Profile picture for MichalaSpellbound

"Love" Letters to Sellers

Who here has written a "love" letter to a seller?  What was your experience?  Are there reasons not to write such letters?  As a seller, have you ever received a "love" letter and what did you think about it?

I love the idea!
  • April 30 2013 - Orlando
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Be a Good Neighbor. Be respectful and on-topic. No spam or self-promotion! See our Good Neighbor Policy.

 
 

Answers (19)

Profile picture for wetdawgs
Why do you ask?

As a seller, I've received a couple of love letters but in both cases the offer price and contingencies were far lower than the offer accepted.   A love letter didn't mean I was going to gift the author of the letter approximately $30,000 by accepting their risky offer!   If all offers had been equal, it may have made a difference.

As buyers, we've never written a love letter but do know in one case our offer was accepted over other slightly higher offers because of a personal aspect in combination with much stronger finances than other offers.

  • April 30 2013
  • 2Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for MichalaSpellbound
I ask because I am curious and I would like ot know what other people think.  I have heard they are making a comback so thought I would see what others have experienced.

As a person who is attemtping to buy in this ridiculously competitive market, I would also like to try for any edge I can get besides just simple dollars and cents.  Money talks but if there are several similar offers, if would be nice to stand out.  Humans are (mostly) emotional creatures as well, so making a personal connection is usually a good thing.

If I was a seller, I think I would like if someone took the time to reach out and send an articulate letter.  Obviously if that comes in with a low ball offer then there was no point.  But considering several offers that were similar, it could make a good impression.
  • April 30 2013
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

I always, always include a letter with my offers and it helps.  They aren't "suck up" letters.  They just talk about where the buyers work, a little about their background, why they are moving, and then all about how qualified they are to buy.

It's a smart, easy thing to do to win a house and I hear from listing agents how much their clients appreciated it.  It humanizes the buyer and satisfies their curiosity.
  • April 30 2013
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Janell2Sell
My market area is experiencing very low inventory. Whereby multiple offers into the double digits and homes selling well over list price often with no appraisal contingencies are the norm.   As a result, I have experienced "love letters" on both sides of the transaction.  My listing clients (sellers) have been receiving them and my buyer clients are writing them. 

My recent experience has been that my sellers although touched by the heartfelt letters, ultimately weigh the bottom line and their net return.  In short it didn't help...

Some of my buyer clients  have been writing them to sellers, and they too are being rejected.    It's important to note that my buyers are not writing low ball offers, but unfortunately have needed some assistance with closing costs,are using FHA loans and do not have the ability to wave an appriasal contingency. In almost every case that we have lost out on an offer, we lost to a buyer using either a conventional loan with at least 20% down, or cash and with no seller paid concessions.

If you would have asked me this same question as recently as a year ago, I would have answered you quite differently.  Last year, I had seller clients that selected offers based upon the contents of a "love letter" and I had buyer clients writing them and winning the bid.  

That being said, there is always the exception.....

It's a crazy market!!
 
  • April 30 2013
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for SteadyState
This appears to be superfluous work  that the agents can ask their buyers to to do to justify their commission:
1. If the buyer gets the home - chalk that to the column that the letter worked
2. If the buyer does not get the home -  chalk that to the column that a better offer was chosen

Most Sellers will make rational decisions and will not let such gimmicks harm their self-interests
  • April 30 2013
  • 2Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

With up to 50 percent of sales in recent past being bank owned or short sales, most banks can't be wooed by pretty prose and fancy stationary.

But with everyone else, it doesn't hurt to try. Although I suspect a letter is most common when the offer is low or there are multiple offers.
  • April 30 2013
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

- Most Sellers will make rational decisions and will not let such gimmicks harm their self-interests

Rrright.

Anyway, love letters that ask the seller to give preference to them based on familial status, age, gender, religion, disability, or color put the seller at risk of violating the Fair Housing Act. When I am a listing agent, I ask the seller if we can review the particulars of the offers first, and after we select an offer to work with, then we can look at the letter and see who you're selling it too.


  • April 30 2013
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for hpvanc
If I were to receive to equal offers, one with a "love" letter and one without I would reject the offer with the letter.  It is a business transaction, all of the parties should be striving to keep it a business transaction.  The letter is just unnecessary and potentially unwelcome BS if you have a seller that views it as a business transaction.

Keep your relations with all parties involved i.e. your selling agent (aka "buyers" agent), the seller, and the listing agent, as all business.
  • April 30 2013
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Sez you and the steadystater, but there are several million residential real estate transactions a year in the US, and if only a small minority felt as if it were an emotional transferring of the home from one family to another, that would still be half a million or more homesellers thinking along those lines.

Given that a thread like this gets five or six respondents, it's interesting to dismiss how perhaps a million or more people would act in the circumstances we're discussing here.
  • April 30 2013
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for hpvanc
I guess it is a risk you take, if you happen to find a seller that eats up that kind of BS so be it. The flip side is there are also likely to be some sellers, perhaps even a significant number, irritated enough to throw an offer accompanied by a "love" letter in the trash without considering it.
  • May 02 2013
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

I can tell you that the number of sellers who are offended by a love letter are countable by a gradeschooler.
  • May 02 2013
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

I love when I receive a love letter with an offer on one of my listings.  The sellers like to know that their home is going to someone who will appreciate it as much as they do.  The latest thing I have been seeing is buyers Facebook stalking my sellers begging them to choose their offer.  That is a whole new dimension to the love letter!  So far, my sellers think the Facebook stalking approach is a bit "creepy".  What do you think?
  • May 17 2013
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for DanaTrivino
You guys are pretty brutal...I wouldn't call a "love" letter BS...I recently put an offer on a home with a respectable offer, no lowball, and I wrote a letter telling the seller why we liked the home.  I wasn't blowing smoke up their a** or kissing it...just telling them why I thought their home was somewhere that I would like to call home.  Just because it is a business transaction doesn't mean it can't be cordial or kind and polite.  
  • May 31
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for sunnyview
"Just because it is a business transaction doesn't mean it can't be cordial or kind and polite."

I agree. If two offers are basically equal, I would sell to the buyer that I felt would enjoy the house or good neighbors after they moved in.
  • May 31
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Well, Dana, the naysayers are generally naysayers about anything real-estate-related anyway.

Sellers generally like love letters, but I think that 'way too many of them place sellers in harm's way of the Fair Housing Act.

"Dear Sellers, we too have an interracial family of five - we saw your family photos in the hallway,we are also members of the Temple of Mount MultiFaith! What a co-inky-dink! As a gay republican couple recently emigrated from AntiSocialStan, we really think that your home would be the perfect place to . . . "

My advice: keep it focused on the house.

"Dear Sellers. Thank you for the opportunity, the chance of a lifetime, to be in the running to purchase your magnificent home. Many people would be turned off by a house not having a kitchen or any bedrooms above ground that are completely walled in, but we are outdoorspeople by nature, and we don't mind taking on a little work, like enclosing the bathroom and bringing a water line to the kitchen!"

  • June 01
  • 2Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for DanaTrivino
Mack you are spot on!  We wrote a "love letter" to our seller.  Kept private information out of it and just let the seller know what we loved about their home and why we felt it was the right fit for us!  I definitely agree that these letter can quickly go from a simple acknowledgement of why this is the right property for you to butt kissing quickly.  I just think real estate transactions can become a little cold and sterile and these letters add a little bit of warmth to the process. 
  • June 01
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for wetdawgs
DanaTrivino:

let us know how it goes for you
  • June 01
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Katy Anastasio
As a listing agent, I have received many love letters that I have presented to sellers. As long as they are genuine and if you are competing with other similar offers, I believe they are beneficial.
  • June 01
  • 3Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Recently I have had a buyer write a love letter and because they were able to tell their story in their own words it made all the difference in their offer being accepted. Although this was one case I think love letters are helpful for the sellers to understand who is going to occupy their home.  A seller who is in love with their home not only wants to make sure they get top dollar but also wants to know their home that they put so much love and time into making a home is well taken care of.

Setting yourself apart along with a strong offer can only help get your offer noticed.
  • June 01
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.