March 11, 2018

Realtors Affirm Fair Housing Commitment on 50th Anniversary of Approval 


This is the time of year when real estate professionals are busy preparing for the housing market's prime buying and selling season. But, it's also when they take time to observe the 1968 anniversary of Fair Housing Act. 

Aaron Taylor
2018 NETAR President

This year, Realtor® from Northeast Tennessee will join Realtors® across the nation on a yearlong commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Act to raise awareness of fair housing issues. It's fitting to not only look back at the accomplishments of this historic piece of legislation but to consider where we're headed.

 The local market has enjoyed record sales and sales volumes for the past two years. If January is an indicator of things to come expect more of the same this year. But some are wondering if the market can sustain the pace. Mortgage rates have been steadily increasing, and it looks like that will continue. So far this year new listings are keeping pace, but like last year inventory is at record low levels. That's creating upward pressure on prices, which is good for sellers but when combined with higher mortgage rates not-so-good for affordability.

At the same time, housing faces challenges on the political and regulation fronts. During the coming months the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the Realtor® Party and local Realtors® from the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors® (NETAR) will make their voices heard to preserve property rights and fair housing standards.

The tenet of how Realtors® have embraced the Fair Housing Act are best illustrated with their Fair Housing Declaration. It reads:

"I agree to:

    "-  Provide equal professional service without regard to the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin of any prospective client, customer, or of the residents of any community.

    "- Keep informed about fair housing law and practices, improving my clients’ and customers’ opportunities and my business.

    "- Develop advertising that indicates that everyone is welcome, and no one is excluded; expanding my client’s and customer’s opportunities to see, buy, or lease property.

    "- Inform my clients and customers about their rights and responsibilities under the fair housing laws by providing brochures and other information.

    "- Document my efforts to provide professional service, which will assist me in becoming a more responsive and successful Realtor®.

    "- Refuse to tolerate non-compliance.

    "- Learn about those who are different from me and celebrate those differences.

    "- Take a positive approach to fair housing practices and aspire to follow the spirit as well as the letter of the law.

    "- Develop and implement fair housing practices for my firm to carry out the spirit of this declaration."

While some may look at this as something to worry about when putting together an ad or showing properties, others make a commitment to promote fair housing and a better quality of life for everyone in their communities. It's not only the right thing to do it's good business.

Housing is a major factor in defining a person's quality of life. Where you live affects your access to social, cultural, educational and other community amenities. In other words, housing discrimination is a denial of the opportunity to fully enjoy the American Dream.

Realtors® see and appreciate how important this principle is to their role in the ongoing effort to help improve the quality of neighborhoods and communities.

Like many other facets of the real estate market, fair housing issues are constantly evolving. That's why Realtors® keep up with those changes through continuing education - much of it from the National Association of Realtors®. Through that, they build a better understanding of demographics of their communities and the changing needs of homeowners.

 Of special concern to this part of the state is the realization that the overall population is aging so new residents are the key to sustaining and growing our population. As the housing demands for an aging population and new residents arise, Realtors® will be there to serve them with a commitment to fair housing principles.

Aaron Taylor is the 2018 president of the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors®. The real estate education and trade group is the voice for real estate in the Tri-Cities and has over 1,100 local Realtor® members and almost 100 affiliates