You’re talking to a friend on the phone when they announce, “I have a buyer letter!”
You hate to raise their expectations unrealistically. Is this even a serious offer? Let’s face it. The ‘I have a buyer letter’ experience is pretty universal. Most homeowners have been there.
It may just be the real McCoy. Just what does an ‘I have a buyer’ letter in real estate mean, and what happens next?
Beware the ‘I Have a Buyer’ Letter
Investigate before you invest time in a realtor representation agreement, or exclusive right-to-sell listing, to market your home. Review the Real Estate Council of Ontario code of ethics for realtors.
Prospecting for Sellers
The ‘I have a buyer’ letter is more often than not a realtor marketing tool. (Look for multiple copies beside the condo building mailbox.) Most realtors don’t have buyers for your specific home. They may be prospecting for potential sellers, or looking for a house or condo somewhat like yours. You know – two beds, two baths, and a view.
Is your home for sale by owner (FSBO)? A realtor may have spotted the lawn sign, or found your home on the MLS. Signing a representation agreement to find buyers gives your new sales agent a welcome commission. Costs to expect when selling your home.
What to Worry About
The real problem with signing an impromptu realtor representation agreement is the legal fallout if you change your mind. The termination of real estate contracts by sellers in Ontario can lead to a court date, or hefty bill for a hopeful buyer’s or realtor’s expenses.
Your seller obligation to a realtor is legally binding. Don’t sign a representation agreement until you check out how long it’s for, and what happens if you want to change realtors or brokerages.
Find out your seller obligations to realtors.
Checking the “Comps”
Instead of leaping at the opportunity next time you get an I have a buyer letter, talk to a few realtors. Get the “comps”, comparative prices for what homes in your neighbourhood are selling for, by talking to several brokerages. Better yet, get an in-person or virtual home appraisal of your property’s value.
Axess Law drafts agreements of purchase and sale to assist you to keep the deposit if the contract is cancelled and it’s not your fault. Read can sellers keep buyers’ deposits if a house sale falls through?
File a complaint about an Ontario realtor.
Write a Letter of Interest to a Homeowner
Instead of suggesting your realtor send an ‘I have a buyer’ letter, do the writing yourself. Sometimes, the home of your dreams is just beyond your grasp. Your desired property could be tied up in a bidding war. You may feel overwhelmed about competing with other, better-heeled buyers.
Make your offer stand out with these quick tips on how to write a letter of interest to a homeowner.
- Ask your realtor what they know about the seller. Do they have pets, like you, that need a fenced backyard? Do they have a personal connection to the neighbourhood, like you? Is their home near schools you want your children to attend? Finding a bond you share can be powerful.
- Appeal to the seller’s sensibilities. They may have been attracted to their home for the very same reasons you want to buy. You could be the perfect buyer who will cherish and preserve their heritage home. Just don’t go too over the top with how you might change it.
- Be positive and authentic. Express why the home fits your lifestyle or family needs. Don’t gloss over obvious problems, like the fence that needs repainting. The seller knows their home’s own flaws.
- Keep it tidy. Focus on what you like about their home. Express appreciation that the homeowner took time to read your letter. Try not to gripe about your own struggles to find the right (or any) home.
Writing Welcome Letters to Buyers
A thank you goes a long ways. Reaching out to your home’s buyer after the deal is done can be gratifying for everyone.
How do you write a letter to a buyer?
- Start by focusing on what they need to know about how the house functions, like using the alarm system, or turning on automatic sprinklers.
- Appliance instruction manuals, spare paint or colour chips, and the Facebook address for the condo corporation are welcome details.
- List garbage pickup days, phone numbers for the local school district or municipal office.
- You might even pass on names of contractors you found helpful, or time-saving detours to get to local services.
Now that your home is sold, corresponding with the new owner can help you go on your own way.
Why You Need a Real Estate Lawyer
If you responded to an ‘I have a buyer’ letter, let Axess Law’s virtual real estate lawyers go through the fine print of offers to purchase you receive. We ensure your legal interests are preserved.
What to include in the offer to purchase.
Home inspection and mortgage financing clauses in offers to purchase can potentially protect you from losing your good faith deposit. We add contract language that gives you the right to cancel if you’re the buyer.
How a home inspection clause can disadvantage you.
Our licensed legal team prepares legal documents required to finalize real estate transactions. We check for condo status certificates and fire insurance binders. Your signature is witnessed, virtually or in person, on mortgage financing papers your lender provides.
Home inspection report not what you expected? Axess Law’s virtual real estate lawyers negotiate with the seller’s lawyer to cover minor repairs that could add extra expenses to your home purchasing budget. Structural defects may make a resale home worth far less than you offered. If you prefer to cancel the deal, Axess Law advises if your real estate deposit is at risk.
Sellers, cancel a purchase agreement in Ontario.
Mortgage interest rates making it difficult to find financing? Your Axess Law real estate lawyer asks the seller’s lawyers for amendments to the agreement of purchase and sale to extend the completion date. When you obtain financing, we liaise with your lender to complete the legal documents you need to take possession of your new home.
Documents your real estate lawyer needs.
Axess Law searches titles to a property for outstanding legal claims or construction liens. When the title is clear, we transfer it to your name at a local land registry office. https://www.axesslaw.com/services/real-estate-lawyer/transfer-of-title/
Affordable Real Estate Lawyers, Anywhere You Are
Access lawyers for less in Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, or anywhere in Ontario when you buy, sell, or transfer property. Axess Law’s flat fee real estate lawyers are affordable, and our rates are all inclusive (excluding taxes, disbursements, and third-party charges). Axess Law offers you only the legal services you absolutely need. Your final invoice includes no surprises or hidden charges. Your itemized statement of adjustments is explained when we deliver it, and we answer any questions you have about it.
What your legal fees include at Axess Law.
Book Appointments Online or By Phone
Dial 647-479-0118 to find real estate lawyers in your community, or call our toll free lawyer line, 1-877-402-4207, to meet remotely with virtual lawyers anywhere in Ontario. Use our easy booking form to schedule your own legal appointments, or pop by any Axess Law location to arrange times convenient for you.
We have onsite parking, and easy transit access.