Tips for writing a Home Buyers letter to an-off market Seller

Pete Ambrose – 8/6/2021

Are you up for the Every Home challenge? If you ask real estate agents how they bought their own home, you will probably hear a lot of them say that they bought it off-market. Basically, doing exactly what you are about to do. Real estate agents know that commissions are expensive, and they can often leverage the fact that they can do a deal themselves to convince someone to sell a home to them and avoid paying the commissions. Not to mention all the work that will go into marketing and showing the home. Here is your chance to do the same thing!

  • Know your audience
    There are four types of homeowners. You won’t know which type of homeowner will be on the receiving end of your letter, which is why you want to have a letter that can connect with any of them. The four types of homeowners are:
    • They live in their home, and they are planning to sell sometime in the next year or so anyway
    • They live in their home, and they are not planning to sell any time soon.
    • They don’t live in their home (it’s a rental) and they are planning to sell sometime soon.
    • They don’t live in their home (it’s a rental) and they not planning to sell anytime soon.
  • Clearly tell them who you are
    There are two types of buyers: people trying to achieve the American Dream of homeownership, and investors. When a person receives a letter in the mail from someone interested in buying their home, expect that their radar will go off thinking it might be a scam or an investor trying to get a deal. If you do not quickly tell them that you are a real person who is interested in paying fair market value, your letter will quickly end up in the trash can. Don’t’ beat around the bush, it is often wise to just clearly state in your introduction, “We are not investors, and we are willing to pay fair market value for your home.”
  • Build a connection
    • Make the letter personal, don’t be afraid to include a picture of yourselves. Tell them what it is about the neighborhood that you love so much; our kids go to school around the corner, we want to be close to family, etc.
    • Stay positive and refrain from emotional situations. Nobody likes drama. For example, “we are looking for a ranch style home because we have a disabled child.” Often, people think that pulling the heart strings is a good idea. However, this strategy often has a psychological backfire. The conversation shifts from “I want to buy” to “I need to buy”. Now this transaction looks like a charity case and you risk the seller making assumptions whether positive or negative. If you appear desperate for any reason, you’re going to make the seller uncomfortable, so it’s important to stay positive. You want the seller to feel warm and fuzzy after reading your letter.
  • Keep it short
    • You are just trying to get a call back. You don’t have time to tell them your life story. Introduction, state your intentions, call to action, the end. If your letter takes longer than a minute to read out loud, it is too long.
  •  Keep your remodeling plans to yourself
    • If you’re looking for a fixer-upper, it is best to simply say in your letter that you are not afraid of some projects. It is not recommended to tell people that you are looking forward to remodeling their home. People are inherently protective of their homes, so be mindful of their feelings both when you are composing your letter AND when you get a chance to walk through their home at a later date. Chances are your remodeling plans will change (or destroy) something the seller has an emotional attachment to. Keep your plans to yourself and let the seller picture you enjoying the home the way they enjoyed it.
  • Make sure the seller knows they are getting a deal
    • You don’t want to come off salesy, but you should illustrate to the seller that if they sell the house to you off-market, they don’t have to pay any real estate commissions, deal with staging, cleaning, photos, showings, etc. Multiply the estimated value of the home by 6% and show them how many tens of thousands of dollars they will save. Most people will have some concerns about the real estate process itself. This is a great time to mention that you would like to have Clover Home handle the transaction for a flat $3,000, which perhaps you would offer to pay. You can also include the card insert for the Clover Home Off-Market Process which can be downloaded below. This is a nice addition to your letter to help instill confidence in the seller that you are not a sleezy investor, there is a real process that will be carried out, and you are serious about buying their home.