Posts Tagged ‘oakland county mi real estate’

The Job of a Buyer’s Agent in Southeast Michigan

Many agents seem to have the idea that the primary job of a buyer’s agent is to get the seller to come down on his asking price. The more you can get the seller down, the better you’ve done your job. NOT!!

Here in the North Oakland County and surrounding areas there is such a lack of inventory that whenflexing you (the buyer) find a house the objective at this point is to get the house. There’s a good chance you will be in a multiple offer situation. Or if you wait too long you will be in a multiple offer situation. Why would you want to settle for your second or third choice of home because you lost out on the house you really wanted- but your agent felt the need to flex and either encouraged you to write a low offer or didn’t try to talk you out of low balling?

My job as a buyer’s agent is to find you the best house for your wants and needs for a price you are comfortable with, then make sure you get the house and go through as little stress as possible. Sometimes that means paying asking price or over. A well priced home in North Oakland County– specifically the Clarkston, Lake Orion and Oxford MI areas will sell quickly and for close to asking price or over.

There are different negotiating strategies depending on the type of sale and the motivations of both the buyer and seller. For example the motivation of a short sale seller will be different than a non-distressed seller. The short sale seller may place more importance on free possession after the closing whereas a non-distressed seller may be more interested in sale price.


But the one thing all buyers and sellers have in common is getting to the closing table – not watching their agents flex and strut. It doesn’t matter how much of a peacock you agent is if you don’t get the house you want.

 If you are considering purchasing a home in North Oakland County MI, Lapeer County or southern Genesee County please don’t hesitate to contact the Jackie Hawley team. We have buyer specialists who are professional and always put your interests first.

Writing the Offer


Foreclosures and Short Sales

Choosing a Buyer’s Agent

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Jackie Hawley
Keller Williams Realty, Clarkston MI

Cell: (248)736-6407



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What Happens if the Appraisal is Low?

Low appraisals (appraised value coming in lower than the agreed upon sale price) are becoming more common and will probably remain a problem for quite awhile to come. There are many reasons why appraisals can come in low, and it is usually NOT because the buyer was prepared to “over pay” for the house.

I used to define the word “appraisal” as an opinion of value. Back in the day the loan officer got to choose the appraiser; an appraiser on that lender’s approved list of appraisers. Most of the time a local appraiser was used, and appraisals were usually pretty accurate. In fact- contrary to recent pundit opinion– many appraisals tended to come in lower than they should have. Most of the time, the appraiser would justify the sale price, even if the buyer was buying the house at a bargain price.

Today I define the word “appraisal” as an opinion of value derived from data that fits a particular lender’s criteria. Also, because of fairly recent legislation (over the past couple years) the choice of the appraiser is taken away from the lender, and I have been seeing a lot of out of the area appraisers on my listings and when representing the buyer. On a recent purchase my buyers ended up paying for 2 appraisals- both licensed appraisers, both appraisals were within a week of each other- one came in at $300,000 and one came in at $362,000.

Buyers and sellers both want the house to appraise. Buyers are represented now ‘days, and their agent should advise them if they are over paying. Buyers are more savvy and educated than in the past, and by the time they make an offer they know what a house is worth. But the appraisal is usually needed to obtain a mortgage.

So what happens when the appraisal comes in low?

  • The seller can come down in price to match the appraised value
  • The buyer can pony up the difference
  • The buyer and seller can settle somewhere in between
  • The buyer can back out and the house go back on the market

The above scenarios assume the purchase agreement stipulates the house must appraise for at least the sale price. The purchase agreement I use lets the appraised value become part of the negotiations. For example the buyer may offer to pay $200,000 for a house but is contingent on the appraiser coming in no lower than $190,000. This can be very useful in a multiple offer situation.

There is no law that forces a seller to come down in price, just like there’s no law that forces the buyer to go through with the purchase if the appraisal is low. Some sellers can’t come down any farther and sometimes the buyer just isn’t able to pay the difference. This can be a real problem when seller concessions are needed.

Bottom line is: appraisals come in low way too often and there is no right or wrong way to resolve the problem. BUT don’t assume the seller will automatically come down in price because a third party doesn’t agree with the buyer or seller on the value of the home.

If You Work As My Buyers Agent How Much Does That Cost Me?

How Not to Buy a House

All About Short Sales and Why a Short Sale May be Wrong for You

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Jackie Hawley
ReMax Encore, Clarkston MI
cell: (248)736-6407

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The Perfect House May Not (Probably Not) Exist

Even with the low inventory in North Oakland and Lapeer County MI, I still consider this a buyer’s market. Prices appear to have stabilized, and in some areas prices look to be increasing a bit and inventory is pitifully low, BUT prices are still low as are interest rates. And there are good houses out there, but if you are looking to buy the “perfect” home there’s a good chance it just doesn’t exist.

A house that sold for $200,000 give or take “back in the day” may go for $110,000 or $115,000 today. And it will probably be in quite decent shape. But it IS a used house. There’s a 50-50 chance it is a distressed sale (foreclosure or short sale), and a homeowner who is looking at losing their home probably isn’t staying on top of maintenance. And quite honestly- there are things wrong with just about every house in every kind of market.

So basically, when you start looking for that great new home, don’t expect perfection. No matter what price range you are in, it probably doesn’t exist. Don’t spend every penny you have to get into the house and don’t max yourself out on what you purchase. You will probably need/want to make improvements/changes/updates to the home you buy. There ARE great deals out there- just not perfect houses.

Jackie Hawley
ReMax Encore, Clarkston MI
cell: (248)736-6407

For Buyers

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Oakland and Lapeer County Home Buyer and Seller- The Closing is Set. What To Do Now?

real estate oakland and lapeer county miNow that all the contingencies have been met or waived and we have set the closing both buyer and seller have a few items to take care of prior to the closing.

If there is possession after the closing there isn’t a whole lot for either side to do. Seller– you need to let your insurance company know when you are closing and find out if you need to convert to renter’s insurance. Buyer– you already have homeowner’s insurance as a condition of the mortgage so the only thing for you to do is your pre closing walk through.

If possession is immediate (keys turned over at closing) there are a few things both sides need to take care of prior to closing.

First is to make sure the swich of utilities goes smoothly. If the house is on natural gas, the seller needs to call the utility companies to let them know the day possession will pass and give the name of the buyer. The buyer needs to do the same and get the gas and electric in their name. This way the house won’t be without power or heat and there will be no re-conncect fee for the buyer. Here is a link to a page within the DTE web site. Just type in the city or township name and it will get you the contact info for both the gas and electric companies that service that house.

If the house is heated with either propane or oil the seller will need to either bring proof of ownership of the tank to the closing or the contact information of the company that owns the tank. It would also be nice to bring the contact information for the company you currently use if the tank is owned.

If the house is on city water and sewer the buyer doesn’t need to do anything. The bill gets sent to the house and within 45 days after closing the buyer will be filing the property transfer with the township. The seller or your agent should order a final reading of the water meter and eliminate the need for a water escrow.

Seller– you will need to cancel your homeowner’s insurance effective day of or day after closing.

The Nuts and Bolts of Purchasing a Home

Buying a Short Sale

Buying a Foreclosure

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Commonly Asked Questions About the North Oakland County and Lapeer County Home Purchase- What is the Deposit For? How Much Should it Be?

earnest money deposit for offer to purchaseWhen you  make an offer on a house in North Oakland County MI or Lapeer County MI one of the questions I will ask you is: How much of a deposit to you want to give me? Partially because it is a space on the purchase agreement that needs to be filled in, but mostly the size of the deposit shows the seriousness of your offer.

The EMD AKA earnest money deposit AKA good faith deposit AKA deposit ties you to the agreement. Once the offer has been accepted I need to have that check deposited within 48 hours (2 business days). You get the deposit money back if any of the contingencies fail to clear; e.g. you find problems on the home inspection and wish to cancel the purchase agreement, you are entitled to get your deposit back.

If all the contingencies are cleared and you just change your mind and want to walk away from the house, you lose your deposit and it would go to the seller. The larger the deposit is, the less likely you will walk for no reason. Or because you found a “better” home to purchase. From the seller’s perspective if you only have $500 at risk there is nothing to keep you from continuing to look at new listings and walking from the sale if you find something better. If you have $5,000 or $10,000 or more at risk, you are more likely to proceed to closing.

There are typically 4-6 weeks between writing the offer and closing. In between contingencies are being cleared; typically the home inspection, clean title supplied by the seller, and obtaining your mortgage which takes the bulk of the 4-6 week time frame. Once we proceed to closing your earnest money deposit is credited against your closing costs and down payment.

So basically, when making an offer to purchase a home in North Oakland County MI or Lapeer County MI bigger is better when it comes to the deposit.

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Buying a Short Sale Listing in Oakland and Lapeer Counties

Buying a Foreclosure Listing in Oakland and Lapeer Counties

Oakland County MI Lakefront Homes for Sale

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