What A Real Estate Agent Can Not Tell You

There is a lot of info that I would like from a realtor before buying a home.

For instance, I’d like to know about crime statistics. I’d like to know about the quality of schools. I’d like to know about the racial and religious make-up of the community. What are average incomes? What is the environment like? Are there any concerns?

Well, all these perfectly valid questions can not be answered by a realtor. It is against the law. What law? The Fair Housing Act.

How could such a beautiful sounding act be so restrictive of free speech? This is crazy. This is why I’m libertarian-conservative.

I’d prefer the government butt out of these discussions.

It is a good thing that National Review columnist John Derbyshire is not a realtor.

Here are some depressing details from AOL:

Household income: Wondering if a neighborhood is considered upscale? Don’t bother asking your agent. Klein says he can’t discuss economic class with prospective buyers.

But it’s relatively easy to find demographic information online, including average household income for a particular area. At Neighborhood Scout, for example, you can get a description of a neighborhood’s “look, feel and character” that includes information about residents’ age, income level, ethnicity and other factors.

Schools: As with income level, sharing information about schools “might be perceived as steering someone into a certain neighborhood,” says Klein. “However, as a Realtor I can direct people to sources of information about education in that area.”

Here, too, the web offers prospective home buyers a wealth of information. Buyers can find useful school statistics, including enrollment, class size, and reading and math scores, at sites like School Matters and Great Schools.

Religion: The religious makeup of a neighborhood is another topic that’s off-limits for real estate agents to discuss. If a buyer wants to find out about active religious communities in a particular neighborhood, Klein directs them to local houses of worship for information.

Crime statistics: Surely an agent can answer questions about local crime statistics, right? That’s pretty public information. But it turns out that even this data is considered a sensitive topic under the Fair Housing Act.

Once again, buyers have to do their own research to find out if a certain neighborhood is considered safe. Homebuyers can find crime statistics online, including where sex offenders live, by logging onto Family Watchdog.

Read On

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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