How to write the most effective letter to a home seller
There are many reasons why someone buying a home would want to write a letter to a home seller. The most common reason for writing a letter to a home seller is if you are trying to win a bidding war. A letter to a home seller might be the deciding reason that a seller picks you over another offer.
Another reason that you might write a letter to a home seller is in cases where you are submitting a low ball offer. Maybe the home has sat on the market a while, and there is less competition. Submitting a low ball offer plus a letter to a home seller can help you explain your situation and make sure they know you aren’t trying to take advantage of them.
Find out a little about the seller
If you are using a buyer’s agent and there is a seller’s agent, it’s a good idea to ask your agent to find out from the seller’s agent a bit about the seller. Why are they selling? How long have they lived there? Is it a single person, a couple, a family with children? Knowing who they are will help you figure out what ideas you generate will be most appealing for the seller to know about you and the reason you wish to buy their property.
While you are doing this research, you may find out that the seller is a developer or simply flipping the property. In this case, they may be less swayed by your emotional reasons for buying, as they haven’t personally lived there and therefore may have no emotional attachment at all to the property.
If you do find out the seller is a developer, is it worth submitting a letter to the seller at all? If you think the developer has any emotional attachment to the home at all then a letter may still be worthwhile to submit. If it’s a big corporate developer, then you might not want to bother.
The magic key to separating your bid from all others
Let’s face it. In a bidding war, the sellers might receive letters from other bidders as well as yours. How do you make sure that you stand out and win?
In all parts of your letter, you’ll want to be sincere and specific. If you are sincere, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to write the letter and you will be able to add personal, true elements about yourself that will emotionally affect the seller – this is what you want, after all. The point of the letter is to sway them to accept YOUR offer.
If you are specific, you will paint an interesting and unique portrait for the seller that will stick in their mind. They will be able to understand you and empathize with you. If you aren’t both sincere and specific your words may fall flat, or worse, put you at a disadvantage.
Fundamental things to include in your letter to a home seller
No matter who you are or what your predicament, you’ll want to make sure that you tell them 1) why you like the property, 2) who you are, 3) what the result would be if they were to allow you to buy their property.
These three components will help you convey what you need to in order to build a compelling case. Let’s go through each one and examine more about each part. In each part, remember to be sincere and specific to make your letter as effective as possible.
1. Explain why you like the property
Why do you like the property? Brainstorm a list of 20 things you like about it, the heartfelt the better. Is there a layout that would let you have your extended family over? Is there a deck where you can imagine having peaceful moments, hearing the birds chirp after a stressful time in your life? Be honest. If you really like this property enough to write a letter, there must be many things that you feel emotionally about the property that are reasons for your interest in it.
Once you’ve got your list, whittle it down to the two or three that you think will most resonate with the seller, given what you know about them.
Also, it’s a good idea to compliment the property. Such as, “I can see that the home has been lovingly maintained”, but again, make sure your compliment is sincere! If the home is not in good shape, for example, it would sound awfully weird and insincere, and frankly, off-putting.
2. Describe who you are
When you describe yourself, give a little detail that really paints a picture of who you are. For example, are you a single, 40 year old person moving for a job? You might describe yourself by saying where you are moving from, what attracted you to the area, what you care about, and how you plan to put down roots for a while and what the job is that got you excited. The more you can paint a picture of who you are, the more human you become to the seller and they can imagine you being in their home as the buyer.
3. Explain what the result would be if they allow you to buy their property
If the seller lets YOU buy the property, what will be the result? What will they share in and be responsible for? This portion of the letter lets the seller get a benefit by knowing that they’ve helped create a certain result by letting you, specifically, buy their property.
Start by making a list of 10 – 20 results that will occur from you living there. Will you be a good neighbor? Participate in town improvements? Will you living there allow you to have a place to grow a family? Retire in peace and have your grandchildren over?
After you’ve done your brainstorming, pick two or three of these results to include in your letter.
It doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming to write an effective letter to a home seller!
By following this formula, you’ll be able to bang out a great, effective letter in under an hour that truly paints a picture of why you want the home, who you are and what result the owner will share in if they sell the home to you, specifically.
You’ll separate yourself out from all the other folks writing generic and transparently insincere letters that fall flat, or worse, irritate or annoy the sellers.
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