Posted by: Kaplan Real Estate Education
Published: September 8, 2020
Will writing a buyer’s letter to the seller get your client their dream property? Many homeowners are convinced that their letter is what tipped the sale in their direction. In some situations, a letter to the seller can make a big impact and positively affect the outcome for your client. However, it’s important to consider the situation carefully to make sure that your client doesn’t accidentally negatively impact the process with a well-meaning letter to the seller.
Before you and your client make a decision, there are a few things you both should consider. Not every situation benefits from a letter from the buyer. There are times when a letter could actually hurt your client’s chances of landing their desired home, so it’s important to look at everything from an informed perspective. Your clients depend on you, their real estate agent, to provide that trusted advice. So, when should you send a buyer’s letter to the seller and when should you reconsider? Read on to find out.
Should Your Client Write a Homebuyer’s Letter to the Seller?
Writing a letter to the seller could be beneficial if there are multiple parties with a serious interest in the property. Adding a personal element could help your client stand out among many competitive offers. In a situation with competing offers, a buyer’s letter could make a big difference in determining which offers resonate with the sellers.
However, if there are no competitive offers made, a letter to the seller could give you less negotiating power because the sellers already know that your clients are set on the property. In addition, the stress of the property hunt could lead your client to disclose information or beliefs that are too personal and could be a potential turn off to the buyer.
Disclosing your client’s family status and reasoning behind wanting to purchase the property could open the door to possible discrimination on behalf of the seller. Ultimately, it may be safer not to disclose information that could be used to discriminate against your client.
The seller’s real estate agent could even withhold the letter if it contains any information about your client’s status in protected classes under The Fair Housing Act. The seller’s agent wants to protect the seller against accusations of a Fair Housing Act violation in the case that your client’s offer is not accepted.
How to Write an Effective Buyer’s Letter to the Seller
If you’ve considered the pros and cons of writing a letter and decided that it could benefit your client to do so, follow these guidelines to ensure that it’s as effective as it can be.
1. Keep it short.
The most effective letters are to-the-point and carefully worded. A good tactic for keeping the letter short is asking your client to write a draft or two before settling on a final version. The first draft can be as long as they like, including all the information they think is important to mention.
Challenge them to shorten it in the second draft, while still retaining the essential information. The final version will come across much more polished and effective to the seller after going through a round or two of edits.
2. Build off of something you have in common.
If there is something that your clients have in common with the sellers, that’s a good starting point to build off of in the letter. For example, if you know that the property was the seller’s first home purchase, and your clients are also first-time buyers, that could strike a chord with the seller.
3. Be upbeat and positive.
Try to keep the letter upbeat and happy. In the letter, your clients should point out detailed and specific features of the home that they appreciate. The goal is to make the buyer feel like your clients don’t want to buy just any home in the neighborhood—they want this home. You want the seller to finish reading the letter and feel positive about the possibility of selling to your clients.
4. Leave out any information that might be oversharing.
If you suspect that some information might be too personal, it’s best to not include it. While some sellers might identify or sympathize with your clients, others may not. Or, the seller may not appreciate lengthy personal accounts in general. Since neither you nor your clients know the seller’s personally, try to limit the amount of personal information that you share with them.
5. Proofread it.
When your clients have a letter that they are happy with, give it one last look for any possible grammar or spelling errors. Ensuring that the letter is free of grammatical errors will present your clients in the best possible light.