Writing a personal real estate offer letter to a seller can help seal the deal, but what you don’t say is just as important as what you do. Here, realtor.com offers up six phrases you probably shouldn’t include in an offer letter if you want to avoid ruffling a seller’s feathers.
1. I can see our family celebrating Christmas here
Unfortunately, some view other people negatively if they don’t share their religious views. And although it’s illegal under the Federal Fair Housing Act for a home seller to discriminate based on religion—or on race, color, national origin, sex, family status or disability—a claim based on what’s in an offer letter can be difficult to prove in court. Consequently, homebuyers also shouldn’t reveal their religion in an offer letter.
2. We’re not nuts about your shag carpet, but we’ll just tear it out
Never insult any sellers or their taste. Discussing any type of change you’d like to make to the house could be offensive. Put yourself in the seller’s shoes. Would you want a buyer criticizing your taste in home decor? No way! For example, don’t go on and on about a huge remodel you would do when after you own the house. This can be a slap in the face to the sellers, who might already have spent a considerable amount of money in the past five years renovating the property. Flattery can go a long way, so tell the sellers how great their taste in color is, how much you’d love to have their lifestyle or what an incredible art collection they have.
3. We would do anything to get this house
Don’t tip your hand too much by hinting that you’re desperate to buy the home. Doing so can only hurt your negotiating power if the seller comes back with a counteroffer.
4. Our lease is up soon, so we really need to close quickly
This kind of statement can weaken an offer if the sellers are seeking a longer closing period—or just realize they have you over a barrel and can negotiate accordingly. Moreover, it’s important to find out what the sellers want, and to learn their backstory. How long have they lived in the house? How many children did the sellers raise in the home? Having this kind of info can help you craft a compelling offer letter that touches their soft spots.
5. Your home’s fenced-in backyard will be a perfect place for my dog to run around
You may love pets, but a seller may not feel the same way. In particular, mentioning your dog’s breed could be risky. For example, let’s say you own a pit bull. Considering the stigma surrounding the breed, some people are afraid of these canines, and even though the sellers will be moving, they may be concerned about their neighbors’ safety. Meanwhile, if you know the sellers love dogs, mentioning yours in an offer letter can help you find common ground.
6. Although my offer has a lot of contingencies, I know we can make this deal work
Some homebuyers make the mistake of drawing attention to negative aspects of their offer. For example, an offer letter could say that the buyer isn’t willing to pay full price for the home, but is willing to pay in cash. An all-cash offer is great, but why call any attention to the fact that the seller’s asking price won’t be met? Ultimately, the seller might decide to accept another buyer’s offer instead.
Tags: Homebuying Tips