Home Buying in Dallas>Question Details

gjcarr03, Home Buyer in Fort Worth, TX

What are your views on adding a letter from the family with your offer on a home?

Asked by gjcarr03, Fort Worth, TX Sat Mar 8, 2014

I've seen it done on HGTV and just wonder how often that is actually done. If they really want a house, and not figuring the cost into it, does it help or hurt for the new family to write a letter about the family and why they want the home?

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Answers

52
Donna Delaney’s answer
I personally would not recommend it and as a seller's agent I wouldn't want it included with a purchase offer. It is my commitment to my seller to get the best and highest price for their property with a deal that is strategized to put them in a better place. In some aspects of this market finally finding a buyer and coming to close is difficult. It is my job to influence my seller so that they are in the best place they can be. If in the case of multiple offers it might be a nice deciding factor if my sellers were in a sound starting position to begin with.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 27, 2014
I think it is a nice gesture especially in multiple offer situations. It helps the seller to make a connection with the buyers. Sellers sometimes have emotional feelings leaving their long time,
loved homes. A love letter from buyers helps seller to let go; knowing the home will be loved and
taken care of by the new owners.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2014
I agree with Barbara. It can help in multiple-offer situations where the offers are very similar and the seller has strong emotional ties to their homes. I've seen it work, but it's rare.
Flag Wed Apr 30, 2014
Perfect. Well said.
Flag Tue Mar 25, 2014
I absolutely believe in a touching letter from the hopeful Buyer to the Seller of the Property. I have used this tactic for a few sales that were in multiple offer situations and it has been the difference between winning and losing the sale. Don't get me wrong... I am in no way saying it is your clients shoe-in for getting the Home but, it has worked for a couple of my clients. Sometimes if the Seller understands the reasoning for why someone wants their wonderful home it helps them come to an educated decision on whom they will in the end sell to. Don't forget... that sometimes that Seller is very attached emotionally to their home and they themselves may be looking to forward it on to someone who will Love it as much as they did.

Hope this helped you!

Lilah May Mitchek
Realtor
Holmquist & Associates
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 24, 2014
Some Buyers like to write that personal letter, letting the Sellers know how much they love the home and plans to take care of it once it is theirs. I believe Sellers like to hear this. Usually it is stressful to sell your beloved home, and knowing it will be cared for by the new Owners offers some piece of mind.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
I had buyers wanting a foreclosure owned by an investment firm. I had them write a letter telling about themselves and their desire to have a home and what they were going to do with it (repair/remodel & live there) as opposed to being investors & flipping it. It worked. They bought it $20K under list price!!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
I fail to see how that would help the buying process unless the family is guaranteeing financing. I can see it might help in a renting scenario as a possible reference, but even that would brink skeptimism as the family is going to be positive with their comments.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
I have used this with several buyers and it has worked every time. The letter has a beautiful way of humanizing the buyer/buyers for the seller. I can't imagine how it could be viewed in a negative light.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
It depends on these seller whether it will make a difference or not. It can work for you but also turn a seller off if they think you are just truing to play on their heart strings. Have your agent feel out the sellers agent as to how long the sellers have been in the home and if they raised a family there etc.

Chris
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
I find when I accompany a letter in presenting my offer to the seller it makes the buyer human.and adds depth to the offer.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
In South Dakota, if the buyer's agent asks to be present at the presentation of the offer to the sellers....they must be allowed to be there!
Flag Sun Mar 23, 2014
I think Annette misunderstood - I'm sure Julie would present the letter to both the sellers and their agent. I try to present all offers in person when possible, but the listing agent is (of course) always present.
Flag Sun Mar 23, 2014
And as a home buyer currently looking, you, Annette Lawrence, would never, never, never, EVER represent *me* in purchasing a home!! And if I were selling, I would be appalled if you did not allow such a letter to be presented to me. As an agent, you work for ME... whether I'm seller or buyer... and I would LIKE to know something about the person who wants to buy my home!
Flag Sun Mar 23, 2014
Julie, that a great strategy. However, you would never, never, never, EVER be allowed to personally present an offer to a seller I represent.
Flag Sun Mar 23, 2014
I often suggest that buyers write a letter and have written them myself for houses I've bought.

I think the focus of the letter should be what the buyers love about the house with perhaps a sentence or two about themselves since sellers are often curious. Selling your home is an emotional process - sellers usually want to feel good about passing the house on to the buyers and to me that's the feeling you want to inspire with the letter. Mention special features, things they've done to the house, things you can guess that they're proud of, etc.

Sellers often refer to a line or two in the letter multiple times during the weeks leading up to the closing. A well written letter that makes a seller feel good can definitely make a difference.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 8, 2014
The letter is a great idea as it adds a personal touch to the buyer's offer. Anything that sets a buyer's offer apart is a good thing, especially when a seller receives multiple offers. I always submit the letter with the offer. I've only seen the letters enhance my offers thus far and have not received any feedback to the contrary.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 8, 2014
It really can't hurt but it just depends on the seller. If it is a bank owned or something like that then most likely a letter will be a waste of time but you never know.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 8, 2014
Disagree!! I had a buyer wanting a foreclosure owned by an investment firm. I had them write a letter telling about themselves and their desire to have a home and what they were going to do with it (repair/remodel & live there) as opposed to being investors & flipping it. It worked. They bought it $20K under list price!!
Flag Sun Mar 23, 2014
I know I'm late however I just want to say it is great idea. I've seen it before where the seller's will go with someone just because of a letter. The seller's are emotionally attached to the home and they a lot of times want their "house" to continue to be care, just like they would.

A few minutes ago 
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 12, 2014
Hi I just saw your question! I'm a bit late, but wanted to answer because I've just had a buyer who was successful in negotiation a lower price with this technique. The sellers had loved their home, and were overvaluing it in spite of extensive repairs that were needed. This client loved the home and was in a unique position to do those repairs. She sent a letter explaining her love of the home and plans to do the repairs and take care of it, promising to love it as much as they did...and it melted the ice! i have not often done this as a realtor, but am now considering it in each case where it may make a difference to the sellers.

Nancy Chapmon, REALTOR
Suzanne Cook & Co
Longview, TX
903.241.6109
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 12, 2014
If the seller is a owner occupant and may have met and interacted with the buyer during the showing, then sure write the letter. If the seller is a corporate seller either from relocation, short sale, auction or foreclosure, don't bother. The letter will not be a part of the offer submission which is often completed as an online form.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 8, 2014
Ginny Winn, I love your name!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2014
It does not have any affect ion most sellers who are looking for the best price least amount of contingencies and a quick closing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2014
I think it helps. It humanizes the buyer.

Ginny Winn
Associate Broker near Lake Michigan
Exit Realty Harbor Shores - Michigan
Exit 1 Realty-Indiana
Call/Text (219)877-8238
http://www.ginnywinny.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2014
Would be good to write one ......
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 24, 2014
It can't hurt.

Leigh-Jo
Syan Real Estate
Call/Text: (505) 730-8181
New Mexico Real Estate: http://www.syan.com
Web Reference: http://www.syan.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 24, 2014
Yes, yes, yes. Just sold a house to a nice family whose touching letter and family picture put the icing on the cake because the sellers were extremely attached to the home they were selling.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 24, 2014
I absolutely think it is good to write one. I have seen it sway the sellers toward their offer instead of one that doesn't have the letter. Works here in Bend, Oregon
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 24, 2014
If, you are in a competetive market, then "yes" it certainly can't hurt! I have written letters, my clients have written letters, sometimes send a picture. It doesn't always get your offer accepted, but often.. it does!!
My Best,
Bronda Baldwin
Realtor
Coldwell Banker Kappel Gateway Realty
Vacaville, CA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 24, 2014
I believe that in certain situations it can be a plus and your Realtor could talk to the sellers Realtor and get an idea if that might help or not. Sometimes when sellers are particularly attached to their home and really hating the idea of selling it would help them to hear that the potential buyers will be taking very good care of it, love it, etc...

I hope this helps a little and best of luck in your home search and purchase.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
I have had several clients who have included a handwritten letter with their offer. These have been in multiple offer situations and have been effective. Sellers like to know who is buying their home and with multiple offers, especially offers that are similar, a letter can make an offer stand out.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
In the old days, the sincere and genuine letter from an adoring Buyer could truly make a difference. Now, however, with the advent of HGTV and several real estate websites advising such, many Sellers view this as theatrical. I have been involved (on the Seller's side) with numerous multiple bid scenarios as of late, and more often than not, the Seller is motivated by the best terms that the successful bid has to offer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
I always ask my buyers to prepare a letter about what the home means to them and a little about their family. I often also ask for a family photo to include. And I always present the offer directly to the seller, with their agent on the line or in person.

Using this technique I have been able to get offers accepted that were not necessarily the highest, and even had one seller move up the closing date by 6 months to accommodate the buyers.

If you want to see how I work, please contact me at 516-426-9459 and see why so many buyers choose me to be their real estate professional. Your home is a big investment and you deserve a professional, like me.

Always at your service!

Happy Spring!

Kimberly Crail, MBA, CPA
Licensed Salesperson
Certified Buyer Representative
Keller Williams Realty Gold Coast
http://www.LongIslandHomeSolutions.com
KCrail@KW.com

I serve Queens and Long Island, New York. Keller Williams is the largest real estate company in North America and has offices worldwide. If you aren't in my area, I would be happy to connect you with a great agent wherever you are.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
debbie.farmer, Just Looking, Co



Yes, especially in the extremely competitive East Bay Area I always have my buyers add a note to the sellers (except for REO's). It might not help all of the time, but it never hurts. I also add a letter from the lender saying how strong the buyers are financially.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
In some instances a letter does work. It is more common if there are multiple offer siutations. Other than that it is not usually necessary.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
Sorry I am a 28 yr realtor in palm springs area 1,5 hr east of LA . OC and San diego
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
YES I have been lower but w a letter & photo gotten accepted ! Family told me that is why they picked my buyer
I call them LOVE LETTERS
and sellers should do one too to buyers
Why they loved the home !
I m sunny palm springs 350 days of warm Low re prices too ! Get out of cold ! Loretta. 415 676-7262
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
Yes. I just had this happen to myself actually. Our offer came in under asking price and we knew that another offer was coming in the same day. Ultimately, we were told the letter made all the difference. It certainly can't hurt, but often can be very helpful to put a word picture with your offer rather than just a number.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
Help....at least they know you are serious and may outbeat just a cash investor for gain. Family need homes not outbid by moneymakers taking away an opportunity for homeowners.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
I have seen a couple of sellers laugh at the letters and most others be emotionally touched. Overall, yes, if you are working win a good agent to negotiate the deal it does not affect your negotiating position and can make the seller want to sell to you. My buyers have benefitted from doing so. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
Yes a letter to the seller can help in some circumstances. With multiple offers a heart felt letter could sway the sellers to except your offer. But If your offer is a low ball offer then unless the sellers are desperate to sell the letter probably won't do anything to make the offer look better.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
Bridgette, the letter adds a dynamic to the offer, providing a personal spin. From a seller's standpoint, an offer not accompanied by a letter is just a number offered by a stranger. When selling a home that a seller has built memories in with their family, it's nice to receive a letter from a buyer who outlines their wish to do the same. It puts a face to the number and appeals to the seller's emotional side, whether the seller is a bank or a family.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
If you have lived in the neighborhood and know folks there, it may make you feel more comfortable with how they will fit in.
Flag Sun Mar 23, 2014
Yes, the letter does work....does not work with everyone, but, I've seen it work in a lot of situations.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
We added a letter to the seller with our offer and ours was accepted.....the seller even responded to some of the things i mentioned and why she was accepting ours. So i truly believe it helps!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
Thanks for all the replies. We chose not to add a letter with our offer since we found out the seller is an investor. He wouldn't even budge on his price, but we love the house, so we are under contract at list.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
congratulations - and your doing the right thing. It is so important for me to hear that the buyers love the house, its not just about the money.
Flag Sun Mar 23, 2014
Its worked 2 times for me representing Buyers - both times they weren't necessarily the best offer (very close offers to the highest/best). But in both cases, the owners were selling the houses "emotionally" and I knew that up front. So, when I told my buyers to write a letter, they did so from the heart & it showed!!! Happy to report, the families that bought - held up to their end of the bargain and the homes look as good as when the past owners had them and even better!

Happy House Hunting - remember just be GENUINE when writing a letter - it makes a difference.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
People love letters telling them how much you love their home, its just what you were looking for and want to raise your family in it.


However 100% of the time the highest offer with the least contingencies wins. (Except in situations where a builder is interested in tearing the house down, its then 95%)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
Sometimes a letter helps a lot. Many people loves their home and property so who buys it can be very important. I've seen many sellers decide based on great letters from buyers telling what they loved about the home, who they are and what the home will be like in the future if they are the owners.

Happy House Hunting you guys!

The Foggs
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
Palm Harbor FL, Real Estate Made EZ

Gic,
From your Trulia profile it appears you are not a real estate professional. As such, only the 50.000 foot view can be provided.

There is value in a strategic letter of introduction. A letter to the Foreclosure department at Wells Fargo will has NO value.

The greatest benefit is derived in the application of human perception disciplines. Your REALTOR has training in this regard and can explain the ques and clues. This alignment is more essential than why the buyer wants the home.

Best of success,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, Fl
727.420.4041
http://RealEstateMadeEZ.us
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
Yes, do it. I have had 3 buyer clients do this in the past 6 months, and each one of them got the home they wanted. The key is to make it stand out i.e., include a picture of them that is creative (like with their pets, or at a near by favorite hot spot near the home they want...) Also, delivering it with some cup cakes didn't hurt one buyer's chances :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 16, 2014
We're still waiting to hear back from the underwriters for our approval before we put an offer on our house, but I think we will add a letter. The underwriters kicked it back last week for additional information, which we gave, so just waiting...again.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 11, 2014
I think you should do it. What can it harm. Most Sellers are only interested in the bottom line. As we all would be.
http://www.tcrdallas.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 11, 2014
I agree with some of the agents below... The market I work in is very competitive and I always suggest the buyer write a brief letter whether the home is a private or bank owned sale because if the letter from the buyer can "connect" with the seller in ANY way, I think that can make the difference especially if the seller has two very similar offers in hand!
This can also make a difference to a seller if he or she feels the buyer will love and maintain the home just as they have, especially if they've owned it for many years. As Elizabeth stated, selling a home can be just as much as, if not more than an emotional experience for a seller as it is for a buyer, and I've personally had sellers accept a slightly lower offer for instance because the buyer vowed to maintain their extensive flower gardens after purchase, believe it or not!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2014
This is the first i've heard of a letter. But I like it. Has anyone ever had a negative experience after adding a letter?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2014
Never had a negative experience; just the occasional eye roll from a listing agent who thinks this approach is foolish.
Flag Sun Mar 9, 2014
A letter is an excellent idea. As a buyers agent I have had my offer selected over other offers that were higher than my buyers because of a good letter.There are also some other great tricks but I can't give away all my secrets.


JToddRealty@gmail.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2014
All other factors being equal, a nice letter can give you an edge.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 8, 2014
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