Are Real Estate “Love Letters” in Colorado Going Away?

by | Nov 19, 2019

Real Estate Love Letters in Colorado

Perhaps you’ve heard of the so-called real estate “Love Letters.” A buyer tenders an offer on a property they believe could be receiving multiple offers. In order to make their offer stand out, the buyer includes a personal letter that tells a bit of a story about them, their situaion and why they want to be the one chosen to buy the property.

It’s been a common practice in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado real estate for some time now. It puts a human face on what would otherwise potentially be a very dollars and sense decision. In the past, I’ve heard many stories of this technique having success in a buyer’s offer being chosen.

But, because the letters often identify people as part of protected classes against whom discrimination is illegal, the Colorado Division of Real Estate is taking action to either eliminate this practice, or to make sure that fair housing rules are being followed.

 Fair Housing

The following identifies protected classes from the website HUD.gov.

Who Is Protected?

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial Status
  • Disability

 

Source – HUD.gov

Discrimination Danger Zone

The biggest potential problem with these letters, in my opinion, is that the nature of the letters lend themselves to the eventual identification of the buyer as a person who is in one of these protected classes.

My evidence is my experience, which I admit is anecdotal. However, when I heard of the changes the Division of Real Estate is making concerning these letters, the first thing popped into my head was the young married couples or partners with children speaking of their desire to own the home because they wanted to “raise their family” there.

Familial status is a protected class. If the seller reads the letter, but chooses another offer, the buyer who “wanted to raise their family” in the home in question might cry discrimination.

It’s a can of worms that is better left closed.

Property, Not Person

My mentors love the phrase “Property, not person.” I only have to answer very simple questions in order to help you purchase the real estate you want.

Instead of “Where are you from?” I ask “Where do you want to live?” Instead of “Who will be living there?” (besides required owner occupancy questions) I ask “When would you like to take ownership?” Instead of “What kind of lifestyle will you live in this home?” I ask “How will you be paying for it?”

The bottom lines have nothing to do with the person and everything to do with the property. 

Yes, I’ll get to know you as a person during this process. However, the only thing that have any bearing on the offer and transaction will be dates, deadlines, price, terms and conditions.