As you research tips for buying a house, you will find several strategies for enhancing the offer you make on a home for sale. The current real estate market is hot, with home prices soaring, creating bidding wars for home sellers to make the most out of. Buyers and their real estate agents need to pull out all the stops to help their chances of sending a winning offer.
Cover letters to the seller can help you get the home you want, but only if they are written in the right way. Here is some guidance to help you ensure your letter lands your dream home. Consider this your “buying a house letter to seller” step by step guide.
What Is An Offer Letter?
An offer letter is a letter that a potential buyer writes to the seller in order to convince them why they should be the next owners of the property. With the real estate market being a seller’s market at the moment, the power lies in the hands of the sellers, which means that they have the option of choosing the buyer they like the most.
As a result, many potential buyers have turned to writing letters to the home seller in the hopes of making a personal connection that will get them favorable consideration over similar offers during a bidding war. Buyer letters have been around for a long time, but the current seller’s market has created a newfound interest in making the personal letter part of an offer package. The hope is that a well-done letter to the seller will help your offer stand above other bidders.
As a potential buyer, it’s important to understand that a convincing letter will increase your chances of obtaining your desired property significantly.
Including a letter to the seller with your offer to buy a home is a conversation you should have with your real estate agent. They will know if the seller accepts these letters and if they might be swayed by them.
3 Do’s And Don’ts To Include In Your Offer Letter
Sellers usually have an emotional attachment to their home, and sending a personalized letter can acknowledge and affirm that emotional connection in a way that makes the seller prefer your offer over another.
Now that you have decided that writing a personal offer letter is a good strategy, use these tips to ensure it has the impact you want it to achieve.
Do Stay Positive
When you write a letter to a seller, try and keep the tone as upbeat as you can. Remember, selling your home can be an emotional journey because you have a lot of memories attached to it, so it’s not just a real estate transaction; anything even slightly negative can be taken to heart. Tell them what you like about the home, not what you don’t.
If there are things you are thinking about updating in the home once you move in, keep those to yourself. Even if the seller may have been thinking about updating the home the same way, the letter will just remind them that they didn't do it. This can be a sore spot if they have been putting it off or cannot do it because of personal financial issues.
For example, maybe you have found a home you love that is a little under your budget. This will free up some money for you to invest in the open floor plan kitchen you've always wanted. If the seller wanted the same kitchen but couldn't afford to make it a reality, mentioning it in your letter will hit on a sore spot.
Instead, get specific with how the home will fit you perfectly. Maybe you love to cook, and the house has a big kitchen. For example, maybe you love spending time outdoors, and the property has lots of wooded acres. In either situation, find the unique traits of the home that fit with who you are and accentuate the connection. You want to market yourselves as the perfect buyers.
Your letter should be a letter about the home as well as the sellers. Everyone wants to hear nice things about the place they live, so pour thoughts into your letter about what a wonderful home and neighborhood they have. Positive comments about the way they have decorated or furnished the house go a long way as well.
As the buyer, you want to let the seller know that you view their home as the picture perfect place to live. Get into the details about why you love the home:
Do Keep It Professional
Point out the best parts of the offer that you have submitted. If you have an escalation clause that indicates you will beat any other offer they get, sellers will know how serious you are.
While keeping it professional, remember that the sellers don't need to hear your entire life story in a cover letter, so resist the urge to tell it to them. Cover the key points you want to make but don’t ramble on and on. In a multiple offer situation, sellers might be reading a lot of offer letters. If a letter is too long, they may just skip it entirely.
Don't Make Your Letter A Liability
Sending offer letters that express how much you love the home to sellers can work, but it has to be done correctly. There are topics that are great to cover, and others you should stay away from.
A few sellers don't want any contact with the buyer, as they view that as the job of their realtor®. However, many sellers like to read buyer “love letters” but will be turned off if they don't have the right tone.
Some realtors® may advise you to avoid writing a letter to the seller altogether. This usually has to do with fair housing laws that protect buyers from being discriminated against. Sellers cannot select or reject an offer based on the race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability of the prospective buyer. You can find more details about these laws on the website of the National Association of Realtors®.
Your real estate agent might advise against letter writing because it’s very hard to write an impactful letter without mentioning anything about your family and other details that might sway the seller to choose you for the wrong reason. Buyers write letters to find common ground with the homeowner, but sometimes that can backfire.
Some realtors® won't even share letters with their listing clients to protect them from violating fair housing laws, per the recommendation of the National Association of Realtors®.
Summary: The Perfect Letter Can Help Get The Home
If you can write a proper note that focuses on the home, while mentioning your offer and excluding anything that could violate the law, it could be a good move to help you get the home of your dreams.
Remember to stay positive when writing your letter, keeping it professional while always doing your best not to turn your letter into a liability for the seller.