Home Buying in 20817>Question Details

Carolyn Thom…, Real Estate Pro in Rockville, MD

Avoiding Fair Housing Violation. How do you answer a home buyer that asks where to find people of the same nationality?

Asked by Carolyn Thompson, Rockville, MD Sun May 1, 2011

Do you tell home buyers that you can't help them find communities of people with the same nationality or sexual orientation?

I find that many of my clients are increasingly asking me to help them find neighborhoods of people with diverse backgrounds. Some people are still comfortable surrounded by neighbors that share a culture.

I don't think that there is anything wrong with this. I think that we are so scared of fair housing violations that we forget to provide clients with tools that can help them discover what area that they are most comfortable in.

They may share similar music, food, beliefs, ideas about how to raise children.

How do you answer a client when they say that they are looking for neighborhoods with a particular kind of people?

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Answers

13
Realtor.com has maps now that show churchs on it, yes it is against the grain of Realtors themselves to steer on the point of religious affiliation, but Realtor.com seems to skate by on This one. I have a Business Card I have had printed many times that says that I as a Reraltor am required by law to not describe an area by Ethnic, Racial, sexual, or clerical specification. I explain that I may show a house by its size, features, price and placement, I can describe a home by sale type, lot size, zoning designation, or community name. I will disclose all information given to me, I will tell you what taxes were for the last tax year, I can tell you the names of the public schools that would be in the property zone. However I am by law and by ethical oath as a Realtor not allow to violate Equal opportunity laws or guide lines. On the back of the card is the wording by the government on equal Opportunity, and the logo. I usually print it on a yellow or pastel color stock and you can print up 250 at a time from Vista Print for a few dollars including the shipping. I hand this card to every potential customer when I shake their hand.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 1, 2011
I state against professional code of ethics IF they have any questions refer to peer group OR city stat's

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
972-699-9111
http://www.lynn911.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 2, 2011
Unfortunately we have to let them know that fair housing laws limit the information we can provide to a consumer. I often refer my clients to past clients to answer their questions about a particular neighborhood or school. Good or bad the information shared comes from a 1st hand source that is not subject to FH guidelines.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 2, 2011
You can provide them with resources to do their own research. Demographics is available on line. Much as we cannot provide specific information about registered sex offenders but we can tell them to look the information up on line or contract the local police for information. We can also provide websites such as the census bureau or http://www.zipskinny.com.

You could also advise them to drive the neighborhood at different times of the day and evening to get a better handle on traffic patterns, etc. Strange isn't it, after all these years, that we are still battling the same problem only with different nationalities? You know what they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 2, 2011
As a Realtor, can't come close to answering this question. Have them read & review Buyers Advisory & suggest to Google demographics & etc online.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 2, 2011
We do not have a good history in this regard, so it is probably karmic retribution that puts us on the side of extreme caution.

But, really - we're not the first people they've asked these questions of. If they want to know where the Giants fans are, tell them to look on the internet for a meetup or house of worship or community center that they would feel a part of, and then have them tell you where in relationship to those features they want to look for property.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 2, 2011
Carolyn,
I do something similar to Gerald, I explain that I'm not permitted to discuss these types of things but would be happy to help you find a home anywhere they would like to live. I've encouraged them to ask friends how they like their neighborhood. I have also asked if they had an idea where they would like to focus.
As agents we can't discuss these details, but buyers, their friends and families can share freely whatever they want. If someone knows several people in a given neighborhood I'm happy to show them homes there.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 1, 2011
Gerard,

I like your upfront approach. Best to take a proactive approach.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 1, 2011
We can provide buyers resources to help them make informed decisions without steering them to a particular neighborhood.

I don't see this any differently than a client asking me for advice on where to find a good school and providing them with a link to the local school website. My idea of a good school is likely to be different from theirs. I'm not going to venture a guess as to what is valuable to them. I value schools with significant parental involvement. I state that this information may be best found on the school listserve, visit to the school or attendance at a PTA meeting (how active is the PTA).

We can help home owners help themselves.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 1, 2011
I suggest that they look on the Internet and explore websites such as http://www.Meetups.com

Do a web search for particular groups of interest.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 1, 2011
This is always tricky situation but you have to be honest and let your client know that the answer of that is against your professional code of ethics, but I normally give them options like refer them to some of my clients that live close by, in The Metropolitan Washington area you have the option to refer them to the Embassy or Consular offices of their country ( they normally have a data with this information ), The important here is to provide your client with the tools to get this information and be in the safe area, simple!!!!! .
Carlos Caraball0
Realtor
Global Realty Enterprises
International Division CMS
202-6790006
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 3, 2011
Hi, You explain to them that we cant steer but we can be the source of the source. Webistes like http://www.homefair.com has demographic statistics that the client can use.

Chris
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 2, 2011
Really.....

Why do they elect to put us on the "hot seat" when the answer can be found outside the arean of real estate simply by using the internet and a little personal time.

We always advise our buyers to visit the community several time, each at different times of the day. By spending some time in the community walking, shopping, visiting buyers should be able to arrive at their own conclusion.

Bill
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 2, 2011
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