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House Bidding War Won With Promise of Free Pizza

Jun 03, 2015

In a bidding war for a house, the highest bidder doesn't always win. Bids are often accompanied by letters intended to sway the seller, and some real estate agents swear there's an art to writing a heartfelt personal letter about why you're the right buyer for the home in question. While this tactic might seem cheesy or manipulative, it sometimes does the trick.

In the ultra-hot home market that is Portland, Ore., where homes are selling 15% quicker than they were a year ago and where it's not unheard of for buyers to offer $100,000 over asking price, a nice letter probably isn't going to cut it. But in one recent instance, it looks like adding a personal, very unusual touch to the bid for a home pushed the offer over the edge.

As the Oregonian reported, over Memorial Day weekend 23-year-old Johnny Barrett was intrigued with a home in southeast Portland listed for $249,000, but he assumed that there would be a bidding war and the property would sell for far over asking price. Nonetheless, he put in an offer. It was no ordinary offer: At the suggestion of his real estate agent, he sweetened his bid quite literally with a promise of free pizza for life to the seller. Barrett, you see, is part of the family that owns DeNicola's Italian Restaurant, a local eatery where he works as a cook.

"This is the first offer I've written in free pizza," the agent, Mindy Shierk of A Group Real Estate, said. "We thought, 'We'll try, let's see.'"

The offer enticed the sellers to bite, in more ways than one. Once the sale is final they'll be indefinitely entitled to one free pizza per month at DeNicola's. Guess this shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. Sellers in Portland may have come to expect two or three dozen offers on homes, many of them over asking price. But it's a safe bet that not too many offers come with free pizza for life.

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