As demand for housing keeps increasing, buying a home is becoming more and more difficult. In order to help stand out and compete with other home buyers, people are writing letters to support their offer.
People that need to get a mortgage when buying a property, as most people do, are often overlooked if there’s a cash buyer. This is why knowing how to write a letter to a home seller can be the crucial factor that convinces the home seller that you’re the right choice when they sell their home.
I know personally how painful it is when you set your sights on a home, only to be told that the seller has chosen someone else, so in this post, I’ll run through how to potentially increase your odds.
Tips on How to Write a Letter to a Home Seller
In the first sentence or two, just include a friendly greeting and explain who you are, where you’re moving from and why you’re moving. You don’t need much detail here as you’ll be able to go into more specifics on the benefits their home can bring later.
Build a Connection with the Seller
The aim is to help the seller identify with you and your family so try and look for something you have in common with the seller.
When you viewed the property or looked through the pictures was there anything you spotted or were told by the agent. This can be something as simple as knowing they’ve been in the property for a long time and raised their children there and you want to do the same.
Explain What You Liked About the Home
Ideally, if you can weave this in with the point above about building a connection that is perfect. Highlighting areas such as the garden being perfect for your current or future children
Keep it Short
Remember that people have quite a short attention span and could possibly be receiving a few letters, so the shorter your letter and the faster you can build a connection the better. You don’t need to include your life story, just a few short paragraphs on why this house is the one for you.
Make sure your letter is no more than a single page, ideally even shorter focusing on two or three key reasons why you want to make their property your home.
Explain Your Offer
The price isn’t the only thing sellers look at when selling their home and some may be willing to go with a lower offer if it’s in their interest. If you have a mortgage offer ready to go that can also be to your advantage, also if you’re not in a chain so you’re not waiting for your house to sell in order to buy your next home.
They may not have found the house they’re looking to buy yet and explaining that the house is perfect for you and you’re happy to wait until they’ve found their next home can be to your advantage.
This can give them peace of mind that the sale isn’t going to fall through if they take a bit longer than expected to find their next home. Just make sure to only say that if you’re genuinely willing to wait!
Make sure to keep your letter positive. For example, don’t highlight that you’ve lost out on five properties in the past month, that could make the seller feel uncomfortable or even question all the other positive you’re saying. So were the other five houses all perfect for them too?
Make sure not to share too many personal details. Only share what you’d be willing to share with a stranger and remember at the end of the day this is still a business transaction.
Proof-read, Edit and Reduce
When you’ve finished your first draft, make sure to proofread what you’ve written. Spelling mistakes can immediately stand out to certain people and can mean the whole letter is a waste of effort, and possibly even work against you.
Coming back a few hours later to review your letter can also help have a fresh perspective. It may give you time to think of something else or decide a certain paragraph or sentence isn’t hitting the mark. The more you can reduce from your letter the better to keep it succinct and to the point.
If you are unsuccessful this time, you can also use this as a handy example and template for the next one, so all is not lost!
Does Writing a Letter to a Home Seller Help?
Writing a letter to the seller is never guaranteed to help. Depending on the seller, they may not even read it, although some may read every word and only want a certain type of buyer to buy their home.
Depending on the amount of competition for a property, there could be many buyers submitting letters so some people see them as a necessity when buying a home.
This process doesn’t have to take all day, just a few short paragraphs will do. It can then give you peace of mind that you’ve done everything you can to secure the home you want so if they do decide to go with someone else you know you did all you could do.
Other Options Instead of a Letter
Make Sure The Agent is Fully Aware of Your Benefits
As much as writing a letter does help, making sure the sellers’ agent is fully aware of all of the benefits you can bring to the transaction can do the majority of the work. When speaking with them make sure to emphasize all of the benefits you can bring to the table including the ones highlighted in the “Explain Your Offer” section above.
The agent cannot tell the seller who to sell to, however, they can advise the benefits of each buyer a provide a recommendation that can sway the seller. Remember that the agent is mainly looking to generate a commission for selling the property as easily as possible and to make sure the seller is happy. The more you can align to their needs the better.
For example, if the agent knows you are willing to wait till they’ve found their next home can mean avoiding a sale falling through if they take too long and having to re-list the property which takes time and money.
Focusing on Improving Your Offer
The letter is mainly used to help the seller know more about you to potentially sell to you in the event of two similar offers or even forgo a better offer. However, if you were to also have the best offer both financially and non-financially you’re in the best position possible to secure the home.
This means understanding all the benefits you can bring to the table and trying to enhance them. Some of them may not be possible, for example, just becoming a cash buyer overnight isn’t going to happen. However, making sure you have a mortgage offer letter, a marginally better deposit, or the ability to wait for the seller to find their next home are all very achievable.
Issues That Could Arise When Writing a Letter
The National Association of Realtors actually recommends against writing a letter when buying a home which I did find quite strange although they did highlight some valid points. Describing them as housing love letters, they highlight that you may be releasing quite a lot of information about yourself without even realising.
For example, saying how you can imagine your children running down the stairs on Christmas Day not only reveals your familial status but also your religion.
Overall, writing a letter when buying a home can be a great way to enhance your offer to the right seller. However, just as long as you’re careful about what you write even if a person doesn’t care about the letter you can be sure that you did everything you possibly can to secure your potential new home.
Hi, I’m John. I’ve always had a keen interest in Finance, so much so that I’ve made a career out of it! This site is a place where I can share everything I’ve learned as well as give me the excuse to research certain topics.
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