Skip to Body

Questions Your Real Estate Agent Cannot Answer Legally

Return to Blog

Questions Your Real Estate Agent Cannot Answer Legally

Published 02/25/2020

Real estate agents aim to become the go-to resource for their clients throughout the home buying process. Some become more like advisors than sales reps, particularly with buyers and renters in search of massive help through the commonly distressing time. In any case, because of federal, state and city fair housing laws, which are set up to prevent discriminatory acts against protected classes in real estate, there are a few inquiries that agents legally cannot answer. These questions might be asked innocently, however, brokers can be fined and punished for answering them. Here are a couple of instances:

Is this a safe neighborhood?

An agent cannot determine what will cause somebody to feel safe and protected or unsafe and uncomfortable. Additionally, you never genuinely know the intention of the individual asking the question. The best guidance here is to let the client invest some time in the neighborhood and form their own opinion. Agents may also refer customers to the closest police precinct for more information about the crime in their district.

How are the schools here?

Agents should be exceptionally mindful to refrain from referring to or from a specific school or area. Since they don’t know if the client is searching for demographics or graduation rates. It's ideal to allude clients to school data sites and let them judge for themselves whether the school is fitting for their kids.

Is this a good place to raise a family?

Purchasers are regularly amazed to discover that their realtor can't respond to the inquiry: "Do families with children live in this building?" However, the purchaser is free to watch the occupants who enter and exit the property and determine their judgment. Furthermore, clients may ask about an improvement's civilities, which may incorporate a play area for children.

What kind of people live in the building or neighborhood?

Realtors cannot legally profile the "type" of people who live in a neighborhood or building, as that would violate fair housing laws. For example, agents should never say "this is a family building," or, "very few families live in this building." Answering this question results in “steering.” By stereotyping a neighborhood or a property, an agent would be discriminating against said neighborhood, or property. Rather, the best reaction is to urge them to invest some time in the neighborhood and gain a feel of their own.

Can you show me a neighborhood with a large “X” population?

Albeit a few clients might seek to live around others that have a similar background regardless of whether it be religious following, way of life or language. A certified agent cannot influence this particular part of the potential purchaser's decision-making process without violating fair housing laws. Agents can guide buyers to census and demographic data websites, however, they should avoid offering their opinions. Realtors should always remember that the real estate industry is colorblind, neutral, and welcoming to all people.

For more information, regarding questions your agent cannot legally answer. Along with resources to find the answers to particular questions that do not violate the fair housing act, please contact Darryl Glass via. phone at (510) 500-7531 or email

Return to Blog