Tag: michigan

The Top 10 Largest Employers in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Top Employers in Grand Rapids, MIList of Top Employers in Grand Rapids, MI

Combined, the top 10 largest employers in Grand Rapids employ over 66,000 people. These companies are involved in various industries which include healthcare, grocery, shopping, consumer goods, manufacturing, technology, automotive, education, and furniture. In fact, Grand Rapids is known by many as “Furniture City” because it is home to many leading furniture manufacturing companies. These companies and many more help with Grand Rapid’s strong economy and low unemployment rates. Grand Rapids and West Michigan is a very attractive location to relocate to, especially for those interested in finding a long-term career with great pay and benefits.

Related Article: 10 Reasons to Move to Grand Rapids, MI

1. Spectrum Health

Headquarters: Grand Rapids, MI

Employees: 25,000

Spectrum Health is the largest employer in Grand Rapids and also the largest in the entire West Michigan. Spectrum Health is made up of hospital, treatment facilities, clinics, and urgent care facilities that provide excellent healthcare services to the residents of West Michigan.

 2. Meijer

Headquarters: Walker, MI

Employees: 10,340

Meijer is a large supermarket and hypermarket which offers many products and services that allowing customers to satisfy majority of their shopping needs at one location. Now a large regional supermarket, Meijer’s headquarters is based in Grand Rapids, MI.

3. Mercy General Health Partners

Headquarters: Muskegon, MI

Employees: 6,200

Mercy General Health Partners is a healthcare provider large throughout Muskegon & Kent Counties. It is a general medical hospital working to provide valuable health care to those residing in West Michigan.

4. Amway Corporation

Headquarters: Ada, MI

Employees: 4,000

Amway Corporation is a international consumer to consumer sales company selling mainly in the health, beauty and home care products. This

5. Gentex Corporation 

Headquarters: Zeeland, MI

Employees: 3,900

Gentex is a large manufacturing company specializing in glass products for the Automotive and Aviation markets.

6. Perrigo

Headquarters: Allegan, MI

Employees: 3,800

Perrigo is a manufacturer of over-the-counter and generic prescription medication, and other healthcare products that can be found in store across the world.

7. Herman Miller

Headquarters: Zeeland, MI

Employees: 3,621

Herman Miller is a manufacturer of furniture and equipment. It is one of the first companies to produce furniture with a modernist style.

8. Steelcase

Headquarters: Grand Rapids, MI

Employees: 3,500

Steelcase  is a large furniture manufacturer, it develops a wide range of different products and services for diverse businesses and workplaces.

9. Grand Valley State University

Headquarters: Grand Rapids/Allendale, MI

Employees: 3,306

Grand Valley State University (GVSU) is a large public university with two main campuses in Allendale and Grand Rapids. The college has over 25,000 students and is consistently recognized as one of the best universities in the United States.

10. Lacks Enterprises, Inc.

Headquarters: Grand Rapids, MI

Employees: 2,800

Lacks Enterprises, Inc. is a large manufacturer for the Automotive Market that specializes in plastic finish products.

Rounding Out the Top 20 Employers in Grand Rapids, MI

Other large employed in the area include, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Farmers Insurance Group, SpartanNash, Gordon Food Service, Magna International Inc, Metro Health Hospital, Ventra, Alcoa Howmet Corp., Fifth Third Bank and Priority Health.

For more information on the top employers in Grand Rapids and West Michigan please visit: https://www.grandrapids.org/ and https://www.rightplace.org/data-center/workforce

Moving to Grand Rapids or West Michigan? Send us a Message

With the thriving economy in Grand Rapids, MI you may be looking to call this place home. Riverbank Finance specializes in relocation loans and can assist you to buy a home in Grand Rapids. For more information on a local mortgage company in Grand Rapids, MI send us a message and we would be glad to assist you!

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How High Will Interest Rates Go This Year?

Mortgage interest rates have been slowly increasing since they plummeted following the 2008 financial crisis. Twice this year already, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates, which, in turn, raises the rate at which banks loan out money for mortgages. But are they done raising rates this year, or could more hikes be on the way?

Will the FED raise interest rates?

Here’s a few ways you can tell a rate increase is on the way:

  • Language of the FED. This past week on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve met and decided not to raise rates this month but indicated that a raise is “coming soon.” Most analysts take the language in that statement to mean before the end of 2017, another increase will be on the way, possibly as soon as September.
  • How markets reacted to the last increase. Instability in the marketplace often translates to more caution on the part of the FED. According to their own account, the last increase went with little to no instability.
  • PCE. Personal Consumption Expenditure, or PCE, is the FEDs favorite measure of economic health for the economy. Two-thirds of all economic spending (or growth in the FED’s mind) is measured in this index.
    • While this acronym is pretty simple, the index itself is multi-faceted. It Includes “Durable Goods,” like cars and houses; “non-durables,” like food and clothing; and services.
  • Inflation. Inflation is the rising cost of goods and services. Usually this happens for three reasons:
    • Wages are increasing, thus making things more expensive to make and sell. (The average wage for an employee in Grand Rapids, Michigan, falls around $45-50,000 annually.
    • Increased demand, due to credit being more accessible.
    • Government monetary policy (printing money).

How Much Will Interest Rates Rise This Year?

Interest rates before the economic crisis in 2007 were around 6.5%. Currently interest rates are at 1.25%. At the beginning of the year, the FED had hoped to get the rate back to 2%, but, at the last meeting, FED officials revised that to 1.5% due to the size of economic growth this year. We are growing, but slower than they forecasted.

What are current mortgage rates?

Mortgage rates have been hovering around the 4% range for 2017 for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage. The rates for home loans shot up to the mid to low 4’s at the beginning of this year but have slowly dropped back down to the range it has been at for the past few years.   The exact mortgage rate will depend on your specific situation including loan amount, loan-to-value ratio, credit score and loan program.

Related: Current Mortgage Rates

Should I buy a house before interest rates go up?

Interest rates will likely not rise to 2% this year. That doesn’t mean the FED won’t try to reach that goal next year, or perhaps go even higher than that. So, while rates are slowly rising, they are still lower than they were ten years ago for those searching for a mortgage.

For West Michigan, the rates being this low means an increase in demand for new homes. While rates have ticked up, the housing boom hasn’t slowed. If you want to take advantage of interest rates before they rise again, speak with a loan officer about your mortgage options. Call Riverbank Finance at (800) 555-2098.

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Calculating MI Property Taxes

Calculating Michigan Property TaxesWhen shopping around for a home it is beneficial to check the cost of property taxes.

Property Tax Overview:

Property tax is a levy on property.  It is required to be paid by the owner annually based on the fiscal year. They are collected on a county level and each county has its own system in determining them.

Because each county has its own system, property taxes vary from county to county.  Property tax on homes are based on a tax assessments and millage rates for the local municipality. Counties take many variables into consideration as well: funding needs, property value based in appraisal, school district, transportation, etc.

Because there are a variety of variables considered during the process property taxes are not set, they fluctuate.  Local governments can raise property taxes for a number of reason (this is often seen when the economy starts to take a turn for the worst). Property taxes are set by millage rates that are typically voted on in local elections to cover such things as fire departments, libraries and police departments.

Related: Michigan Property Transfer Tax Estimator

How to calculate Michigan Property Taxes

Calculating Michigan property taxes is an important step when you are buying a new home. If your estimates are off, you could find your budget thousands of dollars off each year.  The easiest way to do the math is to use the Michigan Property Tax Estimator.

You will then complete the following steps:

  1. Enter the SEV (State Equalized Value) found on the property tax records (you will use the SEV to calculate the property taxes for a property that you are purchasing. To calculate the property taxes for the current owner you will use the “Taxable Value” which may be less than the SEV.
  2. Select your Michigan County
  3. Select Your City/Village/Township
  4. Select Your School District

After entering this information you will see two numbers below. One number will be the estimated property tax bill based on a Primary Residence and the other number will be the number based on a non homestead exempt property such as an investment property.

How you affect your property taxes:

Homeowner’s actions often increase their property taxes.  As a home’s value increases so do its property taxes.  For example, if homeowners remodel, re-roof, add a pool or do anything else that would add value to their home, their property taxes may be effected. The local municipal assessor will revisit the property and make value adjustments accordingly.

Michigan Property Tax:

In Michigan, the median home value is $132,200 according to Tax-Rates.org.  Counties collect an average of 1.62 percent of their property’s market value as property taxes; that’s an average of $2,145 each year spent on property taxes – equivalent to 3.8% of most Michigander’s annual income ($55,244)!

Now, as stated above, these statistics are averages of Michigan as a whole.  They do vary, a significant amount! The highest property tax in Michigan is that of Washtenaw County which is at 2.9 percent.  The lowest is in Luce County at .56 percent.

As you can see, location matters for many reasons when choosing a home.

So, when you are shopping around take all expenses into consideration so you are able to make the best and most affordable decision for you and your family.

10 Reasons to Move to Grand Rapids, Michigan

Downtown Grand Rapids River

Grand Rapids, Michigan is a city with a metro area of over a million people and is one of the most desired places to relocate in the world. The city is known as a great place for jobs, education, diversity, safety, and fun. The economy in the region is constantly growing and the real estate market is booming as many people from throughout the world are quickly moving to there in large numbers. There are plenty of reasons to relocate to this wonderful city but listed below are just 10.

A Great Place to Raise a Family

Grand Rapids was named the best city in the United States to raise a family by Forbes Magazine. They credit the ranking for the city’s affordable housing, outstanding education system, safety, affordability, and commuting.

Low Unemployment

The Grand Rapids metro area has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. The city is consistently listed as one of the best cities for finding employment. In fact, the city is also known as one of the happiest cities to work in. The high education of residents, diversity of industries, and the high demand of skilled workers makes the job search process much easier.

Low Cost of Living

The city is very affordable. Those who do not have a lot of money can still live comfortably. The low cost of living eases the stress on the residents while allowing them to save money and have extra for spending.

Low Crime Rate

It is one of the safest big cities in America. It is a community filled with people who look out for one another, the streets are safe, and the residents are friendly. The police and fire department work extremely hard to ensure that the city is well protected. Living in Grand Rapids will allow you to sleep better at night knowing the friends and family are in safe hands.

Excellent Education

Grand Rapids has an excellent education system from kindergarten to high school with many public and charter schools. The city also has many colleges, their largest being Grand Valley State University, a public university constantly ranked as one of the top colleges in the country. If you are searching for great schools for you and your family, Grand Rapids is the place to look.

Lots of Diversity

Grand Rapids is home to many different cultures, religions, races, colors, and arts. There are plenty of diverse neighborhoods that would be perfect for the different age groups and ethnicities. The city welcomes and embraces diversity. The city is also the host of ArtPrize which is the largest art competition in the world.

The Beer Capital

If you are a beer lover Grand Rapids may be the place for you. It was recently named Beer City USA for the second year in a row. The city has many great bars, taverns, and breweries that you can have a great time at while enjoying a nice cold beer.

Beautiful Beaches

Grand Rapids is located near the west Michigan coastline which has beautiful sand beaches, stunning coastal sand dunes, and crystal clear waters. The Lake Michigan shoreline was ranked as one of the best in the entire world and it is a great place for sightseeing and spending quality time with friends and family

Great Location

The city is situated in west Michigan, a great diverse area located in between the two large cities of Chicago and Detroit. With these cities only a couple hours from Grand Rapids it allows residents to save a great amount of time when visiting these destinations.

Many Recreational Activities

Grand Rapids has a wide variety of natural resources that make it perfect for outdoor fun. Golfing, fishing, biking, skiing, snowmobiling, hunting, boating and hiking are all activities that residents are frequently involved in. If you are someone who enjoys being active with outdoor sports Grand Rapids is the place to be.

Send us a Message for more Information on Relocating to Grand Rapids

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Obama’s HARP 3.0 Proposal

HARP 3.0The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), which was originally proposed by President Obama, may be expanded for the third time.  The program has been in effect for a while now and it seems as if it may undergo yet another transformation to help additional homeowners refinance. Our previous blog post covered the transition to HARP 2.0, which is the current program, and now it seems we will see the emergence of HARP 3.0.  This won’t be a small transformation in anyway as there are quite a few big changes that could benefit many homeowners.

The biggest changes we could see occur will include extension of dates, no income requirements, and higher LTV ratios. The eligibility date could be extended up to May 10, 2010.  This date was chosen, as it seems many home purchases made after this date were made with a mortgage rate below 5%. There will no longer be verification requirements for things such as employment and income (state income loans could make a come back). The loan-to-value or LTV will be switched from 125%, up to 140% for most investors.

Perhaps the biggest change that could draw it several homeowners is the adjustment made to the appraisal costs. Included in the proposal is a change that all borrowers who would require a manual appraisal should have the fee waved. This means that, if you’re someone who lives within a neighborhood that has been struggling with home sales recently. Then your appraisal would be completely waved.  This will save you time in refinancing and will help keep money in your pocket.  Of course, everybody loves free things, so this would be a huge benefit if HARP 3.0 becomes a reality.

All of this is a great attempt to quickly transform and turn around the housing market as soon as possible. This is definitely a step in the right direction to help out those remaining homeowners that are still struggling with their current mortgage payments and find themselves in “underwater” situations.

We here at Riverbank Finance are doing our best to eliminate the worries in the minds of countless homeowners here in Michigan by helping them with refinancing to these historically low rates.  We have partnered with several investors that participate in the HARP loans to offer the lowest rates and fees available.  Even if you have been turned down by other banks for the a HARP refinance, give us a call as we have great programs to transfer mortgage insurance, unlimited LTV loans, and we can even help if you have a second mortgage.

If you would like to see what a few of our previous clients had to say about us, be sure to check out our reviews on Google. Feel free to contact one of our licensed loan officers today at 1-800-555-2098 or complete the form below to see if you are eligible for a HARP refinance.

Request information for HARP 3.0

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Home Prices to Rise in 2012

Higher Home ValuesSome more great news has just been released in regards to the housing market. No longer are the days of dark clouds looming overhead. We now have a clear-cut indication that things are improving (all be it slowly, but still improving). Overall home values are expected to begin rising as early as the end of 2012 and the total amounts are bit higher than most had expected to hear about.

Financial analytics company, Fiserv, recently released their findings on the housing market and the direction it’s headed.  They found that homes will gain an average of 4% value each year, for the next coming five years. Meaning your home is expected to rise a total of 20% in value over five years. Some great news for homeowners as many people have been shied away from selling their homes all because of the low values of today’s market.

Find how much your home is worth by using our valuation tool Michigan Home Value Estimator.

Further numbers showed that the short-term forecast doesn’t look amazing as home values for 2012 are expected to drop 0.8% from where they were last year. This means we have not yet reached rock bottom home prices just yet. Once we get closer to 2013 however, we should start to see the trend of lower home values finally reverse.

This does come across as a double-edged sword though. As home values begin to rise and sellers begin to feel more comfortable in putting their homes on the market, more buyers will begin to become discouraged by the rising prices. It’s quite obvious that the housing market will remain a buyer’s market for a couple years yet to come.

So to those of you looking to purchase a home before prices rise, now may be your last chance!  With the combination of historically low mortgage rates and rock bottom home values, now it the most affordable time to buy a home in Michigan. To get pre-approved to start shopping for a home contact Riverbank Finance before you the lowest home affordability in history. You can call a licensed loan officer at 1-800-555-2098 or complete the form below.

Buy a Michigan Home before Prices Rise

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Pre-Approval Process to Buy a Home in Michigan

Pre-Approval for Michigan HomesPreviously we went over the process of picking the proper real-estate agent for your home hunting needs so the next step is to determine the best mortgage program.  Most people do not have thousands of dollars in savings to buy a home with cash so a mortgage will be necessary.  A statistic from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is that 9-of-10 homebuyers purchase homes through a loan program so it is important to know what loans are available.

First we should probably explain what the term “pre-approval” means.  The process begins with you meeting a loan officer, which can help you determine what type of home you can afford.  It then continues onto a review of your credit files to ensure they are in good standing.  The loan officer will then determine which specific mortgage program is best for you.  From there you’ll receive a pre-approval certificate stating your maximum borrowing potential. Riverbank Finance loan officer will assist you in shopping interest rates and closing costs with several banks at the same time.

Most people can get a loan, as long as they’re willing to pay high interest.  The key to connect yourself with a good mortgage company that can find a loan for your current situation that has the best terms and lowest cost.  This is where Riverbank Finance comes into play as we specialize in helping you determine the best possible loan options available.

If you are a first-time homebuyer or even a repeat homebuyer they you will need help with a pre-approval.  We can go through the process with you and answer any potential questions you may have about the pre-approval process.  Just fill out the email contact form below to get started.  You can also call us at 1-800-555-2098 and a loan officer will be in direct contact with you from the start of your loan to the closing.

Looking for Pre-Approval?

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