When a colleague recently hit a snag while trying to buy the family’s dream house, he did what comes naturally to a journalist: wrote a letter.
He told the seller how much he and his wife loved the older home with the wrap-around porch, and he tried to smooth negotiation snags, thinking something was getting lost among buyer, seller and two real estate agents.
That personal touch helped turn things around, as the editor is now living in the house. A new Trulia survey shows my colleague has company.
The survey of more than 2,000 adults showed that in today’s competitive housing market, people are willing to use more creative (the survey says desperate) measures to land a home.
One in six buyers said they’d write a letter to the seller, a finding that surprised Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist. “Maybe I am just a heartless economist,” he mused, “but I am not sure that would work if I were selling a house.”
Omaha-area real estate agents told The World-Herald earlier that they were advising buyers to do similar things to stand out in today’s seller’s market, which is marked by tight inventory, rising prices and more multiple bids.
According to the Trulia findings, two out of three respondents said they would turn to desperate measures to get their dream home. The top three tactics: offering to pay the seller’s closing costs, bidding up to 5 percent above asking price, and writing the personal letter.
* As affordability erodes, ideal home size has shrunk: 7 percent said their ideal is 3,200 square feet or larger, compared with 11 percent a year ago.
* Sixty-seven percent said homeownership is part of their personal American Dream, versus 72 percent seven months ago.
* Sixty percent think owning a home is one of the best long-term investments they can make, versus 47 percent two years ago.