Hand-written letters offering to buy properties in the Shuswap have been a cause for concern among recipients, though the practice is neither illegal nor uncommon.
One such letter was shared to a private Facebook group, Shuswap Everything Friendly Goes, where it garnered the scorn of many. Commenters mainly cited the unprofessional appearance of the letter leading them to believe it was the work of a scammer.
The letter was delivered by Sean Nelson, who says he has delivered dozens of them to homes in Salmon Arm and Vernon, offering to buy the property in hopes of improving residences and flipping them.
Nelson says the handwritten aspect of the letters is a marketing tactic designed to appeal to people who may respond to a more personal touch rather than a more official looking letter.
Sometimes Nelson goes door knocking and speaks to residents in plain clothes to ask ask if they know of any neighbours that are looking to sell their properties.
“It’s the same idea – if you go to a door dressed up in a suit, you are going to get a lot more negativity than something you can relate to people more on,” Nelson said.
Nelson’s strategy is to send out a large number of letters that result in a small amount of responses from what he admits are people usually in some sort of financial distress.
“It’s just an investors tactic to look into distressed properties and find properties to invest in, that’s all,” he said.
While not a licensed realtor, Nelson draws a close comparison of his work to that of yellow letter marketing strategies.
The Real Estate Council of British Columbia regulates licensed real estate professionals in B.C., and frequently hears from members of the public who have questions or concerns about real estate transactions.
In a statement, the council suggests buyers and sellers get the information they need in order to make well-informed decisions. This information can include working with a licensed real estate professional.
To ensure your home is being sold for its true value, the statement makes several suggestions. Take note of selling prices of other homes in your neighbourhood, have properties appraised by a licensed home appraiser and interview licensed agents and ask each of them to compare your home to similar listings.