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Personal letters help buyers to snag homes in competitive markets

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For nine long months, Monica Martins and her husband has scoured Toronto’s east end looking for a home, so when they saw a “character home” and fell in love they knew they’d have to act. Demand for homes, even in a market that is cooling off, is still high and the most sought after homes still spark bidding wars. Monica realized that overpaying wasn’t enough. She had to up her game. She had to put pen to paper.

Despite her husband’s doubts that it would make much of a difference, Martins wrote a personal letter on pen and paper (remember those?) in which she detailed how much they loved the house, and how she and the owner shared similar tastes in furniture and a passion for books. Martins also promised not to demolish or turn the house inside out as it had been done to another house nearby.

“If you pick us, we will make it our own over the years, but we love the house that you’ve loved so dearly and would love to live in it and raise our family in it,” Martins went on to say on the letter, before adding a photo of her family, which included her daughter and the family dog. The Martins’ didn’t have the highest bid, but they did up getting the house.

The handwritten letter created by the Martins is part of a growing trend among Canadian buyers who are opting for a personal touch in order to stand out in today’s hyper-competitive housing market. Why? Because the personal touch really works, say realtors and sellers.

Common elements in those letters include mentions of how much the prospective buyers love features of the home such as a spacious kitchen, a large backyard, flawless wooden floors, etc. The letters frequently try to establish a common ground between buyer and seller by mentioning the buyer’s occupation, hobbies, and how they plan to enjoy the property. Those missives are commonly dotted by mentions of single parents, millennials working hard to save up for their first home’s down payment, or young couple’s hoping for the right home to raise a family, and family photos.

While not everyone agrees on the efficacy of such letters, and some real estate agents even deride them as desperate or even cheesy, an increasing number of realtors urge their clients to write them, because they help to establish a personal connection with the seller.

Sure, the biggest determining factor for accepting an offer continues to be asking price. However, selling or buying a home is a highly emotional decision, and sellers often consider sentiments when choosing which buyer will keep their home. This is especially true when a house has been in their family for a long time. Sellers who have a personal attachment to their home don’t just care about dollars and cents. Knowing that their home will be cared for by a family who loves it as much as they do matters and can make a world of difference.

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Misael Lizarraga

Misael started as an English teacher in Mazatlan, Mexico but his passion was in real estate. Now, he works with a handful of clients reporting on real estate news from across the world under his primary business: