In romance Love Letters are wonderful, but real estate Love Letters are something completely different. A real estate love letter is a letter written by a buyer, submitted with an offer to buy a property, in hopes that it will make the sellers swoon and fall in love. It typically starts out with “Thank you for allowing us to submit an offer on your home! We wanted to introduce ourselves and let you know why we hope you choose our family to be your buyers.”
What can it hurt, right? When every house for sale is getting 20 plus offers on it, you are desperate to stand out. You feel like you need every advantage short of hiring a mariachi band to sing while your offer is presented.
There can be issues with these types of letters though. The first is that sellers really don’t care. This is a business transaction. If your offer is the highest, the letter may make them feel better about accepting, but they are not going to take $25,000 less because your dog will really enjoy the back yard. If you want the house, offer the highest price you are able and willing to pay, and live with the results. Agents who encourage love letters are making their clients feel like a lesser offer might be accepted if the love letter is mushy and convincing enough. It’s like asking for a better deal on that used car just because you’re having a good hair day.
The second problem with these letters is that they invite possible bias in the transaction. Agents are held to a high standard of ethics that involve making sure no one is discriminated against in a real estate transaction.
If two parties make a very similar offer and the sellers choose one because they “feel better about selling to this group” isn’t that possible bias? What if one party is a different race or has a different familial status? Should a seller be able to say “I can’t choose them because I know my neighbors don’t like (fill in the blank-race, country of origin, sexual preference etc)”? It might not be intentional but it’s still discrimination based on something that should not be a factor in the sale.
Without the love letter an offer is just names and numbers in a contract. The seller makes an unbiased and objective decision on will get to buy the property. If you want to win a bidding war on a house don’t write a letter. Just offer more than anyone else. Not as romantic, but real estate transactions are not supposed to be about love.
Steve Mallett has been in Real Estate since 2003. He started the top ranked Mallett Integrity Team in 2007. He is an expert on Real Estate in Austin and the surrounding areas. 512-627-7018