Want to buy that Brantford house? Don’t say this to the seller…
It’s common today for would-be Brantford home buyers to write a “love letter” to the sellers, in hopes of being chosen in a multiple offer situation. While some say it’s a poor idea, others say it works, and even causes some sellers to choose a lower offer over a higher one.
Here’s what to consider if you’re thinking of writing a love letter to the sellers:
Do compliment the house and the way it’s been maintained. Do say that you can envision yourself and your loved ones being happy there. You can even talk about the good energy you feel within the house.
On the other hand, if you want the house there are some things you should avoid saying.
Do NOT use your letter to justify a lower price.
In fact, don’t even mention things you don’t like about the house. You may think that lime green paint in the bedroom is atrocious. But don’t mention that you want the house anyway, because you can paint over it.
If your plan would be to knock out a wall, remodel the kitchen, or rebuild the back deck, don’t talk about it.
Remember that when you criticize anything in the house, you’re criticizing the seller’s taste. No one feels kindly toward those who critcize them, so don’t do it.
And of course, if you criticize things that can’t be changed, such as the location, they’ll see it as an obvious attempt to bring the price down.
Avoid any mention of your religion or of religious topics.
You may see Christmas as an entirely secular holiday, but if you say you can see your family celebrating Christmas in the house, the sellers might make assumptions about your religion.
Why is this important? Because the sellers may reject you based on your perceived beliefs – even though it’s illegal to discriminate based on religion. All they need to do is say they preferred a different offer.
An exception to this would be if you’d met and spoken with the sellers and know that you share religious beliefs.
Avoid mentioning how much your dogs will love the back yard, unless…
Some sellers feel an obligation to their neighbors, and won’t want to sell to someone who may have a dog that barks – or a big dog that might scale the fence. If you own a Pit Bull, Doberman, or Rottweiler, you probably shouldn’t mention it.
Unless… the reason the fence is there is that the current owners have such dogs. If that’s the case, go ahead and talk about them.
(By the way, if you own dogs that some would deem “dangerous,” do check local ordinances before buying a home. They are outlawed in some communities.)
Do not give away your bargaining power.
Don’t say you’d do anything to own this house. Don’t say you’re anxious to close quickly because your lease is nearly up, or because you’ve sold your current home and need to be out.
To do either is to ask for a counter-offer at a much higher price.
And finally, don’t call attention to any deficiencies in your offer.
Don’t mention your lower price, your contingencies, or the fact that you can’t close for 3 months. The sellers and their agent can see those things. They don’t need a reminder.
Instead, if you wish to discuss the offer, focus on your points of agreement. For instance, remind them that you’ll be happy to delay closing for a month while they close on their new house.
A letter to the seller may help you win that Brantford home – but only if you’re careful about what you say and don’t say.