Tell the Story About Your Home, It Sets the Stage

I highly recommend sellers consider creating a “love letter”, personally written or typed  up with no particular addressee.  Making it appealing to anyone who will read it for “historical significance” about the home, is a great tactic to increase the interest of a potential buyer.  Among other things, it expresses the love the seller’s  family has had for the home, and explains the facts and events underlying that  sentiment.  Other people find this interesting because the story often resonates with them and their own life experiences, or experiences they would like to have.

The letters can be as short as a single page, and as long as a  binder containing a 10-page letter and a collection of supporting pictures and  other documents.  Scrapbooks aren’t a bad idea either.

If the power of staging lies in de-personalizing the property  so buyers can picture their own family living out their own lives in the home,  the power of a seller love letter is that it leaves buyers with a warm feeling  that the home has a positive energy and history, which is especially desirable  on today’s distressed property-riddled market.

Writing a love letter about why you loveyour homeHere are a few ideas:

1. Fond family  memories. Now, there’s no reason to get all “TMI” (too much information)  about it, but the fact is that buyers do love to hear sweet, fond family  memories about a property. I’ve watched with my own two eyes as buyers who  liked a 100-year-old home fell desperately in love with it as they read about  the seller’s parents’ building the home, and then raising a flourishing family  there.

Even much newer homes can have their own endearing stories,  whether they be about a hard-charging professional bachelor who is moving out  of a loft to start a family; about retirees who raised their kids there and are  now moving to downsize and be near their grandkids; or about a smart, single  woman who was the first person in her family to own a home.

The goal here is to create warm fuzzies while you satisfy  the buyer’s craving to know why on earth anyone would want to move from such a  lovely place. And if you can tell a happy story, you can kill another bird with  a single stone – distinguishing your place from all the tragic stories and  sadness surrounding the short sales and foreclosures with which your home is  competing.

2. Favorite neighborhood  vendors and local businesses. One reason people dread moving so much is  that it forces them to find new vendors for everything, especially for the  practicalities and minutiae that can derail our schedules and lives if they  don’t run well. If you have neighborhood businesses you love, making a list of  them and including them with your love letter is very much appreciated by  buyers.

Take care to include things like: dry cleaners, house  cleaners, landscapers, carpet cleaners, produce markets and butchers, and  especially restaurants that have great take-out and delivery services.

You get extra points if you know the proprietor and  authorize the buyer to drop your name, or you include menus with your list of  restaurants that deliver to the property address.

3. Lifestyle amenities  that map to local buyer wish lists. Give some thought to the sorts of  things people looking to buy a home like yours might be looking for, from a  lifestyle perspective, and include notes about any of those amenities in the  neighborhood that you and your family or housemates have especially enjoyed.  Things like dog parks, playgrounds, running trails, yoga studios, libraries and  bookstores, museums and outdoor recreational opportunities make great fodder  for this list.

4. History of  upgrades. Of course, your state-required disclosure forms will include a  pithy section for relating the repairs and upgrades you’ve done in the time you  owned the property, but you can take that to a new level in your seller love  letter with a free-form description of the work, color commentary (if it makes  sense) around why and how you had it done, and a little appendix that includes  any relevant plans, permits warranties, receipts, service contracts and the  like.

(Obviously, you don’t want to include the originals of these  items if this love letter document will be left out in the property during  showings.)

If there are any issues or repairs that are likely to come  up in the buyer’s inspection reports that you want to explain in more detail,  the love letter can give you your chance to do just that.

5. Property details  and tricks. If you have a detailed landscape plan that identifies all the  plants and trees in your yards, tricks for how to work the heating and cooling  timer or the tricky downstairs doors, details on when the neighborhood trash  pickup happens, or info about your alarm, termite or other service contracts, prospective  buyers will feel well taken care of if you compile and include all this information  with your love letter and let them see it before they even make an offer.

6. Neighbors. If  you have particularly close and friendly relationships with any specific  neighbors, or there are block parties, online or email Listservs, homeowners  association (HOA) or neighborhood watch meetings or other favorites, ones with  kids, block party, watch meetings, other things being planned/organized, let  the buyers know.

You see, a good seller love letter is equal parts  lovey-dovey and logistical, but the care that goes into preparing it and the  love that is evident in its content can be a significant selling point to  buyers weary of dealing with bank sellers or stressful short-sale situations.

Whatever you do, if you decide to write a seller love letter  for your home, review your plans and thoughts about what to include with your  local agent first. You want to make sure not to run afoul of any equal  opportunity housing laws or disclosure laws.

As well, waxing rhapsodic about  all the weekends you invested in the terrible mural on the wall might be more  concerning than compelling to buyers who think they could live in your home  easily — assuming they paint over the mural on day one as the new owners.

About FineHomesDigest

The Fine Homes Team, Mark Finchem, Associate Broker with Long Realty Company, provides service to buyers, seller and builders where fine homes are concerned. With extensive experience in residential real estate transactions we can help you with the home you'd rather have.
This entry was posted in Consumer Experience, Home Buyer, Home Seller, Life Experiences, Quality of Life and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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