Every April we recognize National Fair Housing Month, as we commemorate the passage of the Fair Housing Act on April 11, 1968. This law was designed to protect Americans from facing discrimination in selling or buying houses. Fair Housing is important to the Realtor® community and the industry as Realtors play a pivotal role in helping to build inclusive communities. We spoke with a couple of MAR’s leaders as they reflected on the importance of Fair Housing for themselves and their Realtor® peers.
Shae Hanson, 2022 MAR
How can Realtors ensure they are practicing Fair Housing and providing equal service to all?
Realtors can do a few things to ensure they are practicing Fair Housing and providing fair service.
- Realtors should have the same systems, processes and standards across the board when interacting with new customers/potential clients. The same questions and requests should be asked of all customers when vetting them, and all customers should be given priority and equal responsiveness.
- When working with sellers, Realtors should spend time discussing fair housing and its implications when deciding on an offer. They should be aware of some risk associated with reading buyer letters prior to making a selling decision.
Jerry Moscowitz, 2022 MAR Secretary
What can and should Realtors® keep in mind always, and especially as we reflect on Fair Housing Month?
Fair Housing laws exist because not everyone is or has been treated fairly and equally. This is about giving everyone the same opportunities to own Real Estate. We talk all the time about the wealth of people who own their homes versus those that rent. Everyone should have the same opportunities. If parts of the law seem like they go too far, it might very well be because you haven’t had to deal with it.
What resources do you recommend Realtors® check out for further education on Fair Housing and the history of housing discrimination?
- Fairhaven is a simulation through NAR that every agent should go through: https://fairhaven.realtor/ .
- MAR is a co-founder of justdeeds.org which seeks to help homeowners discharge discriminatory racial covenants from their property deeds.
- Mapping Prejudice is another great resource in understanding the history of housing discrimation mappingprejudice.umn.edu
Jamar Hardy, 2022 MAR Realtor® of the Year
What does Fair Housing mean as a Realtor?
As a Realtor® I feel like this is one of the most important issues that fold into our duties as practitioners. It’s not just the awareness of fair housing from a code of ethics standard. It’s making sure we are leading our buyers and sellers down the path of making decisions based on the house and not the person buying or selling the home.
How can Realtors hold themselves accountable to building thriving and inclusive communities?
Realtors® should own the fact that our core function is to promote community growth. It’s not just about the home (i.e. fixture) we are selling. It’s that we are selling communities. Diverse and inclusive communities always promote growth and growth helps all communities thrive.
Are there specific resources you recommend Realtors read/listen to/watch for further education on Fair Housing and the history of housing discrimination?
I’m proud that this year’s required module for REALTOR CE is around the history of fair housing. I feel like we must understand how we got here. Staying engaged with the good work The Mapping Prejudice Project is doing along with the Just Deeds Coalition, allows all to understand the actions that can be done. I also want to shout out the Racism in RE course that Rethos provides for communities and REALTORS for CE.
For more information on Fair Housing and tools to help promote it’s importance please visit: