Heartfelt letter helps clinch house, $150K under highest offer
Published Friday, March 31, 2017 10:58AM EDT
A family’s heartfelt letter detailing their missionary trip to Uganda won them an Oakville, Ont. house, even with an offer $150,000 under the highest bid.
In an unusual turn of events in a hot housing market, the Oakville family decided to turn down the highest offer in favour of one with a story.
The house, originally listed for $789,900 with four bedrooms and three bathrooms on a large pie-shaped lot, went for $977,777 to the Soh family.
The Soh family of six returned from a six-week missionary trip to Africa in the summer of 2016, wanting to downsize from a 3,600 square-foot home to one just under 2,000 square feet.
“We came back saying ‘We can’t forget and we don’t need so much’,” Rossana Soh told CTV Toronto.
A sign of the hot Toronto real estate market, the Sohs still paid almost $200,000 over the asking price for the home. Their bid was also one of 14 and their letter was one of three, but the seller felt that the Soh family was trying to do something good.
“When I was reading the stories to the sellers, I could hear by the reaction that this story really touched them,” said the seller’s real estate broker Tracy Nursall.
The decision came as a bit of a shock to both the family and others involved in the bidding process.
“I was surprised but at the same time I really had a renewed faith in humanity,” said Joette Fielding of ReMax Aboutowne in Oakville.
Rossana Soh said she was overwhelmed and touched when she learned they would be getting the house because, “In this type of market you don’t hear things like this.”
Joo-Meng Soh said that seeing an entire family living in the space the size of one of their children’s bedrooms was eye-opening, especially for his children. He also said that the trip helped his children understand what poverty means and fostered their desire to help.
The family’s personal letter detailed their desire to live in a smaller home to have more means to help those in need.
“It has redefined what we hold dear to our hearts and what our children would consider a need vs. a want,” the letter stated. “Our desire is to downsize and live simply so others can live.”