Buyers Writing a Love Letter? Give Them a Reason Not To
NAR is still warning Realtors about the dangers of “love letters” that some buyers write to sellers. In some cases, they create a potential fair housing violation.
CHICAGO – The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) is continuing to warn members about the use of buyer love letters to help clients’ offers stand out from the competition. The reason? The letters emphasize buyers’ desire for a home, which often includes personal details that raise fair-housing red flags. NAR says the love letters also create potential legal risks for the real estate broker.
“The use of a love letter often presents fair housing issues because they often contain personal information about the buyer, such as their race and culture, or traditions as a way of appealing to the seller’s emotions,” Charlie Lee, NAR’s senior counsel and director of legal affairs, said during a “Window to the Law” video. “Some buyers even go as far as sending sophisticated packages that include photographs and videos.”
In the latest Window to the Law video, produced by NAR’s legal team, Lee shares various scenarios that could be especially problematic if a buyer shared such information in a letter, such as including a photo of the family around a Christmas tree.
Lee encourages real estate professionals to speak to their clients about the risks of buyer love letters and the potential fair housing issues they can raise. If buyers do decide to draft a love letter, real estate professionals should avoid helping them.
As for seller clients, Lee said they should be instructed to view an offer objectively on pricing and timing, and perhaps not even consider reading any love letters. If they do insist on receiving buyer love letters, Lee advises real estate pros to suggest that the sellers consult legal counsel and document their decision-making process in selecting an offer.
Source: “Best Practices for Buyer Love Letters,” National Association of REALTORS® (August 2021)
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