Making an offer on a property is a big decision and can come with some stress if it is a home in a hot property market with potential buyers bidding against each other. One of the methods to tip the odds in your favor, without increasing your offer, is a letter to the seller.
Time described an instance in which a letter to the seller containing a “personal account of the couple’s love for the neighborhood, nearby schools, and the property itself” landed them a contract despite other offers “$11,000 higher than their own.”
Appealing to the seller as a person, as opposed to a contractual party, can sometimes give the buyer the emotional edge needed to push the offer through.
What is a ‘letter to the seller’?
A “letter to the seller“ is an offer letter to the seller of the home, written by the buyer. The tactic is often used by buyers to win over the owner of a home. By sending a letter to the seller, the buyer is given an opportunity to connect on a personal level, appeal to the seller’s emotions, and establish an affiliation with each other.
This new connection may lead some sellers to choose a lower monetary offer because the letter appealed to them. For example, an elderly couple looking to downsize on their family’s home that’s been built from the ground up may be more willing to sell to a prospective buyer who has made it clear through a letter that they intend to take good care of the property.
How is one written?
An effective letter to the seller can be written in any way, and is usually tailored to the seller depending on what information is available. Because there is no set way to write a letter to the seller, we provide three critical tips for writing one:
Compliment the house.
Establishing a connection with the house should be the centerpiece of the letter – after all, it is the main subject of the letter. Homeowners usually have things that they love about their home – they would be flattered to hear if you felt the same way. The message shouldn’t just tell the seller how much the buyers want the offer accepted, but why they want that particular house. It may be their kitchen, or garden that grabbed the buyer’s attention – building on this can gain rapport with the seller.
Build a connection with the seller.
Emotion has a big part in convincing the seller through a letter. Think of the goal as identifying yourself with the seller, or placing yourself in the seller’s shoes. A simple way to build a connection can be anything from a shared affinity for gardening that you’ve inferred from how beautifully the lawn and gardens are kept, sharing support for the local sports team, or complimenting the interior design of the home.
Print a hard copy of the letter.
A letter can be written and conveyed in different mediums. While emails are typically the medium of choice due to convenience, they may not showcase the effort put into the letter. Hard copies tend to feel more heartfelt, especially in today’s day and age. Printing a typed letter is usually enough, but a handwritten one shows more effort. A handwritten letter shows initiative and integrity on the buyer’s part. Some real estate agents even recommend leaving the letter on the seller’s kitchen counter before they leave the showing.
A letter can be a great way to add value to your offer. It makes you more than just another name on a contract. Appropriately done, a letter can tip the odds of an accepted offer in the buyer’s favor.