Musings from a life of chances and changes
Love Letters From Homebuyers
In case you missed the Spring real estate market, don't fret. You can still buy some great homes before the school year starts. But don't be surprised if you have some intense competition. You may be faced with other buyers wanting the same property. In a multiple bid scenario, you've probably heard that writing a personal note can persuade sellers to accept your bid. Of course, that can happen. But, a bad love letter can sabotage your offer and end your hopes of owning that dream home. If you want your personal plea to be attractive to sellers, here are some comments to avoid:
We can't wait for our 4 legged furry kids to romp around the backyard.'
My dogs are like family to me but not everyone is an animal lover. Considering your need to appeal to sellers, it is better to be cautious when discussing your furbabies. It is particularly important if you have a breed that people believe to be dangerous. Even though the sellers are leaving, they may have a strong sense of loyalty to keep their neighbors safe. Of course, if you know that the sellers have and like dogs, you can be as passionate as you like.
'We adore your home and plan on making renovations to the ________ (fill in the blank, kitchen, bathrooms, etc.) so that is why we can't pay the listing price.'
Nothing kills a romance quicker than mentioning the faults of the other. Buyers are tempted to justify their financial decision to offer less money than the listing price. Don't do it! First, if you are in a multiple bid situation, offering less money will not get you the deal. Second, the sellers don't care what the Buyers think they need to change in order to live in the house. The sellers have been living there without the improvements and priced it accordingly. If you lowball the sellers for any reason, you might as well look for another house.
'We can imagine our glorious Christmas tree in the front window.'
Although the Fair Housing Act prevents discrimination based upon race, color, national origin, sex, family status, or disability it is better not to trigger an emotional response to a statement about your religion. If you feel that the sellers unfairly rejected your bid, you will have a difficult time proving a claim. It is just better judgment not to reveal religious preferences.
'Our lease expires soon and we'd like to close quickly.'
You risk losing the sellers' interest when you reveal your needs. It is far more important for your Realtor to find out whether the sellers want to close at a particular time. Your offer is weaker when you place a time restriction on the sellers. The sellers will now know that you may need to negotiate terms in order to meet your deadline. Keep these type of details out of your offer letter.
'We will be getting our finances in order as soon as our bid is accepted.'
One of the major mistakes that homebuyers make is not showing financial strength in their offer. Now is not the time to be looking for mortgage pre-approval. Take care of your finances, including getting pre-approval or proof of funds, prior to making an offer. You may be competing with buyers paying in cash and time is of the essence. It is not appealing to sellers to wait for proof of funds. They will most likely choose a different bid that is financially supported.
' We know nothing is perfect....'
Where is the love? Your letter should not put you at a competitive disadvantage. From the moment you meet the sellers or their agent, you need to appear to be easy to work with and gracious when talking about the home. Sellers will gravitate to the buyers that they think will make the process seamless. Acknowledging reservations in making the offer is like offering the sellers an opportunity to be aggravated. Sellers will tear up your love letter and go on to the next. You need to sell yourself in order to make your offer stand out. Make sure you've selected a Realtor that can assist you in presenting the letter that makes you look the best. The love will flow and you'll be in your dream house!
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Judi Berger is an attorney and real estate broker who is blogging as she begins a new chapter in her life.