Legendary Real Estate - a Boutique Firm
Sandi Maki

Legendary Real Estate – a Boutique Firm
Sandi Maki - Real Estate Broker, Michigan

Category: Buyers – Michigan Real Estate Agent

Vintage – Frozen in Time Farmhouse

Visited some investment properties in need of rehab yesterday – wrote an offer on one – we’ll see if it happens! In the meantime, check out what a piece of history looks like! (You’d be amazed at how much time stands still in some of these homes)…

Vintage Farm House (1) Vintage Farm House (1) Vintage Farm House (1)


Adorable Home in Whitmore Lake, Michigan

We worked with first time home buyers Jackie and Justin to find the perfect home – they purchased an adorable home in Whitmore Lake with a smooth negotiation and on time closing. The housewarming party was fun and inviting. We loved being invited back in to celebrate their new home ownership with family, friends and our Legendary Team~take a look at everything Jackie and Justin have done to make it their cozy home!

Are You Financially Ready to Buy a House?

Sandi Square Buyers 2Have you been wondering if you are financially able and ready to buy a house?  Here are some important facts to consider before making a decision to make that leap!

  1. If you are currently renting, do the math before you buy.  It’s not just swapping rent payment for house payment.  There are other factors to consider. How much extra will you pay for utilities (on more square footage), for maintenance (interior & exterior), and property taxes?  Do the math and know for sure if your expenses will be higher or lower.
  2. Do you have a backup plan in case you lose your job(s)? You don’t want to max out your credit and deplete your savings at the cost of owning a home.  If this is based on two incomes, you may want to start living on just one for a few months to build up a reserve account in case of any type of life emergency.
  3. Are you being realistic about what it costs to own a home?  You need to consider that it’s not just a mortgage payment.  You will likely have higher utilities for a larger space and maintenance on appliances or the cost of replacement if they can’t be repaired.  You should have an inspection on the home before making the purchase, but there are no guarantees that nothing will need repair or replacement in the future.
  4. Although you can get loans with zero or 3% down, you could be asking for trouble if you have not saved at least 20% towards your down payment, even if you don’t need to use it all.  It is proof to yourself that you are able to save and have a financial cushion before making a purchase.
  5. Your entire net worth should not be placed in a single asset, such as your home. You should have additional savings and investments set aside so you are diversified financially.
  6. The home should cost not more than 3X’s your income.  This ratio is used so you can see how comfortably you can afford to purchase a home.

The bottom line is; a home is a real investment, a physical asset and it could be a great time for you to make that leap. A good rule of thumb is using a ratio of 2x to 3x your income so that you can see how comfortably you can afford your home.  Getting pre-approved by a qualified lender will also help you to know if you are ready to make that commitment.

Why You Should Get Pre-Approved Before House Hunting

BarCounterLegendaryRealEstateBefore starting your search for a new home, the first thing a Buyer needs to do is get pre-approval from their mortgage lender.  Even if you currently have a home and think a mortgage will be no problem, it is important to make that phone call first and here are the reasons why:

  • Knowing that a Buyer is pre-approved by a lender is a point of safety for the Realtor. This helps them know that you are a serious Buyer and it provides proof of the ability you can really obtain financing before they start driving around looking at homes with strangers.
  • A lot of time an energy is put into house hunting and agents don’t want to spend hours of searching with a client, only to find that they are unable to secure a mortgage at that time. A little bit of time invested by the Buyer helps the Agent want to invest time in them.
  • Getting pre-approved helps save time and frustration.  There is no sense in taking time to look at homes that are out of price range for the Buyer and a pre-approval helps set the buying parameters.  It will only disappoint the buyer when they find something they love, but can’t afford.
  • Sometimes there are simple, little glitches that need to be taken care of by a Buyer that will raise their credit scores and save time when actually trying to secure a mortgage. Sometimes it takes longer then expected to fix things and the Buyer could end up loosing out on getting the home they have their hear set on.
  • Knowing your credit parameters in advance can help strengthen your negotiation ability.  Especially if their becomes a multiple offer situation on a purchase, there is not time to wait while someone gets a mortgage approval.  The stronger the lender, the more trust the Seller will have in accepting an offer, versus using an unknown lender who may be questionable.

Some Final Thoughts:  Buying a home is a big deal.  Having a pre-approval is not a guarantee of funding, but it shows an effort for all parties involved.

Home Buyer Checklist – After an Accepted Offer

WelcomeHomeLegendaryRealEstateNow that your offer has been accepted, it’s time to switch gears and get prepared for your closing.  Here is a checklist to help you for the next step of the Buying Process:

To Do A.S.A.P

  1. Earnest Money Deposit should be deposited as agreed upon in the sales contract.
  2. Property Inspection should be done ASAP to determine if any repairs are needed.
  3. Lender Docs need to be turned into the Lender after the inspection and any additional documents requested should be provided in a timely manner.

Next Steps

  1. Review the Title Commitment once it is received from the Title Company. Ask your Real Estate Agent for clarification on anything you don’t understand.
  2. Appraisal should be ordered as soon as you have performed your inspection and resolved any possible issues.
  3. Insurance needs to be selected by the Home Owner.  This information must be shared with the lender and title company.

Final Steps

  1. Turn on Utilities by scheduling the date they will be transferred into your name.
  2. Schedule the Closing early for a convenient time slot.
  3. Final Walk Through should be done just before closing to make sure everything is as it should be.
  4. Close the Deal, Be on time. Bring a check in the correct amount and your photo ID.

Three Easy Steps to Buying a Home

HomeSweetHomeLegendaryRealEstateHere are just a few basic steps you need to know before buying a house, that will make your transaction much easier.

  1. Pre-Approval for a Loan:   Connect with a good Loan Officer. You will need to have your wage information, tax returns and bank statements ready.  Your loan officer will help calculate how much you can afford to spend and the amount needed for your down payment and closing costs. Once you have your loan pre-approval, have it ready to share so when you are ready to write and offer nothing will hold up the process.
  2. Find a Home:  Research in advance the area in which you would like to live, including neighborhood statistics, schools and future growth projections.  Find an savvy Real Estate Agent who is experienced in helping you find the perfect home for your needs.  Write a strong Purchase Agreement and have a home inspector check out the property. Negotiate repairs if needed.
  3. Close the Deal:  Schedule a final walk-through just prior to closing.  Bring photo ID and certified funds to the closing.  Sign the transaction papers provided by the title company and wait for the deal to fund, which is when you will get the keys.  Do the Happy Dance and Live Happily Ever After (or until you decide to do it all over again!)

Packing Tips For Moving Day

So, you Bought or Sold your Home.  Congratulations!  Now it’s time to prepare for moving day and start packing!  People say that moving can be chaos, though it doesn’t have to be! I think you will be able to streamline the process and make it much easier.  After moving multiple times, I have learned some simple tips to make the job easier and organized.23145 Farmington Road (7)

  • Begin by packing decorative items and the things you don’t really use everyday.
  • Label every box as to contents and the room it belongs in at the new house.
  • Fill boxes with things you no longer need and wish to donate to a worthy cause.
  • When packing, keep like items together so they will be organized when unpacking.
  • Use towels and wash clothes for packing breakables when possible.
  • When moving clothes you can slip a bundle into large garbage bags while still hanging in the closet.  Tie the bag at the top and it keeps them from sliding all over during the move and they are ready to re-hang easily in the new closet.
  • When moving toys, move the whole toy box or use large garbage bags and label them.
  • Move dressers, desks, ottomans, etc. with all the contents in them whenever possible.
  • Plan in advance for meals, snacks and beverages on moving day so you won’t have to take time out to grab something.  Especially if you have friends helping, it’s helpful to plan ahead.
  • On moving day, if the boxes are labeled by rooms, have the movers place them directly in those rooms if possible.
  • Keep cleaning supplies handy in a box you can unpack first.
  • When unpacking, put away the necessities first.  Then tackle one room at a time to unpack and organize everything else.
  • End by unpacking and placing your decorative accessories and items you don’t use everyday and it will begin to look and feel like home in no time.
  • Wait a few days to hook up the electronic equipment so as not to be distracted.

Home Buyer Inspection Tips

Jackie and Justin - First Time Buyers Touring Livingston County Properties!

Jackie and Justin – First Time Buyers Touring Livingston County Properties!

Since purchasing a home is probably the biggest investment you will ever make, it is important to have a Home Inspection by a qualified inspector after the offer is accepted and before proceeding with the purchasing process. Even though a home inspection is no guarantee that nothing will go wrong with the home, nor is it a warranty, it will give you piece of mind that the home is likely to be in good condition at the time of purchase.


  1. Depending on the square footage of the home, the cost of a Home Inspection usually runs around $200 to $400.
  2. Inspections usually last around three to four hours, again depending on the size of the home.
  3. Some inspectors offer mold, radon and/or termite testing at additional costs, or you may need to call in an additional expert to do an analysis in areas where you think there may be a problem.
  4. Areas of concern most often uncovered during an inspection are: Electrical, Plumbing, Do It Yourself Workmanship or Foundation Issues.
  5. The Home Inspector should include a written report with pictures and diagrams.  It is important that you go over the report with the Inspector pointing out any areas of concern.

If there are areas of concern identified during the inspection, it allows you to go back and ask the Seller to fix the problems or perhaps negotiate a lesser price so you can do the repairs yourself.  A Home Inspection may seem like just another expense, but it is a very important part of your New Home Purchase.

If you have questions about buying or selling a home, or more home inspection specifics – please ask!

Real Estate Lingo for Home Buyers

Sandi Square Buyers 2There are a lot of buzzwords used in the Real Estate world that may confuse Home-Buyers, especially First Time Buyers. Here’s a quick reference guide to help you understand the lingo.

  • Appraisal is the estimated value of the property.
  • Certificate of Title is a document that ensures the property is legally owned by the person who claims it.
  • Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is a study of how comparable local homes have sold to help determine a reasonable price for property.
  • Contingencies are conditional that must be met in order for the offer on a home to proceed.
  • Due Diligence are the actions that a responsible buyer must address to protect the real estate investment.
  • Debt to Income Ratio in order to qualify for a loan, your monthly debt cannot exceed 43% of your monthly income.
  • Earnest Money Deposit payments are made to the Seller with the offer to show your serious intention.
  • FICO Score is a numerical value assigned to lenders based on their credit history.
  • Fiduciary Duties are the responsibilities of the broker that the Real Estate Agent works for and are determined by the state.
  • Good Faith Deposit is a payment made to the lender with the offer to show serious intention to complete the transaction.
  • HOA is the Homeowners Association, an organization that determines community rules and standards.
  • Loan to Value Ratio is how the lender determines if the loan is worth the risk associated with it.
  • Mortgage is the home loan.
  • Pre-qualification is the process used by the lender to determine if the borrower is qualified for a loan.  The amount is approximate.
  • Payment Terms are the principal, interest, taxes, PMI, etc.  What the Buyer really needs to know if the monthly and cummulative totals.

8 Must-Know Secrets for Buying a Home

Jackie and Justin - First Time Buyers Touring Livingston County Properties!

Jackie and Justin – First Time Buyers Touring Livingston County Properties!

Buying a home, especially your first home, can be intimidating. Where to buy, when to by, and most importantly how to buy are daunting factors. Take your time, talk with your realtor, and read over our Must-Know Secrets to help you begin the process.

Must-Know Secret #1: Timing Isn’t Necessarily Everything

Obsessing over the housing market and housing values will drive you crazy. Any attempt to understand or predict the housing market is like trying to accurately predict the stock market- easier said than done. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself to get it ‘just right’. Real estate has a cycle just like the economy. If it goes down, it will go back up again.

Must-Know Secret #2: Getting Pre-Approved Not Just Pre-Qualified

Some may get excited over being pre-qualified for a mortgage. Well it’s not really as great as you think; anyone can be pre-qualified. What you need to do is get pre-approved. This means a lender has looked at all of your financial information and they’ve let you know exactly how much you can afford and how much they are willing to dish out. We suggest you get pre-approved so you have a baseline when you being your search. You will know what your max budget is and you will be able to discover hidden fees such as processing fees or points.

Must-Know Secret #3: Watch Your Credit

It’s not a wise move to make a large purchase or investment three to six months before you plan to buy a home. Always stay on the safe side and don’t take any risky chances with your credit profile. To get approved for a home, mortgage lenders need to see you’re reliable. If you are opening a new credit card, gain some new debts, or make risky investments, it might be difficult for you to get the loan you need.

Must-Know Secret #4: Good Things Come in Small Packages

There really is something to buying the worst house on the block and fixing it up. If you purchase the largest house on your street you are going to limit your audience when it comes to resale. You may like massive houses, but the majority of home buyers aren’t interested in small palaces. It’s a great investment idea to buy a smaller house on the block and fix it up the way you’d want it. Your home will only go up in value.

Must-Know Secret #5: Beware of Your Emotions

It is important to love the home you purchase, and some do ‘fall in love’ right away. Others need to fix it up and turn their home into their little oasis. Beware of making a poor financial decision based on emotions you may feel about a certain house. This is one of the largest financial investments you’ll make so be sure to stay calm and be wise.

Must-Know Secret #6: Get to Know the House Before You Purchase

Much like marriage, you want to take your time to get to know the other person (or house) before you make a huge decision. Get to know the neighborhood. Visit it often; and visit it at different times of the day. What is it like at night? Are there children playing outside after school? How is the commute to work from this home? Find out how close the nearest grocery store and hospital are. Investigate the school district, this can affect the home’s value.

Must-Know Secret #7: Calculate All Expenses

The difference between renting and home ownership is what we call sleeper costs. When calculating what you can afford don’t only think about mortgage payments. You’ll have taxes, utilities, home owner association (HOA) fees, and repairs. Make sure you add all sleeper costs into your budget so you can know what you can actually afford.

Must-Know Secret #8: Hiring a Good Home Inspector

Hiring a home inspector is essential. While you may not want to pay upfront for the fee, it could save you thousands of dollars down the road. You may think you know what to look for when viewing a home, but these people have a trained eye and can be critical for your home buying success. Their only responsibility is to provide you with facts so you can make the decision if you’d like to move forward or not. They aren’t biased like your mother-in-law might be. A bonus to using an inspector is if they find issues with the home, those issues could be a potential bargaining tool to lower the costs.

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Sandi at Legendary Real Estate handled our home purchase in Flint Township this past summer. We had a bit of a difficult seller to deal with, but Sandi and her team handled negotiations and some snags with skill and expertise. In the end, the closing went... (more)


Before contacting Sandi, I was completely overwhelmed as a first time homebuyer. I didn't even know where to begin! I contacted Sandi in hopes that she would be able to help us with the home buying process, and match us with the perfect home for me and my... (more)


Sandi went above and beyond on my first home purchase. While there were times that the other parties involved in the transaction were dragging their feet a bit, she always let me know what was going on and kept me up to date about what the next step in the... (more)

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