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Here’s Why Love Letters To Sellers Are A Thing Of The Past
If you’re planning to buy a new house soon, make sure to NOT include a love letter to the seller in your offer!
As Sara Bareilles sings in one of her hit pop songs, “I’m not going to write you a love song” and home sellers don’t want you to write them one either! It used to be commonplace for potential homebuyers to include letters to the seller about who they are and why they loved the home. People used the letters as a way to stand out from competing offers and win the favor of the seller in multiple-offer situations, as well as reassure the current owner they would love and care for the property. But now, real estate agents are urging potential homeowners not to include a letter to the seller with their offer, and many agents won’t accept offers that include a letter at all. Some states, including Oregon, have introduced laws to ban sending love letters to sellers and there are more initiatives on the way.
Since these love letters used to be heavily encouraged as a way to pull on the heartstrings of a seller, it may come as a shock that the real estate world is so adamantly against them now. However, sending these letters opens the door to making decisions based on criteria which could potentially violate Fair Housing Laws. The personal information included in these letters could cause the seller to accept or deny an offer based on a protected class of race, religion, familial status, military status, gender orientation, sex, nationality, or disability. Refusing to sell your home to a qualified buyer because of any of these reasons directly violates the Fair Housing Act because it is considered to be discrimination. Therefore, it’s better to not include a letter in the first place so the seller can make an unbiased decision on offers based strictly on the potential buyer’s relevant financial qualifications and escrow terms.
If you’re worried about standing out to sellers in a competitive real estate market without sending a letter, rest assured that you have other ways to show that you are a perfect homebuyer! The first step is to work with a knowledgeable real estate agent who will know how to highlight your qualifications in the offer to show the seller you are a qualified buyer. Your realtor can also investigate what the seller’s must-have escrow terms are, so you can be sure to include them in your offer to encourage the seller to accept. Having a competitive down payment and loan pre-approval will also show the seller you are serious about purchasing the home and that you have the financial means to close the deal. So, you don’t need a love letter to impress the seller and you’ll know that your offer was evaluated and accepted fairly when you find your dream home!
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