If you have been searching for a house in the last couple of years, you will be familiar with what the real estate industry calls a “lack of inventory”. This means that there are more people looking to buy houses than there are people interested in selling homes and there is more competition on each home. This imbalance causes a housing shortage which can be a frustrating situation for families looking to buy a home and makes getting your offer accepted a tough task.
The housing shortage has created a spike in home prices. According to the National Association of Realtors, “The median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $250,400, up 5.8 percent from March 2017 ($236,600).” This increase in prices has been affecting home affordability nationwide.
Locally in West Michigan, it is very difficult to find affordable homes under the $200,000 range. For first time homebuyers and those looking to downsize they are seeing multiple offer situations and bids far over the home’s listing price. Some desperate buyers are going as far as to waive their right to inspections and guaranteeing to pay above appraisal amounts. For those that do not have access to large amounts of cash, they may have a hard time competing with their bids.
How to Get your Offer Accepted to Buy a Home in a Sellers Market in Michigan
Getting your offer noticed in a stack of multiple offers is not an easy feat. Many sellers are reviewing several offers for their home and simply disregarding lower priced offers and also offers with contingencies and what they consider riskier financing. Here are 8 tips on how to make your offer stand out and get your offer accepted to buy a home in Michigan.
1) Get a Strong Pre-Approval to Strengthen your Offer
To get your offer accepted there are several things a buyer can do. First of all you should speak with a local, knowledgeable, licensed loan officer that can Pre-Approval you for the strongest type of mortgage that you can qualify for. Typically sellers see conventional as the best type of financing because it has less requirements for the home’s condition than other loan types and can close quickly. Receiving a strong pre-approval from a local lender will put you a leg up on the competition with generic automated letters from the big national companies.
2) Consider Alternatives to Seller Paid Closing Costs
If a buyer does not have enough funds to cover their own closing costs then it is a common practice to ask the sellers to pay their closing costs as part of their offer. The sellers will view this as additional costs and reduce their proceeds from the sale. Alternatives to Seller Paid closing costs should be considered including:
- Pay your own closing costs
- Ask about low down payment or zero down loans
- Get a gift from a family member for your costs
- Ask the lender for lender credit option to reduce your costs
- Look for ways to reduce your closing cost by shopping insurance and title company fees
3) Give the Sellers Occupancy After the Closing
Many sellers are hesitant to sell because they are fearful that they will not be able to find a new home in time to transition their belongings to a new house. It may help to calm their fears by giving them extra time to move after you close on the purchase of their house. It is common these day to offer 30 days after close for the seller to vacate the property. This may be an important reason why they choose your offer over others.
4) Personalize your Offer By Writing a Letter
As cheesy as it sounds to write a heart felt letter, my experience shows that it works! Many times there are a lot of emotions and memories that come with a house. It may be the place where they raised their children.
They may have put sweat and tears into building the house. It might have been a house that was in the family for generations. All these factors compel the sellers to want to make sure it goes to a deserving family that will appreciate it as much as they do. Simply tell them why your happy little family would be deserving and that you will take great care of the place.
5) Offer to Pay Seller’s Closing Costs
If you have access to cash and feel strongly about getting your offer accepted, you could offer to pay for the sellers closing costs. In Michigan, Property Transfer Tax and Owner Title Insurance are typically paid by the seller unless otherwise agreed to by the buyer. If a buyer agrees to pay the sellers closing fees, the sellers would net more from the sale and walk away with more money.
6) Remove Contingencies from your Offer
Many times families will have contingencies before they can buy. For example, if you plan on selling your home before buying your next home, then you may write your offer contingent upon the sale of your home. This is a risky unknown for sellers. Your house may take a long time to sell which would not work with the seller’s timeline.
If you are able to qualify for a new home while still owning your other home, then it may be advantageous to submit your offer without a contingency for the sale of your home. Other contingencies you could remove would include appraising at sales price, or even waiving property inspections. These should be carefully considered as a last resort to get your offer accepted.
7) Adding an Escalation Clause as Part of your Offer
Speak with your real estate agent about how an escalation clause may work for your situation. In general, a clause would be added stating that if someone else offers higher than your offer, you will automatically increase your bid higher than theirs. You would want to make sure you set a cap on the maximum amount you are willing to offer.
8) Ask your Loan Officer to Call the Listing Agent to Confirm your Pre-Approval
Having a loan officer that will go above and beyond to fight for you is an important part of buying a home. Studies show that having a local loan officer versus a big bank or online lender increases the strength of your pre-approval. Part of a seller’s concern when reviewing offers on their home is that the buyer’s financing may fall through. If your loan officer has already received your documentation and confirmed that you are a well qualified buyer, then ask them to call the listing agent to confirm the details and give the sellers confidence in accepting your offer!
To review home loan options with a Licensed Loan officer simply complete the form below to request a free consultation or call us now at 1-800-555-2098.