"Letters of Intent, legally, are the worst of all worlds. Writing a letter of intent is not to be taken lightly. In law, you either have a contract or you don't. LOI's are the legal equivalent of "almost pregnant." Letters of Intent emphatically state that. They state that they are not formal agreements, and then often proceed to set forth agreed terms of the proposed transaction. Given this paradox, if the deal goes sour, one party can argue [in court] that those agreed_upon points were, in fact, agreed upon _ or, in fact, a binding contract. And, in some cases, furthermore, that the party relied on the LOI and has monetary damages based on such reliance."
This position expressed by one representative of a seller, a Swedish_based broker, in a recent exchange with this writer's office regarding the seller's offer wherein the prospective buyer's mandate resisted the broker's insistence that the prospective buyer must first sign an LOI, pretty much sums up the traditional rationale offered by sellers and/or their agents for having an LOI: