Hugh Griffith: Blog

About Hugh Griffith of Keller William Realty

Four Reasons to Live in Forest Hills Michigan:

Four Reasons to Live in Forest Hills Michigan:

Forest Hills is a great place to live and raise a family – or just enjoy life. People that live in this community know what it means to live in such a great area of West Michigan. For those that haven’t visited or are thinking of moving to the area, I thought it would be nice to know about some of the great things that Forest Hills Michigan offers.

 Forest Hills Public Schools

                Forest Hills has arguably the best school district in the state of Michigan. It is very well supported by parents and the community at large both financially and with involvement and participation from the entire community. Forest Hills consistently ranks at the top of school standardized test results like the MEAP test. Aside from earning high marks for their education standards, Forest Hills School District offers some unique education experiences. Two examples of this is “Good Willie” an environmental school that offers a unique approach to education. Also, the Chinese and Spanish emersion programs offer a larger world-view to education.


                Forest Hills offers an impressive variety of community centers for people to enrich their lives and well being. The local YMCA off of Forest Hills Ave. is a well maintained facility that people use for everything from continuing education to swimming lessons.

                A great place to stop and buy groceries is Forest Hills Foods located on the corner of Forest Hills Ave. and Cascade Rd. It offers a massive selection of foods rarely found in smaller scale community grocery stores. Additionally the cafe’ is a great place to get a quick cup of coffee or enjoy a bite to eat. If you’ve never been there stop by around lunch and you can see how much a part of the community Forest hills Foods is.

Arts & Culture

                The Forest Hills Fine Arts Center is a world class facility for creative endeavors. Featuring a beautiful theatre area, art galleries, and music performances from local and national acts throughout the year. An enormous benefit for anyone interested in taking an art class or who just likes to enjoy a show without a drive into downtown. However if the occasional city life is what you’re craving you’ll be glad to know that the Urban institute for contemporary Arts (UICA), the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and ArtPrize permanent location are just minutes away. 

The Outdoors

               There are numerous well maintained parks and trails throughout the area where people jog, bike, and enjoy the outdoors. Additionally, the baseball and soccer fields are well maintained and offer the community a safe and enjoyable experience with nature. The Thornapple River offers fishing and kayaking.


                This list is just a “drop in the bucket” of the things available to the community of Forest Hills Michigan. Once you visit this area you won’t want to live anywhere else in West Michigan. If you would like advice on how to move to this great area of Michigan please contact me and I would be glad to be of service.

3 Most Important Goals When Selling Your Home (Part Three)

The three most important goals when selling your home are: selling your home for the most amount of money in the least amount of time with the least amount of inconvenience to your lifestyle. The following are some important tips to help you achieve these goals:

Part Three – Selling Your Home with the Least Amount of Inconvenience to your Lifestyle.

If you haven’t already I’d suggest reading part one of my series to get some tips on how to prepare your home for showings that – once done – will save you from a lot of inconvenience in the long run.

To recap my previous post, remember you’re selling your space and not your things. If you have a fair amount of decorations, kids toys, or other things that aren’t used on a daily basis then put them away in the extra bedroom or storage space. You’ll find yourself having a much easier time getting your home in order for a showing because there will simply be less around to clean and put away. It’s better to have one room clearly used as a storage space than to have things spread throughout the house.

Kids Bedroom

This childs room feels spacious and easy to clean because there is no clutter.

If you have children the rule of thumb is…10, collect your 10 favorite toys, 10 favorite games, 10 favorite stuffed animals, 10 favorite videos, and then pack everything else. Your children will have everything that they enjoy most – and you will have everything else out of the way.

When you’re getting ready to list your house it’s a good time to think of potential questions buyers may have about the condition of the home. Any relevant information you can collect and present to your selling agent beforehand will inevitably make your experience selling your home much less stressful. If there are any association dues then make sure you communicate that to your agent. Calculate what your average utility bills are for the year so that information is available for your Realtor to answer those questions on your behalf. Again, getting this information organized before you list your home will smooth the process for your family because, there will be less “back and forth” over details about your home. Your days will be less interrupted and much more enjoyable while your home is on the market.


Calculate your association dues and average utilities in advance.

In short, to sell your home with the least amount of inconvenience to your lifestyle you need to take the steps necessary to have your home and your family prepared before you list your home. Doing this will take the majority of the stress and disruption to your daily life out of the equation.

As a Realtor my first priority is making sure seller’s get the most money out of their home as possible. If you’re thinking of selling your home please contact me and I will perform a free market analysis (CMA) to help you determine the best strategy to price your home correctly and achieve your goals of the most amount of money in the least amount of time.

3 Most Important Goals When Selling Your Home (Part Two)

The three most important goals when selling your home are: selling your home for the most amount of money in the least amount of time with the least amount of inconvenience to your lifestyle. The following are some important tips to help you achieve these goals:

Part Two – Selling Your Home in the Least Amount of Time

Before we get into all the details about how to sell your home quickly I think it’s important to discuss what a seller controls and what they can’t.
A Seller has Control Over: the condition of the property, the availability for showings, the price of the home, and whether  to offer a  home warranty.
A Sell has No control Over: the competition, the condition of the market, interest rates, and when the perfect buyer walks through your door.It’s important to keep this in mind because if you understand what you have control over – you can make wise decisions or adjustments to your strategy.

Every seller, understandably, wants to get the very most money out of their home when they decide to put it on the market. Sometimes the temptation is to set your price as high as you feel the market will bear and hope for the best. This is often the first mistake a seller will make.

There are many reasons why this can lengthen the time your home sits on the market. A potential buyer may not even look at the home thinking they simply can’t afford it. An overpriced home will help other homes in your neighborhood or area appear to be the better value. If a home sits on the market too long it will become “shop worn” causing people to assume something is wrong with the condition of the home. Overpricing tends to make it less likely that a buyer’s agent will show it.

Overpricing inevitably lengthens the marketing time resulting in a lower selling price than would normally otherwise be obtained. Today’s home buyer has endless tools to shop and compare homes. Lastly, because nearly every buyer needs to obtain financing through a bank, it’s futile to overprice a home.

So what sells a home faster? The right price, and the right condition.

To get your home sold for the most money in the least amount of time you have to price it “in the market.” In a market where the home values are rising, if a seller wants to get a price that is ahead of market values, you’re essentially betting that the market values will rise enough to make your home value attractive. It’s important to balance out how much time you want to have your home on the market vs. the amount of money you’re hoping to get from the sale of your home.

In a buyer’s market – like many agree we are in now – it’s important to price your home realistically so that you aren’t chasing after lowering home values because home values tend to drop faster than price reductions. Price your home competitively and there is a much greater likelihood that your home will sell faster.

Setting your home price “in the market” is important because a property generates the most interest when it firsts hits the market. Also, the number of showings is greatest during the first 30 days if it is priced at a realistic value. Starting too high and dropping the price later misses the excitement and will fail to generate strong activity. Many homes that start too high end up actually selling below market value.

Pricing your home competitively will generate the most activity from agents and buyers. Pricing your property too high will make it seem like less of a value against newer, well-priced listings. Ultimately, the value of your property is determined by what the buyer is willing to pay and a seller is willing to accept in today’s market. Buyers make their pricing decisions based on comparing your property to other SOL D properties in your area. Historically, the first offer a seller gets is usually the best.

As a Realtor my first priority is making sure seller’s get the most money out of their home as possible. If you’re thinking of selling your home please contact me and I will perform a free market analysis (CMA) to help you determine the best strategy to price your home correctly and achieve your goals of the most amount of money in the least amount of time.

3 Most Important Goals When Selling Your Home (Part One)

The three most important goals when selling your home are: selling your home for the most amount of money in the least amount of time, with the least amount of inconvenience to your lifestyle. The following are some important tips to help you achieve these goals:

Part One – Getting the Most Amount of Money for your Home:

When selling your home you have to “re-wire” your thinking. Selling a home can be an emotional process. Being as objective about your home as possible and evaluating your home from the perspective of a potential buyer will go a long way towards communicating the value of your home. Making sure that your first impression is a memorable one is key.


This smaller galley kitchen feels spacious because of good staging techniques

This is often referred to as staging. You don’t have to have high-end furniture or appliances to make a home appear memorable. The most important thing to remember is that your selling your space…not your things. Therefore putting away unnecessary decorations, nick-knacks, and personal pictures will make your spaces and living areas appear less cluttered and easier for a potential buyer to imagine how they would use your space. Always remember less is more… to you your home might feel empty after you put your things away but, to a buyer it will make the living areas feel spacious.

You may love the lime-green kitchen or the dark blue color of your dining room but, your tastes are uniquely yours and aren’t necessarily shared by others. Re-painting some rooms with a more neutral color palette will ensure that buyers aren’t distracted by strong color choices. It’s a very affordable and quick way to update the feel of a living space. Lastly, don’t be afraid to remove a few pieces of furniture or re-organize how your furniture is arranged in a living area to make a room feel larger or easy to walk within.

It’s important to fix issues before your house goes on the market. The leaky faucet or the foggy window pane may not be a big issue for you at the time. However, when buyers go through your home they always notice the things not working and never the things that are. Most of the time these fixes are rather easy and affordable to take care of and will instill confidence in the buyer that they are viewing a well maintained, quality home.

Well Maintained Home

This home has excellent curb appeal because the landscape has been paid attention to.

Curb appeal counts! After all, the very first impression a buyer will have of your home is from the outside as they walk in. You don’t have to try and be like Martha Stewart in the garden… You do need to make sure that the grass is cut, the sidewalks are clear, and any bushes or perennials are trimmed. Take the same approach to the outside of your home as the inside by putting away lawn equipment, children’s toys, and additional seating for patio sets not often used.

The time spent addressing these issues will make your home appear well maintained, spacious, and desirable for potential buyers of your home.

Look for Part Two next week when I discuss “Selling your Home in the Least Amount of Time.” To schedule a consultation on how I can help sell your home please contact me by clicking on the link here.

Marketing your home for optimum on-line Visibility

Many Real Estate Agents have some sort of presence on-line. Current trends in real estate require that you embrace the newest technology available to market your home for optimum visibility on-line. Many agents like myself use: websites, facebook, craigslist, and blogs to raise that visibility. However, it’s one thing to raise an Agents visibility but, an entirely different thing to raise the visibility of a clients’ home.

Optimizing my clients listings is what I focus on first and foremost.

When a client works with me on marketing their home their listing is placed on over 300 different real estate websites across the country – and internationally. Additionally, we use the newest tools available to market our clients homes on-line including: a custom domain name, custom made virtual tours, and we use the power of Keller Williams unmatched web marketing tools. This website is just one small example of on-line marketing in a broader campaign that is ongoing continuously. All of my marketing on-line is tailored towards selling my clients house and providing the best, most accurate information to potential buyers while making that information easily available through numerous means.

When it comes time to sell your home it’s important to ask the agents you interview what their marketing strategy is. Most importantly, whose interests that marketing strategy best serves.

Hope Springs Eternal

Even though I really do enjoy winters in west Michigan, there is always something exciting about the anticipation of Spring.  It’s the arrival of blue skies, green grass and daffodils.  Being able to open windows to enjoy fresh air and hearing kids in the neighborhood on their bikes are reminders that we have come full circle into another new cycle of our seasons.  And with that change, it gives each of us an opportunity to change as well.  Looking back to be grateful of our past is important, but looking ahead to anticipate the future allows us to seize the opportunities of today.  For those of us who enjoy good health, be grateful.  For those of us who have close friends or close families, nurture those relationships.  And for those of us who have employment, work hard to be a valuable and successful member of your team.  When you come face-to-face with a challenge, become a part of the solution not a part of the problem.

Perennials will push through the ground each year without help from you.  Annuals are added to your landscape because you have taken time each season to plant them.  Your set of values, your morals and your convictions become your “perennials”.  They lay that foundation and reveal who you are.  When you plant seeds of kindness, goodwill and generosity, you will discover that those efforts will produce new friendships, new opportunities and new challenges.

Carpe Diem…seize the day!  The only way you’ll be able to enjoy the future to the fullest, is when you work the hardest to seize the opportunities of today.  So, the burst of spring should not only be the announcement of a new season, but also a commitment from each of us for renewal, for growth and for determination to make where we live, happier and where we work, stronger.

Is your house the “shiniest penny”?

Many people will put their homes on the market in spring time.  Always remember that you have just one chance at a first impression.  Will it be good or will it be bad?  Don’t make your listing public until you’re ready to do so.  Your house should be the shiniest penny in the bank.  If someone is looking at six homes and yours is one of them, it needs to stand above the competition.  And, if it does, you will be one the one’s who get the deal.

Remember this…you’re not selling your things, you’re selling your space.  And if people cannot see your space because of your things, you won’t get credit for your space.  Decorating your home for your lifestyle and staging a house for sale are two totally different things.  Being involved in sales and marketing for a major furniture manufacturer in Grand Rapids, gave me the opportunity to be a” fly on the wall” with some of America’s leading designers.  The concept of…less is more, opened up a new window in my mind.  That principle has been a tremendous tool for me to use with my clients.  Simple ideas can make profound differences.

Providing a staging service has become an intregal part of the services I provide for my clients.  Editing and re-arranging are important ingredients for your preparation.  If you’re planning to move, you’re going to have to move all of your personal items and furnishings at some point.  Think about packing and moving a lot of those things prior to listing your house so that they can be gone before those potential buyers come through.  A fresh neutral color palette, squeaky clean windows, shampooed carpet and polished hardwoods will all help add money to your bottom line.  And your goal should be to get the most amount of money in the least amount of time with the least amount of inconvenience to your lives!

Finding a real estate professional who can do more than simply put a sign in your yard and wait for the phone to ring will set you apart from your competition.


It’s suppose to be 55 degrees this week…a preview of things to come.  Don’t be fooled, we still have plenty of snow coming our way before the tulips pop their heads out of the ground.  But this time of year gives me a burst of energy just knowing what’s ahead.  Living in southern California for a number of years, I wasn’t able to see the weather cycles of the midwest.  Those cycles are great reminders of change…changes not just in our temperatures, but also changes in our lives.  Changes in our children, changes in our businesses and changes in ourselves.  Change is inevitably.  Most of us find stability in routines.  But routines can very easily turn into ruts.  Being aware of changes in our culture and in our environment prepare us to embrace new challenges and new opportunities.  As a baby boomer, I have learned from the “gen xer’s” to either get on board or be left in the dust.  I’m too young to be a relic…too much energy to be a by-stander…too many dreams left to fulfill.  So, once again, I’m changing directions.  I give credit to my kids, who are still in the “Spring” of their lives.  As I have tried to guide and teach them, I have, however, discovered the value of being a “student” of my children as well.  Oh my, they’ve taught me a lot.  Even though they butcher the English language with their texting acronyms, I am confident that when it’s their “season”, they will be prepared to take on the challenges that face us. 

Making contributions in our homes, our communities, our churches and in our work places will inevitably provide many new opportunities for growth, both personally and professionally.  It’s the time of year to get out of hibernation and…live!

What motivates me and why?

What motivates me?…a job well done.  I never settle for mediocrity.  There’s no room for it in my day…or in my life.  Doing my best affects my work and my family.  My daughters are in the last phase of high school…Forest Hills in Grand Rapids.  The school district has the highest test scores in the State of Michigan.  They don’t settle for “average”.  Smaller size classes and moderately-sized total enrollment allows kids to excel in a variety of areas, if they desire.  With the growth of Forest Hills District, we have seen Forest Hills Fine Arts Center affect the social and creative outlets for the citizens of Grand Rapids.The Cascade Library recently installed a windmill and solar panels to educate Forest Hills students the value of alternative energy and  going “green”.  Goodwillie Environmental School and the Spanish and Chinese Emersion Schools prepare Forest Hills students to succeed in today’s world.  Forest Hills Schools were far ahead of  the “No Child Left Behind” initiative.  Walking and bike paths, new and existing parks  the Thornapple River and new athletic centers create a healthy environment for people of all ages.  Forest Hills also offers great golfing and superb dining.  International businesses centered in Forest Hills and Grand Rapids, have produced some of the most philanthropic people in the world.  The new Medical Mile has placed us at the forefront of today’s healthcare.  It’s a GREAT place to be.  It’s a great place to learn, to grow, and to dream!