There are many tactics being used by home buyers to stand out from the crowd.
While not all sellers will read them, personalized letters are the most accepted and popular for m of unique buyer strategies available. Don't rush the letter. take the time to write it correctly. It just might be the most valuable single page of text you will ever write.
Here are 14 keys to write and leverage your best attributes by thinking from the seller's point of view:
1. Flattery is everything.
This is an emotional pitch, not a business pitch. As the buyer you're attempting to tell the seller, "I'm such a good person that if the numbers are close you should pick my offer because you like me the best." YES, they need to like you!
Compliment the way the house has been maintained, the "homey" feeling it gives off, or the craftsmanship of the finish work can fill a homeowner with pride.
Listing these attributes of desirable items can convince a seller that a buyer also possesses pride of ownership, and that the home will continue to be well maintained in the future.
2. Get to the point.
Pick two or three reasons why you will be the best buyer for this home, and make them distinctly recognizable. The more streamlined you make your message, the more memorable it will be. Be clear and polite, adding personal touches, but also be careful not to become so long winded that the letter negatively overshadows the offer itself.
3. Paint a Picture.
People remember what they've read at a far higher rate when they can see a picture of it in their head. "I really love this neighborhood because I lived here and went to school here," doesn't resonate.
On the other hand, "I spend half of my time walking the cobblestone streets around this block, dropping off my daughter at Gilman School and volunteering at Schniltzelfest every summer," will trigger a visual memory for a seller.
4. Highlight where you are similar to the seller.
When touring the house, pay attention to the family pictures that are out and other clues of what's important to the seller.
If they have pictures of their kids playing in the pool and you have kids that will play in the pool, highlight it. If they have zero pictures of kids, but lots of gold trophies, then don't mention the kids and highlight how much you look forward to practice putting in the backyard.
5. Don't whine but do tug on their patriotism.
The emotion of your letter must be upbeat and high. It needs to make the seller feel good. The seller doesn't care how many other homes you've lost out on. They don't care that your rent just doubled.
6. Don't remodel their home yet.
Planning on adding a second story or changing the landscaping? Do not mention that to the seller. You might be correct that the seller's sewing room would make a great workout room for you, but this isn't the time. If you're going to expand to create more bedrooms, you might be changing the seller's favorite eyebrow windows in the roof line.
7. Address the elephant in the room if needed.
For offers that are less than full price or have some other perceived negative element, a seller might need extra convincing.
It's important to add information about comparable homes, the surrounding area, or noted defects in the home might be necessary to point out for sellers who are stuck at a high asking price.
It's important to word this section delicately, so the seller is not offended. Most homeowners have an emotional attachment to their property, but including information that justifies a low offer price may educate a seller about unrealistic expectations.
8. Show confidence in your ability to qualify.
Present yourself as a fully qualified buyer who will have no problem closing the purchase. A strong financial backing and a solid pre-approval from a lending institution is information that shouldn't be left out.
Including financial details in the attached letter, written in a polite but direct way, can reassure a seller that the transaction will close in a timely manner, also eases the sellers' fears of a shaky transaction.
9. Show humility.
Be humble and ask for the sellers' blessing on your offer. "We would be so honored to live in your home" goes much further than, "We are confident you will accept our generous offer."
The ball is in their court, and your letter should acknowledge that.
10. Close with Clarity.
Your excitement, motivation and ability should be reiterated at he end of your letter in a quick recap. Remember that the sellers could be reading a few letters. Make sure that the closing of your letter reminds them of your best qualities and reinforces them
11. Sign with Appreciation.
The feeling your sellers will leave with can live or die on the signature line. "Sincerely", "Cordially," "Best Regards" and "Yours Truly" do not apply. This is not a business correspondence of equals. Thank the sellers for spending their valuable evening reading your letter.
12. Spell check, grammar check, and buddy check, then do that all again.
There is an unbelievable amount of weight that some sellers will put on the preciseness of the letter. Right or wrong, the buyer's personality will be judged from their attention to detail, ability to follow through, and level of care taken in writing the letter.
13. Be creative.
Your letter may not be the only personal letter the seller sees. Have some fun with it, and make it stand out.
Have the kids draw a picture of the house on the letter, or put the letter on your command letterhead. Hand write it if you have nice penmanship, or made a video saying the same thing and link to it in the letter.
14. Find your best looking picture and include it.
If the seller can see you in their home, then you're 90% of the way there. Make sure it's a happy photo, as this was their family home. Many people want to see the next family love the home as much as they did. Military - remember point #5 - and get a picture with you in uniform.
Bottom Line: Make the seller like you so they can see you living in their home.