How many times have buyers been advised to include love letters with their offers? Probably hundreds and hundreds of times over the years, all in an effort to make their offer stand out from the rest.
With inventory as low as it is today, I’ve seen a resurgence in the popularity of the buyer love letter and let me tell you, I’m not down with it and neither is the National Association of REALTORS.
Now, I understand that you want to give your buyer every edge in a bidding war. You want to pull at the heartstrings of an owner selling a long-time family place. You want to position your offer in a way that screams “PICK ME!”.
But the reality is that buyer love letters are full of risk and potential fair housing violations.
When buyer love letters include any personal information that could disclose that a buyer is part of a protected class, it leaves sellers open to accusations of fair housing violations if that buyer is not chosen.
It’s our job to protect our clients, so when you are the listing agent, NAR has this advice:
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.