Home Buyer’s trying to get an offer accepted in a seller’s market are looking for a way to stand out from the crowd of other offers. Often times they are encouraged to write a personal letter to the sellers to help set them apart from other buyers. Sometimes this is the right move and sometimes, maybe not.
Before I tell my buyers to write a “Love Letter” to the sellers, I do my research. I spend time trying to discover as much information as I can about the sellers and their motivation to sell. I will talk with the seller’s agent and see what insights she has regarding the sellers and their needs in the sale of their home and any other factors that may play a role in their decision making. If I find out that the home has been a long-term rental or that it was purchased as a “flip” home (a home bought strictly as investment to remodel and update to make a profit), I will not encourage my clients to write a letter. Instead, I will include a cover letter with the offer in which I emphasize the financial strength and motivation of my clients to close. If my clients want to buy a home for strictly investment purposes and I find out the owners have raised their family and lived there for decades, I will again discourage the “love letter” and include a cover letter emphasizing the strength of my buyers financially and their strong knowledge of the housing market and motivation to close.
I will also use this information to help my clients tailor the Love Letter that they do write. I will try to find ways that my clients may connect to the sellers. For example, if my buyers are purchasing their first home and want to begin a family there, and I find out that the sellers bought the home with the same goals, I will encourage my clients to write about those goals in their letter. Any commonalities with the sellers I find, I encourage my clients to include those in their letter. For example, same number of children, similar career choices, hobbies, pets, even pet names.
I also encourage my clients to describe with detail what it is about the home that they are drawn to. I also encourage my clients to include language complimenting the sellers on their home: careful maintenance, pride of ownership, or landscaping for example. In doing this I also encourage my clients to paint a picture describing what they are looking forward to doing if their offer is accepted and they get to live in the home. They could write: “we can’t wait to put our Christmas tree in front of the living room window and decorate it.” Or, “we are looking forward to summer afternoons relaxing in your beautiful shade filled yard sipping ice tea and watching our twins play together on play structure.”
In this seller’s market, a “Love Letter” can be the distinguishing factor in getting your offer selected in a multiple offer situation. I have had sellers decide to accept an offer that is not the highest price, but has a wonderful story. A love letter may not always “beat out” a higher offer, but if all things are equal in a multiple offer situation, it can make the difference and get my clients’ offer selected.
To write or not to write-that is the question you should ask your realtor!