Over the years Portlander Kate Fulford has seen more than her fair share of love letters.
Not romantic, tied with a ribbon, faintly smelling of lilacs and sighs, hidden in the attic, ideally so that one day unsuspecting future generations would find it.
Fulford, realtor with Think about real estate, speaks of the form letters that potential buyers write to try to influence sellers in hot real estate market like Portlandwhich includes family photos and promises to hang a swing from an apple tree in the backyard.
“We’ve used it in the past to pull ourselves off,” says Fulford. “Like, this single mother, she just got divorced, wants her kids to live in the same school district, so that would be perfect for her – she was trying to give a reason to choose our offer if the prices were similar. “
But the letters corroded Fulford, leaving her worried and wondering if they were just a tool for preserving the neighborhoods for a blueprint, in clear violation of the federal fair housing law.
Turns out the Oregon Legislature agrees. The state has just become was the first in the country to ban the correspondence of potential buyers to sellers. Effective January 2022, buyers and sellers will not be able to communicate in any way that discloses the buyer’s race, skin color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, marital status, or marital status. And the move of the state can only be the first domino to fall; change report, A blog aimed at real estate professionals headlined their story: “Is this the beginning of the end of love letters?”
Especially in an overheated market like the Portland market, where stocks are low and sellers tend to choose from a variety of offers, Fulford said it should come as no surprise that sellers are driven by personal data outside of the terms of the offer. To counter this, she first stopped allowing her clients to send in photos when writing a proposal, and then stopped using letters altogether, even before the discussion of new Oregon law surfaced. She said she was motivated by concerns about fairness in housing and potential liability if sellers deliberately turned down offers based on the details in the love letter.
Instead, Fulford says, she writes a cover letter for each proposal, highlighting the specifics of what her clients love about a particular home – an archway, a large kitchen, a garden – without revealing any personal details.
However, she was worried that rejecting the letters would put her clients at a disadvantage, so she was satisfied with the new law being passed. Now everyone is on an equal footing.
Of course, potential sellers can easily google the names of their potential buyers and get the item. (Editing names in sentences is the next reform?) And Fulford admitted that love letters in the past have helped some underprivileged shoppers get in the door; under the new system, offers with cash or the most attractive offers may receive automatic approval, even more than now.
So what’s a desperate buyer to do? “Focus on the home and what you love about it,” Fulford advises. “People become attached to their space,” she says. “They want the manager to appreciate and love their home the way they would like.”