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Send Love Letters To A Sweetheart Rather Than A Seller.

Send Love Letters to a Sweetheart Rather Than a Seller.

How do I feel about thee…send love letters to a sweetheart rather than a seller. Today’s market is a scorcher! It’s quite HOT!  Multiple purchasers are tempting sellers for their houses by offering prices well over list, huge due diligence fees, and yes, love letters.

Who is encouraging these love letters aimed at tugging at the seller’s emotions and lulling them into accepting one buyer’s offer over another? The buyer’s agent, in most cases. Perhaps the buyer has received word that the letter is required from family or friends who are attempting to assist. The basic line is that such letters can cause problems and should be avoided at all costs.

The goal of a “love letter” is straightforward: a buyer wants to be picked, and it seems fair to try to win their dream home by pouring their hearts out to the sellers. These letters, on the other hand, can represent substantial fair housing hazards because they typically contain personal information about the buyers, which could lead to conscious or unconscious prejudice in seller selection.

What exactly does that imply? Assume the purchasers include a photo or two of themselves. The seller can now see the purchasers’ race, whether or not they have children (familial status), and whether or not they are heterosexual. The customers may express their religious values by saying they can’t wait to put up a Christmas tree beside the fireplace. All of these details about the purchasers could be used by the sellers to make their decision. These considerations go beyond the offer’s price and terms. The sellers may make their decision based on data about the purchasers’ race, familial status, or religion, all of which are protected categories under fair housing rules, knowingly or unconsciously.

If you’re the listing agent, you should inform your sellers about the dangers of love letters, explaining that this type of letter exposes them to criticism and perhaps civil liability, and that they should ignore such letters even if they’re delivered directly to them from purchasers. Only objective criteria – price and terms – should be considered by sellers when assessing offers. If your firm has a policy prohibiting the use of such letters, inform your clients that if you receive one with an offer, you will not forward it to them. The National Association of Realtors recommends that such letters not be allowed as part of an MLS listing. Keep track of why your client accepted or refused each offer.

If you work as a buyer’s agent, your company may have a policy prohibiting you from using such letters. Never advise a buyer to write a love letter to the seller or instruct him or her to mail it directly to the seller. Let your purchasers know that the market is hot, and that if they want to be successful, they need make their highest and best offer. Prepare them for the possibility that, in such a competitive market, they will most likely lose a few homes before finding the one that is intended to be theirs.

The idea is to safeguard your clients from harm by removing the temptation to sign a contract just because images or letters appeal to their emotions, and instead allowing them to choose the best deal on the table. Although love is blind, unconscious bias is real and may be seen clearly. Avoid any potential fair housing difficulties for your clients and yourself. Send love letters to a sweetheart rather than a seller. Contact Hoard Law with any questions or concerns about this topic.