What’s Love Got to Do with It: Should You Accept a Home Buyer’s Love Letter?May 3, 2017
In a competitive market, buyers are eager to establish their “likeability” in order to get sellers to pick their offer. Sometimes they work, tugging at heartstrings or impressing sellers with their common interests. But allowing that buyer’s love letter to sway your decision could negatively impact your sale, and possibly set you up for legal trouble.
No matter how compelling the story, most buyers are dependent on financing to afford a home. So, no amount of good feelings can overcome an unqualified buyer. Only entertain offers from buyers with a prequalification letter, or proof of ready cash.
It’s better not to know much about the buyer’s personal life. It’s one thing to hear that they’ll love your garden like your own. But when they start including pictures, talking about their kids or other personal information, look out.
The Fair Housing Act protects buyers from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and the presence of children. Even if your choice of one buyer over another was purely innocent, you put yourself at risk for a violation, says legal site NOLO.
Some sellers are tempted to look up love letter buyers on Facebook. The social giant says they don’t track who searches for who, but technologies and policies change all the time. It’s wise to simply avoid finding out about your potential buyer via social media.
It’s better not to know much about the buyer’s personal life.
Fact or fiction
Buyer love letters can spin a pretty good tale that could move you to action. And none of it may be true. They might adore your gazebo on paper, then tear it down for a sport court. Or claim to covet your prize-winning begonias, then replace them with a concrete patio. Buyers don’t have any obligation to keep a house as-is, even if they “promise” to do so in a love letter.
Your buyer’s letter could be the truth, and there might be some corroborating evidence. But ultimately, selling your house isn’t an emotional decision. It’s a business decision for what’s likely your greatest financial asset.
Selling your house isn’t an emotional decision — it’s a business decision.
Focus on the sale price, financing, concessions and closing timeline that fit your goals. To save yourself from buyer’s love letters affecting your home sale, you can instruct your agent not to accept them.
Protect yourself by selling your home with an experienced agent. Redefy is the empowering experience that saves you thousands for more important things in life — like a gazebo for your next home!