Phrases to avoid when you make an offer on a house
Real estate common sense indicates that one of the more successful tactics out there to convince a home seller to accept your offer is to get personal. Include some sweet and heartfelt information to them in a note, expressing why you're really, really interested in buying their house. Be aware, attaching a so-called “love letter” to your offer also gives you the opportunity to go wrong. Saying the wrong thing could turn off or offend the seller so much that they don't even want your money. Trust me. I’ve been a real estate agent for the past five years, and I’ve read dozens of offer letters which some aren’t pretty at all.
You don’t want to upset the seller? Here are six phrases never to include in an offer letter.
'I can see our family celebrating Christmas here.'
Some sellers view other people negatively if they do not share their religious views. Also, it’s illegal under the Federal Fair Housing Act for a home seller to discriminate based on religion, race, color, national origin, sex, family status, or disability. Do not reveal your religion in an offer letter, leave it plain and simple.
'We're not crazy about your shag carpet, but we'll just tear that out.'
The best rule to follow throughout a real estate transaction is: Don’t insult any sellers you may be dealing with, or their taste! Discussing changes you’d want to make to the house can be offensive. Put yourself in the seller’s shoes. Would you want a buyer criticizing your taste in home decor? Absolutely not! Sugar and honey can go a long way. So tell the sellers: how great their taste in color is, how much you'd love to have their lifestyle, or what an incredible art collection they have.
'We would do anything to get this house.'
By saying that you’re just unveiling to them how desperate you are to buy their home. Doing so can only hurt your negotiating power.
'Our lease is up soon, so we really need to close quickly.'
This kind of statement can weaken an offer if the sellers are looking for a longer closing period. They know that you are in a difficult situation, and can negotiate accordingly. It is important for your real estate agent to communicate with the listing agent and find out what the sellers want, and to learn their backstory. How long have they lived in the house? How many children did the sellers raise in the home? Having this kind of info can help you craft a compelling offer letter that touches their soft spots.
'Your home’s fenced-in backyard will be a perfect place for my dog to run around.'
You may love pets, but a seller may not feel the same way. In particular, mentioning your dog’s breed could be risky. For example, let's say you own a pit bull. Considering the stigma surrounding the breed, some people are afraid of these canines—and, even though the sellers will be moving, they may be concerned about their neighbors’ safety. On the other hand, if you know that the sellers love dogs, mentioning yours in an offer letter can help you find common ground.
'Although my offer has a lot of contingencies, I know we can make this deal work.'
This might sound great, but some home buyers still make the mistake of drawing attention to negative aspects of their offer. Selling a house, and receiving an offer letter that said the buyer wasn’t willing to pay full price for the home, but was willing to pay in cash can draw negative questions. A cash offer is great, but why call any attention to the fact that the seller's asking price won't be met? In the end, the seller can decide to accept another buyer’s offer instead.
In conclusion: Writing a personal offer letter to a seller can help seal the deal, but what you don’t say in an offer letter is just as important as what you do.
If you are in the market to buy or sell, and you are not into a contractual representation with another agent, don't hesitate to call me. I am always ready to help my customers with their real estate needs.