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Helping Your Seller Understand Fair Housing

Homeowners normally want to do the right thing, but sometimes unintentionally discriminate against qualified home buyers.

Fair housing starts with education. Real Estate agents are in a position to help educate home sellers about fair housing. It starts with a well-written fair housing policy that states that we will not participate in any kind of housing discrimination. We will not discriminate, and we won’t tolerate it from our clients.

Most homeowners do not intentionally discriminate. When a homeowner lists with you, make sure to go over the fair housing policy and explain what a good offer looks like and ask them questions about what is important to them in the sale of their home.

One of the biggest fair housing discrimination that home sellers are faced with are “love letters” that are sent with offers. This usually provides some form of personal information and can be seen as discrimination. Suggest to your seller to put a statement that says you will welcome offers, but do not want love letters.

Down payment assistance shouldn’t be a factor in deciding if an offer is good one. If the potential buyer has the funds in their bank statement, that is all the information you need when determining the offer strength. The funds exist to help close the homeownership gap. Rejecting an offer because someone is issuing government assistance could be a violation of fair housing. It is a good idea to explain to the home seller what a strong offer with downpayment assistance might look like.

In this market, multiple offers are likely, so it is a good idea to set expectations on how to handle these. Are you going to set a deadline to receive offers? Are the sellers going to want more if they receive multiple offers that are at or above asking.

If the buyer rejects an offer, it is a good idea to make sure that the home seller initials the rejected offer to make sure that they show they looked at it. When giving the reason for the rejection, just say that the seller had another offer. Anything more than this can come across as condescending.

Ultimately it comes down to what the seller wants, but they do look to their agent for advice/ It is up to the agent to make sure to treat all parties honestly and fairly.

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