• It’s a sham! Homes aren’t affordable to the working class or even the upper middle class. Renters too. In big cities it seems that rent has become as expensive and daunting as buying a home. For me, I just want a little house of our own. When did housing in big cities become so expensive? Recently we have been looking to move from a townhouse into a house with a backyard so our kids can climb trees instead of walls. We aren’t asking for much. Just some decent schools in the area, and a house free of mold with a few bedrooms and one working bathroom. If you live in a big city like ours, Los Angeles, you might know to what I am referring. If you don’t, go outside and thank your lucky stars (because you can actually see them and we can’t) that you have clean air and affordable housing. Here is how you know you live in a big city when you are looking for a place to rent or buy…

    • * When you find a house you can afford, the majority of its walls will be covered in black mold and ten other people will outbid you for all cash in a probate sale.
    • * You search the obituaries to see which house in your neighborhood may come on the market soon.
    • * You walk by a house with boarded up windows, peeling paint and a dead lawn. You get excited, shouting to your spouse, hey let’s send a letter to the owners of that house to see if they want to sell it/rent it!
    • * You go to open houses and loudly point out all the flaws in the house so that the other people at the open house may get turned off and leave. Even though you know it is fruitless. Example: “Yuck. It smells like mold in here.” (It doesn’t matter that the realtor has sprayed vanilla perfume around the house).
    • You think you might actually break down and wear a t-shirt everywhere you go with the words “I am looking to buy a house. Please sell me yours” on the front of it.

    Last summer, we found a house we could marginally afford. Not only that, it had an amazing backyard. Sure, it was missing a wall and had some pink asbestos filled material dangling from one part of the ceiling but we were prepared to fix it up. Us, and a gazillion other people. In my desperation and to help us stick out from the rest, I sent this letter to the owner. In the end they chose the people who gave them more numbers, not more letters. I never got a response, other than seeing the sold sign on the house, but at least I had fun with it.

    Dear Mr. House Owner,

    We are submitting our offer to you with this letter via mail as well as through your agent. Partially for its entertainment value to you (real estate transactions can be quite dull otherwise) and mostly because we want our kids to grow up with a yard and I really want chickens with fresh eggs in my backyard. I found your address and contact info on the internet– I hope that is okay since this isn’t a traditional way of making an offer. No I am not your stalker. House stalker maybe?

    I saw your house today and I could see my family living there with some animals and chickens in the coops, my husband’s piano in the living room and my guitar in the attic/office room, and one of us attempting to learn the accordion while the kids play in the backyard. These were the visions I had while walking through the house. My 5 ½ year old daughter said she loved the attic and the magical backyard (She thinks it is a fairytale house). And so, with her urging, that brings me to our unconventional offer.

    I am certain you will receive an all-cash offer from a developer who will tear down and re-do your home, an investor who likely won’t even live in the house, as has been the trend and competition in our area. We will try our best to make our offer competitive. And, we understand should commerce win over the fairytale of our living there. At the very least, please save our offer as a back-up offer on your property and have a good chuckle while you read through it.

    • Why should you sell your home to us? Pick any or all of these:
    •  * Your namesake: Our 3rd child due who is expected to arrive in the first few weeks of August will have your first or last name for their middle name, regardless of its gender. Luckily you have a great name. I know- very Rumplestiltskiny. And I am being serious. And yes, sort of desperate.
    • * Philanthropy: You have a philanthropic heart and would love to see a family of (soon-to-be five) enjoying the home, yard, trampoline, zipline and Fairylandia in the backyard, to name a few.
    • * Keep the neighborhood real: You don’t want to contribute to the changing of the people who reside in the neighborhood. I promise music will be played and sung in that house on a daily basis if you sell to us. You can add it to the contract. We (our kids too) play piano and I tinker with the guitar. We will walk to the local video store and other long-time mom n’ pop establishments in the neighborhood so that they don’t end up becoming Starbucks/Williams Sonoma/Koo Koo Roos. My husband is an educator and I domesticate. By choice we have one car, and my husband bikes or rides the bus to work to teach so we want to be in a 5 mile radius from his job. So selling to us, would keep the neighborhood ‘real’.
    • * The house stays as intended: Besides maybe cleaning/replacing some carpet, replacing a broken window or necessary repairs of that nature, we will live in and leave the house as is. You can add an addendum that you want to be able to check up on the house to make sure we haven’t torn it down. Because I can almost promise you that whoever makes you a larger all-cash offer will have the desire to turn it into an uber-shiny modern Architectural Digest home (I’ve seen this happen a lot recently) and the creative efforts and that spectacular Pele mural in the back, will be destroyed, fairylandia torn down and sent to the landfill, etc etc.  A shame!
    • * Help the elderly: My aging mother, will one day live in the back house and knowing that you have helped her not end up in an old age home would be another philanthropic gesture for the elderly. (She has to climb stairs to get into my current place).
    • * We’re nice: We aren’t like typical buyers, we aren’t going to start re-negotiating once in escrow because windows need replacing or something needs fixing, in order to chisel down the price. We will buy it as is And pay what we say. Really. Warts (termites) and all. We have read the inspection report so we know what we are buying. I’m more than happy to get letters of references from our current neighbors, if you so desire.
    • * Add your wishes: You can add an addendum saying that we can keep all animal cages/coops as is and we can pet sit for you whenever you go out of town, or stipulate that you can use our lawn to post a sign to promote whatever political candidate you choose at election time, etc. Get creative and we will likely agree to it!
    • * Do it for the kids: My 5 ½ year old drew this picture, see attached, of the house with us in the backyard. (Again, your house has made me seek desperate measures, I admit it). Notice the proportion of Fairylandia to the house. I think she wants to live in the backyard.

    Of course we are submitting our offer in the traditional manner through your realtor as well (documents, legalities, etc.) but wanted to make sure you received this letter too.

    Financial talk: $x,xxx,xxx for your house as is with any reasonable stipulations you request (we can’t paint over the doorframe with the growth chart on it, you can use the back guest house one week per year, whatever!). We would put down around 30% and have approved finance for the rest through my husband’s company. Or if you would like to earn the interest instead, we could get financially creative and give you the note on the house for some or all of the amount. Whatever you choose!

    We currently have a townhouse nearby. If you say yes (please please), we will list our place tomorrow, and sell it right away (the demand in our area for the school district is high). What do you say?


    Mrs. Playdate