Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope your week is going well! Today I am at CE with 30 of your fellow Realtors, but while they are learning, I am working! I'm not able to answer the phone while here, so if you need me today, please shoot me an email!
If you need to access the private side of the website, the password is available in the email version of this update or by calling the Board office.
May Membership Meeting - Affiliate Night!
The May Membership meeting is
Join us for some bowling fun, and win tickets to enter bucket raffles for great prizes! Food and soda provided, cash bar.
When: May 20th, 2021
Where: Meadow Lanes North, Manitowoc
This is also the night in person voting will happen for the new slate of MCBR Board members.
Please contact Katelyn with questions! Hope to see you there!
Professional Standards Training
If you are interested in being trained in Professional Standards, so that you can serve on Grievance Committees and Hearing Panels for ethics and arbitration disputes, please consider attending the training being held (via Zoom) on May 25th and 27th from 1 to 4pm. The more people trained, the better! If you would like more information, or if you'd like to attend the training, please RSVP!
The Following People Have Applied For Membership With MCBR:
Eric Koschnick - Coldwell Banker
Joel Moose - Weichert Realtors
Nicole Wooton - Keller Williams
If you have any objections to any of these people joining, please email your concerns to Membership Committee Chair, Judy Stuebs, at email@example.com.
President's Message - A Note From Amy MacMillin
Happy May, I, like a lot of you, are very busy; so I am cheating on my monthly letter and instead sending you some excellent guidance on the Love letters; this is from the WRA.
Dear Seller Letter Handout In a competitive market where properties are scarce, buyers employ various strategies to win the seller over. One of the most controversial is the inclusion of a “pick me” or “Dear Seller” letter, describing the reasons, apart from the terms and conditions of their offer, why the seller should select their offer. Dear Seller letters may include personal messages, videos and family photos submitted to the seller along with the offer. The use of these letters presents the risk of liability for a fair housing violation if the seller chooses an offer based upon the buyer’s race, family status, sexual orientation, religion or another protected class under fair housing laws. A Dear Seller letter can trigger implicit bias, where a seller might prefer a buyer’s offer based on a “feeling” or something the seller “just likes” about the buyer. In some cases, sellers may knowingly choose a buyer based on protected class characteristics revealed in the buyer’s communication, a clear fair housing law violation if it can be proved. Accepting an offer based on a buyer’s characteristics and not the merit of the offer likely violates fair housing law. The WRA has created a handout for members to use when they are faced with these situations. See “‘Dear Seller’ Letters: Competitive Edge or Fair Housing Violation?” at www.wra.org/dearseller.
What do buyers need to know?
• Some sellers may refuse to review any “Dear Seller” letter or refuse to review offers that incorporate “Dear Seller” letters, thereby eliminating that buyer as a contender for that property.
• It is the buyer’s decision if they want to write a “Dear Seller” letter to be presented to the seller.
• Agents can discuss other ways with buyers to draft a competitive offer such as including earnest money, proof of funds, and other contract provisions that can make a buyer’s offer stand out in a crowd.
What do sellers need to know?
• A seemingly innocent letter referencing a buyer’s future joy at seeing the buyer’s children run down the stairs on Christmas morning conveys the buyer’s family status and religion to a seller, both of which are protected classes under the Fair Housing Act.
• Using protected characteristics as a basis to accept or reject an offer, as opposed to price and terms, would violate the Fair Housing Act.
• Sellers can prohibit an agent from presenting “Dear Seller” letters by including instructions in the listing contract such “agent shall not present any offer accompanied by or incorporating a letter from a buyer.”
What is the role of a Wisconsin real estate agent?
• Agents can point out the problems that can occur when the letters include misrepresentations, inaccuracy, misleading statements, contractual obligations, and unrealistic promises and conditions.
• An agent may educate buyers about fair housing law and the pitfalls of “Dear Seller” letters and point out the non-discrimination provision in the buyer agency agreement if the buyer is a client.
• If the buyer decides to write a “Dear Seller” letter, agents are obligated to draft as instructed by the party they are working with or representing.
• An agent should not advise buyers on what should be in a “Dear Seller” letter and should not offer guidance as to what information would be considered “safe” and not a fair housing violation.
Where can people find more information?
• WRA September 2020 Legal Update, "Multiple Offers and Love Letters"
What's Up In The Office
As a reminder, this week I will only be in the office tomorrow, as I am at the CE classes today, and in Madison for the WRA Board and AEC meetings Thursday and Friday. If you need anything from me, please try to contact me tomorrow. I'll respond to emails if I can while in Madison, but most likely won't be able to answer the phone.
Many of the same things that I mentioned last week (budgets, CE, elections, etc) are still going on, and keeping me busy! Next week are the NAR Legislative meetings, and several sessions have caught my eye, so I'm looking forward to that! Next week I will also be working on prepping for New Realtor Orientation (being held the 19th), will be prepping for the MCBR Board meeting, and will be participating in both the MLS Board meeting and the Finance Committee meeting. As always, never a dull moment!