If you're a Mainer in the market to buy a home or looking to relocate to our awesome state, you've likely seen some challenges with the current market, mainly low inventory and high prices.

Frustrated homebuyers are willing to go above and beyond to get themselves under contract on a home. Some offer thousands of dollars over the asking price and waive inspections, for example. But what about the schmoozy "love letter", as us real estate agents like to call it?

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These "love letters" typically inflate the ego of the current homeowners, complimenting them on the designs and decor of their home, the upgrades, and beautiful landscape. All of that is fine and dandy, right? Yes, but let's pump the brakes before we go any further.

It's a common move that many buyers have been using to help stand out from the rest, but as a realtor here in Southern Maine, I always advise that my buyers tread carefully to avoid any legal hiccups.

Many buyers write about how they can't wait to raise a family in the home. There's nothing wrong with that, right? Wrong. That could actually backfire and spark up an ugly legal battle.

Here’s the deal. The Fair Housing Act is enacted in Maine (and in most states), and it's a big deal. It’s designed to prevent discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, national origin, and yes, familial status. When you mention personal details like your family plans, you risk putting the seller in a tricky spot. They might unintentionally use that information to make a decision, which could lead to legal trouble for both of you.

As an example, writing, "We can't wait to have kids and build our family in your beautiful home," could be seen as influencing the seller based on your family plans. Even with the best intentions, this could be like poking a beehive with a stick.

If you're set on writing a love letter, keep it focused on the house itself. Here are some tips:

  1. Talk About the House: Mention specific features you love. Something like, "We fell in love with the cozy fireplace and the natural light in the living room."
  2. Compliment Their Efforts: Sellers often have an emotional connection to their home. Acknowledge this with something like, "The garden you've cultivated is absolutely stunning. We would love to keep it going."
  3. Share Your Vision: Without getting personal, share how you plan to enjoy the property. "We look forward to spending evenings on the beautiful porch."

You will want to avoid including anything that pertains to familial and financial status. And lastly (this probably goes without saying), refrain from mentioning anything about your ethnicity, religion, or other personal details.

Following these guidelines can not only sweeten your offer with the sellers, but also keep you (and them) out of potential legal trouble.

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