Love Letters: Now Required for NYC Apartments?


Found the perfect apartment by skimming the obits?

Well, the New York Times has some advice on how to sink the deal on any abode — by writing the seller a love letter, that is.

The Times‘ Appraisal column begins with the love story of David Motta and Michele Pagnotta. The husband and wife met six years ago while walking their dogs in the Upper West Side.

“Slowly, after many walks, they started dating” and now, with the publication of this article, have also fueled the delusions of romcom fans everywhere.

Anyway, the couple is expecting and needed a new place to live.

(And we thought New York was awful for newlyweds!)

They found an apartment through a broker, but worried that they would lose their chance without doing something special.

So they wrote a love letter singing the praises of the apartment and neighborhood and got it.

And apparently, they’re not the first.

“In a competitive bidding situation, some brokers recommend that buyers write a letter — part mash note, part college application essay — to the seller,” the Times explains. “It makes buyers seem more human than does a sterile pile of financial documents, and it can set them apart from the rest of the pack. Sometimes, it can even tip the scale in their favor.”

Some sellers are so swooned by these emotional outpourings that they will put prose over price.

One seller even accepted a bid that was $8,000 lower than the higher bidder, because the letter “finally sealed the deal.”

Now that you are ready to pour your heart into this business transaction, the Times has gathered some advice for you: schmaltz and specificity are key. And sending a batch of chocolate chip cookies or “some nice muffins” with the note couldn’t hurt, either.

Proceed with caution, though: “Other brokers shy away from advising snacks, pointing out that peanut butter cookies could be received poorly in a house with peanut allergies.”

Of course, if you are in the rental market, you don’t have to worry about any of this love letter crap. Landlords don’t need to be romanced when they’re getting more and more in rent.

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