Creativity Gets the House


By Janet Lawless Christ

Despite anything you hear from the media or uninformed sources... It’s still a healthy real estate market out there! The truth is that both buyers and sellers can both get what they want – and creativity gets the job done.

Sellers are getting multiple offers on homes which means that once you’ve found your dream home, relying on the same old traditional buying strategies might not cut it. Your offer needs to stand out. Of course, money always talks, but when sellers are faced with multiple strong offers, it’s time to get creative—an aspect that has always been part of my approach to real estate.

In order to be creative with an offer, it’s key to know as much as possible about the seller’s situation. To get the scoop, I always ask the listing agent as many questions as possible. For instance, let’s say we find out that the seller needs the equity out of their current home in order to purchase a new one but doesn’t want to have to move twice. If that’s the case, we could strategize our offer to ease the seller’s stress. Why not offer a quick close (another incentive) in addition to renting the house back to the seller for a couple of months to give them some breathing space?

Furniture is another proverbial fly in the ointment. Let’s say that the seller has some left over furniture that they want sell before they move. Some sellers would be happy to negotiate a price with a buyer for the furniture instead of having to organize a garage sale or posting all of the furniture on Craigslist. Sure, it’s a little more work for you if you decide to sell it, but it sweetens the pot for the seller.

Another way to be creative is to be prepared. That’s why I always advise my clients to learn everything they can about the house they want to buy. I urge them to take the time to go down to the city to check out the permits and to get all the disclosures from the listing agent. That way, we can make sure that we fully understand all aspects of the home. We can confidently write a strong offer and offer a quick close depending on what we know about the house.

What about writing a personal letter to the seller? Does that actually work? It certainly can. If yours is a comparatively strong offer, a personal letter could help your offer stand out—if you use the right approach. The trick, again, is to know the seller’s situation. If the seller has lived in the home for many years, surely they have formed an emotional connection to it. If that’s the case, your letter should connect to the seller on that level. For example, you want to stress how you


about the house. If the seller is someone whose home is stunningly decorated, your letter should express the impact that such impeccable design had on you.

Finally, the beauty and uniqueness of Covenant should be a huge part of the buying and selling process. Lots of listing agents don’t meet and greet buyers, offer them refreshments or make the buying process a welcoming one. Why not flip the script and show off all that there is to offer in Rancho Santa Fe –


be a welcoming host? That means taking prospects to The Inn, the Club and identifying points of interest. It goes without saying that knowing the area is paramount to creatively showcasing your home and all that the Covenant has to offer.

The moral of the story: Don’t let the competitive market get you discouraged. Where there’s a will there’s a way, and a little creativity certainly goes a long way to help you get the house of your dreams.

If you are interested in buying in the beautiful Rancho Santa Fe community and need a real estate agent who is willing to go above and beyond, please don’t hesitate to give me a call at 858.759.6567 or visit