Home Offices Are More Desirable Than Ever!

For years, we’ve all heard about the most desirable home features buyers are looking for, from upgraded kitchens to remodeled bathrooms, master suites, and more. The latest on the hot list, however, might surprise you: home offices.

In a recent article by George RatiuSenior Economist with, he notes how listings with an office are selling quickly:

“As more companies have been embracing remote work, buyers are driving demand for houses with home offices higher. Homes featuring the term ‘office’ are selling 9 days faster than the overall housing inventory.”

Why Home Office Space Is More Desirable Than Ever | MyKCM

Today, more and more people are working remotely, and that’s not just because the current pandemic is prompting businesses to operate virtually. According to the same piece and the most recent data available, the number of employees working at home was fairly steady from 1997 – 2004 but has been climbing ever since (see graph below):Clearly, the work-from-home population is growing, and technology is making it possible. Just last month, according to an article on Think Google, searches for telecommuting hit an all-time high, and that’s certainly no surprise given our current situation.

People all over the U.S. are looking for answers on how to be most effective at home, and it’s making the ideal workspace more and more desirable. In fact, best practices from seasoned work-from-home professionals, like Chris Anderson, Senior Account Executive at HousingWire, tout that having a dedicated space is a must for productivity.

With today’s increasing demand for home offices, it’s a great feature to highlight within your listing if you’re selling a house that may meet this growing need. From bright natural light with large windows to built-in bookshelves or a quiet and secluded atmosphere, whatever makes your office space shine is worth mentioning to buyers when you’re ready to list your house.

Ratiu concludes:

“For housing, the continued increase in the share of remote workers implies that demand for homes with offices or dedicated work spaces will continue to increase. The current coronavirus pandemic offers a dramatic indication of the fact that companies and employees will have to develop plans and clearer policies for remote work beyond the current crisis.”

Bottom Line

Remote work may become more widely accepted as this current crisis teaches businesses throughout the country what it takes to function virtually. So, what seems like a business challenge today may be more of the norm tomorrow. With that in mind, if you have a home office, your house may be more desirable to buyers than you think.

Century 21 Northland – COVID-19 Official Statement

“Amid escalating concerns about the spread of COVID-19, Century 21 Northland, would like to take this time to speak directly to our clients, prospective clients & community members!

In real estate, like many other industries, despite the serious nature of our current events, the show must go on. Especially considering the latest drop, in prime interest rates! Home affordability may never be better.

That being said, we firmly believe that our Agents can still carry out their duties responsibly under these conditions, & are encouraged to continue to do so on behalf of buyers who believe they may have opportunity now, or sellers who cannot wait weeks or months to resume their sales plans.

Thus, we will be deep cleaning our offices, and continuing to do so on a regular basis, per the CDC recommendations. Our agents who tour properties with buyers or sellers will be practicing safety precautions for each showing. Alcohol/Sanitizing Wipes for doorknobs & light switches, as well as the use of hand sanitizer and/or hand washing at both the beginning and the end of the showing.  To minimize the exposure to germs in general, we will be foregoing the traditional handshake at this time. Of course, we do not wish to offend anyone by politely declining a handshake but feel it necessary to take every precaution for both the safety of our clients and ourselves. Obviously if you are feeling ill or been exposed to someone who has, please reach out and we will simply reschedule your appointment!

At Century 21, we already offer our clients an online experience that outshines the competition & will be ramping up our efforts to increase those areas of communications during this time! We encourage those that are currently selling your home, to share your listing online. The dramatic increase in the numbers of folks online, will leave open the possibility for possible buyers to find the home of their dreams, while they at home avoiding the public! If you are in the market for a home, please do not hesitate to reach out to us personally via our website, social media or simply give us a call. Our agents will be able to work with you remotely and share with you many of the same tools we already use in the business that can help you narrow down your search without subjecting yourself to the public until absolutely necessary!

No epidemic lasts forever, and everyone will still need a place to live when this one passes. Please stay safe, remember a panicked public often breeds more problems. We encourage you to be safe, smart and practical. But discourage any hysteria and mass assumptions. The internet can be a fantastic resource for information. But not source is credible, so be mindful of misinformation.

We are confident that like most everything else, this too shall pass! We thank you in advance for your cooperation and partnership in helping to protect the health of our communities. We are dedicated to providing a stress free, and healthy environment.

Stay Healthy Friends”


If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me personally. I would be happy to talk things through with you!

Call: (989) 429-1057


Michigan’s Other Great Lake – HIGGINS LAKE

They don’t call Michigan the Great Lakes State for nothing. Yes, we’re surrounded by some of the most famous lakes in the world, but we’re also home to plenty of inland bodies of water that offer just as much charm. There’s one lake here in Michigan that will absolutely delight you with its crystal-clear shorelines, sapphire hues, and perfect ambiance. Once you visit, you might never want to leave.

Higgins Lake is a small community tucked away in beautiful Roscommon County and that’s where you will find this hidden gem. Higgins Lake is the tenth largest lake in the entire state of Michigan and covers approximately 9,900 acres.

With its 21 miles of stunning shoreline it offers some of the greatest lakefront homes in the area. Here you’ll also find all sorts of scenic spots and plenty of wonderful outdoor adventures just waiting to be discovered.

However, the most impressive of all, is the lake’s stunning colors. The deepest parts of the lake are a rich sapphire color, while the shallower sections sparkle with a delightful turquoise hue.

Visitors to Higgins Lake will find ample opportunities for fishing, camping, & beach going. With two state parks to enjoy, North & South Higgins Lake, you’ll find easy access to boat launches, swimming, & find yourself transported into a blissful beach paradise.

Outdoor enthusiasts of all ages will be completely blown away by the magical atmosphere at Higgins Lake. For many Michiganders, visiting this gorgeous spot is a lifelong family tradition.

Whether you’ve been splashing in the beautiful blue waters of Higgins Lake for years or you’re just preparing for your first trip, there’s no denying that this is one of Michigan’s most incredible bodies of water.

Need some help planning your next vacation?

Follow the links below for some rental properties & state parks in the area.

Thinking of taking the dive and investing in your own piece of blissful lakefront paradise? Now is the time with home prices on the rise and interest rates at record breaking lows.

So, why not put an experts eye on your home search! You’ll receive personalized matches of results delivered direct to you. I’ll take into account your goals, criteria and preferences to find properties that are exactly what you’ve been dreaming of.

Learn more about how to discover your dream home, HERE -or- Call me today to start living your dream on the tranquil waters of Higgins Lake! (989) 429-1057

Source Credit:

Now w/Century 21 Northland

I would like to let you know I am now working at CENTURY 21 Northland in Houghton Lake. After much thought and deliberation, the association to a large franchise firm seemed to be the best option for myself and my customers. CENTURY 21 has been the most recognized name in the real estate industry for many years. I believe the marketing and opportunities CENTURY 21 has available will increase the level of service I am able to provide to my customers.

I value the years I spent at Midge & Co, and the friends and connections I made while working there. I’m thankful to Midge & the whole team and wish them all the best.  Please be sure to save this new email address- and delete my old Midge & Co email. I will no longer be receiving emails through that account.

I look forward to and am excited for the future, feel free to contact me with any questions.  
Thank you for all your continued support & friendship!

How Interest Rates Can Impact Your Monthly Housing Payments

Spring is right around the corner, so flowers are starting to bloom, and many potential homebuyers are getting ready to step into the market. If you’re thinking of buying this season, here’s how mortgage interest rates are working in your favor.

Freddie Mac explains:

If you’re in the market to buy a home, today’s average mortgage rates are something to celebrate compared to almost any year since 1971…

Mortgage rates change frequently. Over the last 45 years, they have ranged from a high of 18.63% (1981) to a low of 3.31% (2012). While it’s not likely that the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate will return to its record low, the current average rate of 3.45% is pretty close — all to your advantage.”

How Interest Rates Can Impact Your Monthly Housing Payments | MyKCM

To put this in perspective, the following chart from the same article shows how average mortgage rates by decade have impacted the approximate monthly payment of a $200,000 home over time:Clearly, when rates are low – like they are today – qualified buyers can benefit significantly over time.

Keep in mind, if interest rates go up, this can push many potential homebuyers out of the market. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) notes:

“Prospective home buyers are also adversely affected when interest rates rise. NAHB’s priced-out estimates show that, depending on the starting rate, a quarter-point increase in the rate of 3.75% on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage can price over 1.3 million U.S. households out of the market for the median-priced new home.”

Bottom Line

You certainly don’t want to be priced out of the market this year, and waiting may mean a significant change in your potential mortgage payment should rates start to rise. If your financial situation allows, now may be a great time to lock in at a low mortgage rate to benefit greatly over the lifetime of your loan.

*Source: Keeping Current Matters

Tips for Sellers this Fall

5 Ways to Boost Your Curb Appeal for the Fall Selling Season

Sellers looking to get the best price know that curb appeal plays a huge role in getting buyers through the door. Once the flowers fade and the temperature drops, however, it can be easy to overlook your outdoor space altogether. Here are five simple ways to make the most of what fall has to offer and give your home the edge it needs for a quick sale.

1. Improve Your Entry

With every potential buyer passing through your front door, your entryway is critical to a good first impression. Cleaning the door, sweeping the stoop, and ridding the area of dirt and cobwebs can be enough to improve the overall look of your home, but for maximum impact, lay a new doormat and replace or paint any rusted or corroded hardware, mailboxes, or light fixtures. If you’re feeling adventurous, painting your front door a different shade can be a great selling feature that can be done in an afternoon.

2. Let the Light Shine

While the outdoors is the natural habitat for all manner of insects, they don’t need to reside in your outdoor light fixtures. Dirty lights and windows will not only reduce your nighttime curb appeal but can also affect how much natural light makes it through to the inside of your home. A thorough cleaning of light fixtures and windows will boost the overall impression buyers have of your home and can affect their impression of the rest of the home. For added impact, place inexpensive solar lights along the border of any gardens or walkways to illuminate your yard at night.

3. Love Your Landscape

Given that landscaping can amount for up to 15 percent of a home’s value, keeping your yard in tip-top shape is more important in the fall than ever. Fall colors and cascading leaves may provide a romantic vision, but may leave a potential buyer focusing on how much raking they will have to do. When seasonal plants fade away, be sure to cut back the dead growth and ensure your yard is regularly raked. Even if your yard doesn’t require frequent mowing, be sure to edge walkways with a straight-edge for a clean-cut look, and add some quick color by placing pots of seasonal plants in gardens and on porches.

4. Whisk the Water Away

The fall tends to bring increased precipitation, which can be a deal-breaker for buyers if they feel water penetration will be a problem. To prevent pooling water, be sure the grading around the foundation slopes away from the house and use downspout extenders, if necessary, to move water out into the yard. Clean the gutters regularly, and take a good walk around your home after a heavy rain to identify any problem areas that may allow water into the house, like door and window caulking.

5. Don’t Overdo the Decor

Finally, while the bounty of fall can be used to enhance the beauty of your home, be wary of overdoing the decor. Too many Halloween decorations, for example, can easily detract from the beauty of your home. Try instead for colorful mums, gourds, and pumpkins in a variety of colors and sizes that can provide earthy variety without overdoing it. Regardless of the weather, the fall is still a hot time to sell a home, and can be an incredible opportunity to make a lucrative sale. Keep in mind that most buyers will either view your home online or drive by before making a decision to visit, so a sharp curb appeal can help keep your home above the competition.

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3. Email contact information. We does not share, sell, or trade email addresses, except that state and local association staff and leadership email addresses may be listed in the membership directories available on We may use your email address to directly send you information and may provide you with online informational or marketing messages that have been approved by us together with other communications to which you have subscribed.

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Community Update

Houghton Lake has always been a place of fond memories for its community members and tourists alike. For many years families have been vacationing here coming from as far as 3 or 4 hours away just to enjoy our beautiful lake, whether it be winter or summer. The beauty of this town is the fun never ends; the outdoor enthusiast can be entertained year round.

In the summer the lakes are full of life and the trails are run hard with ORV’s of all sorts. Fall brings the hunter’s that come from all over for the chance to snag the elusive 10 point buck. Winter has the snowmobiles, ice fisherman, and the well-known Tip Up Town USA. From a real estate perspective Houghton Lake offers a bit of everything, and very fortunately for the second home owner’s it’s at a very affordable price compared to other tourist communities in Northern Michigan. That and the fact that it is a centrally located community, within a 2-3 hour drive from all the major cities in Michigan it is a popular tourist destination. Tourism is what keeps the community thriving since the population quickly depreciates to a third of the people once the snow flies and all that is left is the local community.

Houghton Lake was hit very hard during the recession and has been one of the slowest real estate markets to regain home values. When the community completely thrives on tourism and that comes to a halt, not only are the second home owner’s feeling the impact of losing their houses or putting them up for sale because they can no longer afford them, the small business owner’s were left wondering if they’d even be able to keep their doors open. Some were not. It’s a domino effect the lead to lost jobs for the worker’s, lost homes, etc. But it has bounced back, slowly but surely and the community is now thinking of ways to keep the tourism coming, keep the locals thriving, and make Houghton Lake the go to destination and the place that people want to live full time and raise their families.

The chamber of commerce is hard at work coming up with new ideas daily. Recently they hosted Shake The Lake which was a wonderful family friendly music event. The entertainment was amazing, there were food trucks, vendors, beverages. Kids were welcome, you could even hear the music from the lake! There were many boats anchored nearby enjoying the entertainment as well. The chamber’s main focus is to bring tourism to the community by creating events that pulls people in. They are also in need of new members! These events don’t happen overnight and they require a lot of fundraising and sponsorships from the local community. If you are looking for a way to help out the chamber is a great option.

Our school is working hard to get pointed in the right direction. When people are deciding where to live between Houghton Lake, Roscommon, or Grayling, and they have small children the schools are a NUMBER ONE deciding factor almost every time. The community is built around its school system when it is a small community like this one, the children and the school’s need to be a number one priority. In order to bring more people to live in our area the focus needs to be on the schools. We have a new school board in place and the school has recently made some changes to better serve the community and students within it. Moving forward, they are gathering people together to form a task force to discuss the future needs of the school to continue with the improvements. More information on the first task force meeting is posted below. I’d encourage you to attend if you have ideas of what can help the school and the community. 

Another organization close to my heart in this community is the Northern Michigan Children’s Assessment Center. If you are unfamiliar with them please go to their website and learn about how they help our children & how many children they see within our small community that have been victims of abuse. Midge & Co is teaming up with NCACU and other local community member’s to bring a great family friendly event to the area with the sole purpose of raising money for the CAC (Children’s Assessment Center). Saturday September 7th, bring your families and join us behind Collin’s Elementary for a fun SUPERHERO DAY! Starting at noon there will be a walk for kids around the school grounds, we are asking for a $20 donation per family to join the walk, but we will take whatever you can donate. During the walk we will meet the SUPERHEROES and the children will be able to escort them into the MAIN SUPERHERO EVENT outside! The main superhero event begins at 1 and will have many children’s activities, business vendor’s, food and more! Activities include a bounce house, face painting, free popcorn, ice cream, hotdogs, and a k-9 demonstration with the local k-9 unit! This is just some of the fun offerings that day and everything is FREE! We are just asking for a cash donation if you are able for the CAC.  

My career in real estate has opened my eyes up to so much more than just selling houses. I’ve learned how to help people during hard life transitions. I’ve learned how I can use my platform as a realtor to better serve our community. More than anything, I’ve learned that to grow it takes a village. If you have the time and you want to see Houghton Lake become the go to vacation destination, the place people want to come to raise their families, the town they are excited to start their new business in, JOIN! DONATE! VOLUNTEER!

Let’s work together and make a difference.

~Ashley Boal