The Buyer Love Letter No Longer Allowed in Real Estate Sales

One of our favorite tools in the toolbox when representing Buyers in one of the most competitive Real Estate markets in the Nation – was the Buyer Love Letter to the Seller – sharing all a Buyer could about why they love the home and want to call it their own. I know our sellers have always enjoyed reading those letters, and some didn’t. I’m sharing the article below from the National Association of Realtors on why the lover letter is being left behind.

What are your thoughts? We’d love to hear your opinion – comment below. 

Love Letters or Liability Letters?

Buyer love letters are a tactic used by some buyers in an attempt to stand out to a seller, especially in hot markets with low inventory and bidding wars. Seemingly harmless, these letters actually raise fair housing concerns, and could open real estate professionals and their clients to fair housing violations. In this month’s Fair Housing Corner, learn how to protect yourself and your clients from the potential liability related to buyer love letters. 

To entice a seller to choose their offer, buyers sometimes write “love letters” to describe the many reasons why the seller should “pick them.” While this may seem harmless, these letters can actually pose fair housing risks because they often contain personal information and reveal characteristics of the buyer, such as race, religion, or familial status, which could then be used, knowingly or through unconscious bias, as an unlawful basis for a seller’s decision to accept or reject an offer.

Consider where a potential buyer writes to the seller that they can picture their children running down the stairs on Christmas morning for years to come in the house. This statement not only reveals the potential buyer’s familial status, but also their religion, both of which are protected characteristics under fair housing laws. Using protected characteristics as a basis to accept or reject an offer, as opposed to price and terms, would violate the Fair Housing Act. 

Before the next time you are faced with a buyer love letter, consider these best practices to protect yourselves and your clients from fair housing liability:

  • Educate your clients about the fair housing laws and the pitfalls of buyer love letters.
  • Inform your clients that you will not deliver buyer love letters, and advise others that no buyer love letters will be accepted as part of the MLS listing.
  • Remind your clients that their decision to accept or reject an offer should be based on objective criteria only.
  • If your client insists on drafting a buyer love letter, do not help your client draft or deliver it.
  • Avoid reading any love letter drafted or received by your client.
  • Document all offers received and the seller’s objective reason for accepting an offer.

More Information on Fair Housing

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Sabrina Caton - The Caton Team - Realtors

Sabrina & Susan are native Californians - born and raised in the Silicon Valley with a passion for Residential Real Estate. A mother and daughter-in-law duo called - The Caton Team. With over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time. Call | Text at: 650-799-4333 | Email Info@TheCatonTeam.com The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the utmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true. The Peninsula is our backyard - let us help make it yours. We represent Buyer’s and Seller’s throughout the Bay Area. The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina A Family of Realtors Effective. Efficient. Responsive. What can we do for you?

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