We often say that REALTORS® are in the relationship business. Anyone who has worked in the industry knows that real estate isn’t all about the houses you’re selling; it’s just as much about the people you’re working with. Because of the nature of the business, sometimes the best way to secure a competitive home is to appeal to the emotions of the seller.
Homes are filled with memories, and sellers want their house to go to a buyer who loves it just as much as they did. Some REALTORS® encourage buyers to write personalized letters to the seller to show them how much they care about the property. Letters can be useful for highly competitive properties, and can even secure the home for a buyer with a lower offer than competitors.
This trick of the trade is popular, but not everyone uses it and it is not always effective. Here is what a few Missouri REALTORS® have to say about the practice:
“I have used the letters. I had the agent on the other side tell me I wasn't "playing fair" when I did it, but it does make a difference. People who love their homes want to sell to buyers who will love it as much as they do,” said Dale Weir. “Even better - if small children in the family have them draw a picture that has to do with living in the house even if it’s just scribbles. It’s a great way to keep kids occupied while you work on the contract with their parents and really can make a difference with older sellers.”
“I have had some buyers submit a letter to the seller asking it be presented with the offer. I will present it as requested, but it can be a mixed bag of tricks,” said Anna Hatridge. “To me it is the same as having the seller at home when the buyer is viewing the home.”
“My team has used letters a few times through the years, but when we saw them most was after the Joplin tornado in 2011,” said Melissa Annis.“People were buying houses sight-unseen and offering above full price for them. These letters made a huge difference when our sellers were deciding upon which offer to take. As we all know, it's not always about the dollars.”
What are your opinions on these personalized letters? Do you think they’re a worthwhile tool or do you view them as unfair? We’d love to hear your opinions in the comments below. And thanks to everyone who participated in the original conversation on Common Ground!