The Advantage of a Personal Note to Accompany Your Offer

By
Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA VA License # 0225089470

The Advantage of a Personal Note to Accompany Your Offer

Just a few days ago, I was helping buyers who had found their dream home.  Unfortunately, the couple we had been running into at every listing we saw that day, thought the same thing.  My buyers were going into a competitive situation with their offer and they heeded every bit of advice I gave them.  Go in with the highest and best offer.  Don't ask for anything you don't absolutely need.  Show you're serious with a good sized earnest money deposit.  And finally, write a personal note to the sellers.

The note may very well have sealed the deal.  After getting their offer accepted, my buyers wanted to head back to the home and show their parents.  While there, the sellers thanked them for the note and out came something they had in common, that the sellers had discovered upon reading the note.  They were both adoptive parents.

It never hurts to put a bit of emotion into the offer with a personal note.  It isn't going to replace great contract terms,  but if all things are relatively equal, it may very well put your offer over the edge if you find yourself competing for the home.

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  1. Roy Kelley 05/02/2012 08:35 AM
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Topic:
Home Buying
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personal notes with offers

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Rainmaker
158,785
Angelica Blatt
Selling the Monterey Peninsula over 15 years!
DeLuca Real Estate

This is something that I make a business practice of doing. It is often the subtle difference and leaves a lasting impression. During the course of the escrow it is often easier to then ask for things...

April 30, 2012 10:21 AM
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Chris Ann Cleland
Associate Broker, Northern VA
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA

Nancy:  I've seen that too.  It only really helps if the terms are acceptable too. 

Larry:  I had one buyer years ago that noticed a bunch of Civil War memorabilia in the home.  Wrote a note as he had a similar interest.  It was the only offer on the home, but we needed a longer than usual financing contingency while waiting for a government clearance on the buyer's new job.  That note made the seller more agreeable to waiting.

Angelica:  I think my market will see more of it as buyers struggle to find their way to the top of the multiple offer heaps we are seeing over and over.

April 30, 2012 10:29 AM
Rainmaker
271,033
LaNita Cates
REMAX of Joliet

I've seen it a lot with rentals but not with a home purchase. I think it's a fantastic idea and if it works, great!

April 30, 2012 10:30 AM
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Chris Ann Cleland
Associate Broker, Northern VA
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA

LaNita:  Explanation of credit issues that will turn up once that is run is definitely something I advise my tenants to address in a letter.  Better to be up front than to have things falling out of the closet...so to speak.

April 30, 2012 10:32 AM
Rainmaker
790,853
Al Raymondi
Ormond By The Sea Florida - Home and Condo Sales a
Ocean View Realty Group in Ormond By The Sea Florida

Great way to establish rapport with the seller Chris Ann, something we should all do more often.

April 30, 2012 02:41 PM
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Chris Ann Cleland
Associate Broker, Northern VA
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA

Al:  We do what we can to get an edge.  

April 30, 2012 03:13 PM
Rainer
421,810
Peggy Chirico
REALTOR® 860-748-8900, Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate
Prudential CT Realty

Hi Chris Ann - A personal note is magic! People want to sell to people who will appreciate their home and how else will they know unless the buyers let them know!

April 30, 2012 03:35 PM
Rainmaker
293,923
AJ Heidmann
YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert
McEnearney Associates, Inc.

Chris Ann - I always write a letter to accompany a buyers offer, but like you, in a competitive situation I ask the buyers for a hand written note to go with the offer.  More often than not, we are able to secure the the listing.

April 30, 2012 04:46 PM
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Linda K. Mayer
Realtor, SRES, SoCAL, A REALTOR YOU CAN TRUST
License # 01767321

Chris Ann, as I keep reading more and more about getting back into bidding wars, this really can make a huge difference.  THANKS for suggesting it!

April 30, 2012 04:58 PM
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Christine Donovan
Broker/Attorney 800-610-7253 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Donovan Blatt Realty

Chris Ann - I agree that adding a note can make a big difference to the seller in a multiple offer situation.

April 30, 2012 05:30 PM
Rainmaker
1,153,240
Cheryl Ritchie
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566
RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com
I saw a Reader's Digest type format highlight sheet compiled by the Buyer's Agent with offer strengths plus personal notations that was very well done and that made a big difference.
April 30, 2012 05:30 PM
Rainmaker
340,048
Gina Chirico
Real Estate Agent - Essex County, New Jersey
Lattimer Realty

When I'm not presenting the offer in person, I always include a "meet the buyers" letter.  When faced with multiple offers or a home that the buyer just has to have, I have told the buyers to write a letter to the seller and yes, it has worked. 

I often wonder when I include a "Meet Sal & Gina" letter, if the listing agent ever actually presents the letter to the owner or if they just present the terms and price.

April 30, 2012 08:49 PM
Rainmaker
30,143
Mark Corbett
The Buyer's Choice
Chris Ann, Great idea on having the buyer write a note to the sellers. One suggestion I recommend if it's a owner is try to present the offer in person, it makes a big difference, especially if their are multi offers. Of course each situation is different for example if divorce or distress property these techniques won't work.
May 01, 2012 04:32 PM
Rainmaker
336,252
Karen Feltman
Relocation Specialist
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA Skogman Realty
I have found personal notes, especially handwritten ones, to be very powerful in an offer situation. Especially when you are competing. It personalized the buyers and uncovers connections that move the seller in their direction. Great job in encouraging them to tell the sellers their story!
May 01, 2012 08:57 PM
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Chris Ann Cleland
Associate Broker, Northern VA
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA

Peggy:  Selling a home is emotional.  It's nice to know the next owner has a connection to the home you put your own heart and soul into.

AJ:  The handwritten part is critical.  Shows much more thought.

Linda:  Bidding wars are the way of the Northern Virginia marketplace right now.

Christine:  The small details can certainly make a big difference.

Cheryl:  Whatever works, right?

May 02, 2012 08:02 AM
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Chris Ann Cleland
Associate Broker, Northern VA
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA

Gina:  Sometimes, I wonder the same thing. 

Mark:  I've yet to do the in person presentation, but I would like to one day.

Karen:  It didn't take much nudging.  They were already thinking the same thing.

May 02, 2012 08:03 AM
Rainmaker
196,886
Shannon Jones
Long Beach CA Real Estate
The Shannon Jones Team

Chris Ann, I know that many times I've had sellers choose an offer because of a personal note -- and I've had buyers whose offers were selected because of a personal note. It doesn't ALWAYS seal the deal, but it sure does help.

May 02, 2012 08:37 AM
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Chris Ann Cleland
Associate Broker, Northern VA
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA

Shannon:  As I keep saying, it certainly can't hurt.

May 02, 2012 09:00 AM
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Jeff Dowler CRS
Carlsbad CA Homes for Sale (760) 840-1360
Solutions Real Estate

Chris

I, too, have had situations where we know the letter, because the sellers said so, made a difference. In others, where it is all about the money, it probably has little or no impact. Sometimes buyers ask aboutit, other times I suggest it if it makes sense.

Jeff

May 02, 2012 09:10 AM
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Chris Ann Cleland
Associate Broker, Northern VA
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA

Jeff:  The money is the primary factor, there is no denying that.  But if you have offers that net the seller virtually the same amount, a letter or note can really tip the scales.

May 02, 2012 09:43 AM
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