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    Posted November 28, 2013 by

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    Chris Cruse and Associates Real Estate: To seal home deal, try writing to the seller


    If you really want that house, grab a pen and start pouring your heart out to the seller.

    And, above all, don’t forget to gush. Shed that New England reserve and let it all tumble out about how you will cherish the seller’s house long after they have moved on to that retirement community in Arizona.

    Apparently, your closing argument should paint an idyllic vision of you and your family sitting by the fire in the seller’s house, forever grateful to the generous, wise, and bountiful sellers who gave you the keys to this paradise.

    Don’t forget the cute photos of kids and pets as well, preferably your own, but really any will do.

    Says Trulia: This should be the emotional punch line statement that bonds the seller to the buyer so much that they yell out — “I like these buyers and want them to live in my home!”

    Wow, now that’s a letter!

    OK, I am only half serious here. Still gushing seems to be a prerequisite if you want to write one of these letters, at least based on the advice being doled out on the many real estate websites out there.

    Nearly 30 percent of all winning bids by Boston-area buyers included a “cover letter” or personal appeal to the seller, according to Redfin’s latest report on bidding wars in various metro markets across the country.

    That’s down somewhat from the height of the spring market, when 41 percent of all winning buyers penned personal appeals.

    If you have a bad case of writer’s block, no worries. There is a whole cottage industry out there online, offering advice on what to write and how to write it, as well as sample letters.

    Above all, don’t be shy. Says Trulia:

    Pepper it with personality: Express your true inner feelings, emotions and excitement. Your sincerity and authenticity will shine through. After all, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

    Pending sales hit new highs

    Massachusetts pending home sales hit record highs this fall, recent data show.

    The number of single-family homes put under agreement in September and October was the highest on record since the Massachusetts Association of Realtors began tracking the numbers in 2004.

    Pending home sales across Massachusetts rose 17 percent, to 4,793, this October compared with last year. September sales were also up 16.2 percent year over year, to 4,297.

    Prices also rose — by double digits yet again.

    They were up 12.3 percent in October, to $320,000, compared with October 2012, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors reports.

    By comparison, back during the bubble years, there were 4,048 pending home sales in October and 3,959 in September, according to Multiple Listing Service numbers collected by the organization.

    The October numbers were particularly telling, coming smack dab in the middle of the government shutdown and fears that Congress might send the country barreling over the fiscal cliff.

    Looks like most buyers here simply shrugged this nonsense off.

    After all, pending sales are the freshest indicator of market activity, based on purchase and sales agreements just inked, but which won’t actually close and become official sales for another couple months.

    It was much the same story with pending condo sales as well, which were up 22 percent over last year, to 1,853 in October.

    Of course, the grumpy housing bears out there will read this as some sort of cheer for the real estate industry.

    Learn to read more closely then, for the numbers, if anything, are a warning sign that whatever fleeting affordability the downturn created in the Greater Boston real estate market is fading fast.

    The real issue now is not whether there is some big cool-down lurking around the corner. Rather, the real issue is what buyers are increasingly struggling with across Greater Boston, frankly the state as well. And that’s how to afford to buy a half decent home in the one of the most expensive housing markets in the country.


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