Buying a house is an exciting time, but when you’re ready to make an offer, there’s one important task that most homebuyers skip. I’m talking, of course, about writing an offer letter to the seller.
What is an Offer Letter?
What is an offer letter? Simply put, it’s a personal note from you, the homebuyer, to the seller of the house, explaining why you want to purchase the property. It’s a chance for you to talk about the features of the house that you love, why you want to move to this neighborhood, and your plans for making the house into your home. You can also go into your background, explaining who you are and who your family is. An offer letter gives the seller more to consider than just a bid amount.
You may be wondering what the point of writing an offer letter is – doesn’t it all just come down to money? Whoever offers the most gets the house, right? Wrong! Just like multiple factors go into the decision to buy a house, sellers must face a plethora of considerations when selling. Sometimes sellers will accept an offer of less money if the offer is free of contingencies, or if it’s funded by cash rather than a loan (as both options are generally less complicated). That being said, sellers are more often willing to consider a lesser offer if it’s accompanied by a personable, honest, nicely-written offer letter.
Selling a house is an emotional decision – it doesn’t all come down to the money. If the seller loved that home, if it’s where they grew up or where they raised a family, they often want to see that house bring just as much love and memories to the next owners. Emphasizing how much this house means to you in a letter can be one way to endear the sellers to your offer, even if it’s not the highest one.
What Should you Say?
So what type of things should you put into an offer letter? Let’s take a closer look.
First, if you’ve visited the property in person, thank the seller. It takes a lot of work to coordinate an open house or a showing, from cleaning to making sure pets are staying at a different location to anything else that needs to be done. Let the seller know that their efforts are appreciated, and highlight a few aspects of the property that you thought were beautiful. If the house is a fixer-upper, you can say that it has a lot of potential and you’re excited by the idea of turning it into your dream home.
Next, talk a little bit about yourself. What do you do for work? What are your hobbies? How does moving into this house make sense for your lifestyle?
Finally, say why you want to move into this house specifically. Is it in a good school district, or closer to your friends or family? Does it have some feature that you’ve always dreamed about? What is it about this house that makes it special?
End your letter with a polite signature, and you’re all set! You’ve just written an offer letter!
At this point, you should let a few friends or family members read through your letter, to double check for any spelling mistakes. Once your letter has been polished, send it to your real estate agent and get their opinion, and have them forward it to the seller’s agent. Having a genuine, from-the-heart offer letter can be a great way to connect with the seller and get your offer more seriously considered.
Avoid the Hate Mail
But what shouldn’t you put in an offer letter? Here are some things to avoid:
1. Don’t be presumptuous. An offer letter might help your chances of getting accepted, but it doesn’t guarantee anything. It’s still the seller’s decision. Don’t assume that you’re going to get the house, and don’t make statements that sound presumptuous. For example, don’t say “I can’t wait to move in!” or “Thank you for letting me buy your house!” This is just one offer letter, after all – chances are the seller will receive other offers and may choose a different one.
2. Don’t make it too long. Aim to write a letter that’s maybe three or four paragraphs long, but don’t make it longer than one page. Most people don’t want to read that much, and making an offer letter too long might prevent the seller from reading all of it.
3. Don’t be rude, and don’t try to guilt the seller. Avoid writing a sob story, or telling the seller that they should accept your offer because of various flaws that the property has. There’s nothing wrong with being honest, but writing a letter that’s only going to make the seller feel bad or not like you won’t be any help at all.
Overall, you should be aiming for a letter that highlights not only why this house would be a good match for you, but why you would be a good match for this house (and the neighborhood).
Take a Look at this Template
To end, take a look at this example offer letter, based off of the letter that I wrote to a seller when I bought my own house:
Dear Mrs. Doe,
My name is Firstime Homebuyer, and I had the pleasure of visiting 123 Address Road on Friday, November 15. Thank you very much for letting me see your property. The house was a beautiful building, and I feel it is a perfect match for my needs.
A bit about me – I graduated from Someplace University three years ago. I am an employee for a wonderful company that relocated to this state in May. I love my job, and I am trying to find a house closer to my employer. Currently, I live in Random County, NY, and am making the 90-minute commute to Connecticut three days each week. Even though I don’t live in Connecticut yet, I have enjoyed getting to know the state better through my job.
I currently have two dogs that mean the world to me, and I knew when I started my real estate search that I wanted them to come with me. With a huge yard and a dog park close by, 123 Address Road would be an excellent home for them. I’ve also spoken with many people who say that the community here is wonderful, and I am excited to get to know it.
Please consider my offer and feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Thank you again for your time.
If you’re planning on buying a house, remember to write an offer letter! It could be the thing that sways the seller to accept your offer. Best of luck!