- Encourage buyers to honor their audience before telling their story. This will enhance the emotional connection and possibly win the bid.
The real estate market is getting very competitive on the seller front, with multiple offers on the table, tight deadlines and overwhelming pressure to decide between lower offers, higher offers, quick closes or contingent delays.
Many times, the deciding factor is a letter.
Recently, I came upon a sort of rant on LinkedIn written by Erin Donley, a ghostwritter and contributor with The Huffington Post. Donley recently sold her home in a competitive market and was eager to read the letters written by buyers expressing why they should be chosen over other buyers.
To Donley’s surprise, the letters were all about the buyers themselves — the number of children they have, the reason they only qualify for that particular amount, their medical conditions and the list goes on and on.
Honor your audience
I have to give Donley a little more credit — she is not your typical seller: She writes for a living and is accomplished in the idea of honoring her audience before diving into the story. I would have never thought about this angle before reading her rant, and I was enlightened by her concerns.
Donley stated that she wanted potential buyers to express their love for her home as she expresses her love for it. She expected letters that read something like this:
What a terrific house you have! We went crazy over the colors you chose, the concrete counter tops, the claw foot tub and the peonies in the yard. You clearly appreciated your time as its owner, and we hope to do the same.
No such luck.
In the end, Donley took a lower offer that guaranteed a quick close.
So, did the letters make any difference? It was interesting to follow the comments on Donley’s rant on LinkedIn. One person stated that he followed Donley’s advice when writing a letter to the seller of a home in Portland. “We live in that home now,” he said.
Can you create a connection?
One reader commented on how emotions are overrated. What if the buyer didn’t like the home at all and wanted to tear it down? Maybe they wanted the home for the land or features offered in that area of town. Do they write a letter expressing that, or do they cater to whatever the sellers want to hear just to get the deal done?
Realtors should take these points of view into consideration when guiding their buyers during the letter writing process. As a buyer’s agent, I typically try to ask the selling agent why the sellers are selling. Do that, and use their answer to determine the kind of letter your buyer should be writing.
Sometimes letter aren’t needed at all: Flipping houses, for instance, usually results in quick, impersonal sales.
From this point forward, I will be encouraging my buyers to honor their audience before telling their story. This will enhance the emotional connection and possibly win the bid.