Conventional wisdom dictates that one of the more successful tactics out there to convince a home seller to accept your offer is get personal: Include some sweet and heartfelt information to them in a note expressing why you’re just dying to buy the house.
A personal letter from the buyer can make an offer shine. However, attaching a so-called “love letter” to your offer also gives you the opportunity to stick your foot in your mouth. Say the wrong thing, and it could turn off or even offend the seller so much that they don’t even offend the seller so much that they don’t even want your money.
Here are six phrases never to include in an offer letter.
“I can see our family celebrating Christmas here.”
Sadly, some view other people negatively if they do not share their religious views. And although it’s illegal under the Federal Fair Housing Act for a home seller to discriminate based on religion – or race, color, nationality, sex, family status, or disability – a claim based on what’s in an offer letter can be difficult to prove in court. Consequently, it’s best home buyers not reveal their religion in an offer letter.
“We would do anything to get this house.”
Don’t tip your hand too much – say, by hinting you’re desperate to buy a home. Doing so can only hurt you negotiating power should the seller come back with a counteroffer.
“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 – or just realize they have over a barrel and can negotiate accordingly.
Moreover, it’s important for your real estate agent to communicate with the listing agents 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 dogs and, even though the sellers will be moving, they may be concerned about their neighbors’ safety.
“Although my offer has a lot of contingencies, I know we can make this deal work”
This might sound like a no-brainer, but some home buyers still make the mistake of drawing attention to negative aspects of their offer. Bottom line? 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 an important as what you do.