Do I want to sell my house? No, I do not. At least not now and not to you, whoever you are.

That has been my answer to phone calls and what I would respond to the people who send letters.

Vultures, the bunch of them.

Carrion Eaters

They read the obituaries and do the math based on birth dates. Dan was born in 1934; surely his widow is some decrepit old lady, an easy target, and her home and possessions easy pickings. Maybe they assume that anyone widowed at this moment is facing financial catastrophe. That could be true but it is a cruel assumption.

bereavement mail

Maybe they are looking for kids or grandkids hopeful of a windfall. Maybe they searching for the incompetent.

Clearly these businesses read the obituaries daily in order to find out what in that person’s life would be valuable to them. They are looking for real estate to flip or tchotchkes that might be Road Show worthy.

Telephone callers start by introducing themselves as realtors of some kind. I think it is simply too awkward to open with, “I notice your spouse just died. When do you plan to abandon the home you share with them?”

Form And Spelling Will Be Graded

Two of the three letter writers offer condolences in the first sentence but don’t know my name. Kyle Saunders opens with “Hello.”  His website URL doesn’t work and he doesn’t offer an office or mailing address. Terrie Deutch from Cash Real Estate Buyers (no website) salutes me with “Dearly Bereaved.” What, she confuses the mourners at a funeral and the “dearly beloveds” gathered to celebrate a wedding? Nor can she “bonafide,” writing “bonified.” Turn Key Homes and Song Hong discovered my name; they also have a taste for red ink and capital letters: CASH offerno agent commissionsno closing costs… and so on.

No ink signatures on any of the letters. All favor a large pitch presumably to make reading easier on old eyes. Deutch uses a font I can’t even identify. Obviously, all were absent for the lessons in elementary school where the rest of their class was taught to write a business letter, a friendly letter and a letter of condolence. Moreover, all are depending on my being an easy mark.

We Want Your Stuff

The Antique Gallery in Philadelphia sent a couple of glossy, information-packed and picture-dense fliers to my husband’s surname at this address. In the center column is the exhortation, “Look around and see what you can turn into CASHNOW IS THE TIME TO DOWNSIZE! We would be glad to visit with you!” over the name “Gerald Schultz.” Despite the absence of his name from the masthead, Gerald Schultz appears to be the owner/operator of this establishment.

A Personal Filter Can Be Good For Business

Inexplicably, there is an inset on the flyer at the right, two columns, the first headed “winners” and the other “losers.” There relevance of these twenty-odd pairs of opposites is unclear. Below them is a comment from one “Lord Denning.” Lord Denning (January 1899-March 1999) was, apparently an insufferable misogynist, racist, antisemite and all-round jerk, whose only notable accomplishment was surviving to the age of 100. The quotation Schultz chose was this:

When a diplomat says yes, he means perhaps. When he says perhaps [sic] he means no.
When he says no, he is not a diplomat.
When a lady says no, she means perhaps.
When she says perhaps, she means yes. But when she says yes, she is no lady.

These irrelevancies to the matter of the buying and selling of antiques and collectibles, all by themselves, would persuade me never to engage in business with such an enterprise.

Not Interested

So no. Not selling my home, or anything in it, to any of these people or any of their fellow vultures.