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Letter of interest

My wife and I are in the market for a new house.  We would love to buy the house that my in-laws designed, built and then was forced to sell due to financial trouble.  The house is currently owned by the party that purchased it from my in-laws (almost 25 years ago).  We would like to send a letter stating that we would like to be notified if and when they are ready to sell.  How should I word the letter and is this even legal?
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September 13 2010 - Independence
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It's perfectly legal to send them a letter.

When I was looking for a condo for a client in a specific building, I sent a letter to everyone in the building asking them if they were either interested in selling or were considering selling in the near future.

Keep the letter brief with just the few details necessary to let them know that if they were considering selling their home now or in the future that you would potentially be interested in buying the home.

You might want to mention that you were familiar with the home as it had been in your family many years ago. But don't dwell too much or they might just think you are an easy sell.
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September 13 2010
Ask if they would give you the right of first refusal.
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September 13 2010
Write the letter and explain why you are interested in their house. Let them know that you are in the market now and that you aren't going to waste their time. You may even want to request a face to face meeting. If they aren't interested in selling, move on and find your dream home and don't dwell on what might have been. But do write the letter or you will never know.

Good Luck!
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September 13 2010
Profile picture for sunnyview
I think that sending a letter is a great idea. Explain your interest, keep it neighborly and tell them that you would like to talk to them more. Make sure that they know that you're not an investor, but someone in the family that built the house.

Also, don't feel shy about sending a follow up letter a month or two later. You might also consider sending them an old photo of the house with your letter. Photos often peak people's interest and add an personal touch.
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September 14 2010
Home buying and selling for that matter are emotional transactions. I say go ahead and contact them, but do it in person. Knock on the door (at a reasonable time) and introduce yourself. Explain your families history with the home and perhaps even ask for a tour. Gush about their changes/improvments to the home (remeber this is their home). I have had success using these personal contacts to gain a listing for a client who wanted a specific property. If they are not willing to sell today, they will remeber you face and visit when they are ready. Loved your question -Jim
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September 23 2010
 
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