Birmingham Bloomfield – Where are the Sellers?

Beverly Hills MI Homes

Reality is setting in of today’s “new normal” in the Birmingham Bloomfield real estate market. A shift took place over the last 18 months, and with few exceptions, we are in a buyers market. Certainly we still see a few homes sitting out there longer than 90 days, but it is more common to see a race for keys and lock box codes on the first day a new home is listed. With record price appreciation in the last year, sellers have finally started to see a return of the equity lost between 2007 and 2011.

One of the most encouraging signs we’ve seen is a return of the builders. When I was looking for a new spec home for one of the Detroit Tigers in 2008 there was very little for us to chose from. Everybody had stopped building. The few projects that remained were the last batch of spec homes we would see in this market until this year. Now the chain link construction fences are back in every neighborhood in Birmingham and we have a huge home going up down the street from us in Bloomfield Village.

Buyers need to head into this market well prepared. The basics are still important.

  • Get pre-approved (by a LOCAL lender). After hearing horror stories from neighbors and friends who had issues with buyers financing or buyers appraisals in recent years, sellers are more cautious in reviewing the buyer’s proposed financing. We’ve seen more loans being made by a small circle of local lenders who are active in this market. These lenders have more control over the appraisal process and the underwriters are sit across the hall from them. In some cases, they walk down the hall to the bank President’s office to see if a loan can work. Especially in a situation where there are competing offers, the financing can matter a lot, so do what you can to put your best foot forward.
  • Be prepared for appraisal issues. Both sides of the transaction need to know where bumps in the road might occur. Dmitry and I have been luck to experience just a handful of appraisal problems over the last few years, but we’ve certainly heard horror stories from our peers. As sellers agents we attend appraisals to make sure the appraiser is familiar with the market and is armed with the comps we want them to have. We are prepared to discuss the differences between our property and the comps we provide. As buyers agents we are not likely to be on hand for the appraisal but we will discuss comps with the listing agent and offer to accompany if they cannot. If the number comes in lower than we are all expecting then we need to come up with a strategy for resolving the issue.
  • Negotiating with Win-Win as the goal. Sellers spent the last few years being beaten up. Almost literally. Buyers could find themselves with similar feelings of powerlessness with a shortage of inventory. Decide what is truly important and keep negotiations on a positive note.
  • The early bird gets the worm. This old adage plays so true for buyers today. We spend lots of our time looking for homes that are not yet on the market. Thankfully, we have lots of great local contacts with Realtors around the Birmingham, Bloomfield, Beverly Hills area and we show many homes before they ever hit the MLS. Last week I went out and took photos of a home before it hit the market for out out town buyers and shared an album with them so they could decide if they needed to make it here to take a look.
  • It will take a little extra patience and strategy, but it will be well worth the effort. Happy home hunting!


    1. monica says

      Great info as usual, hoping this is the year I can finally sell my little Clawson home, fingers crossed things stay looking up for the market!


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