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3 Secret Tips to Writing a “Love Letter” to a Seller

21243_01In 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 chancesso, 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

Reminder: A love letter isn’t usually about yourself…if it is, you are usually alone come next Valentine’s Day. Writing an effective appeal is all about leaving an impression that resonates with the seller. So, I do my best to get a feel for who the seller is while touring their home. My secret tip within this tip is to look at their books. You can tell a lot about a person (and what is important to them) by the type of books they own…and you can usually find some common ground with another person by highlighting a shared interest. Perhaps they are in the same field of work or share a political or religious leaning. It is important, however, to be subtle – not come across as a stalker. You can do this by using key-words in your personal letter without being overt.  Certain words can set off triggers in a seller’s mind that the buyer is someone that is like-minded…so they may be someone the seller would favor.
Tip #3: Landscaping
My other secret tip is to express how much you appreciate the seller’s landscaping. There is something emotional about spending time and money on your yard because the trees or landscaping is something that a seller often spends countless hours on with a vision of being there for many years. It’s often the one mark they can leave on the history of the property that will remain. If a seller knows that you look forward to seeing the tree they planted grow to 50 feet or can’t wait to help the flowers continue to grow…sellers are often left with a favorable impression. If they know that you are going to chop down the tree that they planted in honor of their first baby – probably best to keep that to yourself!
Does it actually work? 
If this is any indication, I am a real estate agent and have written a personal letter about my family to the seller of a property. The conclusion: there were 8 offers on the property, ours was not the highest offer, but the seller chose us because of our letter (at least that is what we were told). I have also helped many other buyers purchase property in competitive situations and have been told that the letter was an important factor in choosing their offer.
The Seller’s Perspective and Bonus Tip #4: Grammar

Blog - House KeysWhen 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.

Selling a home is not always about finding the highest bidder. Knowing how to connect buyers and sellers in an emotional decision with huge financial weight and the dynamics of these transactions are not always clear-cut business decisions. A well written personal letter can set you apart and put your offer on the top of the stack.

 

All the Best,
RyanHalset, Realtor ®
Boardwalk Real Estate, LLC
Phone: (206) 930-7959 | Fax: (425) 483-1070

Ryan@BoardwalkSeattle.com ​| Facebook Page
 
Seattle Magazine, Five Star Agent – Best in Client Satisfaction
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3 Responses

  1. Great article! I’ve had buyers write love letters in the past as well. Often, I have buyers write a warm, friendly opening paragraph to their request for repair letter to the sellers. I’ve found that the repair negotiations go smoother when the sellers’ heart strings have been tugged a bit.

    • Hi Alysia,
      I think that’s a great idea! I really do feel that it’s an art to make the transaction more “human”…and that’s where great brokers can separate themselves from the good.
      – Ryan

  2. […] letter can actually impair your chances of securing that dream home, which is why he now emphasizes 3 unique tips for helping your love note stand out above the […]

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