Families use personal letters to gain an edge in competitive housing market

Buyers submit photos, family descriptions along with their offer

Hand written letters

The sale of Sandra Hudson’s Jefferson Avenue house in Gordon Head in early June went like every other sale these days.

On Wednesday, she listed the single family dwelling. Throughout the weekend there was an open house and viewings by appointment. And as of Sunday night at 5 p.m., the house behind Gordon Head Recreation Centre was open to offers.

They came in fast, and without conditions, Hudson said.

“Within about two hours we chose one $52,000 over the asking price [$699,000].”

She could have waited, but it was a fair price. The purchasing family, from Sooke, helped their cause by submitting a photo of their family and a letter describing what local amenities they would be taking advantage of.

“You can see why it’s appealing to a family, with schools, a park and a recreation centre all right beside it,” Hudson said.

There were 1,204 house sales for Greater Victoria in May, up from 905 last year, despite  there being slightly more than half the number of listed homes, 2,421 this year compared to 4,043 last year.

“If you go back 10 years, realtors would give a description of the buyer’s family, but now there’s less of that happening, there’s no time for that, so more realtors are recommending buyers write a personal letter to the seller on buying the home,” said Bill Ethier, president and managing broker for Royal LePage Coast Capital Reality.

“Many are only after the best price they can get but some of the older generations, or those who had a family in the home, want to see the legacy of a family tradition carried on in the home.”

The asking price for Hudson’s Jefferson Avenue home was decided in partner with her real estate agent Pat Meadows. Despite careful consideration of the high demand for houses in Saanich east and the neighbourhood, not surprisingly, it still went for over asking price.

Jessica Turner has been trying to move her family to Victoria from Maple Ridge since early in 2016.

Her family recently managed to secure the purchase of a three-storey Fernwood home on Belmont Street for $1.1 million.

In their previous attempt for a Victoria house, the Turners lost out as one of 14 bidders. They had also ferried over to visit, and bid on, the popularly priced $888,888 Fairfield house that sold for $1.26 million in late May.

Turner says her family submitted a letter (through the real estate agent) with the offer for 1919 Belmont, and explained her family’s desire to live in a Fernwood house.

“We heard the letter is a popular technique in Portland and [that it] is not happening a lot here yet so we thought we’d include it,” Turner said.

The Turner family have since sold their Maple Ridge townhouse for $77,000 over the asking price, after receiving 20 offers.

To avoid attaching conditions to their bid, the Turners completed an inspection of the house a few days before hand, another common practice in the current market.

The consequence is buyers are spending money on inspections just so they can make a bid, and it adds up, when they bid on multiple houses, as the Turners did.

“And it goes beyond house inspections as buyers want oil tank scans, and perimeter drain scopes, it can be over $1,000 per home,” Eithier said.

reporter@saanichnews.com

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

MISSING: Victoria police on the lookout for woman last seen April 28

Leah Parker, 41, is described five-foot-five and about 140 pounds with brown/blonde hair, blue eyes

Bears spotted near Saanich lake spooked by police, wandered off

Bear, cub not seen over weekend but police ask residents to be on alert

Victoria’s 75,000 veggie plants ready to find a home

New gardeners line-up for Get Growing Victoria

Vote for your favourite Peninsula businesses

Voting extended for annual Readers’ Choice Awards

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Case of missing Vancouver Island woman inspires new true crime podcast

‘Island Crime’ Season 1 covers 2002 disappearance of Nanaimo’s Lisa Marie Young

B.C. mom’s drug-pricing petition on behalf of son garners thousands of signatures

Petition geared to gaining access to new medicines drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

‘Paralyzed by fear’: B.C. woman details anxiety, grief at Italian relief hospital

Sheila Vicic spent two months in Italy as the country grappled with COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

CAMH survey looks at binge-drinking, financial anxiety during COVID

Alcohol may be used as a coping mechanism for those whose careers may have been sidelined due to the pandemic

Half of Canadians say governments are hiding something about COVID-19: poll

More than a third of people believe the virus was created in a lab

Dump truck in Nanaimo snags power lines, snaps hydro pole, crashes

No injuries in incident Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

Most Read