Deerwood Realty and Friends Podcast
Judge has struck down a stupid law in Oregon that bans buyer love letters
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1. What is a buyer love letter? A buyer love letter is a letter the buyer writes to the seller that says something about them and what they like about the seller’s home. Similarly, a seller’s love letter is when a seller writes a letter telling prospective buyers about their home. You usually see them when you go to showings. This episode is not about seller love letters, but I did want you to know that they exist, and no one seems to say anything about them.
2. When is a buyer love letter used? A buyer love letter is used when you put in an offer to buy a house. You make the offer, and then include the buyer love letter.
3. Why use a buyer love letter? You use a buyer love letter because you want to try and explain to the seller that you actually do really like the house and that you understand that the seller can sell to anyone, but you are trying to convey that not everyone would care for the house like you would.
4. What are the downsides of using a buyer love letter? I think the main downside of a buyer love letter is this. Let’s say you really like a house and you tell the seller that in a letter. Then you get the house under contract and you have a home inspection that tears apart the seller’s home and you ask for tons of repairs. Do you think the seller is going to want to go easy on your demands, especially since you wrote that you loved the house? I don’t think so.
The National Association of Realtors position is that the love letter could to contribute to any sort of ism. Racism, sexism, etc.
5. Are buyer love letters effective? Many people are mistaken when they think that the seller is required to sell to the highest offer. They are not. They are to choose the offer that they think is the best offer for them. As an example, if one buyer offered 100,000 and another buyer offered 95,000 but wrote a buyer love letter that they would forever treat the home as well as the sellers did, that might sway the sellers into taking the lower offer. I’ve had buyers use love letters and I’ve never personally witnessed sellers taking a lower offer, but I know that it must happen from time to time.
6. Why did the state of Oregon enact a law to ban love letters? Pretty sure that some agent got upset that someone didn’t take their offer with a love letter included one time and now they want to take the option of everyone else.
7. What is your opinion of buyer love letters? My opinion is this. There are many things to be worried about in the world. A buyer love letter isn’t anywhere near the thing to be worried about. Here’s why. The fear that it might violate fair housing is absurd. If a seller is racist, if a seller is a homophobe, that’s who they are. Your offer is submitted with you or your partners name on it. The seller is probably going to Google your name, probably going to check you out on Facebook, etc. The seller wants the house to go to good hands…The letter isn’t going to be what stops racism or any other ism. It’s not like a seller is going to read a letter and say I can’t choose these people because of x or y. And if they did, that’s on them. They can choose to take a better offer…you don’t solve the inherent racism of the person by banning the letter.
Also, are buyers in the wrong when they see on the seller documents those names and search them as well? And should a buyer rescind their offer due to their own racism or sexism, why is that ok?
The very act of writing the letter and the buyer accepting the offer because of the letter isn’t inherently racist or anything else.
The most brilliant love letter I saw came from a family who wrote the buyer love letter in the voice of their dog. What if you hate dogs?
Articles and notes
#1. How is this a first amendment right for real estate agents? We are not the ones writing the letter or submitting photographs. We are just forwarding the letter written by our buyers.
#2. This is an issue. It’s also an issue when you write husband and wife on the offer. Does someone who really wants to buy a house and really wants to write a love letter say I am of such and such protected class so you should pick me? Nonsense. Again, in this world, 2022…sellers are going to look you up on social media…and if you are there, they will know everything about you. Has nothing to do with the letter…your names are on the offer.
#3. I am uneasy with a fair housing claim pursued against me. They literally pay organizations to sit and call real estate agents all day and look to ensnare you into a fair housing violation. So, it’s not like the buyer love letter is the issue here. As far as real estate agents not accepting them, who do they work for? Do they work for the buyer or the seller? You are to put your loyalty to them…not choose to not do something because you don’t personally like it. The last sentence, “often the only edge a first time homebuyer has against deep-pocketed investors that buy entry level homes” That’s true…and who do you think is probably behind this push to ban love letters? That would be interesting to check…how much money has been given to the politicians who wrote this bill by real estate interests?
#4. History of housing discrimination? Agree. Government policies that are inherently racist? Agree. What are the “industry practices that continue to enable housing discrimination to this day?” Provide specific examples. Are people in the industry committing these atrocities every day and not being punished? How is that allowed to continue to happen?
#5. I’m a real estate agent. My job is to help people buy homes or sell homes. Now you want me to edit letters to make them possibly less racist or any ist? I’m not a copywriter. Why are you shifting responsibility from the buyer to me? This gives me all of the risk of a fair housing violation with no added benefit of compensation. No thanks.
#1. The law is written too broadly? So the buyers could include a pair of tickets to the next football game, which would not be a violation of fair housing laws but could be construed to be a violation of loan regs because anything of value should be removed from the appraisal. It’s not the real estate agent’s job to police what documents go back and forth between the sellers outside of customary documents…this just opens a big can of worms.
1. “unconscious bias” to reject or accept an offer is the standard we are going with? Garbage. Just garbage. The seller just might not like you because they think you are a jerk. And, to be honest, some of the buyer love letters I’ve seen have the EXACT effect of not wanting sellers to choose an offer because the buyer exudes arrogance.
Prove that this is taking place. You can’t pass laws based on suspicion. There has to be some sort of evidence. And again, correctly stated, there are already federal laws against discrimination.
1. This is not something that lawmakers can ensure. If you are a person who has issues with a certain group of people, the legislature isn’t fixing that through banning a love letter.
2. I generally agree with this. Look the buyer has an opportunity here that they could just as easily screw up.
3. I don’t understand this “believed to be”. This has received major media coverage in the real estate industry for months. How has someone not researched this?
1a and b. Believed to be goes to first ever law?
2. Now there is definitely discrimination in real estate, based on what the plaintiffs say.
3. Back to redacting information…so now real estate agents are copywriters again…terrible idea.
“Improving the education on discrimination” Do you know how many lectures we are required to sit through for our continuing education? Fair housing law is almost always covered each renewal for as long as I can remember.
“requiring disclosures acknowledging anti bias laws”. Like the federally required lead based paint form?
Say someone signs this form, does the mere act of signing the form stop bias if that person is a bad person? It’s like having laws against firearms and then being surprised that criminals use firearms with no regard for the law.
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