All offers should be presented in writing, preferably on a form that can be easily signed by the seller in order to create a binding contract. Include a short letter containing your most persuasive arguments regarding why this is a good offer. Do not get too wordy. There is no need to explain your entire flipping strategy and market research. Compare the two letters that follow, and see which offer you would choose if you wanted to sell your home in a hurry.
Dear Mrs. Evans:
I am a real estate investor who makes money flipping houses like yours. As you know, your home was quite lovely at one time but now suffers from a large amount of deferred maintenance. I think I can make it beautiful again, but the process will be lengthy and expensive. All of those costs and that time seriously affect the value of your home in its current condition. As a result, the most I can offer you is $156,000, but I believe this is a very fair offer. If you agree, please sign the attached contract and return it to me within 24 hours. After that, my offer will expire.
Dear Mrs. Evans:
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to visit your home. I enjoyed talking with you and learning about how you and your late husband built the house with your own hands, over forty years ago. I know it makes you sad that you have not been able to keep it up since his death five years ago. I truly believe that after I restore it, I can find that perfect someone who will cherish it as much as you have. Because of that, I am prepared to offer you the very fair price of $156,000, which is comparable to what similar properties are bringing in our community. Please sign the attached contract at your earliest convenience, but at least by Friday, when I have to make a choice between your home and another purchase.
Letter B is far more likely to get results than Letter A. It is softer, more inclusive, and recruits the seller to buy into your plans for the future. Most importantly, it communicates that other homes in similar condition are selling for comparable prices. Make sure you have the facts to back up that statement if you make it, but that should not be very difficult.
Even if the seller is represented by a real estate agent, still write the cover letter. You will simply give the letter and your contract offer to the agent, who will then pass them along to the seller.