FREE TRAINING: How To Wholesale & Flip Houses With Consistency & Predictablity!

Real Estate Offer Letter: The (ULTIMATE) Guide

In this competitive real estate market, an investor has to be ready to make an offer the minute they see a property that fits their investment criteria. While some investors rely on a skilled realtor to do this, it’s a good idea to learn how to write your own offer letter.


What Is A Real Estate Offer Letter? 

A real estate offer letter is a document that outlines the terms for a real estate purchase. The letter is typically put together by a buyer or their real estate agent. Its purpose is to give both the buyer and the seller a clear understanding of every part of a purchase agreement.

They outline not just the asking price of a property, but also the amounts that will be transferred for a host of other fees, as well as a proposed timeline for the entire transaction.


Why Write An Offer Letter?

An offer letter is the best way to make the terms of your offer clear to a home seller. Real estate transactions are rarely as simple as just offering a set amount for a property, and winning a bidding war is rarely as simple as just throwing out the highest offer price. Real estate transactions typically contain multiple pieces of information, and there are many parts to an offer that can affect both a buyer's and seller’s bottom line.

By having an offer letter that outlines all of the parts of an offer, a seller is able to compare multiple offers and have the information they need to effectively counteroffer. In many states, offer letters are practically required. They contain all of the information that homeowners are required to see before agreeing to a sale of their property, including financial details and timelines.


What Should Be Included In A Real Estate Offer Letter?

what to include in a real estate offer letter

In many states, there are rules governing what information must be provided to a seller in order for an offer letter to be considered valid. There can be a lot of variation in what is specified, but a typical offer letter will have:

  • The property address along with its legal description - This is necessary to define exactly what the offer is being made on.
  • The buyer and seller’s names.
  • The asking price of the home. This is often just included as a formality.
  • The offered purchase price of the property.
  • The amount of the deposit and/or earnest money deposit.
  • A preferred closing date. In some cases, there may be a more detailed schedule put into place that specifies when events such as home inspections will take place, but this is rarely necessary.
  • Details about the deed and title, including how they will be transferred. These details may also include information about liens and property restrictions in some rare cases.
  • The offer’s expiration date. Typically offer letters are “good” for a week or less. There are some states that limit the amount of time they can be considered to less than 72 hours.
  • Any adjustments for the transaction, such as adjustments for taxes, utility payments, insurance payments, or other fees
  • Any contingencies and provisions for the sale of the property.

Be aware that while your state might have some requirements as to what is included in an offer letter, there is some leeway in what has to be stated. In general, however, it’s a good idea to include as much financial information as possible, especially information that will affect the overall level of profit that a buyer will make.

If this information is not included, it is most likely that the seller will just delay the sale to ask for the information rather than make a decision without it.


What Should Be Excluded From A Real Estate Offer Letter?

A real estate offer letter outlines the purchase terms for a piece of property. It is not a place to make a plea to the seller, it is just a statement of financial terms. Do not include the following information:

  • Too much personal information. The Fair Housing Act requires sellers to ensure that they do not use information such as race or family status to determine who to sell their property to. If an offer letter contains this type of personal information, it may be automatically rejected by a real estate agent who does not wish to run afoul of the law.

Be aware that purposefully including so-called “outlawed” information is generally just a good way to ensure that your offer letter will not be put in front of a buyer. Protecting their clients from these kinds of legal snafus is one of the most important jobs of a real estate agent.

If your offer letter includes personal information that could directly or indirectly influence the sale, the offer will most likely be rejected on legal grounds before it even makes it to the seller. For this reason, do not try to include this information, even if you think it will give your offer a competitive edge.

  • Negotiations or counteroffers. This is not the place to state that you are willing to offer more money or better terms if there are other offers on the table. If the seller is considering multiple offers, they will provide a counter-offer if they want to play buyers against each other.
  • Personalized letter. There are some buyers who try to use a house offer letter as a way to make a personal connection with the seller of a property. In many states, however, trying to connect with a buyer on a personal level is illegal (see the example of the Fair Housing Act from above), and in many cases, this can backfire on the potential buyer.

There are plenty of real estate websites that encourage buyers to write long flowery offer letters to sellers. The truth is that in addition to being illegal in some places (or running very close to running afoul of the law), these letters rarely work.

The vast majority of real estate transactions are business arrangements between real estate agents. Sellers are very rarely swayed by letters that try to pursue them to let their primary asset sell for less than market value simply because someone really wants it. Don’t waste your time on this.

  • Threats or intimidation. Purchasing property can get dicey in a competitive market. Trying to scare the buyer into selling a property, however, is bound to backfire. In some cases, it might even get you arrested.


How To Write A Real Estate Offer Letter To A Seller? (5 Steps)

When putting together your offer letter, be sure to follow these steps:

how to write a real estate offer letter

  1. Know the total amount you can spend - You must know your bottom line in order to write an offer letter that makes sense. Most of the other details in this legal document will come from this number.
  2. Set aside your fixed costs - You should know how much most of your closing costs will be. Write these numbers in first so that they can be subtracted from your bottom line.
  3. Set your negotiable costs - Once you know how much you can offer, you should be able to set these costs, such as the sale price. Take some time to consider these numbers, since they are really the heart of the offer letter. These figures are what a seller will use to compare your offer with others they may receive.
  4. Set your timetable - Specifically set out dates by which you’ll be done with your due diligence period, your home inspection, and the date by which you wish to close.
  5. Attach supporting documentation - Depending on your state’s legal requirements, it may be a good idea to include your preapproval letter or a statement of assets if you are making a cash offer.


Free Real Estate Offer Letter Template

The easiest way to write an offer letter is to start with a template. Templates will typically include everything you need to show to the seller of a property and exclude anything that could get you into legal trouble. While a person who is very experienced in real estate investing may choose to customize their offer letter, most investors choose to reuse a good template once they find one that works for them.

Real estate offer letters can be in the form of a pdf file, template file, sample, or form. Nearly all of them will allow you to fill out your own information.

There are a few different real estate offer letter templates that can be used. This is one that is fairly popular:


Is An Offer Letter On A House Legally Binding?

real estate offer letter legally binding

Offer letters are legal documents, but they are not legal contracts. If that statement seems confusing, don’t worry. A lot of people have trouble understanding the difference.

A legal document is any document that can be used to show intent. In a real estate transaction, this means that appraiser reports, offer letters, and bank statements can all be legal documents. Because the document can be used in the future to show the intent of the buyer when he or she made an offer to buy a property, it is important that it is done correctly and legally.

An offer letter will be taken seriously by a seller. It shows how much a buyer intends to pay for a home, and how they want the contract to be set up. It is not a contract, however.

Remember that the seller does not have any obligation to accept an offer letter. In fact, they don’t even have an obligation to respond to an offer letter. There are plenty of cases when a seller will choose not to acknowledge that they even received the offer letter (this is usually the case if an offer is considered to be insultingly low, or if the seller has decided that they do not want to sell the property).

If a seller does acknowledge an offer letter, they are allowed to respond by either accepting, rejecting, or counter-offering. A counteroffer does not have to be accepted by the buyer; they can also choose whether to accept, reject, or offer another counteroffer. It is not uncommon to go through multiple rounds of counter-offers before arriving at an agreement that suits both parties.

Be aware that there are a number of things that can be negotiated during this stage. Counter-offers can include information on a lot more than just the asking price. It is also possible to counter-offer with a different breakdown of closing costs paid or a new schedule for closing. It’s not uncommon at all for both parties to use the offer letters to negotiate improvements on a property or compensation in lieu of completing these improvements.

Once this agreement has been reached, a contract will be written. This contract actually is legally binding, but it will typically be put together by a real estate professional. Until the contract is signed by both parties, everything is negotiable. Once the contract is signed, however, the only way something can be negotiated is if both parties agree to start negotiations.

Read Also: Wholesale Real Estate Contract: The (Ultimate) Guide


Real Estate Offer Letter Contingencies

The offer letter is a place where a potential buyer and the seller can spell out contingencies for a property. These clauses are essentially checkpoints that have to be reached in order for the sale to proceed.

The most common contingency clause is a provision that the house must pass an inspection in order for the sale to proceed. These clauses are usually written so that negotiations can be reopened after a report is made. This allows the seller the opportunity to make repairs or offer monetary compensation so that the buyer can make repairs on their own.

Of course, in competitive real estate markets, it is becoming much less common for buyers to place any contingencies in their home offer letter. Carefully consider the monetary and time value of each one of these clauses before including it. There are a lot of possibilities, and each offer letter will include contingencies that are unique to the property. Some of the most common examples of contingencies that need to be considered are:

  • Inspections - Inspections for mold, termites, and even air quality can be placed into an offer letter. Inspections for items such as lead paint or lead pipes can be asked for in older properties. These types of inspections are usually considered to be pretty standard, and most sellers will not reject an offer simply because they are asked for it. In very competitive markets, however, it’s becoming increasingly common for sellers to allow the inspection but refuse to make any concessions for any negative information it happens to turn up.
  • Financial contingencies - This is essentially a clause that allows the buyer to walk away if their financing does not go through. Be aware that these clauses usually hinge on a lender not agreeing to underwrite the property. For example, VA loans cannot be processed if there are certain structural issues with the property. If these issues turn up during a home inspection and the seller refuses to pay to have them fixed, this clause allows the buyer to walk away without losing their earnest money deposit.
  • Appraisal - If a home doesn’t appraise for the agreed-on selling price, then financing will typically fall through. This is another way that cash buyers have an advantage in competitive markets.
  • Sale of existing home - If a buyer has to sell their first home in order to purchase another one, there may be a contingency stating that the sale will not happen if they cannot sell their first home. Be aware that sellers tend to balk at these contingencies; they also tend to need to sell their homes in order to move, and no one wants to be part of a chain of homes that have to sell in order for their sale to go through.


Final Thoughts On Real Estate Offer Letters

Real estate offer letters are the best way to spell out the financial terms for a real estate purchase. Keep the focus on your numbers, not on forming an emotional connection with the seller. Experienced investors find a template that meets their legal needs and modify it only slightly for each offer.

If you’re looking for a step-by-step process to help you start and grow your wholesaling business without spending a dollar in marketing, check out our brand-new free training on how to find and flip your next house in 45 days or less using the MLS!

Pro Wholesaler Program Free Training

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.


50% Complete

Almost there!

Just enter in your name & email below for Real Estate Investing Golden Nuggets!