Homeownership

Homeownership Page.jpg

 

Are you a new homeowner? Have you recently relocated to Grand Rapids? Congratulations and welcome! We think you've chosen the best city!

Being a homeowner is an exciting journey. But, we know there can be many questions along the way.  Here are some resources that can help you through this process.

About this Guide

There are many resources to help homeowners be successful. We've listed some of these resources below.  These resources are not offered through the City, and we are not affiliated with these groups. But, these resources can be very helpful for homeowners to know about.


Homeownership Counseling

Homeownership counseling is a good way to prepare to buy a house. These counseling services are HUD or MSHDA approved to provide education and counseling to homebuyers.

* Please note that eligibility requirements and income guidelines vary by program.  A fee may be involved.   


Locating a Home

Need help searching for a home in Grand Rapids? Here’s a some places to start your search:


Paying for Your Home

Here are programs that can help you pay for your new home:

  • Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA)
    MSHDA offers programs that provide financial assitance for buying a home. Programs offered includes:
    - Down payment assistance
    - Low-interest mortgage loans
    - Financing for homes that require repair
  • Veterans Administration
    The Veterans Administration (VA) offers financing to veterans. These loans are low-interest, often with no down payment.

Homeowner Maintenance/ Repair

Do you need assistance with home maintenance/repair? Here are resources that can help you:

Your Housing Rights

The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. In Michigan, state law provides additional protection for age and marital status. Grand Rapids also has local ordinances that expand coverage for sexual preference and legal and verifiable source of income.

If you believe your rights have been violated, contact one of the following agencies to file a complaint:

  • Fair Housing Center of West Michigan
    The Fair Housing Center of West Michigan works to ensure equal housing opportunities. They will look into complaints of housing discrimination. The agency will also work with victims of housing discrimination to ensure justice.
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development investigates individual complaints of housing discrimination.
  • Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan
    The Dispute Resolution Center provides mediation services to resolve fair housing complaints.
  • Legal Aid of Western Michigan
    Legal Aid of Western Michigan provides free legal services. These services are for non-criminal cases. You must be low-income and/or an elderly resident. Legal services may relate to home purchases, negotiations with repair contractors, utility shut-offs, evictions, lead paint hazards, foreclosures, and other housing issues.
  • Michigan Department of Civil Rights
    The Department of Civil Rights works to prevent discrimination through educational problems. It investigates and resolves discrimination complaints.

About the Fund

The Homebuyer Assistance Fund (HAF) program offers up to $7,500 for low- and moderate-income homebuyers. Buyers can use the money for down payment, closing costs, and prepaid expenses.

More Info

Utilities

When you move into a home in Grand Rapids, you need to put the utilities in your name. 

Water/Sewer

Click below for a step by step guide on setting up your water/sewer services for your home.

Start Water/Sewer Services

Waste Services

We will help you with all your trash, recycle, and yard waste needs.

Recycling

A free service with two cart sizes to choose from. The more you recycle the less you pay for  service.

Trash

A pay per collection service. We offer three different cart sizes (option below). You only pay when you use the cart. Keep in mind a smaller cart will work if you recycle often. You will also want to keep a positive account balance - we do not service accounts with an outstanding balance.

  • 32 gallon cart - great for a single person. $3.05 per use.
  • 64 gallon cart - ideal for a small to medium size family. $5.10 per use.
  • 96 gallon cart - works for a large family that may not recycle $7.15 per use.

Yard Waste

A pay per collection service with one cart size. This is a seasonal program that runs April through December

Request Waste Services


Payments

Options, fees, and details

Your payment options vary based on the services you need to pay for. Fees also vary based on how you pay -- online, by phone, or in person.

Payment Options & Details

Water/Sewer

Need to pay for your waste and water/sewer services? You can make a payment online through grpayit. We also have other payment options.

The Water Department sends you a bill every 3 months. This is the amount you owe for the past 3 months of use. You can pay your bill in full or monthly. Your payments have to be posted to your account by the due date or we will charge a 10% late fee.

Water/Sewer Payments

Trash and Yard Waste

Our Pay As You Throw refuse service lets you to pay for your trash collection in a way that works for you. You can choose to pay per week, per month, or for the entire year up front. Remember, your cart will not be emptied if you have a $0 balance in your account.

Waste Services Payments


Electric and Gas

The City of Grand Rapids offers utility services, but they don't include electricity or natural gas. You can search online for local gas and electric providers. They'll help you get these services started for your home.


Change Your Address with the United States Postal Service

Submit a Change of Address Order to the U. S. Postal Service. You can get this form by clicking here or at your local post office.

Pay Property Taxes

As a homeowner, you are responsible for paying taxes on your property. There are several ways you are able to pay your property taxes. Luckily, we offer a step-by-step guide for paying property taxes.

Pay Property Taxes


Property Tax Estimator

Want to calculate your estimated property taxes? Use our Tax Estimator tool to determine your summer, winter and yearly tax rates and amounts.

Use the Estimator


Summer Tax Deferment

Do you need more time to pay your summer taxes? You can apply to delay your tax due date.

Qualifications

Both of these must apply to you

  • Your income must be under $40,000 for the whole household
  • This parcel (address) is your Principal Residence (you must live there)

And one of the following must apply to you

  • Senior Citizen (Over 62 years of age)
  • Paraplegic or Quadriplegic
  • Total and permanently disabled
  • Blind Person
  • An eligible Veteran, Service Member, or widow(er) of a Service Member/ Veteran

Apply for Deferment of Summer Taxes

Be in the Know

Explore all that your neighborhood has to offer through our “My Neighborhood” Map. All you need to do is enter your address!

Use My Neighborhood


Features

Look Up Trash and Recycling Pickup Dates

Need to know when your City trash and recycling carts are picked up? You can use My Neighborhood to look up your next collection dates.

Look Up City Commissioners by Address

Wondering who represents you on the City Commission? You can use the My Neighborhood page to look up who your commissioners are.

Find Nearby Events

Looking for something to do? You can use the My Neighborhood page to find events near you.

Find Nearby Parks

Looking to spend some time outdoors? You can use the My Neighborhood page to find City parks near you.

Find Nearby Libraries

Looking for libraries in the Grand Rapids area? You can use the My Neighborhood page to find libraries near you.

Find Something to Do

Looking for something to do in your neighborhood? We have year-round activities and entertainment options for all Grand Rapids residents and visitors to enjoy.

Browse through our upcoming events to find something fun to do! Visit our Event & Activities page and use the Search Events section to search events by neighborhoodSee what your neighborhood has to offer.

Events & Activities

Home Renovations

You'll likely need a permit to do any of the renovations listed below

  • Adding on to your home
  • Adding a deck, pool, or shed
  • Installing drywall as part of remodeling a room or finishing a basement

Home renovations big and small often need a permit if you're adding or modifying walls, wiring, piping ductwork, or HVAC equipment. Permits are required for occupied structures, like homes, as well as unoccupied structures like garages and sheds.

We made a home renovation guide. It shows you what kind of permits and instructions you will need to make changes to your home. 

Planning and Permits for Home Renovation Projects

Talk to Your Lender

As soon as you know you will not be able to make your payment, contact your mortgage lender and see if you can work something out. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), talk with your counselor as soon as possible.


Call Home Repair Services of Kent County

If you are not able to work something out with your lender, or you do not understand your rights, call Home Repair Services of Kent County. They are the first point of contact for foreclosure assistance. Home Repair Services is a nonprofit agency. Talking with their housing specialists is free. They will talk with you about your situation and tell you what resources may be available to help you.

Home Repair Services of Kent County
1100 South Division Avenue
Grand Rapids, MI 49507
(616) 241-2601


Resources

Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA)

The State of Michigan provides information about homeownership. This includes an overview of the foreclosure process. They will also give tips to help you keep your home, manage your credit, and prioritize your debt.

MSHDA Website

Step Forward Michigan

MSHDA’s program, Step Forward Michigan, has three different ways it can assist:

  • Unemployment Mortgage Subsidy
    Unemployment homeowners may be eligible to receive assistance with paying their mortgage. You'll receive 50% of monthly mortgage payments (up to $750 per month) for a maximum of 12 months. Eligible homeowners may also qualify for up to $3,000 for an existing mortgage delinquency.
  • Mortgage Loan Rescue
    Homeowners may apply for loans up to $10,000 towards delinquent mortgage payments. This will allow normal payments to resume.
  • Principal Curtailment
    This assistance provides funds up to $10,000 towards your existing mortgage loan to make monthly payments more affordable.

Other rules and restrictions apply. Contact Home Repair Services of Kent County at (616) 241-2601 for more information about Step Forward Michigan. Homeowners may apply for assistance directly via the website.

Step Forward Website

Community Foreclosure Response Toolkit

This toolkit assists you to respond to foreclosure crisis. The toolkit has resources for mortgage and tax foreclosure prevention.

Community Foreclosure Response Toolkit Website

US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

The federal government provides information and links to other pages for ideas to avoid foreclosure, including how to work with your lender or housing counselor.

HUD Website