In some hot housing markets, including a letter with your formal offer to buy a home is all but required. Unfortunately, Hallmark doesn't make a card for the occasion (yet). Here are a few tips:

1. Get emotional
Take advantage of this opportunity to sail beyond the facts and figures to convey a personal connection to the home. Pick one or two features and talk about how they fit into your vision of the perfect home. For example, “Holiday meals are important to my family. Your large kitchen has everything I need to re-create my grandmother's recipes, and would fit all of my relatives who like to gossip while cooking." Or, “During our showing my children escaped to climb trees in your back yard. They fell in love with the home as much as I did."

2. Connect with the seller
Find one or two similarities between your family and the seller's, based on what you can discern from the home. Show you have something in common, but be careful not too dig too deep (nobody wants to sell to a stalker). For example: “We're so excited that your home not only has a beautiful, fenced yard, but also a dog door. Our lives revolve around our two rescue pups, Sonny and Cher, who would literally leap for joy in a yard of their own."

3. Don't be afraid to flatter
Tell the seller why you adore specific features that have been upgraded: “We love those colorful tiles you used on the kitchen back splash. They remind us so much of our honeymoon in Portugal."

4. Don't whine
This is not the place to play the sympathy card. No sob stories about why you sold your last place, or how many deals have fallen through. You want the seller to feel good reading your letter.

5. Grammar matters
Check spelling and grammar. Have a grammar-nerd friend triple check it for you. You want the seller to know you put time and care into your honest appeal.

Not sure where to start? Find a local RE/MAX agent who can help.