For Those in Real Estate: Is This a New Thing?

Updated on July 21, 2014
H.W. asks from Portland, OR
18 answers

Last year we had some work done on our house, mostly because it needed new paint. We have a 1920's craftsman-style bungalow, nothing fancy. We replaced a few boards, gave it a nice paint job and had a few other things done externally. Nothing out of the ordinary, yet our neighbors love it and we have received a lot of compliments.

Now we are receiving phone calls and letters from real estate agents, asking if we want to sell our home. It's nice that people like what they see, but the letters feel so presumptuous. I'll paraphrasefrom this most recent one we received today:

" Lady A and Guy B are a special couple (they're expecting!) and are professionals in X field and their dream is to make a house uniquely theirs. They want a long-term home and creative project where they can meld personal taste with original character, and bring in tons of light to make the space their own...

.... they have handpicked your house as being a perfect fit. They are fully pre-approved blah blah blah and are ready to write up a contract the minute we find the right house."

The closing paragraph was polite, but the whole thing was very presumptuous. My husband joked that they could have the house for a million dollars. We have put a lot into this house and garden (both financially and sweat equity). It seems like now that we've done the work and dealt with headaches that come with home improvement, we're getting attention we don't want. I'm sure that if we were looking to sell, this would be a godsend. However, I don't like that another couple who hasn't even spoken to us has 'ideas' about our home. I joked to my husband that there's also the problem of the recently buried cat in the yard and would they promise to leave old Gus where he lies?

I'm sure this was just a way for their realtor to reach out and make contact, but it comes across as a bit much. So, is this a new trend, reaching out just to see if there is a willing seller out there? We've always received the offers to sell our home to those companies which flip houses, but getting these very direct letters is a bit out of the ordinary for us. So, just wondering.

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So What Happened?

Thanks ladies.... nice to know it's not just some realtors trying to 'keep Portland weird', ha ha.

Featured Answers



answers from Boston on

I get those too and my nothing special house is literally unsellable due to an upside-down mortgage and a failed septic system so unless someone wants to pay me $100K over market value, we're not moving. I'm in a desirable location though so everyone on my street gets them from time to time. They're just trolling for listings.

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answers from Washington DC on

good heavens! i've never seen this before!
i blame google earth. creepy stalky bastards. i flip them off routinely, especially if i'm wandering around the orchard skyclad.
i think i'd have to contact the realtor directly and tell them frankly that i'm creeped out by them and their 'clients' casing my house and making home improvement plans.
i'd probably throw gus in there too.
ETA, read the other responses, and yeah, they are a lot more likely. leaving my original there, though. :)

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answers from Grand Forks on

We get lots of "We have buyers looking for homes like yours in this area..." but nothing very specific.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

If you had a work permit the realtor might have gotten your address that way or they may have a deal with someone you hired to do work. Or they might just be canvasing and didn't even know you did work- they're just sending that to everyone and whoever bites will bite. I would bet a million dollars that no one has seen your house and called a realtor about it,that is just not reality. Would you do that? If I saw a house I liked I would say nice house, I don't see a for sale sign, ok lets keep driving. Don't call these people because then they'll have your phone number. Just ignore it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

We've gotten them too when the market is hot and I've heard Portland is a sellers market now. So don't be offended. Be glad and likely yours isn't the only house getting that exact letter... We are friends now btw with people who had their realtor send us one. Sometimes people can be enticed to sell. That's all it is. They liked our location a lot and nothing like it was on the market for a long time

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

The letters that we have gotten from area realtors are a little more general: We have buyers that are looking to buy in your neighborhood. They want the convenience of location and great schools. etc. But nothing quite as specific as your letter. They are trying to get you to list your house with them. We also get postcards whenever a nearby house goes on the market asking if we know anyone who would like to live in our neighborhood or have we thought about listing our home.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Richland on

I used to get them all the time the first five years after we built the house. Now we get them occasionally when a house sells fast in our subdivision.

I figure they think if the house can sell fast and make a quick buck, plus sell us a new house, win win.

Considering these are never sent out by successful or reputable agents there must be a huge glut of agents in J. G's world if she is getting them weekly.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

The market is crazy here in the Dallas Area. Homes on my street rarely go on the market... Most are still original owners since 2000 -2002. Great lots... People want them.

Yes we've been approached by realtors. We give them a reasonable # and they go away.

I don't recall your area but we are in a hot area with housing shortage and yes.., we get strangers asking about our house

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Much like when you purchased your home, selling would just be another business transaction. A good salesperson can make things feel a little more personal, but the bottom line is the top dollar!

What they are doing is basically cold calling you. Checking to see if you can be nudged. They may have a client like that and maybe they don't. If they do and you happen to budge, they will not share any commissions with the other agent, because there is not one. What a win win for them.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

That's been going on in my area for as long as I've lived here. The house we rented for the first year in Florida (2001) was purchased by a couple who happened to be walking in the neighborhood, liked the lot, and left a note for the owners. This was a prized beach community. They later built a McMansion.

I think it's flattering Nervy Girl! You must have your place really looking good, and it must be in a good location. WTG!

One caveat: I have seen some brokers use these letters as an opening gamut in getting you to list your home with them. Boo.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Hi Nervy Girl,

This is exactly how we found our house 11 years ago. We identified the neighborhood we wanted. We picked out the houses that met our wants and needs list, and the realtor wrote letters to these homeowners.

In a matter of days, we had our house. While the owners had been thinking about selling, the house never went on the market. They were happy. We were happy. It was a quick and easy experience for all of us.

Now, we are looking to buy again and using the same agent and same strategy. I think this strategy only works well if it is a serious buyer and if the message is conveyed sincerely to the potential sellers. It can't come across like it's a company that's looking to buy houses for cash or like a tactic to get an agent in the door for a potential listing.

Anyway, I don't think it's necessarily anything new, but it's really flattering that someone likes your house so much!

P.S. Our daughter just moved to Portland, and she LOVES it! Can't wait to visit her!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

WOW!!! That is TOO MUCH!!! All like, "there is a specific couple who picked your house, and I, their realtor, am now contacting you about it..." On a house that's not for sale??!?!! I'd call the office and be like, "Is this 'couple' for real, or is your office sending out creepy fake junk mail?"


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Reading on

That happens in our area, too - lots of craftsmen bungalows in a hipster neighborhood. Very desirable. I think the realtors figure, no harm in asking. If you ever look on, you can list your house for a "make me move" price - that is, you're not on the market, but if someone wants to pay you twice what it's worth, you'd be willing to sell. It's always fun to see what people put up there.

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answers from Washington DC on

We get "someone in your neighborhood sold their house for x dollars. If you are ready to sell, call us!" letters and post cards.

If those companies are bothering you, put it in writing to stop. That you don't appreciate it and you are NOT interested in selling. Go away.

If they call, tell them you have not done business with them in 18 months and are on the do not call list (if you aren't, get on it and report them).

While I can understand the tactic, I would find it annoying and would not be flattered at all. If I want to sell, I'll put up a sign. Til then, leave my house alone.

Diane B., I would tell that realtor that the only thing you are interested in regarding him is to tell EVERYONE what a jerk he is so they don't use him!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I get those weekly, it's nothing personal. It's marketing.

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answers from Boston on

Well, at least your letter spoke well of your home. We got one in the mail the other day suggesting older homeowners should consider downsizing and they were prepared to sell our home for us. Then there was a second page about senior housing!!!! I threw it out without reading. The best part is the suggestion that we should downsize--- this is a one bedroom house. Are there studio houses? Maybe we should move into a camper? Sorry, it is too much. We've also had them leave things on the door. I'm going to catch one one of these days a realtor is going to get many pieces of my mind, it is totally rude and invasive!

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answers from San Francisco on

LOL yep pretty normal in a hot market, we've seen this kind of thing in the bay area for years :-)

1 mom found this helpful
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