Our Founding


That phrase, "Welcome to The Fly Factory" is how I introduced visitors to that iconic fly shop (Now Old AuSable) in Grayling, MI when I was working there way back in the late 90's.  I had never given a thought to becoming a real estate agent as I was happy pursuing my dream of becoming a fly fishing guide on pristine rivers like the AuSable and Manistee.  With a little one on the way, however, Mrs. Brown made it clear that $6/hour in the shop and $10/dozen on my hand tied flies was not going to cut it!  So many anglers from around the country were wandering in the shop to ask if any cabins were for sale on the river that I figured I might be able to help them and make a decent living along the way.  I earned my license and sold three very nice properties on the AuSable River that first year.  That helped me realize the potential for a real estate firm that catered to those seeking a getaway on the water in northern Michigan.  After a few years with the largest brokerage in northern Michigan and three more with 45th Parallel Realty in Elk Rapids, which I founded with two partners, I decided it was time to take everything I had learned to that point and go "all in" on the concept. 

Technology had progressed dramatically, allowing us to build a website that pulled data from many of the different MLS systems in northern Michigan. We were also able to design a website built specifically for those seeking to purchase lakefront and riverfront property throughout northern Michigan.  We didn't have to be everything to everyone; we could simply be the finest resource for those looking for the waterfront and recreational properties we were representing.  And so HomeWaters, L.L.C. was founded in December of 2006 and we closed our first deal in January of 2007.  It was very fitting that it was a lakefront property owned by some of our closest friends.  The agent on the other side of the transaction was a friendly gal named Mary Janik who worked for another firm at that time but is now proudly representing HomeWaters in Kalkaska County. 

What began with three guys (Brian Pitser (The Northern Angler), Mark Bear, and myself) selling riverfront to anglers on rivers like the AuSable, Manistee, Boardman, and Betsie has grown to 10 agents and brokers representing the finest properties throughout Michigan.  Our website, www.homewaters.net, has quickly grown to become the most visited brokerage website in northern Michigan with nearly 1,200,000 pageviews in 2017 alone.  With custom searches based on a variety of lifestyles including lakefront, riverfront, golf and ski, hunting, neighborhoods, commercial, and more, the site truly is the best available resource for property in northern Michigan.

Thank you to all of you who have been with us since the beginning, and welcome to those of you who may be learning of our firm for the first time.  We appreciate your business and hope to continue to be your real estate resource for northern Michigan.


Chad Brown

Broker/Owner, Home Waters Real Estate