You’ve found the one―the home of your dreams! It’s in the neighborhood you want. The price is right. The schools are highly rated. You’re imagining growing roots there. But there is a problem. It’s a hot property, and several buyers want it. You need the seller to notice your offer and pick it over any others. What can you do to stand out?
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recommends the following for making winning offers:
- Get a prequalification letter
- Don’t lowball
- Consider an escalator clause
- Add earnest money
- Keep contingencies to a minimum
- Write a buyer’s love letter
If your offer is similar to other offers, the buyer’s love letter may make the difference. A well-crafted letter could be just enough to edge out the competition. But, what you say in the letter is as important as what you don’t say.
Buyer’s Love Letter Tactics
Your main objective is to make the offer stand out. A buyer’s love letter may be different from what you might think. The seller absolutely cannot, under any circumstances, find out that you just have to have the house or else. You could lose your negotiating power. For example, if you appear desperate, your demand for seller-paid fees might be taken less seriously. So, curb your emotions.
5 Additional Tips for a Knockout Letter
- Write it by hand
- Mention your military service
- Tell what you like about the house
- Explain why the house is a good fit
- Include the letter with your offer
Why Buyer’s Love Letters Work in the 2017 Housing Market
The 2017 housing market is shaping up to be very interesting. Prices keep rising steadily as does the number of potential home buyers. NAR predicts there will be fewer homes for sale in 2017. But more millennials and boomers will dominate the buyer demographic. With this dynamic, bidding wars are likely.
When the seller gets multiple, similar offers, a letter could set one apart. If you plan to submit a love letter, make sure you accomplish these two things:
- Compliment the seller on the house
- Convince the seller you’re the right buyer
How to Compliment the Seller
Praise the seller by listing everything you love about the house. If there are home improvements made by the seller, be sure to mention those especially. For example, if there is a recent remodel of a major room like the kitchen or master suite, you could use statements like this:
“You have such great taste.” “The finishes are just what I would have picked.” “I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Compliments like these let the seller know that you like what they’ve done with the place, and you will continue where they left off. It also serves to butter up the seller for the next part of the letter – reasons they should choose you.
How to Get the Seller to Choose Your Offer
To convince the seller that you’re it, you might begin with something personal about yourself. For Veterans, this may be easy. Paint a picture and help the seller visualize a Veteran living in the house. Write about what the community or schools in the area have to offer your kids. This is the part of the letter where you get to tug at the seller’s heart strings. You might say things like:
“We moved every year for 15 years in the Marines. A home base will be nice.” “Our kids attended 5 schools in 5 years, and are excited for long-time friends.”
Another way to get the seller leaning your way is to let them know you’ll take care of the house. Maybe the yard is landscaped beautifully and you’re an avid gardener. Assure them you’ll keep the yard looking manicured.
TIP: Don’t talk about major changes you plan for the house. This could create anxiety for some sellers.
How to Get Your Letter to the Seller
Ask your agent to submit your letter with your offer. Never try to deliver it to the home in person. That could feel intrusive. Remember, their home is their castle. Sellers likely have an emotional attachment even though they’re letting go. A good buyer’s love letter can help appeal to the King or Queen of the castle to choose you over all others.
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