Real Estate News


The Shared Dream of Home Ownership – Fair Housing Tips for Realtors®


By Stevie Fisher, Associate Director of Professional Services

Why did you become a Realtor®?

Think about your own answer for a minute. While incredibly rewarding, the real estate industry is not for the faint of heart. Yet, despite another spring market defined by the challenges of low inventory and high prices, Realtors® remain committed to their profession and to their clients. Consider again why you chose to become a Realtor®. Chances are that your answer included some variation of this statement: “Because I want to help others realize their dream of home ownership.”

April is National Fair Housing Month and Realtors® play an integral role in preventing housing discrimination. Article 10 of the Code of Ethics speaks to the commitment of all Realtors® to provide equal and professional services to everyone – regardless of whether a person belongs to a protected class.

In honor of National Fair Housing Month, the Professionalism and Ethics Advisory Group has compiled some helpful tips and suggestions that are easy to implement for your own business and will help you steer clear of problematic business practices.

  • Understand the protected classes in each of the jurisdictions under which you serve!
    • The Code of Ethics covers all federal requirements and includes race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
    • In addition to the protected classes listed above, Virginia adds elderliness, source of funds, and military status. 
  • Avoid advertisements such as, “This home is perfect for young families!” In representing a seller, don’t limit the pool of potential buyers by excluding large segments of the population through your advertising.

  • When asked questions such as, “What are the best schools in the area?” be prepared to direct them to unbiased resources such as:;; and the Virginia Department of Education. Realtors® should not provide specific opinions on the quality of schools or even neighborhoods. When asked questions that would require a subjective response, support your clients by directing them to sources that will enable them to make the best decisions for themselves.

  • When representing buyers and sellers, Realtors® should also be prepared to respond to questions about “buyer love letters”. These letters often speak to personal characteristics of the buyer and why, based upon those characteristics, their offer should be selected over all others. Guide your seller clients to make decisions based upon objective information such as list price and other contractual terms. For more information, check out How to Handle Buyer Love Letters.

  • When assisting your clients, base your opinions solely on the four corners of the property. Doing so will help ensure that you are not party to any plan that discriminates against a protected class.
  • If members of the public believe they have fallen victim to housing discrimination, they may file complaints through HUD, DPOR, and any Realtor® association to which the Realtor® belongs. Preventing housing discrimination is the safest approach!

While this list of tips is not comprehensive, it can hopefully serve to inspire Realtors® to consider their own business practices and provide assurances to the public that Realtors® are committed to providing equal services to everyone. When most people think about real estate, they think about the houses, businesses, and property that is sold. When Realtors® think about real estate, they think about the people they serve. With that in mind, remember that successful and ethical Realtors® structure their businesses to help everyone achieve the dream of home ownership.

For more information about Fair Housing, please check out additional resources on

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