Can Writing a Letter to the Seller Help Win the House?

Posted by under Buying a Home

In the scorching Toronto real estate market, where bidding wars abound, some buyers have taken to extreme strategies in order to win the home. These tactics include everything from making an offer without any conditions to skipping the home inspection. One creative strategy that some buyers have employed is writing a letter to appeal to the seller’s emotional sensibilities.

Take, for instance, this story about Joo-Meng and Rosanna Soh and their four children, ages nine to 14. According to the Toronto Star, the family managed to seal the deal on a four-bedroom Oakville house, even though their offer was $150,000 lower than the highest bid. The Sohs won the home by writing an emotional email to the sellers, telling the story of how they were looking to downsize their home after having their lives changed during six weeks of missionary work in Uganda.

Related Read: Should You Skip the Home Inspection?

Tugging on the Seller’s Heartstrings

Carlos Moniz, a Toronto-based sales representative with Zoocasa, says this kind of strategy can be especially effective in cases where the seller has lived in the home for a longer period of time and has a strong emotional connection to it.

He recalls an instance where a young family was looking to upsize from a condo and purchase a detached bungalow in Toronto’s west end. In an effort to appeal to the sentimental side of the seller, an elderly lady, Moniz had the family put together a letter describing how they envisioned their young daughter attending the local school and playing in the nearby park with the other neighbourhood kids. They described themselves hosting family friends in the backyard. They even included a family photo.

“You really try to make that emotional connection and try to make it not just about the dollars and cents,” says Moniz.

“Obviously in this market it’s very competitive, so if I think that will make a difference with the sellers then I’ll have my buyer put together something along those lines.”

In the end, Moniz’s clients got the home, and Moniz was told that the letter was a big part of the reason why the seller chose his clients over other bidders.

“She had an emotional connection to the area,” says Moniz. “She had brought her children to the same park that they were going to bring their daughter to.”

Add a Personal Appeal

In another instance, Moniz’s clients were given the opportunity to match or beat the highest offer on a Mississauga townhouse thanks to a letter that the couple had penned. In the letter, the newly married couple described how the husband had grown up in the area and attended the local school, and would love for his children to grow up there, as well. Besides, they had family close by to help with the childcare duties.

Even without going the lengths of writing a letter, Moniz says that any effort to tell a more personal story about the buyers can make a difference in the ultra-competitive Vancouver, Toronto and Hamilton real estate markets.

“You never know if it’s going to make a difference or not, but it’s worth a shot,” says Moniz. “Any time that we can give ourselves some sort of competitive advantage, or an advantage over our competitors, that’s ideal. It certainly can’t hurt our situation.”

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