If you live in central Toronto, chances are you’ve received at least one letter about selling your home in the last little while from a Realtor you don’t know. You may even have received numerous such letters from different Realtors! All of these Realtors are just doing their jobs, in most cases trying to find new clients, but some of them go about it in a more straightforward way than others. How can you interpret these letters so you’ll know what to expect? Here’s how I’d break down the different types of letters you might receive:
The personalized letter
It’ll look something like this:
I have a client who’s been driving by your home for the past 10 years and really admires it. She’s seen several homes like yours, but keeps saying how much she likes the way your home looks. If you’re at all thinking of selling, please give me a call.
The details in this letter indicate that it’s probably sincere and not a form letter. You’re probably safe taking it at face value and are okay to call the Realtor. Sometimes this kind of letter is written by the prospective buyer herself, in which case you can be even more certain it’s a genuine letter.
The straightforward letter
This letter will look like this:
My name is John Cooper and I’m a Realtor with ABC Realty Inc. I specialize in your neighourhood so if you’d ever like to speak about buying or selling or if you’d just like a complementary evaluation of your home’s fair market value, please give me a call.
There’s not much to be read into this kind of letter. It’s direct and to the point. The Realtor isn’t playing games or trying to entice you with a false promise.
The questionable letter
This letter often looks like this:
I’m working with a buyer who is looking for a home just like yours. If you’re thinking of selling, please give me a call as my buyer is ready and able to buy immediately.
This might be genuine, but it might not. There have been occasions when a bunch of my clients received this kind of letter on the same day from the same Realtor and they all lived in different kinds of homes. This kind of letter is usually a personalized form letter. There have been times when I’ve called the Realtor to follow up on behalf of my clients. Most of these times, the Realtor has either not returned my call or asked me to describe the home and then said it wasn’t what his client was looking for. I know that Realtors who send this type of letter are just doing their jobs, but I prefer the direct approach. You can follow up with this Realtor if you like, there may be an off chance he or she really does have a buyer for your home, but that hasn’t been the case in my experience so don’t set your expectations too high.
The tempting letter
This one is designed to tempt you. I’ve never known it to be true:
I am working with a client who has expressed an interest in making an offer on your property at 123 Elm Street. I am contacting you in the hope that you will provide me with the opportunity to discuss their proposal with you.
At my clients’ request, I’ve followed up on this type of letter twice in the past six months. Once, the Realtor didn’t return my call. The second time, he asked me to describe the house and said he’d tell his client about it and get back to me. I never heard from him again. Both responses are a far cry from having “a client who has expressed an interest in making an offer”. I know it’s very tempting to reach out to this Realtor. It’s also tempting to buy lottery tickets. If you have to choose between the two, buy the lottery tickets because you’re more likely to win.
There you have it. Your own guide on how to interpret Real Estate Love Letters. You’re always free to respond however you like. Or to not respond at all. Or you can ask your own Realtor (or me) to call on your behalf if you feel more comfortable approaching it that way. Just remember, don’t get your hopes up if you’re responding to the third or fourth type of letter. In real estate, you can’t count on anything until it’s actually done.
As always, I’d be happy to talk to you about your options if you’re thinking of buying or selling in the near future. Also, if you know anyone who is interested in learning how the market works and would like to receive the kind of help that involves honest answers, straightforward advice, no pressure and being treated like family, please let me know the best way for me to connect with them because I’d like to offer them this kind of help. And as always, don’t be shy if you have any questions or comments about this post! Thanks for reading.