Blog Stories How to bring a seller to tears with a buyer’s letter

How to bring a seller to tears with a buyer’s letter

By Alyssa Isenstein Krueger, November 26, 2018

My buyer Tung and his partner Corey were first time home buyers and like many first timers, their budget wasn’t vast and the number of homes that are livable in their price range was slim pickings. Additionally they needed to find a 3 bedroom home with 2 bathrooms because Tung’s parents who are disabled would be moving in with them so Tung could take better care of them as they age. Tung and Corey really like skinny houses, but after taking Tung’s parents needs into consideration, they realized that they would need a single level home to make it work for their family. So now we needed to find a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom home in reasonable shape all on one level and for right around $300k and those are about as rare as a wild ostrich in Oregon.

Within a couple weeks of really looking, lo and behold a cute little 1980’s snout house came on the market in Pleasant Valley priced just a hair under $300k. While it backed up to a busy road and most of the interior was painted a sickly mauve color, the rest of the house had everything they were looking for in a location they liked. Considering how low this home was priced, we knew it was going to get multiple offers, even in this market slow down. And sure enough, within just a few days the seller received 4 offers including one that was $20k over list price. The house was priced at the top of Tung and Corey’s price range, but they were able to offer just slightly over list- but nowhere near $20k over list. Thankfully the seller has a true heart of gold and after reading the letter that Tung wrote about why this house would mean so much to him and his family as this home would allow him to take care of his parents, and even though there are much higher offers on the table, she was moved enough by the letter to sell to my buyers. She had recently lost her elderly parents and she reading Tung’s letter literally brought her to tears. So when they say a buyer’s letter can make a difference, this is as good of an example of that happening as it gets.

Because this most gracious seller accepted my buyers offer which was much, much lower than the other offers, we knew that going into inspections that unless something was really wrong, that negotiating small repairs was off the table. As first time home buyers, my buyers were able to take advantage of the Oregon Bond loan- which is a fantastic loan through the state of Oregon for first time home buyers whose income is below a certain threshold. The interest on the loan is significantly below market rate, and being able to use this loan can make a substantial difference in how much a buyer can pay for a house. While the loan is a conventional loan, it does come with one caveat. The home cannot have any pests or dry rot, and to be able to complete a purchase using this loan, a buyer needs to provide their lender with a clear pest and dry rot report. The good news was that the home was in excellent condition with all systems, mechanics and structural integrity in good shape. The bad news is that the front of the house had LP siding- the bad stuff- and the rest of the house had T-111 plywood siding, of which some had severe moisture damage- bad enough that mushrooms had found the siding to be a delicious spot to propagate themselves. Bottom line being that if that rotted siding wasn’t replaced prior to closing, my buyers would not be able to purchase the home.

The seller understood that these were lender required repairs and agreed to having the work done prior to closing, so the next step was finding a reasonable contractor to do the work. The listing agent was amazing and between the 2 of us, we had 3 contractors out to take a look at the issue within two days, and the contractor that came in with the most detailed bid also came in the lowest and could get the job done the following week. All went according to plan with the repairs, and the day before Thanksgiving my buyers closed on their new home. It’s not everyday (or even every year) that you find a seller with as much compassion and integrity as the seller on this house, and if anyone deserves this much good fortune, it’s Tung and Corey.

Alyssa Isenstein Krueger



I am living the dream. Working as a real estate broker in my home town brings this native Portland gal joy beyond measure. I took the round-about-road towards this career. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in NY two decades ago with a degree in liberal arts/creative writing, I returned to my hometown of PDX and got a job in a legendary record store of days gone by, worked as a music and culture writer for Portland’s oldest weekly publication while pursuing a graduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning at Portland State University. Armed with my masters degree, I moved into the realm of affordable housing, community development, and urban planning, and then rounded the corner with a long stay in arts management then back around the bend when I got my real estate license and went to work for a non-profit housing builder at the cusp of the market crash in 2007. In the time between that market crash and the ensuing madness, I’ve stayed on top of the market like a dog guarding a bone. Using a magical combination of experience, instinct, and market data, I know what homes are worth, I know how to write a terrific offer, and I know how to help a seller market a home and receive and accept a great offer. Mutual trust and tender relationship building is the basis and foundation of my real estate practice. I use my skills as an active listener, creative solution finder and ace negotiator to get my clients the best price on a home, win the multiple offer roulette, and have as smooth and easy transaction as possible. Timely and responsive communication is the most important aspect of building trust and I don’t take that part lightly.  I am a stickler for details and nothing pleases me more than guiding a client through the home buying or selling process (and sometimes both at the same time). My role is one of advocate, advisor, partner, transaction organizer, and counselor. I am a partner broker with Portland Housing Center and relish the opportunity to work with eager first time home buyers. I have a knack for seeing the potential in almost any home and love to help clients see past what is and help them envision what can be. I have a decade of first-hand experience renovating and caressing my bungalow in Ladd’s Addition and had the honor of having my own home featured in a story in the Oregonian’s Homes and Gardens section. I can feel the love for any and almost all homes, but my heart goes all aflutter when entering a museum quality time capsule house -- the solid mid-century ones with the original pink or green tiled bathrooms, those charming early 1900’s farmhouses with the original kitchen cabinets and fir countertops, the cozy bungalows with the built-ins still intact. When I’m not working with clients, you’ll find me hanging with my two boys, Kalman and Saul, and my husband Robert, a Fine Art Conservator with his own business, Cascadia Art Conservation Center.  Retired racing greyhounds have been my constant companions since 1997, and our family includes Peanut the greyhound, Pinto the South Korean Italian greyhound, and our chickens, Rosie, Lola, Squishy, Duck and Prince. I am an obsessive gardener/plant fiend and love that we live in a climate where I can grow eucalyptus trees (I have 5 in my yard including a couple I started from seed) alongside blueberry bushes (6 in my yard). Given some free time, you’ll find me junking at an estate sale, dreaming of high brow junk, low brow art, making things, sewing, reading and dreaming of tropical locales.
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