In this tight housing market, potential buyers are manipulating more than finances to persuade potential sellers to decide in their favor. Now, in addition to the standard offer — which is often at the asking price or higher — the buyer is including emotional letters, videos, or promises of a donation to charity as a method of enticement for the seller. It’s not enough to offer money; now buyers must get into the marketing game and engage both sides of the seller’s brain: emotions and logic.

While the newer tool of escalation clauses may win over the seller with cash, many more factors are coming into play. Appeal letters say things like “this is where we want to raise our family” or “we’re eager to grow our family and we need more space” or “we love your house and all the updates!” A recent buyer I know wrote an emotional appeal about why their family would be perfect for a house — and they are now living there. “We have that letter from that nice family who wants our house, let’s just let them buy it,” the seller said. Letters accompanied half the offers to another seller, and one tugged at her heartstrings — but not enough to overcome the financing challenges so that offer was not chosen.

In his book, To Sell is Human, Dan Pink argues that “we’re all in sales now. We’re persuading, convincing, and influencing others to give up something they’ve got in exchange for what we’ve got.” Honing your sales ability is a valuable skill in the work environment where we’re trying to influence others to cooperate with us or make a purchase — and apparently, it’s also now important if you are in the market for a home.

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