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After reaching their peak in late 2020, Great Lakes water levels have slowly but surely drifted down from record levels since last December. This presents some great news for people with lakeshore homes whether they are on the Lake Michigan shoreline or along the rim of the smaller bodies of water like Lake Macatawa or Spring Lake.

The extreme water height in every Great Lake and connected bodies of water created problems for some homeowners, with stormy weather creating waves that hit the dunes below higher up and harder.

The resulting erosion put some homes in danger, especially those closer to the edge of the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan below. In extreme cases, the erosion posed the threat of collapse and homes needed to be moved away

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castle

Just south of Lake Macatawa, near the Lake Michigan shoreline, stands a 127-year-old brick castle. The Castle was constructed in 1894 by German immigrant, Michael Schwarz. It was originally built to be the Schwarz family home. When the family moved to the town of Holland, the castle was left empty for over a year. 

In 1896, Dr. John Parr purchased it, along with 40 acres of surrounding lands. The castle then became a summer camp for Chicago prep school students. The foundation for the Castle Park community began when parents began building homes surrounding the beautiful, rolling wooded hills. In 1917, Dr. Parr handed over the castle’s daily duties to his nephew, Carter Brown, who ran the organization until 1960. Then, the camp and castle were

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Like so many other things in 2020, the water levels throughout the Great Lakes were at unusual levels, hitting record highs not seen in more than 30 years.

Many of the people who live and own family homes along the Michigan Lakeshore are all asking the same question. Will water levels begin to recede?

The answer is Yes, water levels are forecasted to drop. Already in 2021, there has been a reduction in water levels. The levels are currently five inches lower than recorded last year and are projected to continue dropping. For the summer of 2021, water levels in West Michigan are expected to be 12 inches less compared to last summer.

The Great Lakes levels are governed primarily by the natural rates of precipitation and evaporation. Greater

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The Lake House Muskegon | Andrea Crossman Group

Four Great Waterfront Eateries in West Michigan

West Michigan and the Lakeshore are home to a diverse group of cultures and the great restaurants founded by each. Whether your tastes buds long for Mexican, Dutch, or classic American, you’ll find some wonderful choices in the small towns that dot the Lake Michigan coast.

Spring will be just around the corner, it’s a good time to plan a few summer road trips and weekend getaways. There are lots of new places to try in every destination, but when the sun’s out, eating outside with a beautiful view makes any meal more enjoyable.

This week, to let a little sunshine through the winter clouds, we’re going to feature four of the best waterfront eateries in West Michigan. Although Michigan restaurants

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There are a lot of waterfront towns up and down the coast of Michigan with reputations as great vacation getaways or summer home locations. Places along the Michigan lakeshore such as South Haven, Holland, and Grand Haven draw big crowds, but they are not the only beautiful places on the Lake Michigan coast.

Located just north of Grand Haven and fed by the Grand River, the body of water known as Spring Lake covers just over 1000 acres. With an average depth of 18 feet and a maximum of 40 feet, Spring Lake has a large boating community – especially since much of its 25 miles of coastline presents beautiful locations for building sites and features many gorgeous waterfront luxury homes.

Spring Lake is also a typical small waterfront Michigan town,

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Winter Weather Can’t Cool the Hot West Michigan Housing Market | Andrea Crossman Group

Although the temperature is dropping and there’s a chill in the air, there is no evidence the housing market in West Michigan will cool off any time soon.

Throughout the year, real estate companies often release reports highlighting statistics and trends that can help buyers and sellers alike. These reports can provide valuable insight into the housing market and help with planning and decisions.

A recent quarterly report for West Michigan’s housing market shines a light on Lakeshore real estate and the details that clients and agents can expect for the near future.

Here are some of those numbers.

2458 – The number of reported homes on the market in West Michigan. Although this number rises and falls over time, the current figure shows a

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If you’ve driven the waterfront of Lake Michigan, you’ve probably seen a few of those lakehouse manors that conjure images of marble floors, exquisite, delicate ornamentation, and fine furnishings.  They seem, in a word, untouchable.  But if your memories of lakeside living are of romps in the water, fishing, a quick lunch wrapped in your towel while you watch geese settle in the cove, you’re in luck because the Great Lake trend in lake home design is cottage style.

We’re not talking necessarily about the rustic.  Cottage style can encompass elements of the country home but just as easily lean toward modern chic.  What sets cottage style apart is the idea of use.  Kelly Konoske, president of Harbor Springs-based Cottage Company Interiors

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Winter’s Coming – Time to Prep your Home for Cold Weather | Andrea Crossman Group Realty

Although the last few days felt more like Spring than November in West Michigan, winter is definitely on its way. It won’t be long until the chilly temperatures and lake-effect snow begin to affect the residents along the Lake Michigan coast.

With the weather staying above freezing for the time being, it’s a great time to prepare your home for the breezy and frigid Great Lakes winter. With so many homes perched along the shores of Lake Michigan and other bodies of water like Lake Macatawa, the winter winds can have a harsh effect on your utility bills too.

Here are some important steps to take that will help protect your home and keep your winter costs down too.

1. Inspect your Heating System

Your heat and cooling system needs to be

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Whether it’s across town, to another state, or from one coast to the other, people relocate to new homes for lots of reasons. Some move to be closer to family, while others move for business reasons.

With its incredible natural resources, strong job market, and quaint coastal destinations, West Michigan is a great place to live. No matter why you’re looking to relocate, here are some of the best reasons to make the Lake Michigan shoreline your next home.

Quaint Coastal Destinations

Dozens of small towns, and some larger locales, pepper both the Lake Michigan and Lake Huron coasts. The upper Peninsula also features some very rural destinations for more adventurous travelers.

For those looking for quiet getaways, West Michigan offers

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One of the biggest barriers to passing a cottage to your children is affordability and more specifically property taxes. If transferring a cottage isn't done in certain ways, the property taxes will be adjusted to the current value (or "uncapped" as we call it). This could result in a small change, but it more often will lead to a massive tax increase. I've worked with clients who would have otherwise seen property taxes increase between 200% and 1,100% upon their passing.

These are a few tips to keep in mind to avoid this property tax increase and make the cottage affordable for your children:

1.  Avoid Planning with an LLC. When the Michigan legislature changed the property tax laws, it didn't make the LLC a favorable entity to use. When the

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