Hold your left hand right in front of you, with the palm facing out. There’s Michigan. Next find your ring finger and locate the knuckle just below the nail. Now you’re on Lake Charlevoix. Or in heaven. You pick.
But don’t let this be the closest you come to Charlevoix County and the beautiful lakes, forests, hills and rivers that give it character – or the characters who call it home.
If it is already home, you know what I mean. (Go ahead and drop your hand.) You have already canoed down the Jordan River or fished in the Boyne River. You have skied Boyne Mountain, or snow-shoed on the Jordan Valley trails. You already call East Jordan, Boyne City, Charlevoix, Boyne Falls, Horton Bay or Walloon Lake home.
You may be a regular visitor to our farmer’s markets and festivals. You may know the unfading awe of cresting a northern Michigan hill, soft with spring’s lush green, to see Lake Charlevoix or Walloon Lake lying below you like a sparkling blue quilt. You may have the menus memorized at half a dozen of your favorite places to eat.
But if you don’t live here, point yourself north and get moving. Heaven’s waiting.
One thing we know from being in real estate is that people are never just buying a home. You don’t go on a real estate website and search for the perfect little bungalow from Maine to California. You find a zip code, or a lake, or a “neck of the woods,” and go from there. And once you house-shop through two or three communities, those communities help you make a decision.
Your favorite house was right behind the strip mall with the nail place, remember? You could smell the acrylic through the dryer vent in the laundry room. The one you ended up buying didn’t have those charming arched doorways, but it had two lots and was walking distance from the coffee shop where that lady was so helpful with directions.
It ends up partly being the house of your dreams, and partly the feel and fit of the community.
We feel it, too.
Because of that feeling, in 2010, one of our agents made a suggestion. He suggested that each agent give 1% of each and every one of his or her commissions back to the communities that have made us successful. Since then, each January the agents decide where to put their 1% for the year, and every quarter a check is drawn up and given away.
So far this little independent office has given our local area a minimum of $10,000 each year.
Sometimes it’s been pretty scary. Realtors might go for months without a commission, but the bills keep coming in. They save when the market is strong and pray when it slows down. But not one has ever reneged on the 1% commitment – not a single agent, not since the first donation.
That does speak to the character and quality of these O’Brien Associates. But it also tells you something about where we live. We get so much. Giving back is part of the lifestyle here.
Boyne City Eta Nu Charities has received our 3rd quarter donation the last 4 years. This wonderful organization has been providing winter outerwear for over 100 Boyne City students each year since 2008.