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DIY Weekend Project: Building a Fire Pit

Outdoor fire pits provide a place to gather with family and friends, roast marshmallows, and snack on s’mores. If you want to enjoy your evenings next to a fire, consider this weekend DIY project.

Person at firepit

Lowe’s designed a simple and fast system for a fire pit with a ring of concrete blocks surrounding a steel fire pit bowl with a cover. Removable fire pit bowls make cleaning easier. Do not build this design on a deck. A metal poker is recommended to move and adjust wood in the pit for an optimum fire.

Before Building

Step 1
Check with any local ordinances or homeowners’ association guidelines to see if fire pits are permitted. Some regulations don’t allow them, while others require that they be located at least a specific distance away from structures or property lines (typically 20 feet).

Step 2
Select a convenient and safe location. Make sure that it’s in an open area away from the house, low tree limbs or anything else that could catch fire. If possible, have it near your woodpile for convenience.

Step 3
Place a small flag at the selected location, and check it periodically over a few days to determine the wind direction. You don’t want smoke blowing in your windows.

Begin Building

Step 1
Gather the materials and tools you’ll need for this job. Once gathered, construction of the fire pit should only take an hour or two at the most.

Step 2
Assemble the fire pit screen cover, and place it on the patio to mark the center of the fire pit. This step will help you determine the size of the fire pit ring.

Step 3
Place the first layer of blocks around the cover, making sure all the joints between blocks are tight. The example project has 16 blocks in each layer. Mortar isn’t used.

Step 4
Remove the cover and set it aside for now.

Step 5
Install the second layer of blocks on top of the completed first layer, staggering the joints between the blocks to strengthen the wall.

Step 6
Install the third, then the fourth layer of blocks, staggering the joints.

Step 7
Install the fire pit tray — without the legs — in the ring.
Step 8
Install the fire pit grate.

You are now ready to enjoy your fire pit throughout the summer and into the fall.

Click here for more information about building a fire pit.

 Source: Lowes

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Peaceful and Serene Water Front Home in Grass Lake

Featured Listing

This week we are featuring Rick Taylor’s listing - 490 Island Drive, Grass Lake, MI, 49240.

490 Island Drive, Grass Lake, MIQ. Can you describe the architectural style of the home?
Bavarian style architecture

490 Island Dr - EntryQ. What distinctive features set this home apart?
The expansive 1.5 story home boasts over 3500 sq. ft. with the best views of Grass Lake water frontage and 15 acres of land.

490 Island Dr - KitchenQ. What are the advantages of the location & neighborhood?
Panoramic views abound, yet it is only four minutes to 1-94 and 30 minutes to Ann Arbor.

490 Island Dr - FireplaceQ. Does the community have any amenities we should know about?
All-sports lake

490 Island Dr - MasterQ. What amazing views will the new homeowner be able to enjoy?
Panoramic views of rolling countryside and water front views to the south and west.

490 Island Dr - Master BalconyQ. What makes the price of this home so great?
This is the kind of home that will easily increase in value upon improvements made.

490 Island Dr - Backyard Q. Can you tell us a fun fact about the home?
You’ll feel like you’re living in Europe.

490 Island Dr - StairsQ. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about the home?
This rare architectural home offers such peace and serenity you’ll immediately want to call this home your own. This is a prime water front location at a fraction of the cost.

490 Island Dr - WaterIf you would like more information about 490 Island Drive, Grass Lake, MI or if you are interested in scheduling a showing, please contact Rick Taylor at 734-223-5656.

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Neighborhood Spotlight: Ann Arbor Hills & Geddes Heights

Each week we will be exploring and unveiling a feature neighborhood in Washtenaw County. This week we are highlighting the neighborhoods of Ann Arbor Hills & Geddes Heights in Ann Arbor.

Ideally located just east of town, these are two of Ann Arbor’s most beloved neighborhoods.

Everything the city has to offer is just a short distance away. This neighborhood is special because it is close to downtown while maintaining privacy for its residents.

Click here to see more beautiful Ann Arbor Neighborhoods.

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Market Activity Remains Strong through the First Quarter of 2014

Despite the winter weather, first quarter 2014 sales of houses and condominiums equaled the record pace of 2013.

Market activity remains very strong:
• Buyer demand is high.
• Mortgage rates remain low.
• Average sale prices grew by 18% in 2013.
• Sales rose in many Washtenaw County school districts and were down 2% in Ann Arbor.
• Reinhart maintained its dominant market position.


For sound advice and help creating your real estate plan, visit our website today.


*Data is from the Ann Arbor Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service for the period of 1/1/2014 – 3/31/2014

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Ann Arbor’s Condo Market is in Full Swing

As more buyers are looking to move downtown, the Ann Arbor condo market is facing a lack of inventory and record-setting sale prices.


Twenty-three condominiums are listed for sale in the downtown Ann Arbor area, with five of those properties under contract, according to data from Ann Arbor’s multiple listing service.
Downtown condos range from the Tower Plaza building on East William Street — where units are listed from $134,800 to $259,000 — to a high-end loft on South Main Street listed for $1.725 million.

The demand is highest for high-end and newer units, and only a handful of those properties are available. Recent sales data shows some downtown condos are selling at record prices. The average sale price of condos in all of Washtenaw County last year was $248,601, up from $210,616 in 2012, according to the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors.


The rise in demand is causing some downtown property owners to explore options for constructing condominiums atop their existing buildings. The owners of the Running Fit building at 121-123 E. Liberty St. proposed an addition that would include six housing units. Just around the corner, the new owners of the building at 210-216 S. Fourth Ave. want to add roughly 30 condos or apartments as part of a redevelopment of the property.

Read the full article 

Source: MLive 

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A Strong Start to 2014

Comparing our January/February 2014 to last year, we are dead even in the number of listings taken and +32 units (7.1%) on sales agreements signed.

a2 house

Given that this has now officially been declared the most severe winter since 1950-51, I think this is a tremendous accomplishment. February showed a pattern of acceleration of both listings and sales as the month progressed, so we start March with strong momentum.

At the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World conference last week, one of the consistent messages we heard from brokers all over the county was the lack of listing inventory. Ann Arbor is among the lowest inventory location, but Reinhart is out-performing our competitors and I expect we will have great success on the listing side of our business in the next 90 days. That will certainly be our focus!

Start your real estate plan off right with a free consultation with a Reinhart professional. We will arm you with all the knowledge you need to decide what is right for you.

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18th Annual Coat Drive: Where Do the Coats Go?

Over the Coat Drive’s 17-year history, Reinhart has collected more than 17,000 new and gently used winter coats. Many wonder, where do the coats go?

We contact several local agencies annually to determine their needs in terms of winter coats. This year we will be donating coats to:


Through the month of November, we will be collecting new and gently used winter coats at all of the Charles Reinhart Sales Offices as well as all Sunday Open Houses.

For more information about the 18th Annual Coat Drive, please contact Greer Thibodeau,  Marketing Coordinator at 734-669-5837 or gthibodeau@reinhartrealtors.com.


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Trick-or-Treat Times for Washtenaw County

Each city sets a specific time frame for trick-or-treating. Find out what time trick-or-treating officially beings in your community.

  • Chelsea: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Saline: 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Ann Arbor: 5 to 8 p.m.
  • Milan: 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Village of Dexter: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Village of Manchester: 5 to 7 p.m.
  • Ypsilanti: Dusk.
  • Pittsfield Township: 6 to 8 p.m.

This year candy checks will be at  McDonald’s on Washtenaw Avenue and Carpenter Road from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Source: MLive.com

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Travel Through the Countryside for the Magical Mystery Tour Bike Ride

Ann Arbor Kiwanis is hosting the 2nd Annual Magical Mystery Tour bike ride this Saturday, September 21. Beginning at Rolling Hills County Park, the rides offered include a 100 km ride through the countryside and incorporating the Tecumseh to Adrian Kiwanis blacktopped bike trail; a 50 km ride; and a Family Fun Ride on a new 2-mile blacktopped bike path within Rolling Hills County Park.

The Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor partners with the Education Project for Homeless Youth, a project of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District working with homeless students. This project helps ensure students regularly attend and succeed in school and arranges temporary living situations.  Ann Arbor Kiwanis provides backpacks full of school supplies in the fall, food baskets at Thanksgiving, gift bags during the holidays and warm coats, hats and mittens. Proceeds from the Magical Mystery Tour will support these Kiwanis activities.

For more information, or to register for the ride, visit their website.

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Foreclosure Fillings Hit an Almost 8 Year Low

According to RealtyTrac, an online marketer of foreclosed properties, the number of new foreclosure filings in August hit the lowest level in nearly eight years.

The report points out some interesting facts:

• Foreclosure starts in August decreased from a year ago in 38 states.
• Michigan is down 55 percent.
• August’s initial foreclosure filings fell 44% to 55,575, just below the 56,063 that were recorded in October 2005.
• Bank repossessions (REO) in August increased 6 percent from the previous month but were still down 25 percent from a year ago.

“This is a strong indicator that the crisis is over,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “The foreclosure floodwaters have receded in most parts of the country, although lenders and communities continue to clean up the damage left behind,” he added.

For more information visit RealtyTrac

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Turner via Flickr

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