Author Topic: Have you bought or sold a house not "officially" on the market?  (Read 3823 times)

CommonCents

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Friends of ours lost out on an (insanely high) bidding war for a house a few doors down from ours.  We live on a pond, so it's pretty unique real estate that isn't the same even one street over.  We're already on the "cheap street" for the pond, so there's only a handful of other houses nearby that would be possible.  They had been looking for a year in a few towns, and are now devastated they missed this one, but it went out of budget. 

We just moved here ourselves 4 months ago, but I plan to ask the neighbors to tell us if they will tell us if they hear of anyone selling.  I also wanted to suggest to our friends to write a letter for the other nearby neighbors to ask if they would consider selling.  But, I don't want them to send off a creepy/stalkerish etc vibe at all. 

What sorts of things would be useful to share?  Their family they'd raise there?  (Twins, 2.5 yo).  That they wouldn't tear the house down and would cherish the 1930s/1940s architecture common around here?  (She's a museum curator...).  The love of the water?  (She wrote her master's thesis on something related to ships and worked at a seagoing museum for a while).  Love of the community, schools, etc.?  Something else?  Or is it really just about the numbers to get people to consider selling and they should make an actual offer for place sight unseen (which is totally scary and not sure I could tell them to do that)?

Other advice?

In particular, I had hopes up for them because there's a house two doors down where we heard one half of a couple died in the late spring/early fall (it sounds so macabre to say it) - but after some online research on deeds, etc., I think a child (one of 8) is now living there and put in the homestead exemption.

former player

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Re: Have you bought or sold a house not "officially" on the market?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2014, 03:06:01 PM »
A friend of mine did the letter thing in London and got the house of her dreams.  A hand delivered letter to all the possible houses your friends might want to buy is a very good idea.

All the things you mention about why they would like to live in the area sound like a good idea for inclusion in the letter.  I don't think they should offer a particular price.  I think they should use some formula like "if you are able to consider selling to us we can make you an offer at market valuation".  If they are cash buyers, that is another good thing to say, as it suggests a quick and easy transaction.

dragoncar

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Re: Have you bought or sold a house not "officially" on the market?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2014, 03:19:03 PM »
Speculators do this sort of thing all the time.  You don't have to make a real legal offer, you can give a ballpark range you are willing to pay, though (subject to inspection) to get the ball rolling.


SDREMNGR

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Re: Have you bought or sold a house not "officially" on the market?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2014, 04:29:12 PM »
I did a letter writing campaign where I sent out unsolicited offers with prices that I researched and was willing to honor.  I probably sent over 300 in all and I got 1 back that ended up in a real purchase.  We made pretty good money on it so it was worth the effort but I don't think I would do it again.  Lots of work.

In hindsight, I would just send a slightly more general letter. 

Fishingmn

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Re: Have you bought or sold a house not "officially" on the market?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2014, 04:36:39 PM »
I did this with our current house but I'm a Realtor so it was a little easier.

We had identified an area on a lake we liked but the active listings weren't to our liking. Therefore, I went and looked up previous listings that had never sold (cancelled or expired) and sent a couple inquiries to the owners to see if they still had any interest in selling since they had clearly been interested in selling somewhat recently.

For a client I have also sent a blanket direct mail piece to a neighborhood asking if the owner had any interest in selling and while it didn't work out we did identify a couple owners that were willing to sell that way (buyer didn't like the house). Here's the letter I sent -

Dear xxxx,

My name is xxx and I am a real estate agent with xxx.  You are receiving this letter because I have clients who are interested in buying a home in the xxx development in xxx.

We have seen everything on the market, but have not quite found the right home.  They are looking for a home with the following features:

•   Single Family Home  - preferably two-story
•    4+ bedrooms
•    Secluded lot preferred
•    Open floor plan preferred
•   Formal living room and/or main floor office preferred
•   Maple woodwork preferred

If your home meets most of the criteria above and you are possibly interested in selling your home, please contact me at the phone number or e-mail address listed below.  We can show the house as a 1 time showing so you don’t need to list it like a normal real estate sale and you can engage a different Realtor to represent your interests if you have a relationship with a Realtor already.

Thank you for your time


I did take the time to pull all of the names off of MLS and do a mail merge so it was customized which probably helped with getting responses.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Have you bought or sold a house not "officially" on the market?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2014, 04:43:53 PM »
My parents did this when the old lady next door died, the heir was happy to let it go at a great price if it meant bypassing the hassle of rehabilitating it before putting it on the market (it was badly maintained).

Obviously, if you're dealing with the family of a recently deceased person, you want to approach them very gently.

MDM

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Re: Have you bought or sold a house not "officially" on the market?
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2014, 05:04:46 PM »
A friend of mine did the letter thing in London and got the house of her dreams.  A hand delivered letter to all the possible houses your friends might want to buy is a very good idea.

All the things you mention about why they would like to live in the area sound like a good idea for inclusion in the letter.  I don't think they should offer a particular price.  I think they should use some formula like "if you are able to consider selling to us we can make you an offer at market valuation".  If they are cash buyers, that is another good thing to say, as it suggests a quick and easy transaction.

+1

This (bolded part) worked for friends of ours also.  The face to face communication is likely much more effective and memorable than a general mail solicitation.  It took a while (don't remember how long), but eventually someone wanted to sell, called the buyer, and they arranged the sale. 

CommonCents

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Re: Have you bought or sold a house not "officially" on the market?
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2014, 08:09:34 AM »
Thanks for all the tips!  I'll pass them along.  Apparently last night they almost got it after all (as the sellers worried about the buyers meeting the mortgage contingency - my friend's guess is that the final offer ended up being $166k(!) over asking - but the money difference between the two offers was good enough the sellers decided to gamble on it working out.

Gray Matter

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Re: Have you bought or sold a house not "officially" on the market?
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2014, 06:49:00 PM »
The letter (especially hand delivered) works pretty well in our neighborhood and many houses sell without ever going on the market.  I think it can be handled tactfully.  We bought our house via word of mouth that it might be coming on the market and had a great experience.  Also, I know it's not very Mustachian of me, but I care about any number of things more than I do about getting top dollar.  I would gladly sell my home to your friend as you described her for less money than I would sell to a developer or someone who would turn it into a rental for college students or a flipper (not that any of them would be offering top dollar).

1967mama

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Re: Have you bought or sold a house not "officially" on the market?
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2014, 07:13:36 PM »
Friends of some work acquaintances of my husband heard we were moving to their friends town. Their friends were thinking about downsizing now that their children had graduated university and were planning to move out "someday."

We looked at the house twice and bought it, without any agents involved. It worked out beautifully and we made $75,000 when we had to sell it 3 1/2 years later due to being transferred!

totoro

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Re: Have you bought or sold a house not "officially" on the market?
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2014, 07:55:44 PM »
I've purchased two houses privately.

I've also delivered flyers to areas I was interested in buying in when the market was extremely hot.  I didn't get any responses, but I would have kept going had we not found a private sale.  I don't see any reason why you wouldn't do this other than the effort/shyness factor.