The Hand Written Letter in Richmond VA Real Estate
The Hand Written Letter in Richmond VA Real Estate - Spring of 2013 was an amazing time in Richmond VA real estate
. Rates were super low at approximately 3.25%, buyers were coming out of the wood work, and inventory was limited. This caused the perfect storm for multiple bid situations and homes selling for over asking price. So, how do you make your offer stand out?
A Letter from the Heart of the Buyer to the Seller
Some may suggest that a buyer write a personal, HANDWRITTEN note to the seller detailing why they should select their offer over the others. This is often a letter that pulls at the heartstrings and hopefully cuts through the business side of real estate and gets to the emotional attachment of the seller. If the seller raised children there they may just take a lower offer because a buyer wrote a note telling them how their daughter will make wonderful memories on the tire swing hanging from the beautiful oak tree and the seller has a flashback to pushing their own child back and forth on that same swing. This is the intention and I think well intentioned, however, is that FAIR? Is it LEGAL?
Does Writing a Handwritten Letter Violate Fair Housing Laws?
I am not a real estate attorney and can only offer my opinion and interpretation of the law. Does writing a handwritten note to the seller violate Fair Housing
laws? In my opinion, a letter in itself does not violate Fair Housing. Yet, what is IN the letter may. In the example above, did the seller select this particular buyer due to familial status and not take a higher offer with better terms because that buyer was single? My belief is this is hard to prove, but if the non-selected buyer finds out about the letter they MAY have a case.
Although I once had a buyer write a handwritten letter, after some encouragement from a former broker, I stopped this practice after taking a class and hearing this could be a potential Fair Housing Violation. As I mentioned, I am not a lawyer but I am not going to take the chance.
How Do You Make Your Offer Stand Out from the Crowd?
So, if you don't write a letter how can you make your offer stand out from the crowd? With an offer the seller can't refuse! If you know you are in a multiple bid situation and this is THE home for you, go into the ring in fighting shape. If the comps support the asking price, you will at least want to offer the seller full price. If the home for sale is really popular, you may want to consider an escalation clause, which basically says you will go up $X over the the highest bid up to a capped price. (Example: I will pay $1,000 over the highest offer up to $280K.) In addition, make sure your terms are clean. If you can afford closing costs, don't ask for them. Make the inspection period short. (As your Richmond VA Realtor
I NEVER encourage a buyer to skip the inspection. It is THAT important) You may also put in a clause that you will accept up to $X in inspection repairs. (Example: The buyer will not ask for any home inspection repairs unless they exceed $5,000.) Have your agent ask the listing agent what the sellers ideal closing date is and do your best to accommodate their needs and wants. Bottom line, give the seller no reason to turn you down or, at the very least, make it a very difficult decision for them!
RVA Home Team - Winning with Integrity
Winning doesn't mean much unless you came by it honest. As Miranda Lambert
says in one of her songs, "it's only worth as much as the time put in." Those athletes who rack up the most home-runs by doping are not winners, they are cowards who didn't think they could win without bucking the system.
We at the RVA Home Team
want the best for our clients and we will do everything we can to either help them obtain the home of their choice or assist them in selling their property fast and for top dollar. We simply play by the rules and rely on our experience and skills to do the best job we can do. We ALWAYS win, even in the rare instance where our clients offer wasn't accepted, because we played fair and can walk away knowing we gave it our best shot!
What Do You Think?
We gave you our OPINION on the handwritten note. What is yours? Do you think it can be perceived as a Fair Housing Violation?
*Image courtesy of SimonHowden/freedigitalphotos.net