In this competitive Seller’s Market, a well-written cover letter or offer letter can be the key factor in getting your offer accepted. Sellers are often seeing upwards of 5 or 10 contracts, all with great terms and many above asking price, so it’s important to do everything you can to make your offer stand out. Connecting with the seller on a personal level can be what tips the scales in your favor. Below you’ll learn how Kaytlyn Jenkins and Merigan Barton guide their buyers to write winning offer letters. We’ll also share how sellers incorporate reviewing offer letters in their decision making process from listing agent Sean Flatley.
1. Personally Engage the Seller
First, address the seller by name – nobody reads letters addressed “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear Seller”. If the seller is a business entity, your Realtor® should be able to find out the name of who is making the decisions.
Point out specific details of the home that made you fall in love with it. Mention a family photo that you thought was lovely, or connect with how the seller laid out the furniture, or the placement of a piece of decor. Just like you, sellers take pride in how they decorate their homes, and as part of selling, they are marketing their preferences and taste, hoping a buyer will appreciate it.
Let the seller know how you’ll use the home, or what’s important about the location or a specific feature. We had one buyer who loved the home because of a large dock and grassy area next to a pond. Their son, who has ADHD and ASD, loves the peace that fishing provides him, and was looking forward to being able to fish any time he wanted.
2. Add a Personal Photo
It’s hard to say no to someone’s face, right? Sometimes, when you include a photo of yourself or your family (think snapshot, not portrait or headshot), it can help the seller imagine you in the home, or imagine your disappointment if they don’t choose you.
3. Find Common Ground
Is there something about the house that made you feel at home as soon as you walked in? Maybe the seller was in the same branch of military as you – let them know where you served and thank them for their service. Is there a UCF rug on the floor? Add a “Go Knights” blurb. Perhaps they love dogs and would enjoy knowing their home was going to like-minded fur parents – mention your dog’s name and a few fun anecdotes about her. We had one buyer, a new mom, ask the seller in the letter where they purchased a pretty basket they were using to store baby bottles, because she was getting frustrated with having bottles all over her counter. You can bet the seller was imagining that mom house-hunting with a new baby and relating to the challenges she was experiencing. Details like these let the seller know who they are selling their home to, and it’s important to many sellers that their home continues to be loved by a like-minded family.
4. Be Brief
We’ve listed quite a few things here, but it’s very important not to drag on in these letters. It should be no more than a single page or 2-3 paragraphs. Be concise and direct as your seller may be reading several of these in one sitting. If you bore them, they might move you to the bottom of the list.
5. Close the Deal
Ask your Realtor® for advice on this and we can provide examples from winning cover letters we’ve submitted in the past…we’re great at closing the deal! Thank the seller for reading the letter, and reiterate your interest in and love of the home. Let the seller know you are aware they have a big decision and you appreciate being considered.
Notes from our Lead Listing Agent Sean Flatley
We advise our sellers to remove as much personal decor as possible – but some sellers take pride in what they leave up. When you connect with common personal interests, it hits home with those sellers and can make a difference in whether or not they choose you. Keep in mind that when selling a home, the seller is not just searching for the home’s next caretaker; they’re also looking for the best return on their investment. Make sure that you’re presenting yourself not only as the buyer who will love the home the most, but as someone who can afford the home, and will make the process as easy as possible for the seller. A letter might help seal the deal, but doesn’t guarantee you’ll beat out the other offers, especially if the seller is considering cash offers.