Homebuyers trying to stand out from a crowd of offers in today’s competitivemarket are often told to write a personal letter to accompany their offer.Buyers who are financing a home, or have a smaller down payment, often havetrouble competing with all-cash buyers. Appealing to the seller as a person, asopposed to a contract, can sometimes give a buyer an emotional edge.
What isn’t often explained to buyers is how exactly to write that letter. Thebest ideas are often squandered by poor execution. Here is a quick guide toframing the home buyer letter and leveraging your best attributes by thinkingfrom the seller’s point of view:
1) Flatter First
This is an emotional pitch. You’re attempting to tell the seller, “I’msuch a good person that you should ignore the numbers.” They need to likeyou. Tell the seller how great their taste in color is, how much you’d love tohave their lifestyle, and what an amazing neon bottle cap exhibit they haveover the fireplace. Lay it on thick, but keep it sincere. You’re selling, butyou don’t want them to feel like they’re being over sold.
2) Get To The Point
Pick two or three reasons why you will be the best buyer for this home, andmake them distinctly recognizable. The more streamlined you make your message,the more memorable it will be. You may have 10 great ideas that you’d like totell the seller. They will only remember two.
3) Paint A Picture
People remember what they’ve read at a far higher rate when they can see apicture of it in their head. “I really love this neighborhood because I’velived here and gone to school here,” doesn’t resonate.
On the other hand, “I spend half of my time walking the cobblestonestreets around this block, dropping my daughter off at School and volunteering everysummer,” will trigger a visual memory for a seller. Think “I’dbe so happy in the summer to be cooking pizza for friends and neighbors in youroutdoor wood-fired oven”.
4) Don’t Remodel The House
Planning on adding a second story or changing the landscaping? Don’t mentionit. You might be correct that the seller’s sewing room would make a greatworkout room for you, but this isn’t the time.
If you’re going to expand to create more bedrooms, you might be changing theseller’s favorite eyebrow windows in the roofline. They may have buried theirdog under the tree you’re planning to pave over. he sellers may haveawful taste, but homeowners are very protective of their homes.
5) Show Stability
Present yourself as a stable buyer who will have no problem closing thepurchase. Whether that is a reference to your lack of contingencies,stellar employment record, or commitment to moving in as soon as the sellersare comfortable, ease the sellers’ fears of a shaky transaction.
6) Show Humility
At the same time, be humble and ask for the sellers’ blessing on your offer.“We would be so honored to live in your home,” goes much further than“We are confident that you will accept our generous offer.” The ballis in their court, and your letter should acknowledge that.
7) Don’t Whine
The emotion of your letter must be upbeat and high. It needs to make the sellerfeel good. Everyone wants to play with a winner.
The seller doesn’t care how many other homes you’ve lost out on. They don’tcare that your rent just doubled. They don’t want to know about yourwife’s sad condition that requires you to have a home like this. They just feeluncomfortable now. In fact, they’re already tossing your offer in theround file as they finish this paragraph.
8) Close With Clarity
Remember the five-point paragraphs and five-paragraph themes you had to writein school? While those formulas are too long and rigid for this letter, theirclosing advice should be noted. Your excitement, motivation, and ability shouldbe reiterated at the end of your letter in a quick recap.
Remember that the sellers could be reading a few letters. Make sure that theclosing of your letter reminds them of your best qualities and reinforces them.
9) Sign with Appreciation
The feeling your sellers will leave with can live or die on the signatureline: “Sincerely”, “Cordially”, “BestRegards”, and “Yours Truly” do not apply. This is not a businesscorrespondence of equals. Thank the sellers for spending their valuable eveningreading the ode that you wrote about your unworthy self.
“Thank you so much for your time,” “Thank you for theopportunity,” “Your consideration is greatly appreciated,” oreven “We are honored to have the opportunity,” will leave the sellerunderstanding that you value their time and are grateful for it.
10) Spell Check. Grammar Check. Buddy Check. Do ItAgain.
Truthfully, though, there is an unbelievable amount of weight that some sellerswill put on the preciseness of the letter. Right or wrong, the buyer’spersonality will be judged from their attention to detail, ability tofollow-through, and level of care in the letter. Buyer reliability is oftengleaned from how well the rules of grammar are followed. If grammar isn’t yourthing, find someone whose thing it is.
Write The Letter, Check It Twice, and Send It Off
There are many tactics being used by home buyers to stand out from thecrowd. While not all sellers will read them, personalized letters are themost-accepted and popular form of unique buyer strategies available. Don’t rushthe letter. Take the time to write it correctly. It just might be the mostvaluable single page of text you ever write.