They are the radioactive questions in home real estate, yet many buyers seem to have no idea about their sensitivity. So they ask their realty agents:
●Is this a “good” neighborhood?
●Is it “safe”?
●Are the schools “good” or “the best”?
●What types of people live here?
●Can you show us a neighborhood with large numbers of Catholics (or Asians, Jews, Hispanics, African Americans or some other group)?
Although it may come as a surprise to some home shoppers, certain answers by realty agents could trigger federal and state anti-discrimination legal tripwires. As a result, many agents are hesitant to provide specifics.
So what are home shoppers supposed to do? First and foremost, be aware that any agents you deal with are subject to the Fair Housing Act. Also, most of the data on schools and crime that you might be curious about can readily be found on the Web — it just takes a little searching on any of dozens of sites.
Better to look for the information yourself than to ask agents. They can’t make judgments for you and most likely won’t give you answers anyway.
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