A Sweet Deal: Couple offers case of Girl Scout cookies in bid to buy Berks home

Stacy Wescoe//February 11, 2021

A Sweet Deal: Couple offers case of Girl Scout cookies in bid to buy Berks home

Stacy Wescoe//February 11, 2021

When Brian and Kristine Parkes walked into this home in Mohnton, Berks County, they knew it was “the one.” But competition was tough so Kristine, fund development director for the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, made a unique offer with their bid – a case of Girl Scout cookies. PHOTO / SUSAN L. ANGSTADT


There’s no doubt that in the current residential real estate market, with low inventory and high demand, the ball is in the sellers’ court.

With several offers often competing for the same desirable home property, buyers have had to get creative to get their bids noticed and accepted by the seller.

Letters to the seller saying why they want to buy the home have become popular. Lehigh Valley area real estate agents, like Doug Frederick of Howard Hanna-The Frederick Group, said they’ve also seen such things cash offers, exorbitantly high offers, waived inspections and an offer to pay seller’s fees.

But one recent real estate transaction really took the cake – or at least the cookie.

When Kristine and Brian Parkes were looking for a home in Reading they said they’d throw in a case of Girl Scout Cookies, and put that in their official offer.

“I work for the Girl Scouts, so I have access to cookies” said Kristine Parks, who is fund director for the Girl Scouts of Central Pennsylvania.

“When we walked into the house we knew it was the house we wanted, but we know that it’s been crazy,” she said.

Parkes said she knew they had to do something to set their offer apart, and wrote a sincere letter to the sellers about how much the home would mean to them, and then jokingly added the notion that she could offer cookies.

“Everyone chuckled,” she said.

After thinking about it, however, the couple’s agent, Greg Herb, of Greg Herb Realty in Gilbertsville, said he texted the couple and asked if they were serious about the cookies, because he could include the cookies in the formal offer. He admitted he was half kidding when he started writing it up, and did it as much to bring a smile to the Parkes’ faces as anything. But when he was through, they all loved it and decided to make the offer, with the cookies.

As quirky as the offer seemed, it worked. The Parkes were chosen out of nine competing bids for the home, and while they did pay above asking price their offer was not the highest.

Herb was quick to point out that the seller’s weren’t crazy cookie addicts.

He said while everyone loves a good cookie, there were other factors, including the sentimentality of the offer and the fact that the sale would help garner a little publicity for the Girl Scouts as well as earning money for the organization.

Parkes said the sellers told her they couldn’t bear to turn down the “sweet” cookie offer.

But making it official, did pose some challenges. Since the case of cookies was an official part of the offer, it meant the Parkes had to procure the cookies within five days of the sellers’ acceptance. That was a bit of a challenge since Girl Scout cookies usually don’t come out until the first week of March.

Parkes said she had to contact the corporate office to see if she could buy some cookies direct and was able to get the cookies to the sellers on time, with the money still going to the girls.

She even threw in a couple of boxes for the seller’s agent who expressed a love for Carmel DeLites.

Turning heads

The unusual transaction has turned heads in the industry. Chris Raad, the new president of the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, was impressed with the effort and said it has Realtors talking, noting that such extreme creativity in an offer is uncommon.

“The only time I’ve had anything like that was a client who offered the seller a box at a Phillies game. But, we didn’t get the offer. It didn’t work,” he said.

But even though every offer isn’t sweetened with cookies, he did say the kinds of creative ways people are trying to win competitive bids has been impressive lately.

Frederick pointed to an upswing in 100% cash offers.

“People are buying homes with no mortgage,” he said. “I had no idea there were that many people with that kind of cash.”

But he noted, every market, whether a buyers’ or sellers’ market, brings its own set of challenges and its own set of creative solutions that agents will use to get the transactions done.

“But, we certainly are seeing things in the market that we never had before,” Frederick said.

So why would such an offer sway a seller? Herb said selling a family home can be very emotional.

“It’s a very sentimental thing,” he said.

Something simple like a story about how a young family will grow in a seller’s former house may sway a seller who has fond memories of raising their own family in the house.

Knowing a piece of the sale will be going to help a nonprofit community organization is also a nice feeling, he said.

“People are going to continue to be creative,” he said.