Handling Neighborhood Questions You Can’t Legally Answer

As we touched upon in our blog post regarding common neighborhood questions, there are some client inquiries that you are not legally allowed to answer. The “Fair Housing Act” aims to curb the practice of steering clients toward or away from certain neighborhoods, based on racial or religious reasons. Due to this legislation, real estate agents must find other methods for answering these tricky questions to best serve the needs of clients. Here are some tips on how to provide adequate answers to some of real estate’s trickiest questions.

Navigating the Fair Housing Act

With the goals of ending discrimination and providing an atmosphere where people can sell their home at fair market value, the Fair Housing Act forbids agents from answering questions that may have a racial, religious or ethnic undertone. This Act makes it illegal for real estate agents to refuse rental, deny dwelling, or any other type of discriminatory practice that is driven by race, skin color, handicap, sex, financial status or ethnicity. This can be difficult for agents to deal with, especially when these questions are commonplace among client conversations.

Tips for answering client inquiries

The first thing that real estate agents should be aware of regarding the Fair Housing Act is which client questions they can and can’t answer. Here are some of the questions where treading lightly and being cautious of your words are extremely important, as well as tips for providing adequate answers without getting in legal trouble.

Is this an upscale community?

Agents may not answer questions regarding economic standing or class structure with clients. Instead of saying a neighborhood is middle or high class, you can point your client to a website or resource that provides demographic information including approximate average household income.

What are the schools like in this area?

This is a question that, when answered inappropriately, can be viewed as steering clients to certain communities or away from others. Try fielding this question by providing your client with the proper resources that describe education information and graduation rates in particular areas.

Is this a safe neighborhood?

This seemingly innocent question with information publically available can be especially tricky for real estate agents to answer. Instead of landing in hot water, provide your client with the location of crime statistics and other resources.

Aiming to protect citizens from discrimination, the Fair Housing Act offers a difficult but feasible challenge for real estate agents, when handling client issues. While these may be common questions, it is vital that you understand the importance of the Fair Housing Act and why these inquiries must go unanswered. Be prepared for these questions by knowing the proper resources for current neighborhood information, top school districts and up to date crime statistics.
With years of experience helping real estate agents find more leads and grow client relationships, trust the team at Elite Realty to help you today. For more information on the top Las Vegas real estate companies, give us a call at (702) 835-5255.