Write That Letter!

How much weight do you think a personal letter addressed to a Seller from a prospective Buyer holds? What if I told you it could be worth tens of thousands of dollars? Believe it or not, if you find yourself competing for your dream property in a multiple-offer situation, you'd be wise to introduce yourself to set yourself apart from the competition.
A personal letter allows a buyer to provide a seller insight on who they could sell their house to and serve as an inexpensive negotiation tool that ultimately sets you apart. Here are a few reasons why you should write that letter:

  1. Your story is worth telling - Do you have a connection to the property, immediate neighbourhood, or perhaps a person connected to the seller? Are you head over heels for the home you're offering on? Tell the story. Only some people are sentimental, but if you feel that the seller can feel great about who will occupy their home once it's sold, there is zero harm in conveying this beyond dollars and cents.
  2. Estate sales are only sometimes price motivated - Candidly, most of the time, executors are exercising their fiduciary duties to the estate by chasing the highest price. This isn't always the case. Perhaps adult children are selling their parent's home and are in a financially sound place personally, and who they sell their parent's home to is equally as important as what they sell it for. A letter from a young family wishing to own the home will comfort a seller, knowing they've left the family home in the hands of a buyer who plans to set roots and stay put for some time.
  3. You are not an investor - Some sellers wince at the idea of selling their property to a numbered company or an investor just looking to add another rental property to their portfolio. Let the seller know if you plan to use the property as a principal residence. Maybe you're $2,000 shy of the top offer, but even a price-motivated seller can now sell to an owner-occupied buyer without feeling like they left a boatload of cash on the table.
As recently as this year, I experienced a situation where my buyers successfully acquired a property in their preferred neighbourhood while competing against multiple offers. They had a personal connection to the area, an opportunity to give the seller their preferred closing date and the ability to sell themselves as a perfect fit for these sellers. The letter held weight even though they weren't the top offer regarding money.Nine times out of ten, a seller will take an offer that gives them top dollar for their home. These sellers may receive these letters and feel for a buyer but ultimately pursue a sale that makes fiscal sense. This is normal seller psychology and typically the right way to view a transaction. That said, there is no harm and minimal effort when writing a letter and introducing yourself to the seller. An experienced Realtor can offer you advice on what to include in these letters and use it as a tool when it comes time to negotiate on your behalf.