August 7, 2018

Bidding Wars

The Trick to Winning a Home Bidding War

There’s more than one way to win a bidding war. If you find yourself competing with multiple offers on the same house, know that there are others ways to sway favor in your direction other than offering more money.

The trick is to make your offer stand-out and to encourage the seller to make an emotional connection with it. You can think of it as a way to “sell your offer” to the home seller, and, in our experience, an offer letter is a perfect way to do it.

An offer letter is pretty simple, just like any other letter or email you write, and it accompanies your bid on the home.

Here’s a quick overview of key points to include in your offer letter:

1. Talk about what you love about the house

The seller likely spent years in the home and possibly raised a family in it, so they will probably have a strong emotional attachment to the property. Highlight the memories you hope to create in the home and acknowledge the hard work put into it. You can also mention any specific upgrades they’ve recently included and how much you admire the improvements.

2. Make it (just a little) personal

It’s helpful to reveal a little about yourself to the seller –but not too much. You can provide a short explanation of why you chose this particular house over other homes such as because it reminds you of your childhood home or you grew up in that community and want the same for your children. Whatever the reason, share it with the seller and let him know you’re the right buyer for the home.

3. Don’t mention any plans to remodel the house

While the sellers may realize that certain upgrades are necessary, most of the time, they don’t want to hear about it. The seller may have invested thousands of dollars to fix up the property, so they certainly don’t want to hear about plans to undo their work. Keep renovation plans to yourself.

4. Discuss your ability to afford the house

Include a pre-qualification letter with your offer and offer letter, so the seller knows you can afford the property. If the buyer is looking to make a quick and no-fuss sale, your pre-qualification letter may be just the thing to convince them to choose your offer.

5. Do you have anything in common with the seller?

You might also want to mention anything you have in common with the seller. Look for clues as you walk through the house and take mental note of any commonalities you have with the seller. Sometimes, it’s the little things (like both having a German Shepherd) that make a big difference.

6. Promise to take care of the home

A seller who invested to much time and effort into the home will prefer a buyer who will take care of the legacy. Include a promise to maintain and keep the house in excellent condition—whether you follow through on not making any changes is up to you. It may seem like a trivial thing to include in your letter, but it can have a tremendous impact on sentimental sellers.

7. Keep it short

Your letter should be both compelling and thorough but keep it brief. You want your letter to stand out, but you certainly don’t want to seem pushy nor do you want to overwhelm the seller with several pages of pleading. Keep your letter short, sweet and, optimally, a page or less in length.

Money isn’t the only way to compete in a competitive housing market. An offer letter and pre-qualifying letter can sometimes be more convincing than adding a few thousand to your bid. Ready to get a pre-qualifying letter? Or maybe you’re just curious as to how much home you can afford?


Information provided by:

Victor Bals Team of Huron Valley Financial


August 7, 2018

Mortgage Brokers vs. Real Estate Agents

The Difference Between Mortgage Brokers and Real Estate Agents

Two professionals will quickly become your best friends when you’re buying a home: your mortgage broker and real estate agent. How do they differ and how do they work together to help you with your home purchase?

How Do Mortgage Brokers and Real Estate Agents Differ?

Real estate agents work on the buying and selling part of a property while mortgage brokers focus on the financing side of the purchase. Here’s how that breaks down.

A real estate agent helps you to sift through potential homes to find the perfect one. They have access to property listings, have knowledge about the local market, and have information about the neighborhoods, including which areas are up-and-coming and reputations of local schools.

A real estate agent may introduce various home loan options, however, knowing which mortgage program works best for you is a mortgage broker specialty.

**Working with a loan officer instead of a mortgage broker? They work essentially the same way, that it, helping you to get the rate and home financing you need. The difference is that loan officers work with a specific lender while a mortgage broker works similar to an “independent contractor,” working with several lenders.

Both have their perks and both guide you in comparing home loan programs to ensure that you’re getting the best rate.

Common Responsibilities of Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents help you sell a property or help you to buy one.

Types of Real Estate Agents

Here’s a quick overview of the most commonly encountered real estate agents.

Real estate agent: This is a state-licensed position, and they help their clients through the selling or buying of properties. Each state has its licensing guidelines. However, the training and standards are somewhat similar throughout the country.

Real estate broker: This professional is usually the owner or manager of a real estate office, though some work independently. They have the same training as a real estate agent plus additional higher-level training as they are the ones reviewing contracts as well as managing the daily operations. Just like real estate agents, licensing for real estate brokers vary by state.

Realtor®: A Realtor® is the official name for a real estate agent or real estate broker who is also a member of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). The NAR is a private organization with their own set of realty standards and code of ethics that members agree to follow. To recap, all Realtors® state-licensed, but not all real estate agents and brokers are Realtors®.

Responsibilities of Mortgage Brokers

A mortgage broker is worth his or her weight in gold. They provide a critical service when it comes to navigating your home loan options, so their profession is heavily regulated. Every state has their licensing requirements, but all mortgage brokers are trained, bonded, and act with your fiduciary interests in mind.

Mortgage brokers and loan officers help you in other ways too! Consider them a trustworthy source for your credit score questions, property investments loans info, down payment coaching, and much more.

Mortgage Brokers Be Real Estate Agents Too 

It’s possible for your mortgage broker also to be a licensed real estate agent. Some prefer this all-in-one service, while others like to keep their mortgage and home shopping separate. However, note that real estate agents cannot originate government-backed loans (like FHA loans, for example) on behalf of their client.

Working Together for Your Best Home Buying Interests

Buying a home is critical life decisions and investments you will ever make. That’s why we’re dedicated to guiding you through the initial process home loan applications and keep you in the loop every step of the way. Whether you are already working with a real estate agent or are looking for a trusted recommendation, we are ready to team up with you to make your home-ownership dreams come true.

August 7, 2018

Unmarried and Buying a Home

What You Need to Know About Buying a Home as an Unmarried Couple


Buying a home with a loved one is an exciting next step. However, home purchases between unmarried couples come with a few challenges. And since buying a home presents a significant financial investment and personal commitment, it’s important to know the challenges you may face before you sign on the dotted line.


August 7, 2018

Buying a Home when you’re Self Employed

Tips for Buying a Home When You’re Self-Employed

Self-employment has its perks, like making your own schedule, negotiating your pay, and maybe even have a little more free time to do the things you love! If you’re self-employed or a freelancer, you’re not alone — about a third the U.S. workforce is self-employed, and it’s projected to increase to 42% in the next 2 years


August 7, 2018

Sumeet Saxena joins the Lansing Branch!

Sumeet cut his teeth initially on Mortgage Processing, later making a successful transition into the position of Loan Officer.  He has now joined the HVF  Lansing Branch.  Welcome Sumeet!

August 1, 2018

Lending & Title Insurance Panel Discussion

Lending and Title Insurance Panel Discussion: Managing Successful Transactions
Thursday, August 2, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Ann Arbor, 179 Little Lake Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Presenters: Carrie Aeschliman, Independent Bank; Becky Brooks, American Title; Patrick McVeigh, Liberty Title Agency; Tom Bullard, Huron Valley Financial, Inc.

HVF’s Tom Bullard 

Moderator: Ashlee Guerrero, GreenStone Farm Credit Services

Panelists will share tips and strategies for REALTORS® related to the various lending and title insurance aspects of the transaction. As the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know. Learning from these industry insiders could be the key to your next deal!

July 12, 2018

Southgate Branch

Huron Valley Financial is growing again – with three longtime mortgage consultants at our Southgate, Michigan location.  Michael Van Dusen, Donna Ferguson and Dan Voran are all veterans of the industry and licensed loan originators.  They have worked downriver for much of their careers and have always been very involved in the local community.  The office is located at 13367 Reeck Ct. Southgate, MI and appointments are available upon request.  Welcome Dan, Donna and Michael!

July 12, 2018

Lansing Branch

John Hansen will be running our Lansing area Branch located at 4900 Montrose Ave. in Okemos.  John is experienced with many different loan products, including 100% financing options such as Rural Development and VA. He is committed to delivering quality customer service and an exceptional loan experience.  Welcome to HVF, John!

June 13, 2018

New HVF Branch in Brighton!

We would just like to announce our newest branch in Brighton.  This is our second branch office in Brighton and the Vic Bals team has moved to this location, right at the corner of Main Street and Grand River in downtown Brighton.  Stop in and visit Vic and the team!

102 E. Grand River
Brighton, MI 48116

Telephone:  734-417-2115
Toll – free:   833-TimeToBuy
Main Tel. :..800-650-7441

June 6, 2018


CLICK here to check out our new FAQs page where you’ll find answers to your most commonly asked mortgage questions!