By Beth Braverman
Beth Braverman is an award-winning journalist and content producer, primarily writing about personal finance. Prior to launching her freelance editorial services business, Beth spent seven years covering personal finance, first as a senior reporter and social media editor at MONEY magazine and then as the Life + Money editor for The Fiscal Times.
In a seller's market like the one we're in now, it's not uncommon for sellers to have multiple offers for a home. However, when it comes to selling their family home, money isn't always everything.
Buyers who are able to connect with sellers on an emotional level have an added advantage over those who are simply a faceless party on the other side of a business transaction. One way to make that emotional connection is to send a personal letter to a home seller along with your offer.
If you're thinking of writing such a letter, here's what to know:
Start with Flattery
Ask your real estate agent for the name of the sellers, so that you can address them by name in the letter. Open with sincere compliments on the home, noting a few features such as a recent kitchen or bathroom renovation. If their love for the home came through in the way that it had been meticulously maintained and decorated, let them know along with the fact that you'd like to carry on that tradition.
The goal of your letter is to personalize your offer. You can do this by telling the seller something about yourself and why you're moving. If you're buying a house to accommodate your growing family or moving to a new city because you've landed the job opportunity of a lifetime, let them know. Describe your plans to fully enjoy all of the amenities of the home—whether that's entertaining on the deck or snuggling by the fireplace.
Let Them Know You Have Your Finances in Order
Even a heartfelt letter to a home seller isn't enough to overcome seller concerns that the deal might fall through. Once you've hooked the sellers with your personal story, let them know that your finances are in great shape by including your pre-approval letter to make this purchase happen.
Keep it Short
While you may have plenty to say, a shorter letter is best in this case. Aim to keep it less than a page. The sellers will likely have several offers to sift through, so you want to get your point across without wasting their time. Emphasize your two or three most important points, rather than trying to squeeze everything in. Close with a sincere thank you for taking the time to consider your offer, and reiterate once more how you plan to cherish and care for their house as much as they did. Once you've completed your letter, send it along to your real estate agent so that they can include it in your offer and pre-approval letter.
Know When it Won't Work
While a letter to a home seller can be the difference between two similar offers, there are some instances when it's not worth the trouble to write one. If your offer is for significantly less than others, it's unlikely that the seller will be swayed to accept it because of your letter. In addition, if the seller is an investor, a builder, or a bank that doesn't have an emotional connection to the property, there's little chance that they'll be swayed by the fact that you have one.
Writing a letter to a home seller is about connecting with the seller and showing them that not only do you care about the home, but you're going to take care of it. Keep in mind that while writing the letter can help the seller decide between your offer and another family's, it's not the end-all be-all.
This article and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this article. However, we will not be responsible for errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.