In markets such as the one we are in now, Realtors are often requested by their buyer clients to forward a “love letter” from the home buyer to the seller thinking that this letter will give them an edge over other offers. These “love letters” often tell the seller about the buyer, the family, and how much they love the home and their plans for the future. Buyers will also include pictures of themselves, their children or pets. Also included is information about their marital or familial status and sometimes religious affiliations.
There isn’t a hard and fast rule stating that love letters are not allowed, but as a listing agent, I always advise the seller to ignore the love letters while making their decision. Love letters on the surface seem like a way to enter the seller’s heart, however, they expose the seller and the real estate listing agent to potential Fair Housing violations.
While a love letter appears harmless, they can contain personal information such as race, familial status or religion which can then be used as an unconscious bias in choosing the winning offer. This can lead to Fair Housing violations which is a big concern.
If you receive a love letter as an agent, it is best to not read it at all or forward it to the seller. If you are buyer agent and your client wants to write a love letter, it is best not to help facilitate sending that letter to the seller or the listing agent.
When choosing an offer in a multiple offer situation, the seller as well as the listing agent should be objective and look at the facts in the contract to facilitate choosing the offer with the best terms for the seller. The seller should make decisions based on the offer that works best for them without consideration of any love letters the buyer may have sent.
When selling your home, it is a good practice to look at the process as a business transaction and look at the complete picture of the offer including the sales price, financing terms, closing date and types of contingencies the offer may have.
I feel like it is much better to take the love letters out of the equation and be safe by choosing an offer with the best terms. In the long run, staying away from any potential Fair Housing issues is the best course to follow.