The government wants to make sure that home purchasing decisions are based on a property’s fair market value and not factors such as race, religion, crime or ethnicity.
Why the restrictions? The law wants to stop agents from steering clients toward or away from certain neighborhoods.
What is steering? As Realtor learned, the illegal funneling of home buyers to a particular area based on the desire to keep the makeup of that neighborhood the same or intentionally change it.
The job the government wants Realtors to do, is to match buyers to the features of available properties they are asking for, Nothing more. If a buyer would asked any agent, to eliminate certain areas based on any of the protected classes below, he/she cannot legally follow their instructions, even if they are a Buyer’s Agent.
If you a Seller, you cannot denied nor restrict your listing agent in showing homes to anyone that is not a Ready, Able and Willing buyer.
What are the Protected Classes?
• national origin
• religious preference
• familial status
Therefore, an agent cannot just show you a “good area”, “upscale one”, “great school area”, etc. There no discussion about any of these classes to any prospective buyers. This is a Federal law, which holds true in all 50 states. Some states even have their own Fair Housing laws, added to those laws of the Federal one.
Religion: another topic that’s off-limits for real estate agents to discuss.
Crime statistics: This is also consider a sensitive topic under the Fair Housing Act.
An Agent cannot even disclosed, if somebody may had died in the house or suffer a long-term illness, such as HIV.
This is not to say the Realtor is useless and washes his/her hands of your concerns. I am a consumers too and understand the concerns my prospective buyers have. I will make sure my buyers are directed to valuable information, they are seeking, that will help ease their concerns and make them an inform buyer. I also have a team of professional, successful, skillful people, that are available to them, they can use, if they please. This is actually one of the true responsibility of a Realtor as well as preparing buyers to be a Ready, Able, and Willing buyer. This gives my buyer an added edge on any offer on any property they are making in todays’ very competitive market, having presently low inventory.
I hope this helps in understanding the laws Realtors and Real Estate Agent are guided and restricted by.
Ronald ( Realty Ron W) Wolchesky