Writing an offer letter when purchasing a home in Oakland, Piedmont & Berkeley CA

April 28th, 2013

I’ve been selling homes and real estate in Oakland, Piedmont and Berkeley California for 15 years and one thing for sure is that the real estate market is constantly changing.  One thing that remains the same is that home Sellers tend to want to do business with people they like.  That is why an offer letter continues to be important.  It acts like an introduction of yourselves to the decision makers evaluating your offer.

If it is a Buyer’s market, a good letter can help a Seller get over the fact that an offer is under their asking price.  In a Seller’s market, a good offer letter can put a face to an otherwise faceless purchase contract.  Now I don’t mean to imply that a good offer letter guarantees that you’ll be the winning bid but, I can tell you from personal experience that it can sometimes be the one additional factor that tilts a Seller in your direction and gets you a counter offer or better yet, a contract!

Here are some do’s and don’ts on how to craft the pitch perfect letter.

DO

  • Describe specific features you like about the house and its neighborhood
  • Include cute photos of your kids and pets along with their names
  • If there is an offer term that may be unattractive to the Seller, summarize why it needs to be there for you.
  • Cite professional or personal experiences that you have in common with seller
  • Keep the letter concise, no more than 1 page of text.
  • Mention the length of your house hunt and the hard work that went into saving up a down payment
  • Ask your real-estate agent to review your final draft

DON’T

  • Use an identical template for every offer
  • Use the letter as a form or tool for negotiations
  • Tell your entire life story
  • Divulge your post-purchase plans for drastic renovations
  • Try to justify your offer price
  • Sound desperate about your need to wrap up a home purchase fast

Brian Santilena is a Realtor and CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) with Pacific Union International Real Estate.  He has been selling home in Oakland, Piedmont and Berkeley California since 1998.  He is a licensed California contractor and former Real Estate Office Manager with Prudential California Realty.

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