If you’ve ever written an offer in a competitive real estate market, like what we have here in East Bay, you’ve probably come across the practice of writing the seller a “love letter.” It’s very common and it’s actually something that’s part of almost every offer that gets submitted around here. Recently, however, the California Association of Realtors added the Fair Housing and Discrimination Advisory to the front of every offer which outlines the risks of writing and considering them when accepting an offer. How can this potentially affect you if you’re planning to buy or sell your home? Watch my video below and keep on reading.
Why do we write the seller a buyer love letter?
Buyers would often write the seller a personal letter to give some color to their offer in hopes of pushing their offer over the edge in the mind of the seller. Telling the seller how lovely their house is, how you’re going to take great care of it, and how you plan to build great memories there can potentially give you an edge over the others you’re competing against.
The Fair Housing and Discrimination Advisory
For a few years now, I’ve been privately talking to my buyers about the potential ramifications of this love letter. Unintentionally, in most cases, writing this letter can actually result to discrimination, and even lawsuits. However, now that this document–The Fair Housing and Discrimination Advisory– exists, the conversation has been shifted from one off private channels, to the forefront. This document now needs to be attached to the front of every single offer by default as required by the California Association of Realtors. Read paragraph 8, section A below to see the advisory about the buyer love letter.
With this advisory, we’ve now all been put on notice that this buyer letter, this practice that we’ve all been part of in some way, is actually pushing the boundaries and potentially breaking Fair Housing laws. I’m not saying that people aren’t going to continue to write these letters. However, you now have to understand the serious, real ramifications of writing one if you’re a buyer, or potentially reviewing one, if you’re a seller.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Advisory
Now that the advisory exists, you probably have some questions. For example, “if I’m a seller and I receive one of these letters, should I read it?”
Or “What if I’m a broker? What should I advise my clients about the buyer love letter?”
Frankly, the answers are still unclear. No one knows yet exactly what we should and should not do. However, what we do need to know is that there is now an added layer of scrutiny on these letters. Therefore, it can also just be a matter of time until someone ends up in a lawsuit over one of these letters. So if you’re actively buying or selling right now, you really need to take this into consideration.
I hope my FYI video and blog about the new advisory on the buyer love letter has helped you.
If I can give you more context on the process of buying or selling your home, please do not hesitate to reach out. My information is below.
Here’s to all your success!