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WASHINGTON, June 15 - New regulatory guidance designed to streamline the Federal Housing Administration's approval process for condominiums nationwide is expected to have an immediate impact in the state of Michigan, where single-family projects are frequently developed under a condominium structure, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

While most of the new rules announced on June 12 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will not take… Continue

Added by Home Builders Association of the Grand Traverse Area on June 15, 2009 at 5:21pm — No Comments

Summer Reading Picks Say Yes to Michigan

Looking for a good summer read? How about a Michigan-based book? I have two on my bookshelf this summer. Both titles have been chosen by regional literacy initiatives, so we’ll be hearing a lot about them in coming months.

Traverse City Reads’ 2009 selection is The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas by local author Jerry Dennis. Book clubs, community groups and students throughout Northern Michigan will be… Continue

Added by Jodi Simpson on June 15, 2009 at 11:00am — 1 Comment

Rustic Russ' Rocking Chair


Added by Sherry Sutherby on June 15, 2009 at 8:30am — No Comments

first spark

I remember waiting as a kid to go Up North. And once there, usually after the summer solstice we had two weeks or so to do everything cool. Even later when I worked Up North in the summer, staying with Grandma for a month or more, it was a mad dash to squeeze as much as possible out of the short time here. Nothing has changed now that we live Up North. And yesterday marked the start of summer with our first dinner on the beach. We're late. Memorial Day usually initiates the first… Continue

Added by Rachel North on June 14, 2009 at 11:00am — 1 Comment

More than Just a Ride

Sigmund Freud once remarked that sometimes a ride is just a ride, or something to that effect. I say that may be true but that some rides are more than others. Case in point: the ride next Saturday, June 20, from East Park at Bay Harbor to dedicate the new segment of the Little Traverse Wheelway known as “Resort Bluffs.” In fact this ride is not organized at all; just ride when and where you wish. But you won’t want to miss it.

This will be a… Continue

Added by Tom Stanley on June 13, 2009 at 7:47pm — No Comments

White Pine Wonder

Pinus strobus ~ Michigan's state tree.

But it's so much more than all that.

Each bundle on the white pine has 5 needles.

It makes it easy to remember ~ five letters in "white" ~ five needles.


Count 'em.

Never 3.

Never 4.

Think about it.

Always five… Continue

Added by Sherry Sutherby on June 13, 2009 at 7:22am — No Comments

Get Outside:: Week Two

It has been so beautiful Up North (and YES, I'm even talking about the rainy days....we love mucking around in puddles around here!) that I've neglected to do as promised: bring you two great ideas a week for getting your kids outdoors. So we're going to try this again...

Explore Outdoors Idea Two: Hit a Preserve!

We are so fortunate to have so many dedicated spaces Up North, places where no developers will ever roam (unless on foot, just enjoying… Continue

Added by Kate on June 12, 2009 at 2:25pm — No Comments

Digital or Darkness ~ We chose the dark...

Back in December, I was excited our little pint-sized T.V. was going black.

Now, as the day is here, I'm still excited.

In the final days leading up to the darkness, I pondered. What will I miss?

I know what I won't miss.

We have been using rabbit ears for over 8 years now.

We received the "major" channels.… Continue

Added by Sherry Sutherby on June 12, 2009 at 6:00am — No Comments

Outdoor Kitchens - A New Twist To Outdoor Living

Upgrade Your Deck or Patio

The backyard barbecue was designed to exude friendliness and informality. But don't let appearances fool you-sophisticated outdoor kitchens like this one offer many of the same conveniences as the indoor variety.

A gas-fired, covered grill on your patio can easily handle spareribs, salmon steaks, shish kebabs, or anything else you fancy, while separate burners allow companion dishes to heat up at the same time. There's a refrigerator to… Continue

Added by Home Builders Association of the Grand Traverse Area on June 11, 2009 at 12:27pm — No Comments

Visit Tryon Farm, a conservation community

Tryon Farm, in Indiana just over the Michigan border (southwest Michigan) is offering guided tours of the land and houses on the 1st Sunday of every month. I'd recommend you take a day trip and visit this former dairy farm turned conservation community.

Tours start at 1pm (call beforehand to… Continue

Added by Kirt Manecke, Smile book on June 11, 2009 at 9:00am — No Comments

Continued HUD/FHA Delays on Site Condo Financing Creating Serious Hardships for Michigan Homeowners and Builders

Michigan Consumers Cannot Take Advantage of First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit

Until Bureaucratic Roadblocks Are Removed

LANSING AND FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – June 4, 2009 – US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced this week that the agency has implemented rules that will allow first-time homebuyers to use an $8,000 tax credit to help cover closing costs on an FHA-insured home. That’s great news for homebuyers across the country but… Continue

Added by Home Builders Association of the Grand Traverse Area on June 10, 2009 at 3:13pm — No Comments

The growing marketplace for green building depends on you, the homeowner.

Everything seems to be "going green" these days - from cars, to companies, to coffee. However, sometimes it can be hard to tell what that really means, especially when it comes to your current or future home.

Building green means incorporating environmental considerations and resource efficiency into every step of the home building and land development process to minimize environmental impact. During the design, construction, and operation of a home, energy and water efficiency, lot… Continue

Added by Home Builders Association of the Grand Traverse Area on June 10, 2009 at 3:07pm — No Comments

Challenge the Intern

Recent federal scrutiny into hazing and initiation practices has really put a damper on the intern experience here at I started work here a few weeks ago expecting to undergo brutal tests of endurance and fortitude to earn my place, but I was disappointed to find a friendly office environment that has unconditionally accepted me. The epic initiation I had expected never came: no tests, no challenges. That’s why I’m turning to you. Please haze me.

[Hazing is endorsed by… Continue

Added by Nathan Harris on June 10, 2009 at 2:53pm — 4 Comments

Tips on Controlling Your Remodeling Budget

The most important part of any remodeling project is making sure you don't go over your budget. Doing so can lead to settling for unexpected options, disagreements with contractors and worst case, an unfinished room!

This is why the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) is providing homeowners with a few simple guidelines to follow when remodeling, especially during National Kitchen & Bath Month this October. Follow the steps below from the NKBA to make sure your remodel… Continue

Added by Home Builders Association of the Grand Traverse Area on June 10, 2009 at 8:00am — No Comments

Polypay on the Way

In just two short weeks, we will be adding new spring babies to our farm.

Polypay lambs.

I love having new farm babies.

It fills a deep seated need to mother.…


Added by Sherry Sutherby on June 10, 2009 at 6:00am — No Comments

Home Builders Association Supports Community with Scholarships

The Home Builders Association of the Grand Traverse Area presented scholarships to area students at their General Membership Meeting held on Monday, May 11, 2009 at Gio's Trattoria Grille in Kalkaska. Support of trades and continuing education has been a long standing tradition of the Home Builders Association.

The scholarships granted came from the Home Builders Association Educational Scholarship which was funded by a grant of nearly $30,000 made to the Grand Traverse Regional… Continue

Added by Home Builders Association of the Grand Traverse Area on June 9, 2009 at 3:57pm — No Comments

Making the Most of a Small Kitchen Space

The kitchen is becoming more than just a food preparation area in today's society. Yet, on average, the kitchen still remains one of the smaller rooms in the house. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) considers any kitchen 150 square feet or smaller to be a small kitchen, but that doesn't mean you can't make it look more spacious with some big ideas.

Use unique storage solutions. Install high pantry cabinets to eliminate extra small cabinets. Add pullout shelves,… Continue

Added by Home Builders Association of the Grand Traverse Area on June 9, 2009 at 3:11pm — No Comments

Wind vs. View

Yesterday afternoon I was at a gathering about Michigan’s energy options and happened to run into Don Coe, a partner in Black Star Farms, the vineyard and B&B about 15 minutes north of Traverse City, on Leelanau Peninsula. Coe often describes himself as a farmer, which is true, since Black Star Farms grows grapes and orchard fruit, but the title doesn’t fully encompass his experience. Coe also worked in the upper echelons of a major distiller and ran their government relations operation… Continue

Added by Jeff Smith on June 9, 2009 at 12:26pm — No Comments

Home Buying Guide

Buying a new home can be a daunting challenge. With such a significant investment, you want to make sure that your money's well spent, which means paying attention to all the little details that make the difference between a good home and a great one.

So where do you start? What should you be looking for? What questions do you need to ask? Lou "Mr. Fix-It" Manfredini has put together the following 10 tips to help you identify the home that's right for you.

Ten Tips for… Continue

Added by Home Builders Association of the Grand Traverse Area on June 9, 2009 at 7:30am — No Comments

See what you may be missing

Look over a river after dinner time and you will see nature at it's best. The Mayflies will begin their dance above the water's surface so that next year's mayflies will also continue the tradition. As the dance ends with the mayflies falling exausted to the surface film, they bring another dance below the water. The dance of some of the biggest trout feeding on the spent bugs as they create rings on the top of the river. With what the mayflies have left, the trout will use to help themselves… Continue

Added by Rich Merlino on June 8, 2009 at 4:30pm — 1 Comment

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