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Legal problems with home love letters

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2023 | Real Estate

Love letters are a tactic sometimes used by prospective home buyers who want to give themselves an edge. Maybe they live in an area with a very competitive real estate market. They know that there are going to be multiple offers on any house that they try to buy.

So, they write a letter to the seller, explaining why they would like to own the home. They may mention wanting to raise their family there, for instance, or how it’s a dream neighborhood for them. The letter may talk about what they’ve been looking for in a house or how they think it’s the perfect fit for their lifestyle.

Why would this be a bad idea?

This trend of writing home love letters gained popularity for a short time, but it quickly ended because real estate agents realized it could cause a lot of legal problems. Generally, they now advise buyers not to do this. The issue is that housing opportunities are supposed to be fair for everyone. People cannot be discriminated against based on inherent qualities, such as their religion or their race. The seller is obligated to be fair when considering multiple offers.

When writing these love letters, people will sometimes mention different qualities that a seller shouldn’t know when deciding which offer to accept. This isn’t to say that buyers were attempting to get sellers to discriminate. But it can happen accidentally.

A buyer may just mention in passing that the house is close to their church, for instance. But what if the seller is part of the same religion and so they choose that buyer over someone else who made a competitive financial offer, but who wasn’t religious at all? Or what if a seller only wants the home to go to someone who has the same racial background that they do? All sorts of information could be used in a discriminatory way.

Considering the legal side

This is just one of the potential complications that can arise when buying a home. The process is often more complex than people realize. Be sure you take the time to carefully consider all of the options you have and that you seek legal guidance whenever appropriate.