If you’re looking to buy a house in Oregon, you can no longer send letters to sway the seller. This long-lasting practice of writing a “buyer love letter” is now banned after Governor Kate Brown signed House Bill 2550 in June.
Some believe the idea of love letters is discriminatory because it could reveal personal information about buyers.
Real estate Broker Amy Thompson said these letters could influence sellers to make decisions based on emotion and not based on the actual price and terms of the offer.
“It puts buyers who can’t be as competitive in their price and terms at a disadvantage because that was the only way they could appeal to the seller,” Thompson said.
Thompson, who’s been in real estate for 18 years, said this ban levels the playing field for both buyers and sellers.
“They may subconsciously choose an offer from someone that matches up a little more to their own way of thinking or way of being — race, religion, color, sexual identity- that kind of thing,” Thompson said.
Thompson said a seller should choose their buyer based on traditional offers like price and terms.
“That’s how an offer should be judged,” Thompson said. “Not by how many kids somebody has or someone’s sexual identity or someone’s race.”
However, not everyone is on board with throwing away love letters for good.
Kristine Chadwick, a Eugene resident, said the reason her family lives in their house now is because of the love letter her real estate agent wrote back in 2013.
Chadwick said they were the second and lower bid towards the house they fell in love with. But it was thanks to the letter– that helped them secure the keys.
“There was nothing insincere about it,” Chadwick said. “It was–we are a family of five, and we love this house; we think it would be the perfect place to raise our children. And the owner, who was the original owner from 1972, had also raised three children in the house and really wanted to have a family, and not an investor purchase it.”
It’s no secret that it’s hard to buy a house right now with the housing market skyrocketing. Many told KEZI writing letters to sellers isn’t discriminatory and actually helps with community building.
“I don’t like the idea of there being a ban because locals often want to sell to people who are wanting to make a community,” Chadwick said.