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Cover letter to purchase home

How to write a winning house offer letter (plus, a sample)

How do you make your offer stand out to sellers? A good, old-fashioned letter might do the trick. In competitive markets, it’s not uncommon for a house offer letter to be included in an offer on a house . We’ve broken down a sample offer letter and added some easy how-tos so you can write the strongest house offer letter you can—and make that house yours.

Here’s a sample offer letter, plus some tips:

1. Make your opener as personal as possible.

Get out your pen, yes, a pen (you want your letter to be authentic in every way) and a piece of good stationery. Before you get started, think about your tone. A house offer letter should be friendly and heartfelt.

Think creatively about how you address the letter. If you don’t know the owner’s name, you can still make a connection with how you address them, like this start of this sample offer letter:

Dear owners of the sweet, yellow Cape Cod with so much charm,

2. Tell them about yourself.

Many sellers like the idea of passing their home on to people who will care for it. A house offer letter is your chance to show the real person behind your offer paperwork. There’s no better way to create a human connection than helping the seller visualize your life.

My name is Anna, and my husband Jeff and I have been trying to find a neighborhood for years, and have fallen in love with yours. We think it’s the perfect place to raise a family. We’re expecting our second child in November and are looking for a little more space.

3. Point out the home’s attributes.

If the seller has lived in their home for years, odds are, they take pride in it. Even if you think it’s a fixer-upper , talk about the things you love about the house. Because who doesn’t like a compliment? In this sample offer letter, the buyer chooses a few things to point out.

We love to cook and have family over. The kitchen has such great counter space—I can just picture it holding our big Sunday dinner buffet. And I love that you’ve got a refrigerator that doesn’t show fingerprints. That will be a big help with our toddler and her cousins who always seem to have sticky hands.

And, I enjoy gardening. Of course, the first thing we noticed was your beautiful peony bush. We could tell how carefully you’ve tended to every aspect of your home…

4. Find a connection.

When you were viewing the house, did you notice the photos on the wall of children playing lacrosse? The same style of eat-in kitchen as the home you grew up in? Make a connection by mentioning what you saw.

I couldn’t help but notice the photo on the fireplace mantle of a young man graduating from Cornell. My dad grew up in Ithaca and went to school there. We spent a lot of time on Cayuga Lake with my grandmother. Go Big Red!

5. Explain your bid, even if it’s low.

Now you can move from emotion to numbers, something concrete. Be honest, polite and respectful; you don’t want them to feel as though you’re making excuses for your bid, but use your house offer letter as a way to give your offer price some context.

Although your home was a bit out of our price range, we had to take a chance on an offer because it’s everything we want and is in a great neighborhood for our family. We know you’re asking X, but we respectfully ask if you would consider Y. It’s the top of our budget range, and our goal is to turn our dream into a reality without overextending ourselves.

I work as X, and my husband does Y. We have already have mortgage pre-approval and are flexible about the date for closing on the house . We so much want this to work out well for you, as well as for our family.

6. Close with lots of thanks.

This is your closing argument and your last chance to weave in some flattery. Thank them and let them know you’re hoping to hear back from them.

Thanks so much for your time and consideration. We would be honored to live in the house that you’ve made into a beautiful home. We look forward to hearing back from you.

Did it work? If this sample offer letter does its job, and you have an accepted offer, it’s time to turn your mortgage pre-approval into a full-on home loan. Here’s a guide on how to get a mortgage .

How to Write a Homebuyer’s Letter to a Seller

7 tips to write a letter that will make you stand out to a seller

Jean Folger has 15+ years of experience as a financial writer covering real estate, investing, active trading, the economy, and retirement planning. She is the co-founder of PowerZone Trading, a company that has provided programming, consulting, and strategy development services to active traders and investors since 2004.

Khadija Khartit is a strategy, investment, and funding expert, and an educator of fintech and strategic finance in top universities. She has been an investor, entrepreneur, and advisor for more than 25 years. She is a FINRA Series 7, 63, and 66 license holder.

Katrina Ávila Munichiello is an experienced editor, writer, fact-checker, and proofreader with more than fourteen years of experience working with print and online publications. In 2011, she became editor of World Tea News, a weekly newsletter for the U.S. tea trade. In 2013, she was hired as senior editor to assist in the transformation of Tea Magazine from a small quarterly publication to a nationally distributed monthly magazine. Katrina also served as a copy editor at Cloth, Paper, Scissors and as a proofreader for Applewood Books. Since 2015 she has worked as a fact-checker for America’s Test Kitchen’s Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines. She has published articles in The Boston Globe, Yankee Magazine, and more. In 2011, she published her first book, A Tea Reader: Living Life One Cup at a Time (Tuttle). Before working as an editor, she earned a Master of Public Health degree in health services and worked in non-profit administration.

One strategy homebuyers use to stand out from the crowd and compete in a bidding war or with all-cash buyers is writing a letter to a seller. People who need financing—and most do—as well as those with smaller down payments, often have trouble competing with all-cash buyers who are able to entice sellers with clean offers and speedy closings. Even all-cash buyers may find themselves competing with others who also can come up with the cash.

That’s where a homebuyer’s letter comes in handy. Your purpose is to convince the seller that you and your family would love living in their house because it’s awesome. With that in mind, here are seven tips to help you write a letter that will be well-received and might convince the seller that the house should be yours.

Key Takeaways

  • If you find yourself competing to buy the home of your dreams, a well-crafted letter to the seller may give you an edge.
  • The letter should build a connection with the seller, be short, and stay positive.
  • It’s a good idea to leave out any remodeling plans you have in mind.
  • To give the best impression, also make sure to thank the seller for their time and thoroughly proofread what you’ve written.
Click Play to Learn How to Write a Homebuyer’s Letter to a Seller

1. Build a Connection

Look for something you and the buyer have in common and build on that connection. The goal is to help the seller identify with you and your family. Perhaps you are in the same line of work or share an alma mater, or you noticed a lot of bird feeders in the yard—as there are in yours. Pay close attention to details as your real estate agent shows you the home, so you can find a potential bond and build on it in your letter.  

If the seller is a builder or an investor, they likely won’t care who buys because there is no emotional attachment to the home—the focus is on money and a fast closing. If that’s the case, you probably don’t need to worry about writing a letter.

2. Keep It Short

While you might be inclined to share your entire life story to get your point across, it’s generally not a good idea. Unless you’re a gifted storyteller, no one is going to want to wade through pages of your personal history. Instead, try to keep the letter to a single page, even if that means a lot of editing. Focus on two or three of the most important reasons why you are the best buyer for the home and leave out the fluff.

3. Stay Positive

Writing about all the offers you have lost in the past can put the seller in an uncomfortable position. One may feel bad for you, but will ultimately wonder why you’ve had so much trouble buying a house. Remember, nobody likes drama. If you appear desperate for any reason, you’re going to make the seller uncomfortable, so it’s important to stay positive. You want the seller to feel warm and fuzzy after reading your letter.

The way home sales are conducted changed in the spring of 2020 as people avoided close person-to-person contact. For some, it made buying remotely make more sense. For those shoppers, finding an agent who has experience with remote transactions is one of the most important steps you can take.

4. Show, Don’t Tell

Think back to your essay-writing days. You might remember a teacher saying, “Show, don’t tell.” The idea here is you want the seller to experience your emotions. Don’t be afraid to show your attachment to the home. Sellers like to know it will be more than just an investment to you. Instead of writing “Your house is so beautiful. It’s just what we’re looking for,” try, “Our twins are almost two years old, and we can already picture them playing happily in the fenced-in backyard and sleeping peacefully in their cozy rooms.” Sellers who raised their own family in the home may like the thought of a new family loving it as much as they did.  

5. Leave Out Your Remodeling Plans

People are inherently protective of their homes, so be mindful of their feelings when composing your letter. Chances are your remodeling plans will change (or destroy) something the seller has an emotional attachment to, such as the bathtub the kids splashed in, the breakfast nook where studying late at night earned someone a college degree, or the tree under which the beloved family dog is buried. Keep your plans to yourself and let the seller picture you enjoying the home the way they enjoyed it.

6. Finish Strong

Finish with a short paragraph reinforcing one or two key points you made in the letter (e.g., why you love the home, why you’re the best buyer). Also, be sure to show your appreciation for the seller’s time and consideration and the opportunity to write an offer. Sign with something like “Thank you so much for your time,” as opposed to “Best regards,” which may come across as too businesslike.  

The percent of homebuyers who need financing, according to a 2019 report from the National Association of Realtors.  

7. Proofread It

There are grammar police everywhere. To be safe, assume the seller is one of them. Review your letter for grammar, spelling, and punctuation, paying close attention to sneaky mistakes spell check doesn’t always detect, such as they’re/their/there, your/you’re, and it’s/its. If proofreading isn’t one of your strengths, ask a friend or family member to review it for you. Approach the task with the same attention to detail you’d give a cover letter for a job. A well-written, mistake-free letter shows you care about making a good impression.

The Bottom Line

It isn’t easy to compose a letter engaging and personal enough to convince the recipient that they should award the house to you and not someone else. But sometimes a well-crafted letter to the seller can be enough to sway the odds in your favor, especially if you do a great job convincing the seller you and your family love the home and are the best buyers. When the seller has an emotional investment in the home, a well-written, heartfelt letter just might be enough to win a bidding war.

Here are house offer letter samples to win a bidding war

With multiple offers pouring in on one house, house offer letters can be the determining factor in which buyer a seller chooses. And given today’s shortage of housing inventory, don’t take lightly the importance of writing up a genuine and heartfelt letter on why owning this home is important for your future. At the end of this article, we have three house offer letter samples.

Whether it’s the future house to raise your first child in or within a few miles of your parents, let the buyer know why this specific house is perfect for you.

Angela Bao, a realtor at ERA iRealty in Plano, Texas, recently outlined tips in a HousingWire blog on how buyers can win a bidding war against all-cash offers, pointing out the importance of a cover letter.

“When you have a seller who is attached to their property and interested in seeing it go to the right buyer, a personalized letter could be the strategic advantage that gets you a winning bid,” said Bao.