If you own a home in a desirable area, or one that’s been deemed up-and-coming, odds are you’ve found letters dropped in your mailbox from people asking if you’d be interested in selling your home.
Sometimes these are pleas from would-be buyers with an affinity for a particular neighbourhood. But some agents are also adopting this personalized touch to try to help clients who are focussed on specific areas – or even streets – get their foot in the door to make an offer on houses that aren’t otherwise listed.
Look Beyond Available Listings
One of the reasons cited for the ongoing real estate boom in the Toronto area is that demand has been far outweighing supply, particularly when it comes to detached and semi-detached houses.
Factors causing this include the fact that there just aren’t many large tracts of undeveloped land left to build new housing on, and that many older homeowners who would traditionally be in the downsizing stage of life are remaining in their homes because their 20- and 30-something kids have moved back home, or simply never moved out, because they can’t afford a place of their own.
With limited supply available to meet his clients’ needs, Zoocasa Realty agent Carlos Moniz has “a handful of times” taken to delivering detailed, personal letters and cards from his clients to homes that weren’t on the market at the time.
Related Read: Can Writing a Letter to the Seller Help Win the House?
In one example, his client was a member of a golf club and was hoping to be able by a property that back onto the course so he could simply walk from his yard to the first tee. Another was a grandmother who was downsizing and wanted to find a smaller home closer to her grandson.
Still others may be interested in a particular condo building, or a property with a specific view, such as a colleague who had a client that wanted a home in Stoney Creek that overlooked Lake Ontario.
Take a Targeted Approach
How does he find homes that fit these narrow criteria? Moniz and his team will go on Google Maps’ Street View and meticulously record the addresses of all the homes that fit the client’s needs.
“There were 50 or 60 homes that backed onto the golf course,” says Moniz. In the case of the downsizing grandmother, the area she was targeting was an older one with large lots. Many of the homes had already been renovated and expanded. “There were between 100 and 200 smaller bungalows left that would be more within her budget,” Moniz says.
With the target homes chosen, he then gets to work on creating a personalized letter or postcard to deliver to the prospective properties, working with a graphic designer to create a glossy finished product.
An Emphasis on Human Connection
Often he’ll use cards with a cover and his contact info on the back, that open up with info on the client on the inside. That information can include the prospective buyer’s name, size of their family, their connections to the location, and sometimes even a photo of the buyers. In the case of his elderly client, he included a photo of her grandson in the card.
“People are hesitant to think there’s a real person looking seriously at their property,” Moniz says.
He also tries make it as appealing as possible for the owners he’s targeting, highlighting that his clients are pre-approved for a mortgage, are flexible on closing dates, and are willing to buy “as is.”
While he hasn’t yet closed a deal this way, he has been able to give his clients a chance to have meetings with the owners of properties they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to walk into.