As the real estate market continues to be red hot, with many homes receiving multiple offers, buyers are looking for ways to encourage sellers to choose their offer. Recently we have seen an increase in the number of buyers who are writing letters to the seller requesting their letter accompany their offer submission.
Writing a letter to the seller seems like a nice thing to do, right? At face value, yes. Depending on what is written in the letter, it could create some unintended consequences. While it looks innocent and not done intentionally, it could put the seller and the seller's agent in jeopardy of Fair Housing violation(s).
If the letter mentions or implies information about any of the protected classes, it could be seen as a violation of the Fair Housing Law. In Massachusetts, it is unlawful to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, ancestry, genetic information, marital status, veteran or active military status, age, familial status (i.e., children), and source of income (i.e., Section 8 voucher).
Letters to the seller saying things such as I look forward to starting or raising my family, or it's close to our church or synagogue, or my husband loves the garage. If it was thought the seller based their decision for or against any of these types of personal remarks, they could be accused of violating the Fair Housing Law.
To be on the safe side, buyers who want to write a letter to the seller should write about the qualities of the house and the yard and not include personal details.