We can’t control interest rates, or the entire U.S. economy. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, on the other hand, has much more to say about those, and he and Fed presidents are often in the spotlight during the weeks talking about the economy.

But Sovereign Lending Group knows that buyers and sellers can control their housing activity. In a competitive market, as continues to be the case in many places as we move through the summer, buyers have been known to waive contingencies, increase earnest money, insert escalation clauses, and write love letters: personal letters to sellers in an attempt to stand out from the crowd as long as they don’t contain personal information about the buyer, like their race and culture, that could make sellers and their agents vulnerable to accusations of discrimination.

Although this is encroaching on advice that real estate agents give buyers and sellers, SLG’s loan officers are also involved in the transaction, and making sure that it is successful. And we see plenty of mishandled communication between sellers and buyers, so wanted to write down a few notes.

If a buyer is going to send a note, use a nice piece of stationery using legible handwriting or printing. Address the seller by name and use a friendly tone and a sincere message. Buyers may choose to tell the sellers something memorable about your family, that you plan to raise kids in the house, or that the yard is perfect for your dogs or putting up a swing. You could also talk about where you’re moving from and why. Maybe you’ve taken a new job, you’re looking for a sense of community, and you fell in love with this neighborhood. Thinking about sending a photo of your family? Ask your agent.

A potential buyer should share what they like best about the home, and why you want to buy the home is the central theme of your letter. So, you may want to tell the sellers somewhere near the top what you like best about their house, including details. “We really like the large front porch and can picture gathering there with friends and family on summer nights.”

Some buyers try to mention a connection, given the house or its contents. Gardeners may mention the yard, and how great it looks, or maybe there’s a jersey from your favorite baseball team hanging on the wall.

Explaining your offer is good. Sovereign’s loan officers tell buyers that they should be honest and respectful: what would you want to hear from a potential buyer? If the house is in a bidding war and your offer isn’t the highest, there’s no need to dance around it. You could explain that the house is your dream home, but it’s at the top of your price range and that you respectfully ask the seller to consider your offer, perhaps talking about your pre-approval. If the sellers are selling and buying at the same time, a buyer could mention the willingness to do a rent-back agreement that would allow them to lease their former house from you for a set period of time.

Let the seller know that you’re serious and that you’re ready to buy. Usually, the last thing sellers want on their hands is a buyer who slows down the process and might not even make it through closing. If you are flexible on closing dates, let the seller know.

Keep your note somewhat short and to the point, thank the sellers for considering your offer, let them know you are looking forward to hearing from them soon without pressuring them or immediately discussing changes that you’re going to make to their home. In a seller’s market, a so-called love letter gives buyers a chance to distinguish themselves. Though not all real estate agents are keen on clients sending personal letters, the practice continues, and Sovereign is ready to help