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What to do with love letters from potential home buyers

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2024 | Real Estate

Selling a house can be an emotional rollercoaster. You’ve poured your heart and soul into creating a space filled with memories, and now it’s time to hand it over.

Just when you think the process is straightforward, you might receive a surprise – a heartfelt letter from a potential buyer expressing their love for your home. These so-called “love letters” can be tempting to consider, but navigating them requires caution.

Understanding the “love letter” phenomenon

In real estate terms, a love letter is a note from a potential buyer expressing their enthusiasm for your property. It can often detail:

  • Their plans for the house
  • How it perfectly suits their family
  • Special memories they envision creating within its walls

While intended to tug at your heartstrings and sway your decision, it’s important to remember these letters are a strategy. In a competitive market, buyers hope that an emotional connection will give their offer an edge.

The legal landscape and fair housing concerns

The legality of love letters is a grey area. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) discourages their use due to potential violations of the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The FHA prohibits discrimination based on factors like race, religion or familial status. Love letters that disclose personal details about the buyer could open the door to accusations of bias if you choose them over another qualified bidder.

Considering your options: Review or reject?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to whether you should review a love letter. While a love letter might feel heartwarming, prioritize a strong financial offer with clear terms. A buyer who gushes about the garden might not be the most qualified candidate. However, if you choose to consider a love letter, try to make sure all offers receive equal treatment. Don’t let emotional connection influence your decision-making.

While love letters raise concerns, there are ways to foster a connection with potential buyers. For instance, you can highlight the home’s emotional appeal by showcasing unique features in your listing descriptions and open house tours. You can also encourage potential buyers to ask questions. Open communication may foster trust and understanding.

Selling a home is ultimately a business transaction. At the same time, a love letter might be a sweet gesture. But remember, your primary focus should be the strongest offer with the best terms. You can benefit from consulting with a reliable legal team to help ensure that you make informed decisions and prioritize a fair and legal selling process.