There is a super-simple, vastly underrated marketing technique for homes that are having a hard time standing out from the rest of the market: the seller love letter.

A seller love letter is a note, personally written or typed up by the home’s seller. Among other things, it expresses the love the seller’s family has had for the home, and explains the facts and events underlying that sentiment. These can be as short as a single page, and as long as a binder containing a 10-page letter and a collection of supporting pictures and other documents.

If the power of staging lies in depersonalizing the property so buyers can picture their own family living out their own lives in the home, the power of a seller love letter is that it leaves buyers with a warm feeling that the home has a positive energy and history, which is especially desirable on today’s distressed property-riddled market.

How to a Home Seller Letter:

1.Fond family memories. Now, there’s no reason to get all "TMI" (too much information) about it, but the fact is that buyers do love to hear sweet, fond family memories about a property. I’ve watched with my own two eyes as buyers who liked a 100-year-old home fell desperately in love with it as they read about the seller’s parents’ building the home, and then raising a flourishing family there.

Even much newer homes can have their own endearing stories, whether they be about a hard-charging professional bachelor who is moving out of a loft to start a family; about retirees who raised their kids there and are now moving to downsize and be near their grandkids; or about a smart, single woman who was the first person in her family to own a home. 


2.Favorite neighborhood vendors and local businesses. One reason people dread moving so much is that it forces them to find new vendors for everything, If you have neighborhood businesses you love, making a list of them and including them with your love letter is very much appreciated by buyers. Take care to include things like: dry cleaners, house cleaners, landscapers, carpet cleaners, produce markets and butchers, and especially restaurants that have great take-out and delivery services.

3.Lifestyle amenities that map to local buyer wish lists. Give some thought to the sorts of things people looking to buy a home like yours might be looking for, from a lifestyle perspective, and include notes about any of those amenities in the neighborhood that you and your family or housemates have especially enjoyed. Things like dog parks, playgrounds, running trails, yoga studios, libraries and bookstores, museums and outdoor recreational opportunities make great fodder for this list.

4.History of upgrades. Of course, your state-required disclosure forms will include a pithy section for relating the repairs and upgrades you’ve done in the time you owned the property, but you can take that to a new level in your seller love letter with a free-form description of the work, color commentary (if it makes sense) around why and how you had it done, and a little appendix that includes any relevant plans, permits warranties, receipts, service contracts and the like.

5.Property details and tricks. If you have a detailed landscape plan that identifies all the plants and trees in your yards, tricks for how to work the heating and cooling timer or the tricky downstairs doors, details on when the neighborhood trash pickup happens, or info about your alarm, termite or other service contracts, prospective buyers will feel well taken care of if you compile and include all this information with your love letter and let them see it before they even make an offer.

6.Neighbors. If you have particularly close and friendly relationships with any specific neighbors, or there are block parties, homeowners association (HOA) or neighborhood watch meetings or other favorites, ones with kids, block party, watch meetings, other things being planned/organized, let the buyers know.

You see, a good seller love letter is equal parts lovey-dovey and logistical, but the care that goes into preparing it and the love that is evident in its content can be a significant selling point to buyers weary of dealing with bank sellers or stressful short-sale situations.

Whatever you do, if you decide to write a seller love letter for your home, review your plans and thoughts about what to include with your local agent first. You want to make sure not to run afoul of any equal opportunity housing laws or disclosure laws.

Examples of Actual Home Seller Letters:

Dear Potential Home Buyer:
Having moved from a big city over 9 years ago and finding a new home in Hickory Woods has been dream come true we hate to leave. Driving into the subdivision, you and your family will appreciate the beautiful open space and the ever presence of the farming community. What an honor it has been to be so close to the farming community! What a privilege it has been to purchase fresh produce from the farmers directly!!! What a joy it has been to live in a home that has a "country” setting without a long commute to city events, shopping & dinning. 

Moving to Squire Circle was a breath of fresh air. Let me explain …Our first winter in Middleton, I remember driving into to Hickory Woods late one evening and coming over the hill as the road lazily twists & turns towards the playground. I stopped the car to enjoy what I will always fondly think of as my own "Thomas Kinkade” moment. The scenery was breathtaking, so peaceful. The scattered homes along the hillside were warm and welcoming with the lights coming through the windows. The snow was fresh & bright from the moonlight. It was just me, in my car on a winter’s night enjoying this very surreal moment. 

You will find good friends living on Squire Circle and new friends throughout Hickory Woods. Friends you can trust, friends you can laugh with and share stories but most importantly; this is a community that pulls together. This is a community that is respectful of one another and is mindful of the younger generation. Kids are safe here. We have enjoyed watching the kids grow-up in the neighborhood. 

We are sure you will love the large backyard!! We loved having breakfast or dinner on the deck, and reading a good book on the front porch during the summer nights (no bugs just the night sounds & fireflies) We love & appreciate the different animals which come with every season!! Birds of all feathers perch here; humming birds, finches, sparrows, cardinals, etc. There is a fox or two which we see run across the fence line. Many rabbits which our border collie loves to chase down. Thank goodness for the invisible fence!! We’ll see the occasional deer run across the backyard in the fall. Then you will hear the owl who sits on top of the house looking for prey. During the day, you will enjoy seeing a hawk searching for food across the large field in the back. Some days he/she has perched itself on our lower deck. THIS IS A FUN SIGHT. Keep the binoculars close at hand. Did I mention the stars on a clear night? WOW!!! 

Now this is something we really love and appreciate! Oh yes. Let’s not forget 4th of July. You do not need to go anywhere. The neighbors kindly put on quite the show!  The walking trails and biking trails are right at our doorstep. My husband has enjoyed road biking around the farming community. Together, we take the bike trail from Middleton Firefighters Memorial Park (MFMP) to Pheasant Branch Conservancy.  As for walking the dog, we will walk the dog in the neighborhood or take him to walk MFMP wetland area where the wildlife is abundant. Just today I saw several goslings swimming with their proud parents! I have a feeling it was their first time out on the water.

After living on Squire Circle 
for the last 9 years, we take with us many cherished memories! As life has it, it is time to pass the torch to the next family to enjoy this "peaceful country home” & family friendly community. Warm wishes to you and your family as your ‘new’ journey begins.

Dear Prospective Home Owner:

Thank you for considering our home. Thirteen years ago when we moved here to Hustisford, we starting looking for a place to build our first home. Today you are standing in it. Please let me take a moment of your time to tell you everything we love about this home. 

The first thing that caught our eye when looking at this 3.1 acre piece of land was the awesome view to the west. If fact, look around in any direction on our land and you will not know that you are only a mile from the center of the village of Hustisford. This location is perfect. It is quiet. It is peaceful. We occasionally see deer, turkey, geese, ducks and pheasants here on our land. Only four other homes exist past beyond this one Lakeview Road, so the traffic is very light. During Fall and Winter we have a nice view of Lake Sinissippi to the north. We have enjoyed boating, kayaking, and many other outdoor activities all right here on Lake Sinissippi.

Living in Hustisford offers a variety of shopping options, being centrally located about 45 miles from Milwaukee, Madison and Fond du Lac. Our family has made many Saturday trips to malls and restaurants in all four directions, and we have truly enjoyed the variety. It is also nice to be only about fifteen minutes away from Beaver Dam, Hartford or Watertown.

We love our home. We love how open it is from the kitchen into the living room. We love the way the light pours into the kitchen and dining rooms in the morning, and into the living room in the afternoon. We love the ease of our first floor laundry, the spacious kitchen area for entertaining. We enjoy coffee in our morning breakfast nook, and an evening refreshment on the patio near the pool. We love the size of the garage, the storage and workshop area. It can easily fit three vehicles, John Deere lawn tractor and Motorcycle of your choice all in a safe and clean environment. We love the ability to have the camper parked next to the garage and plugged into the thirty amp outlet. We even have an access point/clean out point in the septic system near the camper pad in case you want to dump your tanks at home. After a long hard day it’s so refreshing to spend some time in the jetted tub.

We have enjoyed walking our dogs around our property in the quiet evening. Every Spring the driveway is lined with flowering fragrant trees. And it’s exciting to see the White Pine and Black Hills Spruce trees send out their new growth. In the Summer, the pool has been a focal point of activity for our girls, a great reason to bring friends over and enjoy the refreshing fun of water on a hot summer day.

Our home has never given us any problems. It is efficient on utilities. Natural Gas is a plus for a home that is out in the country. The basement in-floor heat keeps everything in the home comfortable to the touch and our daughters never complained about the warm floors on their toes in the morning.

It has been hard for us to start thinking about selling this beautiful home. After living here for ten years we have a lot of wonderful memories. But, I have accepted a new position in Appleton, and Appleton is just a little far to commute every day. And so it is time for a new family to enjoy this little corner of Dodge County. Warm wishes to you and your family as your ‘new’ journey begins.

Should You Move or Improve?

Should you Move or Improve?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Taken from Houselogic Blog

Whether to move or improve is a harder question to answer than it was a few years ago, but a few cost-benefit calculations can help you make the right decision. What to do when your family outgrows your house, or when the quirks of the place you once found charming aren't so charming anymore? Is it smarter to move or improve? Here's some advise to help you decide.

Selling Has Gotten Easier
Existing-home sales were at their highest levels since 2006, and the median home price hit $197,100 at the end of 2013. Right now, it's taking just about 2 months, on average, for homes to sell. Inventory is low and it's become a "Seller's Market". If you've been holding back on selling waiting for the real estate market to recover, you may find it's recovered in your area. As you prepare your home for sale, consider what homebuyers want right now. Hint: energy efficiency. Demonstrating that your home is weather-sealed is a great selling point.Also, if you're only up for a minimum amount of work, focus on curb appeal, which REALTORS® say is critical to attracting buyer attention; your kitchen (even tweaks can make a big difference); and pricing your home right. The offers will come.

Improving Has Gotten Pricier
During the economic slump, home improvement spending slowed, so contractors will willing to cut deals to stay busy. Today, they're less willing to bargain on price and are too busy to accept low-profit jobs. In addition, the cost of construction materials is going up. As a general rule, improving costs less than trading up, but it depends on what kind of improvements you're doing. Figure paying somewhere between $100-$200 and more per square foot for new construction or major remodel, depending on the scope of the project and labor costs in your area. Now more than ever you need to make sure that you invest your money wisely. In other words, will your $75,000 kitchen remodel increase your home value by $75,000 - or by anything close? Not likely. But at resale you may be able to recoup some of your remodeling cost.

Budgeting for a remodel:
To assess what's right for your particular house, let your neighborhood be your guide. If there's any chance you'll move within the next 10 years, keep your impovements in line with those of other houses on your block, or risk losing the money when you sell. Of course, don't discount your enjoyment factor. If it'll make you happy to install an in-ground pool in a neighborhood with no pools, go for it.

Critical Considerations: Your house isn't just your largest investment, of course, it's also the place where your family lives. Financial considerations aside, the question of whether to move or improve shoule be decided by the things you can't change about your current home: School district, traffic, yard, commute time, access to shopping, neighborhood quality of life. If you love the spot, improving makes sens. But if a different location would be an improvement in its own right, then trading up could be the way to go.