Lowball Offer Cover Letter

By
Real Estate Agent with Falcon Property Solutions
https://activerain.com/droplet/g6C

I read an interesting post last evening from Pam Miller regarding how we handle Buyers who have the money to offer full price, who understand that the asking price is fair and reasonable, and STILL they lowball cover letterwant to take YOUR reputation and make you look like the unknowing Realtor who thinks offering 35% below asking price is the acceptable thing to do.  I am fully aware that it is you and I, the fiduciarily-bound Real Estate Professional, that this reflects upon.  The other Agent will probably never hear the name of this prospective Buyer again, but they will remember that YOU are the one that made this ridiculous offer. 

If you've been in the business for more than six months or so, you have encountered this.  It is not something that I enjoy, and I have a lot of friends in the business that I do not want to insult.  Because we have that fiduciary responsibility to our Clients and therefore cannot say something to the other Agent, I developed a cover letter many years ago that I send with the offer to 'soften the blow.'

This is NOT for every situation.  This is just for those unique situations that you want to keep the communication open.  I don't use this for investors who want to low ball; I am not the Agent that wants to work with investors who low ball.  Every deal is unique, but this is what I have used in the past, especially with another Agent with whom I have rapport.  I would love to know how YOU handle these situations.

John Smith, Realtor
ABC Realty

           Re: Offer on 123 Main Street

Dear John:

Please find attached an offer from my Client on your listing at 123 Main Street.  I greatly appreciate the fact that you will be taking the time to look at this offer and subsequently sharing it with your Client.  I want to assure you that my Buyers are sincere in presenting it.  We would welcome a response from your Seller.

We look forward to your considered reply.

Sincerely,

Mimi Foster
EPIC Real Estate Group

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Ruby Lee Sweeting 08/05/2011 01:12 PM
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Anonymous
Bobby Dean

So many of us agents take listings priced in somebodies dreams the buyer assumes all homes are overpriced. I run CMA's on all listings and miss many opportunities to get the property listed when another agent overprices the listing. Then the seller gets mad because their home just sits with no showings. We have listings in our MLS on the market for over 1800 days on both ends of the price range. Don't blame the buyer when the real issue is us.

 

Aug 06, 2011 01:45 AM #90
Ambassador
854,346
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Solutions - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

THAT's what I'm talking about, Brian ;)  My hero :o

Thank you, Bobby.  I appreciate you taking the time.

Aug 06, 2011 02:22 AM #91
Rainmaker
255,331
Dick & Sandy Beals
Wilmington Real Estate 4U Wilmington, NC - Wilmington, NC

Mimi,

With your suggestion I posted it as a members only blog....it should help keep this going!  Of course it is getting off the concept of your blog again.

Dick Beals

Aug 06, 2011 08:52 AM #92
Ambassador
687,085
Ann Allen Hoover
RE/MAX Advantage South - Hoover, AL
CDPE SRES ASP e-PRO Realtor - Homes for Sale - AL

You know I should be grateful for all opportunities to present offers, but sometimes it's just embarassing.  I like your letter.....probably be "borrowing" it soon.

 

Aug 06, 2011 08:56 AM #93
Ambassador
854,346
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Solutions - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Well thank you for recognizing that, Dick!  Glad SOMEONE noticed :) Great letter.  Will definitely borrow it.

You know what, Ann? I have gotten stingy with my time enough in my old age that some clients just fall into that 'time suck' category.  I will work very hard for a Client any day of the week, and of course I want the best deal we can get for them, but someone who is just trying to get a steal doesn't give me warm fuzzies any more :)  And as someone said previously, "do you want the house or do you want the deal?"  I have had way too many this past year who have just wanted the deal . . .

Aug 06, 2011 10:04 AM #94
Rainer
248,000
Gerard Gilbers
Higher Authority Markeing - Asheboro, NC
Your Marketing Master

Mimi, I would have to see if this is just a negotiating tactic with the client or if they are just constantly low-balling everyone offer they make. No one says you have to pay "sticker price". I would considering dropping them as a client if they are just using you to shoot off contracts that are a waste of time. I like the letter as a way to get a counter.

Aug 06, 2011 03:30 PM #95
Rainmaker
305,165
Jay O'Brien
RE/MAX Revolution - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City : Social Media Guy

Entertaining topic, Mimi! Way to go keeping the dialogue going with everyone! I enjoyed the comment stating that he needed more info on WHY the offer was low. Interesting idea. Maybe better done with a phone call to the agent along with a letter like the one you have presented. Hopefully the other agent knows not to shoot the messenger. Nice post!

Aug 06, 2011 04:34 PM #96
Rainer
39,398
Michael Singh,Broker
Singh Real Estate - Corral de Tierra, CA

I never get insulted by  low offers I advise my sellers to counter all offers.   I try not to write low ball offers unless the property if over priced.  In this area properties are selling if they are priced at fair market value.

Aug 06, 2011 04:54 PM #97
Rainmaker
131,417
Mike Henderson
Your complete source for buying HUD homes - Littleton, CO
HUD Home Hub - 303-949-5848

Yep if you are going to submit it then you need to give the other agent a heads up.  I do represent and work with investors and this is semi-common.  I always call the other agent, because we really only do it on REO's and short sales.  If there are a ton of offers we don't want to waste anybody's time.  The only time I see these getting accepted is when it's the first offer in on a short sale.  Don't you like to get the short sale process started?

 

Aug 06, 2011 06:04 PM #98
Rainmaker
1,580,354
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

I would ignore it totally. I think the cover letters are ridiculous & have noticed that they often come with ridiculous offers attached.  I wondered if this was learned in some sort of seminar?  It doesn't work in the least - doesn't keep communication lines open at all in fact you wonder what is up with it?  Sellers have also not responded well to them.

Aug 07, 2011 07:16 AM #99
Rainmaker
888,155
Debbie Walsh
Shahar Management - Middletown, NY
Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.283-3036

I always use a cover letter too-no matter who it is to.  Unfortunately too many agents out there scream no matter how you present what they consider a "too low" offer.   I like your letter and can tell you are a true professional.

Aug 07, 2011 10:28 AM #100
Rainmaker
193,859
Joy Carter & Jeff Booker Brother and Sister Team
Keller Williams Parkland/Coral Springs Realty-GreatFloridaHomes Team - Coral Springs, FL
Trust Your Family's Move To Our Expertise!

Low offers are hard to swallow, but we always try to tell a seller that it is a VOLLEYBALL game, they have been served...now they have to return the volley.

It's our job to assist them in keeping their emotions in check on that return volley.  I agree with you, the letter is a nice touch to soften the blow.  Joy

Aug 08, 2011 03:38 AM #101
Anonymous
Linnea Bates

Hey guys...

It's funny, but as I opened this post to read, I expected some giant, enlightened paragraph that I had never thought of before that would subliminally get sellers to accept a ridiculously low offer without question or counter, because I have always, for 11+ yrs, included a cover letter with my offers.  I do it with lowballs, short sales, straight and narrow offers...everything.  It's never even been a thought; I was raised to write thank you letters when I receive gifts or when someone does something nice for me, and I just see it as a courtesy to introduce yourself and give a quick snapshot of your offer that the list agent can, in fact, show to their sellers.  I also include my contact info, as it is frustrating trying to gather info about the buyers' agent and get their contact info from within the offer.  Obviously the info is there, but I think it's nice to make it readily available right there on the cover letter.

In reading through the posts, I see that what I have taken for granted and made part of my practice from day one is not necessarily common or expected, so armed with this eye-opening info, I'm glad to see so many of you on board with the practice, and I'm thankful to you, Mimi, for bringing it up.  I wouldn't have thought to do it.  I've also been the recipient of many a cover letter on offers for my listings, and it really is such a simple thing, but it definitely helps to soften the blow to sellers, and allows me the opportunity to open communication with them and discuss that this is merely a "jumping off" point to start negotiations, and chances are this is not the buyers' "Highest and Best", but they are merely testing the waters, and why shouldn't they?  If you were to say yes to the lowball, they get a great deal, but I think we can counter, get a little closer aligned, and give everyone what they want.  Does that sound do-able?

So again, thank you Mimi, for bringing up a subject that I would not have thought to blog about, and hopefully spurring other agents into using a cover letter.

Happy Monday!

 

 

Aug 08, 2011 05:07 AM #102
Rainer
34,993
Dan Pinson
International Realty Partners - Phoenix, AZ
Broker,ABR,GRI,RSPS,SFR,TRC

Your letter is great Mimi. I put a letter together for nearly every offer, except those that are close or at asking price. I have a couple different strategies:

- If I have a low offer on a higher-priced property I try to present it in person. Then armed with all my research/data, I can make my best case.

- On entry-level properties, low-ball offers, especially from investors, are fairly common here (though our rapidly shrinking inventory is changing that). A lot of the investor advice out there is that if you can't get something for 20% off retail, it's not a good investor property. If it's going to be a rental instead of a flip, I can counter the deep discount mentality by using an income approach to value as well as per square foot price. Then I can (maybe) make the case that a price closer to asking price is warranted.

- Otherwise, I'll make a low-ball offer or two for a buyer. Then they usually realize that their strategy isn't going to fly and they start getting realistic.

Aug 08, 2011 06:22 AM #103
Rainmaker
648,354
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas

Great letter Mimi, and very politically correct as we can't really appologize for the insulting offer!  I'm not sure if our buyers who do this don't believe us or if they just want to try and think the negotiating game starts that low.  Some sellers are totally insulted though and don't even want to respond when the offer is too low.  I still think it is important to counter and see if you can get to a point where they both agree!

Aug 09, 2011 03:07 PM #104
Rainmaker
277,493
Randal Jenkins
Coldwell Banker F I Gray and Sons Residential, Inc. - New Port Richey, FL

Very nice.  And reputation is important.  But we are sales people.   We play the numbers game.  And if we are to be successful, we have to do what we can.

If we go about our business worrying about what people are going to say or think about our reputation, well who and what are we working for?  I don't remember getting compensated for my reputation.

I made 450 offers in 2008...(old business model).  My investors purchased 50 properties.  SO, I made 50 sellers happy and 400 disappointed.  

And I took home 6 figures in income.  I cant worry about what those 400 sellers and Realtors think.  I have to think about my business and income.

And O by the way.   Those 50 sellers may not have liked the offer, the price or me.  But they still found my offer the best one they had or I assume they would not have taken it.

Here may be my reputation.....other Realtor,,,  "O damn, another offer from that low baller Investor friendly Realtor Jenkins,  probably too low....what is it, how much is it can we take it...o goody we have an offer."

Last thing,  those low offers were used by those listing agents to help make their customers realize they may be over priced.   I want to know, of those 400 that we did not buy, how many Realtors used those offers to get their sellers to lower the price?  

Aug 11, 2011 01:26 AM #105
Rainmaker
277,493
Randal Jenkins
Coldwell Banker F I Gray and Sons Residential, Inc. - New Port Richey, FL

We are taught in real estate, there are 3 ways to approach it...(probably more, but for this argument go with me).

You can find a buyer and find them a house.  Or you can find a seller and sell their house.  This is what we are taught.

There is a 3rd way.  The way I built my business.  Find a great deal.  Some one elses listing that is priced right from an investor stand point.

Then go present that house to as many people as you can.   The way that I "trained" them is to say, something like here is a 2/2/1 for $30 a sq foot.   What price would you drop everything and pay cash for it today.   $20 a sq foot?  Great, lets write it up.

Then as I built my buyers list, I would survey all of the best deals and send them out.  Soon, I was sending out lots of "great deals" and these investors would call in and make offers.   Sometimes I would have 2 or 3 offers on the same home.  

Lots of times, the listing broker would call me and say why did I make 2 offers on the same home, we are now in a highest and best situation.  (this is good info...powerful).

By constantly surveying the "investment properties" I became a resource for investors.  I received lots of of referrals and made lots offers. 

My REPUTATION was enhanced by my willingness to work with my buyers.  What about my reputation with every one else....    (I don't know.  Maybe it is not so bad in light of my number of transactions.)

Reputation is important, but worrying about what the people on the other side of a transaction think is not the reputation that should have the highest priority.   It should be your honesty, integrity, commitment, follow up, attention to detail, customer service and lots more, that had nothing to do with worrying about what the other side of the transaction thinks of my low offer.

Thanks for the discussion.

 

Aug 11, 2011 03:01 AM #106
Rainmaker
783,021
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

Hey Mimi, sorry I came to this party late and haven't read all the comments - but I think we as agents on the list side of things need to remember that sometimes we are on the buy side where this is to occur and that we can't pass judgement on the agent who is presenting the offer - we all have buyers who won't listen to reason or look at the comps.  But, I've said this before too, I'm willing to present an offer if that is what the buyer wants because you just never know what the seller will say - we've been surprised before.

Aug 21, 2011 07:23 PM #107
Rainmaker
1,503,728
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Wow, it was fun to read comments.....

I've done a low ball offers for buyers who 'need a deal!', but I did my homework and I did know what to expect. When I list a nice property, priced right and receive a low ball offer from a realtor who did not even bother to run comps, or even see the property.....450 lowball offers and proud?( see above).

Feb 05, 2014 02:59 PM #108
Rainmaker
525,814
Dave Halpern
Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

In a seller's market some sellers think they can name any price. If the list price is unreasonably high, then the "lowball" offer may actually be the true market value.

 

Nov 15, 2017 04:54 AM #109
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