Love is in the air - a special home for a special buyer

Assisting buyers purchase a home, especially their first home, can be a challenging task in a market with little inventory and where multiple offers the norm. Buyers are understandably nervous about the huge financial step they are undertaking, especially in a high-cost area like the Silicon Valley.

One of my memorable transactions was back in 2011.

I had a personal relationship with this particular buyer; she and I were exercise buddies, running and hiking together weekly in the early morning hours before she headed off to her demanding job as a CFO at a Silicon Valley tech firm. Hiking on trails in the dark with only our headlamps for light, watching dawn break from a hilltop creates a strong bond. She often talked about buying her first house, and from time to time we'd check out different areas, different styles and prices of homes.

Sunrise at Edgewood Park, San Mateo Co, CA

By early 2011 she was ready; she knew what she didn't want (super large, elegant, remote) and knew what appealed to her (location close to work, privacy in the back yard, room for visitors to be comfortable during extended stays.) We ramped up our search, made sure her financing was in order and had all our ducks in a row. One Saturday evening she called me; she had walked into an open house and had fallen in love. Wasting no time, we went back together the next day, requested a document package, read everything (!!) went back again before writing an offer.

Our market here had turned the corner, prices were rising, multiple offers were back. Four offers were expected on this marvelous house. On the morning of the day I was to present the offer, my buyer flew off to Asia on a business trip--her parting words to me were, "Lottie, you have to get this house for me!"

No pressure there!

As I always do, I wrote a letter about my buyer, trying to make her come alive on paper. I explained she had come to this country in 1985, studied in New York where she obtained her MBA, had been renting here in the Silicon Valley since 1987, concentrating on her career and saving her money for the day she could realize her dream of home ownership.

I told the seller that she had fallen in love with home, including the swing on the back patio which reminded her of her childhood home.

The offer we presented was a good one, 8% over the asking price, clean with minimal contingencies. She was a financially strong buyer, obtaining a loan of roughly 50% of the purchase price.

It was touch and go. Two offers didn't compete; the third was at a higher price and well-prepared and presented by an excellent agent. I waited in the office lobby. I waited. I waited. So did the other agent.

When I was called back in I was handed a signed contract. My relief and gratitude was palpable. Then the seller told me that when she bought the house a handful of years earlier, it was the swing in the backyard that appealed to her so strongly!

You just never know how and when you'll make a connection, but I do know to never cut corners, always write that letter, always let the seller know a bit about your buyer, their hopes and dreams, and their love of the house.

Need I tell you what fabulous emails flew back and forth that day between me and the buyer?

My buyer had the house of her dreams, and I had helped her achieve it. What a feeling!

success stories of real estate buyers

--- Come for a visit; Stay for a lifetime!

Lottie Kendall, Realtor®


CA DRE#10215160; 650-465-4547

Peninsula Living Business Page



Comment balloon 19 commentsLottie Kendall • February 27 2014 10:39AM


Lottie, I love that story! I used to write letters all the time too. Must get back to it! I don't know how you hike in the dark! I would trip on something and fall on my face!

Posted by Connie Harvey, Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate (Pilkerton Realtors) over 6 years ago

Lottie - This is why you are a great San Francisco real estate professional!  You don't cut corners, the business is personal to you, and you're willing to do the little things that can often tilt a transaction in your favor!  

Posted by Laura Allen, Lake Tahoe - Truckee Real Estate for Sale, Tahoe Real Estate Agent Helping Buyers and Sellers (Coldwell Banker, Tahoe City, CA (530) 414-1260) over 6 years ago

Hi Lottie,

Great story and sounds like the personal touch with the letter and comment about the swing did the trick. In our area, there are so many cash investors that it is sometimes hard to get an offer for a buyer with a loan accepted. 

Posted by Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor, (909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning (Sun Lakes Realty) over 6 years ago

Connie, letters can make the difference in close situations. Even in not-so-close ones; one time we were $18,000 less than another offer, and the seller chose to counter us up $8,000; my buyers grabbed it. The letter gave them the opportunity, plus cost them $10,000 less.

As for tripping in the dark -- I've been known to do that, but I do that in the daylight, too.

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) over 6 years ago

Laura, thank you for that vote of confidence and your kind words. I owe it to my clients to do everything to the best of my ability.

Kristin, who knew the swing would be the touch? Serendipitous!  My letter tried to convey to the seller why the buyer loved the house so much. It worked. We have many all-cash offers here, too, and it's tough to compete--the personal edge is the best hope we have.

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) over 6 years ago

Good morning Lottie. What a great story. You really aren't in the real estate business, you are in the business of making dreams come true. Well done!

Posted by Joe Petrowsky, Your Mortgage Consultant for Life (Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709) over 6 years ago

As are you, Joe. The buyer, the real estate agent, the mortgage consultant - all essential parts of the team.

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) over 6 years ago

Thanks for sharing this success story. Happy endings are great.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) over 6 years ago

Lottie   I love to read stories when someone exhibits their ability to go above and beyond.  You are excellent at what you do...I'm jealous!

Posted by John G. Johnston, An Exclusive Buyer's Agent ~ Westcliffe, CO (John G. Johnston & Associates, LLC) over 6 years ago

Lottie, Thank you for sharing the story.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 6 years ago

Roy, we strive for those happy endings, don't we?

Thanks, John. I know you do the same for your clients.

Gita, you're welcome. It's fun to remember these special transactionsl.

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) over 6 years ago

Lottie, Those letters have worked for me as well. It shows many things ... not the least of which an agent who does not cut corners and will do everything possible to gain the competitive advantage. 

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist, Probate Real Estate (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) over 6 years ago

Kathleen, that's the beauty of letters like we use. Every time I'm successful in a multiple offer situation, it reminds me to never cut corners, always take time to do the absolute best job I can do for my clients. I know you act the same.

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) over 6 years ago

What a great story! And, I bet you having that special bond even made the buyer come MORE alive on paper. You never do know what a sellers motivation is!

Posted by Shannon Milligan, Richmond VA Real Estate Agent/Associate Broker, RVA Home Team - Winning with Integrity. (RVA Home Team) over 6 years ago

Hello Lottie,

I do the same - presenting more than just the offer documents can (and does) make the difference!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 6 years ago

Hi Shannon, I could, and did, really explain how much the house meant to my buyer; luckily, I was presenting in person, so the letter was a backup.

Lisa, we really put our souls into these presentations--it makes a difference.

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) over 6 years ago

Lottie, you did an awesome job representing your buyer, and including the memory of the swing really did the trick!  KUDOS!

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) over 6 years ago

Thanks, Joan. Who knew the swing meant so much to the seller???

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) over 6 years ago

What a fabulous story, Lottie. Sometimes emotions can work in your favor.

Posted by Jane Peters, Los Angeles real estate concierge services (Home Jane Realty) over 6 years ago