The Problem(s) With Blind Solicitations

In a housing market characterized by still-scarce inventory and frustrated Buyers (especially at lower price points), it seems like an obvious tactic if not smart Realtor marketing:  proactive Buyers’ agents who send a blind letter to a targeted block or neighborhood inquiring whether anyone is contemplating selling.

While I know colleagues who claim this has worked, personally, I haven’t had any success the 4-5 times I’ve done it over the years.

The problem? (besides warranted Seller skepticism).

In a word, motivation.

“Make Me an Offer”

If the homeowner is indeed open to selling, their timetable is months (or years) in the future.

Or . . . surprise, surprise, their asking price is 25% (or 100%) over market value.**

Making that aggressive price especially unpalatable:  unmotivated Sellers seldom see the need to stage or otherwise prep their homes, and can balk at such routine tasks as completing the Seller’s Disclosure, or arranging the municipal point-of-sale inspection (if one is required).

Oh, and because they have no idea where they’re moving, and are facing the same tight inventory as Buyers themselves, such maybe-Sellers often need an open-ended timetable to close.

“Winter is Coming” — Housing Market Edition

All of which is why, at least for Buyers who don’t want to overpay and can’t wait indefinitely, it can be smarter to focus on another kind of quarry.

My recommendation, especially this time of year:  homes ” ideally vacant ” that originally listed last Spring, and whose owners are now aggressively reducing the price in hopes of getting a deal before winter.

That’s in addition to aggressively networking my Buyers’ needs directly to other agents, and through such proprietary forums as Edina Realty’s “Network One.”

**If they have an asking price. Frequently, what you’ll hear instead is, “make me an offer,” inevitably followed by “nope, higher” if the desperate Buyer unwisely bites.

Can you say, “negotiating against yourself?”

See also, “Advertising Buyer Needs“; “Homes That Have Been For Sale FOREVER (and a day): Potential Buyer Opportunity ” or Not?”; and “Have a House/Need a House.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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