In this increasingly competitive market for homes, you hear of buyers doing some crazy things to get their offers accepted. Some of what we’ve heard have included: ordering pizzas or buying beer for the sellers, offering to help pay for moving costs, or offering a leaseback to the sellers. One seemingly innocent idea is to write a “love letter” to the seller.
What is a “Love Letter”?
What is a “love letter”? Usually, a buyer will tell the seller about how they want to raise a family in the home, or how much they love the location for grandkids, etc.
Why Don’t We Love “Love Letters”?
This sounds like a sweet idea, but there are some reasons we do not recommend writing love letters to sellers. And, if we have a love letter submitted for our listings, we will not show them to our sellers.
Love letters will often reveal characteristics about the buyer. For instance, a buyer could say that they can’t wait for their children to run down the stairs on Christmas morning (https://www.nar.realtor/fair-housing-corner/love-letters-or-liability-letters). This innocuous statement reveals both the familial status of the buyer and the buyer’s religion.
However, sellers are prohibited by the Fair Housing Act from choosing a buyer (or rejecting a buyer) based on characteristics such as race, familial status, religion. Here in Iowa, we let our sellers know that they cannot choose a buyer based on any of these factors: race, color, sex, creed, religion, national origin, handicap, or familial status.
So, if we allow our sellers to see a love letter, this could place both the sellers and us in jeopardy of violating (or even being accused of violating) the Fair Housing Act and related laws.
What Should You Do Instead of Writing Love Letters?
Instead of depending on a love letter, you should work with your agent to write the most advantageous offer possible for you and the seller. Also, we recommend always checking with the listing agent first to see what is important to the sellers and tailoring your offer accordingly. Finally, you should ask your agent about their relationships with other agents. We have won deals for our buyers by having a great relationship with the listing agent and building our reputation over time.
Need the right agent to help you buy or sell? Let us put our experience and knowledge to work for you. We would love to help you love where you live.
Till Next Month,
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Home Sweet Des Moines – RE/MAX Precision