Found your dream location but the owner did not list the property for sale?
My dream location was next to my child's education but there were only 2 units in the whole condo that were big enough for my family.
How to ask owners to sell their property? The best way is to find someone they know, like an agent who had rented their place in the past or their neighbor. If not, a handwritten personalized letter that does not look like an agent's message might work.
Part of my problem is the place is rented out and a tenant won't help you chase them out with your purchase for homestay. Therefore, I didn't drop a letter at the mailbox.
With a high chance of failure in mind, here is my recommended way to approach the owner and why:
- Find an agent who listed their place for rent/sale previously. This is the method I used and it took a while to find the agent who rented the place around 4 years ago. An agent will help you since he/she earns a commission.
- Talk to their neighbor. This is difficult to do without sounding like a shady stalker. It can be as easy as asking for help. This will be more effective than approaching the owner directly which can be quite invasive. You can also learn more about the surroundings and area if their neighbors are helpful
- A handwritten letter that is personalized. This is difficult and I recommend this as a last resort. The main problem is whether the owner will even read it. Most of the time the tenant will throw your letter down the rubbish box. Even if you got the attention of the owner, they might throw it away thinking it was from an agent. It is also difficult to appear interested without desperate which might lead to a disadvantage during negotiation.
In my case, the agent said his listing was outdated and said the owner not planning to sell. Therefore, I didn't even need to find a neighbor.
I did plan a handwritten message like this:
You are reading this letter because someone loved it. Next year, my family wish to move back into the area for my child's education. Your penthouse unit at XXX caught our attention.If you are looking to sell in the coming 3 months, do let me know @ XXXX
- The first line hopefully catches the person's attention as it did while I was looking for a template.
- The second line is to show that you are a serious buyer and not just an agent
- The third line just extends the intention to buy the place without sounding desperate
- The closer is just a simple message with a timeline (e.g. coming 3 months) to create urgency and a call to action.
What if I don't ask?
Hey, if you don't ask, you'll never know, right?
Firstly, don't fear rejection and understand it is normal. I failed but at least I tried knowing it was impossible instead of regretting it in the future.
Why isn't the property on the market?
The homeowner can simply be not interested or lazy to list their home. I do believe anyone will sell their property at the right price for them.
I did not offer to buy my dream home then as the price will be too much and it won't be my dream home already.
Another reason is that getting your home viewed by bad buyers can be a terrible experience. Your home gets nitpicked and you get low-balled.
What should I tell the seller?
It's important to tell the seller how much their home would mean to you.
On the other hand, the homeowners, getting an unsolicited offer for your home can feel a little strange. Maybe even a bit creepy.
What if I get rejected?
The seller also knows that if they don't sell within a certain period of time, the property goes “stale fish.” It's embarrassing when you put yourself out there and get rejected (no sale).
What are the biggest risks of buying an unlisted property?
The biggest risk is offering too much money for a house that has serious issues.
How much do you want to buy a house? Set a realistic ceiling of what you will offer before you start and budget as you normally would.