You’ve found the home you love, but the market is competitive, and other buyers are vying for this same house. Besides offering a competitive price, what steps can you take to land the house you love? A strong home offer letter might do the trick. Here’s how.
How a home offer letter helps
When a real estate market is hot, and homes are selling fast, you might have to put your heart on the line in a home offer letter to secure the house you love. If the sellers emotionally attach to the house, they sell not just their home but a part of their lives. Perhaps they raised their family there or even grew up there and have inherited it with priceless memories. It’s common for sellers to want their house to go to someone they consider a worthy successor. Knowing that another family will build memories, there will be comfort for them. Sellers also like knowing that the new owners will be a good fit for the neighbors with whom they’ve been friends for years.
Appealing to the seller’s emotional interest
It’s important to make your home offer letter as succinct as possible. Don’t ramble or over-sentimentalize. Here are some tips.
- Your real estate agent can make suggestions, but the offer letter must be your composition. Give specific reasons why you want the home. Simply saying, “We love the house,” isn’t descriptive enough.
- Acknowledge that the sellers raised their children there and that you want them to grow up there as well. If they have pets, tell them you picture your dog curled by the fireplace.
- Tell the sellers about yourselves, work, kids, and extended family. So often, in a home transaction, buyers and sellers never have contact and know nothing about each other. Giving some background personalizes you to the sellers and helps them understand your interest in their home. But avoid negative topics — “I’m starting over after a painful divorce,” for example — or other downers.
- Compliment them on improvements they made in the letter. Mention particular aspects of the home, such as a large lot, a game room or an outdoor entertainment area, and explain how these will be perfect for your own family gatherings. Avoid mentioning big remodeling changes you have in mind. Statements like “We plan to gut the upstairs and build a giant-screen home theater with a thumping subwoofer” will not endear you to the typical seller.
- Remember that your real estate agent should check for any errors or language that could be deemed discriminatory. This letter should focus on the home’s positive attributes, not the demographics of the current owners. A REALTOR®’s fiduciary responsibility is to review and edit the letters to ensure you focus on the home and all it offers, not any particular people, familial status, or anything violating Fair Housing regulations. Following these guidelines, you can create a compelling letter. This personal touch can make all the difference when sealing the deal on your purchase.
Your financial offer
In a competitive market, the price you offer will still be important. If you cannot pay the full asking price, your home offer letter becomes all the more critical in persuading the sellers. In case that your offer is substantially below asking price or other offers, the letter probably won’t be enough. If your offer is only a little under, however, being candid that your budget isn’t quite big enough could help you beat better offers.
Other factors are still important: a pre-approval letter, a down payment ready to go, and the ability to close on a timely basis. It doesn’t hurt to briefly mention you have these ducks in a row in your home offer letter.