Homebuyer ‘love letters’ risk fair housing violations, but some feel risk is worth it | News – Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona 2021-09-27 09:45:00 –

“I could imagine where the Christmas tree would go and my kids coming down the stairs on Christmas morning,” she said. “I love cooking, so I imagined myself making dinner for these families, and I really tried to visualize myself and express those feelings in this house.”

The letter was accompanied by a picture of the Soko family.

“Buyer’s love letters are a tactic used by some buyers to make them stand out, especially in hot markets with low inventory and bidding wars,” said the National Association of Real Estate Agents. On that website in October.. “Although seemingly harmless, these letters can actually raise fair housing issues and expose real estate professionals and their customers to fair housing breaches.”

“They often contain personal information and characterize the purchaser, such as race, religion, and family status. These are intentional or unknowingly as an illegal basis for the seller to accept or reject the offer. May be used through prejudice. “

Federal government Civil Rights Act We prohibit discrimination against both homebuyers and renters based on race, color, country of origin, religion, gender, family status, or disability.

Even seemingly harmless details can run the risk of violating fair housing standards.

For example, explaining children coming down the stairs on Christmas morning “reveals not only the family status of potential buyers, but their religion as a protected trait,” the Real Estate Agents Association said. Said.

Oregon to avoid possible violations Law passed in June Require the seller’s agent to “refuse any non-regular document communication in real estate transactions, including photographs provided by the buyer.” It was the first state in the country to enact such a law.

Jae-young, executive director of the Southwest Fair Housing Council, said he did not expect Arizona to follow suit soon.

“I don’t think such a law is likely to succeed in Arizona,” Young said. “I don’t think it’s a political situation that would move the legislature to outlaw that practice.”

However, the Civil Rights Act applies nationwide. Young said that sellers who violate the law by choosing buyers based on “protected properties” are at risk of facing a proceeding.

He said he could also file a complaint with the federal government against the offender, which could result in financial damage.

But so far, allegations of discrimination in Arizona based on buyers’ love letters, if any, seem to be rare.

Michel Lind, Chief Executive Officer of the Arizona Real Estate Association, said:

And it is unclear how much these letters actually cause discrimination.

“I think it’s one of the really difficult things to prove,” Young said. “But what we know is that racism and discrimination are really forever part of our housing market and there is still ample evidence that it is happening today.”

for example, Newsday 3-year survey Extensive evidence of discriminatory practices among realtors in Long Island, NY, published in late 2019, was found.

Sacos acknowledges the potential problem with letters like them, but Ernest, who works part-time as a realtor, may stop investors whose love letters are “snatching” homes across the valley. I suggested that I couldn’t.

according to Recent reports from Realtor.comThe Phoenix Metro Area is the number one market in countries where housing inventories are being adversely affected by investors.

“Whether their offer is the best offer or not, I prefer to sell to someone who is not an investor,” Ernest Soko said.

Lind said investors are not protected from discrimination under the Civil Rights Act.

“Sure, a love letter can tell the seller whether the buyer is an investor or the buyer who uses the house as their primary home,” she said. “If it’s important to the seller, it can be a factor.”

Selling a home is “an emotional deal, but sellers are generally the most motivated … by price and terms,” ​​she said.

But for Sacos, both price and sentiment seemed to influence the seller’s decision to choose an offer over the other five. After Sacos sent the letter, they still had to make their offer. But the letter may have opened the door to making that higher offer, Ernest said.

“I’m not 100% sure, but I think the letter gave us a chance to get higher,” he said. “Strangely, they may have been helping us go home now that we understand our character and how we fit into the community.”

The strong community consciousness of their new neighborhood was part of the charm of the home to Sacos. They also believe that sellers felt responsible to help maintain the feelings of the community even after they left.

“Everyone in our city has grown really close,” said Nadia Soko. “So when a new family moves, I think they take it very seriously. I think it’s just right on the street.”

However, even if you include a love letter, you cannot always win the bid. They said Sacos made offers to two other homes, one of which also included a letter, before finally landing on the new home. Also, it doesn’t always work with Ernest Saco’s clients.

Still, he encourages homebuyers to do whatever it takes to land in their dream home.

“Usually my client asks me if I should write a letter,” he said. “My advice to them is usually to do whatever you can to make your offer look more valuable, especially if it’s a bidding war.”

But when he represents the seller, he plays a slightly different song.

“My advice to my seller is to always get rid of emotions from it and keep it strictly financial,” he said. “Everything that seems to be the least risky and most powerful offer is in your best interests and will move it forward.”

But sometimes that sentiment still has an impact on his seller.

One of Ernest Soko’s recent clients chose the “equivalent to other top offers” offer, but also included a letter explaining the buyer’s “life journey.” According to Ernest Soko, the seller had a similar “life journey” of his own, giving the buyer the opportunity to make an offer.

“It helped the person in that situation,” he said.

And he believes that in the end, homebuyers should be able to express their hopes and share stories with sellers.

“Our home isn’t just about wood and plaster. That’s where we grow our family. That’s where we spend most of our time,” Ernest said. Saco said.

“I think there is a way to show someone that your home is in good hands, and the home you have lived in your life is positive if you can get rid of prejudice and discrimination.” He said.

If you believe you are a victim of housing discrimination as a buyer or renter, contact the Civil Rights Division of the Attorney General’s Office in Arizona (602-542-5263) or send an email to: please. CivilRightsInfo@azag.gov.. The Southwest Fair Housing Council also offers services to help potential victims.The website is swfhc.com..

Homebuyer ‘love letters’ risk fair housing violations, but some feel risk is worth it | News Source link Homebuyer ‘love letters’ risk fair housing violations, but some feel risk is worth it | News

Back to top button