Submitting a personal letter with a residential home offer has become table stakes in some markets. Is it the right thing to do?
It is the agent’s call. The neighborhood and school districts play a huge role with many purchases, and with others a purchase is clearly a flip or teardown. Many sellers don’t need to be reminded of that. And the nicest letter in the world won’t gloss over an offensively low offer. If a letter makes sense for the situation and the seller seems receptive, there are three things to help guide your buyer while they craft it.
First, be sincere and authentic. Buying and selling a home is often an emotionally charged transaction on both sides, so being transparent is always appreciated. Why this house, why this neighborhood, and why right now helps to introduce the buying family. It’s also the time to mention considerations the seller might not know about that could help sway the decision in the buyer’s direction.
Second, commitment. Communicating the buyer’s readiness, both from a financial standpoint and an eagerness to get the deal done, can help get some sales over the line. Sellers don’t want any speed bumps. It may be appropriate for the buyer to reiterate they are coming to the table pre-approved, with cash, or a willingness to not haggle on fixing the front steps before closing. It may be appropriate to suggest renting the house before closing if it’s empty, or renting it back to the seller if they need a little more time for their exit. It may also serve the buyer well to make sure the seller knows there is a little urgency on the buying side to get in and get settled based on outside timing- be it the start of the school year, a new job or just getting out of the old house.
Finally, review the letter after it’s written and see if it can be shortened. It probably won’t be the only letter the seller receives, and a concise but thoughtful approach is likely to be read and appreciated more than a four-page family autobiography.
As transactions are often becoming more personal, helping your buyer present who they are can certainly be an advantage. Just remember, as the agent, you are going to be the barometer of the situation. Give guidance accordingly.