Judy Levin
September 2020
Leelanau County Specialist

Is Now A Good Time To Buy Your First House?
The coronavirus pandemic has put many things on hold, but real estate continues to chug along. Sales and listings persist across the country, with some markets harder hit than others. And home prices are rising, throwing a wrench in the plans of those who thought they might be able to swoop in for a steal. 
      “Any thoughts of bargain-hunting in the aftermath of the coronavirus shutdown have proven to be a losing strategy,” said Forbes. “While it seemed likely that house prices would decline due to lack of sales activity, the opposite has occurred. According to recent statistics issued by, median listing prices are 5.6% higher than one year ago, and more than a
Mortgage Rates
U.S. averages as of September 2020:

30 yr. fixed: 2.91%
15 yr. fixed: 2.46%
5/1 yr. adj: 2.91%

than a full percentage point above the levels just before the COVID pandemic shut down the economy.”
      But, interest rates are at historic lows, which stretches


Can You Use Unemployment Income to Help Qualify?
     As the economy is still being impacted by the Coronavirus, unfortunately many across the country are unemployed. Whether it’s a temporary furlough or a particular company has closed down until further notice, more and more people are finding themselves in the unemployment line. Recent data from May shows some improvement from the previous month, but still the most recent number shows the unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent and added 2.5 million non-farm payroll jobs. That’s quite a rebound, in fact it’s the strongest one month job growth on record, but that’s an indication of how many were laid off in the first place.
      Fortunately, most unemployed are covered by unemployment insurance. While the unemployment insurance is certainly a welcome

Décor Tips To Help You Through Stressful Times
     You’ve cleaned and disinfected your home and have taken a few trips to the dump with the fruits of your decluttering frenzy. Yet your home feels more cramped and tired than when you started the quarantine. You feel frustrated and stressed.
      With cooler weather and more indoor time around the corner, now’s the perfect time to plan your attack. There are lots of smaller things you can do to make a big difference. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot.
      At the end of the day, it’s all about function, says interior stylist Red Barrinuevo of Redesign4more in Toronto.
      How has the way you use your home changed during these challenging times? What purpose or purposes do you need each room to serve? Reassess each space to see what works and what needs to be improved. Determining the function is the jumping off point, he says.
      What furniture do


September  2020 Blog

Leelanau's Rural Setting Catches Fire With Real Estate Buyers

The Ticker - By Emily Tyra

Leelanau Peninsula real estate is red-hot right now, and local agents and brokers tell the Leelanau Ticker that it’s not in spite of COVID-19, but because of it. Kimberly Bork, broker and owner at Venture Properties in Leland, says, “properties are moving at a wildly quick pace. We are busier now than we were before the pandemic. So many folks who were just thinking about shopping are actually acting on it.”

Tim Schaub, co-owner and broker at Schaub Team Premier Realty, agrees. "We are definitely seeing clients leaving cities, reprioritizing, and wanting a simpler life. These are people who have always had an affection for Leelanau County and are discovering right now, due to the COVID virus, that they can work remotely, or maybe take an early retirement.”

Schaub explains that the last three homes he listed — ranging from a $749,000 to a $1.35 million asking price — “all had multiple showings and multiple offers on the same day.”

He adds, “Mortgage rates are very low — that is definitely part of why we are so busy right now.” [The going 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate is at 3.020 percent with a 3.310 percent APR as of Sunday night, August 23.] 

Schaub — who started his real estate company 20 years ago with his brother Roger — shares that they are on track to surpass last year’s sales. Schaub Team, which does 90 percent of its sales in Leelanau County, had $41 million in sales in 2019, a jump from $28 million in both 2017 and 2018. Says Schaub, “This year, for what we have closed and what’s pending, we have already reached $40 million.” He estimates they will hit $50 million total sales in 2020.

“That is how busy we are,” he says.

By contrast, the Wall Street Journal reported last week that in New York City the luxury real-estate market has been delivered a “stunning gut-punch” due to the COVID-19 crisis, with downward pressure surpassing both the 2008 financial crisis and the period immediately following 9/11. 

It doesn’t take a big leap to understand why Leelanau’s market is thriving, says Cory Beuerle, an agent at CENTURY 21 Northland, who moved to Suttons Bay from San Diego 28 years ago, and raised her children here. “We are very, very fortunate, that we have quality of life here like no other. Everyone is coming our way right now in Leelanau County, because they want a toehold. As a reaction to COVID, they want it as an immediate runaway place, or a safe place to run away eventually, even if they are not selling the home where they currently live.”

Roger Schaub adds, “We have always seen buyers from the large midwest cities of Detroit, Chicago, Indy, and Cincinnati buying as retirees. But we are seeing a younger audience. That has ramped up the demand.”

Beuerle agrees, “Because of this new surge of buyers, residential is a stampede. If it is a newer ranch-style home in that $300,000 to $600,000 range, it will fly out the door. Also, waterfront homes, if they are priced right, will absolutely fly.”

She says vacant land sales are picking up, too, with view lots driving the market. “Even if it has been sitting there, if it has a water view, then it’s going.”

She says that for buyers that are championing Leelanau as a “COVID-safe zone,” acreage is back in high demand. “Still, it has to have high-speed internet. We are scrambling with some of our rural properties to find adequate solutions, because the driving force for these buyers is working out of the home,” Beuerle says.

Bork has also seen most inventory, especially the waterfront, moving within the week with multiple offers. For example, a small two-bedroom, one-bath Lake Leelanau cottage listed at close to a half million dollars, “had 10 offers within three days,” says Bork.

Her client, who is not from the area, made an offer after a friend who lives here did a preview of the cottage with Bork on her behalf. Bork’s client ended up winning the bid “because we had done our homework, we were able to think and act quickly, and write a clean offer. She will be here for closing and finally see what she bought — which I don’t recommend — but this was the way to get a foot in the door. She is thankful for the boots on the ground.”

She adds that because of relatively low inventory compared to the number of interested buyers, “people are having to get a little more flexible on their wish list and more creative in their approach. They are not always going to find the perfect house on the perfect lot, and many homes are being sold ‘as is.’ If it’s a highly sought-after location, that is its potential. Buyers may need to think of it as a vacant piece of property, that already has a well and septic installed, and do a remodel. If it is in Leelanau County, in the long run it’s worth it.”

Roger Schaub is looking at inventory from a different perspective: “So far in 2020 we have brought 76 clients to pending or closed status — so I am not one that subscribes to low inventory. The way that we have to approach inventory is with urgency and preparedness. The first time a client sees the home will be on a Facetime with me, and they get here in 24 hours. That is something we have not had to implement before now.”

The county’s home inventory below $300,000 has been notoriously scarce (on August 23, a search for homes on in the $200,000 to $300,000 price range in Leelanau County yielded 26 results), which contributes to squeezing out the local workforce in terms of home ownership. But Bork says, “You find exceptions, of course, and I have sold many Leelanau homes under $200,000, even. They just don’t become available very often.”

Says Beuerle, “One just hit last week for $220,000.” It is a 1,120 square foot, 70s-era family home at the tip of Stony Point in Suttons Bay, with what was billed as “a compact kitchen in need of updates.” Says Beuerle, “Does it have an orange kitchen counter? Yes. Did that agent get an offer the minute that it hit the market? Yes. Everybody was calling.”

Indeed, every realtor the Leelanau Ticker spoke with referenced this “unicorn” Stony Point listing. Check it out here.

Bork, too, just listed a home at $229,000 three days ago: a ranch on a cul-de-sac with 800 feet of shared beach in the Cherry Homes subdivision in Northport.

“People ask, ‘what’s the catch?’” she says. “Cherry Homes is pretty far north on the peninsula, but because it does have access to high speed internet, it could work for someone to relocate and be here full time or to be a retirement retreat. They can get their spot, so to speak, and start to enjoy using it as a second home.” 

And what if you have a Leelanau property you’d like to sell? Says Beuerle, “You have to be prepared to move if you are a hot property. Never walk away from your home frivolously, but if you have made up your mind, absolutely sell this year. We just don’t know what’s coming down the pike.”

Photos: A 1960's beachfront home on Good Harbor Bay currently listed for $849,000 by Roger and Tim Schaub of Schaub Team Premier Realty


Photo of the Month

A photo by Ken Scott

Fancy no-pants carrots

Property of the Month

N Knollwood Drive Northport
MLS 1853750 $49,000

 This is a rare offering at Cherry Home Shores....3 wooded lots, close to 3/4 of an acre, close to the best sand beach to build your dream home on this beautiful quiet street with shared beaches, Clubhouse, tennis courts, children's playgrounds, hiking trails and kayak close to that happening Northport Village with so many fun things to do. As this is close to an acre you can build a very generous house and a three-car garage for all of your toys. Selling all lots together. Start making your family memories now!!

Click here to view the full listing

Real Estate Update 

Fractional Condo Homestead
MLS 1861923 $69,900
Click here to view the full listing



Cathead Bay Drive Vacant Lake Michigan 100FT Waterfront Northport 
MLS 1807890 $229,000.00
Click Here to View the Full Listing and More Photos


1197 S Manitou Trail Lake Leelanau
MLS1860136 $699,900
Click here to view the listing



6499 S Lake Shore Drive Cedar
$469,000 MLS#1868496 
Click Here to View the Full Listing 



TO $49,00 MLS 1853750
Click here to view the full listing


Resturant of the Month


The Cedar Tavern
9039 Kasson Street Cedar, MI 49621

Phone 231-228-7445
Open Every day 11am to 12am
Sunday 12pm to12am

Family style cooking (comfort food) in a real casual relaxed dining area…an up-north style bar with lots of locals. Daily drink specials Happy Hour every day They have big selection of pizza,

Good selection of starters, lots of salads, some Spicer Mexican selections, and a bunch of burgers and sandwiches. I am sure you will find something great to eat. Cedar is a real small-town American style with nice people.


Recipe of the Month 

Yellow Squash Casserole

Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 30 min Serves: 10


  • 4 cups sliced yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 35 buttery round crackers, crushed
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Preparation Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Place squash and onion in a large skillet over medium heat. Pour in a small amount of water. Cover, and cook until squash is tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well, and place in a large bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together cracker crumbs and cheese. Stir half of the cracker mixture into the cooked squash and onions. In a small bowl, mix together eggs and milk, then add to squash mixture. Stir in 1/4 cup melted butter, and season with salt and pepper. Spread into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cracker mixture, and dot with 2 tablespoons butter.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.


Tender squash, gooey cheese and crunchy crackers make this a memorable side dish or a hearty main course. This is a great dish that can be made with low-fat ingredients and is still just as good!


Calories: 196 calories;
Fat: 14.8
Cholesterol: 69
Sodium: 463
Carbohydrates: 10.3
Protein: 6.1

Recipe Source:


Leelanau Roots Run Deep For The New Historical Society Director

The Ticker - By Emily Tyra 

Today marks 30 days into Kim Kelderhouse’s new gig as executive director at the Leelanau Historical Society and Museum in Leland. It a natural that Kelderhouse, previously the organization’s curator, stepped into the role after former director Francie Gits transitioned to more time spent with her family. Incidentally, Kim is descendent of Thomas and Margaret Kelderhouse, who settled Port Oneida in 1862, making her a 6th generation resident of Leelanau County. Here’s more of Kelderhouse’s connection to and passion for the peninsula’s juciest backstories.

Leelanau Ticker: If those 1862 Kelderhouse ancestors could see you now!
Kelderhouse: Ha!

Leelanau Ticker: Did you grow up with a strong sense of family heritage?
Kelderhouse: My dad definitely championed it. One particular summer he took time off from his job as a contractor and — before he jumped back into farming — we went all over checking out our living history in Leelanau County. I was about 11 or 12.

Leelanau Ticker: Since the original Kelderhouses had eight children, are there distant cousins everywhere on the peninsula?
Kelderhouse: Yes, I meet many cousins, also because my Grandma Kelderhouse was a Plamondon. People know Plamondon Shoes downtown — and my grandma can tell you exactly how they are connected to the Lake Leelanau Plamondons. It’s a family where they love to all know each other, get together and play cards. And on my particular branch of Kelderhouses, all but one of my dad’s siblings lives here. That uncle happens to be really good at repairing cemeteries, so he’s been here helping to fix up headstones and monuments in Leelanau County cemeteries.

Leelanau Ticker: Preserving Leelanau’s cemeteries — it that a project of the historical society?
Kelderhouse: We are working this summer to facilitate two workshops — it’s a safe program we can do now where people can easily be outside and distancing. We are still getting the formal approval from the townships, but we’re looking at doing Maple Grove Cemetery in collaboration with Bingham Township — many people may know it by its beautiful ornate gate. And then the East Leland Cemetery, which is on the east side of the north end of Lake Leelanau. People often don’t realize there is a place called East Leland. It’s not really anywhere near Leland, but if you think about the time when people were using boats as transportation, it was very easy to hop back and forth across the water from Leland to ‘East Leland.’

Leelanau Ticker: By the time you were a kid, the Kelderhouse homestead was already a part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore?
Kelderhouse: Great-Grandma passed away in 1981 — she had signed a lifetime lease with the National Park, so she got to live there though her death. And she died in the house. Then theoretically the family could have moved the structures from the site — and many people in the Sleeping Bear Dunes did move their homes — because the park’s original plan was for everything to go back to wilderness.

Leelanau Ticker: Now it’s preserved as part of the Port Oneida Historic District?
Kelderhouse: Yes. As ‘Kim,’ not in my role at the museum, my dad and I are both part of the committee that plans the Port Oneida Fair held in August. We are also the site hosts at the Kelderhouse farm for the fair. When I was in high school my grandfather had been given permission to go inside the house. It was very emotional. He started talking — and I instantly hit record — so I have a really nice recording of that moment. My grandfather passed away in 2009 and that year we asked if we could open up the house in his honor…we open the house every year now for the fair and display the family history inside.

Leelanau Ticker: What history-finding do you want to be a part of in this new role?
Kelderhouse: It comes to light especially with current events and protests going on: as we look at our collection and ask where there are gaps: It’s female stories, Native American stories, and migrant stories. It’s not to say we have not tried or that people in the past haven’t tried — but now we are going back. Families have the information so now it’s putting a greater emphasis on collecting it, and making sure people know we have those resources and developing exhibits. We did a video regarding our Native American basket collection with a couple of the Tribe’s elders. We are now creating on an app so there are more ways to explore the baskets, their materials and the people who made them.

Leelanau Ticker: The video you posted on social media about Leelanau’s founding women was a big hit; what else really stokes people’s history fire?
Kelderhouse: Any time we do a shipwreck program — if we have shipwreck hunters like Ross Richardson or Chris Roxburgh come speak, it’s a full house.

Leelanau Ticker: What about Leelanau’s history really excites you…gives you goosebumps?
Kelderhouse: Poetry. The founder of Suttons Bay, Harry Sutton, for example. I don’t know if you would call him a poet, per se, but he wrote and published his own poetry book. South Manitou. In the summer in 2015, I lived there as the volunteer lighthouse keeper. Being there for six weeks gives you a whole different window than a short camping trip. There are so few modernizations on the island — it shows what Leelanau was once like. That lighthouse is so special — it’s the tallest in the county and from it you get the unique view of the entire peninsula, the sand dunes, Sugar Loaf. I also love our rural destinations and random buildings in the middle of nowhere.

Leelanau Ticker: Which ones have a place in your heart?
Kelderhouse: The original Bingham Township Hall on Center Highway, close to Donner Road. It’s so old, and it is super cute, and it looks like it’s made from Markham brick from Greilickville — the pale-yellow brick the State Hospital is built from — it was the named for the guy who owned the brickyard. The clay for the bricks came right out of Cedar Lake. And I love the grist mill in Glen Arbor, that’s partly a family history thing, but now it’s just amazing to see it being preserved. It’s just a gorgeous building, and all of the original equipment is inside. Recently I emailed the new owner to tell him a story about a grist mill in England. The mill did tours and a little grinding just for demonstration, but during COVID when people couldn’t get flour, they just started cranking it out for people.

Leelanau Ticker: On that note, one of your pet projects is to document the experiences of Leelanau people during this unique time in our nation...
Kelderhouse: Yes, we are living through history. We invited people to share thoughts, photographs and stories about this pandemic, but I think the initial prompt we put out there might have been overwhelming…so we are now reframing how we want to capture the stories. We’d like to distill it down to three questions and have people respond briefly but meaningfully, anonymously if they choose. One question we might ask is ‘when did it feel real?’ I would like this to be broad reaching, so we capture the experiences of people all across Leelanau. We just have to figure out the logistics, so stay tuned!

Though the museum is closed for tours for the time being, Kelderhouse and staff welcome research by appointment, and for people to use the many online resources available, including the Leelanau Historical Society archivesdigital newspapers and the oral history inventory.


Judy’s Movie Reviews




Julie Andrews stars as a Queen of a small European country. The life of an American girl, Mia Thermopolis changes drastically after she learns her paternal Grandmother is a Queen and she is a Princess and heir to the throne. But as her royal Grandmother teaches her how to conduct herself, Mia ends up at odds with her best friend. A strong cast and just fun during the Covid stressful times. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Click here to view the trailer



Comedy about A Capella singing groups in an intense competition between male and female ensembles. Anna Kendrick stars in an updated review of the old museum form that is really gaining popularity. I love this form of singing but the immaturity of the groups was distracting. 2.5 out of 5 stars.
 Click here to view the trailer



True Story of producer’s father who in the 1950”s was stricken with polio at age 28 and was paralyzed. But he went on to live a full rich life of adventure despite having to be on a respirator. Very inspirational and heartwarming. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Click here to view the trailer



 This documentary puts the stoplight on the man behind many iconic TV programs especially ALL IN THE FAMILY. You will enjoy comments from friends, family and famous people. 4 out of 5 stars
Click here to view the trailer



 This is great music. Barbra is my favorite pop singer. Since you know my feelings I gave this a 4.5 out of 5 stars
Click here to view the trailer


Please remember to see THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON which I have already reviewed and was the sponsor of this film at the Traverse City Film Festival. It’s now streaming so give it a view.



The extraordinary story of the world renowned mathematician who lived her life on her own terms. This story is through the eyes of her daughter, Anu. 4 out of 5 stars
Click here to view the trailer


Video of the Month 

Click here to view the video of the month

Video by dvandy - Lake Leelanau 202


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

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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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