Just a thought… A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams. [Author Unknown]
And so, another farewell: this time to my cousin who’s leaving this Saturday to live in Calgary. I told you about Karen and her family yesterday; it was a wonderful few hours of games and play and laughter and silliness with her four-year-old daughter and two-year-old son. We tried to make a lot of memories, as we don’t know when we’ll be seeing their sweet family again.
Something happened in their house sale that I heard of earlier this year and I started to realize that it’s become a thing: writing a letter to accompany your offer. In a market as tight as Victoria’s, where there was literally only a handful of homes in the lower price range at which Karen and Joe’s was being offered, you do whatever you have to do in order to get a foot in the door.
Before the house was actually even officially listed (without a sign going up or an open house), there were multiple offers. One was accompanied by a heartfelt letter expressing why the house meant so much. This couple (and their toddler) had apparently already lost out in a bidding war and they were playing to win this time. They offered more than was asked, they came through with a super fast close and they wrote a heartfelt letter.
I’d heard of this before when, a few months ago, my sista-friend Lisa Brandt and her husband sold their home in Byron, near London, Ontario and moved to Wallaceburg (where they’re thriving and happily reWired). While they were entertaining multiple offers, they, too, received a letter imploring them to accept the offer a couple had made.
So, I wondered, when did writing a letter to the sellers become something potential buyers do? I don’t have an answer for that, but I did find a number of articles referring to the practice. This one from Redfin, for example, has several pointers to home-buying hopefuls:
Format your letter to make it stand out
Tell the sellers what you love about the house
Make personal connections (See a Blue Jays bobble head? Talk Jays. Spot a litter box? Mention your love of cats.)
Rather than risk it getting lost in an inbox, print a hard copy of your letter and leave it with the sellers.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that writing a letter in hopes of winning in a competitive market is something people do now. In fact, I think I would do the exact same thing, if I thought I had a hope in heck of swaying someone to my side in a tough bidding situation. A house purchase, in addition to being a huge monetary commitment, is also an emotional decision. You see a place where you’re going to live out your dreams. Your family will grow. Your future will unfold. Why not highlight the feelings you have about the place you want to live?
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
Lisa was touched by the sincerity and tone of the letter but, alas, another offer came in that was accompanied, not by a note, but a bunch of notes – of the monetary kind, in the form of a much higher bid – and Lisa and Derek had to set aside emotions and go where the money was.
Happily for the young couple who sent the impassioned note to Karen and Joe, their offer was accepted. Soon their new life will begin in this townhouse in Langford, just as, in a new development some 30 kilometres from Calgary, it will start fresh for Karen, Joe, Regan and Owen. They take a bit of our hearts with them, but we’ll always be grateful for the time we got, the hours and hugs that have helped us to heal.
Talk to you here tomorrow and, in the meantime here’s a link to my newest Walmart piece, Cycling Into Spring. Enjoy!