Writing a personal letter to the seller has helped many D.C.-area home buyers land their dream house. Think you’d want to try? Read on for a few tips to help in crafting your letter.
Introduce yourself. Many sellers are curious about who you are and why you’re interested in their home. Give them a few details that might help sway the odds in your favor. Some common themes that real estate experts say have worked: emphasizing your connection (desired or established) to the community, describing your family or plans for one, and explaining your appreciation for the home’s history (if it has an interesting past).
Focus on the positives. Whether it’s a landscaped backyard or a one-of-a-kind floor plan, write about the house’s best assets and why you love them. Leave out dislikes. Avoid discussing numbers. Tarpley Long, who recently sold her D.C. home to a couple who wrote her a letter, advises keeping money out of this. “You’re reaching out to the seller emotionally,” she says. Plus, your agent will take care of presenting your dollar amount to the seller.
Be honest. A letter “should only be something you do if you’re genuine, and if you’re communicating your truthful intentions for the home,” says Nathan Guggenheim, a real estate agent with Washington Fine Properties. If you only want to buy a house to tear it down and rebuild a multifamily property, you might not want to reveal that (lest you turn off an emotionally attached seller). In fact, in that instance, if you care at all about karma, it may be better not to write a letter in the first place. Witnessing that sort of betrayal down the road can be “gut-wrenching for a seller,” Guggenheim says.
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