Valentine's Day arrived this week and while I'll be the first to admit that I'm not exactly Cupid when it comes to this holiday, I'd like to give a nod to the winged cherub nonetheless - especially to those of you who ARE romantically inclined, and better yet, who like to show it. Here's to love. . .
When it comes to love, our homes often represent LOVE'S physical manifestation; our love for what we know, our commitment to one another, and ultimately, our faith in what lies ahead . . . .
We're not guaranteed that home values will continue to climb, yet we plunk down our hard-earned cash to build the American dream just the same. We paint, plant and plan, renovating our properties along the way to make them better fit our family's ever-changing needs. Our homes evolve as we do, and like our relationships, they are an ongoing process. That's love. Ultimately, we do all this to create memories; memories which, in turn, can make it very difficult to say goodbye. (That's love too.)
So, it's no wonder that the very act of buying or selling a home is often accompanied by a love letter from not only the perspective Buyers, but the departing Sellers as well. These letters don't just share the very best of what the neighborhood and community have to offer, they give us a glimpse into the lives lived there; the early morning Christmases, the high-octane team parties, the patriotic 4th-of-July barbecues, golden anniversaries, and cozy winter evenings curled up in front of the fire. The Sellers' letter is the love song from one homeowner to the next.
As for the Buyers, some of the most heartfelt sentiments are shared in the Buyers' letters to the Sellers and while it's rare that a letter - no matter how moving - will overcome a significantly higher offer, your words can certainly sway the Sellers when all other things are nearly equal. For those of us with some history in the game, we've all had the happy experience of representing Buyers whose story personally touched the Sellers, who then made sure those Buyers had every opportunity to get the house - even if it meant walking away from a technically better offer. (So yes, it can happen.)
So take a little time when crafting your letter to the Seller and include a picture of your adorable kids and your rescue mutt (anything that tugs on the heartstrings). Your buyer letter needn't be a lengthy essay, but it should share a little bit of your journey, your desire, and your willingness to be a steward for the home. It should be authentic, personal, and most importantly, it should speak from the heart. So write those letters and share the love; let us hear you sing!
Happy Valentine's Day!
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 600 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.