We welcome you to our “PWR’s Experts” column where we highlight some of the industry experts we know. As Financial Planners, we have met many smart and talented people who are experts in their own fields. We have used them as resources for our clients and sources of knowledge for ourselves. We hope you enjoy our experts series - as we have much more to come!
Our expert today is Robert Parker of Parker Homes.
Robert is currently a Real Estate Agent based in the Bay Area but he learned the business here in San Diego. Today we are discussing Love Letters and their significance when going to buy or sell a home.
My fiance and I wrote a love letter when we bought our home and we heard from the sellers agent that it was a big factor in why they chose us. I wanted to learn more so I reached out to Robert to help explain how Love Letters can be a powerful tool in today's tight real estate market.
A little bit about Robert Parker:
Robert Parker is a Licensed Realtor in the state of California. He is originally from San Diego, CA where he first learned the industry straight out of college. His primary area of expertise is the Bay Area, specifically in the East Bay (Berkeley, Oakland, and the surrounding cities).
Robert has been in the real estate industry for the last five years, where he initially focused on foreclosures. His experience ranges from the buying and renovation of foreclosed homes to the successful transaction of large luxury estates.
Robert, in such a short timeframe, has closed over 45 million dollars of real estate and is in the top 10% of Realtors in his area.
So Robert, what is a "Real Estate Love Letter”?
There are two versions of a Real Estate Love Letter: 1) A Seller writes one for a prospective Buyer to read before writing an offer. 2) A Buyer writes to a Seller as part of their offer to purchase their home. Both are very personalized and tailored to each person.
Is writing a Love letter necessary now when buying a home?
A Love Letter is not mandatory to convey the property but, in the Bay Area, it is a differentiator as a Buyer. Sellers usually have an emotional attachment to the home, and they want to know the Buyer feels the same way as they do.
As a Seller, it helps the Buyer feel the love and care that the Seller has for the home. This emotion usually details the capital improvements and thoughtful aspects the Seller has implemented.
What effects have you seen a love letter have on a Seller's interest in the Buyer?
There are many positive effects that a love letter has on a Seller. In most cases, the price is the Seller’s primary focus, but some offers are so similar the Seller needs something to differentiate between the top offers. A well-crafted love letter can make the difference between getting an offer accepted or rejected.
How do you suggest your clients write their love letter? Handwritten or Typed?
Most love letters are typed, but Buyers are advised to find ways to differentiate their letter, whether it be a change in font or formatting their letter differently.
What have potential buyers included in the best love letters you have seen? Should you add photos?
It is not advisable per The Fair Housing Act to include photos of oneself. Not showing faces protects all parties from discrimination. Buyers are advised to include in their letter photos of pets, projects they have completed, and hobbies like photography.
Besides a good love letter, what (if any) non-financial items have you seen help a first-time home buyer increase their chances of having their offer accepted?
As a Buyer, it is essential to be thorough with all contracts/paperwork. Buyers should understand the contract fully, so they know what they are signing and where all the signatures are required.
The barrier of entry to obtaining a real estate license is quite low, so just be aware that not all Buyer’s agents are thorough and sometimes they do not check to see that their client's offer is complete before submitting it. By submitting an incomplete offer, it shows a lack of detail and interest in the property.
The best thing a Buyer can do to differentiate themselves is submitting a complete offer (all signatures accounted for) along with signing the entire disclosure packet. By double checking this step, it shows both the Seller and their agent that the Buyer has reviewed and received all material about the property and they are truly committed.
So, just be thorough and make sure the Buyer's agent is thorough as well, even if you are against the clock.
Do you have any other tips or tricks first-time homebuyers should be aware of?
Buyers should always consider using a local lender. If not a local lender, then a larger financial institution that has representatives that have completed purchase loans in the area. Always make sure to ask the lender how many home loans they have completed within that county in the last 12 months. If it is not in the double digits, the Buyer should consider other options.
Lastly, why do you love what you do?
I love the process and what it means for people. I love being able to take someone’s expectation and exceed them. By doing so, there is such a deep appreciation that it makes me feel like I’m doing something good for people. All I’ve wanted since I was young was to help people, and I truly believe I do that every day.
I also love what real estate has done for people's lives. I’ve represented clients who came to this country with nothing and have now been able to put their kids through Harvard with no student loans. If you are smart and are opportunistic, Real Estate can be an excellent investment for you and your family.
If you need help with a comprehensive financial plan that includes evaluating purchasing or selling real estate let us know, and we would be happy to help.
Alicia Butera, CFP® is a Financial Planner for Planning Within Reach, LLC (PWR) located in Scripps Ranch, San Diego, CA. Alicia is the Director of Financial Planning and Marketing for PWR. Alicia manages the financial planning process from start to finish with her clients, answering their questions and providing them guidance. Alicia has 8 years of experience in wealth management and works virtually with clients all over the US.
Planning Within Reach, LLC (PWR) is a fee-only and fiduciary wealth management firm offering one-time comprehensive financial planning, ongoing impact-focused investment management and tax preparation services in San Diego, CA. PWR is a virtual firm that is woman-owned and serves busy families and impact investors. Planning Within Reach, LLC and their advisors never receive any type of commissions for sales and does not have any insurance licenses or brokerage relationships.