When it comes to real estate, it’s turning back into a seller’s market. Prices are rising, and listings are getting multiple offers again.

But a lot of buyers are winning bidding wars – even though they’re not offering the most money for the house they want. What’s their secret? Sending a personal, heartfelt letter to the homeowner – often with pictures - about why they should get the house.

Like one couple who emailed the owner of the house they wanted a photo of their baby and 2 dogs with a handwritten sign that read: “We’d love a big yard!” And their offer was accepted, even though it was lower than others!

Realtors call them “pitch letters” or “love letters.” And they work! Because they help you make an emotional connection with the seller.  And people are more likely to sell something that has sentimental value, like their home, if they think the person buying it appreciates it as much as they do. In fact, researchers found that 9 out of 10 people would pick the bidder who said they loved the house - and could see their kids playing in the yard - than a bidder offering MORE money, who said the house would make a great investment.

So, here’s how to craft a perfect pitch letter:

DON'T Over-compliment the sellers, because they'll worry they priced their home too low.  And don’t tell your entire life story.

Also, don’t try to justify your offer, or sound desperate about needing a house, fast.

Finally, never share whatever drastic renovations you plan to do to their house once it’s yours.

So, what should you put in your love letter?

Keep it short and sweet and describe specific features you like about the house and the neighborhood.
Also, make it personal by including photos of your family and pets, along with their names.

Another “do” with a real estate love letter: Mention how long you’ve been house hunting, and how hard you worked to save up a down payment.

Finally, ask your real-estate agent to review it before you send it.