How To Tip The Scales With A Winning Cover Letter

By Tom Albrecht | Nov 11, 2022 | Calgary - Buyers

Winning Negotiations as a Calgary Home Buyer: The Cover Letter

This blog is the first in a series of articles I’m writing that together, give a comprehensive set of tools to winning real estate negotiations as a buyer.

We’ve had all sorts of markets in Calgary of late (buyers, sellers balanced), and there are strategies that work best for each. The cover letter is one tool in our belt that we use every time, regardless of market conditions.

I write one every time, because in my long experience, there’s a good chance it can affect the outcome (yes vs no, good price vs price $1,000’s lower.)

Maybe you’re new to the market, or perhaps you just want to hone your negotiating skills either inside or outside of the real estate market. Whatever the case, we know you’ll find the following super helpful.

We’ll go through some examples of things I have included in cover letters I have written in the past for our winning clients, but first…

What is a Cover Letter in Real Estate

The cover letter is an email, or hand-written note, delivered to the seller or their agent, by the buyer or the buyer’s agent, if they have one - (Top top: Get one).

Why Write a Cover Letter?

There are a million reasons, why this is a good idea. You may be low-balling, or coming in hot, but the following are pretty universal reasons:
  1. Build a connection between you and the sellers
  2. Set yourself apart from other offers (that the sellers get at this time or over time)
  3. Be liked/likeable
  4. Show how well qualified you are in various forms
  5. Explain parts of the attached offer
In the sections below, I’m going to illustrate just how we achieve these goals in a cover letter, and then I’ll show you how effective these letters can be when submitting an offer.

Six Key Elements of a Real Estate Cover Letter

Sellers want to sell to someone they like. They also want to sell to someone they care about. Modern real estate, too often, is transacted by text between real estate agents. Apparently, we keep clients apart, “for their own good” - I think that’s the notion, anyway.

Time and time again, I’ve secured homes for clients for less than they are worth, in part, because of the cover letter. More to the point, it’s just nice. And isn’t being nice and important thing we were taught to do as kids?

Here’s how I write my letters:

  • Who We Are
  • How Qualified We Are
  • Explaining Important Details
  • A Bit About Me, The Professional
  • Show Respect & Be Polite
  • The Best (Secret) Tricks
Let’s go into detail with examples!...

Get the home you love with a well-written cover letter

Who We Are - A brief, polite explanation of the people involved on the buyer side. I always include photos, and I often include some humor. One key here is we must avoid disclosing confidential information that is either not in our best interests to disclose (for example, “this is a corporate relocation”, and/or not explicitly permitted by my clients to disclose. We’ve usually done some research on the sellers, by googling them and walking through their home, so if possible we tailor make it for them. Obviously, we don’t want to be creepy though - it’s a fine line. Sometimes we hint at the story of the buyers, either through the photos or the text - stories are what warm up sellers’ hearts.

Example - “It turns out we’re all into minor baseball, as we are a billet family here in Calgary, and it looks like your kids are really killing it right now!” (Insert pictures of our player with us and our dogs, whom we also love)

How Qualified We Are - Over the years of doing real estate (a decade - woah), I have learned that qualification takes a lot of forms. There’s the obvious - financial qualification, then there’s the less obvious - to what extent are the buyers committed to this home, how unpicky will they be at the time of the home inspection etc. This is a nuanced presentation which needs to be tailored to the needs of the buyer. In multiple offers, for example, this can be very important - see separate article I’m about to write about winning multiple offers as a buyer. There are decisions to make here - do we think it’s in our best interests to show a passion for the home, or not? The best answer will be determined by a lot of different factors!

Example: “My clients are pre-approved with a mortgage specialist with whom I have worked for ten years, and who doesn’t let me down. They’re putting 20% down and as you can see, the deposits are extremely serious.”

Explaining Important Details - When I submit offers, I always call the listing realtor at some point. Why? a) I can glean important information, without giving anything up. b) I want to establish a rapour which could be advantageous for my clients later.c) I Just love people. d) etc. Anyhow, I do go over the details of the offer verbally if they’re important, but I want a written record as well. For example, if possession is negotiable, I want to write that down. If we intend to have a sewer scope, I want to either include it in the offer, or the letter, according to my clients’ instructions, after having advised them of the relative benefits of different options.

Example: “Though we wanted to keep the offer clean, I do want to set the expectation, that the intention of the client is to have a sewer scope at their own cost, at the time of the home inspection, and for it to be reviewed as part of that condition.”

A Bit About Me, The Professional - Not every seller gets an offer from me, but I know that my offers are stronger than the average - they’re less likely to collapse due to inspection/financing, there’s less likelihood of drama stemming from poor communication (for example), and the contract will make legal sense - I’ll spot things others may not. So it’s important for my clients that there’s a sentence in there explaining the above. I’m going to fight tooth & nail for my client, but I also know when the time comes for calm & peace, without ever compromising on my clients’ needs.

Example: “I myself, have helped hundreds of people buy homes, and led the #1 team in Fort McMurray for a lot of years. I understand that while my responsibilities are to the buyers, I help them best, by also helping you and your agent have a smooth transaction.”

Show Respect & Be Polite - I tend to find something nice to say about the listing agent, as well as the seller clients, or their home. I usually say please (from me). It’s a small thing, but might just make the difference to some sellers, particularly if they are older, and/or wealthier.

Example: “I have found your agent (insert name) to be professional and courteous, and I am already enjoying working with them”

The Best (Secret) Tricks - Look, I’m not going to put everything in these blogs. I’ve got some really fun little tricks, I’ve developed that can make ALL the difference. But you’ll just have to hire us to find out what they are!

Does Quality of The Letter Matter?


I have asked my wife, Breanna Albrecht, who is a top-producing listing/selling agent and has sold hundreds of homes for seller clients.

Breanna has received a few dozen cover letters in her time (in her estimation about 5-10% of offers come with one in the Calgary area.)

Here’s a surprise. But bear with me, and read until the end..

Most of the time, in her experience, they don’t make a difference. Only a small number of sellers actually sell the home for less money to a client they prefer. They maybe matter 10-20% of the time.

Why? Well, #1 she’s coaching her clients to ignore them and get the best buck for their house. It’s just her job. #2 They’re not all that well written. Do you know what she’s noticed? The amazing letters can have a serious impact. Those are the ones that win homes in multiple offer situations. Look, if the difference between the offers in terms of price is huge, it’s not going to do it, but if they’re close, and a well-written cover letter frames the buyers as incredible, sometimes a seller will take the lower offer (or counter a low-ball instead of rejecting it) because they not only like the buyers, but they think it’s in their own best interests to do so!

I Hear You Say - “Good Info, thanks. What now?”

If you’re thinking of buying a home in either Calgary, Okotoks, Cochrane, or anywhere in between, here are some thoughts:
  • I’m guessing the hints and tips in this article work with private deals, too. It certainly works when I’m negotiating against unrepresented sellers, which I do often.
  • If you don’t have a great buyer’s agent yet, get one. There are so many truly talented Calgary real estate agents to choose from. Check out our online reviews, & don’t be afraid to grill us over the phone or in person before hiring us! It’s never early to start planning your move, especially if you are also selling, and not all agents will call you ten times a day.
  • Consider specialist buyer’s agents and listings agents like me and Breanna respectively. As you can probably glean from the above, they are very different skills.
Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for more articles on multiple offers for buyers and sellers, how to write a world-beating offer, and preparing the ground by effecting a purposeful search!

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Tom Albrecht founded The A-Team with his wife, Breanna. He holds a Masters in Economics for Developing Countries from The University of Oxford. Tom is licensed at RE/MAX First, and is a specialist buyer's agent in Alberta - specifically, Calgary, Fort McMurray, Airdrie, Cochrane, Okotoks & Chestermere. He was rated #1 Calgary agent in 2022 & 2023 by

This article is should not be constituted as advice. Consult your Calgary Area REALTOR® for real estate market advice. This article should not be construed as legal advice. For legal advice, please consult your lawyer.