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What Can an Agent Discuss With You Legally?

Your real estate agent and/or leasing agent can’t talk demographics, schools or crime, but there are ways to voice your needs and wants in ways that don’t violate fair housing laws.

Many people like to ask, “Is this a good neighborhood?” But don’t expect a straight answer. 

Certain details about a neighborhood or community can violate the Fair Housing Act, which was enacted in 1968 to eliminate housing discrimination. The law protects against discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or family status. In particular, it prohibits any real estate professional from steering prospective homebuyers or renters toward or away from a community based on any of the classes under federal protection.

 

Essentially, Fair Housing aims to provide equal access to housing for all groups of people and safeguard from discrimination. But even with the good it does, it can be frustrating for prospective homebuyers who get tight-lipped answers from agents.

Voicing an opinion about a neighborhood, even done unconsciously, can violate the law. For example, an agent might say, “This neighborhood is great for young families.” The comment implies the neighborhood demographic consists of parents and kids. Unmarried individuals or older couples may be inclined to pass on a house because they feel the neighborhood doesn’t cater to their lifestyle. If that was the case, the agent would be violating fair housing laws.

I encourage clients  to use sites  like  Walk Score  or  Crime Reports  to find certain types of information. The internet holds a wealth  of  knowledge  and date – but you have to sift through it and determine how it best serves you and your needs.

Parts of this article came from Real Estate.US News

 

 

 

 

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