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Letter to property owners whose houses are not on the market?

(34 Posts)
ProjectGainsborough Wed 12-Mar-14 11:04:18

I want to buy in a particular village, where the DC go to school, but there is NOTHING on the market. Our ducks are all in a row and we are renting nearby, waiting to pounce.

I was thinking of perhaps putting a polite letter through the door of some likely properties to see if anyone was thinking of selling. Is this mental? Has anyone done this and if so, what did you say?

nancy75 Wed 12-Mar-14 11:07:36

My parents did it years ago and did end up buying one of the houses.

You need to make sure your letter does not look like an estate agent one (I must get 5 of then a week asking us to sell)

Just put what you have put here, renting at moment, no chain, finances in order

AlpacaLypse Wed 12-Mar-14 11:10:52

We've received letters like this, and although we don't want to sell, we weren't offended by them in any way. Also I did once say to a friend of a friend that I loved her house, and would adore it if she ever thought of moving - only half tongue in cheek!

About a year later, she got in touch and said they were going on the market, but if we wanted to make an offer before she signed a contract with an agent we'd be very welcome. Actually we'd decided not to move after all, but we appreciated being given the opportunity. And since then she's graduated to being a proper friend, not just friend of friend, so no harm done and in fact probably some good.

ClownsLeftJokersRight Wed 12-Mar-14 11:13:51

I did consider this when we wanted to move, luckily the dream house came up for sale after all, but yes people do do it.

I think a politely worded note may nudge someone into action who was considering the idea and who would be attracted to a ready made buyer in a strong position such as yourself.

The only down side to it that bothered me (and it bothered me a lot) is that it does put you somewhat on the back foot regarding negotiations.

You've shown your hand from the off and that is that you are very keen. All good, but often you need a poker face when house buying, even looking like you'll walk away if necessary, and you can't then take that stance so easily having been the one to make the first approach iyswim.

Bowlersarm Wed 12-Mar-14 11:17:20

Do it.

Short and simple. A few personal details to endear you to the house owners (ages of DC, looking for a family home, you have nothing to sell etc).

Expect it not to achieve your dream house, but it just might.

Morgause Wed 12-Mar-14 11:25:45

We live in a popular area and get 2 or 3 a year.

If we were thinking of moving we would respond.

ProjectGainsborough Wed 12-Mar-14 11:36:36

Ok, I am reassured.

Hard to word though. Endearing but not desperate...

ProjectGainsborough Wed 12-Mar-14 11:37:36

Does this make you want to puke??

'We have two small children at XXX primary and are looking for a three or four bed house that we can make into a forever home.'

AlpacaLypse Wed 12-Mar-14 11:39:00

I'd use 'long term family home' instead of forever home - but otherwise fine.

ProjectGainsborough Wed 12-Mar-14 11:39:58

Thanks. It did feel a bit syrupy.

Bowlersarm Wed 12-Mar-14 11:44:54

I would keep in simple. Something like

'I hope you don't mind us approaching you in this direct manner, but we are hoping to buy a house in suchandsuch village and were enquiring as to whether you might be considering selling in the near future.

We are Louise and James Project, and have three DC aged 8, 6 and 4, all at suchandsuch school, and we are looking for our permanent family home. We don't have a property to sell, we have a mortgage arranged in principle, and can move to a timescale to suit you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Please feel free to contact us on the above numbers, should you want to discuss this with us. Perhaps if you are thinking of selling in the future you could keep our details and contact us then.'

I'm sure there will be critics along to comment on that, but personally, I would write something along those lines.

ProjectGainsborough Wed 12-Mar-14 11:49:04

No, I love it, thanks Bowlers. I was struggling to find a way to apologise for intruding without coming across as Uriah Heep-ish.

Bowlersarm Wed 12-Mar-14 11:54:58

Well,I hope it has helped.

It probably won't work, but you just might find someone who is starting to think about it, and they may well get you round first before going with an agent therefore avoiding the agency fees.

It has been successful for some people.

Good luck.

ProjectGainsborough Wed 12-Mar-14 11:59:57

Thanks. If it works, I'll post back!

AClassyMove Wed 12-Mar-14 12:01:27

I would get rid of the we can move to your timescales line, you may come to regret stating that later on.

Bowlersarm Wed 12-Mar-14 12:16:44

Fair point, AClassyMove. My thinking behind that sentence is that anyone who responds to this type of letter would only be thinking about moving, rather than raring to go, or they would already be on the market. So they wouldn't want to think the OP would be jumping up and down, champing at the bit to get in (although she would be...!).

But yes, it may be better to leave it out altogether.

Beastofburden Wed 12-Mar-14 12:20:30

I might keep something in, along the lines of "we are happy to wait for the right house, so even if you are not thinking of moving at the moment, please do keep us in mind" otherwise the ppl might think, oh, we're not quite ready yet, shame, and chuck your letter away.

ProjectGainsborough Wed 12-Mar-14 12:21:57

How about 'we are ready to move as convenient for both parties'?

I'm a little worried that one of the people who gets this letter will be an MNer!

AnnaDoreta Wed 12-Mar-14 12:25:23

Agree with beast.
My parents got a letter like this. Filed it away and a year later when they were ready to sell, gave the family a call. All done and dusted quickly and easily.

Although do expect to pay top whack for the house as that is likely to be the only way of securing a deal before it goes to market.

Good luck.

MrsJohnDeere Wed 12-Mar-14 13:24:22

We got one of these last week. I was thrilled (and put it somewhere safe as you never know what's round the corner). We've only been here 6 weeks though so aren't ready to mve yet!

MrsJohnDeere Wed 12-Mar-14 13:26:17

I would out an email address too. If I was thinking of selling I'd rather email someone first than phone a stranger (but I hate phoning people, so that might just be me grin).

ProjectGainsborough Wed 12-Mar-14 13:32:04

Good idea MrsJ I wouldn't be keen on phoning a stranger either.

Ok, what happens if someone responds, I view their house and hate it? Cringe. It's a small town/village. I'd be bound to bump into them.

I need a graceful exit plan...

Bowlersarm Wed 12-Mar-14 13:38:20

I think you just make up an excuse. Clearly you can't say you hate it, or you will become the persona non grata of the village, once that gets around.

If you do hate it though, you could say "I really liked your house but the third bedroom/garden/kitchen is too small. Thank you so much for letting us view. I know when you put it on the market you will have no trouble in finding a buyer really quickly" bla bla bleugh!

I think negotiating a price if you do find something you like might be trickier.

elfycat Wed 12-Mar-14 13:38:25

If you look but don't like there's:

The garden is too big/small.
Not enough parking
Bedroom 4 not big enough for a study
The lay-lines feel a bit off

Probably the garden one is the best one. Too big to maintain, or too small for a family garden.

Bowlersarm Wed 12-Mar-14 13:41:36

The lay-lines feel a bit off grin. I'm not sure I'd use that one. You would be known as the village eccentric.

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