By Duane Duggan and Clare O’Callahan
RE/MAX of Boulder Radio continues to keep the Boulder community and future home buyers and sellers updated with the latest information regarding the real estate market. This week, RE/MAX of Boulder’s Duane Duggan discusses “Real Estate Love Letters” with attorney Jon Goodman.
Click here to listen to the full interview: https://soundcloud.com/overthetopcycling/remax-of-boulder-radio-love-letters-with-jon-goodman
Over the last 30 years, Jon Goodman has worked for Boulder-based law firm Frascona, Joiner, Goodman and Greenstein, P.C., which has been providing quality legal services in Colorado since 1974. The firm’s attorneys work with highly trained staff to create cost effective solutions. Goodman specializes in Real Estate, Real Estate Finance, Association Law, Broker Representation, Business Law and Litigation.
What is a “love letter”?
Over the last few years, the Colorado real estate market has seen a significant shortage on market inventory and a hyper-shortage in some submarkets and consequently, an increased number of multiple offers. Because of these recent trends, most buyers know that they will be facing this competition and they want to do anything to make their offer as attractive as possible. One way to do this is with a real estate “love letter”.
According to Goodman, “love letters” — or what Duggan refers to as “emotion letters” or “pick-me letters” — are documents that a buyer can include with their initial offer which tells the seller how much they like the house. Buyers will typically include these “love letters” or “pick-me letters” if they anticipate competition from other buyers, or simply in hopes to increase their odds of being picked.
How can they cause problems?
Although love letters can be a fun and unique way to personalize a buyer’s offer, they can also cause problems. “There are some versions of love letters,” says Goodman, “that are pretty benign—that would not cause legal problems.” For example, a property may have especially beautiful gardens, and in the letter the buyer talks about how much the buyer appreciates those gardens. Another example would be if a particular property had historical significance and in the letter the buyer would express to the seller how much they appreciate the property’s historical significance.
Other letters that include statements and pictures of the buyers, however, may cause problems. “Now when the buyer starts talking about themselves,” says Goodman, “discrimination becomes an issue.”
“I would encourage buyers to instead, make the economic terms of their offer as attractive as possible. If you are inclined to write a love letter,” warns Goodman, “the simple theme would be to focus on the property, NOT the buyers.” Because of the legal implications of these types of love letters, Goodman encourages selling brokers not to describe their buyers (other than their financial strength) and to avoid pictures. The less a seller knows about the non-economic features of competing buyers, the easier it will be for the seller’s lawyer to defend a discrimination claim from a potentially disgruntled buyer.
Goodman explains, “It’s not about black. It’s not about white. It’s about green—you want to pick the offer that has the best economic terms for you.”
Jon Goodman has developed a class on writing winning offers called Writing Winning Offers (Without Getting in Trouble). The next class will be held on May 18th at the Boulder Area Association of Realtors (BARA) located on 4790 Table Mesa Dr. Ste. 200.
Disclaimer: This is general information, not advice in particular circumstance. Jon encourages people to talk to their lawyers as circumstances come up case by case.
For more information, feel free to contact Jon Goodman via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (303) 494-3000.