Your E-Pro REALTOR:
Judy Levin
May 2021
Real
Leelanau County Specialist


How Does Rent-to-Own Work?
If you want to buy a home, one agreement option available is rent-to-own. Of course, not every homeowner is going to agree to it, and it comes with a set of pros and cons.
      The following is a breakdown of everything you should know about rent-to-own when it comes to buying a house.
      The Basics A rent-to-own purchase has appealing elements, but there are risks.
      Basically, when you enter into this type of contract, you agree that you’ll rent a property for a set period of time before you then gain ownership. The time you rent can be a few months to several years, dependent upon your
Mortgage Rates
U.S. averages as of May 2021:


30 yr. fixed: 2.97%
15 yr. fixed: 2.29%
5/1 yr. adj: 2.83%






individual can own the property, or a company might.
      The contract dictates that the seller will keep a certain amount of money from each




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Spring 2021 Real Estate Trends to Look For
     Spring is always an interesting and exciting time in real estate, so what are analysts expecting we can see this year?
      Increasing Mortgage Rates It appears, depending on how the economic recovery comes along, that mortgage rates could continue to increase. Rates have been on the rise for weeks, while earlier in the year, they were holding under 3%. Analysts believe that it would be a good time for borrowers to try and lock in low rates now, with the anticipation they’ll tick upward through the year.
      The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is anticipated to average 3.1% through the spring months, while it was averaging 2.9% during the first quarter of the year, according to Fannie



PMI - It’s Not a Bad Thing
     One of a lender’s main jobs is to evaluate risk. If a lender looks at a loan application, what is the risk in making a home loan? How’s the credit look? Can the borrowers comfortably afford the new monthly payment? Is the property going to be owner-occupied or will it be a rental? How much down payment is involved? All of these questions and more must be answered before a final approval can be issued. Certainly having good credit is a positive as is affordability. Lenders also view rental properties as a higher risk than an owner-occupied home, thus the higher interest rate and additional down payment for a rental. But the down payment can carry considerable weight. The more down payment a borrower comes to the table with, the less risk for the lender.
      It used to be that a minimum down payment could be 20 or 30% or more, depending upon the individual lender. Yet it’s obvious that kept a lot of folks out of a home, especially for first time

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May 2021 Blog


 
 

CLOSING NPT RESTAURANT TO REOPEN THIS SUMMER 

by Joseph Gilroy

Michelle Hemeyer never planned to be so deeply involved with restaurant planning when she purchased the old Tucker’s property at 116 Waukazoo St. in Northport late last June. Today she wouldn’t have it any other way.

With building renovations in its homestretch, Hemeyer is targeting early summer to open what will be called Northport Pub & Grille (NPG).

“It has been a lot of fun planning for all the things we want to do. We are so excited to finally see a light at the end of the tunnel and to bring excitement to the community. I think everyone was sad when Tucker’s closed last spring. It’s a great property with so many possibilities.” 

When she closed on the property, she thought she would be leasing the property to another entity with strong ties to Northport — that plan fell through in January, which is when a new plan was hatched.  Ironically around the same time a Leelanau Peninsula favorite, Bryon Figueroa, was forced to close his restaurant, Fig’s in Lake Leelanau, due to COVID — so as they say, the rest is history. 

“Fig’s was my families go to for breakfast and great conversation,” Hemeyer said. “When I heard that it had closed, I thought, this could work … so I reached out to him.”

With Figueroa in place to run the kitchen and develop the menu, she then turned to another familiar face to be the front of house manager. She hired Priscilla Sherwood, who held the same position at Tucker’s, to round out the management team.

“Priscilla knows every nook and cranny about the building from her time managing Tucker’s until it closed,” Hemeyer said. “She will be running the front of the house and NPG couldn’t be in more capable hands than it is with her and Bryon.”

Figueroa says he was able to recruit his former sous chef, Nikki Scott, to be his second in command in the kitchen once again. The pair will be committed to running a kitchen mindful of it environmental impact.

“That’s a big win because Nikki is great and she could easily be an executive chef somewhere else,” he said. “What’s nice about starting fresh from nothing is that we will be coming out of the gate focusing on envi-ronmentally-friendly practices and will get to train those behaviors right off the bat, rather than coming in and trying to change a culture that has existed forever.”

Figueroa plans to offer locally sourced meats and produce, saying NPG’s menu will change according to what produce is in season, but will always include the popular offerings of the traditional sports bar.

“You should expect to see all of the staples that are enjoyed with bowling and beer,” Figueroa said. “We aren’t going to ignore anyone’s tastes, we will have vegetarian and vegan options with a diverse menu that is constantly changing to emphasize what is in season.”

When NPG opens patrons can expect many changes inside and out. The addition of eight garage-like bay doors is likely to draw the most attention. The idea behind installing the bay doors is to allow the business to convert to an open-air bar and restaurant, weather permitting.

“Indoor/outdoor dining has become one of the biggest considerations people are making when they are deciding where they want to go for dinner,” Sherwood said. “I think it will also be popular when some of the events return to the village like Leelanau Uncaged and Music in the Park.”

The kid’s arcade area will now become a recreational zone for everyone with the six-lane bowling alley, darts, pool tables, keno and plenty of TVs to catch the sports action while remaining kid-friendly.

The bar is adding a new 20-tap system with over half the taps being devoted to Michigan made beers, as well as focusing their wine selection to have a main focus on Leelanau Peninsula wines.

“There will be the traditional national names like Budweiser and Miller, but we are going to definitely showcase the great in-state micro brews too,” Figueroa said.

Hemeyer added “we have already talked to some favorite local winemakers and we plan on reaching out to more to see if they are interested in having their wines on tap.”

A newly constructed reception and event space will also be available to rent for events starting this summer. 

“It can host wedding receptions, birthday parties, game nights and just about anything somebody would want to have here,” Sherwood said. “We may even offer some wine and cooking nights with chef Fig as well.”

Hemeyer says NPG will be open year-round because she wants to offer those who stay in Northport all year an option during the winter. She thinks it could bring some people to town who might otherwise head to Traverse City to bowl.

“We are looking forward to being part of the community,” Hemeyer said. “We are going to still be a family friendly establishment where you can bring the kids out for a nice evening.  Whether for food, drink, fun or just to kick back and relax with friends, we will strive to provide a gathering place where everyone feels at home.”

To drive home Hemeyer’s point Figueroa interjected “Everyone says you can’t stay open all year. We are looking forward to it. If you want to work and be open, there are plenty of people up here who will show up if you treat them well and give them a reason to come out.”

Hemeyer says NPG will be employing at least 10 to 12 people to start and likely more. 

Those interested in jobs at the new NPG can email management at info@NPGrille.com or go to their website at www.NPGrille.com.

   

Photo of the Month
  

  

Property of the Month 

 

5822 S. CALLE COURT SUTTONS BAY
MLS#1885655 $99,500.00

Monterey Hills is a quality neighborhood located between quaint Suttons Bay Village and the primary Northern Michigan community of Traverse City. The required elevated driveway on this 9/10th of an acre will give you the maximum and best panoramic Grand Traverse Bay views after select cutting of the trees. A stand of pine trees buffers you from adjacent lots. Some of the building requirements are 1,850 sf minimum for one level living and minimum 2000 sf for two story home. Standing on the knob of the hill remember the view will be much wider when you have built a home. There is a minimum two car attached garage requirement with no outbuildings allowed. Architectural Control and Master Deed under the D tab in the listing for your review. There are only 17 building sites, 20+ acres of common area, so houses are beautifully spaced for privacy. Utility information includes private septic with septic pipe installed to the property, underground utilities are electric, natural gas, cable tv and highspeed internet for easy working from home. You are less than a mile from the GT Bay DNR boat launch, close to Lake Leelanau swimming and boating, Leelanau Trail access (off Shady Lane) to ride your bikes, plus Shady Lane Cellars and Mawby Winery are just up the road. Enjoy the wonderful Leelanau Lifestyle from this great location.
Click here to view the full listing

 

Real Estate Update 

 

NEW 

 NORTH DRUMLIN LANE
MLS# 1886599 $129,000.00

Build your Leelanau dream home on these 10 acres rolling meadows, wooded and ridge build site with gorgeous cherry orchard, N. Lake Leelanau, and Lake Michigan views to the west. Two horses and a barn are permitted and vineyards are encouraged. Drumlin Lane is a privately maintained road south of St. Wenceslaus Church just off of Setterbo Road. It services 8 similar size parcels with a 15 acres common area, that has hiking trails. No road maintenance fee until you build. The west facing slope lends itself very nicely to grape production and sunsets over Lake Michigan. View pictures were taken when trees were not mature, so some trimming will be required to open up the view shed. Not a problem, you own the trees all the way to Setterbo Road. Seller has hired a tree service to cut a path and open up the view shed. 
Click here to view the full listing

 

5822 S. CALLE COURT SUTTONS BAY
MLS#1885655 $99,500.00

Monterey Hills is a quality neighborhood located between quaint Suttons Bay Village and the primary Northern Michigan community of Traverse City. The required elevated driveway on this 9/10th of an acre will give you the maximum and best panoramic Grand Traverse Bay views after select cutting of the trees. A stand of pine trees buffers you from adjacent lots. Some of the building requirements are 1,850 sf minimum for one level living and minimum 2000 sf for two story home. Standing on the knob of the hill remember the view will be much wider when you have built a home. There is a minimum two car attached garage requirement with no outbuildings allowed. Architectural Control and Master Deed under the D tab in the listing for your review. There are only 17 building sites, 20+ acres of common area, so houses are beautifully spaced for privacy. Utility information includes private septic with septic pipe installed to the property, under ground utilities are electric, natural gas, cable tv and high speed internet for easy working from home. You are less than a mile from the GT Bay DNR boat launch, close to Lake Leelanau swimming and boating, Leelanau Trail access (off Shady Lane) to ride your bikes, plus Shady Lane Cellars and Mawby Winery are just up the road. Enjoy the wonderful Leelanau Lifestyle from this great location. Click here to view the full listing

 

Under Contract Doing Inspections

 
9021 N. Onominese Trail Northport
MLS 1879822 $525,000.00

2.17 acres with 150 ft on Lake Michigan including land across the private road. Magnificent sunsets and beach for your special up north home. 
Click here to view listing

 

North Manitou Trail 32 acres between Leland and Northport
 MLS#1862565 $250,000.00

Beautiful 32-acre wooded property! Choose from multiple build sites with gorgeous countryside views to build your dream home or Up North Getaway. Enjoy the privacy the wooded lot has to offer or take advantage of the income potential of the many white pines. This property is a must see!
Click here to view the full listing

 

  9071 N Onominese Trail
MLS# 1883105 $2,225,000.00 

Delight in 325’ of private sandy Lake Michigan beach frontage, breathtaking water views, privacy and so much more is found in this Immaculate Leelanau County estate featuring Main home, Guest house and private studio on over 4 acres. Thoughtfully designed, filled with character and meticulously maintained throughout. 1.5 story main home features 3 bedrooms 2.5 baths including main floor master with private bath, bright and open living and dining area with floor to ceiling water views and multiple access to patios and beach frontage. Take advantage of water views from almost every room. Guest house includes attached 2+ car garage. Main living area with kitchen, dining, living room, additional laundry room, 2 bedrooms and 3 baths. Private studio is sure to impress with the large Brazilian Teak balcony, full bath, sleeping area and upper-level flex room with 360-degree views. This wonderful estate abounds with possibilities. Close to the village of Northport, Leland, marina, wineries, restaurants, and art galleries.
Click here to view the full listing

 

Recipe of the Month  

Cherry Cola Salad 

Here is a Cherry Jell-O to keep until your July 4th Family Dinner It is delicious.


Credit: Jennifer Causey

Ingredients

1 (15-oz.) can pitted dark sweet cherries
1 (20-oz.) can crushed pineapple
1 (3-oz.) package black cherry-flavored gelatin
1 (3-oz.) package raspberry-flavored gelatin
1 (12-oz.) can cola-type beverage, chilled
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
1/2 cup flaked coconut (optional)
2 (3-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened

Directions

Step 1: Drain cherries and pineapple, reserving juices; add enough water to juice to make 2 cups liquid. Bring liquid to a boil; add gelatin, stirring to dissolve. Stir in cola beverage. Chill until slightly thickened.

Step 2: Combine celery, pecans, cherries, pineapple, and, if desired, coconut in a bowl. Beat cream cheese in a separate bowl until smooth and fluffy; add fruit mixture to cream cheese, stirring well. Fold cream cheese mixture into gelatin; pour into a 13- x 9- x 2-inch pan. Chill until firm. Cut into squares to serve.

 

Recipe from SothernLiving.com

  

 Photo: The Porritt Farm in Bingham Township, by Mark Smith

Leelanau's State Of The Farmland

By Emily Tyra – The Ticker

Leelanau Conservancy is coming off a banner year, according to Kim Hayes, its farmland and easement programs director: “We closed on 13 acquisition projects in 2020, a record for us in a calendar year.” These were a mix of conservation easements (which prohibit certain development rights on what remain privately owned lands), plus natural area lands (that the conservancy now owns), for a total of 954 acres across the county.

Of that: 498 acres were farmland, working with five Leelanau families.

That momentum hasn’t let up, says Hayes. “We plan to close four farmland conservancy easements — for a total of 525 acres — by late summer or early fall 2021.”

Meanwhile, the pressure is increasing to convert land from farming into housing, and large agricultural parcels are now hitting the market, often with the potential to develop. The Leelanau Ticker takes a look at what’s in play, what’s at stake, and what’s possible with these one-of-a-kind Leelanau farmlands.

Hayes explains that the conservancy currently “conserves” Leelanau family farms by working with funds available through the federal Farm Bill’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program, administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). A conservation easement is, in essence, the purchase of specific development rights. Once in a blue moon, Leelanau farmers have donated conservation easements outright to the conservancy, but most often farmers' financial position requires some compensation for the easement.

The NRCS funds cover 50 percent of the conservation easement fair market value; then the landowner and the conservancy contribute the remaining 50 percent, creating a three-way partnership.

Leelanau Conservancy Executive Director Tom Nelson says, “We’re grateful that more Leelanau’s farm families than ever are interested in collaborating in this program.”

Among them: Michael Ulrich, who started a native nursery in Empire and is increasing biodiversity by incorporating native plants including species of milkweed to support a returning monarch population. Ulrich started his career in restoration ecology as an intern, restoring an abandoned sand farm in Wisconsin. “Now full circle, I am afforded this opportunity,” he says. “Making that a mortgage-paying venture is another matter.”

He adds with real estate sales booming it would be easy to parcel up the property and sell a few to pay down the remainder. “However, I feel deeply committed to keeping it as a single parcel dedicated to agriculture. The farmland preservation easement with the conservancy is making that possible.”

For Ulrich, a total of 76 acres are going into easement with the Leelanau Conservancy.

Hayes says they will be chipping away at grant money funded through NRCS’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program until approximately 2025, and are looking for other ways to support farmland protection, because at this point there is a waiting list: “The need is more than we can cover now, based on landowner inquiries to work with us,” she says.

Jim Nugent, currently chairman of the board at the conservancy, and a fruit farmer along with wife Toddy Rieger at Sunblossom Orchards in Bingham Township, says protecting large agricultural parcels in Leelanau is important because of its rare role of having “some of the best sites for fruit production in the country.”

Nugent was the Leelanau County MSU Extension Director starting in 1976, then served as coordinator of the NW Michigan Horticultural Research Station until 2007. He says the thing we do well is fruit: because of Lake Michigan's climate-moderating effects, the rolling hills that allow spring frosts to flow into low areas, and the deeply well-drained soil.

“If you take any of those three away,” he says, “We may as well as be South Dakota and we would grow same amount of fruit they do.”

Nugent says historically, the county’s residential development was “mostly in villages and around the lakes” but has now headed for the hills — literally. He says the limited “‘good-view sites’ are exactly the kind of land we need for fruit production,” noting that there is a “decoupling” of land value from its potential to generate income from agriculture.

But what’s at stake if farmland is broken into smaller parcels, with some sold for development?  Simply put, says Nugent, it becomes uneconomical to farm. He says there are ways to make a living from smaller acreage, “using greenhouses and a CSA model, for example, but overall, it’s difficult to find a viable agricultural use for smaller acreages.”

He adds that there are challenges with proper buffers when creating housing developments in a rural area. “The reality is in the fruit industry we do have to control insects and diseases and have to spray — a job that’s easier done if the orchard isn’t surrounded by housing.”

Of course, there are large tracts of farmland on the market right now in the county — including the historic 217-acre Hohnke farm, which is already protected by a conservancy easement.

And an interest to buy. 

Carolyn Telgard of Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors tells the Leelanau Ticker: “There are definitely buyers out there looking for agricultural properties, with parcels between 10 and 40 acres attracting the most attention.”

Says Ann Marie Mitchell, also of Coldwell Banker Schmidt, “From the seller side, there is by no means a dumping of property; in many cases there is a generational aspect to it and a bit of a shift going on.”

Mitchell notes that of the more than 1,000 agricultural acres she has traded thus far in her time as a real estate agent in the county, “They were all traded exactly the way they were. They were farmed and not purchased for divisions.”

Telgard and Mitchell have co-listed a working fruit farm near Omena: a 76-acre agricultural parcel with multiple view sites of Grand Traverse Bay and Old Mission. Approximately 40 acres are planted with fruit trees. 

Telgard says, “While a potential buyer could divide this property, most folks seem most interested in it for a homesite, and to continue farming it.”

Both Mitchell and Telgard say in agriculture real estate transactions, they also act as a matchmaker of sorts. Telgard explains, “Some orchards are already under lease or maintained by a local farmer. One of the number one questions we get is ‘can we reach out to that person?’”

“In our world, we can partner a current local grower who needs or wants the fruit with a buyer who wants to continue to see the land farmed,” says Mitchell.

What’s more, Mitchell says that a buyer who wishes to preserve the agricultural character of the area and continue the farming operation can reap significant financial benefits. “First there is a Qualified Agricultural Exemption — the property would be taxed at the homestead millage rate. And they can potentially depreciate the fruit trees, whether or not they actually planted those trees.”

Telgard and Mitchell also recently listed a 184-acre parcel in Suttons Bay — home to an actively maintained orchard with over 7,300 cherry trees. In 2009, Bingham Township approved a site condominium plan for this large parcel called “Leelanau Estates”  — a project with 78 residential units, at 2+ acres each. Since that time, the township has adopted a clustered development plan so other configurations with larger parcels sizes and fewer roads are also viable. 

As these properties hit the market, often with an option to develop, there is the undercurrent of another need: available housing in the county.

Nelson acknowledges the need, specifically workforce housing, and advocates for smart-growth solutions. He views the best places for these opportunities as “in or close to our existing villages, particularly at distances that are walkable to places of employment as well as community services and amenities like schools, and shops.”

He says, “Fragmenting family farms for residences and non-farm commercial uses is the prime reason farming communities fade away. We can’t let that happen. We firmly believe there are solutions that solve our workforce housing challenges without losing our family farms. And it takes the whole community to make it happen. I’m optimistic Leelanau will find a way.”

Mitchell adds: “Leelanau would not be Leelanau if we did not have our agriculture.”

 

 

Judy’s Movie Reviews

 

NETFLIX DVD    

WONDER WOMAN 1984

Wonder Woman goes forward in time to the Cold War era. She finds herself facing off the Soviet Union and she has a new enemy, Cheetah who possess super human strength. Gal Gadot is as beautiful and fabulous as in the first wonder Woman. Only difference to me is I thought the ending was not strong enough. I gave the first movie a 4 this one is a 3.5 out of 5.
Click here to view the trailer

  

THE PRINCE OF EGYPT

Normally I don’t watch much in animated movies. My youngest 18-year-old granddaughter, Jacqueline asked me if I ever viewed this film. She really enjoyed it and that I should check it out. This is the biblical story of Moses who answers God’s call to lead the Hebrews out of Egyptian slavery. The writers collaborated with Christian, Jewish and Moslem scholars to get everyone’s perspective. I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars
Click here to view the trailer

 

THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU

According to custom, when there is a death in the family they gather together after their father’s death. But soon they were bickering. This death brought them together for the first time in years and it becomes a weeklong emotional time. Jason Batemen and Tina Fey star. This Is a family comedy/drama. I liked it but didn’t love it. 3.5 out of 5 stars
Click here to view the trailer

 

NETFLIX STREAMING

 

CRAZY EX GIRLFRIEND

This is a four-season TV musical comedy series. A funny program that shows a young woman who is unhappy at times, which is normal for a person trying to find her place in the world. One of my favorite characters is the actor who plays the girl’s Mother. I saw her on Broadway in a one woman show where she won lots of awards. She spent some time at the National Music Camp at Interlochen. In fact, she married the brother of one of her bunkmates. As an alumni myself I know how close you can be to your bunkmates for the rest of your life. I gave the series 4 out of 5 stars
Click here to view the trailer

 

THIS IS A ROBBERY 

A true story of the world’s biggest art heist. In 1990 two men dressed like policemen con their way into a Boston museum and steal a fortune in magnificent art. There are four episodes and I binged on it on Sunday. I thought it was fascinating. 4 out of 5 stars
Click here to view the trailer

 

AMAZON PRIME VIDEO 

 

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI

This is a fictional account of one incredible night where icons Muhammad Ali, Malcom X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown gather to discuss their roles in the civil rights movement and upheavals of the 1960’s. I really liked this film. 4.5 out of 5 stars
Click here to view the trailer

  

FOUR SEASONS LODGE

This inspiring and really funny documentary is about a community of Holocaust survivors who return each year to the New York Catskill Mountains, where dancing, laughter and late-night fun is the best revenge on Hitler. What a film!!!! 4 out of 5 stars
Click here to view the trailer

  

 

Video of the Month   

Click here to view the video of the month

 

Local Information

The City Opera House

The State Theater and The Bijou By the Bay

Old Town Playhouse

Leelanau County Farmersmarket

Met Opera

 

 



  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
April Real Estate Roundup
Septic or Sewer: What's the Difference?
What To Do When An Appraisal Comes in Low
What to Know About Earnest Money
Pending vs. Contingent: What’s the Difference?


Judy Levin, CRS e-PRO
E-mail: judy@judylevin.com
Website: http://www.judylevin.com
231- 218-7653
Coldwell Banker Schmidt
231-218-7653
71 W. 4th Street
Suttons Bay, MI 49682


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