I shared earlier this week some fun and exciting news for our household. But I wanted to share a short snippet of how we went about purchasing this home given the hot housing market in the Seattle area right now.
Our strategy was a little more non-traditional. By now, most real estate agents would advise that when a house hits the market, it’s a good idea as a buyer to submit a “love letter” along with your offer, in order to try and sway the seller into choosing your family, and ultimately your offer over another.
We took it a step further, and actually began strategically sending letters to homes that were NOT on the market, but whose houses were exactly where we’d want to be within the neighborhood, because as any tenured real estate guru will tell you: location, location, location!
We identified the neighborhood where we wanted to be, looked at a map, and flagged every lot that we thought would be a great place to house our family and our dreams.
Now this neighborhood is known in the area for being rather difficult to “get into”. It is a waterfront neighborhood that has tons of amenities, good schools, and ultimately is a spot that all kinds of young families naturally want to be a part of.
We then drafted up a nice little letter, simply telling a bit about our family, why we were looking to move into their neighborhood (be sentimental here), and to give us a call if they were considering moving in the coming months.
Our goal: secure a house OFF MARKET.
We knew we couldn’t compete with waiving contingencies, or all cash, or any other madness that is happening right now. But ultimately, this is still where we wanted to be. So securing an off market deal was our best shot at getting into the neighborhood.
Low and behold, it worked!
We had about a 5% return/call-back ratio each time we sent a round out. It was an exciting time of anticipation needless to say.
After several months of patiently waiting, we sent another round to those SAME houses, but this time just postcards. We assumed they had received our previous letter, so no need for long introductions again, rather the purpose this time was just to put the bug in their ear that we were still looking and to give us a call if they were interested.
We didn’t talk price (although we knew ROUGHLY what it was going to cost us to get into one of these homes based on past sales in the ‘hood), we didn’t talk logistics – we just wanted in.
This strategy has become a thing. A friend even sent us an article written up about how this is becoming a national phenomenon. Frankly, it’s one of the cheapest ways to secure a house before it hits the market (ultimately saving the seller thousands and thousands of dollars in fees), and helps you land the worst house in the best neighborhood – which was always our goal.
Anyway, I know this strategy isn’t for everyone, but I’ve had lots of questions on HOW we got the house, especially off market so thought I’d share.