What a Realtor can OR cannot say

By
Real Estate Agent with ERA Herman Group Real Estate

Fair-housing laws prevent agents from talking about neighborhood demographics

Luckily, the Web picks up where agents leave off

A real estate agent can be a wealth of information about a house.    So a homebuyer who asks what crime is like in a occ-home-7-percentspecific Colorado Springs neighborhood might be surprised when the agent defers the question, directing a client to the Web or local police instead.  I work with many buyers looking to relocate to the city, and I often explain to them what I can and what I cannot say.

It comes as a shock to many buyers when they learn that a Colorado Springs realtor absolutely cannot address some requests because it is against the law.     For example, if a married Jewish couple asks a realtor to find them a home close to a synagogue, the agent can't accommodate that request.     If a buyer is moving to the city, and wants to know the safest part of the city and the best neighborhoods to live in, an agent cannot answer.   Also, an agent can't so much as advertise that a listing is around the corner from a Catholic parish.   Or they can't advertise a home is in Latino neighborhood.

Not allowed!

fountain-fort-carson-school-district-school-start-7-percentAn agent cannot answer questions about the ethnic make-up of a neighborhood.    For example, buyers should not expect an agent to show homes in neighborhoods comprised of primarily Latinos, African-Americans, American Indians or any other ethnicity or race.    But what an agent can do, is direct their clients to the many web sites out there.  Two of my favorites are www.zipskinny.com and www.zipwho.com.

There are many pieces of information that an agent simply can't and won't speak about due to fair-housing laws, including demographic statistics, quality of the school district, or crime stats.  Again, there are some amazing web sites that provide information about local schools, see my previous post,  Relocating, it's all about the schools.  In Colorado Springs, the city government has a wonderful resource about crime, including a weekly crime map and a sex offender registry report.

Realtors take this stance to avoid a lawsuit popping up.   We are forbidden from giving information that could be considered "steering," directing a client toward or away from a particular property in a discriminatory manner. 

The original article was posted at:  It's against the law

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Kathy Torline

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