In competitive markets, I often help buyer-clients craft “love letters” to sellers in order to set their offer apart…and on the flip-side, help seller clients sift through the emotional appeal to make the best possible decision. Over the years, I’ve taken note of which types of letters get the best response from sellers. Sometimes these letters actually do help buyers win a multiple offer situation. Sometimes these letters damage their chances…so, I thought that I’d share some secret tips that I share with my buyers to win in competitive situations.
Tip #1: Handwritten
With buyers, we advise to include a handwritten letter (not typed) as long as the handwriting is neat and legible…yes, we do get this detailed and I have re-typed letters that were not written legibly! Handwritten letters are more personal and “stick” with the seller. As much as possible, I request that a female write the letter. Their handwriting is often softer, larger, and more legible than my fellow gender (sorry fellas).
Tip #2: It’s not about you – it’s about the seller
When representing sellers, I see personal letters all the time. I can tell you that poorly written letters with grammar or spelling mistakes can actually hurt your offer more than help it. If there are multiple grammar or spelling errors, both the listing agent and sellers start to question the buyer’s intelligence and whether or not they have what it takes to make to closing. A well written letter can certainly sway a seller in a close decision. Perhaps if the buyer is not the highest offer, the seller will counter-offer the buyer who wrote the wonderful letter. Or perhaps money isn’t the most important thing to the seller, but rather making sure their long-time family home stays with a family that will use it the same way is most important to them. If a letter is written well and the seller feels a connection with the buyer, I’ve noticed that sellers will be more accommodating to buyers throughout the process. Negotiations aren’t treated as hostile, the sellers will leave a response letter for the buyers upon closing, they more often leave a gift for the buyers when they leave the home, and they may even introduce them to neighbors.