Friday, January 28, 2011

Just Available On Market:
751 Leonard Ave
Holland, MI 49423
MLS# 11005693
5 Bedrooms, 2.5 Bathrooms: Pristine home set on a large private lot, just 2 blocks from Lake Macatawa
For a showing contact the Andrea Crossman Group 616-355-6387

Virtual Tour: http://picasaweb.google.com/andreacrossmangroup/Leonard?authkey=Gv1sRgCJvJsb_EporUAw#slideshow/5567339327235765330

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Price Reduction:
790 Brook Village Court
Holland, MI 49423
MLS# 10045675; 2 bedroom, 2 bath; Great, quiet location with community clubhouse, and swimming pool. NOW: $99,900

Virtual Tour: http://picasaweb.google.com/andreacrossmangroup/BrookVillageCt790#slideshow/5566917117785639042

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

LG and GRCC Work together to Stimulate Holland, Michigan's Economy

LG Chem, Grand Rapids Community College agree to $19.6 million deal for training workers

Holland, MI — Grand Rapids Community College will provide training for LG Chem employees in a deal approved this week that will span 20 years.

LG Chem, a manufacturer of lithium-ion battery cells, is building a $300 million factory in Holland that will produce advanced storage power systems for the next generation of electric vehicles.

Employees will be hired by LG Chem, and some will be trained before the plant becomes operational in 2012. Between 300 and 400 new jobs are estimated to be created by 2013. The college is offering e-mail updates for people looking for more information on the program.

Ultimately, the company could spend an estimated $19.6 million to train more than 3,000 employees over the 20-year term of the deal. The Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees on Monday approved a Michigan New Jobs Training Program Agreement with LG Chem.

“I think this project is a testament to the hard work of the whole team,” said college spokesman Raul Alvarez. “A lot of caffeine and coffee went into this.”

LG Chem broke ground for its manufacturing facility in July 2010.

The curriculum for the training program has yet to be developed, said Mary Hofstra, GRCC’s senior program manager in workforce training.

GRCC officials were surprised when LG Chem officials said in an early December meeting that they wanted to put a training agreement on the agenda for the college’s January board meeting.

“We thought, ‘Oh my God, no way!’” Hofstra said. “But they are a hard-working group.” She said despite the ramped-up deadline, the process went more smoothly than it had for other clients.

LG Chem is the seventh company to sign a state-subsidized training agreement with GRCC. The others are Haworth, Trans-Matic, Johnson Controls Saft, Autocam, Farmer’s Insurance and Gentex.

The companies front the cash to the colleges, but are reimbursed through diverted payroll taxes as allowed by the Michigan New Jobs Training Program.

The training be for LG Chem will be separate — at least in funding — from a certificate program for energy storage technicians that GRCC will offer in the fall.

Officials plan to offer the one-year program both at GRCC’s Lakeshore Campus and its main Grand Rapids Campus, said Lakeshore Campus Dean Dan Clark.

Article found on HollandSentinel.com
New Home For Sale in Baldwin, Michigan
7921 Star View Drive; MLS# 11004719
4 Bedroom; 2 Bathroom
For a showing contact the Andrea Crossman Group 616-355-6387
New Home For Sale in West Olive, Michigan
5468 164th Ave.; MLS#11005062
5 Bedroom; 3 Bathroom
Contact the Andrea Crossman Group for a showing.
http://www.waterfront-luxuryhomes.com/IE/

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Listing on Lake Michigan
7186 Cottages Lane
South Haven, MI 49090
MLS# 11004245
For more info visit:
http://www.waterfront-luxuryhomes.com/IE/
Read our newest blog:
http://www.hollandmirealestate.blogspot.com/
Andrea Crossman Group Monthly Newsletter Coming Soon!

Recovery on the Move: December 2010 Existing-Home Sales Jump 12.3 Percent

RISMEDIA, January 21, 2011—Existing-home sales rose sharply in December 2010, when sales increased for the fifth time in the past six months, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 12.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.28 million in December from an upwardly revised 4.70 million in November, but remain 2.9% below the 5.44 million pace in December 2009.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said sales are on an uptrend. “December was a good finish to 2010, when sales fluctuate more than normal. The pattern over the past six months is clearly showing a recovery,” he said. “The December pace is near the volume we’re expecting for 2011, so the market is getting much closer to an adequate, sustainable level. The recovery will likely continue as job growth gains momentum and rising rents encourage more renters into ownership while exceptional affordability conditions remain.”

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $168,800 in December, which is 1.0% below December 2009. Distressed homes rose to a 36% market share in December from 33% in November, and 32% in December 2009.

“The modest rise in distressed sales, which typically are discounted 10 to 15 percent relative to traditional homes, dampened the median price in December, but the flat price trend continues,” Yun explained.

Total housing inventory at the end of December fell 4.2% to 3.56 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.1-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 9.5-month supply in November.

NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., said buyers are responding to very good affordability conditions despite tight mortgage credit. “Historically low mortgage interest rates, stable home prices, and pent-up demand are drawing home buyers into the market,” Phipps said. “Recent home buyers have been successful with very low default rates, given the outstanding performance for loans originated in 2009 and 2010.”

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.71% in December from 4.30% in November; the rate was 4.93% in December 2009.

A parallel NAR practitioner survey shows first-time buyers purchased 33% of homes in December, up from 32% in November, but are below a 43% share in December 2009.

Investors accounted for 20% of transactions in December, up from 19% in November and 15% in December 2009; the balance of sales were to repeat buyers. All-cash sales were at 29% in December, compared with 31% in November, but up from 22% a year ago. “All-cash sales have been consistently high at about 30 percent of the market over the past six months,” Yun said.

Single-family home sales jumped 11.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.64 million in December from 4.15 million in November, but are 2.5% below the 4.76 million level in December 2009. The median existing single-family home price was $169,300 in December, down 0.2% from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales surged 16.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 640,000 in December from 550,000 in November, but remain 5.2% below the 675,000-unit pace one year ago. The median existing condo price was $165,000 in December, which is 7.4% below December 2009.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast jumped 13.0% to an annual pace of 870,000 in December, but are 5.4% below December 2009. The median price in the Northeast was $237,300, which is 1.4% below a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 11.0% in December to a level of 1.11 million, but are 4.3% below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $139,700, up 3.3% from December 2009.

In the South, existing-home sales increased 10.1% to an annual pace of 1.97 million in December, but are 2.5% below December 2009. The median price in the South was $148,400, unchanged from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West surged 16.7% to an annual level of 1.33 million in December, but remain 1.5% below December 2009. The median price in the West was $204,000, down 5.6% from a year ago.

For more information, visit http://www.realtor.org/. Article was found on RISMEDIA.COM


For more information on homes in the Holland, Michigan contact the Andrea Crossman Group.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Andrea Crossman Group has posted a new video on their YouTube Channel:
Click to view video:
http://www.youtube.com/user/andreacrossmangroup?feature=mhum#p/a/u/0/5-Swayu8dXw

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New video posted on the Andrea Crossman Group YouTube Channel! Check it out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uvm1AR-qieU

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Andrea Crossman Group Implements Text Messaging and QR Codes for Real Estate in Holland, Michigan

Andrea Crossman Group is adding some new technology to its extensive marketing package. The Andrea Crossman Group will be introducing text messaging and QR codes to advertise their real estate listings. The group will be placing signs in front of their listings with a QR code and text code unique to the property. The QR code image or text messaging message will allow interested parties to capture a picture of the QR code or send a text message to a five digit number that will reply with information about the property they are standing in front of.

 By using a unique QR code or text in a matter of seconds information is sent to you phone including the address, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square feet of the home, and the price. The message also includes the phone number to contact the Andrea Crossman Group displayed below the listing details to call for a showing. The text also includes a URL for those with Internet on their phone to view more information on the home such as a short description, pictures of the home, and a video.

The text messaging will have a five digit number that you dial in place of a normal phone number. After dialing the number a unique text code for each property will be entered. Once the unique code is entered the message can be sent. Lets give it a try! Text GOTO ACG1 to 95495. For those who are not as tech savvy  as others, 95495 is entered in place of a normal phone number on your phone. Then you type your message GOTO ACG1. It is not a case sensitive message but if you receive an error message and do not receive the information check your placement of spaces. There should not be a space between the words "GO" and "TO". After entering the message and hitting send you will receive a text message reply with the information.

The QR code will allow a smartphone to receive instant information about the property as well. A person with a smartphone, standing in front of a beautiful home they are interested in, can simply take a picture of the code and information is instantly sent to their phone. Lets try it! By scanning this QR Bar code to the right, on any supported phone, you can instantly learn more about one of the Andrea Crossman Group's listings as well as obtain our contact information. Each code is unique to the property just like the text message code.

What is a QR code?
QR is the abbreviation for Quick Response, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed. These unique bar code was originally created by Japanese company Denso-Wave to keep inventory. They were also used for commercial tracking, logistics, inventory control, and advertising. However, because QR codes allow for more data than the standard 10-digit bar code, and because scanning requires less effort than typing a URL, the QR code is quickly becoming very popular. Their popularity is climbing in Europe, the United States, and Canada as people increasingly use mobile phones to access 3G networks.

A QR Code is a specific matrix barcode or two-dimensional code that is readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can access images, websites, text, URL or other data. Decoding software on tools such as camera phones interprets the codes, which represent considerably more information than a one-dimensional code of similar size.

How to read a QR code:
Make sure your phone can scan a QR code with its camera, either with an application that you download or via software that's already installed on your phone. When you see a QR code, use your phone's application to scan it. Anyone with a smartphone can scan and read QR codes with the click of a camera, and anyone with access to a computer can generate QR codes themselves.

QR-Code reading software is available to download on the Internet. You need to download and install the QR-Code readers to view the information in a QR code: KAYWA Reader,  i-nigma Reader are just two readers that allow you to scan and view information within a QR code. More Readers such as Nokia Reader, Lynkee Reader, UpCode, QuickMark, SnapMaze, BeeTagg, NeoReader, ScanLife, MobileTag to name a few are also available online or at your app store.

Once you have downloaded a reader that is compatible with your phone, you point your camera at the image and get a message, website, or other piece of content beamed directly to your smartphone or computer. These easily scannable information bar codes are becoming increasingly popular as more people use smartphones and similar technology. A QR code can now be used as a vCard (electronic business cards), or placed on a business card which allows instant scans of contact information to be saved onto a smart phone.

A great article for more information on QR Codes can be found on Educause.

Friday, January 14, 2011

NEW PRICE!!! Reduced $25,000.00
17462 Lakeside Trail
West Olive, MI 49460
MLS# 10038023

http://www.waterfront-luxuryhomes.com/cgi-bin/quicksearch.cgi?mls=10038023&submit=Search
I uploaded a YouTube video for a Beautiful Home for sale on Lake Michigan: 4060 Spring Beauty
Check It Out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPpIYRf7rDw

Breath-taking Lake Michigan Home in Holland Michigan


4060 Spring Beauty Lane
Holland, MI 49423
MLS# 10054832

Lake Michigan at it's finest. Nearly 7 acres of pristine beach & forest just a few doors from the gorgeous Saugatuck Dunes in a wooded wonderland. Built by Cottage Homes in 2008, this 6+ bedroom, 6 bath home features nearly 9,000 sq.ft. of finely crafted home. Incredible views, wide sandy beach, electric tram to the beach, 2 main floor master suites, spacious gourmet kitchen with large granite center island & stainless steel & quality appliances. You'll love the 2 story great room, main floor library/den/TV room, each with it's own stone fireplace. The his & hers bedroom suites each have ample walk-in closets w/nice built-ins, tiled heated bathroom floors, tiled shower with multi-heads & a soaking tub. Pella windows, James Hardie cement fiber siding & stone. The lakeside 3 season room is sure to become a favorite place to relax and enjoy the beauty & sounds of living on the lake. 86 steps to the beach.

For more inroftmation on this and other homes on Lake Michigan contact the Andrea Crossman Group.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Grab your sleds, gas up your snowmobiles, and wax your skis because the snow is falling here in Holland Michigan. Drive Safe Everyone!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Listing: 5484 Lakeshore Drive Holland, MI 49424 MLS#11002707
5 Bedroom, 4 Bathroom, 4443 Square Feet on 2.680 Acres with a possible 2 more acres that can be purchased separately

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Waterfront Listingin Branch Michigan
7720 Navajo Trail
MLS#: 11002131
4 Bedroom 2 Bathroom
299' waterfrontage
New Listing in Zeeland Michigan:
368 N. Jefferson Ave
4 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms
MLS# 11002012
Call 616-355-6387 to schedule a showing
Check out Qwiki a new site that offers short information videos on the topic of your choosing.
http://www.qwiki.com/

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Downtown Holland Ice Sculpting Competition
Saturday, January 10, 2009, 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM

Downtown Holland is partnering with the National Ice Carving Association (NICA) to host a Collegiate Invitational Competition. Downtown Holland and NICA will bring students from Culinary Schools to compete. These talented students from colleges around the Midwest and beyond join together for this exciting weekend-long competition.

For more information on NICA, please visit their website: http://www.nica.org
or
Downtown Holland
44 West 9th Street
Holland, MI 49423
http://www.downtownhollandice.com/
http://www.downtownholland.com/

Downtown Holland Ice Sculpting Competition


Saturday, January 10, 2009, 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM

The annual Downtown Holland Ice Sculpting Competition is even bigger and better this year! For the first time ever, Downtown Holland is partnering with the National Ice Carving Association (NICA) to host a Collegiate Invitational Competition. Downtown Holland and NICA will bring students from Culinary Schools to compete. These talented students from colleges around the Midwest and beyond join together for this exciting weekend-long competition.
Compulsory Event: The day-long invitational will kick off at 9:00 am with a compulsory event. The compulsory event will begin with a seminar during which the competitors will be instructed on the proper carving techniques that are used to create different geometric shapes out of ice. The competitors will then be challenged to create both a cube and sphere with specific dimensions out of a small block of ice. Their pieces will then be judged for accuracy.

Instructional Seminar: The compulsory event will be followed by another seminar at 10:45 am, which is open to both the competitors and the public. During the seminar, an expert carver will present, “10 Steps to 3D Sculpting,” which will closely review the individual steps involved in the process of carving an ice sculpture.

Sanctioned Competition: The highlight of the entire invitational, however, will undoubtedly be the official NICA sanctioned ice sculpting competition, which will begin at 1:30 pm. During this half of the invitational, competitors will be given 4 hours to transform giant 300-pound blocks of ice into glistening works of art! The competitors will first begin creating their sculptures using chain saws (much to the delight of onlookers) and will finish the intricate details of their pieces using fine precision tools. At the end of the four-hour competition, each sculpture will be judged by a panel of judges according to official NICA standards.

Information For The Public: In addition to attending the instructional seminar, the public is invited to stroll down Eighth Street in Downtown Holland and watch in amazement as these talented students create their frozen masterpieces. And while the ice will be cold, guests will stay warm and toasty as they stroll along Downtown’s heated cobblestone sidewalks and streets. In addition, there are plenty of coffee shops, pubs, and restaurants to warm up in, not to mention the multitude of unique shops and boutiques. The Downtown Holland Ice Sculpting Competition has certainly never been this cool before! You won’t want to miss it!

holland ice sculpture contest
For more information on NICA, please visit their website: http://www.nica.org
This event is organized by: Downtown Holland Principal Shopping District
Contact: Kara Barney
616-988-6187
http://www.downtownholland.com/


Downtown Holland
44 West 9th Street
Holland, MI 49423

http://www.downtownhollandice.com/


A great vidieo to view for more information on a past ice sculpting event
http://www.wanderingwestmichigan.com/2007/01/holland-ice-sculpture-competition/

Monday, January 3, 2011

You think you do a lot of holiday baking? Consider Nancy Storey. “I make dough for 27 kinds of cookies and various friends help me complete the work,” she said. These aren’t just any old cookies, either.

“I enjoy fussing with challenging cookies, trying to make each type special,” Storey said. “People really like biscotti, ruskies, snowflakes, bonbons — really, pretty much everything. There are enough favorites to keep me busy.”

That she does. She was involved in helping whip up 553 dozen cookies for the bazaar at her church, First United Methodist in Holland, earlier this season. More than 6,000 cookies were sold in all. “That excites me and keeps me going,” she said.


Windmill cookies have a local edge

Mary Jo Wiswedel, of Holland, baked for the Kerstmarkt, a holiday marketplace that operated in Holland on select dates through Dec. 12, highlighting recipes that feature the Dutch heritage of so many in the region. She also attends First United Methodist, which sponsored booths at the Kerstmarkt. All proceeds went to support local, national and international missions.

“For the Kerstmarkt, I make Speculaas (Windmill Cookies), Nederlandse Boterkoek (Dutch Butter Cake), Chocolade Koeke (Chocolate Brownie) and new this year was the Krakelingen (not really translatable, but a lightly orange-flavored shortbread in the shape of a figure 8),” Wiswedel said. Her personal favorites might be the Speculaas.


“They may look like a gingerbread cookie, but the recipe calls for a mixture of spices — allspice, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom,” she said. “In the Netherlands, they actually have a spice called ‘Speculaas Spices’ in the grocery stores with this mixture ... we use the windmill cookie cutter for this one, too, and outline it with melted white chocolate.”

As a child, Wiswedel said she didn’t grow up with many traditional Dutch recipes, even though her grandmother’s family came from the Netherlands. She acquired familiarity with them working at the Convention & Visitors Bureau and because of her church’s involvement with Tulip Time. No, Wiswedel grew up on sugar cookies at the holidays.

“Our traditional family cookie-making event was/is always making my Grandma’s Sour Cream Sugar Cookie Recipe, and of course, decorating all of the different shapes,” said Wiswedel, who said she has about 50 different cookie cutters, many from her childhood. “We always made way too many cookies and were very tired at the end of the day, but it was always fun to look for new cookie cutters throughout the year and watch how the children, each year, got better and better at creating them.”

Fresh local flour is a key ingredient
Alisa Crawford, of Holland, bakes six to eight cookie varieties each season. She lists among her favorites chocolate chip cookies made with flour she produces at the DeZwaan Windmill on Windmill Island in Holland.
“My son tells me every time I make them that they are the best,” she said.  Another family holiday must-have are Holly Wreath Cookies made with corn flakes. “My grandmothers on both sides used to make it at the holidays, then my mother, and now my sisters and I make them with our children,” Crawford said. “They are colorful and fun to eat or give.” Crawford also makes her own version of a Windmill Cookie out of her grandmother’s old recipe for sugar cookies.

“I tweaked it to work with flour from the windmill,” she said. “After I roll them out on my pastry board, I cut them out in windmill shapes with my windmill cookie cutter. They are fun to decorate with colors on the mill and the blades.”

Bake sale favorites

Mary Hamman and Margaret Karpus are among the hundreds of area residents who bake for the myriad holiday bazaars and sales that started back in November and continue into December. They shared some of the recipes they have made for the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School December bake sale in Greenville (recipes follow below).

Hamman said parent volunteers and students made up to 100 dozen cookies for this year’s bazaar, held earlier this month.

CANDY CANE COOKIES  (from Mary Hamman)
Ingredients:
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. margarine
1 c. confectioner’s sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 t. almond extract
1 t. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1 t. salt

Topping:
1/2 c. crushed peppermint candy
1/2 c. sugar

Instructions:
Mix together shortening, margarine, confectioner’s sugar, egg, almond extract and vanilla. Gradually mix in flour and salt.
Divide dough in half and mix red food coloring in one-half of the dough. Make 4-inch ropes of each dough and twist the two strands together.
Place on ungreased cookie sheets, curving one end of the twisted rope to look like a candy cane. Bake at 375 degrees for about nine minutes. Remove and sprinkle with mixture of crushed candy and sugar.

OREO BONBONS
(from Margaret Karpus)
Ingredients:
1 20-oz. package Oreos, crushed
8 oz. cream cheese
15 oz. white chocolate
Dark chocolate

Instructions:
Blend together crushed Oreos and cream cheese. Roll into balls and cover. Refrigerate for one hour.
Melt white chocolate and dip the Oreo balls into the melted chocolate. Drizzle with melted dark chocolate.