If you’re thinking of buying a home in a competitive market, your real estate agent may recommend that you write a real estate offer letter to help your offer stand out. Redfin looked at the data on thousands of offers and found that in a bidding war, a personal cover letter improves an offer’s likelihood of success by fifty-two percent.1 In a previous article, we reviewed how to avoid seven common home offer letter mistakes. Now it’s time to learn how to write a real estate offer letter that will appeal to the seller and tip the scales in your direction. In addition to the essential elements such as property address, buyer’s name and seller’s name, here are tips on what else to include when writing a convincing offer letter.
Sincere flattery goes a long way
When a seller is reviewing multiple offers, making an emotional appeal about why you want the property may be worthwhile. Tell the seller why you love their home and why it’s an excellent fit for your family. “For example, if you’re dealing with a seller who has lived in their home for 30 years and raised their family there, they may be focused on selling their home to someone who will take good care of it,” advises Zillow.2
Make a personal connection
Are the red tulips in the front lawn your favorite flower? Was your alma mater’s flag hanging in the garage? When you’re doing a walk-through with your agent, be sure to take note of these items. Big or small, if you share a common interest in your letter, you’ll make yourself more relatable. But don’t go overboard; the key is to be sincere in a sentence or two.
Provide your offer details
Include information on your offer price, your earnest money deposit, loan status and the amount of your down payment.
Include your mortgage pre-approval letter
A pre-approval letter is an official letter from a lender that provides documentation of exactly how much you are approved to borrow. A seller may not even consider your offer without a pre-approval letter. Sellers look for buyers who are pre-approved because it gives them confidence that you can secure the financing needed to complete the home purchase.
Strengthen your offer with added protection
Guild’s innovative Homebuyer Protection Package combines three of our loan programs and services, effectively allowing homebuyers to protect their rate, earnest money and closing date. With Lock & Shop, you can lock in your interest rate for 90 days while shopping for a home. Credit Approval Protection (CAP) gives buyers, agents and sellers added confidence in Guild’s pre-approval process. If the company issues a preliminary underwriting credit approval but is unable to close the homebuyer’s transaction, Guild will pay up to $1,000 for inspections, appraisals or relocation expenses incurred for the home purchase. The company will also reimburse up to $5,000 in earnest money deposits if Guild is unable to close the loan. Finally, under Homebuyer Express with 17 Day Closing Guarantee, Guild will pay qualifying customers $500 toward closing costs if delays solely by the company prevent the loan from closing on time, in 17 days or more. Strengthen your offer by incorporating information about this added protection in your offer letter.*
Outline your contingencies
Contingencies are the conditions that must be met by either the buyer or the seller before the homebuying process can go forward. Common contingencies include securing financing for the property, a home inspection and home appraisal and sale of the buyer’s existing house. Be transparent about your expectations, including the proposed closing date.
Proofread, then proofread again
While it’s not an English term paper, you never know if the seller is going to grade your grammar. Mistakes may make the seller think you don’t take your offer seriously, which is definitely the wrong impression.
Investopedia recommends focusing on a few of the most important reasons why you are the best buyer for the home. “Unless you’re a gifted storyteller, no one is going to want to wade through pages of your personal history. Instead, try to keep the letter to a single page, even if that means a lot of editing.”3
Finish by expressing your gratitude that the seller is considering your offer and reiterate why you’re the perfect buyer. Realtor.com also recommends including a photo of your family. “When the seller is considering multiple offers, the photo makes your offer stand out from the pack.”4
If you’re in danger of losing your bid to another buyer, you may think that your only option is to go above the asking price to sweeten your purchase offer. However, in addition to a convincing real estate offer letter, there’s another way to get the seller’s attention. Including an earnest money deposit shows the seller that you’re a serious buyer. If you aren’t sure how “good-faith money” works, check out Guild’s guide How to improve your offer with earnest money.