Buyer Letters
Good Idea? or Living on the Edge?

It’s common, especially when a Buyer expects a property to receive multiple good offers, for the Buyer to draft a letter to the Seller and include it with the offer.

Said letter often describes why the Buyer has a connection to the property, how they imagine it would be the perfect place for them, or how they feel a connection with the Seller.

Ask a group of Brokers about whether or not this is a good idea and you’ll get a range of answers.

It also matters which role you have in the transaction – Buyer or Seller.

BUYERS

Buyers can write and send anything they want.

SELLERS

Sellers are subject to the Fair Housing Act, which is touched on (in small! part) below.

Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), as amended, prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on

  • race,
  • color,
  • national origin,
  • religion,
  • sex,
  • familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and
  • disability.

Additionally, Colorado also protects against discrimination based on:

  • creed
  • sexual orientation (including Transgender Status), and
  • marital status

C.R.S. § 24-34-502 (Lexis Advance through all Laws passed and signed in the First Regular and First Extraordinary Sessions of the 71st General Assembly (2017))

Perception matters, and in this case it’s the prospective Buyer’s perception that has impact. Someone whose offer was rejected might later decide to file a claim of fair housing violation. Is such a thing easy to prove? I don’t personally think so, but then, I’m not a lawyer! Whether or not it can be proved, it can be stressful, time-consuming, and expensive to be sued, regardless of the outcome.

Love ’em or hate ’em, but might I suggest to Sellers: don’t read them. 

Help to protect yourself as a Seller by (a) electing to not read any Buyer letters, (b) basing your decision of which offer to select solely based on criteria not included in the lists above, and (c) documenting that decision-making process.