Question Details

J Tanner, Home Seller in Alabama

Would it be ethical for me to ask for the name of each person who schedules to see my home before the visit?

Asked by J Tanner, Alabama Mon Jul 14, 2008

I have listed my home with an agent. I have very valid reasons to believe that a couple of people that I would never allow in my home, might make an appointment to see my home, just to get access. Can I ask the agent(s) to supply me with the name of the person(s) who make appointments to see my home, before allowing them access? Can I refuse to sell my property to a specific individual even if they meet my asking price?

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Answers

5
It is your home, so you can allow, or bar, anyone you want from entering it.

You can refuse to sell your property to a variety of people--anyone with tattoos, or instance, or people who wear glasses, or people who own canaries, or people who wear hats indoors.

However, there's the whole sticky issue of Fair Housing. And it's particularly sticky because the test is not whether you (or your agent) were discriminating against someone, but whether the potential buyer believes that they were being discriminated against.

For instance, to use the examples I gave above: Suppose the person with tattoos is a member of a protected class and believes you were discriminating against him on that basis? Or people who wear glasses: Maybe the person's vision is 20/50 and they wear reading glasses. Probably not a problem. But what if the person's vision is 20/300, and they're legally blind? Now that might be a problem. Discriminating against a canary owner: Probably OK. Pet owners in general: OK. But what if the animal is a seeing-eye dog? Uh oh; that's a real problem. Or people who wear hats indoors? Maybe you don't like "uncouth" guys who wear baseball caps with the brims in back. That's OK. But what about the various religions that believe in covering the head?

Again, all it takes to initiate--and to pursue, sometimes successfully--an action is a belief by a person that he or she has been the subject of discrimination. So, you must be very, very careful.

Discuss your concerns with your agent. He/she probably will want to discuss your specific situation with his/her broker in order to come up with a solution that addresses your concerns yet steers clear of any possible hint of discrimination.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 15, 2008
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
MVP'08
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Hi J,
You certainly can set the rules and expectations for showing your property. There are situations where a lisitng agent must even see a written pre-approval before showing the property.

But, you need to weigh the pros and cons of any decision that you make. There will be some buyers, and some buyer agents who may decide not to see or show your property, because they wish to not divulge that information. Their privacy concerns may have nothing to do w/ you or your property. A buyer might simply not want it known that he or she is looking. Perhaps they are looking and have not told their children and fear theif kids could hear about their visit. There could be any number of reasons that would bring a buyer to decline. Most buyers will comply, but what happens when it is the buyer who really might have written an offer?

It is your house, and your right to ask for this info. Simply weigh the value to you and make sure it outweighs any potential lost showings. You can determine to exclude a specific buyer, as long as it does not violate a protected class as defined in the local, state, or federal laws governing your area.

Deborah
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 15, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
MVP'08
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J
I would talk with your Realtor about your concerns. There might be some other issues that, if you two discuss them now, may avoid legal problems later.

full disclosure is always best.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 15, 2008
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
MVP'08
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I have no idea why you would not want to sell your home to these people, but keep in mind that your agent must follow all fair housing laws, and with your listing agreement, so do you. Having given that additional disclaimer, Penny is right on.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 14, 2008
Yes, you can request the name of the agents or buyers who are going to be in your home before they see it. A little more work for the agent, but it is not an unreasonable request. If you get a full price offer on your home with all major conditions met to your satisfaction you will be obligated to pay the commission to the agents involved. You do not have to sell your home. Hope this helps. Penny Jones Windermere Real Estate, Gig Harbor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 14, 2008
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