5 forbidden questions and why I can't answer them
If you ask me a question and see me pivot like a politician being interviewed by George Stephanopoulos, then you’ve probably asked me one of the forbidden questions that real estate agents cannot answer.
And the reason why we can’t answer them has to do with the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination based on things like race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, and national origin.
It’s not that your questions are illegal or wrong. It’s that the answers provided by real estate agents could be construed as discriminatory.
In order to protect everyone, the good folks at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have asked us not to answer these questions.
And instead point you to the information necessary for you to come to your own conclusion.
Besides, my answer would only be my opinion. And not everyone would agree that my opinion is correct.
For example, one of the most common questions that I get, “Is this a safe area?’
That’s a fair question and I understand why you would want to know.
The problem arises when you have someone like me, who feels safe most anywhere answering to someone who does’t live with the same sense of security.
So instead of answering with a yes or no, I would point you to places like crimemapping.com, the local police precinct, online databases of criminal activity and to just drive through the area at different times of the day/night.
I know that’s not the answer you were looking for, but it is the best answer that you will receive because only you know if you will feel safe in a certain area.
Here’s some of the other forbidden questions that we frequently get:
- Is this a good place to raise a family?
- What’s the neighborhood like?
- Is this a good school district?
- Is this neighborhood kid friendly?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you should ask these types of questions. Just don’t expect the real estate agents personal opinion to be included in the answer.
Speaking of questions, what has been on your mind lately?
Just fire away and hit reply.