Dear Mr. & Mrs. Seller,
I love your home, because I need a home, and yours is as good as any. I like the walls. I like the yard. The roof is nice. I also like the........ZZZZZZZZZzzzzz.
...People, it's time we talk about letter writing. I am not talking about letters to a friend, if anyone actually still does that...I mean letters to accompany your offer, and really set yours apart.
Years ago there was a high school teacher that said, if you want your resume to stand out, send it on neon paper. Before you know it, each major company's HR department was swimming in...you guessed it...neon colored resumes. These folks were different, just like everyone else. Much similar to that in the current real estate industry would be...the letter.
A couple years ago, the letter was a great tool for agents to really get their client's offer showcased, but in this market the letter is virtually the same as a rotary phone. "Just because it functions, doesn't mean it works."
Put yourself in the sellers position for a minute. Most likely they are capitalizing on the strong market, and are motivated by, you guessed it...cold hard cash. This is their largest investment, and they want to get the most they can for it. Wouldn't you? Now, digging a smidge deeper, they are surrounded by offers, sometimes as many as 20-30 offers. If all 20-30 of them have letters, this seems less like a personal touch and more like an annoyance. Can a letter still be effective? You bet it can, but like anything, your success will only be predicated by your ability to adapt to changing markets.
There are two main components, the personal side, and the business side. Starting with the personal, make sure you have their names spelled right, and now would be a great time to also take a look at the contract to make sure their name is spelled correctly there too. You can ask your agent (or us) for a copy of the tax records, which we can get easily enough. A misspelled name can be a tough one to recover from. Second...while touring the home, did you notice dog beds? Cat box? While in the home, see if you can figure out what their pets name might be...after all, you are looking to buy their home, too. If they're involved in the move, put them in the letter.
Now, onto the business. THIS is where letters are evolving these days. Put your BEST foot forward. Are you putting a large portion of $ down? Are you handy? Don't have a home to sell? Turn those into "I am not worried about appraisal and have waived my appraisal contingency" and "I understand moving in this market is tough, so rest assured I will not nickel and dime you on inspection issues." Let them, and their agent, know you are committed to this house, and not just testing the waters.
One other tip, when writing the offer, presuming you are in a position to put a large portion down, make sure that's in paragraph 43 of the contract "Additional Contractual Provisions"
Putting yourselves in the position of others is helpful in all facets of life, but especially here. Short, sweet, sincere, but letting them know YOU mean business!
Until next week,
Chris & Nikki