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Holland, Mi 49423




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What's a buyers agent?

Jodi Schaap

I grew up with a dad who was a Realtor, understanding how to purchase property and apply for a loan was normal dinner conversation in our house. Real Estate was on par with learning how to drive: we all needed to learn and I learned before I finished high school.

It's no surprise then that I got my license to start selling Real Estate alongside my dad right after my 18th birthday and happily learned what 1031 exchanges were, negotiated on behalf of clients, and offered help to many first time home buyers. The one question I remember answering the most when I'd first meet with prospective home buyers was "What's the point of a Buyers Agent?"

Now, working with Terry, questions like "What's so important about a Buyers Agent?" and "Doesn't a Buyers Agent cost more money?" are still some of the most common questions I hear. 

Simply put:

  • A buyers agent assists the buyer to get them the best price and terms on their property.
  • A sellers agent (listing agent) assists the sellers to get them the best price and terms on their property.

An example of how this would play out is; you're looking but haven't found a Realtor to work with. Possibly one has been emailing you listings and working on your behalf to alert you of homes before they hit the market. BUT you don't have a signed buyers agency contract with them yet and are "just looking" with their help but hunting solo on Saturdays for open houses.


You go to an open house where the Listing Agent is hosting and you fall in love with the home! This is so exciting, you're ready to buy the house you've been looking for. Who do you write your offer with? The listing agent? You could. They would love to help you buy this property. However, they're representing the sellers. So while you make an offer with the listing agent and hope for the best, contractually their fiduciary relationship is working on the sellers behalf to sell the home for the price they want. 

That's not all bad. Working with the Listing Agent is 100% fine. They're just not representing your best interest and legally cannot. There is such a thing as a dual agent - where one agent will work as a sellers and buyers agent on the same property. But suffice it to say - having a Buyers Agent on your side from the get-go is a smart move. They do not get paid more for having a signed agency with you.

In Western Michigan the current commission rate is 6% of the selling price. The listing side of the agreement gets half of the 6%; while the buyers side gets the other half. Which means if you went to the listing agent and made an offer that was accepted and you were able to buy the home (yay!!) the entire 6% goes to the listing agent. Incidentally, the listing agent who wasn't working on your behalf. 

It's not costing you additional funds to have someone working strictly for your best interest. So do you need a Buyers Agent? We think so. Terry's been buying, selling, and developing real estate for 28 years. His experience and expertise are a wealth of knowledge that would be working on your behalf as a Buyers Agent. 

Inventory is low right now. If you've been considering selling your home but waiting for the right time: now might be it. Give Terry a call at 616-836-1258 or send us an email for a Comparative Market Analysis to discover your home's value in today's market. Our buyers are always looking!


34th Street Project Reveal!

Jodi Schaap

I can't believe it's reveal time! It's been a long journey to complete this house and we learned a lot along the way - but for now - we'll break it down in photos for you. If you want a refresher on our hopeful plans and the before photos you can see them in the original post here.

The mudroom before and after:

From the mudroom you enter a very tiny vestibule entrance where you can either go up a few steps to the kitchen and main floor living or you can go down a flight of stairs to the basement. We redid the floors, painted, updated the lighting fixture and added a textured wallpaper to offset the small space with some personality. 

The kitchen is probably the biggest transformation because what was a small, closed in space is now an open concept living area complete with center island, coffee bar, and large living space.

With the wall separating the kitchen and living room gone - you can now see into the living room and new coffee bar area (under the stairs) standing at the island. 

The bit of floor at the base of the coffee bar is now fixed - just wasn't finished at the time of photos. We are so happy with how the floors turned out. There's new flooring in the master bedroom, laundry room, main floor bath, and vestibule entrance but the rest of the hard woods through out the home were refinished. Gorgeous. 

Remember the 2nd bedroom on the main floor? We opened up the wall it shared with the living room to make the living area larger and more open concept as well as exposing the chimney and making use of the under the stairs hidden storage. We closed up the doorway into the bedroom from the hallway (at the base of the stairs to the second floor) and it's hard to remember there was another bedroom there. 

Moving down the hallway we opened up the builtin shelving for a linen closet of sorts for the main floor bathroom and before you walk all the way to the master bedroom at the end of the hall - you take a left to the main floor laundry where we repainted cabinets, hung new lights and laid new flooring. We closed up a doorway to a second bathroom (which we opened up from the master to form a suite) and new appliances were just delivered (after I took the photos) but this laundry room makes me swoon.

A quick look at the new flooring before we step into the master:

And now we come to the oasis of the main floor. Lush new carpet, coordinating colors and the new master bath on-suite. 

In the master on-suite we repainted the original cabinets, kept the tile, mirror, flooring and hardware while we added new formica and painted a coordinating color to the bedroom. I love this space. Now let's head upstairs.

At the top of the stairs, a shot of the refinished hardwoods. To the left is Bedroom 4 and to the right is Bedroom 3 with a walkthrough to the Bonus room:

There it is! It doesn't quite feel real yet. But she's SOLD! That's a story for another time ;) Can't wait to tell you all about it - if you want to come see the house in person we're hosting an Open House on OCTOBER 2nd, 2014 from 6-8pm. Feel free to walkthrough with your families - thanks for following along with us as we re-envisioned a beautiful home with so much soul. 

Address for Open House:

79 West 34th St
Holland, Mi 49423

I hope to see you there! 

It's about time!

Jodi Schaap

The last update on the 34th St Project home was almost 2 months ago. You guys are patient. There was a while there where not much was happening – which is how it always goes. Longer than you anticipated (and then add 4 more weeks to that estimate). Definitely a practice in patience but we’re getting there. And the house continues to look more and more like a home, not a construction zone.

If you’re new to this story – here’s the beginning. Soon after the dream was released we started demo. From there I kept the progress updated as much as I could. Things happened so fast in the beginning – and from what we planned to what we are actually able to execute – we’ve been trying to keep you up to date on how that organically happens with list updates as well.

Now, it’s been a while since we tackled this in writing so we have a lot to catch up on. The next time I’ll write about this home it’ll be the full monty reveal. It’s getting so close, but if you’re desperate for an update: check instagram and facebook periodically as I tend to give snip-it’s more often on those platforms.

The house already is more progressed from these update photos with paint, trim, and beautiful refinished floors but let’s dive in.

Above is the 4th bedroom we opened up into the living area on the main floor. We gutted the closet and under the stairs, we exposed the chimney and plugged the doorway from the hall. A couple weeks ago, thick in the drywall stage – this is the same wall below …

The main floor bathroom wasn’t in the original plan to touch at all but I plead my case for the floors and a wall treatment with an updated vanity and it’s taking shape … here’s the bathroom before.

and after new tile flooring was put in, along with the beginnings of the board and batten wall treatment. The vanity, new light fixtures and mirror are just waiting to be installed.

I handed in a list of colors to the painters – the upstairs is finished (Bonus room and 2 bedrooms plus hallways and stairway.) There’s a main color for most of the first floor to flow easily with the newly opened space, the master bedroom and master bath have a coordinating grey, and the main bath (above) has the board and batten in the trim color (Decorator white) with a coordinating color to the vanity above that and the ceiling will be a tinted white to lift the room because there’s no natural light in that space.

This bathroom, the mudroom and the laundry room are my favorites in the whole house. OK, and the bonus room. Inexpensive and small touches up the drama of the room without spending too much. The bathroom board and batten as well as the bonus room trim detail are all done with trim pieces and paint. The mudroom boot box with the crown molding was much less expensive than having actual lockers built in that space.

The master bedroom wasn’t connected to the 2nd bathroom (originally the laundry was) but we closed the doorway from the laundry room and made a doorway from the bedroom to the bathroom for a Master Suite.

To this:

And a peak at the first coat of paint in the master …

It’s happening! The drama of the space with little details and the integrity this home already possessed is all coming together. When the home is completed we’ll be listing it at $159,900.

For that you get a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in a great neighborhood with updated electrical, all new windows, main floor completely renovated, a brand new kitchen, fresh paint, updated lighting and new fixtures throughout. You get original hardwood floors throughout the entire home freshly refinished. New carpet in the Master Suite and on the stairs, new flooring in the laundry room. A full unfinished basement with room to grow (I see another bathroom and an office or additional bedroom in the basement plus a rec room for the family). You get added storage, an updated mudroom with boot box and hooks. A clean slate for landscaping, new grass, newly paved driveway to street and an amazing lot in the Maplewood area of Holland. Plus a renovated bonus room on the second floor with new electrical run.

The home is on well water, tested and cleared by inspection. Gutters for the home, and new front door  Because a little jewelry to her dress is just the thing she needs to sparkle.

It’s been a dream come true, a labor of love, a learning experience, and a pleasure to work on this home and take you along for the ride. I can’t wait to show you the finished home full of soul.

You won’t be the first to ask about her, but maybe you’ll be the one to keep her. Give Terry Brinks a call (616-836-1258) or email and as always, you can leave a comment here or It’ll be like unwrapping the best kind of present when the home finds her new owners and we get to hand the keys over. I hope it’s one of you.