Most sellers want top dollar and a quick sale on their home. But here’s a secret: They also often have a strong emotional attachment to their soon-to-be former homes. They’ve made memories there, and probably have strong connections with people in and around the neighborhood. Buyers who can appeal to this emotional side of the transaction — reassuring the seller that they will sincerely treasure the home — may have an edge over buyers who simply approach with numbers.
1. Build your offer around what you learned at the showing
When Cockeysville, MD, couple Alyssa Hammond and her then fiancé were house-hunting, they found a home they loved right away. But they knew immediately, since it had been on the market for a year, that there was something unusual about it. After chatting with a member of the sellers’ family during a home visit, Hammond got the scoop. The home had belonged to the sellers’ late mother. “[The sellers] were so picky about who purchased their late mother’s home,” says Hammond. “We had a feeling that sending a note with information about how we would utilize the house may be just the trick — and thankfully, it worked!” Here is their reassuring letter:
When my fiancé and I started looking into buying our first house, we visited a few places, and when we walked into your mother’s house, it felt like home. I pictured our dog napping in the sunlight next to the back door, and my fiancé and I decorating the back patio with string lights to make our own little oasis. During our initial visit, we had the pleasure of meeting your family member who has been checking on the house until you can find a new owner to love and cherish it. It is apparent that your mother loved this house dearly, and that is why it’s in such great shape.
So that you would know a bit about whom your mom’s home would be going to if you were to accept our offer: Andrew and I met as children, we’ve been dating for five years, and are getting married in six weeks. I’m a life and money coach, and my fiancé is getting his doctorate in physical therapy this May from UMD, graduating a week before our wedding.
We are also very involved in foster work — over the past eight years, we’ve taken in 15 foster puppies, and we hope to expand that to taking in foster children in the coming years. We aren’t able to do fostering in our apartment, so we are looking forward to having our own space and yard. Your home has just the right amount of room to ensure that we can provide a safe and loving home to multiple children (and pups!), which we love.
We absolutely adore the Springdale neighborhood! Andrew and I currently rent an apartment in Cockeysville with a rental lease through August that we are willing to break early, and we are prepared to move forward with this purchase immediately. We can offer a 20% down payment and are preapproved on a loan, additionally; we can have everything finalized within your desired closing date. Due to our budget constraints as a young family just starting out, we are open to an “as-is” sale provided that there aren’t any major repairs.
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. We are so excited to buy our first home and build a life that will steer the course for the rest of our lives!
Thank you for taking the time to consider us,
Alyssa Blackwell & Andrew Hammond
Why it works:
1. The buyers reassured the sellers by explaining who they were and what their specific plans were for the home.
2. They used enthusiastic, personal language.
3. Using the insights they discovered at the initial visit, they customized an offer letter that directly and specifically addressed the sellers’ concerns and respected their memories.
2. Explain your offer bid — especially if it is low
Honesty is the best policy for offer letters. Don’t just tell the seller what you think they want to hear — it’s transparent. “My suggestion is to be honest and expressive, because sentiment may produce positive results,” says Michael Kelczewski, a Pennsylvania and Delaware real estate agent. Here’s a heartfelt letter from clients of his who are buying a home in Newark, DE:
Our names are Jerry and Caitlin Aunet, and we recently had the pleasure of walking through your beautiful house on [address] and immediately fell in love. We are a young family of three, with a fourth on the way, and could imagine us raising our growing family in your wonderful house. We loved standing in the yard and seeing all of the playhouses that belong to potential friends for our 3-year-old daughter and baby due in November. It seems to us that this house must hold a lot of your cherished memories, and we would love the opportunity to add our own.
Although your house is listed on the market as out of our price range, when we came across it on the internet, it really stood out. We have been house-hunting for the past six months, and this is the first and only house we have been [in] where it felt like a home and not just a house. We realize that you are asking for [asking price] but respectfully hope that you would consider our offer of [offer amount]. We hope that you don’t look at our offer as going disrespectfully low. We are offering the max that we can afford at this time.
We hope that you will consider our offer at this time, and if not, in the event that something changes in the future, we hope you will keep us in mind as a potential owner of your wonderful home. Thank you for the consideration, and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at [phone number].
Jerry and Caitlin Aunet
Why it works:
1. The buyers were honest and upfront with the sellers about how much they were willing to offer.
2. They respectfully explained why they were making an offer below the asking price and how much landing this home would mean to them.
3. The buyers gave some personal details about themselves to paint them as more than just numbers.
3. Relate to the seller
Telling the seller about yourself is important, but it’s also a good idea to make a connection. The best way to do that is to demonstrate what you have in common. This letter from Dennis and Yazmin Lowther, clients of Ana Milena Vega, a Tampa, FL, agent, does just that.
There are no words to describe the way we felt when walking into your home earlier today with our daughter.
From the moment we pulled into the home, we so appreciated the amazing backyard and the oasis you have made it into. We imagine spending our summer gatherings there and having bonfires during cooler nights.
We are first-time homebuyers, and the excitement we felt when walking into your home meant we KNEW we had found our dream home.
The excitement grew as we walked through your extraordinary home. Every detail impressed: the stunning crown molding, the character, the history … every single corner. We are so in love.
As we continued our tour through the bedrooms, we couldn’t help but notice that your daughter loves bows. Our daughter loves bows too and keeps them together just as your daughter does.
Every corner of your home spoke to us. We are humbled by the opportunity to present you with our offer. Please know that if you accept our offer, we will surely continue with the legacy and the love that you have put into it.
Why it works:
1. Although it’s a small thing, calling out the similarity between their daughter’s bow collections is an emotional, personal way to make a connection.
2. They didn’t go overboard or come off as phony. It is simple and sincere so there’s less of a chance that it could backfire as a turnoff.