In tight Orlando real estate market, ‘love letters’ help buyers close deal

June 30–Needing more space for their two boys and a home office, Billy and Krysten Langguth found a house in east Orlando that fit.

Knowing other prospective buyers were interested, they not only offered more than the asking price, they also included a letter to the seller, aiming to foster a personal bond. More often lately, real estate agents see such “love letters” in the competitive Metro Orlando market.

“We sent a picture of our family with our two boys to hopefully connect with them, showing that we’re building a family and want them to grow up in this house,” Billy Langguth said this week while the couple was unpacking in their new home. He added that they made it clear how much they loved the home inside and out.

The Langguths’ letter included a photo of their family wearing UCF gear in front of the Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World.

Krysten Langguth and her husband Billy wrote a “love letter” about the house they wanted to buy and included it along with this photo in their offer — and got the house in east Orlando in June 2018.

Krysten Langguth and her husband Billy wrote a “love letter” about the house they wanted to buy and included it along with this photo in their offer — and got the house in east Orlando in June 2018. (Courtesy Langguth family)

“We just sold our townhouse on the search for more space and a yard for our boys to be able to run around in, both of which we’ve found in this house,” they wrote. “We can already picture the wonderful memories our family could make here!”

The letter-writing comes as homes in Central Florida are in high demand. The supply of houses for sale was 14.7 percent smaller in May than it was a year earlier, at 2.2 months’ worth. That has buyers looking for an edge, with prices up 7.3 percent year-over-year to a midpoint of $234,000, a bidding war isn’t always an option.

The couple’s agent, Vicki Bray-Fagan, said to keep the letter short and sweet for the four-bedroom, three-bathroom house that sold for $309,000, according to real estate data website Zillow.

“It was just to help us stand out, so that they … didn’t just see us as somebody putting in an offer but saw who we were as people and as a family,” Krysten Langguth said, adding that her brother recently had done the same thing.

A house in Apopka’s Errol Estate caught the eye of Lorrie Bearden and her husband — and when the price fell to fit the budget set for moving closer to their new veterinary practice, the couple found themselves among several full-price offers. In addition to solid financing, she let the seller know in a letter how much they loved the home.

“We can’t justify moving unless the home is perfect for us … Then we found your home,” Bearden wrote of the three-bedroom, two-bath home that county records show sold to the couple for $389,000 in March.

Bearden, whose brother had written a similar letter when buying a house in Pittsburgh recently, mentioned common friends who said the home was “fabulous,” and that she and her husband wanted to be part of the Apopka community.

“We appreciate the details you have put into the home and the very open flow,” she wrote. “We can see our stuff complimenting all that you have previously done and will be proud to share it with family and friends.”

Whether it makes sense to open up personally as a buyer depends on market conditions, said Jeffrey Fagan, president-elect of Orlando Regional Realtor Association.

“Right now, it is making a little of an upswing,” he said, because supply is low and sellers could be weighing multiple offers.

It’s not a way to get a buyer to accept a lower sale price, though, and has no impact when the seller is a bank or an investor, he said.

Such letters can be one of the few opportunities for buyers and sellers to make a personal connection. Fagan said it’s recommended that agents handle the communication to prevent mistakes or keep unhealthy emotions from complicating a sale.

When the two parties met for the first time at the closing table, Bearden said the letter came up immediately.

“The first thing the seller said to me, he asked a question about something I had referenced in the letter,” Bearden said. “Otherwise I’d never talked to guy, so I felt like maybe it got his attention.”

As listing prices rise across the board on homes for sale in Metro Orlando, prospective buyers trying to squeeze the most out of their dollar might try a low offer.

Sellers are often advised during conditions such as today’s — short supply and rising sales — to wait for a deal that favors them,…

This article provided by NewsEdge.