Crystal Mountain Realty Newsletter

In this issue:

You Speak, We Listen
Who's Minding the Condo?
Phoenix, Stone & Laurel
Michigan: The Natural Place for Business
Best Time to Buy or Sell?
It All Adds Up
Why a Local Lender?
Can't Take It With You
My Kind of Place: Recognitions & Awards

You Speak, We Listen

Last fall, Crystal announced plans for a new mixed-use retail/residential project that would serve as the gateway to Crystal’s village. Over the winter, LRA Worldwide Inc., was engaged to conduct market research for the project. The survey, in which over 1000 Crystal Mountain resort guests participated, was designed to gauge demand for the residential units, explore preferred ownership structures, and test 2 & 3-bedroom floor plan concepts.

When results were compiled, it was clear that strong demand exists for the residential component of this project. Simultaneously, another survey was conducted to identify current owner preferences for the new retail spaces. Food is king. The results of this survey indicated particularly strong demand for food and beverage related services, with suggestions for such mainstays as a great coffee house, a brew pub, a specialty grocery and additional restaurant options.

Though it’s too early to identify a launch date for the project or specify when pre-sales of the residential units will begin, due diligence continues in earnest. If you’d like to be kept abreast of project plans as they evolve, contact a member of the Crystal Mountain Realty team.

Who's Minding the Condo?

To the delight of many Crystal Mountain owners, the answer is, “not me!”

Crystal Mountain offers a property management service that can make vacation property ownership a breeze. It’s managed by professionals who are specifically trained in property management and up-to-date on industry trends. The team includes building engineering, association management, marketing, housekeeping, and finance/accounting professionals, all of whom work to put heads in beds and to maximize revenue for owners.

Crystal’s call center is state of the art, and through it, guests can book a wide range of services along with accommodations. This assures that guest packages are personalized and perfect – resulting in the kind of stay that beckons guests to return again and again.

When owners need an additional residence to accommodate extended family & friends, or when fractional owners wish to come at a different time, they have options. Owners at Crystal can trade throughout the resort; a call to Janell is all it takes. Most unit types are also eligible for trade through the RCI international vacation exchange network, which offers over 4000 destinations around the world.

Our team is here when you’re not. As a result, no one is calling you if there’s a problem, maintenance is seamless, and little problems are fixed before they become big ones. After all… isn’t having a vacation property all about being on vacation?

Phoenix, Stone & Laurel

Can you guess what they have in common? In 2006 the Stone Ridge Lake Views development was created on one of Benzie County’s most spectacular hill top sites just north of Beulah. The timing was star-crossed, however, and as Michigan slipped into recessionary hard times, this beautiful development fell into receivership. In 2013, the property was purchased by JADO Northern Michigan, LLC, and like the legendary phoenix, the newly christened Laurel Ridge Lake Views development is arising from what was Stone Ridge.

The Laurel Ridge Lake Views project offers home sites with spectacular views of Crystal Lake, The Platte Lakes, Lake Michigan and Sleeping Bear Dunes. The hillside on the SW corner of the property has its own sweeping vistas and, due to its orientation, is ideally suited for wine grapes. This land was originally planned as a vineyard, with another parcel near the entry deed-restricted for a winery and tasting room. The new owners desire to bring these key elements back, and are actively pursuing them.

Thoughtful covenants are in place to ensure values, roadways with curb & gutter are in, and central water & wastewater systems serve all sites. Crystal Mountain Realty is handling the project sales, and a limited number of lots are being released, with introductory pricing beginning summer 2014. For detailed information, contact a member of the Crystal Mountain Realty team.

Michigan: A Natural Place for Business

From saving its natural beauty to creating new research corridors in its urban centers, Michigan is preserving what makes it a wonderful place to live and improving what makes it a great place to work. The beauty of Michigan’s numerous lakes, forests, and rivers are obvious, but what might not be so obvious is the ever improving economy and work environment in Michigan. Michigan leads the nation in loans made to small businesses under a 2010 Treasury Department program with nearly $69.5 million invested, as reported by The Detroit News this March. While this investment in Michigan’s future is impressive, it is only one of the many steps marching Michigan towards being the best state to live and play. Other economic highlights include:

• According to the MEDC, unemployment dropped to 7.5% in April, down from 13+% in January 2010.

• In the top tier nationally for job creation - over 250,000 jobs created since 2010.

• Substantially invested in tourism, with $31MM budgeted for tourism promotion in 2014/15.

• Michigan has had a budget surplus the last two years and is projected to have a $1.3 billion dollar multi-year surplus.

• The Home Builders Association of Michigan recently forecasted a 20% increase in permits for single-family new homes in 2014. This follows a 28 percent increase from 2012 to 2013.

Amidst all these economic improvements, President Obama recently signed into law a bill designating nearly half of Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes 71,199 acres a wilderness area. This bill will help to insure that the park named by “Good Morning America” in 2011 as The Most Beautiful Place in America will be preserved and accessible for future generations. According to a recent article in Crain’s Detroit Business, more than 1.4 million visitors come to see the dunes every year, adding another $120 million into Michigan’s economy.

Considering Michigan’s dedication to preserving its wilderness and improving its economy, it’s clear that those of us invested in ownership can look forward to good things ahead.

Best Time to Buy or Sell?

Have you ever wondered when’s the best time to buy or sell resort real estate? In our world, it’s not just a spring/summer thing.

Due to the year round nature of resort operations, Crystal Mountain Realty’s sales are spread almost evenly across the 4 seasons of the year. In 2013, the most active quarter of the year accounted for 29% of the sales volume, while the least active quarter contributed 22 % of the sales. A similar trend occurred in 2012.

If you’re looking to sell or buy, there’s no one prime season and no reason to wait. If we can be of help, call a member of the Crystal Mountain Realty team at 800-968-2911.

It All Adds Up

As any homeowner will tell you, a new roof just isn’t as exciting as flashy new furnishings or a brighten-it-up paint job. That is… until the rains come. That’s when the lack of a proper roof can get very exciting. So it is with the resort business.

Some improvements are obvious and exciting, like the new Buck chairlift & slope expansion, the evolution of our Bungalow & Trailside neighborhoods, or the addition of our nationally acclaimed Crystal Spa. Other improvements are much less obvious, but equally important - like last fall’s water tank expansion, a new restaurant kitchen, the addition of a winch cat groomer, the big plow truck that arrived just in time for this past winter, and new snowmaking pipe & guns.

It all adds up. Between 2008 and 2013, over $20 million was invested in resort improvements – some of it by Crystal and some by owners in the course of upgrading their units. Every one of those improvements contributes to the overall resort experience for our owners and guests. So when you enjoy great water pressure in the shower or drive on a well-cleared road, join us in celebrating the many behind-the-scenes improvements that aren’t flashy… but important!

Why a Local Lender?

From our experience, there are plenty of compelling reasons to work with a local lender, when financing the purchase of an up-north property. Crystal Mountain Realty is not affiliated with any lending institutions, but we do maintain a short list of area lenders who have good programs, competitive rates and stellar service.

These lenders have a hands-on approach, and they offer personalized service & specially designed/customized mortgage programs to meet the needs of a unique market. (Try explaining to Joe the lender from Big Bank in Somewheresville that you want to finance a seasonal 8th ownership fractional residence and see how that goes...)

Local lenders offer a wide range of products including conventional fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable rate loans with outstanding rates, construction financing, and loans for home sites and acreage parcels. They offer in-house processing, underwriting and servicing, which expedites transactions and means there’s a real live, reachable person you can meet with personally or talk to over the phone. Our local lenders work with knowledgeable, local appraisers, and did I mention their unwavering commitment to stellar service & prompt closing?

When the time comes to finance your upnorth property, let us help you streamline the process by providing our list of top notch local lenders.

Can't Take It With You

It's true, when you leave your bogies behind and head for that birdie-only golf course in the sky, you can't take your property with you. And historically, if you left the property to your kids, they inherited it subject to the dreaded pop-up tax. PA 497, which went into effect Dec 31, 2013, changed that. In a nutshell, this law created an exemption for residential property transfers between immediate family, which prevents the pop-up or increase in property taxes. For complete details, see your tax professional.

My Kind of Place! Recognitions and Awards

View our awards and accolades! Located in the heart of Benzie County, Crystal Mountain is the Midwest's premier four seaon family resort featuring some of the finest accommodations northern Michigan has to offer: 36 holes of championship golf, 45 downhill slopes, 40km of cross-country trails, the award-winning Crystal Spa, the Michigan Legacy Art Park, and IACC approved conference facilities.

View Current Listings