‘Love letters’: A potential problem for sellers during hot housing market

‘Love letters’: A potential problem for sellers during hot housing market
Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 3:51 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Writing love letters, for a house.

It’s not a new trend, but it’s one many buyers are using as a tool in this hot, seller’s market to make their offer stand out.

Several realtors, including Kristy Gooch, President of the Lexington-Bluegrass Association of Realtors, are now recommending against it because the carefully crafted letters can turn into a violation.

“Realtors have to be very careful in educating the sellers in using those love letters and how to use those love letters in order to pick the best offer,” she said.

Raquel Carter, principal broker of Guide Realty, said she used to see the letters as harmless. Now, she said realtors are setting their clients up for risks if they accept them.

She said buyers will typically include information, pictures and even video of their family, interests, and needs. Those same things fall under what’s called protected classes under the Fair Housing Act.

The act states it’s illegal to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, familial status and disability.

Carter said sellers could be biased when they choose a buyer, intentionally or not.

“If you are going to write a love letter, it has to be just about the house. You need to leave out personal items, you need to leave out items about family, about children, those things that we tend to put in this type of letter,” Carter said. “If you or your client want to talk about how much they love the house, how well the sellers have taken care of the house, how beautifully they’ve decorated and updated, those things are okay.”

Carter and Gooch said letters typically don’t have a huge influence on the seller’s decision at the end of the day.

“Stick with the numbers, stick with the math, stick with your net,” Gooch said. “Pick the offer that is best for you, not necessarily because you like the person on the other side.”

Recent guidance from the National Association of Realtors discourages agents and clients from reading love letters.

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