Buyer love letters? What are these? These are notes written by buyers to sellers. They are submitted with an offer to purchase as a way to stand out against other offers. Love letters are often used to try to entice a seller to accept an offer. This tactic is often used in hot markets with low inventory when competition is steep. Are buyer love letters a good thing?
There have been lingering concerns that sellers open themselves up to Fair Housing violations when buyer love letters are part of the decision-making process. Oregon has had some abhorrent past restrictions on ownership based on race. Although buyer love letters were banned here at the beginning of 2022 as a means of protecting buyers from discrimination, an Oregon court has ruled that this infringes upon people’s right to free speech.
Personally, I disliked buyer love letters long before they were banned. I’ve shared this opinion before and have been asked by colleagues if I felt like I was truly representing a buyer by discouraging love letters. Here’s why I can comfortably say yes to that!
In most situations, the buyer does not know the seller. They have no personal knowledge of the sellers’ situation other than what might be shared by the listing agent. Based on that there is no way for a buyer to know what will make a connection with the seller and what could turn the seller off. What a buyer might think as being a lovely, positive, emotional outreach to the seller could in fact have a negative impact on the seller. For example, what if the sellers were going through a bitter divorce? A love letter from a newly married couple that talks about the new union could in fact be painful for that seller. Why risk getting too personal with someone that you do not know.
When representing a seller, I always counsel the seller on the merits of the offer, terms, and ability to close rather than the contents of any love letter. Sellers can be left emotionally distraught after going through the selling process. Multiple offer situations can be intense. I just don’t see any reason to add an additional layer of guilt to a seller because they were not able to select a buyer who presented an emotional case for why they should be the ones to win the bid!
While I don’t personally love the love letter approach, I do always defer to my clients. I am having the above conversations with buyers and sellers though.
So what can you do to make your offers stand out? I feel that strongly about presentation. A well-organized, well-presented cover letter is important. This is a space where a good agent can talk about the strengths of the buyer, the house, why it worked, and how they are going to proceed to get it to close. No need to personally try to connect. Does this work? Absolutely! In fact, I have heard from several agents after we’ve won a bid that the sellers selected our buyers based on how we presented the offer.
Good representation all around and less risk of offending a seller, in my humble opinion! Looking for strong representation?
P.S. Buyers: Choose your agent wisely. This is a fiercely competitive market. Make sure your agent is qualified and has a system in place. Be sure they have educated you on what it is going to take to win a bid.
We’d love to connect.