Approaching owner of home not for sale

RoseAbbeyMay 15, 2012

Right now we live in a waterfront community about 17 miles out of the city. While we enjoy living here, this is not our final home. We would like to move back to the city within the next 5 years. There is a house on a street that we used to live that we always admired. Love the area and the outside of the house. Know the square footage but that is about all. I would like to approach the owners to let them know if and when they were ready to sell their home, I would be interested in maybe purchasing it. I thought I would write them a letter. What are your thoughts, is this a good approach, would knocking on the door be better? How would you feel if you were in their shoes? How can I word the letter as to not sounding presumptuous. Thanks for your help.

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trilobite

I'd write a letter, keep it short and say what you've said here. That you're thinking of moving back to X area at some point and their house caught your eye as being particularly attractive from the outside. And if they have any thoughts about selling in the next five years, please let you know. Either they're interested or they won't be.

By the way, you can research things about the house like square footage and age online, so maybe do that first and just check that it would be suitable.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 9:38AM
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RoseAbbey

Thanks trilobite. I have tried looking up the address on line but nothing comes up only the owners name, address and phone number. I live in Canada, we dont have zillow here.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 10:15AM
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drewem

This actually happened to me, and let me say it freaked me out. It was a new construction home, and after a year or so in, we got a letter in the mail. It was addressed to my sister in law (so who ever did their research got it all wrong). It looked like it was from a demented person and baiscally stated they had cash $$$ to buy my house. It was not worded like it was from a sane person. I saved the letter incase I ever needed to go to the police with it, and made sure my alarm was working!

If you do go this route, be careful with your wording so you don't sound psycho.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 10:50AM
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Northlut

Also make sure you make it clear you're a buyer, not a real estate agent. We've received a couple of letters from real estate agents over the years claiming to have a buyer for our house. I'm not sure if they did or not, but it came across as fishing for listings (and we weren't looking to sell at the time anyway), so it went straight into the trash.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 11:07AM
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RoseAbbey

drew Thanks for the tip, hopefully my letter wont sound like it came from a nut.

Northlut, we have had the same thing happen to use only the realtors actually came in person. We were leery that they only wanted a listing.

Here is what I am thinking of sending:

We used to be residents of the area, we lived on XXXXX for about ten years in the 1990's. We have admired your property, actually saw it being built same time as ours was. We would like to return to the neighbourhood at some point and would be interested in perhaps buying your property when we do. If you should ever decide to sell would you be willing to contact us?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 11:36AM
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kirkhall

Maybe be more specific? The way it is worded would make me wonder if every neighbor on the block got this note. Also, I would put a timeline on it--5 yrs (if that is your timeline). So, they know it isn't in the next year or 2...

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 11:26PM
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deee_gw

I would personalize the note a bit (without sounding like a stalker!). Something like, "we love the Japanese maple in the front yard".

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 6:46AM
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ottawavalleygardener

We're in a nice neighbourhood, and get these dropped in our mailbox periodically ... I just throw them out right away. But I like deee's idea of personalizing it, so it's clear it's actually my house they're interested in.

The notes we get are usually hand-written to make it look like they're potential homebuyers, but they still seem fishy to me.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 7:39AM
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trilobite

One other thought. Include your personal email in the note. It's an easy, low-pressure way for them to respond should they wish.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 11:22AM
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suz1023

roaseabbey is your home horse property by any chance?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 9:01PM
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RoseAbbey

I did personalize it by saying we saw the home being built when ours was. I will also include all my contact information.

fallingwaters, no wish it was, why do you ask?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 6:03AM
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nini804

I live in a small town with pretty strict development guidelines...so not a lot of the typical subdivision development. Prior to the real estate bust...this was pretty common in our town. You'd send a note to the person who lived in a house you wanted, and just wait. It was particularly effective when the eventual seller was a senior, often they didn't want to have to deal with showings, etc.

It was hilarious...you wouldn't know someone had sold their house until a moving truck arrived!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 6:39AM
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sweet_tea

Did you already send it....if not, I suggest you buy a nice card with a colored envelope and hand write the note inside the card. Why? Hopefully if they are not ready to sell now, they will save that card and envelope. The colored envelope and card will stand out when they are ready to retrieve it later when they are thinking of selling.

I like the idea of the email as well as tel# and address. Specify you are not an investor and are looking to buy a home that you plan to live in for many years.

I used to get many, many letters from investors. All were typed on white paper and I just knew that many other property owners got the same letters. They simply stated they were interested in buying the property, etc. No personal note like you have about living on that block and watching the home being built. This is perfect in your note...very personal so they know you are not an investor that is trying to make money off of them.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 8:32AM
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RoseAbbey

That's funny nini!

sweet tea, that is a great idea! I will need to get someone else in my family to write it, I have such bad penmanship! Thanks for the idea.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 10:37AM
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ncrealestateguy

I would, and do, approach past sellers of Expireds in person. Presenting your intentions in person will go a long ways in comparison to a letter, IMO.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 7:15AM
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RoseAbbey

ncrealestatguy, this house isnt an expired listing. From what I can tell from the internet, the owners have been in it at least since 2009.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 7:29AM
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ncrealestateguy

I would still present any inquiries in person, as opposed to a letter.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 9:11AM
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kts2

We did this - left a note on the door of a house we admired - saying that we were interested if and when they might sell. Had an oppoutunity to speak with their neighbor to explain our interest as well. Three months later - they called - we bought- and we have been here six years now. ( Home is/was a unique older home )

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 7:45PM
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scrappy25

We did this 18 years ago (put letters in mailboxes) and happily the owners of the perfect (at that time) house called. They already had an asking price. We toured it once, offered almost the asking price,and the deal was made. Got our own lawyer for the paperwork, sellers saved commission and were very happy. We were thrilled to not have to compete for our house since it was never on the (then) hot market. We still see and chat with the former owners as they had downsized locally.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 11:07PM
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RoseAbbey

kts, scrappy, great to hear! Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 6:51AM
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suz1023

lol, i'm always looking for a horse property on a few acres of waterfront. somewhere at least as cold as vermont and affordable.
as one can imagine it's not an easy property to find, so i keep asking just in case.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 7:41PM
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RoseAbbey

fallingwaters, that would be my dream too....horse and waterfront. There is a piece of property beside our waterfront subdivision that has 28 acres on the water,beautiful home and they are now building the barn for 10 horses.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 8:42PM
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suz1023

oh that sounds perfect! i have a few leads in new hampshire and maine of co-housing and eco villages i'm looking into.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 9:03PM
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cleanfreak0419

This is how we sold our first home. Folks knocked on the door and 2 weeks later we were closing.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 8:38AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Our neighbor's sold theirs that way. A realtor had a buyer, approached them, and they sold it. There was never a sign out front.

We were in shock! We really liked them, but we like the new neighbors too!

I've been in sales my whole life (not real estate), but the rule is "If you don't ask, you don't get!" Ask! They just might say yes!

Good luck!

This post was edited by desertdance on Wed, May 15, 13 at 10:22

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 10:21AM
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ellendi

This is currently happening in my neighborhood. Our small splits are being bought and torn down to build houses triple the size.
In this case, it is builders who approached the owners. One was not even thinking of selling but took the offer. I think the offer has to be one that the owner feels they cannot refuse, so probably above what is going on with similar houses in the area.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 11:06AM
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Markwahlberg

I think that the idea of writing a letter is a good option. But the only thing is that you have to specific that you are a home buyer not a real estate agent. If they really wish to sell their property then they can approach you otherwise you don't need to force them.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 4:54AM
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TOrealtyblog

Roseabbey,

If you have not already sent the letter can I suggest that you explain why you like their particular property in the area and are not interested in moving back to your former home itself. This might answer any outstanding questions they may have about you. Perhaps in a one liner say, "When I lived at such and such address, I admired the relative privacy of your home closer to the middle of the street where the kdis would play ball-hockey" for instance. I also think the more you introduce yourself as a worthy buyer and then obviously address the benefits they will recieve for accepting your offer (without sounding pushy) you'll be fine. I also like the idea of writing and then visiting in person afterward. I would wait a few days after you expect them to recieve your letter before visiting.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 11:44AM
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TOrealtyblog

Roseabbey,

If you have not already sent the letter can I suggest that you explain why you like their particular property in the area and are not interested in moving back to your former home itself. This might answer any outstanding questions they may have about you. Perhaps in a one liner say, "When I lived at such and such address, I admired the relative privacy of your home closer to the middle of the street where the kdis would play ball-hockey" for instance. I also think the more you introduce yourself as a worthy buyer and then obviously address the benefits they will recieve for accepting your offer (without sounding pushy) you'll be fine. I also like the idea of writing and then visiting in person afterward. I would wait a few days after you expect them to recieve your letter before visiting.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 11:45AM
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williamsem

I'm not sure about visiting after writing. Nothing odd about a personalized note as mentioned above. If I got a note and then the person showed up a few days later, I'd feel pressured and wonder if I'm being watched/stalked. It would seriously creep me out! Kind of like when you know there is someone outside a public restroom when you are using it, just waiting for you to finish up.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 10:45AM
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FalParsi

I loved a house in our neighborhood and thought about writing a note to the owners but never did. Bought a home and darn, if that house did not come on the market right after we made settlement. So I would encourage you to write a note because you never know and you will have the satisfaction of knowing you followed your heart. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 4:55PM
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tinan

I'd write a note but not get too detailed/personal or it will seem creepy (ie don't describe your imagined life in their home etc).

Just keep it simple: "We are looking to buy in your neighborhood and we really like your home's location and the house style, if you have considered selling your home please contact us at ____ include an email address since that's an easy way for them to contact you.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 5:14PM
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sapphire6917

Isn't this thread over a year old?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 11:52AM
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