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It’s often said that the pen is mightier than the sword, but that can also hold true against the almighty dollar. Bidding wars are very much a fact of life for real estate buyers in NYC when a particular segment of the market is in high demand. If you find yourself locked in one with another buyer for your dream apartment, then a personal letter could give you the edge that’s needed. Don’t discount the difference this can make. According to The Wall Street Journal, sending a personal letter along with your offer to a seller during a bidding war can boost your chances of being accepted by 52.2%. Read on to see how this can be and how to write one yourself.
How can a love letter help you win a bidding war?
Money certainly talks, but sellers can also be won over by something a little less tangible. That something is a heartfelt and sincere letter showing your appreciation and interest in the home. For many people, selling a home that they’ve lived in for years and built an emotional attachment to is far from easy. When they’re trying to decide between two competing and similar offers a love letter could be enough to persuade them, even if it means accepting less money.
That said, no amount of purple prose will overcome shaky finances. For some sellers, it may not be likeability that attracts them to a buyer but confidence that they can close the deal. As such, you shouldn’t stop at assuring the seller that the home will be cared for but also signal that this is a serious offer.
When it comes to winning a bidding war in NYC, you should be pulling no punches and getting as much in your favor as possible. So then, how should you compose a love letter?
What to include
1. Introduce yourself and tell your story
The love letter is a chance to introduce yourself and put a human face on your offer. When a seller is facing two or more very similar offers, it’s that small human touch to an offer that can sway their choice. Just make sure to keep it concise and share details specifically relating to the deal. For instance, if you’re a recent graduate and this is your first home purchase mention your credentials and dreams for the future.
Demonstrating that you have a bright and upcoming future ahead of you could be enough to make them overlook slightly higher offers. The key is to try and make a connection with the seller, which brings us to.
2. Find Common ground
Sometimes whether an offer gets accepted or not comes down to having common ground. Try to gather whatever information you can on the seller – without invading their privacy of course. When viewing the apartment, look out for clues that can give you an insight into their lives and personalities.
If there is a bookshelf note what the titles are. If you see diplomas from the same university you attended, you’ll want to mention it. Finding a common interest such as art, literature, education or upbringing can help put a seller at ease. It may even encourage them to meet you face to face, something which can lead to a deal going more quickly and smoothly.
3. Show your commitment
Making an offer isn’t just about throwing a number out, it’s about showing your ability and desire to close the deal. You can communicate this by mentioning how long you’ve been apartment hunting and that you’re knowledgeable about the market. Also, suggest that your buyer’s broker and real estate attorney are ready to move forward with all haste and have plenty of experience with closing deals fast. If it’s a co-op, then mention that you’ll do whatever it takes to pass the co-op board package.
You can also demonstrate the seriousness of your offer by mentioning why you feel this apartment is right for you. This can be as simple as specifying any details about the apartment that made an impression on you, such as how its situated in the perfect neighborhood, how beautiful the view is or how you love the renovations they’ve done.
Love letter sample
Dear Mr. [Seller(s) Name]
Thank you for the opportunity last Saturday to view your Chelsea property. It was lovely to meet you and your family and get to know your wonderful home. My wife and I have been searching for our first home to start our growing family, and we believe yours is just the one we’ve been looking for.
Along with our offer, we thought it would be nice to include this short letter, so you could get to know us better.
My wife Janis and I both grew up in the city, and our parents live close by. It’s important that we find a home close to our family as we have our first daughter due in August and want her to be close to her grandparents. I graduated last year from Harvard University as a Business Consultant and was fortunate to immediately find a position with XYZ Consultants right here in Chelsea. For the past year, we’ve been looking for a home that was both close to my work and was the right size for our new family. When we saw your home on the market, we just knew we had to see it.
The convenience of the location isn’t the only thing that caught our eyes. On first walking in we fell in love with the place. We both love the attention to detail you’ve done with the kitchen and the charming light fixtures in the living room, allow me to say also you have an excellent taste in furniture selection.
I have already gone through the specifics of the property with my broker, and we are ready to move forward with all haste. As you can see from my offer, all my financials are in order for a quick and smooth sale.