How a "Love Letter" can help you buy your dream home
by Sara Ifert
on Saturday, October 3rd, 2020 at 1:35pm.
Falling in love is part of the home buying process for many. You walk into a home and you just know it’s the one. Interestingly enough, a “love letter” can sometimes seal the deal for prospective buyers. In the context of real estate, a love letter is a letter penned from the buyer to the current owner of their dream home. Not all sellers are swayed by these letters, but in some situations a love letter can tip the scales in the favor of that buyer. Even when there are multiple offers. In this article, our team of Realtors share their insights about love letters, and how they can help you buy your dream home.
Chris Venden has often encouraged buyers to write love letters to sellers since she got into real estate 15 years ago. “I think it helps pave the way for a smoother transaction. The seller is happy someone loves their home, and it creates a connection to want to work together. When there are a lot of competing offers, it may come down to price, but I have more sellers wanting to select the offer with a great love letter. The letter makes it more personal and less about the highest price,” said Chris.
What makes a good love letter?
Buyers who write good letters often are chosen as the winning offer even if their offer isn’t the highest. For some sellers, selling their home to the right buyer is more important than choosing the highest priced offer. So, what are the makings of a great love letter?
Alan Feder: I coach my buyers to put themselves in the seller's shoes. In other words, if you were selling your home what would you want to hear? In many cases, sellers want to know that the buyers appreciate their home. When writing your love letter, identify ways in which the seller has improved the property or personalized the property. Showing appreciation for the seller's taste and decor can help too. Make it personal. Many sellers want to know more about the buyers. Include a photo or two and some background information about why you are searching for a home and why their home caught your eye. Ultimately, the buyer needs to explain what they love and why they love the home so that the sellers are moved to pick their offer, regardless of price.
Also, consider the context of the seller’s situation. If the seller lovingly cared for their home for 50 years, many times they want to be sure the home is going to be cared for in a similar fashion. They don't want to hear that the home is going to be completely gutted and remodeled.
Dan Miller: Don't be afraid to make your letter personal. Many sellers will choose your offer when your letter connects with them on an emotional level. Share a few tidbits about yourself, how the home will make life better for you and your family, and how you will love and care for the home when it becomes yours. Love letters help sellers see you as a real person rather than just a buyer.
Love Letters Success Stories
Is it worth taking the time to write a love letter? Our agents agree that these letters can help you stand out in a sea of buyers - even if you can’t bid as high as someone else.
Alan: I had a situation where my buyer wrote an offer $10K less than the highest offer. They wrote a love letter to include with their offer, and the sellers picked them. The couple selling the home had lived there for 40 years and really wanted to see the home go to a young couple that would likely do the same.
Chris: One of my clients had been looking for the right home for a long time - over a year. They called me the minute their dream home hit the market, and we were the first one in to see it. We were ready with an offer when we walked through the door. Mrs. buyer had tears in her eyes - because the house was perfect. They wrote a strong offer, along with a great love letter. They even had their two young kids write their names in crayon. I delivered the offer and letter within an hour of the showing, and the seller accepted and cancelled all of the other showings. The buyers and sellers became friends and still keep in touch with each other.
It’s easy to see that in some cases, a love letter can be a deciding factor for sellers when selecting the winning bid. But, what if you aren’t a great writer? Our agents are often ready to lend a hand in this situation, and have written and rewritten letters for their clients to help their offers stand out. If you’re searching far and wide for your dream home and find yourself touring a home that steals your heart - take notes. Sending a love letter may be an effective way to help you make that dream home your reality.