In the fiercely competitive North Texas housing market, many buyers are writing letters, filling monogrammed stationery and neatly typed pages with biographical details, compliments, prayers, and jokes. Many are attaching pictures of themselves, their children, and their pets. Agents say clients have even received letters from buyers’ children, some decorated with stickers and drawings.
“The first time I did it, I was cringing,” says real estate agent Rhonda Reddic. “But now I’ll whip out a letter in a minute.”
Do the letters work? In most cases, no. Cash is still king, and buyers are most likely to pick sellers who offer a check and a quick close. But if it comes down to a couple of similar offers, the letters can come into play. “It can make the buyer into a real person, rather than a stranger,” says Dallas agent Christy Berry. “I want them to know that my clients are just darling people, not some jerk.”
How to write a good letter? Agent Kim McCarty advises her buyers to look around a house for clues as to what drives a seller emotionally. Do they have pictures of their kids everywhere? Pets? Did they go to the University of Texas, like you? Also, agents should find out what is most important to a particular seller. Sometimes a seller needs to stay in the house for another three months. Tailoring a letter to meet their needs can make an offer stand out. Other tips: make it short and sweet. Compliment, but be sincere.
Some agents avoid letters at all costs. “I discourage my clients from doing this,” says Mallane Scott. “What if you write a letter about your three cute kids, and the seller hates kids?” Agents also point out that sending fuzzy valentines to sellers can hurt them later at the negotiating table. Once they’ve declared their undying love for a house, it’s hard to ask the seller to replace the roof.
Here are some excerpts from actual letters recently written to sellers. Names have been changed.
My husband and I, and our rescue dog Norman, have been recently searching for our first home. We decided that Hollywood Heights is where we wanted to start our lives together and have been praying the perfect home would pop up when the time was right. My mother is a certified master gardener and has started teaching me her passion, but I’ve never had a backyard to truly learn. When I shared with her a picture of the back and front yard, I’m certain she was crying on the other line as she said, “The landscaping. The gardens. This is the perfect home. This is it!!”
We are a married dynamic duo very much in love with your suburban Allen palace. Sally (the better half of the duo) is a fun-loving Army Reserve wife who loves her nephews as much as she loves her soldier. Robert is the Afghanistan veteran who loves four things: God, Country, Football, and Family (and a potential HOME to grow our family).
Hello! We are the Wilsons!
Our daughter is 6 years old, and her current favorites include the movie Frozen, strawberries, and her pink blanket (named “blankie”). One day, she hopes to become a princess ballerina. And then there’s our other child and the most wonderful little snuggle bug you’ll ever meet, our dog Dr Pepper. And, yes, it is impressive that she has a degree in medicine.
My fiancée wanted me to make sure and convey to y’all how much she loved the butcher-block countertops. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and yours was very cute. We both love it. I personally love the back patio. I truly had plans to build my own pergola, but the fact that your home already has a perfect one, that will save me many days of hard labor haha.