Top Five Buyer Questions that I Can't Answer

Reblogger Eric Michael
Real Estate Agent with Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI

Hi Everyone!

Every buyer that I've ever worked with has asked me questions. Some of them are as simple as how many bedrooms does this house have, or what do you think my monthly payment would be for this one? Simple enought, right?

Well, some of the questions I've heard from buyers aren't so easy, and there are even some that I can't answer because I'm a Realtor®.

Here are the Top 5 Buyer Questions that I Can't Answer.


Original content by Cindy Westfall

Top Five Buyer Questions that I Can't Answer

Man with zipped lips

There are times, when I'm asked certain questions from buyers that if I didn't have my REALTOR® hat on, I could probably give you my opinion, but since I AM a REALTOR® in the Portland Metro area, I have a Code of Ethics and Fair Housing rules and guidelines that I need to  follow. So when you ask me the following questions, please know that some of your questions are subjective to your needs and there is no way I can know the answer. They also fall under the Fair Housing or Code o Ethics, so I can't answer them. What I CAN do is direct you to a place where you can find the statistics and then you can make that call.

 I know many buyers view this as a cop out for us agents, but steering buyers away or towards certain neighborhoods besed on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or sexual orientation is serious and we can lose our license over it. These were put in place to protect the public against discrimination, and really are a good thing.

Have we become too over cautious in many areas...probably, but you're hiring me to help you in best way to find a home that meets your criteria. Most people know the neighborhoods they want to live in unless they've been relocated from out of state, and even then the location of the job will often dictate the commute and neighborhoods to look in.

Top Five Buyer Questions that I Can't Answer

1.)  Is this neighborhood mixed racially?

Due to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice (10-1) of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, I just can't answer this. What I can do is depending on the area, I can give you links to sites that will give you the demographics of a particular neighborhood.

 • Standard of Practice 10-1
When involved in the sale or lease of a residence, REALTORS® shall not volunteer information regarding the racial, religious or ethnic composition of any neighborhood nor shall they engage in any activity which may result in panic selling, however REALTORS® may provide other demographic information. (Adopted 1/94,Amended 1/06)

2.  Are the schools good?

I don't know what you consider a good school as this is different for many. Is your child needing special things Fair Housing such as a great sports or arts program? Are you concerned about teacher-student ratios? I can however give you links to the schools so you can research what is important for you and your children to narrow down schools that meet your needs.

3. Is this a high crime area?

What I consider a low crime area, you might think is just again subjective. I have clients that already live and rent in certain neighborhoods that I personally think are a bit "edgy" or still in the revitalization process and they love the neighboroods. Again,  I can and will give you links to the local police department so you can read and see the statistics yourself.

4. Did someone die in this house?

Now this is one that I think a seller might want to disclose if it was a gruesome murder, or something that the neighbors will easily tell a prospective buyer. The Seller however is not required to disclose this.

 From the Oregon Property Seller's Advisory

 Death, Crimes, and External Conditions 

In Oregon, certain conditions on or near real property that may be of concern to buyers are considered not to be “material” by state law. Oregon Revised Statutes 93.275. Ordinarily, “material facts” must be disclosed by the seller or the seller’s agent.  However, because state law declares certain facts to be not material, sellers are not held responsible for disclosing them as might otherwise be the case.

 Facts that would be subject to disclosure but for the statute include the fact that the property was the site of a death, crime, political activity, religious activity, or any other act or occurrence that does not adversely affect the physical condition of, or title to, real property, including that a convicted sex offender resides in the area.  Although the seller is not required to disclose such facts, they may elect to- for instance disclosing a pedophile living next door to buyers with small children.  Under Oregon law, neither the seller nor their agent is allowed to disclose that an owner or occupant of the real property has or had human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

5. Can you only show me properties that have a high <insert any nationality here> population?

Just like I can't steer you to an area, I also can't specify what neighborhoods or locations have a high population of certain nationalities, or people of certain religions.

 Here are some other links that are helpful:

 Oregon Property Buyer's Advisory

 Oregon Department of Education School Report Cards

 Portland Police Bureau



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Cindy Westfall ABR,GRI

Prudential NW Properties

5 Centerpointe Dr, Ste. 150, Lake Oswego, OR 97035

Cell: 503-819-5241      


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Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Hi Eric, thanks so much for the re-blog, very much appreciated! Yep..some questions we need to answer...but others...not so.

Dec 19, 2011 02:56 PM #1
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Cindy, you're welcome. It's a great blog.

Dec 20, 2011 10:27 AM #2
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Eric Michael

Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519
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