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Editorial

‘Dear seller’ letters highlight Boston housing shortage

Dear seller,

As soon as we saw your home at the open house this morning, we knew it was perfect for us. Well, not perfect: The exterior paint is peeling, the basement is overrun with cave crickets, and making the first floor livable will require the costly removal of two load-bearing walls. But it’s the best we can do in this real estate market. We gather, from a recent Globe article, that multiple offers above asking price are once again common — and that some would-be buyers feel obliged to write gushy letters begging the seller to pick them.

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Sure, there’s a risk of offending a seller whose circumstances one only dimly understands. Your own real estate agent mentioned something about you being dumped for an old flame that your then-spouse re-met on Facebook — such a bummer! But no need to worry about us; our marriage is blissful. Parts of the house that must feel like open emotional wounds to you will be full of light and love once we move in. That bedroom your son vacated (or so we hear) when he quit elementary school to pursue a reality-TV career? It’ll make a great practice room for our Caitlyn, who’ll soon be attending a prestigious university across the river — you’ve heard of it — on a full zither scholarship.

In an ideal world, of course, Greater Boston would be adding steadily enough to its housing supply to keep the market from overheating so easily. That way, home buyers would have a day or two to think things over — even in good times — and wouldn’t have to write missives to mysterious owners. Speaking of which, we’re selling our current home right now, and you wouldn’t believe some of the over-the-top letters that we’re receiving. We’ll tell you all about it at the closing.

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