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"note Through The Door" Approach To House Hunting - Any Experience Or Tips?

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My wife and I are looking to sell our place and have a fairly specific area in mind to move to. Actually, we have a fairly specific house in mind but, for various reasons, I suspect it might not all work out as perfectly as we hope (let's face it, nothing ever does).

A couple of people have suggested a 'leaflet campaign' in the area. Just wondered if anyone has any experience of this actually working and any tips?

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I think anyone else's experience isn't going to be the slightest bit of use to you tbh. Just because someone happened to leaflet a homeowner who was looking to sell doesn't mean you will.

Give it a go though, nothing ventured.... as they say.

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I did this a few years ago. Didn't hear anything back, did it to 3 houses I liked. Still not seen anything comparable, kind of given up looking now with the market as it is.

However I did have a note put through my own door about 2 years ago, I contacted the lady saying I would sell to her if I ever do sell as I despise estate agents, she is prepared to wait apparently, even though I've told her it may be a few good years. Get an Xmas card every year from her reminding me she's still waiting patiently :)

So worth a try, worst they can do it rip it up.

Edited by spunko2010

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I wouldn't (and didn't bother) in this market. As a seller they're bound to get more if they went via an agent who can bid it up. Otherwise you're just low-balling homeowners which is like asking for a punch in the face.

If you live in an area in demand you get these letters from agents all the time too. I had a few of these type of individual letters when I was renting a crappy terraced house in a pretentious area. Despite the begging letter saying they were looking for a family home (it clearly wouldn't have been a family type home) I traced some of the details via the interwebs and got links to holiday lets in Italy and some crappy bedsit/flats in Salford. The wholesome letter approach was clearly a scam being used by an insider to look for value.

So, I'm naturally inclined to treat an 'honest' approach like yours with the disdain I have for property (un)professionals. But if your wife is nagging then do it just to keep her happy. Just don't make my mistake and buy a bad house on a bad street.

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Frustrating thing is that we know the person who owns this particular house well and know they plan to sell. We're in a good position ourselves as we have a smaller house to sell in a nicer street in the same neighborhood which will sell every bit as quickly as hers will when she puts it up for sale.

The galling thing is we're locals; I've lived in the area pretty much all my life, my wife is from a small village about 5 miles away. We really want our child to grow up in the neighbourhood (no more than ten minutes drive away from all grandparents) and are willing and able to even pay a little bit above the asking price we were quoted by the owner.

They're still determined to go with an estate agent though, knowing full well that homes in the area don't come on the market that often and a bidding war is likely. They're also keen to avoid a chain so will almost certainly go for a cash buyer paying way over the odds ahead of us.

Just to put this in context, this is a single person who purchased this property cash with money obtained from the sale of their parents home. Am I being completely unreasonable to expect that they might want to do a young local family a favour? Annoyingly this person also approached us about the house initially, essentially dangling our ideal future home in front of us before then snatching it away.

So now we're in the position of having to put ours on the market asap and hope against hope that we can find a buyer who is then willing to wait a while until our acquaintance puts their house on the market so we've at least got a fighting chance of convincing this person they won't be too inconvenienced. As I said, it's an extremely popular area so our place will likely sell very quickly so this will be no mean feat.

The plus point of this though is that we now know that the houses in that street are within our budget (well, for the moment anyway) whereas most family homes in the area aren't, hence the proposed letter campaign.

Are we selfish youngsters who should just take it on the chin and move to a less popular area? Maybe. Given that I commute more than 40 miles to work and need to be near the station plus the best schools in town are in the neighbourhood it seems unfair that a young family with the financial means to live in the area should be overlooked in favour of a pensioner and their little game of monopoly.

Bah, rant over. Bring on the flamers.

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I have sympathy, but I'm afraid cold hard cash is likely to trump any local affiliation in this case. Hardly surprising really unless you are a really good mate of theirs. I guess if you were to turn the question on its head - Would you offer your place possibly below market value direct to a younger local? Or want an estate agent to get the max for it?

Never ever get fixated on one dream house. Harsh though it sounds, I suspect at the heart of this you can't actually afford this person's house in the current market conditions (if they are as you describe). Perhaps it's best to mentally and emotionally move on. You wouldn't be the first person to have to move because by accident of birth they live in an area which is far too expensive to actually buy (I'm about 200 miles away from where I grew up and haven't been back for more than two decades).

Edited by StainlessSteelCat

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I see your point but my question here would be "define market value"?

As mentioned, we can go to 10 or 12k above the already generous (to us) price but there's no legislating for people willing to pay way over the odds these days.

Ironically, the same applies to our own property. Early indications are we can get a genuinely embarrassing amount above the asking price at the minute. Does that mean we got the market price wrong or that the market is wildly distorted at the moment? I could go into some needlessly technical stuff here about the definition of 'fair value' but you get the point I think.

Answers on a postcard please.

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Some tips... beg and plead to pay mad-gainz prices imo. Love-letters have been a big thing in the Bubble 2.0 in California, to try and get sellers to pick their crazy high offer.

Buyers get personal with a letter to the seller
Posted: 03/01/13

[...]Real estate is touchy-feely

The dynamic of a personal letter from a buyer to the seller draws special attention to that buyer's offer as something more than a simple cold-hearted discussion of price and terms. By reading the buyer's letter, the seller becomes familiar with the buyer's character and personality. The letter informs the seller of the humanity behind the offer and elevates it to a position above the other anonymous offers received.

Sellers are emotionally attached to their homes, elevating the home almost to the status of a member of the family. Most home sellers feel more comfortable transferring care of the property to someone they sense as a friend; someone with similar interests, familial makeup, tastes in design, and most importantly, a common love for the home.

Think of a buyer letter as a bonding device, an extension of the introductory handshake. Letters humanize the buyer, establish an all important personal connection and foster a warm understanding between the buyer and seller. As a matter of human psychology, people trust those they know, and a letter to the seller is an opportunity for buyers to let the seller know who they are, how much they love the home, and why the seller should pass the torch to them instead of another, detached candidate.

The purchase agreement offer is essentially an application submitted to a seller to acquire property, offering a sum of money on conditions and asking for approval on submission. Like an employment application, the structured content of a purchase agreement delivers just the cold facts without human nuance.

However, the buyer's personal letter acts as a gooey sort of cover letter to their application to acquire the property. It uses human terms rather than bare monetary figures and due diligence arrangements to explain why the seller should accept this buyer over a different offer.

[...]As the letter must be sincere if it is to be effective, the prospective buyer should draft the letter themselves, with the guidance of the agent.

Remember, the goal is to establish rapport, so the letters need to let sellers know exactly why your buyer loves their house. This may mean business for the perceptive agent, but it is a personal transaction for the seller as it involves the family home. The seller will likely return to see the home from time to time, and want to be able to knock on the door and just say, "Hi, remember me? I used to live here."

Encourage the buyer to be as honest and concise in his wording as possible, providing specific examples of what the buyer appreciates about the seller's property, landscaping, neighborhood and area amenities.

In particular, the buyer would be wise to specifically comment on components of the property which were replaced and upgraded by the seller.

This compliment will echo with special resonance for the seller, who paid for the improvement from savings or with sweat equity. Everyone likes to receive kudos for a job well done.

Buyers can sweeten the deal by explaining why the seller's specific property would be perfect for the buyer - and correspondingly well cared for. For example, buyers should enthuse if the property is close to their place of employment or children's school, is large enough to accommodate the family or has perfect landscaping and lot orientation for hosting social gatherings.


Edited by Venger

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