Class Chapters
2History of Fair Housing
3Fair Housing Exemptions
4Equal Professional Service
5Prohibited Actions
6Marketing and Advertising Compliance
7Fair Housing Enforcement
8Fair Housing Case Studies
9Summary/Reduction of Risk
10Final Review
Lynn Palmer

Fair Housing for the Real Estate Professional Class

2. Acts of courtesy and hospitality.


Renewal Zone Continuing Education Classes Federal Fair HousingProspect #1 visits a real estate office on a Saturday, when the office manager typically brings in cookies. The agent offers Prospect #1 a cookie and a glass of lemonade while they sit and chat about floor plans and options.

Prospect #2 visits the same real estate office on a Tuesday, and there are no cookies.

Is this a violation of fair housing laws? Would this be considered an inconsistency in the level of service? Probably not.

If the plate of cookies was there on both days and the real estate agent had only offered cookies to Prospect #1 and not Prospect #2, then that would show more inconsistency. The important factor is the level of service. There are many ways to provide courtesy and hospitality to a prospective buyer: a cold bottle of water, a coloring book for the children, additional information on nearby recreation areas, a good tip on a lunch spot, etc. The agent should make sure that all prospects feel welcome and important.

3. Initial meeting to discuss housing needs.


Renewal Zone Continuing Education Classes Federal Fair HousingThe real estate agent asks Prospect #1 to complete a home search questionnaire, then proceeds to ask qualifying questions to find out how long the prospect has been in the area, hobbies or interests, size of home and number of bedrooms needed, likes and dislikes about current home, and timeframe for moving. He then immediately tells the prospect about a new listing that would be perfect and asks the prospect if he would like to see the home.

The real estate agent asks Prospect #2 for his timeframe for moving and then asks if he has any questions and encourages him to have a seat and browse through the listing book on his own.

Is this a fair housing violation? Possibly.

Again, the rule is equal professional service. Sometimes the answer to an initial question will lead to more questions or take you to a dead end. The agent should ask similar questions of every prospect until the agent gains enough information to choose a direction. For example, Prospect #1 may have had a very short timeframe for moving, so the agent sees the opportunity to interest the prospect in a newly listed, vacant home. Prospect #2 could have responded to the timeframe question by sharing a challenging financial situation that will prevent him from buying for several months.