Sable Homes Wins Homebuilders Care Award

On Feb. 11, the Home Builders Association of Greater Grand Rapids Foundation (HBAGGRF) will recognize local heroes who carry out the Foundation’s mission, “making an impact on the lives of those with special housing needs and supporting the development of the next generation of housing industry professionals.” HBAGGRF will honor Sable Homes (Sable) with the Home Builders Care Award, Home Repair Services with the Community Builder Award, and Habitat for Humanity with the Next Generation Workforce Development Award.

Sable is receiving the Homebuilders care award for their work building a new home for Ryan and Amanda Bockheim and their children. In a thriving housing market Sable didn’t have to help the Bockheim family, but because they did, the family’s twin girls who were never supposed to live are now thriving. Born 12 weeks premature, the girls weighed just over two pounds and faced on-going health challenges. Their new Sable-built home provided a safe, clean, healthy and affordable home for the entire Bockheim family to live, love and grow in.

Pictured (left – right) Ryan and Amanda Bockheim with their children Berkleigh and Oakleigh, Sable Homes General Manager Karin Kay, and Jodie Rykse Salmoran with the Home Builders Association of Greater Grand Rapids Foundation.

Pictured (left – right) Ryan and Amanda Bockheim with their children Berkleigh and Oakleigh, Sable Homes General Manager Karin Kay, and Jodie Rykse Salmoran with the Home Builders Association of Greater Grand Rapids Foundation.

Home Repair Services will be honored for the work its volunteers have completed helping those with disabilities. A group of retirees spent 10,000 hours volunteering to build access ramps for more than 500 families who can now safely enter and exit their homes.

Habitat for Humanity Kent plays a key role in developing the next generation of housing industry professionals as they provide hands-on construction experience for students at YouthBuild/Bethany Christian Services, Grand Rapids Public Schools Academy of Design and Construction, Grand Rapids Community College M-Tech and Job Corps. Habitat for Humanity Kent will receive the Next Generation Workforce Development Award.

Award winners will be recognized at the fourth annual Home and Hearth Awards & Benefit event taking place at, New Vintage Place at 6:00 p.m. on Feb. 11. Individuals interested in more information about the HBAGGRF and the awards can call (616) 281-2021, or visit

The Home Builders Association of Greater Grand Rapids Foundation (HBAGGRF) is the charitable 501(c) 3 arm of the Home Builders Association of Greater Grand Rapids. Since 1988, HBA members and community members have partnered to make an impact on the lives of those with special housing needs and to support the development of the next generation of housing industry professionals.

We love satisfied customers

Sables Homes is celebrating 20 years of home building in West Michigan and business is booming. In 2015, we built and sold 126 houses, more than any other year in our history. And 2016 looks to be just as bright. We’re working on 10 different neighborhoods in Kent, Barry and Allegan counties and the demand for housing is very strong as West Michigan’s economy grows.

While all that news is encouraging for our business, we strive to remember we’re not just building houses, we’re building homes for West Michigan families—a place to set down roots and grow. We keep this in mind during all stages of the building and home selling process: our customers are our neighbors and friends.

In this business, there’s nothing more satisfying than hearing from a customer who is happy with their Sable Home. We recently received a nice message from Anthony G., who purchased one of our homes in Ada.

Anthony wrote, “We’re loving our place at Sable Valley. You guys do an awesome job!” and provided this photo of his family in their back yard.

Thank you, Anthony for the feedback, and thank you to the hundreds of homeowners in West Michigan who entrusted Sable Homes to build their home.

Anthony G. and his family in the back yard of their Sable home in Ada, Mich. (Dec. 2015)

Anthony G. and his family in the back yard of their Sable home in Ada, Mich. (Dec. 2015)

Sable Homes Building 10 Neighborhoods in Kent, Barry and Allegan Counties

Sable Homes' Bayberry floor plan offers a three bedroom, two bathroom ranch with 1,623 square feet upstairs and a huge finished family room down for 2,242 sq ft of finished space.

Sable Homes’ Bayberry floor plan offers a three bedroom, two bathroom ranch with 1,623 square feet upstairs and a huge finished family room down for 2,242 sq ft of finished space.

ROCKFORD, Mich. – Dec. 14, 2015 – Grand Rapids is the hottest real estate market in the nation, according to a recent survey by the website Trulia. Grand Rapids earned high marks for its affordable housing, growing economy and large population of prospective millennial home buyers, a third of whom surveyed said they planned to buy a home by 2018.

West Michigan-based builder, Sable Homes has noticed the trend and purchased land in recent months to keep up the demand for new housing.  Sable Homes is currently building and selling houses in 10 developments throughout Kent, Barry and Allegan counties.

“In 2015, Sable Homes built and sold more homes than any other year since the company’s founding in 1996,” said Karin Kay, general manager.  “We pay close attention to the market’s direction and have made several strategic acquisitions to meet the interest in new housing in West Michigan.”

In the award-winning Rockford school district, Sable Homes has two new developments: Crowning Acres with 20 home sites available in 2016 and Crowning Edge with five home sites. Both developments have easy access to U.S. 131 and are attracting first and second-time home buyers who work and commute in the Grand Rapids area, as well as several retirement-aged buyers.

In the Cedar Springs school district, Sable Homes has two development options for first and second-time home seekers. North Rockford Estates features multiple move-in ready houses appealing to people commuting to Grand Rapids and the Greenville areas, and Ridge Water with easy on-and-off access to U.S. 131.

Harmony Farms is a larger 20-home development in the Kent City school district attracting first-time home buyers and some nearing retirement, working in the Grand Rapids area as well as others relocating from Northern Michigan.

New roads in the Harmony Farms development in Kent City.

New roads in the Harmony Farms development in Kent City.

In southern Kent County, Sable Homes is building two neighborhoods in the Caledonia school district: New Paris Ridge and Scotsmoor II, which are drawing younger, first-time home buyers working in Grand Rapids.

In Barry County, there are two new Sable Homes developments geared toward first-time homebuyers working in the Hastings and Middleville areas: Fox Glove, with approximately 15 home sites and Prairie Ridge, both of which are in the Thornapple-Kellogg school district.

And in Allegan County, Sable Homes is building the Gun Lake Cove subdivision, attracting first-time home buyers commuting to Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo with bi-level and two-story homes. The development is in the Wayland school district.

Sable Homes’ research has shown there is a demand for houses that are both energy efficient and built healthier. All Sable Homes have a 5+ Energy Star rating, low emissivity windows, high efficiency heating and cooling systems, 46 percent more wall insulation and 30 percent more attic insulation than an average new home, Shaw Carpet made from 25 percent post-consumer material, low volatile organic compound paint, formaldehyde-free countertops and adhesives, and formaldehyde-absorbing drywall.

Sable Homes offers 10 floor plans and Freedom Foundation© technology, which provides barrier-free living for individuals who are physically challenged.

About Sable Homes
Combining affordability with craftsmanship, Sable Homes has been building high-quality, energy-efficient homes for West Michigan families since 1996. For more information about our communities, visit our web page,, or follow us at 

Report finds a market for homebuyers 55 and up

(Grand Rapids Business Journal) — The 55-and-up homebuyer market is heating up, according to a new report from the National Association of Home Builders.

Sales and prospective buyers increased three points during the past quarter in the 55-and-up market, while expected sales for the next six months rose another point.

Builders across the country are gearing up for the increase, as well, the report said.

55Mortgages_JohnBitely_81015Track_MB“Builders have a positive outlook on the 55-plus housing market,” said Timothy McCarthy, chairman of the NAHB 55+ Housing Industry Council. “In fact, the markets for single-family, apartments and condos are all doing quite well, and we expect that trend to continue.

In West Michigan the trend is holding true, said John Bitely, president of Sable Homes in Rockford.

“Across the nation our population is getting older. There’s the baby-boomer segment — that’s a bunch of us,” he said. “Whether it’s because we’re living longer or staying healthier, a lot are looking for houses.”

A lot of the current housing activity is downsizing from “McMansions” as children move away, Bitely said.

“As kids leave or people look toward retirement, they don’t need as big of a house,” he said.

Sometimes, the older market wants to have a small place in Florida and a small place in West Michigan, instead of a single larger one.

The concept of aging-in-place also factors into the equation. Seniors may prefer buying a house in a retirement community rather than having to go into a nursing home situation later on. Bitely said houses in some developments, such as Sable’s Villas of Rosewood, may run up to $350,000, but the house still offers a lifestyle change. The yards and driveway are taken care of, similar to a condo association. Also, instead of a two-story, four-bedroom house, the houses are likely to be one-story structures with a bedroom on the main floor and maybe one or two in the basement for guests.

“A lot of these buyers are planning ahead and they realize their health may not be perfect in 10 or 15 years,” Bitely said.

Bitely also cited the ability to shrink or eliminate mortgage payments as a reason for downsizing. He said some prospective buyers never expect to pay off a mortgage completely and just view it as a budgeted payment. A lot of times, however, Bitely said the large mortgage on a big house can make up the difference on a downsized house, or at the very least, new buyers can secure a much lower interest rate.

“Some people are smart with their money and say, ‘I’m better off borrowing money at 4 percent and leaving my money in a 401(k) and whatever else,’” Bitely said. “If they start getting a 6 to 8 percent return, they start making money on their mortgage. That’s a very logical thought process.”

He said many in the 55-and-over market are looking toward new, smaller homes, and most do not foresee entering a nursing home.

“It’s not a desirable end,” he said.

Many of the homes built for the demographic are barrier free, without steps and with all amenities on one floor. Extra infrastructure is built into the house, so things like grab bars in the shower can easily be added.

Bitely said Sable Homes has implemented a new product called Freedom Foundation that allows homes to be built on concrete slabs, even in northern climates like Michigan’s. The technology uses a specially shaped foam that protects the slab from frost damage, enabling a house to be built without a basement or crawl space, enabling a zero-step platform. Building on a slab saves money and the houses can be built in the $160,000 to $170,000 range, he said.

“Here in Michigan, everyone thinks you need a basement,” Bitely said, but he said 85 percent of the nation doesn’t have basements. “We’re the weird ones,” he added.

According to the NAHB, sales to those 55 and older are the best since before the Great Recession and should continue for awhile.

“Like the overall housing market, we continue to see steady, positive growth in the market,” NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said.

“With the economy and job growth continuing to improve gradually, many consumers are now able to sell their current homes for a suitable price, enabling them to buy or rent in a 55-plus community.”


Sable Homes Salutes Veterans


November 11, or Veteran’s Day, is a time to pay tribute to the men and woman who have served our nation. We at Sable Homes have had the privilege of building housing for numerous veterans– some of whom returned home from combat with debilitating injuries.

Did you know veterans who are fully disabled have earned rights, such as being exempt from paying property taxes? There are other government programs designed to help veterans, such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (VASH). According to the National Association of Home Builders, VASH combines the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs to address and support the housing and health care needs of U.S. military vets.

HCV is the federal government’s largest rental assistance program, helping very low-income families, seniors and disabled individuals afford clean and safe housing in the private market. Learn more here:

Sable Homes salutes our veterans, who have sacrificed to protect our country.

New Slab Insulation Making Barrier-free Homes More Affordable

Filed in Home BuildingTechnology on October 7, 2015

A Michigan home builder is creating more options for buyers with tight budgets, and particularly for those who have mobility issues.

Until recently, most bargain-seekers in colder regions of the U.S. had only two options to consider when buying a home: a modular home that offers economy, but usually requires steps or a ramp; or a traditional home built over a basement or crawl space, which is often more expensive.

That short list of options grew recently when Sable Homes in Rockford, Mich., implemented a new method to build barrier-free homes on concrete slabs, despite the region’s colder temps. The technology – called Freedom Foundation – uses a specially shaped foam that works as a form and border to protect the slab from frost damage, even throughout a typically bitter-cold Michigan winter.

Sable Homes is building barrier-free homes at lower costs thanks to the Freedom Foundation technology.

Sable Homes is building barrier-free homes at lower costs thanks to the Freedom Foundation technology.

Barrier-free homes – ideal for the elderly or physically disabled – are often hard to find and costly to build. But Sable Homes owner John Bitely says building on a concrete slab that uses the Freedom Foundation technology can save up to $10,000 over the cost of building a similar-sized home with deep footings or a crawl space underneath. The savings can be as much as $15,000 when compared to a home with a basement.

“Technology-wise, it may seem kind of old school, but it’s got a different twist that makes is so much more consumer and builder friendly to use,” Bitely says. “The shape and design of the foam makes it much simpler to install and build with than if you followed the old method for residential building.”

So far, Freedom Foundation has been successfully used in more than 30 homes. Bitely says nearly all other homes in the region have basements, so the mindset of buying a home without a basement is just starting to catch on.

However, momentum seems to be building as word spreads about the potential cost savings.

“We’re selling these homes pretty much as fast as we can get them done,” Bitely says. “And it isn’t just older folks who are buying them. We’ve seen buyers of all types, including young people who are looking to buy their first home they find this price point to be extremely attractive.”

There’s an App for That – Getting Plugged in in the Housing Industry

Millennials, they are the hot target audience for so many industries. The companies and brands that can best understand them, market to them and predict them are having great success. So what does it look like to be a millennial home buyer? Millennials are changing the way we do business and the way that the home building industry both builds and markets homes.


Photo credit – incitrio

“Millennials, the cohort of Americans born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, are the largest generation in the U.S., representing one-third of the total U.S. population in 2013. With the first cohort of Millennials only in their early thirties, most members of this generation are at the beginning of their careers and so will be an important engine of the economy in the decades to come” (White House). This large sector of the population makes a big impact on the housing industry, and it is our job to understand and appeal to this powerful generation.

Millennials are efficient and they are always plugged in. If they need answer about the price of a home, they will google it. If they do not know what homes are available in their price range, I’m sure there is an app for that. Appealing to millennials involves transparency and accessibility of information (Entrepreneur). Home builders are now providing social media follow ups on the progress of homes, mobile websites for on the go access and fast brand interaction with customers via social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. When millennials connect, so do home building companies such as Sable Homes.

The home purchasing process for millennials is much different than home buyers in the past. According to Forbes, when it comes to home buying, “millennials expect a friction-less journey.” With apps and websites such as Zillow home buying and searching is at the tip of our fingertips.

Credit - Henry4school

Credit – Henry4school

“The Internet has brought the expectation that things happen instantly. They expect the same to be true when looking at different housing options. While online platforms like Zillow are creating an extremely competitive landscape, the most successful realtors and independent home sellers are leveraging the information millennials are finding online to develop more connected, transparent in-person relationships” (Forbes).

Millennials not only demand fluidity of the home buying process, but they are very much influenced by reviews, opinions and peers. Millennials constantly seek out answers or verification. At the touch of a button millennials can see what the schools are like in a particular neighborhood, how much the homes around their choice are estimated at or share the home information with a friend for review. With the constantly evolving technological landscape, especially within the housing industry, Sable Homes continues to evolve to meet the demands of all generations of home buyers. It is increasingly essential for realtors and home builders to both understand millennials and provide the resources for them to find a home virtually.

Sable Homes Announces Promotions and New Hire

 Sable Homes, a home builder specializing in high quality, energy efficient construction in West Michigan, has announced the promotion of Karin Kay to general manager. Ron Austin will assume the role of sales manager and focus on the company’s marketing strategies. Kirsten Platto has joined Sable Home’s as a digital marketing specialist.

While using the latest technologies to create the regions healthiest homes, Kay will play a pivotal role in leading Sable’s efforts to build cost effective homes with the latest features and amenities.  Kay began her career at Sable as a new home sales consultant, and since then has held the positions of marketing assistant, new home consultant, and design and marketing specialist. Kay earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Aquinas College. She is a member of the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors and the Home Builders Association of Greater Grand Rapids.

Karin Kay

“I am honored to take on this leadership role at Sable Homes,” said Kay. “In an industry where the majority of purchasing decisions are influenced by women, I am thrilled to fill a role that is typically viewed as male dominated.”

In his new role as sales and marketing manager, Austin will now focus on all aspects of marketing Sable to the next generation of home buyers. Austin has been in the residential real estate business for 15 years and a licensed real estate broker for 12 years.  Austin is a member of the National Association of Realtors, Michigan Association of Realtors and the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors.

Ron Austin

“We are focused on providing homebuyers with exceptional value, in the most desirable communities for years to come,” said Austin. “With Sable selling 100 homes so far in 2015, and having sold just over 100 homes during 2014, Sable needs a concentrated effort in sales and marketing to sustain a continual growth to fulfill customer demands.”

Kirsten Platto joined the Sable Homes team as their new digital marketing specialist. Platto’s areas of expertise include digital media, marketing and creative writing. She graduated from Grand Valley State University with a degree in communications. She was involved with the Susan G. Komen walk to raise funds for breast cancer awareness and research. Platto’s previous experiences include social media interning for Spectrum Health, marketing for The Lemon Bowl, event services for Blythefield Country Club and more.

Kirsten Platto

“We are privileged to have the opportunity to provide new homes for more families this year than ever before, said John Bitely, president of Sable Homes. “Because of our recent growth and the boom in West Michigan’s housing starts, it is necessary to look to the future and build a strategic team for the years to come.”

About Sable Homes      

Combining affordability with craftsmanship, Sable Homes has been building high-quality, energy-efficient homes for West Michigan families since 1996. For more information about our communities, visit our web page,, or follow us on Facebook.

Fall Home Maintenance Tips

By Karin Kay, Sable Homes General Manager

Gearing up for fall means jeans, flannel, changing of colors and football! It can also mean home maintenance, which is just as fun! Okay, maybe not, but seasonal home check-ups can save you a lot of time and money down the road, and that is fun!

With fall coming, that also means chillier temperatures. Heating and cooling companies get very busy in the winter months, so make sure you do a through check of your furnace and fireplace. This way, if there are any problems you can make an appointment before the inevitable Michigan winter comes storming through.

“Heating and cooling amount to 47% of the energy costs in your home. Proper sealing and insulation can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs, or up to 10% on your total annual energy bill,” says Katie Cody, spokeswoman for Lowe’s.

While you are at it, check the insulation on your home. An adequate amount of insulation will not only keep your house warmer in the winter, but it will also save you money on heating bills, which is a bonus. Make sure you have enough insulation, and that the insulation is properly installed.

Everyone’s favorite chore…raking leaves. The plus side is raking leaves is 1. Good exercise 2. An excuse to get outdoors 3. Raked leaves can be used in the compost pile or use as mulch.

“Whatever you do, don’t waste fallen leaves because they’re an excellent source of nutrients and organic matter. You can also add them to flower beds to put a winter blanket on your garden” (DIY). It is a triple win. Just remember to clean those leaves out of your gutters and downspouts as well!

Make sure you check “foundation for cracks and caulk around the areas where masonry meets siding, where pipes or wires enter the house, and around the windows and door frames to prevent heat from escaping” (BobVilla). Water or moisture sneaking into cracks can cause rot or damage.

If you’re itching for a fall project or home improvement weekend, fall is a great time to do some painting. In fact, “lower humidity and cooler (not yet cold) temperatures make fall a good time to paint the exterior of your home” (DIY). Try a shade of gray with white trim for a clean and cozy year-round color.

Interior Design Trends #ontrend

What’s trending? #interiordesigntrends

Geometric and abstract shapes are popping up everywhere both in graphic design and interior design. “Gem shaped accents make for an easily up-gradable accessible moment in any room” said Nate Berkus (Huffington Post).  A great way to play up this trend and add some dimension to your room is to use geometrical shaped mirrors as wall art. Position them above a couch or in a darker corner to add some texture and light.

A continuing kitchen design trend is open shelving. Try using rustic wood boards as open shelving for kitchen items or choose a more modern look with simple white or black shelves that will showcase your dining sets. Open kitchen shelving looks great with matching white dishes with pops of color such as colored vase or bouquet of flowers

Photo: Food 52

Photo: Food 52

Mid century modern is hot right now! The clean lines of mid century furniture blended with the big and bold artwork that is trending now, make for a sophisticated and timeless living space. A great way to incorporate mid-century looks is by taking a piece of furniture that you are tired of or needs some revamping. Hardware and home improvement stores sell mid century table legs or furniture legs (Buzzfeed). Adding these legs to a dated dresser can instantly transform a piece of furniture into a midcentury conversation piece.

Investing in an entire set of patterned or bold living room seating can be daunting. A better way to add color and bold patterns to a room is by using statement chairs. Keep the beige, gray, black or white couch as a neutral backdrop, but bring in a bold statement chair to add a nice splash of color to the mix. This is less of a commitment and ensures that the room will not look too busy. (Telegraph).



A trend that has been around for a while, and is continuing to grow, and will hopefully continue to expand, is the sustainability trend. Society is increasingly realizing the value that sustainable home design and decor has for the community and the Earth. Sustainability is no longer a trend, it is a movement towards improving our lives and the lives of those in the future. Your part in the sustainability movement can be as simple as using re-purposed materials in your home design or decor. Try using re-purposed pallets as a platform for a bed or build raised bed gardens using scrap wood.