Personal Letters, Listing “estimates” from Realtors


Dear David,

We are first-time buyers who dream of owning a home, but the market is really competitive. When we submit an offer, should we include a letter introducing ourselves? I feel like if we could tell the seller who we are and how much their home means to us, it might really help our case. – HOPEFUL

DEAR HOPEFUL: This may sound harsh, but when you submit an offer, it needs to stand on its own merit. Selling a home is a business decision. For the homeowner, it almost always comes down to price, conditions and closing date. As a Realtor, my role is to protect my clients’ best interests. Sellers pay me to say “no” when the situation requires, keep them focused, and prevent things from getting too emotional.

PRO TIP: In our current market, your Realtor should come armed with strategies that can help you win in a multiple offer situation. A number of these have nothing to do with money. Using flexible closing, financing pre-approval or a pre-emptive (mini) inspection to your advantage can help you to stand out in a pool of potential buyers. If your offer is the only one on the table, the personal letter may have more impact.

Dear David,

I want to list my home. Is it standard practice that I get three Realtors to give me an “estimate” on my house before choosing? – COVERING THE BASES

DEAR COVERING: While this sounds like the right approach for budget-based decisions like air conditioner service or buying a new set of tires, the process of connecting with a trusted advisor is a little bit different.

To me, the thought of choosing an advisor from the top three in a Google search is pretty arbitrary. Instead, I would encourage you to seek a referral from someone you trust. If your doctor referred you to a specialist, you would probably go see them, rather than choosing to interview three random specialists in your area. Your health is critical – and so is the management of your largest asset.

The Realtor relationship should be based on things like experience, trustworthiness, strategy and rapport. To narrow the field, ask friends and co-workers for recommendations. They’re likely to give you an honest opinion, rather than a sales pitch. If you wish to investigate further, check out the Realtor’s website or blog (or in my case, this column) to get a feel for who they are and what they’re all about. A face-to-face meeting is a great way to get comfortable. If you don’t hit it off, move on.

PRO TIP: When you ask about getting an “estimate” from a Realtor, I suspect you’re referring to the listing price they suggest. Keep in mind that buyers are the ones who determine selling price. A skilled Realtor will work to attract as many buyers as possible, to improve your end result. Some agents may try to “buy” your listing by suggesting a high price, but results may disappoint if they fail to grab a buyer’s attention. #AskDavid #Advice