Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

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motorcyclesarecool
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Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:31 pm

After souring on the Realtor profession once again, I fired our buyer rep. I’d like to prospect our target neighborhood with a nice photo postcard of our family that introduces us and politely asks if they’re thinking of selling.

How would I go about compiling a list of mailing addresses in the neighborhood to send our targeted mail?
Understand that choosing an HDHP is very much a "red pill" approach. Most would rather pay higher premiums for a $20 copay per visit. They will think you weird for choosing an HSA.

livesoft
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by livesoft » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:33 pm

Google maps will give you all the addresses as will the internet. I'm sure in any neighborhood there are homes you would not buy, too. Street view should show all the homes nicely.

We've received a few letters over the years to ask if we would consider selling our house, but never a postcard.
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beardsworth
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by beardsworth » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:48 pm

A Google Maps view will show you the names of streets in the area, if you don't already know them.

Then do a Google search for "property" and the name of the county or city. In the results, you can usually identify which URL is a government agency (it may be the county auditor, or appraiser, or tax records) rather than a commercial site. For example, here are the search results for Arlington VA property (which is not my own location but just an example I've chosen because I used to know someone who lived there).

https://www.google.com/search?q=arlington+va+property

Then, among those search results, this is a government agency:

https://propertysearch.arlingtonva.us

Click on the disclaimer. And on the next screen, enter a street name, e.g., Carlin Springs, which is also just an example and not the address of anyone I personally know. And you get a list of all the property owners on Carlin Springs Road, with their addresses. Then you can click on any individual listing for further detail. Like many such sites, Arlington's also has street-view photos of the houses. For sites which don't, you can usually find photos on Zillow, Trulia, realtor.com, etc.

For general purposes, you can also ascertain Zip Code boundaries through a Google search for Zip Code map [city name], which will generate multiple sites showing the layout of a town and its constituent neighborhoood Zip Codes.

terran
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by terran » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:35 pm

Zillow would work too with the added bonus that you can take a look at when (and for how much) it last sold which might give you an idea of how likely they would be to sell (if they just bought it they probably aren't selling unless it was an investment and you're willing to pay enough to make it worthwhile for them).

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Watty
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by Watty » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:46 pm

motorcyclesarecool wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:31 pm
I’d like to prospect our target neighborhood with a nice photo postcard of our family that introduces us and politely asks if they’re thinking of selling.
We occasionally get letters like that and I just assume that they are from a flipper looking to lowball people.

Our large subdivision has a bulletin board near the entrance, a paper newsletter, and a private facebook group. You might see if that neighborhood has anything similar and if you could post something in something like that.

I would suggest not including a photograph of yourself. The problem is that the photograph would show your race which could open up a whole can of worms with discrimination problems especially if a homeowner is already working with a real estate agent.

michaeljc70
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:54 pm

Watty wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:46 pm
motorcyclesarecool wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:31 pm
I’d like to prospect our target neighborhood with a nice photo postcard of our family that introduces us and politely asks if they’re thinking of selling.

We occasionally get letters like that and I just assume that they are from a flipper looking to lowball people.


Our large subdivision has a bulletin board near the entrance, a paper newsletter, and a private facebook group. You might see if that neighborhood has anything similar and if you could post something in something like that.

I would suggest not including a photograph of yourself. The problem is that the photograph would show your race which could open up a whole can of worms with discrimination problems especially if a homeowner is already working with a real estate agent.
I agree. People that want to move put their houses up for sale. Unless you are willing to pay way over market value, I don't see the value. People don't move because they get a nice letter.

stan1
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by stan1 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:01 pm

In my neighborhood one realtor has represented the seller or buyer in more than 50% of the sales over the last 20 years. Before that she operated the builder's sales office so if you factor that in she's sold every house in the neighborhood of about 60 houses. Is there a realtor like that in the area where you want to live? If so I'd be working with him or her.

motorcyclesarecool
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:07 pm

Watty wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:46 pm
We occasionally get letters like that and I just assume that they are from a flipper looking to lowball people.
Would it seem less like a flipper if the letters were hand-addressed and stamped? (As opposed to metered or license mailing)
Watty wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:46 pm
Our large subdivision has a bulletin board near the entrance, a paper newsletter, and a private facebook group. You might see if that neighborhood has anything similar and if you could post something in something like that.

I would suggest not including a photograph of yourself. The problem is that the photograph would show your race which could open up a whole can of worms with discrimination problems especially if a homeowner is already working with a real estate agent.
I hadn’t thought of that. I was thinking the picture would help convey that we’re a family looking for a forever home and help us seem less flipper-y. That’s too bad, but equal housing is the law, and generally a good thing.
Understand that choosing an HDHP is very much a "red pill" approach. Most would rather pay higher premiums for a $20 copay per visit. They will think you weird for choosing an HSA.

colddeadfish
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by colddeadfish » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:15 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:54 pm
Watty wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:46 pm
motorcyclesarecool wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:31 pm
I’d like to prospect our target neighborhood with a nice photo postcard of our family that introduces us and politely asks if they’re thinking of selling.

We occasionally get letters like that and I just assume that they are from a flipper looking to lowball people.


Our large subdivision has a bulletin board near the entrance, a paper newsletter, and a private facebook group. You might see if that neighborhood has anything similar and if you could post something in something like that.

I would suggest not including a photograph of yourself. The problem is that the photograph would show your race which could open up a whole can of worms with discrimination problems especially if a homeowner is already working with a real estate agent.
I agree. People that want to move put their houses up for sale. Unless you are willing to pay way over market value, I don't see the value. People don't move because they get a nice letter.
+1
I get several letters a year and all (so far) are investors looking to rent or flip (lowball). Even if a quick internet search proves that they aren't investors I still wouldn't reach out to sell to them ( and I am planning to sell in the next 6 months). I don't think this strategy will help you, especially if it is a desirable neighborhood.

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MP123
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by MP123 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:16 pm

Not sure this is really the best approach to buying your new house.

But leaving that aside I'd use Zillow as mentioned above. Cross reference with assessors records for names.

Agents do have value, maybe you need a new one?

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dccboone
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by dccboone » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:52 pm

Watty wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:46 pm
motorcyclesarecool wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:31 pm
I’d like to prospect our target neighborhood with a nice photo postcard of our family that introduces us and politely asks if they’re thinking of selling.
I would suggest not including a photograph of yourself. The problem is that the photograph would show your race which could open up a whole can of worms with discrimination problems especially if a homeowner is already working with a real estate agent.
Watty I don't understand the concern. Can you please provide a legal basis why someone looking for a home would be open to discrimination problems merely by showing a picture of their family to home owners in a neighborhood? I understand the requirements as a seller not to discriminate, but how does someone sending a picture of their family open the prospective buyer to discrimination legal issues? And, why would those discrimination problems not arise if a potential buyer were to show their face to a prospective seller when just looking at their home?

Katietsu
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by Katietsu » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:30 pm

I would be less likely to respond if the solicitation contained a photo. The photo would move me from thinking it was a lowball/flipper letter to thinking it was a scam. I guess we are all just on high alert these days.

I like the suggestion about finding out if there is a Facebook group or newsletter within the desired area.

barnaclebob
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by barnaclebob » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:34 pm

If you aren't willing to pay 15-20% over market value you are wasting your time and money.

denovo
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by denovo » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:32 am

motorcyclesarecool wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:31 pm
After souring on the Realtor profession once again, I fired our buyer rep. I’d like to prospect our target neighborhood with a nice photo postcard of our family that introduces us and politely asks if they’re thinking of selling.

How would I go about compiling a list of mailing addresses in the neighborhood to send our targeted mail?
I do not think this will be a good idea. Are there literally no homes for sale there?
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

HornedToad
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by HornedToad » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:37 am

barnaclebob wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:34 pm
If you aren't willing to pay 15-20% over market value you are wasting your time and money.
This. Who in their right mind would sell to you instead of going thru a realtor and getting more offers that might be more competitive.

So if you are going to do this, say if interested you'd like to look at it, you'd both get it appraised and you'd pay X% over the appraisal price.

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dccboone
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by dccboone » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:14 am

The United States Postal Service has a program called USPS® Every Door Direct Mail. You can go on-line and pick a specific neighborhood you want to cover. It will tell you how many homes are in the specific area selected. You can also select residential properties only so no businesses are included. This program was developed to help small businesses do direct mail in very limited areas. However, specific homes in a defined area cannot be targeted - it's all or none.

I think a nice letter explaining who you are and what you're looking for may generate more results than some here believe (especially among a prospective homeowner who would rather not pay an agent 7% commission. There's only one way to find out. Hope this helps.

beardsworth
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by beardsworth » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:44 am

Regarding the idea of sending a personal photo and message to potential sellers, I'd imagine the OP just has this in mind:

https://www.seattlepi.com/realestate/ar ... 280034.php

https://www.tennessean.com/story/money/ ... /97421600/

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03- ... -rose.html

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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by fsrph » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:28 am

Sometimes I receive a phone message from someone who wants to buy my out of state investment land. I never reply. But, if I did I guarantee I'd ask for a premium price for the land. That being said it wouldn't hurt to implement your idea with the hope maybe someone will sell at or below market value. Just be prepared for some high asking prices.

Francis
"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get." | Dale Carnegie

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yukonjack
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by yukonjack » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:39 am

stan1 wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:01 pm
In my neighborhood one realtor has represented the seller or buyer in more than 50% of the sales over the last 20 years. Before that she operated the builder's sales office so if you factor that in she's sold every house in the neighborhood of about 60 houses. Is there a realtor like that in the area where you want to live? If so I'd be working with him or her.
We have a similar setup in our suburban neighborhood of about 600 homes. One or two RE agents have dominated the market for the last 20ish years. I think it would be a more efficient use of your time to go through someone likely this rather than on your own. In fact in my area the RE agents usually do the very thing you have mentioned. So in most cases they have probably beaten you to the punch on identifying prospective sellers.

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lthenderson
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by lthenderson » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:47 am

I've never bought a house this way but did buy some land this way. I just wrote a letter stating who I was and that if someday in the future they were interested in selling the land to please contact me and let me make an offer on the property. They contacted me a month later and we made a deal.

Although second hand information, some friends of mine who lived down the street from where I used to live had someone knock on their door inquiring if their house was for sale. My friend responded that if the price was right it could be and when asked, quoted what he thought was an absurdly high price. The fellow wrote a check on the spot and said his lawyers would be in touch to finalize the deal. The following week my friends were looking for a new place to live. The fellow turned out to be a very well to do man whose wife was absolutely in love with the house.

runner3081
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by runner3081 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:01 pm

I think this is a waste of time when used as a "mass mailing".

We get this crap all of the time, hand written, postcard, in an envelope, family descriptions, etc.

It all gets tossed.

In my opinion, if you wanted a real chance at a house, pick 5 or so out. Make a specific letter about the house, why you like the purple shutters on windows up front, the beautiful roses in the yard, blah, blah.

THEN, as others have mentioned. You need to indicate that you are willing to pay more than it is worth (and do so).

chevca
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by chevca » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:33 pm

motorcyclesarecool wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:31 pm
After souring on the Realtor profession once again, I fired our buyer rep. I’d like to prospect our target neighborhood with a nice photo postcard of our family that introduces us and politely asks if they’re thinking of selling.

How would I go about compiling a list of mailing addresses in the neighborhood to send our targeted mail?
Drive through and write them all down... and talk to some folks in person... maybe someone knows of a neighbor thinking of moving. I mean you are really interested in the area, right?

Does this really happen... sending family post card out randomly to see if anyone's selling?? In all my years of owning different houses, I have gotten the random "we buy any house, cash" mailings looking to low ball anyone willing. But, I've never received a family photo asking if I was selling. People do that?? Maybe I haven't lived in nice enough places? :happy

I agree with others that I wouldn't give it a second's thought unless it mentioned being willing to pay top dollar... over market value.

JoeRetire
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by JoeRetire » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:39 pm

motorcyclesarecool wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:31 pm
How would I go about compiling a list of mailing addresses in the neighborhood to send our targeted mail?
You've soured on using paid help, but you don't know how to determine the mailing addresses on a few streets?
Hmm... good luck, I guess.

I'm trying to imagine what kind of potential seller would answer an unsolicited postcard like this. I know I wouldn't.

renue74
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by renue74 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:48 pm

This type of stuff happens all the the time. It's sort of an offshoot of "driving for dollars," where investors drive around neighborhoods and look for aging homes and find the owners in public tax records.

I don't feel like this is an exceptional use of your time. Zillow has the "make me move" option and from what I see, homeowners always think their homes are worth more using that.

Why not wait? You have access to the MLS just like any other buyers agent.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:43 pm

> You have access to the MLS just like any other buyers agent.

Having a buyer's agent with the big shop in town...could just get OP notice before, or simultaneous with, MLS posting. It is possible to do better than waiting for houses to appear.

If OP is into proactive approaches...how about regularly checking the obituaries?

Anyway, as a recent seller...all I cared about was $, not who the buyer was. Flipper, family, single, it's all the same to me. And I quite liked my house...but it was going to not be my house anymore.

JBTX
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by JBTX » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:05 pm

Zillow?

Also perhaps joining “next door” app/site and reaching out to people in that neighborhood.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by unclescrooge » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:26 pm

HornedToad wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:37 am
barnaclebob wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:34 pm
If you aren't willing to pay 15-20% over market value you are wasting your time and money.
This. Who in their right mind would sell to you instead of going thru a realtor and getting more offers that might be more competitive.
People going through an acrimonious divorce often choose quick sales.

ArmchairArchitect
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by ArmchairArchitect » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:04 pm

Redfin.com has a solid review system for all their agents, and as a buyer they rebate a huge chunk of their commission back to you. Way better option than this silly letter idea.

92irish
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by 92irish » Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:31 pm

This thread is making me remember something that happened to me - you are not supposed to put anything in someone else's mailbox. I was helping a friend distribute a flier for her business and she was putting them in mailboxes. A postman saw her and read her the riot act for violating federal law. He must have been having a bad day because he was really p.o.'d. It seems you can put a flier on a doorstep, in doorjam, etc. - but the U.S. mailbox is off limits (you need a stamp and sent through the mail).

mouses
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by mouses » Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:16 pm

92irish wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:31 pm
This thread is making me remember something that happened to me - you are not supposed to put anything in someone else's mailbox. I was helping a friend distribute a flier for her business and she was putting them in mailboxes. A postman saw her and read her the riot act for violating federal law. He must have been having a bad day because he was really p.o.'d. It seems you can put a flier on a doorstep, in doorjam, etc. - but the U.S. mailbox is off limits (you need a stamp and sent through the mail).
Don't leave stuff on people's doors or doormats. You're just advertising to any random criminal that no one is home. I was really poed when I came home and found such a letter taped to my door.

quantAndHold
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:35 pm

It sounds like finding a better agent might be a better use of your time.

We got a couple of those letters, complete with pictures of smiling white heterosexuals, while we were in the midst of getting our place ready to sell. We tossed the the letters into the trash, and put the place on the market the normal way.

The family that got our place had the agent who knew best how to work a deal in a tight market. Part of it was that we felt confident that the deal would go through without any hassle. We didn’t feel that way about some of the other agents.

If it were me, i’d pick 4 or 5 recent sales of houses that I would have wanted, find out who the buyer’s agent was on each sale, and interview each of them.

41Fin
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by 41Fin » Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:56 pm

To me, the question isn't how to get the addresses as those can be obtained via google maps but how to get people to actually read my postcards.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by DaftInvestor » Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:17 pm

I get postcards and letters from realtors all the time - never got one directly from a buyer but if I did I would treat it like all the rest and drop it in the recycle bin on my way in the house (and if there was a family picture included I might find it a bit creepy).
Maybe I am wrong though - perhaps if you have in big bold letters "willing to pay 20% over market value" you will get my attention.

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celia
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by celia » Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:29 pm

I would skip the family photo too. Some of the postcards could be put in drawers or saved for a future sale. Or the current residents' kids could get it and a year later these kids are teasing your kid for buying a house via postcard. You also don't know if a predator would hold onto it. He could easily monitor the houses that are sold and figure out where you live. It is not worth giving up your family's privacy to score a good deal.

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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:32 pm

celia wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:29 pm
I would skip the family photo too. Some of the postcards could be put in drawers or saved for a future sale. Or the current residents' kids could get it and a year later these kids are teasing your kid for buying a house via postcard. You also don't know if a predator would hold onto it. He could easily monitor the houses that are sold and figure out where you live. It is not worth giving up your family's privacy to score a good deal.
This is overly paranoid.
Last edited by barnaclebob on Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Nearly A Moose
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by Nearly A Moose » Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:16 pm

renue74 wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:48 pm
This type of stuff happens all the the time. It's sort of an offshoot of "driving for dollars," where investors drive around neighborhoods and look for aging homes and find the owners in public tax records.

I don't feel like this is an exceptional use of your time. Zillow has the "make me move" option and from what I see, homeowners always think their homes are worth more using that.

Why not wait? You have access to the MLS just like any other buyers agent.
I've seen a sale done this way. The price had to be competitive, of course.
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.

btenny
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by btenny » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:20 pm

Drive around the neighborhood and find 2-3 homes you really like. Then look them up on Zillow and find a good price and any related information on each. Decide what price you would pay for each home. Then drive over to the homes and knock on the doors of each house. Talk to the owner in person. Introduce yourself and tell him/her you want to buy their home. Make them a sincere high offer for their home. Maybe $20K to $50K or more over market. Try to get them to talk to you. Find out if they are even thinking about moving in the next few years. Ask what it would take price wise to get them to move soon. Try to find out if they are even thinking about selling. Be nice but forward and aggressive about really wanting a home in the area. You might get turned down but most likely if you are real polite they might tell you about a home that will be for sale soon. Get that data and repeat the process. It might take you a month but I bet you can find a nice home to buy in the area. Or you may get lucky and buy the first home you visit. And the seller may accept a good price offer. Remember life is a big negotiation......

Good Luck.

Hillview
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by Hillview » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:18 pm

We get a letter a quarter or so. Unless someone put an actual range or $ amount I'd never respond. I'd be looking for 20%+ over zillow estimate to consider a move/reply. For me a photo of your family would be more compelling. You could just drive around and drop the letters yourself. PS I'd do a letter not a post card.

Saving$
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Re: Home buying: how to send postcards to neighborhood we want to live in?

Post by Saving$ » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:23 pm

I would not respond well to such a postcard. I get 2-5 letters/postcards a week, and about 2-3 phone messages, to the point that I have stopped answering/using my landline (which is the only number people can find for me when searching). I figure all of them are from flippers and trash them all.

If I want to sell a property, I will sell it. A postcard or a letter is not going to make me sell it.

The best you can hope for is MAYBE connect with someone who was planning to sell anyway. This might get you a deal, but there is no guarantee.

Your time would be better spent networking and getting to know people in the neighborhood. Make it known you want to buy and you might get lucky. Don't expect quick results. These things need to be cultivated and take time.

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