Realtors no longer ♡ “love letters” to sellers
The seemingly harmless tactic could lead to fair housing violations, industry groups warn
“Love letters” belong in the hands of a significant other, not a home seller, a growing number of realtors say.
Ohio Realtors president Seth Task is the latest to come out against the letters, a tactic traditionally used by potential home buyers as a means of forming a personal connection with sellers and gaining an edge on rival bidders.
Task told News 5 Cleveland that he no longer welcomes love letters and encourages fellow realtors to reject them as well.
In Northeast Ohio, approximately 25 percent of sellers’ agents have stopped accepting the letters amid growing concerns that they could enable discrimination.
In October, the National Association of Realtors began warning real estate agents that the letters were a “potential liability.”
The Fair Housing Act explicitly prohibits sellers from accepting or rejecting offers on the basis of protected characteristics such as race, religion or familial status. Because love letters can often reveal such personal information about buyers, NAR cautioned, accepting them could expose agents and their clients to fair housing violations.
While the use of love letters is falling out of favor in Ohio, there is no legislation banning them at this point. The same can’t be said for Oregon, which recently became the first state to outlaw the letters.
According to KGW8, House Bill 2550 — signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown in June — instructs agents to prevent direct communication between buyers and sellers, apart from a traditional offer.
[News 5 Cleveland] — Holden Walter-Warner