Real estate agents are warning home buyers against writing “love letters” to sellers, despite the highly competitive market.
Last week, News10NBC looked into this issue, after a local viewer reached out with a simple question: Why are they discouraged?
Michael O’Connor, the president of the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors, says it is not illegal but is strongly discouraged due to potential violations of fair housing laws.
Fair housing laws aim to prevent seller bias surrounding protected classes in New York State, which include race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, and disability. If a potential buyer writes a letter, they may inadvertently reveal information that can cross the line and create a violation of these laws.
O’Connor states that a buyer could mention something about celebrating holidays in the home that may give the seller information about their religion, thereby impacting their decision. The goal is to prevent sellers from being biased against certain protected classes.
Love letters have not always been discouraged. In the past, the majority of agents would ask or include a letter with their purchase offer. However, with the highly competitive market and potential legal risks, realtors are strongly discouraging the use of love letters.
Violations of fair housing laws come with a steep penalty, sometimes over $10,000. The Greater Rochester Association of Realtors has been advised by the New York State Association of Realtors not to accept or send any love letters. Therefore, if a buyer writes a letter, there is a good chance it will not be read.
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