Buyer’s “Love Letters” – Should You Read Them When Selling Your Home?
Selling a home can be an emotional experience. As the seller, you want to make sure that the buyer loves the home as much as you do and will take care of it. In other words, you’re looking for the perfect buyer with the perfect offer. Home buyers understand this, and in the recent seller’s market, some buyers have written heartfelt letters to the sellers about how much they love the home, hoping it will tip the scales in their direction. But as a seller, making decisions based on these “love letters” could cause problems, leaving us with the question, “should you read them?”
Buyer love letters can provide valuable information to the seller. With properties receiving multiple offers, it can be difficult to choose the best one. By reading these love letters, you get a sense of the buyer and their connection to the home. A well written letter can ease the concern that a buyer will change their mind and can occasionally overcome a slightly lower offer.
However, simply reading the letter can introduce bias into the decision-making process and cause serious issues. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on factors such as race, religion, or family status. If a love letter reveals personal information that falls into any of these categories, just knowing the information may open up the seller to potential issues.
It’s natural to want your home to go to a “nice family” who will love the property as much as you do. It’s just as natural to want to ensure the new owner will fit into the neighborhood. Yet, it’s just this goal that might also cause headaches. So, if you do choose to read the letters, focus on the practical and financial aspects of the story and make the best choice for you and your goals.