After weeks of browsing online real estate listings, you may discover your dream home. But other prospective buyers could also be ready to make offers — possibly for more money than you can afford. What can you do to compete?
That’s where your real estate offer letter comes in. A well-written letter may tug at the seller’s heartstrings and set you apart from other buyers. It could even be the reason that the owner accepts your offer.
Learn how to write an exceptional letter, and see a home offer letter example below:
- What Is an Offer Letter?
- 5 Must-Haves in a Real Estate Offer Letter
- What To Avoid in a Home Offer Letter
- Real Estate Offer Letter Template
- The Bottom Line
What Is an Offer Letter?
A real estate offer letter is your chance to make a connection with the seller. It’s an opportunity to introduce yourself, explain why you want to buy the home, and clarify any financing details.
Remember: For many homeowners, selling a home is more than a financial transaction. They may have built lifelong memories in their years living there — and they might not be willing to hand over the keys to just anyone.
“In situations where multiple offers are being presented to homeowners, one must try to stand out,” says Melissa Samar, a real estate broker and owner of Picket Fence Realty in Tavares, Florida. “Often, a buyer who also takes the time to write a letter will sometimes trigger emotions with the seller.”
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5 Must-Haves in a Real Estate Offer Letter
Your real estate offer letter is important, so don’t feel like you need to wing it on your own. “Your Realtor can help you learn more about the seller so you can make your letter more personalized,” Samar says.
Personalization is the key, but there’s more to a good letter. Here’s a list of five things you should do in your home offer letter.
1. Start with a formal greeting
Every real estate offer letter should begin formally. Keep the greeting brief, and state your purpose clearly.
“First impressions count,” Samar says.
While it may seem obvious, you should always address the seller by name. “Dear Barbara and John” or “Dear Mr. and Mrs. Lee” are more personal than “Dear Seller.”
2. Share some details about yourself
This is a chance to introduce yourself (and your family, if applicable). Take the opportunity to show the seller that there are real people behind the offer to purchase their home. Samar says some sellers may care more about who’s buying their home than how much they’re willing to pay for it.
In the same vein, be sure to mention if you’re a public servant, like a schoolteacher or member of the local law enforcement. You should also mention if you’re actively serving in the military or a veteran.
“Sellers love to know they helped a hero buy a home,” Samar says.
3. Explain why you love the home
Next, you should share what you adore about the home and why it’s perfect for you and your family. For example, you could bring up the large kitchen, comfy reading nook, or beautiful landscaping around the back patio.
Samar says to also include details about how you’ll make the home your own — like your future dinner party plans or family movie nights. There’s one exception, however. Steer clear of mentioning your plans to majorly remodel or tear down parts of the property (we’ll cover more on that later).
4. Include a few financial details
The offer letter is an opportunity to show the seller that you’re expected to get approved and keep the closing on schedule. You may want to emphasize your mortgage preapproval letter — which confirms that you likely qualify for a mortgage — and clarify some details about your offer if necessary.
You could also highlight your earnest money deposit, as it shows your level of commitment to buying their home. Earnest money is the amount you’re putting down upfront, and it’s later applied to your closing costs and down payment. Although the average earnest money deposit is 1% to 2% of the purchase price, according to Realtor.com, it may be higher in popular housing markets.
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This part of the real estate offer letter might be trickier than others, so don’t be afraid to seek guidance from your real estate agent. They may have helped other buyers write effective letters, and it’s possible they know the best way to frame your finances.
5. Close with a heartfelt thank-you
The closing of your real estate offer letter is your chance to make a lasting impression. You should thank the seller for their time and consideration and reemphasize your interest in buying the home.
“End with ‘I would be so pleased if you select my offer’ or something similar to convey your sincerity,” Samar recommends.
What To Avoid in a Home Offer Letter
While there are certain must-haves when you’re writing an offer letter for a house, there are also some things you should avoid:
- Negativity: As a general rule, make sure to stay positive, particularly when you’re describing the home or the seller’s design choices. You may hate the carpeting or dated bathroom, but you shouldn’t mention it (or any negative aspect of the home) in the letter.
- Proposed changes: As we mentioned before, avoid sharing your remodeling plans. There’s nothing wrong with planning to make the home your own, but some folks may be offended if you tell them that the whole place needs updating. “Older generations take pride in their homes and think they are perfect as they are,” Samar says.
- Politics: You may love seeing your favorite campaign sign in the next-door neighbor’s window, but Samar says it’s better to skip politics in your offer letter. It could be a risky move, even if the seller shares your political views.
- Desperation: While it’s smart to include your mortgage preapproval, down payment, and earnest money deposit, you don’t want to leave the impression that you’re willing to pay even more to get the home. The seller may try to counter your offer with a higher price.
Again, be sure to work with your real estate agent when you’re composing your real estate offer letter. They should be able to help you avoid red flags and navigate any tricky financial details.
Real Estate Offer Letter Template
If you’re still struggling to figure out how to write an offer letter for a house, here’s a template for your reference. It includes the five must-haves from above — along with some personal touches.
Dear [seller’s name],
Thank you for the opportunity to make an offer on your beautiful home.
My partner [partner’s name] and I fell in love with your cozy front porch, spacious eat-in kitchen, and stunning rose garden surrounding the back patio. We love gardening and cooking and enjoy spending as much time as possible outdoors.
We also love the neighborhood and how close it is to our 4-year-old daughter [daughter’s name]’s elementary school. Moreover, your home is close to [public middle school’s name], where I teach eighth grade math and coach youth soccer on the weekends.
My partner and I already have a mortgage preapproval letter for $300,000 and are able to make a 20% down payment. Additionally, we are pleased to offer a 5% earnest money deposit of $15,000. If you accept our offer, we will do everything possible to expedite the closing process. We are also willing to be flexible with the closing date if necessary.
We would love the chance to preserve the character of your gorgeous home and garden and build a life in your amazing neighborhood. Thank you again for your time and consideration!
[Your name and partner’s name]
[Your phone number]
[Your email address]
You don’t have to follow the template verbatim, but make sure to include these key elements to cover your bases:
- Your name
- You co-buyer’s name, if applicable
- Your address
- The seller’s name
- The seller’s address
- Your mortgage preapproval letter
- Your down payment
- Your earnest money deposit
- Your ability to close earlier
The Bottom Line
A strong real estate offer letter can provide more than just a leg up against the competition — it may also seal the deal and improve the transaction from start to finish. Samar notes the entire homebuying process is easier when buyers introduce themselves with an offer letter.
Even when you aren’t competing with other potential buyers, she says sellers always appreciate receiving a home offer letter. The best way to make a good impression is to be genuine. “Write from your heart and be sincere,” she recommends.