We’re in a particularly hot market at the moment, where inventory is low and demand is high. Throw in that it’s summertime — the busiest season of the year for home buying — and the stakes are even higher.
Inevitably, this means more competition (and probably more bidding wars) for your buyers.
How can you help them stand out and snag that dream home? Though offering above listing price is certainly a good place to start, in today’s market, it’s often not enough. Ambitious buyers are waiving contingencies, throwing down huge earnest money deposits, and skipping inspections just to catch sellers’ eyes.
You need to do more to make an impression on that overwhelmed seller.
You need to make it personal.
The Personal Dear Seller Letter
Most buyers and sellers never meet. They only communicate through their agents, and the seller doesn’t really know anything about each bidder, other than how much money they’re offering and what their closing date will be.
The personal “dear seller” letter aims to change that. A simple, direct letter attached to an offer, it gives the buyer a chance to tell their story, declare their love for the property, and convince a seller that they’re the right choice to buy the home.
Think of them like a cover letter — an extra attachment to ensure your buyer’s offer gets the attention and full evaluation that it deserves.
Writing the Perfect Dear Seller Letter
The dear seller letter needs to be written by the buyer, so it’s more personal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t weigh in and help guide your buyers toward the right strategy.
You should encourage them to:
- Appeal to the seller’s emotions – Real estate transactions are generally pretty cold and sterile, so use the letter as an opportunity to do the opposite. Is your daughter begging for a yard to run and play in? Paint the picture. Have you been trying to buy a home for years but just keep getting outbid? Tell them all about it. You want the seller to empathize with your buyers and really feel for their plight.
- Highlight any public or community service – Is your buyer a police officer? A teacher? A firefighter? These are all community servant jobs that may endear the seller to them. If they do regular charity work or donate to a cause in the area, make sure to call attention to that, too.
- Talk about the house – What do they love about the house? What does the home have that’s perfect for their family, goals, or lifestyle? Have your buyers get specific about elements they like in the house, as well as how devoted they will be to caring for and maintaining the property. Chances are, the seller has developed an attachment to the property over the years. They’ll want to know they’re leaving it in good hands.
- Explain your bid – Unless your buyers offered way above asking, there’s a good chance someone bid more than they did. Buyers should use the letter as an opportunity to explain why they made the offer they did, as well as what factors played into it. Was the listing price already on the high end of their budget? Are they expecting a new baby and can’t afford to dip into their rainy day fund too much? Get detailed and tell them the honest truth.
- Be relatable – Buyers should also try to relate to the seller in some form or fashion. Were there tons of dinosaur toys and décor in the kid’s bedroom? Tell them all about your son’s love of dinos and his shock and awe when seeing the room. Is the kitchen clearly outfitted with lots of high-tech gear and appliances for a seasoned home cook? Share with the seller how much you love cooking and baking for your family.
Have the buyer send you their dear seller letter for review before submitting it, and if necessary, make any changes you see fit. Though you can use the same basic style and template for each offer letter, be sure your buyers customize them to the exact home and offer they’re submitting. You want the seller to know you put time and effort into the note — just as you’ll put time and effort into their property.
Embrace Home Loans is Here to Help
Having a solid plan for financing is also key to helping your buyers — and their offers — stand out. Encourage your clients to get prequalified for a mortgage loan at the very start of their home search. Not only will this give them a leg up on their competition, but it will also help guide them toward appropriately priced homes for their budget. Want to learn more or help your buyers get started? Refer them to an Embrace home loan officer today.