LOI is used as manipulation tool at the hands of unscrupulous sellers & agents. Often times, obscure or scam_oriented persons who claim to be crude Sellers, or represent themselves as sellers' agents, mandates or brokers largely by an Internet contact or communication, employ the LOI merely as a tool to quickly "corner and box in" a prospective buyer to a purchase deal, before the prospective buyer may demand that they provide their business profile or show him something tangible to demonstrate that they are truly legitimate sellers.
In our experience, an LOI is a critical component in structuring a win_win transaction. We use them on virtually every deal. Here are the main benefits we see: More efficient use of time Proceeding with a clear understanding and agreement in principle. Trigger point for taking the next steps. More efficient use of time: Some people feel an LOI puts the cart before the horse.