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Asked by Eugene, Illinois Wed Feb 27, 2008

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Answers

9
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Fri Feb 29, 2008
Lisa,

I think you misunderstood what your instructor was telling you in class, and you're not alone... many agents believe what you just stated. However, the client is 100% allowed to tell us where he wants to live. And yes, we may supply the map (in fact our local Board prints a map with their logo on it, created by Rand McNally so there's no concern about where the map comes from).... and yes, the client is allowed, legally, to draw a line on the map, to indicate the area they want to live within.

You are correct, that WE should not draw the demarcations. And you are correct that WE cannot "steer" them into an area by saying "you should be within walking distance of a synagogue". However we are 100% totally allowed to follow those client directions when they TELL us that they "want to only look at houses within walking distance to a specific location"... even if that location is a synagogue.

Now... we are NOT allowed, if the clients asks, to show them only WHITE neighbourhoods, nor are we allowed to show them only JEWISH neighborhoods... because that would be a determination on our part as to what a white, or Jewish neighborhood actually is. But if the client shows us a map, and says "This is the area of the Jewish neighborhood that I want to live within", we ARE allowed to follow that instruction. I know this for a fact, because we do have a community in our area with a large Jewish population, and the scenario I mention has been tested and approved by the board.

The distinction is that WE are not the ones steering. The direction is coming from the client, and that does not qualify as steering.

And by the way, having a professional, calm, polite discussion (even when we disagree) about a real estate subject, does not qualify as "in-fighting" either. I respect your right to disagree with me... but please check your facts, because in this case you're giving incorrect (though widely believed) information.
2 votes
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Wed Feb 27, 2008
Don is "spot on" in his answer.

We cannot suggest that the client should live in walking distance to the synagogue. But if directed by our client that they'd LIKE to live within walking distance to the synagogue, mosque, church, Japanese market... whatever... we're allowed to follow those simple directions.

(with the caveat that we should ask them what THEY consider to be walking distance. 2 blocks? 4 blocks? 1 mile, 2 miles?? 5 miles??? Some can walk further than others. Feel free to have them circle an area on a map for you... and keep the map in your file)
2 votes
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Wed Feb 27, 2008
With all due respect to Lisa and Phil--who are absolutely correct that Realtors can't "steer" clients--Eugene, you aren't being steered. It is acceptable for a client to ask an agent to look for a property in a certain geographic area, and the center of the geographic area may be a synagogue. (Took a Fair Housing course just this morning, and that very issue was addressed.)

See, for instance, a letter from HUD dated October 2, 1996, available at http://www.fairhousing.com/index.cfm?method=page.display&… . [I'd tried copying the text here, but for some reason Trulia thinks I've used a profanity. So just go to that Web site for a thorough explanation.]

Whether your plan makes financial sense is another matter. My first concern would be about cash flow. If you wait 15-20 years, almost anything becomes a good investment in real estate. Try to think of any rational real estate investment you might have made, or had the opportunity to make, in 1988. Even with the recent market downturn, you'd still be way ahead. And another point is that people's plans change in 15-20 years. Frankly, I'd bet that, if you bought the condo, in 20 years you'll have decided you don't really want to move there. But, really, so what? After 20 years, you sell it, take your profits, and buy your current heart's desire.

So, be cautious. Check the numbers. But with a 15-20 year time frame, you should be doing OK. And if any Realtor says they can't help you because they'd be "steering" you, politely thank them, show them a copy of the HUD letter, and find another agent.

Good luck.
2 votes
Phil Fowler, Agent, Brandon, FL
Wed Feb 27, 2008
Eugene,

I do not think you realize what you are asking. Lisa is absolutely correct. As Realtors, we do not "STEER" clients.
Web Reference:  http://www.PhilFowler.com
1 vote
Lisa Hill, , Port Orange, FL
Wed Feb 27, 2008
Eugene- I'm sure there are plenty of suitable homes, but REALTORS are not allowed to discuss the location to a specific religious affiliation. It's against the Federal Fair Housing law. And a REALTOR can't "steer" clients to or away from certain areas or neighborhoods that fall within the Federal Fair Housing Law categories. For your own future information, those categories are Race, Color, Handicap, Religion, Sex, Familial Status, or National Origin. And your REALTOR won't be able to have any discussion with you about these, other than to state this law. We can lose our licenses if we violate the Fair Housing Law.

With all that being said, I'd like to suggest that you use a Google map search, to choose the area(s) you like, then ask your REALTOR to show you homes in the areas you have selected.

If you have any questions about the Federal Fair Housing Laws, you can read this law in it's entirety at the web site for the Department of Housing and Urban Development: http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/FHLaws/

I hope this helps you in your decision to invest.
1 vote
Lisa Hill, , Port Orange, FL
Thu Feb 28, 2008
"With all due respect" I'm going to have to politely disagree with those of you who think we can even direct buyers to or away from any protected class. It's been quite a while, but one very important fact that my original real estate school instructor made a point to drive home to our class was, we are to not even discuss any protected class. He would even have disapproved of my suggestion to this buyer, of where to find a map to show their chosen REALTOR. (Which apparently, some of the professionals overlooked, based on their answers)

It's always better to err on the side of caution, lest you end up trying to explain your actions in a court of law.

If you can't even advertise a property as being near a church, synagogue, mosque, etc., but instead have to use the words "place of worship", then common sense indicates that we are to avoid all discussion on this subject, even if the buyer requests a property near or in one of the "areas".

Think about it. If you're steering the buyer TO this area (even at their request), that means you're also steering them AWAY from another. And THAT leaves you open to litigation and/or loss of your license.

I DID give this particular buyer a suggestion on how to choose an area. I also provided the link to and an explanation of the Federal Fair Housing Law, which no one else did.

As a professional, it is part of my job to very politely educate those who may not be aware of these laws. Our profession takes enough hits from those who are not in it. Let's not add in-fighting to the list. I choose to act as a professional and take my career seriously.

Respectfully,

Lisa Hill
0 votes
Mott Marvin…, Agent, Sunny Isles Beach, FL
Wed Feb 27, 2008
Eugene:

There are a few great locations in Miami Beach that could work for you. I like your long term plan! 15-20 Years... In general a 2/2 on or near the ocean in the "Arthur Godrey Road Area" (41st Street) will rent for between $3,000 and $7,000 Per Month. The purchase price will go between $800K -$2 Million. If you're asking about the expense of condo insurance... I don't know what to say!

You can search the link below in zip code 33140 and 33141 • MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA
0 votes
M, , Florida
Wed Feb 27, 2008
Eugene,
Please give us a call. We are a Chicago based company that has spent the last decade helping people like you. We would love to meet and help you look at many options in Miami and also in a few other communities that long term will be excellent investments.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Marian Schaffer
847-367-8773
The Schaffer Realty Group
0 votes
Jose Castillo…, Agent, Hollywood, FL
Wed Feb 27, 2008
Hi Eugene,
there are many places in miami beach that would fit your criteria, depending on what your budget is would be how close to the water you get and size of unit. many building offer a master flood policy insurance with your monthly association dues. your part would be for content/wind this is not terribly expensive but it will cost somewhat. depending on where maybe 1200-2000 a year (guesstimate).
you can visit the web site below and search the local MLS if you desire.
Web Reference:  http://www.JoseSellsFl.com
0 votes
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