Doctor, I have this weird …

Okay, teaser lead…literally. In our mail tonight we received a “Letter of Intent to Purchase

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About Rhonda Porter

Rhonda Porter is an NMLS Licensed Mortgage Originator MLO121324 for homes located in Washington state. Her blog, The Mortgage Porter, is nationally recognized for sharing relevant information to consumers about mortgages. She has been originating mortgages since 2000 at Mortgage Master Service Corporation #40445 Consumer NMLS Website: NMLS ID 40445. Equal Housing Opportunity. You can follow Rhonda on @mortgageporter, Facebook and/or Google+

28 thoughts on “Doctor, I have this weird …

  1. Rhonda,

    It is a clear sign that the market is going to be strong this year and that people want to buy homes, just maybe not the ones that happen to be for sale 🙂 Typical January market.

    I do think a response is called for. “Thank you for your interest in our home, it is a great compliment. We are not planning to move, but wish you the best of luck in finding your new home.”

    I often approach unlisted sellers for specific clients…unfortunately those mass “I have a buyer” marketing letters make it harder on those with a sincere interest in a specific product. For that reason, I have gone so far as submitting an actual offer on the property instead of a letter.

    Had an 82 year old man bring me one on a lot he owned for over 20 years on Vashon Island. Agent just put an offer in the mail. More effective than a “I have a buyer for you” letter.

    This is the intended purpose and potential value of Zillow’s “make me move” category.

  2. I’m guessing that your home fit the profile for a flipper investor. They’ll send out 1000 letters to homes matching this profile, and bet that there will be 1 or 2 that may bite. I get these all the time.

  3. Could also be an agent using this as a come on to get a listing. Presuming you’d be interested in selling, the agent could pose as a buyer under such and such contingency, but get in the door to establish rapport and then list. This is a technique being taught by a Canadian company.

  4. I don’t think our home is really a candidate for flipping. And our neighbors did not receive the letter either. I did google this person and if he is a real estate agent (which is what I first expected) then he’s poorly marketed.

  5. Rhonda,

    I think he’s a for real guy who wants to live in your house. Maybe he saw your “photo while walking dog” and said, WOW, I’d like to live there 🙂 If he was an investor, you likely would have pulled up more than one property in his name when you did the Title by name search. You should be able to look up whether or not he is a licensed agent at They changed their site recently and it isn’t as easy to do a license search as it used to be.

  6. A letter of intent is strictly that a letter of intent – it’s not a contract and there are probably plenty of “outs” even if they say they’ll buy it “as is”. If you don’t have an interest in selling then you aren’t beholden to contact this person unless you are just curious to find out who they are and if the letter is “real” or not. If you bought the house through a traditional listing it might be that this was a buyer that missed out buying the house when you got it. Who knows.

  7. This does happen quite a bit, even more in condos than single family homes. Someone wants to live in a particualr home in particular neighborhood or condominium building, and their ideal home isn’t listed for sale. They also know what the home is worth to them, and that price might be higher than the current market value. This prospective buyer may have sent similar letters to a number of homes. I’ve done the same for my own clients with some limited success.

  8. Could be someone in the industry trolling for leads to give to real estate agents to “earn” their business. A title rep, another lender. Look and see if the person is a licensed originator.

    I received a similar letter last year from a large well known local title company doing just that.

  9. Rhonda,

    There’s certainly something to be said for individual discernment and “gut” feeling. If the letter weighs in as genuine, I’d suggest responding succinctly and directly, but politely. If not, toss it and forget about it.

  10. We did check with our neighbors and we seem to be the lucky ones. As I mentioned, we’re not interested in selling. We’re received letters before from real estate agents. Never from an individual. Thanks for the advice!

  11. Rhonda, I got a nearly identical letter for a property north of seattle and googled the number listed which matched to a business called “We Buy Homes”. I’m not going to bother responding because I suspect its an agent using a new technique to troll for listings.

  12. Jeff, this person is not an agent. At least, I could not determine that he is/was. He did not leave a phone number, only a fax. We’ve decided to ignore the letter as we have no intentions of moving anytime soon.

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