Many home buyers find it surprising that building personal rapport with the seller of a property can actually make a meaningful difference in winning or losing the home of your dreams. Most buyers assume that price is the only thing that really matters for sellers and there is little else to be done to influence the outcome of a deal, other than be the highest bidder.

It turns out the decision to accept a particular purchase offer is often far more nuanced for many home sellers. Many people who have spent a large portion of their life in a home, raised a family, built community bonds, and invested time and money to maintain or improve the status of the property, have a strong emotional connection to the house. These sellers want to see the ethos of their experience and community values maintained when moving to the next stage of their life. These sellers look carefully at the character of potential buyers, and hunt for clues about the intent of these new community members in terms of maintaining shared values.

It is well worth your time as a buyer to think about the best approach to create a personal relationship with the seller. This will improve the likelihood that your offer will be accepted when the time comes. Here are some things to consider along your journey to home ownership:

  1. Think of an open house as an interview with the agent who will pass along their impression of you to the sellers. Begin each open house by introducing yourself and telling the listing agent the name of your real estate agent. It’s fine to ask questions but make sure you are polite and complimentary about the house. Any objections or concerns should be addressed with your agent, not the agent listing the property. Criticizing some aspect of the home will not get you a better deal and could imperil your chances of having your offer accepted.
  2. After visiting an open house that you love, be sure to email your agent right away so they can begin obtaining disclosures, communicating with the listing agent, and developing a strategy to put your offer in the best possible position.
  3. Do not attempt to contact the listing agent or the seller directly without first discussing it with your buyers agent. This can annoy the agent or the seller, paint you in an unprofessional light, and potentially impact your standing when it comes to selecting an offer. Find an agent you trust and let them do their job. If you have any questions, your agent should be able to get you answers promptly and help you navigate the purchase process from soup-to-nuts.
  4. Write a love letter to the seller. Keep it short and sweet – three to four paragraphs is ideal. Include a few details about your background, your job, your interests and what specific things you love about their home. Homes are not only one of the largest purchases we make but they hold memories of key times in our lives; buying a first home shortly after marriage, bringing your children home from the hospital, adopting new pets, and sharing holidays with family. Acknowledging the historical experience of the seller and communicating how you will carry forward these values will allow you to connect with the seller on a deeper level outside of the purchase price and offer terms. If you’re having a hard time putting your thoughts on paper, reach out to your agent who can help you structure a top notch letter.
  5. Ensure your offer package is organized and includes every document needed so the listing agent doesn’t have to spend time tracking anything down – offer day is hectic and the more comprehensive and tidy your offer package, the better your odds are of getting your offer accepted. An experienced agent will compile a very easy to understand and comprehensive package using modern communication tools.

Keep in mind that buying or selling a house is not just a financial transaction, but a highly emotional experience for everyone involved. If you keep in mind the emotional needs of the people at the center of the process everyone is more likely to have a satisfying experience and beneficial outcome. By following these simple steps you will increase your chances of success and reduce the number of offers you need to make to get the home of your dreams.

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