It is so frustrating when you ask your realtor questions about the neighborhood of the home you’re eyeballing and you’re met with a tight-lipped response. You might feel like they aren’t being open with you; maybe they’re just interested in the sale; or worse yet, maybe they don’t give two whits about you or your family’s future.
As much as your real estate agent wishes they could tell you their thoughts, and even information concerning the crime rate in the area…they can’t!
Aol Real Estate explains it this way: “The government wants to make sure that home purchase decisions are based on a property’s fair market value and not factors such as race, religion or ethnicity. In other words, the law is meant to stop agents from steering clients toward or away from certain neighborhoods.”
So what else can’t your real estate agent tell you?
- Economic class of the neighborhood – Divulging such information might allude to the state of the neighborhood, and we’ve just learned that’s a no-no. Don’t let this deter you from doing your own research, though. Neighborhood Scout gives you a “‘description of a neighborhood’s “look, feel and character” that includes data about residents’ ages, income levels, ethnicity and other factors.”
- Schools – For the same reason discussing economic class is taboo, realtors also can’t provide information on the schools in the area. You might correctly, or incorrectly infer facts about the school system, which could influence your decision.
- Religion – Doing so indicates the racial demographics of a location and you must be presented with a generic overview of a neighborhood and its inhabitants.
- Crime statistics – Even though this information is deemed to be public, under the Fair Housing Act, your realtor is prohibited from talking about the crime rate. Consider using a site like Family Watchdog to discern whether your future home purchase is in an area with low crime rates.
- Environmental concerns – You’ll need to access a site like the EPA’s web site to determine how’s your home’s location may impact your health, or if there are any environmental initiatives scheduled to kickoff in the near future.
Rest assured, even though your real estate agent must abide by these restrictions, if they are a good and caring agent they will still want to see you in the best home possible.