You’ve gotten to know Chicagoland’s many neighborhoods, had in-depth talks with your broker, and finally found the home that’s just the right fit. Now is the exciting moment when you get ready to make an offer the seller can’t refuse — but your agent lets you know there are multiple parties interested in buying this property.
In a competitive market, this situation is all-too-common. So, how can you make sure your offer stands out from the crowd of buyers? One common tactic is to write a personalized offer letter.
When written shrewdly, an offer letter can help you stand out from the pack — but keep in mind that it is not guaranteed to get your offer accepted. There are always a number of different and competing factors that come into play when a seller decides to accept an offer. A personal letter is just one of the ways you can try to appeal to them, and get your submission to the top of their list.
What Is an Offer Letter?
An offer letter is an actual letter, written from the potential buyer to the seller, in order to make an offer on the property being sold. In the letter, the potential buyer makes an offer to the seller with hopes that the seller will choose their offer above all others. Your real estate broker will submit it to the seller’s representative
Generally speaking, an offer letter itself does not need to be long. It should be no more than one or two pages, and should be persuasive but not pushy.
Sometimes, an offer letter can be helpful in securing the home of your dreams. However, there may also be some situations in which it limits your ability to negotiate — and may influence the sellers for the wrong reasons.
When to Consider Writing an Offer Letter
Selling a home is an emotional process, and writing a personal offer letter can help you appeal to the seller’s soft side. In a situation that often gets bogged down with numbers and deadlines, being reminded of the person on the other end of the transaction can make a big difference.
If your offer is on par with bids from other parties, a well-crafted and thoughtful offer letter may help give you the boost you need to stand out.
Writing an offer letter may also be important in situations where there is a complex element to the transaction to clear up — for instance, if you want to shed some light on your financing, or bring awareness to a wrinkle in your closing timeline that could impact the sellers.
On the flip side, going into too much detail in an offer letter may actually limit your ability to negotiate aggressively later. As realtor.com has noted, “letting a seller know how much you want to buy their house could hurt you if you make it to the bargaining table,” giving sellers additional leverage.
Due to fair housing laws, some sellers’ agents also choose to avoid sharing personal letters all together — particularly if they contain sensitive information about a buyer’s status as a member of a protected class.
Finally, writing a highly personal offer letter may have the opposite effect from what you intended — and may turn off a seller or make them uncomfortable, particularly if you share too much personal information or write negatively about the property.
Curious if making a personal appeal in an offer letter will be the right move for your home purchase? Your real estate professional can help you examine the entire situation, and help you move forward with the right tactics for your circumstances. You can rely on your real estate broker’s expertise to help you navigate the more personal aspects of buying a home with confidence.
What Can You Do to Help Your Offer Letter Stand Out?
Selling a home requires thinking like a businessperson and marketer. With that in mind, there are also times when buyers should think about the best way to package and market themselves — especially when it comes to making an enticing offer that will stand out for the right reasons.
Curious about finding a strategy that may work for you? Talking with your knowledgeable and experienced Chicagoland real estate agent is a great place to get started.
Here are a few tried-and-true ideas for offer letters to discuss with your local real estate expert:
1.) Write it with an actual pen
This simple touch may not seem significant, but a letter that has been carefully written by hand feels special and shows genuine interest. This little step can help demonstrate that you take care to do the small things right, and can show that you’re truly invested in this process.
2.) Get detailed about the property
As a rule of thumb, the more specific you can be about the home — including what you loved and what you noticed on your tour — the better. The seller likely noticed these things when they purchased the home, too — or else added those winning details over time. Moving away can be emotional, and people often have sentimental feelings about their homes. A seller may appreciate that you took time to really notice and admire what makes the property unique.
3.) Be pragmatic
A home sale has a lot of moving parts — and sellers and buyers alike want the process to be as smooth and easy as possible. Letting the seller know that you have flexible timing, or that you don’t have any contingencies that could jeopardize the sale, could help give them confidence in you as a buyer and bring you into alignment with their goals — which could help move your offer to the top of the heap.
4.) Make a connection
If you noticed the seller’s collection of woven baskets on the wall, and you’re also a collector, consider sharing that detail. Perhaps you noticed they have lots of sports memorabilia for a team that you also love. Making a connection like this with the seller can help them feel more comfortable and at ease with selling their home.
5.) Be polite
Your offer letter doesn’t need to be overly formal, but you should write it politely. Be courteous and respectful, and avoid being pushy or making any comments that could be read as ultimatums. How would you write to someone you respect and admire?
The Market Is Moving — If You’re Ready, You Can Too
During this extraordinary time, the professionals at Baird & Warner, Key Mortgage, and Baird & Warner Title Services are here to help homebuyers and sellers achieve their biggest real estate goals, while making the process easier at every step of the way.
At Baird & Warner, our agents are hyperlocal experts who know just what it takes to help make the dream of homeownership easier. With thousands of agents based out of convenient offices located all around Chicagoland, it’s never been easier to start bringing your biggest real estate dreams to life — from the day you start envisioning your dream home, to the day you’re handed the keys.
Just starting out? Your Key Mortgage loan officer can help you get an airtight preapproval, so you can move forward with peace of mind. Think you’ve found the right home? Baird & Warner Title Services will do what it takes to help you complete your transaction with confidence.
While it’s hardly business as usual, we know that the Chicagoland real estate market is strong. The market is moving — and if you’re ready, you can too.