Real Estate Watch – Cynthia Elizondo
Buyers’ Letter Dos and Don’ts
Did you know that there can be a way to sweeten a deal and potentially win a contract with a low offer (or perhaps just lower than others) that doesn’t cost a dime? All it takes is a few minutes of time to write out a heartfelt love of the property in question, and many sellers will turn into advocates for you to be the ones to purchase their home… even if it means making less money for them. With the right pull on the heartstrings, the logical mind can sometimes be won over by emotions. But there are certain things you should – and should not – include in any letter you might write to sellers.
• Use flattery. Talk up everything you love about their home, including their taste in décor. People love to hear they have good taste, and for most people, their home is the best reflection of it.
• Try to find common ground. While looking at the home, if you notice you went to the same university, or you served in the same branch of the military, or you have dogs just like them, be sure to mention it in the letter.
• Pull the heartstrings. People like to feel good about themselves, so if you can make the sellers feel they are doing a good deed by selling you the house, they might be persuaded. Examples of this would be military service, an ailing parent needs to move in with you, or your growing family needs more space. Work it!
There are certain things you want to be careful not to include in a letter, however, because you can have the opposite of the desired effect. You don’t want to give them a reason not to sell to you.
• Reference any religious preference. Due to the Federal Fair Housing Act, a listing agent might not even be allowed to show your letter to the sellers if there is any reference to a certain race, color, national origin, sex, family status, disability, or religion. This reference can be as simple as “I can’t wait to hang our kids’ stockings from the mantle.”
• Talk about plans to remodel. Just as sellers like to be flattered, they don’t like to be insulted, and mentioning changes to the décor can be construed as offensive.
• Draw attention to negative points in the offer. If you have a contingent offer, or need a long escrow, or have a difficult loan, it is best left to your agent to negotiate that with the listing agent. It is not a good idea to even bring it up in a letter that is meant to persuade. Instead, focus on the positive parts of your offer.
Writing a letter to the sellers does not guarantee your offer will be accepted, but in a competitive market it can give you the edge you need to seal the deal; however, you need to be careful of what not to say as much as what to include. When in doubt, ask your Realtor to help.
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Halcyon Real Estate Services