In a very competitive housing market, buyers need to step up their game in every way possible. They need to establish that they have a good credit score, a mortgage pre-approval, and a reasonable offer with fewer contingencies. However, if sellers are faced with multiple offers from buyers who are all on a level playing field, a well-crafted offer letter can be a great advantage. It certainly helps humanize the complex process and can help buyers create an emotional connection with the sellers. Here are our tips for writing a compelling offer letter:
Dear Home Buyers,
1. Write it yourself
Your offer letter should be penned by you—not by your trusted real estate agent, not by your bestfriend, or whoever you think can draft it better. Since a purchase offer letter is a unique strategy available to you as a prospective buyer, take the time to write it well. Think of how you can sincerely express your love of the property and connect with the seller while maintaining authenticity.
2. Tell what you greatly love and appreciate about the home (because maybe you love everything about it)
Don’t just directly tell the seller that you want the house—explain why you want it. It’s true when they say “flattery can get you anywhere,” so remember that when writing your offer letter. Find details and features of the home that appeal to you most and mention those. Do you love the seller’s furniture selection? That big but well-maintained backyard? Did that master walk-in closet grab your attention? Tell the seller what you love about the home, but keep everything sincere. It will also help the seller know that you didn’t just send a generic offer letter you’ve copied somewhere. Those genuine compliments about the home’s details that you’re drawn to will surely flatter the seller since he or she must have handpicked many of those. Also, appreciate the fact that the seller took great care of the property.
3. Create a visual memory
“From the moment I first walked through your Craftsman-style door, it already felt like home...”
This may sound like something you read in novels and pocketbooks, but if that was what you felt when you first entered your potential home, then tell it in your offer letter. Because simply telling that “I love the home and would like my child to finish school here in this neighborhood” won’t just do the trick. Be descriptive in telling how you feel about the house, and how you envision yourself in it. Describe how you see yourself and your family having barbeque parties in that sun-kissed backyard, or lounging in a chair in that big, front porch with a book in your hands. Sellers will remember better what they’ve read if what you described provoked a visual memory to them.
4. Briefly give details about yourself
Introduce yourself and your family (Yes, even your fur-babies!) to the sellers. Briefly share details about your career, personal interests and hobbies, and other interesting things about you, as well as your connection to the area. If you’re buying with your significant other, you can briefly recall how you two met and, in a nutshell, describe your future plans in buying the home together.
You can also make it clear that you are going to be a buyer who’s easy to work with. Mentioning what you do for a living can help in presenting yourself as a stable buyer, and to reassure the sellers that they won’t have to deal with a shaky transaction.
5. Establish a personal connection
Try to know the things that the seller values and establish a connection from there. If you share a common interest or hobby with the seller, mention it in your offer letter to make yourself relatable. Indicate any similarities, however simple, that you think will strike an emotion and create a unique bond between you and the seller. It can be kids, pets, or their love for a particular flower or sport.
6. But don’t be too sentimental
Keep the emotions of your offer positive and upbeat. Don’t make your letter dreary by telling the seller how many homes you’ve already lost on; that you struggled with a recent divorce; or about a family member’s illness. Those situations can make the sellers feel uncomfortable, which in turn could backfire on you and come off as phony. Use enthusiastic but sincere language, and maintain a hopeful impression.
7. Exclude your plans to remodel the house
Sellers are, of course, still emotionally attached to their homes. So don’t mention any of your plans to remodel or renovate parts of the house in your offer letter because it might sound offensive to the seller. Avoid phrases that indicate that you want to change or tear down something and focus instead on what you love about the home.
8. Be humble
Since it’s up to the sellers to make a decision on whose offer to choose, stay humble and sincere throughout your letter. Ask for their blessing and stay modest. You could say things like “We would be so honored to be the next owners of your beloved home” instead of saying that you are confident that you will get the home, especially if you gave a generous offer.
9. “Honesty is the best policy”
Remember this golden rule when outlining everything you want to say in your offer letter. You may want to establish a connection or any common interest to the seller, but don’t lie if you can’t find anything that will relate you to them. The same goes for other details you include. Don’t say that your dog will like that big backyard if you don’t have any, or if you don’t really like dogs and don’t plan to get one anytime soon. Be honest and expressive in anything you say in your letter.
Similarly, if your offer is considerably low compared to others, be honest and explain why you’ve given that offer. If you have a young family who’s just starting out, you can say that your budget is still limited. Then make a powerful but sincere statement sharing what it would mean for you to have this house despite your limited budget.
10. Be creative but make it concise
In a very competitive market where sellers can get multiple offer letters, find a way to make yours stand out by being creative. Create a beautiful offer letter with eye-catching fonts and layout (just remember to not overdo it). Then include photos of you and your family that will complement the personal stories you shared. Aside from a creative format, the photos will set yours apart from the rest.
Want some ideas? This L.A. couple’s offer letter in 2016 stood out after they shared details of their unique careers and included pictures of themselves and their rescue kittens (meow!). Likewise, this buyer’s “epic” offer letter won them their house. The letter was designed in an eye-catching format featuring the family, their beagle Charlie (I told you, pets do count!), and specified their favorite features of the home.
11. End it with a sweet “Thank you”
If flattery can get you anywhere, a simple thank you can work wonders. Express your gratitude by ending your offer letter with wholehearted phrases like “Thank you for your time” and “We are very grateful for this opportunity.” It will let the sellers know that you value their time and effort in reading your letter and considering your offer.
12. Bonus Tip: Don’t forget the spell check and grammar check
Remember that your offer letter could create a strong impression to the seller, so it’s important that you write the best letter possible. Even if you don’t have the luxury of time in a tight market, proofread thoroughly to make sure that it’s free from any spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. If grammar isn’t something you’re really good at, utilize free online writing apps or get help from someone who’s good at it. You never know if the house you love belongs to an English teacher or a professor, who may just cringe at the sight of misspelled words and grammatical mistakes that won’t just be considered as typos.