5 Things Your Realtor Can’t Tell You

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 just want to make the sale; or worse, maybe they don’t actually care about you or your family’s future.

As much as your realtor wishes they could be transparent and share information with you about the area…. they can’t!

Why? There’s a piece of legislation called the Fair Housing Act. Essentially, “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?

5 Things Your Realtor Can’t Tell You

Neighborhood Economic Status

Divulging such information might allude to the state of the neighborhood, and we’ve just learned that’s a no-no. But don’t let this deter you from doing your own research. Neighborhood Scout is a service that provides information about a neighborhood’s “look, feel and character.” Data includes residents’ average age, local market trends, crime rates and information on the local school system.

Local School System

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. Make sure to do thorough research on local schools if you have children.

Religion

Sharing any information with regard to religion could also indicate the racial demographics of a location. Realtors therefore only provide a generic overview of a neighborhood and its inhabitants. Drive through the neighborhood and take note of places of worship if this is of concern to you.

Crime Rate

Even though this information is public, the Fair Housing Act prohibits your realtor 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

Worried about the utilities in a new area? You need to access a site like the EPA’s web site to determine how your home’s location could impact your health. You can also find out if there are any environmental initiatives coming up soon.

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. Empower yourself by thoroughly researching these areas that your real estate agent can’t assist you with. You’ll feel better about making an informed decision. Happy home buying!