Fort Worth Real Estate Online

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Is This a "Mixed" Neighborhood ?

Recently I was showing a couple some homes in Fort Worth in a neighborhood where the prices were in the $175,000 to $225,000 price range. 

Then it came.  Some of us have heard it before.  They asked me... "Is This a "Mixed" Neighborhood ?

I paused slightly, and then answered:  "Well, let's look around.  Oh look, there's a single story home.  And... over there... why, there's a two-story home.  And... LOOK.  There's even a story-and-a-half over there !"  And... that was all I said.  I gently and politely smiled.

So they said:  "No... I mean... is the neighborhood mixed... as in "color?" 

I replied:  "Oh look, up there on the right... there's a red brick home.  And a sandy-brownish brick home over there.  And, wow, there's even one with some orangish-brownish brick with beige siding."  They all look so nice, don't they ?"

Funny thing... but the questions stopped.

After our appointment ended that day... I never heard from them again.

Comment balloon 24 commentsKaren Anne Stone • September 03 2007 12:00AM

Comments

Good for you! These type of questions only lead to trouble. Love your quick response!:)
Posted by Paula Henry, Realtor - Indianapolis Real Estate - 317-605-4174 (Home to Indy Team @ HomeSmart Realty Group) over 11 years ago
Hmmm...  I wonder if they thought you were a ditz for not getting their question, or if they were testers.. hmmmm.  I actually wrote a post along the way that was much more wordy - it was "What I won't tell you" or something like that.  You just played dumb - I think that's great!  I shouldn't have any trouble pulling that off.
Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) over 11 years ago
Karen - I think that you're answers were very funny.  I actually just tell them outright that by law, I am not allowed to discuss any issues pertaining to color, race, etc.  If that is information that they are interested in, then they should check for themselves on www.census.org.  I was always told never to be the source in these situations, but it's perfectly legal to be the source of the source.
Posted by Adam Waldman, Realtor - Long Island (Westcott Group Real Estate Company) over 11 years ago
Great response.  I bet you were happy to never hear from them again. 
Posted by Linda Box Taylor, Your Plano, TX Realtor (Castle Connections Realty) over 11 years ago

Paula:  Thanks for your kind response.  My sense of humor (such as it is) has served me well.

Margaret:  You said that you wondered if they thought I was a ditz ?   What makes you think I'm not ?  LOL

Adam:  I used to give them similar answers when they asked those types of questions.  Yes... we should NEVER discuss any issues pertaining to race, religion, or any of the protected classes.  But... I have found that telling them about the law, the census, and all that stuff, can get argumentative... and besides I resent the question... and resent them thinking I am foolish enough to answer it.   So... they get my "humor" for their answer.  Sometimes it is fun seeing the perplexed looks on their faces.  LOL

Linda:  Thanks, Linda.  And, yes, I was glad I never heard from them again.  Such negative energy they brought !

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 11 years ago

Only had a similair question asked once.  When I told them that Federal Law said I could not answer their questions, let alone my license was on the line and I could not answer, and they the consumer had the option to purchase or not based on their own due dilagance, the questions stopped. 

They were put off by my refusal to answer the question, and I never heard from them again.  Then again, I never followed upo with them either.  It's one of those cases where I was happy I offended a potential client and they never called back! 

Posted by Chad Baird (Re/Max Spirit) over 11 years ago
Great responses.  I've never had anyone ask in that direction.  I hope I have the composure to respond as you did.  If they weren't testers, you definitely wonder what gets in their head to ask such questions.
Posted by Don Diltz, DRE:01204965 (Coldwell Banker) over 11 years ago
Chad and Don:  I would much rather respond to their out-of-place nonsense the way I did.  It usually stops the comments, but does NOT sour the atmosphere.  Then, by the end of our appointment, if I have decided not to work with them... as Brian Buffini says... it's "Bye Bye Now !"
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 11 years ago

Karen Anne, I completely understand why you chose to respond the way you did.  I personally believe it's a good practice to explain why the consumer's question cannot be answered.

My understanding is that HUD expects agents to give consumers the obligatory speech about Fair Housing laws.  I tend to agree with Chad that it's probably best to face the issue head-on.  Whether the inquiry comes from a Tester or a consumer, you can't get in trouble by explaining the laws which govern the real estate industry.  And if the showing client is an ignorant bigot whom you are never going to hear from again anyway, why be concerned about souring the atmosphere?

 

Posted by Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 - (Madeline Island Realty) over 11 years ago

Eric:  I hear what you are saying about HUD's expectations.  I will confirm tomorrow whether this is either HUD's expectation and my obligation, or simply my choice.  In any case, from what I have heard from the recent comments to my blog posting, I feel it would be a better course of action on my part to have my future comments include a very succinct explanation of current Fair Housing laws.  Thanks for sharing your views.   Karen Anne

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 11 years ago
Karen Anne, I think that the way you responded showed the teacher in you! Personally I think that you answered adequately considering their vagueness, even though it was clear what they were talking about. I think that you left your message loud and clear that you do not subscribe to that ideology.
Posted by . . (no thanks) over 11 years ago

Bridget:  I think I was pretty plain with how I answered their "question."  I was saying, in my own way, "Folks... I just don't get into that sort of thing.  If you want to play games with me, I can play, too."  Then, I talk about one stories, two stories, raised ranches, bi-levels, tri-levels, Cape Cods, sure... lots of different kinds of homes.

I will check with someone I know tomorrow just to be clear on just what should be said as an answer to questions like that.  Thanks for your faith in me, Bridget.  I appreciate it.  Take care... Karen Anne

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 11 years ago

That's amazing to believe it's still happening today. Did they think that's what a homeowner's association is supposed to do?

When I moved to Texas from Southern Cal it was a tremendous shock. I was 16 at the time and the school I came from was less than 30% caucasian. I moved to a school in North Dallas that had one hispanic, 3 african americans and maybe 20 asians in a school of over 2,000.

While you couldn't call the school I moved to "mixed" I can tell you it had nice people, and jerks, and snobs, and nerds, and athletes, and....

Posted by Ken Stampe, iBrandPlan (iBrandPlan.com - Grow your e-Profile & Brand) over 11 years ago

Great responses. I have had the subject come up a lot. I guess the buyers thought I knew something.

While I understand it.... I don't understand some of the rules. Like, I heard that you cannot even tell the clients that the neighborhood is full of empty-nesters because it defines age. grr

 

Posted by Tom Burris, Texas/Louisiana Mortgage Pro - 13 YRS Experience (NMLS# 335055) over 11 years ago
I think your reply was TERRIFIC!!!  Great job!  The fact that they never called you again makes me laugh out loud...as if it would've hurt your feelings NOT to work with prejudice buyers! 
Posted by Susie Roscoe, Real Estate Specialist | Brandon, FL (Signature Realty Associates) over 11 years ago
I always love it when people make me laugh.  You accomplished that today.  Great story and very original.
Posted by Debbie Johnson, Novi, MI Real Estate Professional (REMERICA United Realty) over 11 years ago

I've had this question a lot, and I just point-blank tell people that I can't give that information and they would be responsible for doing that type of research. 

I was going to tell a funny story, but I deleted it thinking it would offend some, so I thought better of it.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) over 11 years ago

Ken:  Yes, there are some areas in Dallas where there really isn't much of a "mix."

Tom:  That comment seems harmless enough, unless the folks you are telling it to are "testers."

Susie:  Yes, I was... ummm... err... kinda sorta wishing they'd get the hint, which they did.  LOL

Deb:  I'm glad I made you smile.  So, your day had some sunshine come thru from "the inside."

Ken, Tom, Susie and Deb... thanks to all of you for your kind comments.  I just might finally be getting the hang of this ActiveRain stuff.  LOL

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 11 years ago

Donna:  Yes, with some people you just have to hit them with it hard so they get the point.  Donna, I'd love to hear your story.  I could use something funny these days.  Feel free to email it to me at  KarenAnneStone@gmail.com

Also... I hope you are doing well.  I'll send some "positive thoughts" your way.  Take care... Karen Anne

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 11 years ago
I would tell them in plain English I am not allowed to talk about demographics but there are plenty of websites you can find the information.
Posted by Adam Brett, The Adam and Eric Group, Fullerton's Finest (The Adam and Eric Group) over 11 years ago
Adam:  I rarely get that question any more.  It's a good thing, because sometimes I think the people asking it just need some good old "slap therapy."   Thanks for commenting...   Karen Anne
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 11 years ago

Hi Karen,

I like the way you answered them...in this business are you are well aware, it is not uncommon for Employees of the State Board of Realtors (or even NAR) to spot check offices or agents directly for ethics violations. Sure, it's always possible that they weren't part of either but it does certainly sound like they may possess some discrimination issues. Last time I checked it was 2007...it's a shame their view on mankind is biased. There are many wonderful people of various ethnic backgrounds in this country who want nothing more than Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. 

-Keith

RE/MAX Olympic, Manassas VA

www.MyRealtorKeith.com

 

Posted by Keith Elliott Jr, Principal Broker/Owner (KEIRE Realty Group) over 11 years ago

Keith:  Thanks, Keith.  As I have thought it over... after reading all of the comments... I really think I answered their "questions" in a way that complied with the laws against discrimination.  I think if I had really taken part in a debate with them, I would have played right into their hands.   Keith, thanks for your wise words...   Karen Anne

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 11 years ago

GOOD FOR YOU, Karen Anne!! Some folks just don't understand that we all came from Adam and Eve. There is only one race.  Like different hair and eye color, we have different skin color. GREAT responses!

Posted by Joni Bailey, Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR® (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Anderson Properties) about 5 years ago

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