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Is it worth doing a mail shot/leaflet drop if you’re desperate to buy in a limited area?

(22 Posts)
Coconutfeet Mon 23-Jan-12 20:12:35

We desperately need to find somewhere to live as we’re currently in a one-bed flat with a second baby due in May. We now have a buyer for our flat and all seems to be progressing well on that front. The trouble is, we want to stay close to where we’re already living, which, if we factor in schools, limits us to about 5 roads.

I was thinking of dropping letters through people’s letterboxes outlining our position and asking anyone who is thinking of selling to contact us. Has anyone ever done this or is it a waste of time?

Pinner35 Mon 23-Jan-12 20:13:40

Yes definitely. A friend of mine did exactly that in the two streets she wanted to live in, and she was successful.

bibbitybobbityhat Mon 23-Jan-12 20:14:00

No, its a good idea and very often gets the results you want. You just need to be sure that anyone who responds really does want to sell and is not just trying their luck.

minipie Mon 23-Jan-12 20:26:21

I tried this on 3 streets and only got one response (and then she decided to rent it instead of selling sad)

Personally my view is that owners who are not thinking of selling won't be jogged into it by a letter like this (or if they do, they'll want a crazy price). Owners who are thinking of selling will come onto the market anyway, so why not wait till they do - at least by doing it that way you won't make it so obvious you are desperate to live there!

Coconutfeet Mon 23-Jan-12 21:03:30

Minipie - Dp thinks the same as you, but it's interesting to see that it worked for your friend Pinner35. I suppose it's worth a try.

Minipie - I'm suppose I'm worried about waiting because I don't want to lose our buyers so I thought I should do something pro-active. There's nothing on the market on these roads at the moment (we had an offer in on a place but the vendors decided not to sell) and I've no idea how long is reasonable to expext them to wait for us to find something.

Indaba Mon 23-Jan-12 21:22:02

yes yes yes

We were looking in Brighton around 8 years ago. We leafleted around 300 houses and had at least 12% response rate. Got leads on at least 6 houses before they came on the market.

Make your leaflet look really come across as sensible people that the vendor would want to deal with.

And if nothing else, there is such satisfaction when an estate agent phones you and tells you about this amazing house that has just come on the market that no one knows about and you tell them you saw it 2 weeks ago! grin

oreocrumbs Mon 23-Jan-12 22:11:35

I would try it, it can't do any harm, and best case scenario you could complete a sale minus EA costs. I have made a sale without an EA and it was very straight forward.

Have you considered renting for a year in the area, get DC2 born and up a bit then see where the market is in 12 months time?

Coming off the property ladder is a bit scary but I can only see property prices falling or at best staying still for the next few years, so you should be able to pick up where you left off.

Pinner35 Tue 24-Jan-12 10:46:15

Well, what happened with my friend was that they ended up swapping houses. They were an older couple who wanted to downsize and she, with a family, wanted a larger home. Win win all round.

Good luck.

OlympicEater Tue 24-Jan-12 13:30:35

Worked for my friend. She wanted to move to the same village as the DCs school was, so that her eldest DS (Y6) would be able to get the bus to the catchment secondary.

Vendors were happy as it saved them being ripped off 1.5% estate agents fees

Coconutfeet Tue 24-Jan-12 20:55:12

Thanks for all the replies. It does sound like it's worth a try, although I mustn't get my hopes up too much.

oreocrumbs - Yes, we're looking at renting, although this is proving tricky too. We live right in the Olympic area and loads of landlords are not renting out to normal people in the coming months as they are holding out for the mega-rents that they'll be able to charge in July so supply is more limited than usual. We're still investigating it though, as it may be our only option.

oreocrumbs Tue 24-Jan-12 21:10:16

Hmm I can see your problem there!!

Would renting a bit further afield be an option? Hopefully after the Olympics there may be a glut of properties back on the market.

On the flip side, the leaflet drop might be very good in this area, for any of the 'normal' residents who are sick of living amid the madness.

I hope you get sorted soon though, fingers crossed smile

LadyEmmaHamilton Tue 24-Jan-12 21:14:32

Why on earth not? I don't see how you can lose. If there are no responses, you are no worse off. If someone wants silly money you're under no obligation to proceed - just say that it's not for you etc.

If something comes up later you don't need to let on that it was you that leafletted.

gobblygook Tue 24-Jan-12 22:36:53

I think it's definitely worth a go. I did it last year when we were looking. We had owners from three houses on my favourite street approach us - if it hadn't been for the fact the garden was too steep in one, I would have bought it. It was, and still is, a house I love.

People really appreciated the direct contact - and the chance to screw estate agents grin . I think some people who are thinking about selling, but can't bear the idea of going through a nightmare process, are attracted to a private sale.

Good luck

karlu Tue 24-Jan-12 23:04:31

That's how we bought our flat in London. I got really fed up with EAs showing us properties that looked nothing like our brief and in wrong streets to boot. We thought about the kind of leaflets that were going through our letterbox to make ours to stand out. Did a 100 mail drop and got 1 call from a couple that were thinking about moving. The process was much quicker and smoother because we could call them directly. And they allowed us to redecorate the bedroom which was alarmingly red. The only downside I would say is that you don't have a lot of bargaining power.

Levantine Wed 25-Jan-12 09:49:44

I know someone who did this successfully in London - in fact I think we might do the same

Coconutfeet Wed 25-Jan-12 19:19:59

Thanks all. I'm definitely going to give it a go. Do you think I should make a "flyer" type leaflet or a letter. My feeling is that letters probably go straight into the recycle bin.

oreocrumbs Wed 25-Jan-12 19:28:53

I would stay away from the head line 'Thinking of selling?' - or similar as that is what they put on those leaflets for the companies that buy any house, and I get a bucket load of them a week, I wouldn't read it.

I think you need a paragraph at least outlining your position, mortgage approved, young family, no chain, that sort of thing. You don't need to put too much in, as long as there is enough outlined information to know if your situation could be compatible, the rest can be said on the phone.

I think you do need a headline though but I don't know what. Very helpfull oreocrumbs smile

Coconutfeet Wed 25-Jan-12 21:16:28

No, that is helpful Oreo. You're right - I'm always chucking those kind of flyers away and we do need some sort of headline. I'll have a bit of a think about it.

As for renting further afield, which you mentioned earlier, the issue with that is that it's then a drag to get ds to nursery. He's very settled there and there's going to be enough other upheaval - moving (to a new house and out of our only bedroom into one of his own) and the arrival of a new baby in the house - that I don't really want to take him out and settle him elsewhere unless there's no other option. We'll see. hopefully it won't come to that!

oreocrumbs Wed 25-Jan-12 22:21:16

Oh yes, you definitly want to keep him in nursery! Both you of you need him to have some stability.

I still havn't had any brain waves about a leaflet, but I have remembered that one of the estate agents around here sends a letter every now and then suggesting we sell our house etc - I always read it because, a) It always comes in a proper handwritten envelope so I pouce on it excitedly thinking it may be something important hmm, b) The letter is short and to the point, and once I've gone to the effort of opening the envelope and starting to read, I automatically finish IYKWIM!

You could just ask the company that you are going to use to help you design it, I should think that they would. We have a local design and print company that I use for work and you can give them a design and they will make them or they can do the whole thing for you. Might be worth asking them.

Or one of the TV programme websites, Homes under the hammer/Property ladder etc, they all have websites and they might have something on about this.

gobblygook Wed 25-Jan-12 22:46:21

I really don't think you should overthink it, or create a snazzily designed letter.

The point is to get away from the EA sort of approach, to make people feel like selling to people...

This is what I did:

- I bought quality plain white envelopes and a nice pen. I handwrote something like 'The Owners, 16 (insert number) xxxx Road' (we did specific streets - about 6) on the envelopes.
- My letter was not handwritten, although I signed every one and wrote 'The the owners,' and thanks at the end.
- I said that we had just had a baby and were looking to move from a flat to a house. I had loved living on my street, and loved their street, and if they were thinking of selling we'd love to speak to them.
- I made it light but personal and 'real'
- I mentioned what I was looking for (number of rooms etc)
- That we had a buyer, a mortgage in place, and we were in a position to move quickly
- telephone and email address

That was all. I really don't think you need to worry about jazzing it all up. In my humble opinion, anyway. I think you're far more likely to find that sort of letter going in the bin, or that people think you've got money to burn...

oreocrumbs Wed 25-Jan-12 23:03:01

gobbly that sounds much better! smile

Coconutfeet Thu 26-Jan-12 11:42:29

Yes, that sounds really good Gobblygook. I will give it a try tonight. Thanks ever so much!

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