When it comes to buying a home there are several things you can do to make your offer stand out. Your real estate agent will put together a solid offer in an official letter, formally laying out sale price, terms, and the target date for closing. But in some cases, it can be effective to also include a letter from the buyer to the seller. This can be especially useful in a bidding war or in a tight real estate market for setting your bid apart from others.
If you are rolling your eyes at the thought of this, I understand. I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a skeptic about all things cute and/or hopeful. I guess I’m a little heavy-handed on the “expect the worst” part and not so much on the “hope for the best” part. BUT I have been shown the light of kindness and the power it has first hand, more than once in my real estate career; in the form of a sincere note between buyer and seller.
A well-written letter gives you a chance to connect to the seller telling them why you are a good choice to live in their home. It’s a chance to appeal to the emotional part of the homebuying process. After all, it’s not just a house to them. I have seen with my own eyes and experienced with my own cold heart the incredible impact an authentic letter to the seller can have. I have had the seller with a great house in a perfect location at the favorite price point with multiple offers on the table and they went with the offer that had a short sweet note attached. I realized my seller truly loved the house they were selling. It was her first house where her boyfriend became her husband and their baby was brought home. They had a garden in the back that grew “The Best” cherry tomatoes. It mattered who the next homeowner was going to be more than the seller even realized.
Follow these 10 steps to the perfect offer letter.
1. Seller’s name. This isn’t one of the many formal documents you need to buy home. This is a personal letter. Start it off by addressing the homeowner by their first name(s).
2. Tell them what you like most about the home. What feature highlights your idea of the perfect home. Was it the big dining room where you can picture yourself sitting with family? Was it the layout that fits your busy crew? or the backyard where you can see your little kids running and playing safely? or the patio for entertaining?
3. Share something about yourself. They will be curious about WHO is going to live in the home. Give them a little background on the type of people/family you are. Are you newly married? Expanding your family? Professionals without kids? You may even want to consider including a photo.
4. Highlight what you have in common. From what you can tell about the home do you both have dogs? or love to cook? did you grow up in this neighborhood?
5. Don’t get carried away. Only include enough personal details that the seller can relate to you. NO sob stories or whining about your circumstances or need.
6. Keep it positive. Go ahead and compliment the homeowner about their choice of style or a particular element of the home you appreciate. This is NOT the time to complain about what you don’t like or what you want fixed or what you will change when you live there.
7. Don’t contradict anything stated in the offer letter from your real estate agent regarding timeline and/or price.
8. Check grammar and spelling. This speaks for itself.
9. Keep it short and to the point. The letter shouldn’t be long (or it may be remembered for the wrong reason). You can be sincere in one page.
The homeowner should feel good after reading your letter that their home would be a perfect fit for you! It’s not just the facts, ma’am.
Remember the sellers I told you about at the beginning of this post? The letter they received made ALL the difference. That small touch of kindness eased the seller’s heart that someone had the same potential to love her house. Kindness still matters.
Your real estate agent can offer some helpful suggestions if you get stuck. Good luck!