twiggs, and Easling Construction all changing hands.

Brian and Deb Cairns, who have owned Sleder’s Family Tavern on Randolph Street in Traverse City since 1992, are selling the restaurant to their son and daughter-in-law effective December 31. Ryan and Megan Cox will “continue the legacy of the third family to own the historic tavern long-term,” according to a family announcement. Sleder’s – which was founded in 1882 by Bohemian immigrant Vincil Sleder, making it Michigan’s oldest continuously operating restaurant – will celebrate its 138th anniversary in 2020.

The Cairns say they’ve been preparing for retirement for several years, with Brian about to celebrate his eightieth birthday next week. The coming days will also mark the couple’s last staff Christmas party. “We made this decision a year ago, and the kids had wanted it forever, and it just happened to correspond with somebody’s birthday,” laughs Deb. “We always hoped it would stay in the family….more than anything, I think that’s how the community will accept (a sale).”

Ryan and Megan Cox worked together at Sleder’s during high school and college, and later married and had three children – two of whom now also work at the restaurant. The couple’s youngest daughter, age 11, has already stated her intention to take over Sleder’s in the future. “We’re very proud that it’s something that’ll be able to continue on in the family,” says Megan. Deb says a family focus has been key to the restaurant’s success over the decades. Even as more competitors have flooded the market and consumers’ tastes have modernized, Sleder’s has consistently served at least 100,000 customers year after year, according to Brian.

“People come here for a cold beer, a burger, and wings,” adds Deb. “During the holidays next week, you’ll see a lot of families here. It’s a place people can come with eight family members and not spend an arm and a leg.” The Cairns themselves were married at the restaurant, with four of their children later holding their own rehearsal dinners there. Sleder’s has also maintained a commitment to community involvement, recently raising $130,000 for Hickory Hills Ski Area and hosting the On The Porch Concert Series, which the Coxes plan to continue.

Megan says customers can expect Sleder’s to continue on the same as usual, complete with Randolph the moose – and some occasional tweaks in the future. “We have some ideas of things we want to pursue,” she says. “We’d eventually like to have service outside someday. I think we need to adapt to the times and as the neighborhood changes…we’re excited to get behind the helm and keeping sailing it forward.”

Also in Traverse City, owner Julie Millen is preparing to hand off retail store Benjamin Twiggs – located in Campus Plaza on East Front Street – to new owner Lisa Eckerle effective January 2. Benjamin Twiggs, “original purveyor of fine cherry products in northern Michigan,” has been in business since 1966, with Millen at the helm since 2008. Over the last decade, Millen has doubled the store’s retail and wholesale sales and tripled online sales. She attributes that expansion to building relationships in the community – serving on the Impact 100 board and working with the National Cherry Festival and Traverse Connect, formerly the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce – and building personalized relationships with customers.

“We just keep growing, and every year is our best year,” she says. “This year has been our best one yet, and I had decided I wanted to do something else, so this felt like a good time to sell.”

Millen and Eckerle were connected through a mutual hairdresser – one of those “divine” fated connections, Millen says – and worked through advisory firm Golden Circle Advisors to negotiate a sale. The Eckerle family has long-time cherry farming and production roots in northern Michigan, which Millen says will be a boost to Benjamin Twiggs’ product lines and connections to the cherry industry. When Millen first started as a part-time employee at Benjamin Twiggs more than 11 years ago, she was coming off the heels of a difficult divorce and battle with cancer. Her decision to buy the store from its previous owner gave her a renewed passion and purpose – “it saved me,” she says – and prepared her to move on to new challenges. “Lisa has that same energy and passion, so I know she’s going to keep things going and help take the business even further,” says Millen.

In Leelanau County, Easling Construction Founder and CEO Marty Easling used his company’s annual holiday party this past weekend to announce the 44-year-old company was being sold to its employees via an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). “You are my family,” Easling told the company’s nearly 100 employees at the party. “I sold my company to you.”

An ESOP allows employees to own shares in the company, usually as part of a benefit or retirement plan, cashing out when they leave or retire from the business. ESOPs are typically set up as a contribution to employees, not as an employee purchase. Employees participate in the economic growth of the company and are encouraged to “think like owners,” since their personal success is intertwined with that of the company. A Washington State study found that ESOP participants made five to twelve percent more in wages and had almost three times the retirement assets than workers in comparable non-ESOP companies, according to the National Center for Employee Ownership. Easling Construction's ESOP was arranged by Lazear Capital Partners.

Easling says the ESOP is a “smart financial move for the company” – such restructurings offer numerous tax benefits – but also provides an opportunity to support his “loyal and talented” employees. He says Easling Construction’s maintenance division has grown by 800 percent since the recession, with its shoreline protection business quadrupling in the last two years – growth driven by employees, according to the CEO.

“I am not going anywhere,” Easling says. “I love Leelanau County and want the best for my team, my clients, and the economic health of the region that has been my home my entire life.”

PHOTO OF THE MONTH: Color Tour ... white!

Photo by Ken Scott

PROPERTY OF THE MONTH:

A very private 6.85 acres, a quiet area and an easy level build site , near Lake Leelanau Village. NO DEED RESTRICTIONS Off S. Lake Leelanau Drive which is a straight shot south to Traverse City. Previously farmed, and tillable soil is just right to build your home and have a wonderful garden. This parcel is almost a perfect rectangle. Seller offering a land contract with half down and the balance in one year. Interest rate to be discussed in offer.
$75,000.00 MLS#1870209
Click Here to View the Full Listing and More Photos

REAL ESTATE INFORMATION:

HUGE PRICE ADJUSTMENT – MOTIVATED SELLERS!!

#10 BROOK HILL CONDO TWELVE WEEKS A YEAR ALL SEASONS MOST REASONABLE WAY TO HAVE A VACATION HOME IN LEELANAU COUNTY. HUGE PRICE REDUCTION $72,900.00 MOTIVATED SELLERS. MLS#1861923 Click Here to View the Full Listing and More Photos

SOLD

110 W Seventh Street Northport.
Duplex In charming downtown Northport Village a duplex, live in one and rent the other for income, continue renting to good tenants or convert to a single family home. Currently a duplex with upper and lower unit (each one is 704 square feet with one bedroom, one bath and kitchen w/ living area). Great location at northern edge of village close to the beach and marina, walk or bike to everything. Includes a 24' x 25' pole barn for storage or additional rental income.
$130,000 MLS#1864700

UNDER CONTRACT DOING INSPECTIONS

Crystal Cove Court Direct waterfront on Northport Bay Main house, guest cottage and pole building
$749,000. MLS#1866921
Click Here to View the Full Listing and More Photos

NEW

Farm Lane 6.85 acres close to Lake Leelanau Village NO DEED RESTRICTIONS! $75,000.00 MLS#1870209 Click Here to View the Full Listing and More Photos

RECIPE OF THE MONTH:

Buttery Breakfast Casserole
by MELISSA CLARK NYTimes Cooking

Time: 1 1/2 hours, plus 4 hours or overnight chilling
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

INGREDIENTS
1 pound croissants (about 5 to 7), split in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more for baking dish
1 bunch scallions (6 to 7), white and light green parts thinly sliced, greens reserved
3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
8 large eggs
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces Gruyère, grated (2 cups)
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Click Here to View NYTimes Cooking

RESTAURANT OF THE MONTH:

MILLIE AND PEPPER
120 S. UNION STREET TRAVERSE CITY 231-421-9499
OPEN 7:00-4:00 PM CLOSED TUESDAY

This is a small store with a store within a store. Half is a creperie, the other half is a coffee shop called Northern Maiden. The crepes are different and interesting. A Cuban crepe, a s’more crepe, and a cherry pie crepe. You have a great selection of 6 savory crepes and 10 sweet crepes. The coffees and teas are delicious with very specialized choices. I really like This Old Town location for this unique store. Click Here to View Millie and Peppers Website

Judy’s Movie Reviews

NETFLIX AVAILABLE DVD OR STREAMING

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
In 1969 Los Angeles everything is changing. TV star and his stunt double move around Hollywood they don’t even recognize. Starring Leonardo Di Capro and Brad Pitt directed by Quentin Taratino. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL
AVAILABLE STREAMING NEW SEASON JUST STARTED. I BINGED THE WHOLE 8 CHAPTERS AS I LOVE THE SERIES!!! SO FUNNY!!! 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS.

DOLLY PARTON’S HEART STRINGS
I love this lady. She is so down to earth. You know this is the real deal with her. This is life story and she totally shines through. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

THE TWO POPES
At a turning point for the Catholic Church Pope Benedict XVI forms a friendship with the future Pope Francis. He was a Cardinal totally different from Benedict. I thought this movie was insightful and fascinating. 4 out of 5 stars

CHERRY BLOSSOM 14

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOOD
Starring the great Tom Hanks as Mr. Fred Rogers. I feel this is a must see movie which goes way beyond Mr. Rogers TV show and shows his brilliance and the very humane human being that he was in his whole life. It made me laugh and cry a few tears just remembering. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

STATE AND BIJOU BY THE BAY

Click Here to View What is Coming Soon

THE STATE THEATER

LITTLE WOMEN
New Version
This movie draws from the classic novel and writings of Louisa May Alcott where Jo march reflects back in her fictional life. Each of the four daughters wants to live life on her own terms. This movie will bring all you’re your best emotions forward. 4 out of 5 stars.

BIJOU BY THE BAY

BOMBSHELL
What a big cast! Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and the great John Lithgow in a stunning performance of a most powerful and controversial man who ran and was FOX NEWS, RODGER AILES, and how he was brought down by strong and smart women. 4 out of 5 stars.

THE SUTTONS BAY COMMUNITY THEATRE

Click Here to View What is Coming Soon

STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
This is Rey’s journey and the Skywalker saga concludes. Very familiar stories of Good vs Evil. Always excellent presentations of fun characters. There are cameo shots of Carrie Fisher and all the special effects. Out of the nine Star Wars I think this was the third best. 4 out of 5 stars.

VIDEO OF THE MONTH

Leelanau Forever

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 judy@judylevin.com

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

Thanks,
Judy






  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.
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New Year’s Resolutions for Home
How to Know You Have Found the Right House


Judy Levin,CRS e-PRO
E-mail: judy@judylevin.com
Website: http://www.judylevin.com
231- 218-7653
Coldwell Banker Schmidt
231-271-6161
71 Fourth Street
Suttons Bay Michigan 49682


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