I look online at houses all the time. I've done it since before Sean and I got married -- it was always just a wishful thinking sort of thing. A month ago, I was looking online at houses in our preferred town and I saw a house that looked interesting. Two weeks went by and every time I looked at it again, I would tell Sean (again) how cute it was and how it would be so cool to look into it. Twenty-four days after it was listed online, we toured the house (in between work and weekend trips) with our realtor. When we got there, her exact words were "so I have some bad news -- there's already an offer on it but it doesn't look good so they're letting you see it". My heart was a teeny bit broken when she said it, but I walked through the house and in and out of every room and just starting enjoying the house more and more. We spent over an hour in the house; looking at every nook and cranny -- searching the basement, trying to tell if it was "scary" or whether the house felt "haunted". We stood in the backyard and in the bedrooms and in the screen porch. We talked about how the layout was perfect, and the updates would all be preference and how it's a typical New England home (which is exactly what we love). Our realtor said we could put in a back-up offer so that if the original buyers backed out or if anything fell through we'd be next in line. I was hesitant, and just felt like we should give up and move on. Sean was pretty adamant that we put in the back-up offer and so four days later our realtor wrote up an offer to send to the sellers. I had seen "house love letters" online and remembered thinking they were a good idea. The realtor also suggested it and so we sent a love letter along with our offer and that was that. I was feeling a little defeated when I heard the inspection for the buyers was the following day and still felt like the back-up offer was useless.
We made appointments to see other houses to get our minds off the house we loved. But two days later we found out that our offer was being presented to the sellers and that the home inspection didn't go too well. That was nerve-wracking to hear because if things were so wrong -- why would we want to get involved? But the things that were being talked about were things we had discussed with our realtor at our original visit (basically it's old and needs updating) and so it wasn't shocking for us to hear. Three days later our realtor called us and told us the sellers backed out on the other buyers and that they had sent us over a very reasonable counter offer. We asked for a second showing (and brought along family to see it this time) to assure us that it was, in fact, super cute and that we should move forward. And so tonight we've formally accepted their counter offer and we're under contract.
I'd like to think that a major reason the sellers chose to go our way (other than the other buyers trying to reduce the price of the house) was the "house love letter" I wrote. It was honest and really captured how we felt about the property. Here's what was written:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. [sellers],
Thank you for taking the time to review our offer.
We’ve left our hearts in [town]! Sean has lived in [town] for most of his life. When I was twelve I moved to [neighboring town] with my family and spent most of my time in the [town] area. We participated in town events, played on town sports teams, graduated high school from [high school name] and most importantly enjoyed the small town feel that [town] offers; knowing our neighbors and trusting the community. It’s clear to see why a family such as yours would live in such a wonderful area for 36 years. We’ve been away for just one year and can’t wait to be permanent residents of the area once again.
I am a kindergarten teacher and Sean works for a local medical company. We were married in 2011 and we know that purchasing a home, in a close-knit town, close to the support of our parents -- is the strong foundation that any young couple needs to raise a family. We are absolutely confident that [street address] will bring us the same happiness and longevity that it has brought you and your family. Your house is a picturesque New England home on a beautiful piece of land – one that we would love to call our own.
The responsibility of being first-time homeowners is a skill and an undertaking we are ready for. We look forward to putting the same attention and thought into caring for [street address] as you so clearly have. We have our hearts set on calling your property home.
Thank you for your consideration.
Sean and Jasmine Duffy
And so, if all goes well, we're set to close December 11th. If the next six and a half weeks are as stressful and full of emotional ups and downs as the last two weeks -- I have a feeling there will be eventual tears. I don't know how people do this...