Writing a letter offering your interest in buying a house is one of the best ways that you can get the seller’s attention. It adds a personal touch to an otherwise hands-off request for a business transaction. In fact, there have been many instances in which home buyers say that the previous owner of the home told them that they decided to sell to them in particular because they were so moved by the new owner’s offer letter.
So when you’re competing with other buyers, an offer letter can be the difference between the homeowner accepting your monetary offer or rejecting it in lieu of someone else’s offer. But how do you make your offer stand out and touch the heart of the seller? Here’s a breakdown of how you can write a killer offer letter that will get you noticed by the seller, and perhaps convince them that you deserve the home over everyone else that has been in contact with them!
The Makings of a Great Offer Letter
A formal offer letter is a chance for you to prove your intentions to purchase the home. And like we said, playing up the emotional aspects of the letter and how much your family would appreciate living there can help sway the buyer to accept your offer. Here’s what you can do to craft an offer letter that is sure to win them over:
1. Compliment (and schmooze a little).
Before you go telling the seller that they’re the most gorgeous creature you’ve ever set your eyes on, step back and consider the purpose of the offer letter. The point isn’t to impress or flatter the buyer, it’s to prove that you are serious about the property they are selling. Make sure to mention specific details that you love about their home and praise them for what they have done to the house. This does two things: 1) Tickles the seller’s ego to know that someone appreciates all the hard work that they put into making the home nice, and 2) Demonstrates that you have really put in the time and consideration into appreciating the details, which will show the seller that you really are interested in the home.
In short, you have to get the good side of the seller. Make sure to stress that their hard work has not been in vain, and that you appreciate the personal touches they’ve included. Most sellers are going to have an emotional, sentimental attachment to the home, so seeing that someone is going to get as much (if not more) joy out of the space will give them comfort to let go. Describe how you felt the moment you walked onto the property, as well as how you came to the decision that their house is “the one” for you. You want to create a positive, fuzzy feeling with your flattery. However, don’t overdo it, as this might make you come off as disingenuine and fake. Just be honest about your feelings, obviously there is a reason you’re putting in an offer, so just be authentic and you have nothing to worry about.
2. Make the letter more personal and appeal to how they feel.
Sellers can be protective over their beloved home, and therefore may be extra picky on who they choose to move in. You must learn to play into this emotional attachment and assure them that their house will be in good hands after they’re gone. This is especially true if they have lived in the house for many years. For them, a house means more than just a structure. It’s been their safe haven and security and selling it could be a stressful experience. However, you can appeal to their emotions in your offer letter. Chances are, they will be willing to sell if they know that the person they are selling to can take care of the house, just the way they have taken cared of it for a long time. So what do you need to do? It’s easy to offer an amount for the house, but to offer a sense of security for the buyer is also a good thing to do in your letter. The best way to do this is to find something in common with the owner and build rapport around it. Maybe you saw something related to a hobby in the house that you like to do as well? Maybe the house reminds you of your childhood home? Anything is possible really, just make sure that its genuine. An offer letter is not just about money, but making sure that the seller knows what’s in your heart too.
3. Let them know that you’re serious about buying.
Aside from appealing to their emotions, you must also make a logical case for why they should sell to you instead of other buyers. Sellers want to be ensured that the buyer doesn’t have any baggage behind them that will slow down the sale. They want to be reassured that the buyer will follow through all the way in the closing process to complete the deal, and isn’t going to back out at the smallest obstacle. That being said, you must prove to the seller that you are serious with your decision to buy the house. Sellers don’t appreciate buyers who will drag them through the long, complicated closing process, only to pull out at the very last minute. In order to prove you’re a serious buyer, create a timeline with a set a schedule of payment so that the seller can see that you too have a deadline and would like to move the process along quickly as well. Really make sure the seller knows you can deliver, and in working with you they can expect to see quick and ideal results. If you feel so inclined, you can even offer perks such as a rent-back period, or offering to cover certain fees for them. All of these can help the seller feel that not only are you a serious buyer, but that they are actually gaining something by accepting your offer.
4. Make yourself available.
When you’re putting an offer in on a home, you want to make sure that the owner and their agent have easy ways to get in touch with you in case there are any updates on the house. Include your contact information, but also outline the best way to reach you. If you always have your cellphone on you, but only check your email once a week or so, you’ll want to note this in the letter so that the homeowner knows they can reach you easiest by phone and won’t bother emailing. You also want to list the days and times you are available to take phone calls or house visit/showings. Doing so is another way to communicate your seriousness to the buyer. If you can, include multiple methods of communication for the seller to choose from. A phone number, email or even social media account can also confirm that you are a serious buyer, so you should include these in your letter too (provided that you check them often). Remember though, don’t include any means of communication or contact information that you rarely use.
5. Keep it short and sweet.
Sellers don’t need to read an entire novel of how much you like their house. Be mindful and respectful of the fact that you are not the only one who will be sending them an offer letter. The last thing that they want to do is take time out of their busy schedule to read a lengthy letter on how you like their landscaping or choice of color for the house. While you do want to express these things, limit the details to only the ones you appreciated most, and don’t draw out the compliments. There’s a happy medium between being overly wordy and not expressing enough. Be straight to the point and leave out unnecessary topics in your letter. A picture is worth a thousand words, so including a photo of you and/or your family in the letter can say a lot and save the owner a long read about who you are, who your family is, etc. Plus, being able to put a face to an offer will humanize you in their eyes.
An offer letter is a great way to express your interest in buying a property. It’s your chance to show your intentions as a buyer, and sell yourself as the best buyer the seller could choose. If you have doubts about your writing abilities, then consult a professional real estate agent. They’ve had tons of experience writing these letters, and will know what is important to include and what you can leave out. Talk to friends and family who have experience writing (or even receiving!) an offer letter too. It could help you get even more useful tips on what to write in your letter. Good luck, and happy writing!
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