I Love Your House

When her clients fell in love during an open house tour, agent Jesenia Ontiverso of Century 21 Marty Rodriguez in Glendora, Calif., feared they could be disappointed, since homes in the area were garnering multiple offers.

But Ontiverso thinks some lucky timing had a hand in the sellers accepting her clients’ offer.

“I went back before the end of the open [house] to tell the agent I’d be bringing an offer,” she says. “The owners came back home just then. I told them my clients saw their pictures and admired how they raised a lovely family in the home, and how much they would love this great family home.”

Whether or not her clients bid the highest price, Ontiverso says, “I really don’t know.” But she believes conveying their enthusiasm influenced the sellers to accept their offer.

With many markets now experiencing shortages of inventory for sale, other agents are saying a buyer’s sentiment can hold sway with a seller.

“Sellers really care about who buys their home, and if buyers can convey a genuine connection and respect with a polite cover letter attached to an offer, it is beneficial for the buyer,” says Debbi Hester, of ERA Sellers, Buyers and Associates in El Paso, Texas.

But discretion is required, warns Charles Vallis, a Boston-area agent for Redfin, a Seattle-based brokerage firm. “For one thing, keep the focus on the seller, praising their home,” Vallis says.

“Don’t express anything that sounds as if you’re desperate to buy, like you need to get your kids in the school right away,” Vallis adds. That desperation could weaken your position in negotiations that come later.

On the flip side, Hester says, buyers should be careful not to inadvertently insult a seller. “Remember that sometimes family members are in the home during a showing ... and they can hear any critical, analytical and harsh remarks.”