Love Letters

During the really super hot last few years in our Real Estate market the concept of buyer’s writing love letters to sellers and submitting them along with their offer gained quite a bit of traction on the Peninsula. Buyer’s and their agents were looking for any advantage they could get to persuade the seller to pick them, and often these letters could get pretty corny. As a listing agent looking at offers I’ve seen love letters that come with pictures of buyers and their kids sitting around a Christmas tree…all in red hats. I’ve seen many wedding and/or vacation shots, shots of disabled kids and lots of happy couples in love. My favorite was an 8 by 10 photo of a family, dogs and all, sitting on the front stoop of my listing…as if to say “we’ve already moved in, don’t we look perfect here?”. You laugh, but I can’t tell you how often these letters and photos have made some kind of an impact with sellers. In one instance for me, representing a buyer, we lost out to a couple who not only wrote a nice letter but baked the elderly seller a cake that they personally delivered and let her hold their new baby. The seller chose them even though our offer was $20,000 higher! In yet another instance for me I had a client selling his house through a relocation company in Irvine. We had 5 offers and the third place offer had, without a doubt, the most corny love letter I ever read. In it the buyer wrote about how the house was the best she had ever seen (it was a 950 square foot 2 bedroom, 1 bath fixer), and how she and her husband could not wait to raise a family there. She also included the tid bits that she had been a cheerleader at UCLA and had cheered her team on to many victories and that her husband was a former tight end who had caught the winning touchdown against Oregon State in the critical game in 1995. There was no agent in my office who didn’t see this letter…it was amazing! Well, when I called the relo person in Irvine to tell her of the offers, I just had to read it to her too. After reading it there was dead silence on the phone (I figured she would be chuckling!)…and she said “I was a cheerleader at UCLA” “How can we make sure they get this house?” Even though they had the 3rd place offer, she had us counter offer the UCLA alums! You never know! Why is this relavant to this market? I still think a love letter is an important tool. Sellers want to sell their home to somebody that they can connect with. They want to believe that somebody nice will get their home…and their neighbors do too. Making a personal connection can go a really long way toward reaching your goal. It may even be more important now if your offer is coming in under the asking price. No seller wants to feel taken advantage of and a sincere letter expressing who you are and why you like the home can soften the blow of a reduced expectation on price. It’s not always going to work, of course, but it can’t hurt. Every offer I’ve written this year has had a love letter as part of it.

Comments

  1. My love letters are different. They usually start with: Dear Vendor, You have not been doing your job. For this I must punish you with biting commentary.

    But you’re right…personalization of an offer is key. I don’t know why more agents don’t do this. I guess that’s what makes you, you.

  2. When we sold our last house we saw several letters like this. I think they were wonderful and we were glad that the family who had the best offer $$$ wise also had the best love letter!

  3. Dana Ferri says:

    What was even funnier was back in early-mid 1995, there were house-hunters taping love letters to front doors in our neighborhood (even though none of us were selling our homes), describing how much they wanted, no *needed* to live here, practically begging us to sell to them! It was a real trip! Haven’t seen much of those lately…

  4. I’ve actually seen letters like that…usually it’s kind of a sneaky marketing ploy by an agent wanting a listing. Sort of a bait and switch thing.

  5. Lesley says:

    I could sure use some love letters!!

  6. Mother’s Day is just around the corner…

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