How to Write a Letter to the Sellers When Making an Offer on a Home

The Savvy Synopsis

When you find a home you love, sometimes writing a letter to the sellers can help you get the winning bid. But are there downsides to it? We’ll answer this question as well as two others from the mailbag this week.

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In the homebuying process, there are a lot of variables to consider. Some that have a direct impact on how much you spend on your home. Do you want to live outside of city limits? Will a letter to the sellers make a difference? How high are the HOA fees? All questions you’ll want answers to before buying the house.

If you like living outside of the city limits, you may have lower taxes and therefore save money. Also, you will likely have less (or no) HOA restrictions and fees. But is there something more than just the financial side?

Have you heard that it can be beneficial to write a letter to the sellers when making an offer on a home? While it can help you get the home, it may also hurt your negotiation. However, if you are in a multiple offer situation in the Triangle, most likely you will have to offer above list price anyway. In that case, you might not have had room for much negotiation, but a letter could help make the difference in getting your offer accepted. Letters sometimes speak to the emotional side of the sale. So, what should the letter include? What should you avoid?

Finally, when looking at homes it can be easy to get scared away by high HOA fees. Are these dues negotiable? Why are they sometimes priced so high?

Hear Angie answer all of these questions from the mailbag by listening to the full episode or click on the timestamps below for a specific question.

0:38 - Mailbag: Are there any advantages to be aware of when living outside of the city limits?

3:48 - Mailbag: When writing a letter to the sellers, what should the tone be?

5:25 - In a letter to a seller, tell about yourself and tell them what you like about the home.

7:56 - Mailbag: Are HOA dues negotiable?

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Angie Cole - Contact - Call: 919-538-6477

Show Transcription:

Note: This is an automated transcription. Please forgive the robots as they tend to make some (a lot of) mistakes...

Speaker 1: It's time for the savvy real tour podcast I'm Walter Storholt alongside Angie Cole, the owner and broker in charge of acole realty serving you throughout the triangle, teaching you about the ends announced When it comes to buying or selling a home, you can find the team online by going to a coal realty dot com. That's a c o l e realty dot com, or by calling 9195783138. That's 9195783128, and now it's time for one of the top rail tours in the Triangle. Angie Cole and the savvy real tour podcast Stan says, I'm currently looking at a home that's just over the city limits. Are there any advantages or disadvantages to be aware of when living outside the city limits?

Speaker 2: Yes, Stan. So I would say your advantages with the oh, guess the most important thing would be less taxes that you'd pay. So remember, when you're living outside of the city, limits you on Lee are required to pay county taxes, so typically might be around like, you know 00.6, you know, but when it comes to city taxes, it could be doubled. So you're going to save money? They're on a yearly basis. Also, I would say the advantages would be you more than likely would have less h away restrictions. So often times when we start going deeper into the country outside of the city, I find that the restrictions are lessened. So, you know, if you are one of those owners or ah, you know, potential owner that maybe you want to have an RV that would stay on your property. Maybe you wanna have chickens. You know you more than likely will probably need to go and stay Maurine the county versus being in the city so that you are allowed to do those type of things on the flip side, you know, when you're living in the county versus city, you then have to worry about maybe your neighbors who potentially don't keep their home and their lawn up like you would prefer for them to do because of the H away is not as strict in your neighborhood. You know, there's not going to be those rules and regulations that are keeping your next door neighbor from maybe doing things that you would prefer for them not to do so. It's kind of a give and take, you know, But I tend to find that many people they like to go just a little bit further out and get outside of the city limits. So they do have a little bit more freedom, and they're also paying less in their taxes.

Speaker 1: Yeah, lots of benefits that come along with that. And, you know, a few things, and then you'll be If you're a county person, you're gonna be, you know, relying on your own to do a couple of things, you know, maybe, like sewer and water and those kinds of things you might have to line up yourself. I know something caught us by surprise. Aging when we moved to ah, to Raleigh from Durham. And, ah, we're in the county now and not in the city. Was all of a sudden they are. Our trash cans disappeared,

Speaker 2: right? You're like, What do I do where I put my try?

Speaker 1: Wait, we're who took our kids. We thought they were stolen it first. And

Speaker 2: did you really?

Speaker 1: Yeah, we did. And then we figured out you didn't really think they were stolen because, like, who steals a trashcan, But

Speaker 2: sure, but you are still just kind of got lost, like, Okay, where do I You know, I need to put my trash somewhere where my benz let me go. You know, find these, but yeah, you need to get either what, a private service or take it to the dumpster.

Speaker 1: Exactly. Luckily, the good old Google was able to help remedy that situation. Could

Speaker 2: Google fixes everything?

Speaker 1: Yeah. Finally, we had to get a line up your own trash pickup and pay that bill rather than just being in your taxes. So there's some little nuances there to get used to. But overall, it seems like a lot of the depending on what you're looking for. The benefits could be great of living in the county. Or they may just sort of even out county versus city. So sure depends on your situation. Stand like you said. You're looking a parking an RV or a boat in the front yard. Well, you may have, you know, no problem doing that in the county, So that's great. Good question. Thanks, Dan. If you want to submit a question again go to a co realty dot com. Amy has another question for you. Angie. Amy is in Chapel Hill and says, I've heard it's good to write a letter to the cellars when you're putting in an offer. But what should be the tone of that letter If I sound too desperate? Doesn't that lesson my negotiating ability? What are your rules for appropriate offer letters?

Speaker 2: Yeah, Amy. So I typically find that offer letters are written when we're in a multiple offer situation. You know, it's one of those things that buyers do to try to really win over a cellar. So it does ruin your negotiation. It really does, you know. But remember, if we're in a multiple offer situation, more than likely your negotiation ability or power has just gone out the door anyways, because if you're in a multiple offers situation more than likely, you probably will need to go above list price. And so once again, balls in the Cellars Court at this point. So the whole reason why we have buyers write letters to Sellers is to try to be the winning bed. You know, I have seen in the past where a seller has decided to move forward with a buyer who actually did not have the strongest offer. But it was their letter that one over Ah, letter can really mean everything because you need to remember when it comes to selling a home, it can be, you know, very, you know, just emotional bittersweet for a cellar. You know, maybe that's been their only home. Maybe that was their first home. Maybe their children. When were you born there whatever the situation might be. But when you're right, a letter to them, you know, it can give them some comfort, the letter or the tone of the letter. You know, I would state Thio, you know, tell about yourself. Tell the seller why you absolutely love the home you know, mentioned things such as, You know, we will care for the home like you have it. So, you know, well maintained, maintained. But just give them the warm and fuzzy that you are going to love that home just as much as they did. And so maybe that might give you a little extra umph when it comes to, you know, negotiating or winning out on an offer.

Speaker 1: Yeah, it's a great point. I would just avoid Maybe, you know, you don't want to say, Oh, I hate cats and the over is a lover of cats or something like that. Positive. Keep it positive. Yes, exactly. So, um, you know, there's there's maybe some some missteps that you could take their Amy in the letter. But if you're just keeping it simple and following that kind of advice from Angier, you're not going to run to a foul of anything. And, yeah, I think you make a great point there. Angie, of your negotiating power is usually already ruined in a multiple offer situation. It's you're just negotiating against other sellers. Other buyers at that point, not we're not so much with the settler, right?

Speaker 2: Right, right. Yeah, and I I Typically, I don't see where buyers are writing letters to sellers. If they're the only offer, the home's been on the market for a while. You know, it's like typically you're able to negotiate and you can work something out. You know, once again it's more of if you want to be the winning offer that an extra letter will help. I Actually, we just put a home under contract this week. Or you know, this this previous week where I had multiple offers for my cellar and one person wrote the letter. And although their offer was stronger anyways, that letter it meant a big deal to my cellars because this transition for them, you know, has been huge. And they love, love, love, love their current home. And, you know, just having people that will care for their home like they did was super important to them.

Speaker 1: Well, we've told the story on the show as well, when we've talked about offer letters how that worked out for me last year. And it was a very nice situation where we don't think my offer was a strong, as maybe, you know, one of the other ones that came in but that the seller enjoyed our letter and we ended up making a personal connection that way. And it helped us, you know, land one of them, you know, our dream home. So it's a pretty neat it does make an impact. So it is important to do if you really want the home. It doesn't hurt to take a couple minutes to write a letter that Sze really could be the difference between you get in the home or not getting it so very, very helpful. Information. One more question from a listener here on the savvy real tour with Angie Cole, The question comes to us from Pete in Carrie, Pete says, looking at the prices of some of these H o A Dues is making my head spin. Angie feels like another many mortgage, but it did get me thinking R H o a dues negotiable.

Speaker 2: You know, Pete, unfortunately, the H o a dues are not negotiable. I do understand that, in particular, subdivisions, neighborhoods, the H o A. Dues can be seem like a lot right, like they are another mortgage payment. We typically find the H O a dues arm or expensive, in either townhome neighborhoods or especially condos. But the reason being is because they cover more. You know, maybe they're covering amenities. They cover the master insurance policy, you know. So then your homeowner's insurance would be less amount of money. Burst is having a single family home, so there is a reason behind the h o a dues, which you can also get a breakdown from the H away management company as well. So you know exactly where that money is going towards. Right? But with H o a dues, those air not negotiable. Actually, if you do not pay your h o a dues Ah, the H away company can place a lien on your property and eventually foreclose, which is really crazy, right? So it's kind of like not paying your mortgage. If you don't pay your mortgage, the bank can foreclose on you. Well, so the same goes for age away. So make sure that you are paying your h o A dues and every you know, homeowner, in your subdivision, everyone pays the same amount. So it's not like you're paying a lot more than someone else. It's the same across the board, but yeah, make sure that you're paying your h o A dues because you could get into some big trouble if you don't. Pete,

Speaker 1: you've been listening to the savvy real tour podcast on Walter Store Halt alongside Angie Cole. She's the owner and broker in charge of a co realty here in the triangle. And if you have questions for Angie Wei invite you to go online to a coal realty dot com. Listen to pass podcast episodes on the website, read the block and all the great information, including the option to find a home right there on the website. That's a coal realty dot com, and you can also call Angie with your questions. 919578 31 28

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