Winning in multiple offers with a good offer letter

November 11th, 2013

I’ve been selling homes in the Oakland, Piedmont and Berkeley California areas for over 15 years.  The market is ever changing but one thing that remains the same is that home sellers tend to do business with people they like and relate to.  In a competitive market where there are several buyers vying for every home, an offer letter continues to be an important way to stand out among the competition.

offer-letterAn offer letter can attract or done wrong repel the decision makers evaluating your offer.  A good offer letter acts as an introduction of yourselves and can put a “face” on an otherwise faceless purchase contract.  Many times it is a good include photos with your offer letter.  Even in a Buyer’s market, a good letter can help a Seller get over the fact that an offer is under their asking price.

Now I don’t mean to imply that a good offer letter guarantees that you’ll be the winning bid but, I can tell you from personal experience that it can sometimes be that one additional factor that gets a Seller to send you a counter offer instead of an offer decline.  Or even better, a full acceptance of your offer!

With many of the Oakland & Berkeley homes selling in multiple offers I always council my Buyers on how to best their odds of being successful.  Let’s face is, when the name of the game is simply to get the house in a super hot market you need to give yourself every edge that you can get.




Here are some basic do’s and don’ts on how to craft the pitch perfect Buyer letter.


  • Generate at least a paragraph specifically catered to the home your making an offer on.
  • Tell them the features you like or better yet love about their home.
  • Include cute photos of your kids and pets along with their names.
  • If there is an offer term that may be unattractive to the Seller, summarize why it needs to be there for you.
  • Cite professional or personal experiences that you have in common with seller.
  • Keep the letter concise, no more than 1 page of text and 1 page of photos.
  • Mention that you’re will be grateful to just get the house.  Even though you may plan to, it will convey to the Seller that you’re not likely the type to renegotiate later after your inspections.
  • Be yourself but be open to your Realtor’s input on the finished draft.


  • Use an identical template for every offer.
  • Use the letter as a form or tool for negotiations.
  • Tell your entire life story.
  • Divulge your post-purchase plans for drastic renovations.
  • Try to justify your offer price

Brian Santilena is a Realtor and CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) with Pacific Union International Real Estate.  He has been selling homes is a local specialist in the areas of Oakland, Piedmont and Berkeley California.  Check him out on Yelp!


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