Should You Write a Letter to a Seller?

Posted by on Jan 13, 2016 in Real Estate | 0 comments

letter

Buyers in competitive markets want a leg up. If their all-cash, non-contingent offer is not enough to beat out the 10 other offers, they need to go to extreme measures: a letter to the sellers.

Buyers often ask if this indirect means of communication to the seller will work. The answer is, sometimes.

When it works, it’s great. But many times, the letter won’t do much. Here are some points to consider if you want to write a letter to a seller.

Who is the seller?

If you love the home and want to structure the best possible offer, it’s best to find out as much as you can about the seller and their situation. Knowing who you could be going into contract with should help inform you about the best way to approach them.

How do you do this? Through your agent. Ask her to inquire with the listing agent to find out who the sellers are, why they’re selling, and what their motivations are. The more you know, the better off you’ll be.

Some buyers go as far as Googling the seller or looking them up on social media to find a connection — any connection.

Appeal to long-time homeowners

If you’re dealing with a seller with a family home, this is your best chance. Real estate is incredibly emotional. Someone who has lived in the home for many years, or an owner’s child who grew up in the home, will have lots of experiences, memories and emotions tied up in the home. Any emotions they harbor about the house will influence them when reviewing offers.

Simply put, they’ll want to know who the potential buyers are. They might prefer a homeowner who plans to live in the home like they did, rather than a developer or investor who may demolish the home.

Appeal to their emotions by writing a letter of introduction explaining who you are, why you love the home, and how you will carry on their legacy.

Investors: don’t waste your time

If the home is a rental property and the owner has held it as an investment for that purpose, a letter probably won’t do you much good. Someone who has used the property as an investment will concern themselves mainly with the bottom line. While a letter might be slightly interesting to this owner, give them a clean offer with your best price and terms out of the gate.

Connect with the seller

Simply by walking through the home, you may get a good feel for who the seller is. By looking at their art, furniture, family photos or diplomas, you can get a sense of their likes, dislikes, and interests. Don’t forget, they have what you want — the home. You must do your best to try to connect with them on some level.

Connecting means taking note of who they are and then delivering them something that will hit home. I once had a buyer who loved riding horses. In the home she wanted to purchase, she noticed horse show trophies stacked in the basement, so in her letter she mentioned that she, too, rode horses. This small but important connection made the difference between her offer and another with similar price and terms.

Often the buyer needs to sell themselves to the seller, particularly in competitive situations. Know your seller, do your research and understand their motivations. Look around, take note and work closely with your agent to dig as deeply as possible.

In competitive situations and with the right seller, a direct letter to them can make a huge difference.

 

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