THE SECRET IS OUT!

AMBER CYMAN HELPS PEOPLE FIND THE HOME OF THEIR DREAMS

When it comes to home buying, it can be so much fun, but it can also get taxing. The thrill of visiting the first few homes can often disappear when you find out that there are multiple offers, or that the home just went under contract.

Amber Cyman Real Estate is highly networked in the community and has some proprietary technology for her marketing that gives home buyers the competitive edge they need when it comes to finding and buying their dream home.

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OUR COMMUNITIES

TRAVERSE CITY

Waterfront Homes, Farm Properties, Downtown Homes & More

TRAVERSE CITY

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Glen Arbor

From Waterfront homes on Big or Little Glen to intown homes.

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Suttons Bay

We love Suttons Bay. From intown houses to waterfront homes.

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Leelanau County

Lake Leelanau, Leeland, Northport

Leelanau County

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Torch Lake

See one of the premier lakes to live on in all of The US.

Torch Lake & Elk Rapids

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Lake Ann

Just a short drive from the hustle of bustle of TC. Acreage, waterfront and more.

Lake Ann

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SOME OF OUR MOST FREQUENTLY

ASKED QUESTIONS WHEN IT COMES

TO BUYING A HOME IN NORTHERN MICHGAN

A real estate agent is a licensed professional who arranges real estate transactions by putting buyers and sellers together and acting as their representatives in negotiations. Real estate agents are licensed to help sellers sell and buyers buy real estate.

They are licensed to operate, negotiate, and arrange sales under the supervision of a real estate broker. Negotiating and arranging sales involves showing property, listing a property, filling in contracts, listing agreements, purchasing contracts, and many other responsibilities.

Real estate agents are usually compensated completely by a commission, which is a percentage of the property’s purchase price. Their income therefore depends on their ability to close a deal.

A vast majority of real estate agents are engaged in residential real estate listing and sales.

A real estate agent performs different duties, depending on whether they are working for the buyer or the seller. When working for a seller—also known as listing agents—the real estate agent advises the client on how to price the property and prepare it for sale. They may give tips on last-minute improvements that can boost the price or encourage speedy offers.

Seller agents market the property through listing services, networking, and advertisements.

Agents working for the buyer search for available properties that match the buyer’s price range and preferences. These agents often look at past sales data on similar properties to help prospective buyers come up with a fair bid.

Real estate agents act as go-betweens for the principal parties. They carry offers and counter-offers that lead to a deal. Once a bid is accepted, agents on both sides often continue to work by helping their clients through the paperwork. They will shepherd the deal all the way to closing.

An agent working with buyers has a lot of responsibilities. Although it used to be said that agents “live or die by listings,” nowadays, established dedicated buyer agents can still do very well. A buyer’s agent helps their client locate and view homes that meet their requirements.

Beyond that, they also help the buyer secure a mortgage, craft an initial offer, negotiate, create counter-offers, coordinate and schedule appraisals, deliver and explain all documents, and work with them through the closing. A good agent will help the buyer get their keys.

Real estate agents also provide valuable pieces of advice regarding the market conditions, the area, and the pricing of properties. A buyer’s agent will be the first to inform their client if their homes of interest are priced right or not. After a purchase contract is executed, the buyer’s agent will coordinate the transaction process on the buyer side.

A person’s credit score plays a major role in their ability to secure a mortgage loan. Not only does it impact their initial qualification for a loan, but it also influences their interest rate, down payment requirements, and other terms of their mortgage.

For those who are planning to buy a home, they need to know that some loan types require a minimum score of 640 for conventional loans, while others go down to 500 for some FHA loans.

If the person’s score is low, it means they are a risky bet for a lender. It means that there’s a bigger chance they won’t be able to pay their bills on time. To compensate for the extra risk, lenders will boost the interest rate to protect themselves.

A review of Credit Karma members shows that the average credit score for first time homebuyers in the US is 684, a number that varies depending on where you live.

Closing costs include a variety of expenses above the purchase price of the property. These expenses include taxes, a title search, lender costs, an attorney, title insurance, and other upfront housing expenses such as homeowners insurance.

For a first time homebuyer, closing costs can complicate the home purchase because these things have to be included in the budget. Some of these costs are non-negotiable. For example, recording or transferring taxes charged by the state or local government is a non-negotiable closing cost. Others can be negotiated, such as your lender’s fee.

The amount a buyer will pay in closing costs varies based on the size of the loan and local taxes and fees. However, a general rule is that they average 2 percent to 5 percent of the purchase price. For instance, if a house is being bought for $300,000, the total closing costs could range from $6,000 to $15,000.

The national average for closing costs on a single family home in 2018 was almost $5,800—this includes taxes, according to data provided by the company ClosingCorp.

There are essentially three sections of closing costs that buyers need to pay: lender fees, title fees, and prepaid costs. Some lenders wrap all of their costs into an origination fee, while others break them into a list of things like appraisal costs, processing fees, courier fees, transfer taxes, and administrative fees.

Meanwhile, about 70 percent of closing costs are title-related. Title insurance premiums don’t vary much, but the settlement fees can vary by several hundred dollars from one company to another. Lenders require buyers to purchase title insurance that covers the lender up to the amount loaned.

Lastly, prepaid costs are when lenders require borrowers to set up an escrow or impound account to collect homeowners insurance and property taxes.

Both buyers and sellers have expenses to pay at the settlement table, but what they pay depends on negotiations between buyers and sellers.

While buying a house is a thrilling endeavor, it can take a lot longer than people expect. There are many financial hoops buyers need to jump through before they get the keys. For starters, even finding a home that suits their budget and preferences can be tricky and time-consuming.

On average, a homebuyer can spend a few days going through the initial pre-approval process, which may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, shopping for the right home.

Now if the buyer already has a prospect, the process will depend on how smoothly negotiations go and how fast the paperwork can be done, among other factors. It may take 30 to 45 days to finally close the deal.

The timeline may be affected by various factors such as the local market, the financing situation, the number of homes for sale in the buyer’s price range, etc.

Real estate agents get a commission for every deal they close. This is a percentage of the property’s sale price. The more the house sells for, the more money an agent makes. However, the online listings allow consumers to do much of the shopping on their own without help from an agent. This is the reason why the traditional commission-based payment structure is gradually shifting.

A few brokerages are now charging a lower commission for more expensive houses. On the other hand, some handle the entire transaction for a flat fee which is less than a regular commission.

Other companies offer a fee-for-service pricing structure. This allows sellers to pay only for certain parts of the sale process, rather than for the entire bundle. For example, a seller may opt for just the listing on the MLS.

Real estate agents get a commission for every deal they close. This is a percentage of the property’s sale price. The more the house sells for, the more money an agent makes. However, the online listings allow consumers to do much of the shopping on their own without help from an agent. This is the reason why the traditional commission-based payment structure is gradually shifting.

A few brokerages are now charging a lower commission for more expensive houses. On the other hand, some handle the entire transaction for a flat fee which is less than a regular commission.

Other companies offer a fee-for-service pricing structure. This allows sellers to pay only for certain parts of the sale process, rather than for the entire bundle. For example, a seller may opt for just the listing on the MLS.

If the deal runs smoothly, then buying a house shouldn’t take too long. Afterwards, the buyer should be excited to move in, especially because they’ve worked for years to save up for this huge investment. So now they want to figure out when they can move in.

After signing the final loan documents, the day of funding follows, and that’s usually when the buyer gets the keys. But they first have to wait until after “recording”. Recording is when the county or local government puts the new ownership on record.

Now that the buyer owns the house, the government record of ownership will make this fact indisputable. In many states, recording happens on the day of funding. In other states or counties, it may be delayed by a day or more. Buyers can ask their real estate agent when their county can record.

After this recording, the buyer can now get the keys and move in. With this in mind, new homeowners should not set a move in date for funding day if the county can’t record on the same day.

Some purchase agreements will indicate when the buyer can take possession of the property, for example “Buyer to take possession 3 days after closing”.

In some cases, the seller may request a few days after the official closing in order to move out. As annoying as this may be for buyers, this is a reality and a common occurrence in a seller’s market. The seller may fear the deal falling apart in the final days, so they might hesitate to move out until the deal officially closes.

The seller’s agent will have possession of the keys to your new home. They can do the hand-off in a number of places: at the property, at his or her office, at a coffee shop, or wherever you agreed to meet up.

Setting the right price for a property is perhaps the single most important decision that an owner will make once they decide to sell. If they go too high, there’s a risk of turning off every buyer in the marketplace. Going too low is, of course, not ideal either. One simple yet effective technique is to price the home “aggressively” by taking a look at your competitors’ homes. This allows the seller to see the world through the eyes of the buyer.

They could then compare their property to the other ones on the market. This should make pricing a bit easier. If you want to bump up the price, you can stage the home, make it more presentable, do some repairs and upgrades, and then build a strong first impression.

Buyers are more likely to go for a home that tells a story and makes them emotionally invested in the kind of lifestyle they could have within it.

Marketing is a very important part of selling a property. When potential buyers look for a home, they are sent listings via email. Property listings contain a short description of the home, the details (how many bedrooms, bathrooms, square feet, etc.), and some photos.

These are the information that the potential buyers will use to decide whether or not they will visit and take a closer look. This means interior design definitely matters.

Not only will it make the house look much more presentable in photos, they will also look good when the buyer takes a tour. Hiring an interior designer to help in this regard can go a long way. Remember that buyers look at multiple listings at once, so your property needs to stand out in the crowd.

Interior design helps bring traffic to your property, thereby selling it faster.

Most real estate agents will have every intention of selling your home for top dollar as soon as possible. But this is not always what happens. So if a seller really wants to get their property sold quickly, they need to work with the best. If you want to sell your house fast, try to find the top real estate agent in your area and work with them.

You can find the top real estate agents by doing a quick online search. Look for realtors with hundreds of positive reviews and your property will sell that much more quickly. The house still won’t sell overnight, but this improves your chances of moving that property faster than the average in your area.

In some cases, it may also be a good idea to dramatically reduce your price—that is if your priority is to sell the house quickly. Altering your price can speed up the process, depending on the temperature of the market. People love discounts, after all. The seller may also consider a short sale to attract some buyers.

Now for property owners who want to sell fast without compromising the price, they need to do it the old-fashioned way: advertising, scheduling open house events, etc. They need to take a proactive approach with the guidance of their real estate agent to secure the best price for the house as soon as possible.

There’s no denying the fact that interior design adds value to a property. Therefore, if you want to sell your house for more money, a little interior decorating won’t hurt. As a seller, it’s only natural to aim for the biggest return possible on your home’s resale.

Investing into interior design can help you get a bigger purchase price later on. A real estate agent determines the correct list price for your home by looking at the features that your home has to offer and comparing those features to similar homes that are currently on the market. Features include location, square footage, and interior design.

While there is nothing you can do to improve the first two factors, the third one is a factor that is well within your control. Sellers can invest on kitchen upgrades, bathroom remodels, etc. The property may sell for more money if the interior design is on point. The right interior design investment may pay off big later.

Usually, a nice-looking home in a good location with the right price will sell a home quickly, especially if it is sold by one of the top real estate agents in the area. But because many of those factors are out of the seller’s control, there’s only so much they can do to help sell their property.

What they do have control over is the quality of their home. So if a seller really wants to sell their house as soon as possible, they need to make the effort to clean, redecorate, make repairs, place new furniture, and stage the home.

If a seller channels their inner perfectionist and makes the property as presentable as possible, they can increase their chances of catching the attention of the right buyer.

As we’ve previously discussed, simply adding a fresh coat of paint can raise a property’s value. Updating the kitchens and bathrooms make the greatest return on investment. But another factor to consider when raising a property’s value is its curb appeal.

We mentioned manufactured stone veneers, but sellers can also try landscaping. You can strategically plant native trees, which can reduce energy costs by as much as 50 percent, plus raise the value of neighboring homes.

Plant young shrubs and leave space for it to grow to full size, as this will help cool your property. Also, avoid installing synthetic turf as it can increase energy costs and degrade environmental resilience.

Getting ready to sell a home within 30 days is no easy task. But with the guidance of your real estate agent, and the tips we have provided, it should be possible. The realtor will handle all of the paperwork and iron out the details, while the seller makes sure that their property is in its best form.

Start by cleaning the entire house and getting rid of all the clutter that make the space feel smaller. Then, if necessary, re-paint the walls, both exterior and interior, making sure to choose warm or neutral colors to appeal to more people.

Curb appeal plays a very important role when it comes to selling a property quickly. Get rid of dead leaves, branches, and weeds. Clear the walkways and plant new flowers.

Once it’s all neat and tidy, you can have a professional photographer take pictures of the property to improve your listing’s appeal. Your realtor will have a much easier time marketing your property this way.

The FHA loan is a popular option that allows buyers to put as little as 3.5 percent down on a new home. This can be given in the form of a financial gift from family or from a qualified non-profit or government agency.

FHA loans have lower down payment requirements and are less restrictive when it comes to qualifying criteria, making it a great option for potential home buyers. Just be aware that you will be required to pay a mortgage insurance premium with this loan program, regardless of your down payment.

An alternative is the homebuyer assistance program. If it is your first time buying a home, there are so many resources available to help you navigate these unfamiliar waters. Similarly, there are programs available at both the local and national level that offer financial assistance to new homebuyers.

The FHA loan is a popular option that allows buyers to put as little as 3.5 percent down on a new home. This can be given in the form of a financial gift from family or from a qualified non-profit or government agency.

FHA loans have lower down payment requirements and are less restrictive when it comes to qualifying criteria, making it a great option for potential home buyers. Just be aware that you will be required to pay a mortgage insurance premium with this loan program, regardless of your down payment.

An alternative is the homebuyer assistance program. If it is your first time buying a home, there are so many resources available to help you navigate these unfamiliar waters. Similarly, there are programs available at both the local and national level that offer financial assistance to new homebuyers.

There is no right answer that fits everybody. A good investment is usually something that pays you more than what you had to pay for it. So in this regard, a house does not technically fit. But owning a house has plenty of intangible benefits: pride of ownership, freedom of customization, and setting roots for your family.

Whichever the case, the buyer needs to look at their reasons for wanting to buy a house and measure it in terms of their short and long term financial goals. This will help you decide what is right for you and your family.

The house hunting process can be long and tiring. But there are a few ways to shorten the time you spend trying to buy the perfect new home. First, buyers need to assemble a team of real estate pros. The one thing you need when buying a house—aside from the money, of course—is preparation.

The right team will consist of a real estate agent, a real estate attorney, and a mortgage banker. Let them do what they do best and you should see better results. If an agent is plugged into a neighborhood, they will know what properties are coming to the market weeks before the public does.

Even so, it takes a lot of paperwork to buy a home, and a lot of it involves the mortgage approval process. Try and get preapproved for a home loan. This way, you can walk into an open house with a preapproval letter showing that you are a serious buyer.

The process of buying your first home is a long and winding road that starts with determining if you are ready to buy one. Homeownership is way more expensive than renting since you will also be responsible for added costs like home repairs, utility costs, water, electricity, etc. If you are not financially prepared, you may end up in a bad position.

Start shopping for a loan and get pre-approved for a mortgage so you can start shopping for a home. This will also help you look within your price range. Next, find a good realtor who listens to your wants and needs carefully. They will work to negotiate terms that you are happy with.

Once you have a prospect, you will need a thorough home inspection. This should find hidden issues with the home before you purchase it. Additionally, you may be able to negotiate a lower price if you know that the home needs major repairs.

Finally, the deal will be closed, the buyer will obtain the keys, and they will be able to move into their new home.

A no money down payment mortgage allows first time home buyers and repeat home buyers to purchase property with no money required at closing except standard closing costs. While there are low down payment options available, some buyers might be more interested in no down payment mortgages.

Mortgage insurance premiums usually accompany low and no down payment mortgages, but not all the time.

The US Department of Agriculture offers a 100 percent financing mortgage. USDA loans, also called Rural housing Loans, are available to buyers in rural and suburban neighborhoods. The goal of the program is to reach low-to-moderate income homebuyers. One key benefit of a USDA loan is that mortgage rates are often lower than rates for comparable low or no down payment mortgages.

Another option for 100 percent financing is a VA loan. Guaranteed by the US Department of Veteran Affairs, VA loans are available to members of the US military and surviving spouses. While it is not available for everyone, it does have some key benefits. For example, it does not require mortgage insurance. Bankruptcy and other derogatory credit do not immediately disqualify you.

One of the best investments an investor can make is a lake property or lake front real estate. Market studies show that these properties grow rapidly above the original purchase price. Both small and large properties rarely last in thriving real estate markets.

Just like vacation homes, lake properties offer investors generous returns on the investment year after year. Areas with lake front homes are usually occupied by tourists or temporary residents that vacation for selected months out of the year.

A lake property is also a good investment because it can be used as a single family or multiple family rental home. This gives property investors a steady source of income since these properties are in high demand.

While these properties are excellent investments, there are some disadvantages to owning lake front real estate. For starters, they face the risk of flood damage, especially in areas that have higher than average rainfall. Lake properties also tend to have higher tax rates because of how quickly they appreciate in value.

With these considerations in mind, try to decide whether a lake property is a suitable fit for you and your needs.

Most banks and financial institutions recommend a deposit of at least 20 percent of the prospective property’s purchase price. So in this case, for a house that costs $450,000, the deposit will be around $90,000.

If it is a 5 percent deposit, then it will be around $22,500, with a loan amount of $427,500.

While a low deposit home loan can help you get your dream house faster, you will have to deal with the extra cost of lenders mortgage insurance.

In some scenarios, a buyer can feasibly get away with borrowing 95 percent of the property value. However, this comes with considerable complications, expenses, and risks. Generally, banks and financial institutions will recommend a deposit of at least 20 percent of your prospective property’s purchase price.

This means for a $400,000 home, you will have to provide $80,000. While this will take a lot longer to save, it also means that the buyer will pay less interest. They will also avoid insurance costs, and the need for a guarantor.

In the end, it is up to the buyer to work out what is best for their situation. When it comes to long term financial commitments such as a home loan, it is all about your on-going financial comfort.

It is possible to get a home loan with no deposit. However, you will need a guarantor. Most people who get no deposit loans are first time home buyers who will live in the homes they purchase. A lot of lenders prefer these types of buyers as they usually pay their loans on time. But you will still need a guarantor to get the loan approved.

A guarantor is someone with an existing property, who is legally responsible for paying back the entire loan if the borrower cannot or will not make the loan repayments. They will also have to pay any fees, charges, and interest. A parent may act as guarantor to first time buyers seeking help getting a home loan.

Usually, the bank can answer this question for you. These days, banks are sticking to strict standards when it comes to lending. This is why there’s no need to worry about making the wrong decision about buying a second house. If you don’t have the income, you will not get the loan.

For most borrowers, banks will extend a monthly allowance for debt that does not exceed 36 percent of their gross household income. This means that your existing mortgage, your car loan and any alimony, student loans or ongoing credit card payments cannot exceed 36 percent of your income. So that second loan has to fit into that 36 percent. It’s a very straightforward formula that helps you determine whether or not you can afford a vacation home.

If you want to own a place for weekend getaways and long lazy vacations every season, then you might want to buy a second home. The good news is that not all vacation homes are expensive. But even with a relatively affordable second home, you need to make sure your budget can handle the extra monthly payments for the mortgage principal and interest, property taxes, etc.

There are a couple of financing options available for those who want to buy a second home.

The first option is an all-cash purchase, which is the easiest method to pay for a vacation home. A home equity loan is also a good idea for homeowners with substantial equity in their property.

You can also go for a conventional loan, but you need to be prepared to make a larger down payment, pay a higher interest rate, and meet tighter guidelines for a mortgage on your principal residence. The minimum down payment for a vacation home is usually 20 percent. Regardless of what method you choose, make sure you start saving some cash first and then pay off all your debts before approaching a lender to review your options.

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