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“I would like to buy your house”

We received a very strange letter in the mail today; it was a handwritten inquiry from someone unknown to us asking to purchase our home (which is not for sale) for cash.

While it seems possible that the letter is genuine, perhaps from someone looking to flip homes in the area, we also wonder if the letter is an attempt at a scam. We plan to discard the letter, but thought we would mention it to you in case you’d heard about others in the community receiving similar letters. A picture of the letter is attached.

SEE ALSO: this article on gentrification on (click on “Brewerytown”)


Jennifer 06/09/2016 at 7:14 AM

We received one last year after we purchased our home on 27th St. We laughed and threw it away!

Sean Stilwell 06/09/2016 at 7:19 AM

Not sure it’s a scam as much as a hungry flipper or wholesaler. No doubt it’s a lie, the person and the mom did not single out your house to live in, but scam is a harsh word.

I would guess many people in the neighborhood with low debt and long ownership history got a similar letter. One guy goes around saying he’s a VCU student looking to buy your house to live in… for cash.

Full disclosure, I’ve bought houses this way… just never lied and said my mom wanted them. Everyone knew it was for investment, no need to make it weird for people.

Thomas 06/09/2016 at 7:23 AM

We get these all the time. It’s clever, the letters are printed but if you look closely you can see that your name and address are hand-written in. Don’t think it’s a scam, but I imagine they are not offering market value on most homes. They always end up in our trash as well.

Lee 06/09/2016 at 8:20 AM

My mother and I actually do own investment property. Not that strange, actually – this is a great market but she had no interest in looking after rental property. We’ve never sent out a handwritten (or fake handwritten?) note quite like that, but have contacted owners directly on several occasions.

This could also be someone who looks after a parent who is in poor health and would like to move to be closer to MCV or simply to downsize. Regardless, I think sending notes like this used to be much more common than it is now.

As for the comments about cash offers that are lower than the market value: This is fairly typical. Cash offers are less likely to fall through or get held up because of any number of reasons, making them stronger offers. If the home won’t appraise or pass inspection then the seller may end up having to make repairs or lower the price to satisfy the lender, a situation that usually doesn’t occur when lenders aren’t involved. Point is, they aren’t always about scamming folks out of their money.

Meghanne 06/09/2016 at 8:59 AM

We own several properties in the church hill area including one on 27th street where we live and typically get the exact same letter on the same day at each address…..totally a scam. I know, 27th street is pretty awesome!

Eric S. Huffstutler 06/09/2016 at 11:47 AM

On 27th as well but we never received one. But then again, we have a large and historic property so doubt they would pay the market value in cash so skipping our house?

Cadeho 06/09/2016 at 12:30 PM

I keep getting cards from a company asking to buy ours too and they keep sending final notices… well if the last 5 were final notices… you need better records and when will it actually be the final notice? Never for sale! This land has been in the family since 1871… good luck with that…

cpandmg 06/09/2016 at 1:02 PM

Thanks for the head’s up.

Eric S. Huffstutler 06/09/2016 at 2:04 PM

@14… that is rare these day to have a family ancestral home still in the family for that long. Where at?

Dave Seibert 06/09/2016 at 2:40 PM

I get these letters all the time.

Meredith 06/09/2016 at 6:27 PM

my husband and I did this one time for a home in the area that looked vacant (sent a letter to the owner’s address listed on public property website)- don’t be so quick to jump to it being a scam, as someone may be truly interested in making an offer. if anything, I think it’s a testament to the market!

Eric S. Huffstutler 06/09/2016 at 7:11 PM

@18 Meredith… I think the questionable part of this is that the same letter has apparently been sent to many people on N 27th and not to vacant houses, for sale, or those looking like needing help. Too many people receiving them. Like those hand written “we buy houses” signs you see along Mechanicsville Tpk and such. Not professional and suspicious. If someone can afford to pay $100k-$1-M for a house(s) in cash, they can afford proper advertising. Unless the houses in question people have received these letters to are run down and worth less than $100K?

mjn 06/09/2016 at 8:09 PM

Have you heard those ads on the radio the for “Flip this House” type free seminars? After you have been to the free 1 or 2 hour introductory course, they scam you into a half or whole day course for $200 where they give nuggets of info and promise to tell you more in greater detail when you buy the whole system for $30,000 or some such with promises you can make millions, Trump U style. One of the things they train you to do to find houses to flip is to send a letter that looks like it is handwritten, has a handwritten address and a stamp on it. (Old direct mail trick – mail that looks personal is more likely to get opened is the theory). They price includes training and lets you access to their database that apparently hooks into the city public records where you can search for houses that meet certain loan to value criteria. Same people that put up the “buy your house for ca$h” signs. The letters & signs appear to pick up just after the guys selling the seminars come through town.

I don’t think the letters are a scam. These are the amateur “We Buy Ugly Houses” people that are trying to make money in a business that is not easy, even for the professionals. The letter senders are the ones that were scammed.

Some guy 06/09/2016 at 8:30 PM

It isn’t a scam. Stop jumping to conclusions. Market in Church Hill is great currently and lots of folks are looking to purchase properties in the area in order to continue to moving the market forward. Regardless of if people do or don’t agree with the direction of the market.

I mean, how can someone scam you out of your house anyway unless you lack common sense lol?

An attorney or title company would represent each party in a transaction…

Eric S. Huffstutler 06/10/2016 at 12:05 AM

@23 mjn… you may have something there.

Lee 06/10/2016 at 10:34 AM

@ 23 – The really ridiculous thing about all of this is it’s usually just as easy to use publicly available information to find folks phone numbers and just call them!

33chicks 06/11/2016 at 6:07 AM

The return address on the envelope is the same as that for Diamond Property Ventures LLC. Take it from there, folks.


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