Home buyers and sellers may sometimes feel that real estate agents or brokers don’t answer their perfectly reasonable questions and concerns. They’re totally justified for feeling this way because, frankly, it’s true.
It may appear that your Real Estate Agent Won’t Answer Your Questions. It’s not that they don’t know the answer or are giving you the run-around. The fact of the matter is agents MUST be very careful about what they say because there are many Fair Housing Laws that protect the rights of all interested parties.
It’s no secret … real estate agents can’t be forthcoming with some information sought by consumers, even when this information might be critical to their decision process because it’s the law.
Here Are 10 Topics Your Real Estate Agent Won’t Discuss With You:
1. I won’t answer your questions about other people. Not the race, color, national origin, religion, familiar status, disability, age, or sexual orientation of neighbors or other principals in the transaction. This would violate federal, state, and local fair housing laws.
2. I won’t discuss my clients with you. Not their motivation, urgency for buying or selling, financial situation, or willingness to negotiate. I am required by law and my Code of Ethics to “maintain the confidentiality of clients.”
3. I won’t disclose my client’s opinion of your home because it may violate my obligation regarding confidentiality. If you or your agent request feedback, however, I will seek permission from my clients to share their opinion of your property with your listing agent, and follow the instructions of my client.
4. I won’t offer my opinion on legal, tax, or structural matters because I’m licensed real estate agent. I’m NOT an attorney, accountant, or property inspector. If requested, I will provide you with contact information for licensed attorneys, accountants, or home inspectors that have earned rave reviews from my past clients.
5. I won’t answer your questions about real estate in another state because I’m licensed only in this state. I will, however, refer you to an agent in that state who can help you.
6. I won’t discuss your property or its value if I have a present or contemplated interest in the property, unless this interest is specifically disclosed to all affected parties.
7. I won’t disclose details about the property condition of my listing unless there are any “material defects,” that I and and the seller are required by law to disclose. That’s what a home inspection is for.
8. I won’t answer your questions about neighborhood safety because my response may be interpreted as “steering” you toward or away from a neighborhood, which violates Fair Housing Laws. I can refer you to online resources for information on this topic.
9. I won’t discuss local schools with you for two reasons: 1) Anything I say may inadvertently violate Fair Housing Laws and 2) Information about school boundaries, policies, or programs may change without notice. I can direct you to various websites that do contain factual information about local schools including public, private, and parochial schools, daycare centers, and nearby colleges and universities.
10. I won’t tell you the contract price for a listing that is “under contract,” but not yet settled. In addition to my obligation to maintain the seller’s confidentiality, there is another very practical reason: If the contract fails to close, public knowledge of the previous contract terms could negatively impact my client in future negotiations.
If you feel that your agent is giving you a runaround, don’t be too quick to judge. Tell the agent how you feel and ask WHY he or she won’t tell you what you want to know.
ORIGINAL CONTENT BY MARGARET WODA