Karen’s Korner often takes shape – with what is happening in my real estate day to day life. This month – I am going to focus on Kindness.
This is a short summary of what I have experienced… JUST over the last week…..
- Multiple offers on a home within hours of listing. 4 came in with personal letters attached (all would make you cry!) All realtors were respectful – while representing their clients with 100% dedication.
- Realtor had a Home Inspection at one of my listings. Asked in advance about the contractor being able to come at the same time (did not assume!). Stayed with the buyers the whole time – and treated the property with care. Then texted as soon as they were finished – to ensure that my sellers could come home in time for dinner.
- Last minute financing assistance needed 24 hours before the condition expired. Request met with a “can-do” attitude….days before the new Stress Test was announced… So you know he was VERY busy! Dropped everything to ensure this client got what he needed.
- Homemade muffins left in a home I was showing – with a lovely note about what they were, what was in them and to enjoy them while we were in the sellers home (they were delicious by the way!)
Plus bonus = House Smelled Great!
- I did a walk through yesterday (24hrs prior to possession) where we were not expecting the home to be in the best condition. The original negotiation was challenging, the home was in poor condition so the expectations were low. We were DELIGHTED to view the home – and find it completely vacant – and left in perfect condition! My buyers were delighted – and can now cancel the move in cleaners they had booked. I contacted the other realtor and asked him to send thanks to his sellers.
- At the exact same time I was doing a walk through with my buyers, another Realtor was doing one with her clients, at one of my listings. She called to advise that the lockbox was completely dead. She had done everything she could and even offered to go back to her home and get a spare battery (in the pouring rain on a long weekend!) Luckily my sellers had a hidden key and she and her buyers were able to proceed with their walk through. No anger – no frustration – just a focus on how we get this done. My sellers had left the home in perfect condition – so I was not worried about the day. Afterwards, my sellers called me and asked if they could leave a bottle of wine and a card for the new buyers – along with helpful notes about the mail, the neighbourhood and the house. They want to “hand off” their home to the new buyers in a positive way!
- Same day….Home Inspection at 4:00pm. First of all – sellers agree to leave home on the evening of a long weekend! Seller meets the inspector and I outside – offers information about the home and advises he can be contacted directly with any questions. Nice start right? Walk in to a plate of goodies left on the table for the inspector, the buyers and me. Again accompanied by a small note.
The last year has been hard… for everyone. But the way to move forward – is together – not alone. These small moments mentioned above have shifted my mindset. How they all happened in the same week baffles me…but I needed to have this “restart”. I needed faith that we will all be ok. Whether you are selling your home or not – remember it truly is the little things that REALLY matter.
– Be kind to your community
– Be kind to your neighbors
– Be kind to your family…your friends…your co-workers
And above all – BE KIND TO YOURSELF!
If your walls could talk, they might tell some interesting stories. So why not share a few with the buyers who will be living there?
It’s fairly customary in a seller’s market for potential buyers to write letters to sellers for a “distinctive edge” to secure an offer. But there’s another piece of correspondence sometimes involved in a real estate transaction: a letter from sellers to buyers.
“It’s usually something specific to the closing that they’ll write down, ‘Welcome to the home’ and tell them a little bit about the house,” said Dixie Hightower, a top real estate agent in the Houston, Texas.
“The history of a home is great to pass on. It’s just a matter of getting someone in the mindset to think about those things.”
People have written letters to much-loved homes for years as a way to bid farewell to a place with so many special memories.
A letter for the new owner is a therapeutic way for you and your family to obtain a sense of closure.
Such a letter serves as a nice reminder to yourself that “while you aren’t there to love your house, someone else will be,” adds Chess Moving, an Australia-based moving company that handles local, interstate, and overseas relocations.
A seller writing a letter to buyers is similar to a seller doing an individual house walk-through with a buyer before closing, said Hightower, who has 23 years of experience and an average price point for single-family homes of $272,000. “They’ll walk them through the house, teach them how to do things with the pool and the alarm system and all the quirks of the home that typically people are trying to figure out by themselves.”
To get in a writing mood, she suggests thinking of questions like those your agent might ask before listing the property:
- What brought you to this home?
- What made you want to buy this home?
“The friendly, the fun, the enjoyment of living there—they can pass that on to the new buyer,” says Hightower.
Here are some specific things to include:
Unless you’ve already provided your real estate agent with the garage code, community mailbox number, fitness center key, and where to get new items from the homeowner’s association, you can list those here. “That’s always good information,” Hightower said. “We might know it for the neighborhood, but we don’t know it for the house, so it’s great to have the seller pass that on.”
If you have any leftover paint or other supplies from renovations, the home improvement experts at BobVila.com recommend giving the buyers a heads-up about where you’ve stored them in case they’re needed. “The new residents will appreciate having the correct paint colors on hand to touch up the scratches and scuffs that inevitably come with moving,” the site says.
Neighborhood nuts and bolts
A welcome letter can reiterate the days for garbage and recycling pickup, when alternate-side parking is in effect, and where nearby public transit is. Don’t forget the school bus stops, especially for different age groups like grade school, junior high, and high school.
Mini family memories
The new residents might appreciate knowing, say, how old your children were when you moved into this house and how old they are now. Also, did you have a cozy place where you liked to read or gather for movies and video games? Were there Fourth of July parties on the deck? Even how you enjoyed seeing the sun stream into the kitchen while having pancakes is a memory that can make the buyers smile.
If buyers are new to the area, they’ll be thankful to learn an alternate way to drive to the grocery store, or what parks and walking trails are nearby.
In fact, why not share what your favorite shops and restaurants were? Or professionals like a doctor or hairdresser? Is your community known for holiday parades or other festivities?
“All of those little tips really save a buyer a lot of time,” Hightower said.
Even though your buyers’ taste is bound to be different from yours, they bought your house, so there’s likely some overlap in what you like.
These wouldn’t be defects or anything serious that you might have felt you had to disclose, just thoughts on the lighter side of living in your former house. Maybe your dishwasher lets you know with a light that you need to “add rinse aid,” or that you’ll see tree frogs in the summer if you leave on the rear porch light.
Speaking of seasons, Hightower said she’s known sellers to share where they plugged in Christmas lights or what plants are likely to bloom.
“I bought a little bit older home, and I love the fact that the seller passed on what bulbs she planted in the yard,” Hightower said. “If you’re buying something in the fall, you don’t know what bulbs are where, and it was really neat to know what was going to come up in the spring.”
Is there a neighbor known for throwing a Halloween bash for all the children? You also can point out who fixes lawn mowers, does snow removal, or offers homemade German Coffee Cake at the annual community yard sale.
One seller told Hightower that a professional football player lived in the neighborhood.
Whatever your presentation turns out to be, consider it finishing a chapter on one part of your life while the buyers are starting fresh. This is just one more tool to leave a house that’s served you well in happy hands.
Author – Karen Keveryga
REALTOR® / Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) Royal LePage Benchmark John Hripko Real Estate Team Client Advocate!
M: 403-710-2502 E: [email protected]