Making an offer stand out in the Hot West Michigan Housing Market

This year, the West Michigan housing market has been red hot, and summer shows no signs of the real estate rollercoaster slowing down.  So, instead of resigning to that sinking feeling that your forever home just became someone else’s “for now,” listen in to these 2 simple tips for making your offer stand out among a sea of others – no matter how chaotic or competitive the market:

Tip #1: Know Your Seller.

While it may not always be possible (or pertinent) to find out a seller’s complete life story, it never hurts to know a bit about who you’re working with (and what they might be working against).  What does that mean for you?  Have your realtor get in touch with the listing agent and get any details possible that might help you accommodate the seller in their transition.

For example, if a seller is moving because of a job loss or another tricky financial situation, consider structuring a clean deal that doesn’t involve any additional closing cost contributions from the seller.  Or, if a seller is moving because their large family has outgrown their current home, you may want to think about offering extended, flexible terms for possession after close in order to help the family make a slower and smoother transition between homes.

Remember, sweetening your deal by being mindful of a seller’s situation and adjusting your offer where appropriate is just one simple way to help your offer stay top-of-mind and (with any luck) top-choice.

Tip #2: Make It Personal.

We know that, in real estate, money doesn’t talk.  It shouts.  (Ahem…  multiple competing offers well over list price day one on the market sound familiar to anyone?) That’s why, when house hunting in a competitive real estate market like the one we West Michiganders are living in, it’s important to remember that, for some sellers, the decision isn’t always a strictly financial one.

You’d be surprised to know just how many sellers have deep emotional attachments to their homes, even when one foot’s out the door to stake a “For Sale” sign in the yard.  That’s why it’s important to appeal not only to a seller’s pocketbook, but to them as a person.

To help your offer stand out amongst a swirling sea of numbers and endless packets of paperwork, try putting a little personalization back into the process.  Write the sellers a hand-signed letter (and don’t make it all about you!)  Be sure to infuse plenty of what you loved about their home, their style, and their thoughtful improvements.  Hey, a little flattery goes a long way!

Here are some things you may want to include in your personal letter:

  • A bit about you.  Give the sellers a glimpse into your life and lifestyle – everything from your kids to your pets… even your grandmother who lives just two blocks away and would love to have your little ones nearby.
  • A bit about them.  While the purpose of your letter isn’t to drown the seller in compliments, it never hurts to show that you appreciate how well they’ve cared for their home over the years.  So, take time to note the beautifully manicured lawn, or the thoughtful upgrades they made to the kitchen last year.
  • How you’d make the space feel like home.  Don’t get us wrong – this isn’t your opportunity to give the sellers a laundry list of things you can’t wait to rip out and replace.  This is your chance to show appreciation for the home as it is, while explaining how you envision yourself and your family in it.  An example would be sharing with the seller that you can picture grilling on the wraparound porch with your spouse and friends, or using the cozy, handcrafted windowseat as a reading nook for your kids.
  • What it would mean to you.  This is your chance to truly tug at the heartstrings and show the seller how important their home would be to you.  Share how you’d love for it to be the place you bring your new baby home to, or how their neighborhood was the first to ever give you the feeling of comfort and community you’ve been looking for.  Whatever it is, be genuine (and unafraid to wear your heart on your sleeve).  Because sometimes (just sometimes) making an emotional connection with the seller can make all the difference.