Committed to Non Discrimination and Fair Housing

Mike Cooke December 1, 2016 Buyer Insights

In selling real estate with the services of a real estate agent, federal and state laws specifically prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, mental or physical handicap, familial status, creed, ancestry and marital status. City and county laws and ordinances may add to this list of protected classes; for example, it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of sexual preference in some localities. Sellers cannot refuse to show or sell their houses to prospective buyers based on these factors.

If you ever feel that a seller or agent is discriminating against you on the basis of these factors, let us know so that we can take action.

By the way, did you know that a seller can “discriminate” on the basis of any non-protected factor? An agent at our company had a buyer who wanted a large garage where he could build a home-built¬†¬† airplane. He happened to mention this to the owner of a house he was considering purchasing and our agent soon heard from the seller’s agent that the owner did not want to sell to this buyer for that reason! The owner thought that the building of an airplane would irritate the neighbors. That may be strange but it is perfectly legal. Nondiscrimination laws do not protect home-airplane builders! The law does not prohibit all discrimination. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of certain stated factors like race, religion, etc.

Also, it is perfectly legal for you to discriminate as a buyer. You can select a neighborhood based on race or religion or any other factor that is important to you. For example, an agent we know had an orthodox Jewish buyer. This nice couple wanted to live near a synagogue so they could walk there on the Sabbath (as required by their faith) and so they could be living with other Jewish people who shared their religious perspective. This is perfectly appropriate. You can set any criteria you choose for your house purchase. However, be aware that you will have to tell your agent which areas have the characteristics you prefer. As a company fully committed to non-discrimination, we cannot provide any information on racial makeup, religious affiliation or on any other protected class factor.