Let’s face it: Words are powerful. So much so, in fact, that a well-crafted offer letter — a written token of affection that buyers (and occasionally, renters) put on the table to help persuade a seller to accept their offer — can help seal the deal in a particularly tight market.
Or in some cases, not.
From a woman who wrote an offer letter from the perspective of her dog to a hand-delivered note written on parchment, here are four real-life scenarios from would-be homebuyers, along with tips for writing offbeat offer letters of your own.
Scenario No. 1: Letter from a dog
My dog, Henry, hopes that you will choose me to be the next occupant of your spectacular home. I am reviewing offers tomorrow night on my current house and I’m confident it will sell in a blink! But above all else, your house is amazing and I just had to take the time to include this in my offer. Below is Henry’s plea.
Hello! Thanks for reading this. My mom just couldn’t stop talking about your home when she came back to the car after the viewing. My tail was wagging and I was nose-nuzzling her to death, but it was clear her attention was captivated elsewhere.
My mom cooks a lot and so she needs a great kitchen for that. By “great,” I mean she needs enough room for her to dance and twirl around while she cooks. She does this often. She is one ball of energy, that’s for sure.
She couldn’t stop talking about the sunken tub, the colors throughout the house, the artistic and creative style … she loves it all and says she wouldn’t change a thing. “Cut from the same cloth” are words she used about you and how she feels at home there, and my doggy vocabulary doesn’t even know what that phrase means.
But enough about my mom. The backyard! She’s an artist, so she’s been talking about building a little painting studio out there all while I’m dreaming about sun soaking and playing. I can’t wait! The garage is perfect for all of her bikes. She has three bikes at the moment and needs a home for them too!
She is in a new chapter in her life and your home would be the perfect place to invigorate this new start. Needless to say, I really am hoping we can settle down and call your place home. Thank you from the bottom of my paws!
Nose nuzzles to you,
The takeaway: Sometimes quirky counts — if you know how to spin it right. In this case, the seller was a dog person, but not everyone cares about whether your pet wants a second bedroom for “guests.” Do your research about what the seller cares about before you go off the satirical deep end. And if you do, don’t just dip a toe in the water: dive in and commit.
Scenario No. 2: The novice newlyweds
The following letter was sent to Edward Jasterm, director of financial planning for Heritage Financial Services of Westwood, MA, and his wife, who recently sold their condo to a newlywed couple looking to purchase their first home together.
The letter, Jasterm says, helped their offer stand out amid the four others they received, even sacking a few extra thousand dollars from a buyer with a higher bid. Jasterm says he had a “good feeling” about these buyers, thanks to their letter.
Dear Current Homeowners,
It was really nice speaking with you outside of your home. You gave us that last bit of insight about the Forge Pond condos to know that this would really be the perfect move for us. We are currently living in Allston, MA and just feel that we have outgrown the area. We have been looking at condos in Canton, MA for the last couple months but had not found the “right” condo for us until we saw yours. We were so excited when yours came up in our search. It has everything we are looking for, and we fell in love with it immediately.
The neighborhood is perfect for us. We love the town center and can see ourselves walking to many of the restaurants and shops. We have several friends and family members who live nearby, and we love how close it is to the commuter rail.
Thank you for considering our offer. If you choose us to purchase your home, please know that it will be loved and cared for by us. It would be our dream come true to have this as our first home purchase.
The takeaway: Earnest is honest — and can strike a chord in the heart of a seller who cares about who will be the next person to take over their soon-to-be former home. Don’t sugarcoat, but do sweeten the pot by adding a personal touch with the “why” of your intentions. A little goes a long way! The final key point? These buyers had met the sellers in person — allowing them to get a sense of what would make for the best appeal.
Scenario No. 3: Your connections count
Relationship building matters, says Ryan Morgan, senior loan officer at Mortgage Corp East — and you never know when, or how, a good one will come back to serve you.
“A home in Hingham, MA — on Main Street, a prestigious area — was under agreement before it hit the market, thanks to two things: a preview showing arranged by a Realtor, and a letter written by the client who sent in an offer after the viewing.
“The sellers were very nostalgic about the home, and choosy about who was going to live in it next. They were so taken with that letter and the client that they decided to not test the waters by opening up the house to the general market and agreed on a sales price almost immediately because they were happy knowing the house was going to be in the right hands.”
The takeaway: It’s rare to get a preview showing, but if you land one — and you fall in love with the home — don’t give the sellers a reason to move forward with an official listing. Make your offer quickly, sweeten the deal with a thoughtful, well-written offer letter, and make yourselves irresistible to the seller! Having your house on the market can be a huge inconvenience; with this tactic, everyone wins.
Scenario No. 4: Details are persuasive
Carolyn Sackett, a homeowner in Ellensburg, WA, pulled out all the stops when she submitted an offer to the reluctant owners of her current home.
“It was a Hail Mary pass, since the owners had moved the whole family and menagerie back into the house, decided not to sell and not to move, not to see us, and certainly not to let us see inside the house.
“I wrote the most seductive missive ever, on parchmentlike paper, presented flat — not folded — in a parchmentlike 8-by-10 envelope, hand-delivered by our agent to their doorstep. It was topped with a long-stemmed red rose.
“The property was — and is — The Wild Rose Ranch.”
The takeaway: There’s (almost) no such thing as going too far. Sometimes it’s the littlest details that make the biggest difference.