When it comes to buying a house, there are a many different factors that impact whether or not you’re able to close a sale. It goes without saying that the price you’re willing to pay, and the amount you put down are the biggest factors. But they’re not the only factors. A buyers letter can also play a meaningful role in whether or not someone sells you a house.
Buyers letters are exactly what they sound like. They’re a personalized letter that you send to a homeowner or home seller when you want to buy their home, stating your intention and offering up your case for why you should be the next person to own their home.
A good buyers letter will resonate with a homeowner, and might be enough to get them to sell you the house even if you can’t offer as large of a down payment as someone else. Or it could give you the edge in a competitive bidding war over a property when the seller is fielding multiple offers. Similarly, a bad buyers letter might make someone want to sell their house to anyone but you.
No pressure, right? HA! So how do you write a convincing letter? The good news is, it’s not hard to write a simple and effective buyers letter, as long as you. know what to mention (and what to leave out).
Tip #1: Keep It Short
Being concise is your friend when it comes to a buyers letter. Someone selling their home doesn’t have a ton of time to read through life stories, and you should assume that they’re getting buyers letters from multiple people. Get to the point, and don’t bore them with something that will take half a day to read. Your letter can probably be between 300 and 450 words, and certainly never needs to be longer than 500 words. It should never be longer than one page.
Tip #2: Be Honest and Personable
This is the most important part of a buyers letter. You want to be personable and open. Let them know who you are. Don’t give them your life story, but do give them something that makes you human. Let them know that your kid loves climbing trees so the backyard is perfect. Mention that it reminds you of your childhood house. Tell them how you just got relocated and feel fortunate to have found a place you want to call home in a new city. Don’t be afraid to be a little vulnerable.
Tip #3: Be Specific
Whenever you can, be as specific and exact as possible. Don’t say, “I love the backyard”. Instead say, “I loved the way the patio looks out over that beautiful oak tree”. Don’t say, “I like the neighborhood”. Instead say, “We would love to live so close to the downtown area. Alfred’s has our absolute favorite pizza and we can’t believe we could live within walking distance!”.
You get the idea. The more specific you are with examples about who you are and why you want the house, the more genuine you are going to appear. And the more likely you are to hit on something that really resonates with the buyer in a deeply personal way.
Tip #4: Don’t Try to Guilt Trip
Always avoid guilt tripping. Don’t mention that you had a death in the family. Avoid saying that it’s been a bad year and you’re just looking for something good to happen. Don’t make it feel like it’s their obligation to sell their home to you. Remember, as much as a good buyers letter can help your cause when making an offer on a house, a seller is balancing a lot of factors including their own needs and timeline. If they feel that you’re trying to guilt them into choosing you, they could become resentful.
Tip #5: Be Passionate, but Not Over the Top
People selling their home often have a lot of sentimental value tied in it. In most cases, the seller is the person who lives or has lived on that property, sometimes for years or decades. Of course they feel an emotional attachment to it!
So they might feel more comfortable selling to someone whoa also feels a connection to the place. Be passionate about why exactly you love the home. Tell them how the kitchen is perfect for an avid chef like yourself, or the yard is the dream spot to teach your kid how to garden. But stop short of going over the top and sounding like a commercial.
Tip #6: Don’t Mention Plans to Alter or Remodel the Home
Remember, in all likelihood the seller also loves the home you’re trying to buy — just like you! They love the house, even if they’re selling it, and don’t want to see it ruined or even changed. So don’t mention any big plans to alter the home, or to remodel it or add on to it. It’s fine to have those plans, but keep them to yourself.
Tip #7: Know Your Audience
If you know anything about the seller (maybe you already met them at an open house) use that to your advantage when writing the letter. If the seller is an elderly person, don’t use lots of modern slang they may not understand. If you know anything about the seller’s hobbies or tastes, try to incorporate that into what you write. This will help you make a personal connection with the seller that could serve you well as they decide on offers.
Tip #8: Stay Positive
When in doubt, stay positive. Someone selling their home is going to feel much happier and more comfortable leaving it for a person with a positive attitude, who is grateful to be moving in.
Writing a convincing buyers letter doesn’t need to be a big process. Be yourself, be honest, and be personable, and you’ll greatly increase your chance of landing the home you’re trying to buy.