First-time homebuyers who already have a mortgage pre-approval may find it frustrating if they find a property they can call “home” but never receive any word from a seller after sending an offer letter for the house. It’s no surprise if sellers receive a lot of house offer letters as the inventory of listed homes reaches an all-time low. In this situation, homebuyers should write a compelling house offer letter to possibly convince the seller to accept their offer. Home sellers might have varying factors when choosing a buyer who would occupy their once beloved home, but there are things homebuyers could do when writing an offer.
As a first-time homebuyer, it’s important not to assume that a home seller would automatically accept the letter if you’re making a full asking price offer, or whether you’re the only one who submitted an offer. A well-written purchase offer letter could give you an edge from other interested buyers who don’t take house offer letters seriously and potentially convince a seller to accept your offer and get you in a contract.
Although there’s no formula on writing a house offer letter, these tips could help increase your chance of securing your dream home:
1. Establish a personal connection with the seller
Since you’re communicating with the seller, it’s important that you make it as personal as possible. Ideally, you may want to know the seller’s complete name from the buyer’s agent you’re working with so you can address him or her on a first-name basis. Another way of connecting with the seller is to write your offer using a pen and paper. If you’re going to take this route, make sure that your handwriting is easy to read and clean, without any erasures. Some homebuyers even consider using stationery with their picture attached when writing an offer. Make sure to affix your signature at the end of every offer you write.
2. Tell a story or two
Giving a little background about yourself and your family could increase your chances of getting your offer accepted. For example, if you’re relocating from another state, you may want to tell your reason why you’re considering to buy the home. Keep in mind that some sellers could be picky when accepting an offer because they want to make sure that their homes will go into the hands of buyers who will take care of them. When telling your story, you may want to keep it short and simple as possible.
3. Emphasize the home features that you liked most
The home that you’ve just viewed probably ticked some of your boxes that’s why you’re submitting an offer. You may want to mention to the seller what features of the home that appealed to you. This could be helpful if there are other similar homes in the area and you want to tell the seller how his or her home stands out among others that you’ve viewed.
4. Organize your information and ensure your offer is free of grammatical errors
Depending on where you plan to buy a home, expect that sellers could receive multiple offers from other potential buyers like you. Sellers typically would not waste their time reading and responding to a poorly written offer. Using an online word processor like Grammarly could help you reduce word misspellings and some grammatical errors. Similar to a conventional letter, you also need to organize your information when writing an offer. Aside from the price that you offer and the down payment you’re willing to put, you also need to include other important information like the proposed closing date and how would you address potential contingencies related to the purchase. Moreover, you may want to re-read your offer a few times or have it read by your agent to ensure that the seller would understand it. If you’re unsure of your offer letter format and flow of information, your agent could conveniently provide you a purchase offer form that includes a binding contract where the seller could conveniently sign.
5. Be honest and respectful when negotiating with the seller
There could be situations when you and your agent would think that you could negotiate some of the terms with the seller. When negotiating for a slightly lower price, you may want to give some sensible reasons why you’ve come up with the offer. For example, you may want to tell the seller that you could be flexible with the closing date or you plan to use some of your finances for your family. Negotiating also makes sense if you discover some minimal issues with the property that you’re interested to buy. When negotiating, try to put yourself in the seller’s side or consult with your trusted agent on the terms you can negotiate.
What will happen after you submit an offer?
Once you submit a house offer letter, the seller may or may not respond to your offer especially if you’re competing with other potential buyers and you’re offering a “low ball” price. In some situations, the seller may counter your offer and suggest some changes. Typically, sellers would respond with a counteroffer if they want to maintain the full asking price, ask for a timeframe to move out of the house, or the seller could not wait for you to sell your current home first. If you think the seller has valid reasons to counter your offer, it’s up to you whether you’re going to accept the counteroffer, make another counteroffer, or move on and look for another home to buy.
Consider that you’re officially in contract to move forward with the homebuying transaction if you, as the buyer, and the seller both accept the latest terms in the latest offer or counteroffer that is in writing complete with your respective signatures. Once you’re in contract, the seller will require you to deposit earnest money which could be a percentage of the price of the home you’re about to buy.
Get a mortgage pre-approval if you’re ready to buy a home
A well-written house offer letter could increase your chances of encouraging a seller to accept your offer to buy his or her home. Before you go out in the tight housing market and shop for a home, it’s ideal to get in touch with a loan advisor to get a mortgage pre-approval to signal home sellers that you’re serious when making an offer.