Spring is the time of year when real estate professionals are busy with the beginning of the housing market’s prime buying and selling season. It’s also when they take the time to focus on the Fair Housing Act’s anniversary, which was passed in 1968.
Fair housing is more than a list of dos and don’ts, rights and penalties, and mandatory continuing education. REALTORS® are stewards of the right to own, use, and transfer private property and fair housing protects their livelihood because their advocation depends on a free, open market that embraces equal opportunity. Each year during April -Fair Housing Month – they renew their commitment to offering equal professional service to all in their search for real property with internal and public awareness programs. This year may be busier, but it doesn’t detract from the Northeast Tennessee Association of REALTORS® (NETAR) observance of Fair Housing Month.
The tenets of how REALTORS® have embraced the 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 see this as something to remember when putting together an ad or showing properties, others have a broader vision and commit to promoting fair housing and a better quality of life for everyone in their communities. It is not only the right thing to do; it is 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 is why REALTORS® keep up with those changes through continuing education – much of it from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Through education, they build a better understanding of the 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.
NETAR is the voice for real estate in Northeast Tennessee. It is the largest trade association in the Northeast Tennessee – Southwest Virginia region representing over 1,400 members and 100 affiliates involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Pending sales, Trends Reports, and the regional market analytics can be found on the NETAR websites at https://netar.us/voice-real-estate-northeast-tennessee.