Ottawa

Bidding on a home? A 'love letter' might make your offer more attractive

With real estate prices on the rise and available properties in high demand in Ottawa, some buyers are finding a heartfelt note to the homeowner just might give them the edge over rival suitors.

Heartfelt notes from smitten buyers can make offers stand out from crowd, Ottawa realtor says

With real estate demand — and prices — on the rise in Ottawa, would-be buyers are looking for unique ways to make their offers stand out. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

With real estate prices on the rise and available properties in high demand in Ottawa, some buyers are finding a heartfelt note to the homeowner just might give them the edge over rival suitors.

"We've been doing love letters for quite some time," realtor Marilyn Wilson told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning. "We don't do them on a regular basis, but certainly love letters come in handy, and they work as a tool for negotiations."

Love letters from would-be buyers are especially effective when the homeowner has lived there for a long time, Wilson said.

"They're absolutely having emotional difficulty coming to grips with finally selling the house they raised their children in," she said.

Receiving a personal note with details about the buyer's own family lets the homeowner know their place will continue to be cared for.

A leg up in a competitive market

According to the Ottawa Real Estate Board, the average real estate price in the city jumped by nearly 7 per cent between 2016 and 2017. Overall residential sales increased by 16 per cent.

With demand on the rise, more and more buyers are turning to the letter tactic in an effort to land their dream home.

To make sure a letter stands out among a pile of bids, Wilson recommends keeping it short — no longer than a page — and appealing to the seller's emotions.

For example, Wilson recalls one letter that included a picture drawn by the buyer's children of the bedrooms they had picked out for themselves.

It was a solid play, Wilson said, but a higher offer the seller couldn't refuse came in soon after.

"It worked on the emotional strings, and the owner almost took the much lower offer, because of that family," she said.

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