New Office Hours!



American Realty will be implementing new office hours starting today. We will be open for appointments only, no more walk-ins (except for dropping off rent). If you would like to set up an appointment, call today at (616) 913-9004 or email us at!

Thank you for your cooperation!


Tacos De Grand Rapids

By: Kirsten Mann, Marketing and Communications Intern

Cinco De Mayo may only occur one day a year, but that doesn’t mean you can only eat Mexican food on that ONE day. Some of you may have Mexican food once a week, others may have it twice a week, then there are those people that only have it once a month! You’re probably thinking to yourself, “who in their right mind only has Mexican once a month?!” We personally believe that you need to indulge in the deliciousness of Mexican food more often, so we have a list of some of our favorite places in Grand Rapids to get some. 4401140214_f489c708f0_b

We know everyone loves tacos (yes, the most basic, original form of Mexican food that exists… but they’re delicious right?!) and if someone doesn’t it’s most likely because they’re loco. Here are some of our favorite restaurants in the Grand Rapids area to get some authentic Mexican tacos.

  1. Taqueria San Jose
  2. El Granjero Mexican Grill
  3. Donkey Taqueria
  4. Tacos El Cuando

Each restaurant has their own distinct atmosphere that makes them unique in their own way. Most of them serve a variety of other authentic meals as well!  If you’re in the mood for Mexican now and looking for a new place to try you should definitely hit up one of these destinations. They’re all located within the Grand Rapids area, so finding them isn’t too big of a challenge.

Know of another place that serves authentic Mexican tacos that isn’t on our list? Let us know! We love to try new places especially when they serve up our favorite food! 

Movies Till You Puke: A Movie Watcher’s Guide to GR

By: Jeff Huber, Leasing Coordinator

So, here’s the deal. I like movies. But who doesn’t, right? I mean, who doesn’t have Netflix? (Actually, I don’t, but I beat myself up about it if that makes you feel any better about it.) It’s almost unsettling when you meet someone who doesn’t care for movies in general. Typically, I don’t believe them. I mean, it’s an industry born and bred in the States. It’s part of our heritage; it’s part of our DNA. Dare I say it; the idea is un-American. YOU tell me, what bothers you more: Communists or people who don’t enjoy movies? I think I just proved my point. I think.

Of course, some people prefer “the outdoors” or “reading books”. It’s a waste of time if you ask me. If I can’t view my nature from a letter box framed by the likes of Terrence Malick, I don’t want it.

I fear that I’ve already said too much…*sob* I have a confession… *sob* *sob*…I like the artsy fartsy stuff, and classics too… Don’t get me wrong, I like gratuitous violence in my movies from time to time, but it isn’t my bread and Bergman (confession #2: I’ve never seen a movie by Ingmar Bergman, I just wanted some wordplay). Picture1

So, if you’re looking for something other than today’s Hollywood fare–whether you’re adventurous, pretentious, or an old soul about your movie tastes–Grand Rapids really is a great place to get a serving of what you’re looking for! There’s a surprising number of venues for that kind of thing if you know where to look.

Without further ado, here’s where to look for Indie/Classic/Artsy-fartsy movies in GR:

Tuesday Movie @ Wealthy Street Theatre

(Meanwhile Bar Film Series)

What could be better than a Tuesday filled with a classic movie in a classic theatre? If you happen to find yourself with time on your hands at 8pm, consider stopping by the ol’ Wealthy Street Theater for a flick. The movie fare is a wide variety of crowd pleasers and cult classics. I saw Fight Club there and loved it. It’s a quaint theater with plenty of old theater charm.

Extra perk: Do you like beer with your popcorn? CMC Members get bar privileges. Learn what that acronym means and how to be one herePicture1

Founders Film Series @ Celebration! Cinema North

Following the calendar week, on Wednesdays you can find legit classic movies at your local Celebration! Cinema North (for those who are directionally disinclined, you may have been to this theater if you’ve seen anything in Imax lately).

I’ve been pining to go to one of these, they sell Founders beer in the screening area itself during the movie, and the tickets themselves are only $2 (21+ only). Honestly, I can hardly believe it’s a real thing; if someone were to design a way to lure me into a trap, I don’t think they could think of a better scheme.

However, there is a caveat to this recommendation, the current series is over, BUT Founders and Celebration! keep doing this with new movies. I’m in full faith that we are only in a temporary hiatus between series. If I’m wrong, then I’ve wasted your time. You’re going to have to deal with that one day.

“The Cheap Theater,” aka: Celebration! Woodland

If you haven’t heard the term before, then you’ve heard it now. Celebration! Woodland is the theater at Woodland Mall that plays movies that aren’t quite so new to theaters but aren’t quite out on video yet, and they do it for cheap. (just hum the words Cheap movies, seen dirt cheap to AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds”)

But there aren’t just stale Hollywood flicks for cheap, there’s fresh Indie films that you likely wouldn’t find anywhere else! Especially around Oscar season, many of the movies that you will see nominated for Best Picture will be playing there. Regular tickets for these are $6 for College students/ $9 for adults. Check it out!

Indie Films @ UICA

Now that we’ve made the transition to Indie side of GR’s offerings, we have now arrived at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art. You may have noticed the scrolling Movie posters in the window next to their entrance, this is because there is a theater down in the depths of the UICA on the lowest floor of the building–complete with concessions.

As you know by now, The Cheap Theater has the Indie’s too. However, if you’re looking for the road less traveled, something with less accolades, or even something a little bit weird and/or unsettling, this might be the place for you to look. Of course, the movies vary and they play classics, and host other events here from time to time. Tickets are $8 for non-members.

Movies in the Park @ Ah-Nab-Awen Park

It’s hard for me to rank the best place to see a movie, and I know that I wrote that Terrance Malick “I don’t need real nature” line up the page, but there something magic in watching movies in the outdoors, and Movies in the Park does it right! For those of you who haven’t, Movies in the Park is the wonderful event at Ah-I-Can’t-Pronounce-It Park in downtown GR.  They play classic movies for FREE on a big screen and hundreds of people attend. There’s food vendors, and you can bring a 6-pack (just stop to the tent with the 21+ wristbands), and they even give out free movie posters made specifically for the screening in exchange for filling out a survey. Neato! Here’s a peak at this summer’s movies:Picture1

  • Wizard of Oz (June 3)
  • Men in Black (June 17)
  • A League of Their Own (July 8)
  • The Mask of Zorro (July 22)
  • Edward Scissorhands (August 5)
  • Double Feature: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off & a to-be-determined Voter’s Choice movie (August 19)

So, those are all my GR movie secrets. Be blessed in your movie watchings. Ya dig?

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM.

By: Danielle Miller, Marketing Manager

Let’s be honest; when you think of spring and summer, what food automatically comes to mind? Now, you might say burgers, or brats, or even s’mores, but I am willing to bet the majority of us think of the cold, creamy, deliciousness we all know as ice cream. And since we are being honest, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I can honestly say that during the summer, I probably go to my local ice cream store at least 1-2 times a week. You too? Okay, glad to know I am not alone.

 So since we all love ice cream, I am going to highlight one of my favorite local shops. Why? Basically, I think you need to try it…and try it soon. I will warn you though; once you go once, you’ll go twice, and then you’ll be there all the time. I’ll be sure to save you a seat.

 Luckily for me, Furniture City Creamery is actually right down the road from American Realty. I love supporting local shops, and Furniture City Creamery is the definition of a “small, local shop.” In fact, the shop itself is less than 500 square feet. But don’t let their size fool you! During the summer, Furniture City Creamery makes over 100 gallons of ice cream a week. Not to mention, they make their ice cream from scratch. Yes, they are that cool. And to top it all off, the ingredients that they use are all from local Michigan businesses.candy-1836510_960_720

 You may be wondering, “Since everything is made from scratch, what unique flavors do they create?”

 Some of Today’s Ice Cream Flavors Are:

Van’s Donut

Rowster’s Coffee

Lucky Charms

Salted Caramel


Vegan Brownie Sundae

 Just to name a few…

 According to the owners, “Our flavor selections change daily/hourly depending on demand. This helps keep everything fresh, and gives you an opportunity to try something new every time you visit!”

 The flavors that they create are all developed on site as well.

 “95% of the products you see in the shop are made by the same two women (Denise and Rachel). Both met through GROW and left corporate jobs to make ice cream all day.”

 All I have to say is, Denise and Rachel are my heroes, and total boss babes. I might just take them up on their ice cream making classes so that I too can be awesome.

 All this to say, you should check out Furniture City Creamery at least once this summer. You will not be disappointed! But don’t just take my word for it, visit them at: 958 Cherry St SE, Grand Rapids, Mi 49506.

Stay tuned for a fun project we are currently working on with them as well!


Did you say coffee?

By: Kirsten Mann, Marketing and Communications Intern

College students love coffee; there’s no questioning that. We spend long hours studying for exams, waking up early for class, and staying up late at night to work on homework, so when we need a little pick me up, coffee seems to be the simple solution. The only thing keeping us going is a burst of energy that we get when we drink it. Our minds are tricked into thinking that sleep isn’tdownload necessary and the only real energy we need is from a cup of coffee. 

Now, not every college student has this mentality. Some college students enjoy getting their 8 hours of sleep at night and don’t find themselves relying on
a cup of coffee to keep their heads up and their minds going. Some students find it relaxing just getting a coffee and catching up with a friend at a local coffee shop. Whether you’re the student who needs coffee to function, or the student who just wants it to relax, there are a lot of unique coffee shops around Grand Rapids that offer the fix you need. Some of my favorites are:

When you need your coffee fix, where do you venture to in Grand Rapids?

Making Time to Live a Healthy Lifestyle in College

By: Kirsten Mann, Marketing and Communications Intern

One of the biggest struggles a college student faces is finding the time to do everything. When you go off to college and begin your life there, you’re excited about all the freedom you have to choose what you want to do. You get comfortable being able to decide how you want to go about doing things, not having a parent or guardian telling you what to do, such as chores and/or homework. It takes a good couple of weeks to adapt to holding yourself responsible for getting yourself to class since there’s no one there to make you go, except the lingering thought that you’re paying for the opportunity of a better education. Once you finally get comfortable with your schedule, a new semester begins, which means a new schedule and further

It wasn’t hard to adjust to going to classes everyday, or getting myself to go. The hardest part was trying to find time to do homework, eat, exercise and have a social life, especially when I got a job my senior year. You’re probably thinking, “it was hard finding time to eat?” Believe it or not, I skipped many meals because I didn’t have the time to make a proper one. I tended to snack more than actually eat a full, nutritious meal. This resulted in my energy levels being lowered, leaving me not wanting to do anything by the end of the day, including exercise.

adult-1867757_960_720Part of my daily  routine (now) is going to the gym and getting a workout in before dinner. Before my junior year of college I struggled fitting the gym into my routine because I made the excuse that I didn’t have time due to homework. I was tired all the time because I went to bed late and woke up early; it just wasn’t healthy… I wasn’t healthy. Every year seemed to get busier and I had less and less time to do things. My last year meant that more of my free time would be consumed because of my job, classes and internship; I knew I would have to adjust myself to a busier schedule than what I was used to. It wasn’t an easy adjustment, but I knew I had to do what was best for me, so I made the time to incorporate a healthier lifestyle.

By the end of my senior year I started eating 3 full meals a day and sleeping at least 8 hours a night; I finally started to feel like myself again. I had a better attitude about my classes and about waking up in the morning. I didn’t procrastinate as much and felt like I had more energy to get things done. I still have my lazy days on the weekends, but I make up for it by keeping busy during the week. It took me all four years of my college career to figure out a schedule that worked best for me. I learned to be more flexible and more willing to make time in order to benefit myself as a whole in the end.plank-1327256_960_720

College is all about making time to do the things that you think are important and that  need to get done. Your college career isn’t about finding the time; it’s about making the time. It’s about adjusting and finding out what works best for you. It may take you your freshmen year to adjust and become comfortable, or it may take you all four years of college; no one adjusts at the same rate. Make time to figure out what a healthy lifestyle means to you and make it your lifestyle.

Present Over Perfect

By: Danielle Miller, Marketing Manager

So, next week is Spring Break for most of you. If you don’t have anywhere to go this Spring Break, or even if you do, I suggest reading a book for fun. Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “I read all the time for class, why would I want to read a book for fun?” I actually used to think the same way, but, now that I am a little older, I have found SO MUCH joy in reading.

Spring Break is an amazing opportunity for you to rest, relax, and have a little fun. If you’re staying home, find a cozy place in your home, make yourself a cup of coffee, grab your softest blanket, and escape in a book. If you’re traveling to a tropical oasis, grab a beach chair, a fruity drink, and catch a few rays as you escape in a book. Either way, again, books give us the opportunity to escape for a little while, which is what you deserve after the semester you have had so far. kindle-381242_960_720

While it doesn’t matter exactly what you read, make sure that it is something that interests you. Perhaps you love fiction. My go-to is usually fiction because I love the imagination and creativity in fiction novels. I typically fall in love with the characters, shed a few tears as they endure their struggles, and find that most novels have happy endings that leave me feeling a sense of happiness as well. My husband, on the other hand, enjoys books about golf. He absolutely loves golf, so I decided to pick him up Arnold Palmer’s book for our cruise next week; I know he is going to love it, even though he is someone who usually doesn’t read very often.

This year, I have decided I am going to bring the book, Present Over Perfect, with me over my trip. I actually already started reading it because 1) I am really excited about it and slightly nerdy, and 2) because I know it is going to encourage me in so many areas of my life. As the marketing manager, I am always looking for ways to grow in my career. While I do read books about marketing and the creative process, I know that the book, Present Over Perfect, will also help me in my role at American Realty, and in my everyday life. Sometimes, we tend to get caught up perfecting the details, when we should be looking at the big picture. So far, I have found that Present Over Perfect teaches its readers how to be present instead of worrying about the future, and how to create a new, realistic idea of how to approach work and life in general. This book might even be a good option for you! It literally outlines how to relax!presentoverperfect

I encourage you to allow yourself to relax over your break. Escape in a book; it might be just what you needed.

Leaving Home for College

I got accepted to Grand Valley State University in the middle of my senior year of high school. It was the only university that I had applied to because it was the only one that I really wanted to attend. My older sister was a junior at GVSU when I was a senior in high school and I fell in love with the university through visiting her. My mom didn’t want me to go away to school, partly because she didn’t think I was ready and partly because she said she would miss me too much.

I wasn’t home when my acceptance letter had arrived at my house; I was at the local Biggby where my boyfriend was working at the time. He worked at Biggby while he attended school at a community college and was planning on transferring to GVSU after two years. He may be partly to blame for me choosing to leave home. I was sitting at the coffee shop when my mom texted me that I received a large envelope from GVSU. We had talked a few weeks earlier that I most likely would receive a letter if I had been declined, so I knew I had to have been accepted.

Up until I had gotten my acceptance letter from GVSU I was planing on going to a community college back home. My parents thought it would be smarter considering the money I would save. I didn’t know what to think when I had finally gotten the acceptance letter. I didn’t know if I should have been happy that I was accepted, or worried that no one would want me to go. My grades in high school weren’t of top quality, so many of my family members  didn’t think I would get accepted right away. My sister was “wait-listed” when she first applied.

A lot happened my last year of high school that had to do with me choosing to go to a university 2 hours away from home.  My parents decided to get a divorce the first couple months of school and that process went on throughout the year. My family was kind of a mess during that time, so part of me wanted to stay and fix it, but I knew I had to leave and fix myself first. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy leaving all of that behind, especially my younger sister who had to be left home alone. It was hard, really hard.

My family is all on the east side of the state, so communicating with them through my years at college haven’t always been the easiest. Sometimes I barely hear from them and other times I hear from them on the daily. I love to hear about their lives and what they’re doing without me there because it makes me feel sort of like I am there. It’s even better when I’m able to go home for a few days, or they are able to come visit me. Through all of our troubles in the past we are lucky to be closer than ever.

Being away from home has taught me a lot, especially how to be more independent. I’ve always been an independent person, but only to some extent. I would like to say I’ve grown up as a person throughout my college career. Though I don’t remember too well what my mindset was like my freshmen year, I would like to think that I’ve become a much more positive person with a brighter outlook on life. 

I’ve learned to appreciate the little things, especially the leftovers from a meal that you had when your family came to visit. I’ve become more grateful for what I have and  the opportunities that I’ve been blessed with. I’m a senior at a university that I’ve attended for 4 years and am graduating in the spring with a bachelor’s degree that I hope to use for some good toward the community; what could be better than that?

Choosing to leave home was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I wouldn’t change a thing about the experiences and lessons I’ve learned while I was away.

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

By: Jared Behrens, General Manager

I am a big believer in morning routines.  Having an easily replicated morning routine gets you ready for the day, and gives you a first step in the right direction.  These routines are useful if you are a student, a blue collar worker, if you have an office job, or if you are a stay at home parent.  Setting time aside first thing in the morning to get your day and life in order pays exponential dividends throughout the day.  Here is a quick glimpse into my morning routine.  Admittedly, it is a little intense and possibly overboard, but it is what helps me attack the day.

9:00 pm – My morning routine actually starts the night before.  I know that my body needs a minimum of 7 hours of sleep to function correctly, so setting a time to wind down is imperative.  At 9pm, my phone alerts me that it is time to get ready for bed.  My objective is to finish my day at this point, and begin to prepare for sleep.  I find that non-caffeinated relaxing tea such as chamomile or an herbal blend help signal my body to prepare for bed.  This is also when I do my reading.  For one reason or another, once I begin reading, I struggle to keep my eyes open.  I get comfortable, begin to relax, read, and I am asleep by 10pm at the latest.

5:00 am – My alarm sounds and it is time to get out of bed!  After getting out of bed and getting dressed, I head downstairs for a healthy breakfast.  For the past several months, I have been enjoying kale smoothies.  I put loads of fresh greens and vegetables in my smoothie that give me energy throughout the day, and start my day with a blast of micronutrients!  Once the smoothie is done, dog has been fed and let out, it is off to the gym.

6:00 am – I arrive at the gym.  My workout will consist of a number of different things I may be interested in at the time.  I will do strength training, yoga, running, or whatever else interests me.  What you are doing is not important, the important thing is that you are doing something. 

7:00 am – My workout is complete, and it is time to prepare for the workday.  After working out, I am a big fan of spending time stretching, and spending time in a steam room or a sauna.  It gives time for your body to cool down from a workout and prepare you for the transition to beginning your day.  Lastly, I take a COLD shower!  I know it sounds crazy, but there is nothing like a cold shower to make you know you are alive!  An added benefit is that after taking a cold shower, anything seems easy.  There is nothing your day will throw at you that will be more difficult than stepping into freezing cold water early in the morning.

7:45 am – I have found that I perform at a much higher level when making meditation and journaling a regular practice.  Even just 10 minutes of mindfulness, and 5 minutes putting thoughts to paper help clear my head and give me a positive start to my morning.  This has been the easiest for me to dismiss out of my routine, but I find is extremely valuable.  The benefits pay dividends throughout the day.

8:00 am – I arrive at my office and being my day.  One of the things I love the most is that at this point, I have already been up for 3 hours.  My body and mind are fully awake and aware.  I am prepared for whatever challenge I am facing that day even if it is the first thing I encounter.

I have been practicing some form of this routine now for almost two years and I swear by it.  I find my energy level high throughout the day, and my attitude is more positive than ever.  While my exact routine may not be for everyone, I do suggest some sort of routine.  Once it becomes habit, you will not turn back to rushing out of bed 15 minutes before your first appointment!