Housing Discrimination

By
Real Estate Agent with Realty World Pacific Northwest

I recently had the opportunity to represent buyers in the purchase of their very first home.  They were just so excited to become homeowners.  We went through literally hundreds of listings posted on the mls and through fsbo advertisements.  Over a course of several weeks, I showed my buyers many listings and fully expected to show them more as new listings that matched their criteria seemed to flood the market.  One of the homes that I had shown to them seemed to be "the one."  They just knew that this was the home they wanted to raise their children.  The neighborhood was ideal.  The home was within a short drive of the interstate and the mountain views were incredible.  This was indeed "the one."  An offer was prepared and immediately presented to the listing agent.  We were told that the sellers were out of town and to allow enough time for a response.  No problem !!  My buyers certainly understood that the sellers were not in the area and allowed an ample enough time for the sellers to accept or to counter their offer.  I kept  in close contact with the Listing Agent to see if there was any word on our offer. On the Offer Expiration date, I received a phone call from the listing agent asking me several questions regarding the offer.  You know......the normal "can we shorten the inspection period" and "who is the lender" type questions.  Well, the last question threw me a curve ball.  Before  asking the question, I could hear in her voice that she did not really want to ask......but she did !!! "Do your clients have any children?"   WHAT??????????  Infuriated at her question, I felt that I needed to school this "seasoned professional" on the discrimination laws in our wonderful country.  Well, her response was that the sellers wanted to know if the buyers had children and she felt that she had to ask this question as she is representing them. I informed this agent that as a licensed real estate professional, I was appauled at her actions and could not believe that her interpretation of her agency relationship with her clients meant violating the law.  Well, after speaking with this agent, she, in fact, knew what she did was wrong.  She informed me that she is going to call her clients and explain (what she should have explained in the first place) the Fair Housing Act.

For the record.....I never informed her as to whether my clients have children or not.  Needless to say, our offer was countered.   While patiently waiting for a seller's response, my clients found a different home, in the same neighborhood, which they felt was nicer and offered slightly more square footage.  We wrote an offer......it was accepted.....and we're moving on to closing !!   

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Rainer
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Christopher Fritts

GRI, CBR, REI, PME, RECS
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