Ah, the offer letter when buying a home. Does it work? It depends.
My first clients, Adam and Michelle, bought a house in Blacksburg. It was their first house, it was my first sale. I still remember what my commission check was, and I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to get paid to sell a house.
During the process of working with Adam and Michelle, I avoided having to tell them that it was my first sale. I drove to every listing we visited in advance, so I wouldn’t get lost. Before showing them the home I would tour it separately – but only if they were vacant, because I was scared to call a seller – so that I wouldn’t open a closet door and mistakingly say “and here’s the basement!” I did everything I could to avoid showing how new I was, because I didn’t want them to think I was a fraud.
So when the time came to make an offer on the house they eventually bought, Michelle asked “should we write a letter to the seller?” Sure! Why not, what a great idea! Turns out the seller loved hearing about their plans for the home, and it factored in to the seller’s decision. I truly had no idea that was something people even did.
Fast-forward 17 years to 2020, and our buyer just wrote a letter to a seller who was receiving multiple offers. This buyer talked about their plans for the future, and what they loved about the home. It revealed a little something more about themselves than just names and terms on an offer, and they ultimately won the house. We weren’t the offer with the best terms, but when the listing agent brought it back to us, they said our offer letter “struck a chord with the seller, and she felt they should be the ones to be there.”
So do offer letters work? It still depends. It did for Michelle and Adam, it worked for our buyers this week, and I’m sure we’ve had others over the years where it’s worked, as well. It’s certainly no guarantee, but when a seller has the opportunity to connect faces with names, and hear your plans for the home (maybe leave out the part about wanting to rip down the paneling they spent weekends putting up), it just might urn the deal in your favor.
PS – my wife and I played the “we’re having a baby!” card when we bought our house, one of eleven offers. I think the offer letter works.