Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Top Projects to Help Your Harbor Country Home Sell!

As we quickly approach the official start of summer, this year’s plan may be slightly different for some of you.  Instead of soaking in the sun, sand and variety of activities in Harbor Country’s quaint towns of New Buffalo, Three Oaks, Sawyer, Harbert, Lakeside, Union Pier or Grand Beach; you’re thinking about selling your home.

Whether you’re upgrading to your dream home on the Lake Michigan shoreline, or extenuating circumstances are causing you to need to sell; we understand it can feel overwhelming.  Yet, as a team of experienced Prudential Rubloff Real Estate agents here at Shoreline Property Advice, we know that selling your Harbor Country home can be a smooth and efficient transaction.

Oftentimes, sellers will ask us what they can do to get their home ready to sell.  Today, we thought we would highlight the top projects that will help you spruce up your home and get you the biggest return on investment.  Take a look!

Top Energy Efficient Project: Add Insulation
- Adding proper insulation will not only add value to your home, but will save you money. This energy efficient project will reduce up to 30% of heating and cooling costs. Those looking to buy a home in Harbor Country will be searching for homes that are more eco-friendly and adding insulation or even replacing old windows with new energy efficient ones will appeal to buyers.

Top Budget Friendly Project: Clean and Conquer Clutter
- The best way to update your home is to remove any excess furniture or knickknacks that don’t serve a purpose. Not only will this make your Harbor Country home appear larger, but it will give your home a more updated feel. If you’re planning on selling your home, buyers will appreciate this clean and updated look as they’ll be able to better envision their belonging in your home.

Top Kitchen Project: Upgrade Appliances
- Kitchen’s are one of the top places that people will want to see upgrades and where you will get the most return on investment. The top kitchen project is to upgrade your appliances. Of course stainless steel appliances are today’s standard, so if you haven’t upgraded yet, now would be a great time to do so. Another upgrade that’s possible for those who already have stainless steel appliances are energy efficient options. Switching to these “green” appliances will cut down on your energy bill and will be better for the environment as well.

Top Bathroom Project: Refresh Fixtures
- Bathrooms are another space where many will want to see upgrades. An easy way to refresh bathrooms is to change out the fixtures. From lighting to the vanity or even just the cabinetry hardware; there are many cost effective updates that can be made in a bathroom.

The Top Storage and Organization Project: Maximize Storage Space
- Give yourself more space instantly by organizing your closets and cabinets. Clean out things you no longer use and consider investing in a closet or pantry organizer. This will immediately give the appearance of extra room as well as being easier to maintain.

Top Landscaping Project: Tidy Your Lawn

- Curb appeal speaks volumes for how you care for your Harbor Country home overall. A lawn that is well manicured and aesthetically pleasing will appeal to most no matter what the size. Buyers will want to know they can simply maintain the lawn you’ve cared for rather than having to put in a lot of time and money for updates.

Top Outdoor Living Project: Add Outdoor Living
- Adding outdoor living space is like adding square footage onto your home. Imagine lounging in a new outdoor living space and hosting outdoor dinner parties this summer. This update will add value and character to your home!
Top Big Ticket Project: Finish the Basement
- Finishing your basement, while a seemingly large project, is much less expensive that adding an additional room onto your home. You’ll want to be sure to have a professional inspect your basement for its moisture level before you begin. Adding carpeting or a fresh coat of paint may be all your basement needs to gain a finished appearance. This additional living space may be just the thing for which buyers are searching.
Hopefully these projects will inspire you to take on a few of your own that will boost the appeal of your Harbor Country home!  
As always, we’re here to help in any way we can, so please feel free to contact us today!  We would be happy to meet with you and talk about what we can do to get your home sold.

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Support Local Farmers throughout Harbor Country

With the celebration of Memorial Day this coming weekend, it seems that summer is just around the corner!  The warm weather months are a great time to live or vacation in Harbor Country as you’re able to fully experience all that the towns of New Buffalo, Sawyer, Grand Beach, Three Oaks, Union Pier, Harbert and Lakeside have to offer.

Whether you live in Harbor Country year round, or take time each summer to enjoy your vacation home along the Lake Michigan Shoreline; these unique communities become a part of you that you want to support in any way possible.  One way to do just happens to be one of the perks of being in Harbor Country; local farmers markets!

These local markets have some of the best fruits and vegetables in this part of the country and are sure to be a mouthwatering taste of summer.  While you find the most fresh strawberries, blueberries, cherries and much more; you’re also helping support our local farmers and the cycle continues to improve our communities.

If you’re planning on visiting your vacation home in Harbor Country over Memorial Day weekend, or you’ve been waiting for these fresh markets to open; you’ll want to find your way to one of these local favorites!

Skips Open-Air European Farmers Market
Red Arrow Highway & Lakeshore Road, New Buffalo
Open Saturday & Sunday (May-October) from 9am-3pm
- Skip's Open-Air European Farmers Market will awaken all your senses and renew your appreciation of all that is sun-ripened, harvested by hand and baked and created by local artisans. A stroll among the vendors is a new discovery each week, as the market is varied and changes weekly, with Mother Nature helping change the scenery. There is always something for the kids to do with weekly visits from kid-inspired organizations.  For more information, please visit Skips Farmers Market website
The Three Oaks Farmers' Market
Elm St & Oak St, Downtown Three Oaks
Open Saturdays (Memorial Day weekend- October) from 9am-2pm
- The Three Oaks Farmer’s Market provides the community an opportunity to buy directly with local growers which fosters a relationship with consumers and the food they eat. Featured are local seasonal products grown in Harbor Country. The market provides a fun and educational venue you won’t want to miss!  Visit the Three Oaks Farmers Market website to learn more. 
Lemon Creek Winery & Fruit Farm
533 E Lemon Creek Rd, Berrien Springs
Open Daily

- Whether you’re looking to spend the day sipping local wines, or you’d like to browse farm stands for fresh fruit; you’ll want to check out Lemon Creek!  In fact, this Memorial Day weekend, Lemon Creek is hosting the Memorial Weekend Wine and Art Fair!  For more information about their seasonal fruits or regarding this weekend’s upcoming event, please visit the Lemon Creek Winery & Fruit Farm website.  
Or course you may be wondering what this post has to do with real estate, but as a team of Prudential Rubloff Real Estate agents here at Shoreline Property Advice, we understand the importance of community!  The location is nearly just as important as the home you choose, so our goal is provide a well rounded approach to the Harbor Country Real Estate market and the lifestyle you’ll find along its’ shores.
If you have further questions about homes currently available in New Buffalo, Three Oaks, Sawyer or any of the other Harbor Country towns; please let us know!  We would be happy to help you find your place here!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Get Out and Enjoy Local Events This Weekend in New Buffalo and Three Oaks!

Now that it seems like the warmer temperatures are here to stay, many who live and are visiting the Harbor Country towns of New Buffalo, Three Oaks, Grand Beach, Lakeside, Union Pier and others along the shoreline are looking for things to do outdoors.

A few weeks ago, we highlighted the biking and walking trails that wind there way throughout Harbor Country.  These are a great way to get out and enjoy the breathtaking scenery here along the Lake Michigan Shoreline!  Of course there are a number of other ways to experience Harbor Country’s outdoor lifestyle such as swimming, boating, lounging on the beaches and more, but this week, we wanted to highlight a few fun events taking place this coming weekend.  Take a look!

New Buffalo Spring Sidewalk Sales
Various Businesses in New Buffalo

Friday, May 17- Saturday, May 18
- Stroll along the streets of New Buffalo with family and friends to get a sneak peek of the latest summer trends and accessories!  Various businesses will be participating and offering special discounts throughout the weekend!  Even local eateries will be joining in on the festivities!  This is a great way to support and get to know local businesses!
Artisan Market Spring
Journeyman Distillery
109 Generations Dr, Three Oaks
Saturday, May 18- Sunday, May 19 from Noon-5pm
- This weekend, the Journeyman Distillery is hosting the Annual Spring Artisan Market. A variety of artists, artisans and unique vendors will offer an eclectic array of handmade items, vintage collections, home furnishings, jewelry and unique creations. You’ll find contemporary and folk art, antiques and collectibles, along with culinary delights! The Spring Artisan Market is a great opportunity to visit the beautiful Journeyman Distillery located in beautiful downtown Three Oaks.  For more information, please visit the Journeyman Distillery website.  
As Prudential Rubloff Real Estate agents and advisors serving the towns of Union Pier, Lakeside, New Buffalo, Grand Beach, Three Oaks, Douglas, Saywer and Harbert in Harbor County; we enjoy highlighting the events and activities that add to the lifestyle you’ll find here along the Lake Michigan Shoreline.
If you have questions about the current real estate market or would like to see some of the great homes and vacation properties currently available in Harbor Country; don’t hesitate to contact us!
Like many have experienced, "you’ll come for a visit and stay for a lifetime!"

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Create a Stress Free Vacation Home Buying Experience on Harbor Country with These 5 Tips!

Considering buying a vacation home along the Lake Michigan Shoreline in one of Harbor Country’s charming towns?  We’re glad you’ve taken the time to stop by our blog!  We know that buying a vacation home can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be!

As a team of Prudential Real Estate agents and advisors serving the towns of Harbert, Sawyer, Lakeside, Union Pier, New Buffalo, Grand Beach, Three Oaks and Douglas; we have experience in navigating and helping to streamline the vacation home buying process.  Today we wanted to list out five ways that will help you begin the process of buying a vacation home in Harbor Country.  It can be easier than you think!

1. Know when it’s the right time in your life to buy- Decide whether to buy based on your life and what makes sense for you, your family, your plans and your finances.  If you’re buying a vacation home, chances are you’ve already looked extensively into the financial aspect.  Use the news about what’s going on in the market to decide how to buy: what kind of house to buy, what sort of loan to use, how much to offer, and other strategies for executing your home buying plans.

2. Find the right Harbor Country Real Estate agent- Finding the right Harbor Country Real Estate agent can make all the difference! Be sure to look for the following: qualifications, experienced in the transaction you envision (vacation home, waterfront property, etc...), great referrals and testimonials, is a problem solver, and appeals to your personality style (you could potentially be spending a lot of time with your realtor, so you want to make sure it’s a good fit).

3. Get a good understanding what to expect- Research as much as possible, but be sure to decide on a trusted realtor as soon as possible. They’ll be able to give you a layout of what you can expect from buying a vacation home in New Buffalo, Grand Beach, Sawyer, Harbert or any of the other charming Harbor Country towns. Ask your Harbor Country Real Estate agent questions such as when you’re expected to show up so you can take time off work, and when you’re expected to write checks so you can be prepared.

4. Know the home you’re buying- You may have nightmares of coming home to a recent home purchase only to find it falling apart. Ways to avoid this are to thoroughly go over the disclosures which are required to list out issues or recent repairs within the home, get a home inspection, have contingencies in place when making your offer, maintain a home warranty policy that will cover many major malfunctions for a service call fee.

5. Solve the problem of how much you want to offer- This can be tricky, but there are some ways to determine the price of your offer. Your Harbor Country Real Estate agent can provide a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) which shows what other homes in Three OaksUnion Pier, Lakeside and the other Harbor Country towns are selling for. You can also determine the price by the sellers’ motivation to sell as well as the current market factors.

Buying a vacation home can be an exciting time and we want to help make sure the process runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible!  

If you’re ready to begin your vacation home search along the Lake Michigan Shoreline; please feel free to contact us today!  Our team of Prudential Rubloff Real Estate agents and advisors are here to help you reach your vacation home buying goals!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Enjoy a Safe Summer Along the Lake Michigan Shoreline!

Now that we’ve officially entered the month of May, we can sense the excitement building for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, which tends to kick off the summer festivities here in the Harbor Country towns of Sawyer, Harbert, Lakeside, Union Pier, New Buffalo, Grand Beach, Michiana and Three Oaks! 

Here at Shoreline Property Advisors, our team of Prudential Rubloff Real Estate agents and advisors thrive on this time of year when activity picks up for vacation rentals and those interested in buying a vacation home on our beautiful Lake Michigan shores.  It’s a fun time of year as the warm weather season offers many the chance to create lasting memories.  

Yet, we also know the importance of enjoying the summer season with a sense of safety in mind!  As you prepare for swimming, boating, skiing and other fun water activites; there are some vital safety tips you’ll want to be sure to keep in mind and go over with family and friends now and throughout the season.  Take a look!

Basic Safety
• Always wear sunscreen!
• Make sure everyone in your boat can swim, and if not, that floating devices are used and there is someone watching that person at all times.
• Never swim alone! Even the most experienced swimmers can experience fatigue, or an injury that will make it hard to swim
• Always watch children who are anywhere near water! The most accidents happen when children are wading in shallow water, so always make sure they’re supervised!
• Be sure to swim only in designated swimming areas.
• Look before you leap! Never dive into water unless you know that it’s deep enough to do so. Always keep your hands above your head when diving to ensure safety.
• Never mix swimming or boating with alcohol.
Water Skiing
To make your water skiing fun, safe, sensible and successful, practice these safe driving tips:
• Check steering and throttle controls for proper operation before towing skier.
• On take-offs, never accelerate until a definite signal is given by skier.
• When under way, keep attention ahead. The observer is to watch the skier.
• Never follow other boats. Always look before turning. Avoid shallow water.
• Promote safety by staying away from other boats, swimmers, fishermen and solid objects.
• Return to fallen skier immediately. Slow to idle as you approach skier, moving in on the driver’s side.
• Shut off engine while skier climbs into or out of boat. Discourage skiers from boarding over transom.
• High speed landings cause injuries. When skiing into shore, reduce speed and parallel the landing area at a safe distance.
• Do not tow non-swimmers or weak swimmers unless they wear an approved and appropriate flotation device.
Person Overboard
If someone falls overboard, follow these procedures:
• Toss a life-saving device even if the person can swim. A life ring is the preferred device. It can be thrown farther and is easier to hang on to. However, use whatever device is nearest. Time is essential.
• Slow the boat, keeping the person in view. Other persons onboard should act as look outs. At night, direct the best possible lights on the victim.
• Try to approach the person from downwind or into the waves. Always use common sense and good judgment. Consider existing condition and ability of the victim and what other help is available. If someone aboard is capable, have the person put on a life-saving device with a line attached to the boat and enter the water to assist the person.
• Always stop the motor when someone is going over the side, or coming aboard.
• Assist the person in boarding the boat. It is difficult to climb into a boat from the water. The person may be hurt or cold and may require help.
• Wearing a Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) is your only guarantee against drowning.
• Do not overload the boat.
• Avoid horseplay.
• Have PDF’s readily available for everyone.
• In small boats, remain seated.
• Trim boat by placing passengers and gear in balance.
Before Leaving…
• Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
• Check weather forecasts.
• Ventilate bilges before starting engine.
• Be sure your boat is basically equipped.
While Underway…
• Know and obey the rules of the road.
• Post a lookout for bathers, fishermen, swimmers, debris.
• Reduce speed in harbors and in confined areas. Avoid excessive speed.
• Make no sharp turns at high speed.
• Watch your wake! You could be responsible for injury or damage caused by it.
• In rough water, stay low in the boat and cross waves at a slight angle.
• Keep red-buoys on your right when traveling upstream.
• Tying up to buoys or anchoring in channels is forbidden.
• Carry sufficient tools for minor repairs.
Fueling Tips
• Stop smoking and extinguish all fires.
• Close all vents, doors, hatches.
• Ground the nozzle to tank opening.
• Portable tanks should be filled outside of boat.
• Ventilate engine compartment before starting.
Always Have the Following Items in Your Boat:
• Personal flotation device
• Paddle
• Towline
• Emergency radio
• Bailing device
• Whistle or horn
• Fire extinguisher
• First aid kit
• Flares
Safety is a priority as we all enjoy the warm weather and water activities here in Harbor Country, and we hope these tips help you prepare for a fun, happy and safe summer!
If you have been considering vacationing in one of Harbor Country’s charming beach towns, but aren’t sure where to begin your home search; let us know!  We would be happy to talk with you about your vacation rental or home buying options!

Shoreline Property Advisors
@ Prudential Rubloff

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