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Homebuyers are turning to this new tactic to win contentious bidding wars

Charlotte's red hot housing market has some buyers taking extreme measures. A new tactic is a so-called "love letter" written to homeowners to curry favor.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte has been a hot real estate market for over a year now, with people doing everything they can to get into their dream home. 

Some are going so far as to write so-called "love letters" to convince current owners to sell their houses. Some people have wondered if it's legal to pour your heart out to a homeowner on why you deserve to buy their home. 

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to WCNC Charlotte by emailing money@wcnc.com.


Is it illegal to write a "Love Letter" to a home seller in the Carolinas? 



This is false.

No, it is not illegal to write a love letter to a home seller in the Carolinas. However, you need to be cautious about what you write in the letter and stick to speaking about the property itself. 

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North Carolina realtor David Hoffman said a love letter is basically what it sounds like. A potential buyer would write to the seller about how their family would enjoy the home and why they love it. 

"Once there is a bidding war, and there are multiple buyers for not many houses, buyers would say, 'OK, I want to show the seller why we stand out and tug at the heartstrings,'" Hoffman said. 

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Hoffman said these "love letters" themselves aren't illegal. However, you need to be careful what you write in them. 

"There are a lot of classes that are protected, like familial classes you know you can't talk about your son or daughter you can't talk about your husband or wife," Hoffman said.  

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WCNC Charlotte is part of seven major media companies and other local institutions producing I Can’t Afford to Live Here, a collaborative reporting project focused on solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Charlotte. It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, which is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all of our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.

The National Association of Realtors warns members against utilizing love letters to help clients get their dream homes. That's because of those protected classes. The Fair Housing Act prevents anyone involved in leasing or selling homes from discriminating based on race, sex, disability, religion, and familial status. 

"The buyer's agent could be disciplined or fined or their license suspended," Hoffman said. 

That's the danger of these "love letters," they could convince a seller to give the letter writer a sweetheart deal based on shared experiences or values. Hoffman said your best bet is to speak about the property itself. 

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Contact Meghan Bragg at mbragg@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. 

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit /verify. 

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