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. Buyers use this tactic often to win over the owner of a home. When you send a letter to the seller, you give the buyer the opportunity to connect on a personal level, appeal to the seller’s emotions, and establish an affiliation with each other.
This new connection leads some sellers to choose a lower monetary offer because the letter appeals to them. For example, an elderly couple may start looking to downsize on their family’s home. They were both part of building the house, and it has many wonderful memories. The seller may be more willing to sell to a prospective buyer who makes it clear through a letter that they plan to take good care of the property.
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How is one written?
You can write an effective letter to the seller in any way, but you’ll want to tailor it to the seller– based on what information is available. Because there is no set way to write a letter to the seller, we have provided 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 they love about their home and it often flatters them to hear you feel 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 is to mention an affinity for gardening that you clearly share, sharing support for the local sports team, or complimenting the interior design of the home.
Print a hard copy of the letter.
You can convey and write a letter in many ways. 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.
Example of a Letter
My husband and I had the privilege of walking through your house the other day and were very impressed! The way the full front porch overlooks your budding rosebushes brought us back to the house my husband lived in when we first met as kids.
As we continued to tour your house, it began to feel even more familiar– just like home. Every detail is perfect: from the wide staircase to the little nook in the kid’s bedroom. It’s clear from the swing in the yard and the pictures on the wall that many happy memories happened here.
A little about us: Tom and I met in the third grade and have been best friends ever since. We attended separate colleges, but would always spend school breaks at his grandparent’s home, which looks very similar to yours! We’ve been married 13 years and have four children.
After touring the home ourselves, we immediately brought our kids here to see if this was the place. They were instantly smitten.
If you choose to accept our offer, please know that the home will be well cared for and loved. We are excited to raise our children in a place so filled with memories.
Thank you for taking the time to consider us.
Tom and Kate Williams
Why It Works:
There was a connection from the beginning as Kate mentioned her memories of a similar porch and rose garden. She that connection as she acknowledged the different aspects of the house and what it means to her family.
Kate opened the letter with a compliment and connection wrapped into one. Throughout the letter, Kate continued to draw attention to the house’s details and connected to them in her own life.
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.