How can most people compete in this market when some homes sell for six figures, even $1 million (!!) over asking? Similar to applying for a job, a local trend is to have a home buyer’s resume that demonstrates how you’re the right candidate. My husband and I learned we needed to do this when we dared to dream about moving into something bigger three years ago.
Back then we were on the hunt for a new home and came across ‘the one.’ It was attractively priced and taking offers after the first weekend of showing, so we tempered our expectations foreseeing a scenario of multiple offers. That’s when the light-bulb went off. As a PR gal, I took a note from Making the Pitch 101 and realized we had to customize our offer to stand out against the competition. We knew we had to showcase more than our money to go along with our solid yet humble offer. IT WORKED.
Here’s some tips based on how we differentiated ourselves:
Have a plan, do your homework and be open to thinking outside of the box
We had a budget in mind, poured over listing after listing, took our shoes on and off and walked through countless open houses crunching the numbers to see if the houses were even feasible. Eventually we came across one that we could see ourselves in and seemed within grasp. It had solid bones and just needed some updates to make it our own. From reading the MLS listing, we knew this was not your average home. Nor was this your average seller.
We believe housing is about homes and community and could tell the sellers shared these values. So it was time to get creative and market ourselves as the next owners of the house that Edwin Read built.
Put your best foot forward
Like any good resume, state your objective and provide a brief background of yourself. We put pen to paper and introduced ourselves by explaining who we were, how we grew up on the West Coast and near the mountains. We shared how we’d sold our condo and were renting in North Vancouver to familiarize ourselves with the community.
Demonstrate you’re the right fit
Customize your pitch to appeal to the sellers. The fact that we were looking to buy someone’s house was not lost on us. While we knew this house was a good fit for us, we had to demonstrate we were also the right fit for this house and community. We had learned this block had 30 kids on it and had seen the door-frame marked with their children’s heights over the years, so we shared how we’d been looking for a home where our family could grow and become rooted.
We told them how we loved the character of the home including how the light poured in the windows, how we could tell its bones were solid and it breathed its history with unique features like its fireplace and original cast iron heaters. We told them how the story of the builder and the successive families resonated with us and that we very much wanted to make it a part of our family’s story too.
We could tell this home had heart and this mirrored our interest in it. I remember thinking, I’m sure we’ll get beat by higher offers, but we’ve got to try. On a Sunday we walked through the open house. By Monday at 3 pm we submitted our ‘what we had to offer’ letters. Just after 6 pm, we got the call. They had accepted our offer! We couldn’t believe it. Six offers were made, two higher than ours but we had made an impression. Hugs, happy dances, excited phone calls and champagne ensued. Home wanted, and home found!