Top Five Buyer Questions that I Can't Answer
are times, when I'm asked certain questions from buyers that if I
didn't have my REALTOR® hat on, I could probably give you my opinion,
but since I AM a REALTOR® in the Portland Metro area, I have a Code of
Ethics and Fair Housing rules and guidelines that I need to follow.
when you ask me the following questions, please know that some of your
questions are subjective to your needs and there is no way I can know
the answer. They also fall under the Fair Housing or Code o Ethics, so I
can't answer them. What I CAN do is direct you to a place where you can
find the statistics and then you can make that call.
I know many buyers view this as a cop out for us agents, but steering
buyers away or towards certain neighborhoods besed on race, color,
religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or sexual
orientation is serious and we can lose our license over it. These were put in place to protect the public against discrimination, and really are a good thing.
Have we become too over cautious in many areas...probably, but
you're hiring me to help you in best way to find a home that meets your
criteria. Most people know the neighborhoods they want to live in
unless they've been relocated from out of state, and even then the
location of the job will often dictate the commute and neighborhoods to
Top Five Buyer Questions that I Can't Answer
1.) Is this neighborhood mixed racially?
Due to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice (10-1) of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, I just can't answer this. What
I can do is depending on the area, I can give you links to sites that
will give you the demographics of a particular neighborhood.
• Standard of Practice 10-1
When involved in the sale or lease of a residence, REALTORS® shall not volunteer information regarding the racial, religious
or ethnic composition of any neighborhood nor shall they engage in any
activity which may result in panic selling, however REALTORS® may
provide other demographic information. (Adopted 1/94,Amended 1/06)
2. Are the schools good?
I don't know what you consider a good school as this is different for many. Is your child needing special things such
as a great sports or arts program? Are you concerned about
teacher-student ratios? I can however give you links to the schools so
you can research what is important for you and your children to narrow down schools that meet your needs.
3. Is this a high crime area?
I consider a low crime area, you might think is just fine...so again
subjective. I have clients that already live and rent in certain
neighborhoods that I personally think are a bit "edgy" or still in the
revitalization process and they love the neighboroods. Again, I can and
will give you links to the local police department so you can read and
see the statistics yourself.
4. Did someone die in this house?
this is one that I think a seller might want to disclose if it was a
gruesome murder, or something that the neighbors will easily tell a
prospective buyer. The Seller however is not required to disclose this.
From the Oregon Property Seller's Advisory
Death, Crimes, and External Conditions
In Oregon, certain conditions on or near real property that may be of
concern to buyers are considered not to be “material” by state law.
Oregon Revised Statutes 93.275. Ordinarily, “material facts” must be
disclosed by the seller or the seller’s agent. However, because state
law declares certain facts to be not material, sellers are not held
responsible for disclosing them as might otherwise be the case.
Facts that would be subject to disclosure but for the statute include
the fact that the property was the site of a death, crime, political
activity, religious activity, or any other act or occurrence that does
not adversely affect the physical condition of, or title to, real
property, including that a convicted sex offender resides in the area.
Although the seller is not required to disclose such facts, they may
elect to- for instance disclosing a pedophile living next door to buyers
with small children. Under Oregon law, neither the seller nor their
agent is allowed to disclose that an owner or occupant of the real
property has or had human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune
5. Can you only show me properties that have a high <insert any nationality here> population?
like I can't steer you to an area, I also can't specify what
neighborhoods or locations have a high population of certain
nationalities, or people of certain religions.
Here are some other links that are helpful:
Oregon Property Buyer's Advisory
Oregon Department of Education School Report Cards
Portland Police Bureau
Originally posted on my ActiveRain Blog
Cindy Westfall ABR,GRI
Premiere Property Group
5000 Meadows Rd., Ste. 150, Lake Oswego, OR 97035
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