I have a well qualified buyer seriously interested in purchasing a home in your area. Ever gotten one of these letters? We get one every few months at our house, and we see them in our clients' homes all the time:
A sincere request
They are distributed all over the city by a few repeat offenders, and many home owners believe them. The letter is so generic it could apply to almost any potential buyer looking in a condo complex or neighbourhood.
We've listed many properties where the owners have shown us this letter, and asked us to let the agent know about their listing. Of course, we always call the agent, and amazingly they never even show the listing let alone bring an offer. If they really had a client that wanted to live in the area badly enough to distribute letters about their predicament, shouldn't they be the first agent calling us to show the property?
Here is what the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) has to say in their advertising guidelines:
"RECA is aware of some marketing schemes that rely on the concept of communicating a misleading offer to get a foot in the door with a client, but the offer is then substantially qualified during the meeting with the prospective client. This is a form of misleading advertising called “bait and switch" and it is illegal in Alberta and most jurisdictions across Canada."
It's just one more example of advertising that makes consumers skeptical - it certainly makes me wary about dealing with these specific agents. Perhaps if the letter said my clients would like to live in a 1000-1300 square foot bungalow on this street because their parents live on ### street, and their daughter has special needs and must live in the area by August to attend such and such special school, I would take notice.
On occasion we've had clients that really did want to buy in a particular building or on a particular street, and they've asked us to do something similar. The problem with this tactic is that if we do find a home owner interested in selling in this scenario, we've seriously given away our client's motivation. Our hands are really tied behind our backs when the time comes to negotiate for our clients in this type of situation.