Note this all happened before the fair housing act existed. It was just plain common sense and it was what a professional salesperson does when selling any product or service.
I taught this to sales people in teams I led and have been teaching it to people in sales for thirty years.
The fair housing act was an effort to make non-professionals sensitive to the fact that we are all selling to people, humans with feelings and needs, just like us. My Dad was a professional salesperson of the highest level. His oft repeated saying to me when I was a teen was,
"When you are selling anything do not think about your wallet. Always think about what is best for the other man and do not give him anything less. Then your wallet will always be full." William G. Zimmerman.
Those days there were no women in business, period. Since then I have altered that wording to fit our modern culture so it reads.
"In Selling, Business and Life, always think about what is best for the other person and do not give them anything less, then your life - and your wallet will be full."
This has been the guiding principle in our lives. It is the guiding principle in our consulting, coaching, teaching and workshops. It works in real estate too, try it, you'll like it!
Nuff Said !!!
Wesley (Wes) Zimmerman
Fair Housing Instructor/ REALTOR - Virginia
We're not taking it too far at all, actually. We can discuss objective things such as what businesses are in an area. We can discuss the rating a school received from the Arizona Department of Education. But we can't discuss subjective items such as good, bad, and "cleanliness," whatever that means.
"Good" and "bad" are subjective terms which easily could be code for other things, such as the racial makeup of an area. That is why we as real estate professionals can't discuss areas in those terms. This is discussed in depth in the licensing and continuing education classes on Fair Housing that we take - it sounds as you're unfamiliar with this because you're not licensed.
We can't discuss areas as good for families. We can't even describe a given property as being within "walking" distance of something as that can be construed as discriminatory against someone with a disability - that one came directly from a continuing education scenario.
By law, an agent is required to disclose known material facts about a property with only a handful of exemptions - the presence of sex offenders is one such exemption. ARS 32-2156, if you want to look it up.
I don't presume to tell you how to handle the mortgage business since I've not been trained in that area. Before telling me how Fair Housing applies to my job, consider that I may have received just a little more education in that area than you.
I understand your concern, but as agents we are prohibited from giving opinions/advice on good or bad cities/neighborhoods. It sounds like you have checked the sex offender website, which is a great resource, but please keep in mind that Surprise is a fairly large city. Since this is a concern of yours, and a valid one, I would suggest that you wait until you find some homes that you are interested in and then check the crime statistics and sex offender website for those neighborhoods. It is generally not a good idea to judge an entire city based on one criterion. Think about Phoenix...it has an extremely diverse population and is a huge city, it has some of the most expensive homes and some of the least expensive. You could find a neighborhood to fit every persons desires.
Sorry you took my comment for a "swipe" at you. You are a mortgage guy. I never questioned your ability to do that job. You on the other hand, strongly implied that licensed AGENTS weren't aware of Fair Housing laws -- as they apply to AGENTS. If challenging that stance is a "swipe", then so be it.
You said, "Susan, I have never heard that it was against Realtor "code" to comment on good/bad neighborhoods, cities? I thought that was the whole point of a Realtor..."
And the point was made (quite clearly) that we CAN'T comment on good/bad neighborhoods.
You then said we were "hilarious" and taking Fair Housing "way too far".
I'd respectfully suggest that if you don't want people "swiping" at you, don't swipe first.
I never once questioned your ability or qualifications as a lender, so please don't question mine as a real estate broker.
We absolutely can do what you suggest in your last paragraph ... but that's not what you had said earlier. You said we ought to tell people what are "good" and "bad" areas, and that's in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
I don't appreciate your swipe at me Jay - We are one of the top mortgage companies in all of Arizona, I am not some fly by night operation. In fact, fell free to swing by my office and we can chat sometime.
As you obviously don't know, individual loan officers in AZ work under a LICENSED BROKER/BANK and are not individually licensed...as of yet, we will need to be licensed as individuals starting 2010 however which is a move I am highly in favor of for obvious reasons.
In any event, I think we agree, all I was saying is that the area of "sex offenders" doesn't apply to fair housing. Talking about "good or bad" is obviously subjective and I wouldn't expect a Realtor to flat out tell a client "this area is good"
But I would expect them to be able to match the clients needs/wants to a specific area and tell them, "this meets your needs that you expressed to me, do you like this area, is it good for you?"
I'm curious Kyle, how many Continuing Education hours on Fair Housing -- as it applies to holding and maintaining a real estate license -- have you taken?
Jonathan, believe me I am familiar with the fair housing laws. Its for 7 protected classes - race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin.
Its not saying you cannot talk about crime or sex offenders in an area....or cleanliness, school rankings, businesses in the area, ect......you guys are sadly taking this way too far.
The point is not to DISCRIMINATE against those 7 areas of protected classes, nothing more, nothing less. Talking about areas of town in terms of desirability other than those protected issues, is perfectly fine. Sex offenders is not a "protected class"
Maybe you should read up Jonathan http://www.realtor.org/library/library/fg705
That would be like me saying I cannot comment on interest rates being good or bad or mortgages good or bad for the client.