The Famous "I want to buy your house" Letter! NEED HELP!

51 Replies

So we want to go for deal #2 but there is a problem, the neighborhood we want doesnt have the right house on the market. I know exactly what I want and know the 25 houses in the neighborhood that has what I want. So I guess I need to write them a letter, right? Problem is that Ive never done this before and while I want to add my own bits to the letter with some of our "story" I could really use a few examples to get started. Anyone feeling generous and want to give me an example of a full letter they have seen or used? Also, should I knock on their door or leave it in their mail box? Should I try to meet them? Lastly, we would not be able to buy it outright. We would only be able to put 10%-20% down and do a conventional 15 year mortgage on it. I guess a real estate investor loan, right? Has anyone else tried to write these letters doing the same thing and not wholesaling it ?? Does this even work??? Any help would would be fantastic! Thanks!

Hi Rebecca the letter I use for Direct mail is below. It usually works but instead of doing the leg work to send these letters out; I rather just cold call a seller on spot, and get a answer the same day instead of waiting. Let me know if you have any questions.

Dear HomeOwner:

I’m a Real Estate Developer in the Central Jersey area and I buy houses for CASH! I’m willing to make you an ALL CASH OFFER on the property that you own located at "...." We can buy in ANY situation and As-Is condition!

We can close in as little as 30 days, or less and even pay ALL closing costs! Meaning, no money out of your pocket and the offer I make to you is going to be the check you walk out of the title company with on closing day. We charge NO Fees, and NO commissions for our service.

I would like the opportunity to speak with you about potentially being a solution. Please give me a call ##### at  so we can set up a time when I can come out, and look at the property. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Sincerely,

Your Name

CEO Of Your Company

Feel Free To Contact Us:

Website:

Email:

Number:

@Rebecca Cramer

Here's my list of tips:

1. Don't bring Jesus into it. I've received a number of letters that include the salutation "God Bless". God bless who? You? Me? Your business? My suspicion is that there's some guru out there telling people to add it to their letters, and it's both smarmy and low.

2. CA$H is not a word. I've seen this and it really smacks of the gutter.

3. Handwriting is dead. Sub-literate scrawl can be offensive to those who have actually studied formal systems of cursive writing. Better a printed letter than one obviously penned by someone who has no idea what any of these systems look like and obviously couldn't care less about it.

4. Don't send pictures of your family. Yeah, it happened. And the investor had a BIG reality-show-sized family, ranging from early college age to babe-in-arms. Why do I need to know how virile his loins are, how fecund his wife is, and his obvious views on French letters? Yes, I did look at your profile pic. Two kids is not what I'm talking about. Think "volleyball team."

5. Answer the phone. If you can't answer it, have someone who will. Don't get on BP and complain about how few people left detailed messages for you to contact them at your leisure.

6. Be prepared with a ballpark number. When you call a letter-writer and he plays twenty questions with you before he tells you that he'll call back with an offer...again, don't get on BP and complain about how few actionable leads you're generating or how many rude things you've been told on the phone.

7. Do not be cagey about self-financing. When I want to unload a house, I don't want to wait for my money.

8. Don't lie about flipping the place yourself if you plan to wholesale it. You have no idea who the seller really is or who he knows.

Originally posted by @Jim K. :

@Rebecca Cramer

Here's my list of tips:

1. Don't bring Jesus into it. I've received a number of letters that include the salutation "God Bless". God bless who? You? Me? Your business? My suspicion is that there's some guru out there telling people to add it to their letters, and it's both smarmy and low.

2. CA$H is not a word. I've seen this and it really smacks of the gutter.

3. Handwriting is dead. Sub-literate scrawl can be offensive to those who have actually studied formal systems of cursive writing. Better a printed letter than one obviously penned by someone who has no idea what any of these systems look like and obviously couldn't care less about it.

4. Don't send pictures of your family. Yeah, it happened. And the investor had a BIG reality-show-sized family, ranging from early college age to babe-in-arms. Why do I need to know how virile his loins are, how fecund his wife is, and his obvious views on French letters? Yes, I did look at your profile pic. Two kids is not what I'm talking about. Think "volleyball team."

5. Answer the phone. If you can't answer it, have someone who will. Don't get on BP and complain about how few people left detailed messages for you to contact them at your leisure.

6. Be prepared with a ballpark number. When you call a letter-writer and he plays twenty questions with you before he tells you that he'll call back with an offer...again, don't get on BP and complain about how few actionable leads you're generating or how many rude things you've been told on the phone.

7. Do not be cagey about self-financing. When I want to unload a house, I don't want to wait for my money.

8. Don't lie about flipping the place yourself if you plan to wholesale it. You have no idea who the seller really is or who he knows.

 Your comment: "3. Handwriting is dead. Sub-literate scrawl can be offensive to those who have actually studied formal systems of cursive writing. Better a printed letter than one obviously penned by someone who has no idea what any of these systems look like and obviously couldn't care less about it."

I just got a call a few days ago from a guy who said he had received several letters from investors, all typed, and the only one he called was my hand written. His words not mine. Moral of story - please send out typed letters so I get the phone call you would have gotten. ;-)

Originally posted by :
Originally posted by :

3. Handwriting is dead. Sub-literate scrawl can be offensive to those who have actually studied formal systems of cursive writing. Better a printed letter than one obviously penned by someone who has no idea what any of these systems look like and obviously couldn't care less about it.

 Your comment: "3. Handwriting is dead. Sub-literate scrawl can be offensive to those who have actually studied formal systems of cursive writing. Better a printed letter than one obviously penned by someone who has no idea what any of these systems look like and obviously couldn't care less about it."

I just got a call a few days ago from a guy who said he had received several letters from investors, all typed, and the only one he called was my hand written. His words not mine. Moral of story - please send out typed letters so I get the phone call you would have gotten. ;-)

Just make sure your spelling and correspondence penmanship exceeds Pennsyltucky norms, then:

Originally posted by @Jim K. :

@Rebecca Cramer

Here's my list of tips:

1. Don't bring Jesus into it. I've received a number of letters that include the salutation "God Bless". God bless who? You? Me? Your business? My suspicion is that there's some guru out there telling people to add it to their letters, and it's both smarmy and low.

2. CA$H is not a word. I've seen this and it really smacks of the gutter.

3. Handwriting is dead. Sub-literate scrawl can be offensive to those who have actually studied formal systems of cursive writing. Better a printed letter than one obviously penned by someone who has no idea what any of these systems look like and obviously couldn't care less about it.

4. Don't send pictures of your family. Yeah, it happened. And the investor had a BIG reality-show-sized family, ranging from early college age to babe-in-arms. Why do I need to know how virile his loins are, how fecund his wife is, and his obvious views on French letters? Yes, I did look at your profile pic. Two kids is not what I'm talking about. Think "volleyball team."

5. Answer the phone. If you can't answer it, have someone who will. Don't get on BP and complain about how few people left detailed messages for you to contact them at your leisure.

6. Be prepared with a ballpark number. When you call a letter-writer and he plays twenty questions with you before he tells you that he'll call back with an offer...again, don't get on BP and complain about how few actionable leads you're generating or how many rude things you've been told on the phone.

7. Do not be cagey about self-financing. When I want to unload a house, I don't want to wait for my money.

8. Don't lie about flipping the place yourself if you plan to wholesale it. You have no idea who the seller really is or who he knows.

 Thanks for those tips Jim! We are a military family and is it slimy to add that tidbit? Most people are buying these homes and tearing them down to build larger craftman style homes. Our dream is to rehab the house to its original glory (1960's mid century home keeping all the traditional charm). And we dont plan to flip it but use it as a family as well as rent it out to help cover our costs (its a vacation home). Saying "God bless" may be slimy but sharing any portion of your story could be seen as slimy but if you see it as trying to make a connection with the seller, find common ground, maybe its not so slimy. Thoughts?

Originally posted by @Jim K. :
Originally posted by :
Originally posted by :

3. Handwriting is dead. Sub-literate scrawl can be offensive to those who have actually studied formal systems of cursive writing. Better a printed letter than one obviously penned by someone who has no idea what any of these systems look like and obviously couldn't care less about it.

 Your comment: "3. Handwriting is dead. Sub-literate scrawl can be offensive to those who have actually studied formal systems of cursive writing. Better a printed letter than one obviously penned by someone who has no idea what any of these systems look like and obviously couldn't care less about it."

I just got a call a few days ago from a guy who said he had received several letters from investors, all typed, and the only one he called was my hand written. His words not mine. Moral of story - please send out typed letters so I get the phone call you would have gotten. ;-)

Just make sure your spelling and correspondence penmanship exceeds Pennsyltucky norms, then:

 Great tip! My hand writing has been called chicken scratch on multiple occasions but my dad and mom have really beautiful cursive hand writing so I think I will have them compose the letter. What are your thoughts on delivering it in person, knocking on the door, or just putting it in their mail box? And not buying it for cash because I dont have but 10 or 20% to put down..

@Rebecca Cramer . You can put in some value-add. 

Moving is stressful - let people know you will make it easier for them.

You don't need to:

  • spend time and money to fix up your house.
  • have people traipsing through looking and commenting on everything
  • pay commission to a realtor

We can help:

  • recommend estate item buyers and yard sale specialists
  • recommend packers and movers
  • do the final clean-up of everything you don't want

This is an article that talks about this more - it's geared toward seniors, but should help.

https://www.biggerpockets.com/blogs/10944/74462-you-want-to-buy-their-home-but-how-do-you-get-the-attention-of-senio

Originally posted by @Chrissy Arnold:

@Rebecca Cramer. You can put in some value-add. 

Moving is stressful - let people know you will make it easier for them.

You don't need to:

  • spend time and money to fix up your house.
  • have people traipsing through looking and commenting on everything
  • pay commission to a realtor

We can help:

  • recommend estate item buyers and yard sale specialists
  • recommend packers and movers
  • do the final clean-up of everything you don't want

This is an article that talks about this more - it's geared toward seniors, but should help.

https://www.biggerpockets.com/blogs/10944/74462-you-want-to-buy-their-home-but-how-do-you-get-the-attention-of-senio

 Thanks for this response! So if they dont pay a commission to a realtor that means they dont need one but will I need one? I guess since I dont have a license? It seems scary to me to do it without a realtor on my end. Would my realtor deal with the stuff on their end? Just never did this before and wondering how I would go about it without a realtor on their end or ours. Any advice?

Originally posted by @Account Closed :
Originally posted by @Jim K.:

@Rebecca Cramer

Here's my list of tips:

1. Don't bring Jesus into it. I've received a number of letters that include the salutation "God Bless". God bless who? You? Me? Your business? My suspicion is that there's some guru out there telling people to add it to their letters, and it's both smarmy and low.

2. CA$H is not a word. I've seen this and it really smacks of the gutter.

3. Handwriting is dead. Sub-literate scrawl can be offensive to those who have actually studied formal systems of cursive writing. Better a printed letter than one obviously penned by someone who has no idea what any of these systems look like and obviously couldn't care less about it.

4. Don't send pictures of your family. Yeah, it happened. And the investor had a BIG reality-show-sized family, ranging from early college age to babe-in-arms. Why do I need to know how virile his loins are, how fecund his wife is, and his obvious views on French letters? Yes, I did look at your profile pic. Two kids is not what I'm talking about. Think "volleyball team."

5. Answer the phone. If you can't answer it, have someone who will. Don't get on BP and complain about how few people left detailed messages for you to contact them at your leisure.

6. Be prepared with a ballpark number. When you call a letter-writer and he plays twenty questions with you before he tells you that he'll call back with an offer...again, don't get on BP and complain about how few actionable leads you're generating or how many rude things you've been told on the phone.

7. Do not be cagey about self-financing. When I want to unload a house, I don't want to wait for my money.

8. Don't lie about flipping the place yourself if you plan to wholesale it. You have no idea who the seller really is or who he knows.

 Your comment: "3. Handwriting is dead. Sub-literate scrawl can be offensive to those who have actually studied formal systems of cursive writing. Better a printed letter than one obviously penned by someone who has no idea what any of these systems look like and obviously couldn't care less about it."

I just got a call a few days ago from a guy who said he had received several letters from investors, all typed, and the only one he called was my hand written. His words not mine. Moral of story - please send out typed letters so I get the phone call you would have gotten. ;-)

 Hand written ? or  Faux hand written by a hand writing machine..  when I want something I send a very formal letter.. and when I really want something I have my attorney send it for me.. how many people would not open a letter written from an attorney and read it.. 

I know that works.. it worked on me when I had a Timber property in Oregon that was in inventory and I got this letter from an attorney what is this I thought I have been good... it was just a professional inquiry that he represented a client that wanted to buy my timber track we did the deal … 

To the OP if its that specific just 25 homes I would door knock them.. that's how we bought timber for years.. drive up the drive way.. with a cooler full of either Salmon Smoked or not... Elk jerky  and a few elk steaks for the biggest timber patchs.. :)  it works  

Originally posted by @Rebecca Cramer :
Originally posted by @Chrissy Arnold:

@Rebecca Cramer. You can put in some value-add. 

Moving is stressful - let people know you will make it easier for them.

You don't need to:

  • spend time and money to fix up your house.
  • have people traipsing through looking and commenting on everything
  • pay commission to a realtor

We can help:

  • recommend estate item buyers and yard sale specialists
  • recommend packers and movers
  • do the final clean-up of everything you don't want

This is an article that talks about this more - it's geared toward seniors, but should help.

https://www.biggerpockets.com/blogs/10944/74462-you-want-to-buy-their-home-but-how-do-you-get-the-attention-of-senio

 Thanks for this response! So if they dont pay a commission to a realtor that means they dont need one but will I need one? I guess since I dont have a license? It seems scary to me to do it without a realtor on my end. Would my realtor deal with the stuff on their end? Just never did this before and wondering how I would go about it without a realtor on their end or ours. Any advice?

you don't need a realtor for off market..  find a basic contract on line.. agree to terms then take it to the title company or closing attorney and they will do the rest..  

Originally posted by @McKinley Carbone:

Hey @Rebecca Cramer one little known fact about mail is that it is actually illegal for a person outside of mail services to place mail in a persons mail box so be sure to actually stamp and mail the letter or give it to them in person :) Hope this helps. 

 Door hangers work great my dad did those in the 60s  far cheaper than direct mail and much more effective when you have a target area this small.

My letter is short, so they'll actually read it. "Hi, we are a couple looking to invest in our growing community...we are preapproved for a home purchase through a local lender....please contact me if you'd like to have a conversation about selling your property.....thank you for taking the time to read this letter...." Or something close to that effect. Short, slightly personal, I'm a local person just like you and not an evil corporation, thanks. 

Yes, it's typewritten, but I am handwriting the envelope. Do you have a kid with good hand writing, or maybe that can stuff envelopes? Pay them, and then write that payment off on your taxes. No, I'm not sending out 1,000 letters a month, so my method works on a small scale. Just looking for that one off market property to add to portfolio. Very small and specific area and price. I also use real stamps and my name and city as return address, showing them it came from the same city. 

We have purchased one off market duplex this year and hope to purchase another before the year ends. 

@Jay Hinrichs I bought our English Tudor home the same way—- Guy was 81 yrs old. Paid him 3 visits and he sold me the deal for $500 a month for 20 yrs. The fact that I listened, came up with an action plan for HIS NEEDs, it made all the difference.
Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :
Originally posted by @Mike M.:
Originally posted by @Jim K.:

@Rebecca Cramer

Here's my list of tips:

1. Don't bring Jesus into it. I've received a number of letters that include the salutation "God Bless". God bless who? You? Me? Your business? My suspicion is that there's some guru out there telling people to add it to their letters, and it's both smarmy and low.

2. CA$H is not a word. I've seen this and it really smacks of the gutter.

3. Handwriting is dead. Sub-literate scrawl can be offensive to those who have actually studied formal systems of cursive writing. Better a printed letter than one obviously penned by someone who has no idea what any of these systems look like and obviously couldn't care less about it.

4. Don't send pictures of your family. Yeah, it happened. And the investor had a BIG reality-show-sized family, ranging from early college age to babe-in-arms. Why do I need to know how virile his loins are, how fecund his wife is, and his obvious views on French letters? Yes, I did look at your profile pic. Two kids is not what I'm talking about. Think "volleyball team."

5. Answer the phone. If you can't answer it, have someone who will. Don't get on BP and complain about how few people left detailed messages for you to contact them at your leisure.

6. Be prepared with a ballpark number. When you call a letter-writer and he plays twenty questions with you before he tells you that he'll call back with an offer...again, don't get on BP and complain about how few actionable leads you're generating or how many rude things you've been told on the phone.

7. Do not be cagey about self-financing. When I want to unload a house, I don't want to wait for my money.

8. Don't lie about flipping the place yourself if you plan to wholesale it. You have no idea who the seller really is or who he knows.

 Your comment: "3. Handwriting is dead. Sub-literate scrawl can be offensive to those who have actually studied formal systems of cursive writing. Better a printed letter than one obviously penned by someone who has no idea what any of these systems look like and obviously couldn't care less about it."

I just got a call a few days ago from a guy who said he had received several letters from investors, all typed, and the only one he called was my hand written. His words not mine. Moral of story - please send out typed letters so I get the phone call you would have gotten. ;-)

 Hand written ? or  Faux hand written by a hand writing machine..  when I want something I send a very formal letter.. and when I really want something I have my attorney send it for me.. how many people would not open a letter written from an attorney and read it.. 

I know that works.. it worked on me when I had a Timber property in Oregon that was in inventory and I got this letter from an attorney what is this I thought I have been good... it was just a professional inquiry that he represented a client that wanted to buy my timber track we did the deal … 

To the OP if its that specific just 25 homes I would door knock them.. that's how we bought timber for years.. drive up the drive way.. with a cooler full of either Salmon Smoked or not... Elk jerky  and a few elk steaks for the biggest timber patchs.. :)  it works  

 Hi Jay! So you are saying to door knock with gifts? And say "I want to buy your home and here is a gift from us to you?" Im curious how you did the door knocking. Thanks! Also what does OP mean? I know Im SOOOOO new to all this! Lol!

Originally posted by @Account Closed :
@Jay Hinrichs I bought our English Tudor home the same way—- Guy was 81 yrs old. Paid him 3 visits and he sold me the deal for $500 a month for 20 yrs. The fact that I listened, came up with an action plan for HIS NEEDs, it made all the difference.

 Hi Benjamin! The same way how? And you knocked on the door uninvited 3 times to ask him to if you could buy his house? What did you offer? Im a little confused what kind of deal is $500/month for $20 years. So did you buy it? Im very green on here and cant read the hidden details Im sure the rest of you can. Thanks for responding and giving your input Id just love more detail! Thanks Benjamin!

@Jim K. It seems your just listing stuff you don’t like, of which would also turn me off. However the stuff we dont like seems exactly the type of thIngs many people desperate to unload their decrepit homes would be receptive of. Have you done a lot of yellow letters?
@Rebecca Cramer Yes I did- wish I could upload photos here feel free to shoot me a DM. I was driving for dollars, found the home that had long grass, and was a little rough asked the neighbor for the 411, and he said it was an old man living at the property and that his wife had died etc. I came by again- this time with my wife and a letter, inside of a Post Office Certified Mail box (They are free at the post office). On the second trip, my wife said she really liked the home so while I got out to drop off the letter- the neighbor said he was in the back. I walked around the back to find him drinking a beer watering the garden. I started the conversation by saying how much we loved his home etc and ended up leaving the letter. 3 days later he called and said he would like to sell so he could move to his flat level home down the rd. Etc Hope that clarifys the story.

If you are targeting that small of an area and house count you should definitely do as much research on the owners as possible.  Rank your list of 25 homes in order of most desirable and most likely to sell.  Get this information based off multiple factors.  Length of home ownership (ie equity position), age of owner, do they have kids, is it owner-occupied, have they paid taxes late in the past or currently, get to virtually know them via FB or other social media.  Information is power, know as much as you can before knocking on the door.  You may find that the owner is not in a position to sell at a price that will make your numbers work.  In that case, the house may need to be crossed off or at least put down the list.  Make it known to neighbors that you want to purchase in that area.  Conversations are free, and the best way to let people know you are serious.  Best of luck. 

@Steve B.

I do not send out yellow letters or do any sort of direct mailing. I have been the subject of at least a dozen campaigns, as during the downturn I bought buy-and-hold rental properties in what I felt were undervalued areas that were certain to appreciate and I turned out to be right. So the people trying to break into real estate with very little down and a dream keep trying to get in those areas years too late.

I've called up yellow-letter marketers. I recently sold a property to a wholesaler when I needed it gone quickly.

So I don't think you guys are the dross of real estate investing. But you are SLOW. By the time you typically move into an area, the owners are well aware it's on the rise, and already thinking about selling at the top of the market. As more and more people get into the direct-marketing game, the owners are less willing to respond to bad offers. If you're going to convince people to sign over their property, you have to catch them at the nadir of their despair. You have to take risks that are well thought out. I often call you guys "checkers-players" when I open your letters. You need to learn chess.