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Old 03-06-2010, 07:04 PM
 
Location: Barrington
19,173 posts, read 13,621,948 times
Reputation: 6052
I am not a fan of the personal letter thing. Having said this, I have used it as a tool, when I believe the seller might be influenced by it.

When serving as a listing agent, I always make sure to express the seller's appreciation of the letter, no matter the outcome. That the seller never read it, tore it up, laughed or corrected the grammar and punctuation is of no consequence.
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Old 03-06-2010, 08:12 PM
 
301 posts, read 812,682 times
Reputation: 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by middle-aged mom View Post
I am not a fan of the personal letter thing. Having said this, I have used it as a tool, when I believe the seller might be influenced by it.

When serving as a listing agent, I always make sure to express the seller's appreciation of the letter, no matter the outcome. That the seller never read it, tore it up, laughed or corrected the grammar and punctuation is of no consequence.
I will say that when our agent recommended I write a letter, I thought it was BS... I mean, first of all (back in October), I naively thought we were in a buyer's market (hahaha) and I saw no reason to kiss up to any seller... I felt like we were groveling.

But then as the reality of the multiple bid situation hit us, we realized that the letter might not be such a bad idea... and by our last house, when we hit it off with the sellers and they told us (in their handwritten response letter) how much they appreciated it, and how we were exactly the kind of couple they were hoping to sell their house to... well, it seemed worth it at that point because we REALLY wanted that house. And we got it! So for all the things our realtor did wrong, I will give her credit for telling us to write a letter and include an escalation clause.
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Old 04-02-2010, 03:27 PM
 
9 posts, read 67,105 times
Reputation: 22
Default Letter submitted with offer

I am right outside LA and considering writing one of these letters as well as it's a serious sellers market for around $500K. Do you have an example of what you wrote, feel free to delete anything too personal. THANKS! And congrats on getting your house!

Quote:
Originally Posted by caravan View Post
We are in a major seller's market in north Seattle (anything under $500K, anyway), and I wrote two-paragraph letters for all three of the offers we made. We also included escalator clauses in each of them, just in case, but that were not necessary with the two sellers that accepted our offers... they both told our agent how much they loved our letter, and how they really wanted to sell their homes to a young couple like us, etc etc. (In addition to introducing my husband and myself, I also wrote about specific details about the houses that caught my attention... never hurts to blow some sunshine up people's rears, when it comes to their home.)

With the third offer that was not accepted, they still loved our letter but had to concede to someone who seriously outbid us... they had 40% down and waived the financing contingency, so we were no match. The sellers did ask if we could raise the cap on our escalator clause in that situation though, since they wanted to sell to us... but we were fine with letting it go. So yes, I would say that at least in this market, it makes a very noticeable difference--but should be backed up with an attractive offer overall (large earnest check, short inspection period, quick closing date, etc).
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Old 04-03-2010, 01:39 PM
 
301 posts, read 812,682 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proudk View Post
I am right outside LA and considering writing one of these letters as well as it's a serious sellers market for around $500K. Do you have an example of what you wrote, feel free to delete anything too personal. THANKS! And congrats on getting your house!
Sorry, didn't see this until now... I don't want to post my actual letter on here, but I'll summarize for you... first paragraph introduced ourselves briefly, and then the second paragraph talked about the house.

Dear ___ and ___ (first names of sellers),

Hello! My name is ___ and my husband's name is ___ (all first names). I was born and raised in the ___ area and graduated from college here in _____. I worked here, went to grad school there, and met my husband (who is from ___) in the process, lived abroad, and then we moved back here last year (you fill in the details). We have been renting in ____ neighborhood nearby, but have spent most of our time in your neighborhood and come to love what it has to offer (go into some detail here--the general vibe, schools, etc). We feel this is the place where we want to start a family, etc. etc.

We are thrilled by your home's proximity to urban and green areas, as well as being convenient for my commute to ___ and my husband's commute to ___. Your living room and entryway made us feel welcome as soon as we walked in, and the colors and attention to detail signaled that this home has been well-loved and taken care of over the years, etc etc. (Go into detail on a few items that you like.) The dining room is... the backyard is... etc. The entire property is well-appointed and is the perfect size for our needs, etc.

We hope that you will carefully consider our offer, and we hope to meet you in person soon.

Sincerely,
____ and ____
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Old 04-03-2010, 02:30 PM
 
1,219 posts, read 2,697,402 times
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Honest response...when we sold our house in 2005, it sold in 48 hrs (15 showings in one day!!!) with 3 offers over asking. As a seller, if a personal letter came in, I would have thought it weird. I was most interested in selling it to the person who was actually qualified enough to buy it. I didn't really care if they liked the grass or whatever, just that they could actually make it to closing (they did).
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Old 04-04-2010, 01:48 AM
 
Location: Fairfax, Leesburg, Ashburn, Sterling, Reston, Herndon, VA
25 posts, read 87,380 times
Reputation: 17
Default Cover Letter for Short Sale

A letter that is recomended is not to the Seller but to the Bank/Lender. They have begun using automation and process the submissions electronically with the system looking for key words that flag and score the offer so machine readable text that is not in one of a myraid of forms is a big plus. But just as important the Manual processor comes to a package with a cover letter that describes the buyers qualifications, earnest money, down payment, contingencies and market value for the home backed up by the many pages of support info is always an effective approach. It quickly qualifies your offer and moves you up the stack.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jeanne0626 View Post
Our realtor wrote a super short intro letter for a multiple bid situation that ultimately won us the house. It was one sentence about me, one sentence about my coborrower, and a final sentence complimenting the seller's on the house and the neighborhood. We were told that this letter ultimately got us the house because it made the sellers feel we were committed to the neighborhood (it was a short sale, thus they want someone who is willing to sit and wait).

So, I think it can be good, but I think it should be short and to the point.
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Old 04-04-2010, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Ashburn, VA
577 posts, read 1,138,967 times
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Perhaps personal letters are more prevalent in different parts of the country and different price ranges. I like the idea of a personal letter in a competitive bidding situation because it shows the bidder is going to a little extra effort. I would definitely consider one when selling my home. Not that it would mean I automatically sell the house to that bidder but all other things being equal it could tip the scales in their favor. We wrote one when we purchased our current house but I have no feedback from the sellers one way or another. But we did get the house... When you're bidding competitively anything you can do to make your offer the most attractive is a good thing.
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Old 04-05-2010, 07:42 AM
 
Location: Barrington
19,173 posts, read 13,621,948 times
Reputation: 6052
Quote:
Originally Posted by proudk View Post

I am right outside LA and considering writing one of these letters as well as it's a serious sellers market for around $500K.
Seems to contradict most of what is said about the greater L.A. area. Are these bank -owned properties or just the price point that appeals to a majority?
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Old 04-05-2010, 10:00 AM
 
125 posts, read 312,700 times
Reputation: 83
We didn't write a letter, but our agent asked if she could share some personal information about us with the listing agent to pass on to the seller. "Married couple with two young kids, love the neighborhood, the school district and the beautiful architectural details of the large, old house; he spent 10 years in residential construction, she's a former professional interior painter and they look forward to restoring the house to its former glory, etc. The upstairs area will make a perfect area for their children, etc." It's an estate house sold as-is that needs some TLC, and I think sharing that kind of information let the sellers know that we were committed to the house, the neighborhood and the renovation, instead of merely an investor looking to subdivide the house and turn it into rental property. Our offer was accepted, so I feel like it helped. Perhaps the sellers wanted to make sure someone would appreciate Uncle Roy's house the way he did.

Sounds to me like a personal letter could potentially help and certainly couldn't hurt a good offer.
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Old 04-05-2010, 10:46 AM
 
301 posts, read 812,682 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashburnite View Post
Not that it would mean I automatically sell the house to that bidder but all other things being equal it could tip the scales in their favor.
Bingo.
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