You’ve toured the property, met the owners, and now you think you’ve found your dream home. Congratulations! You’re almost the owner of your new house, but you have one final step before it’s a dream come true: the offer letter.
What Is an Offer Letter in Real Estate?
At its most basic, an offer letter is simply a way of letting the property owner know your interest in the property and your asking price. This short letter formally documents your intent to purchase the house, how much you are willing to pay for it and your reasons for buying the property itself.
Why and When Do You Need One?
You need an offer letter if you’re going to make an offer on the property, especially if you’re competing against other potential buyers. While this seems unnecessary, this can work in your favor, as it allows you to sway the property owner towards choosing you over other buyers even if you don’t provide the best offer.
Types Of Offer Letters
Conditional Offer Letter
A conditional offer sets a working time frame to close on the property sale. These offers have contract contingencies, which we will discuss shortly. Generally, conditional offers are better for the buyer than they are for the seller, so they aren’t as attractive against firm offers.
Firm Offer Letter
A firm offer letter is exactly what it sounds like – an offer with no conditions. These letters look more attractive to sellers, as they don’t place any requirements on the sale of the home and are a much quicker process, especially in fast-paced markets.
Essential Components of an Offer Letter
Property Buyer and Seller Information:
List the seller’s name and address as if you were sending a letter. Then address them by name.
Description of the Property:
This is where you can sell yourself as a buyer. Tell the owner unique features of the house that have sold you, and ideas for how you’ll use the space. Are you raising a family? Running a small business? Appeal to the owners directly and show them that the house is in good hands.
The amount you give the seller as your official offer on the property.
Earnest Money Amount and Terms:
An earnest deposit is a good faith transaction that shows the seller you’re serious about buying the property. A buyer likely isn’t putting down earnest deposits on a wide selection of properties, so the seller knows that the buyer will actually buy the property if chosen. This deposit is typically between 1-3% of the listing price, depending on your market.
As a buyer, inquire about important dates like the investigation period and the mortgage payment.
This part of the letter establishes a time frame for the investigation period. During this time, the buyer can conduct a full investigation of the property, with the intent of renegotiating the contract if the buyer sees something they don’t like.
A contingency clause argues that a specific condition must be met at a certain time; otherwise, the contract becomes void. Not all letters have contingencies, as they only occur under conditional offers. Common contingencies include home inspections or appraisals, or for the buyer to obtain a mortgage.
Target Date for Closing:
It is the fixed date when the transaction is expected to be completed.
Add Ons That Will Get You Your Dream Home
Connect on a personal level and discuss what you have in common with the owner.
Express your intentions and feelings about the property Also say what you liked most about the home.
Photos of yourself, your family, or your pets to build trust with the seller.
Specific details you admire about the seller and their home.
Present yourself as someone who can afford to buy the house.
Brevity & Grammar:
Keep your letter clear and concise.
Thank the seller for taking the time to consider your offer.
What To Avoid In Your Offer Letter
Intentions Of Modifying The House:
Do not mention any future renovations you have in mind.
Avoid adding pressure to the homeowner or complaining about the price of the property.
How Much Money You Have:
Do not try to intimidate the seller by mentioning you have more than you’re offering.
Conflicts With Formal Offer Documents:
Be consistent and firm with the terms discussed previously.
Your offer letter does more than just set the terms of the sale; it’s also a chance to market yourself as the best buyer. Whether you’re searching for properties or getting ready to make an offer, keep these tips in mind so you can make your dream home a reality.