10 Things Your Realtor Can't Tell You

Reblogger Jeff Dowler, CRS
Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CA DRE #01490977

You may be frustrated by the fact that there are some things we simply can't tell you, even if we have an opinion or perhaps a specific answer.

 

Mimi does a great job of shedding light on these questions buyers often want to know, but agents can't (or shouldn't) answer.

 

I hope you will stop by her featured post and comment there, too!

Original content by Mimi Foster

Over the past few decades of selling real estate, people often ask questions I can't answer, either because of laws preventing disclosure, or because so many of the questions are subjective and change from person to person or situation to situation. Here are some common questions your Realtor can't tell you:

  1. Is it a safe neighborhood?Realtor can't tell you if neighborhood is safe

    This is probably the question I get asked most often. I can't possibly answer that, but I can direct you to either the local police department for crime statistics, or to online sites that can give you area crime reports. Regardless of what the current status of a neighborhood is, something could happen next week that might change your comfort levels.

  2. Is this a family-friendly neighborhood? (Or conversely - We don't want to live near children.)

    Familial Status is a protected class under local and federal laws, so it's not legal for a Realtor to steer a client to an area that does or doesn't have children. If you want to be in child-friendly areas, you might look at homes near schools. To qualify as a Senior Only community, there are federal guidelines that must be adhered to, and exceptions cannot be made for some families and not others.

  3. Is this a good elementary/junior high/high school?

    As with many areas of housing, "good" and "safe" and "clean" are all subjective, meaning everyone's opinion can be different. For questions like this, statistics can be found online for certain school criteria. Once you've identified a home that interests you, you might also want to ask neighbors, or speak with teachers and staff at the school you're considering.

  4. Realtor can't tell you about religious neighborhoodsCan you find us a Catholic neighborhood? (or Jewish, or Mormon, or hispanic, or Lebanese, etc.)

    Not only is religion a protected class, but so are nationalities. A Realtor can't possibly know what your criteria might be, nor is "steering" in any way legal. If there are specific places where you would like to live, specific neighborhoods where your friends live or where your group meets or where your church is located, then we can certainly show you homes in areas you request, but please don't ask us to specify those neighborhoods for you.

  5. Are there sex offenders in the neighborhood?

    Megan's Law requires convicted sex offenders to register their address with local officials. This information is available to the public. You may check the public records, or, for a nominal fee, get up-to-the-minute information from the police department in the locality of where you're considering a move. Since all information is subject to change (and not everyone registers how they're supposed to), if this is an area that's important to you, make sure you're comfortable with the information you gather.

  6. We want you to advertise our house to single, young professionals.

    Um . . . no. Besides other things, you can't discriminate based on marital status (this is considered discriminatory against someone who is not single) and age is protected (you can't solicit to exclude the elderly).

  7. Realtor can't tell you if your home value will increaseWill the house I'm buying go up in value?

    If we had a crystal ball, we might better be able to answer that question. In 2007 when the market was hot, people thought they couldn't lose. Then 2008 happened, and we are slowly recovering. There are too many variables - area considerations, economy (especially local), style, etc. But if you liked the house when you bought it, chances are, when it comes time to sell, someone else will like it as well, especially if it's in good and clean condition.

  8. Can we build a garage on the property?

    Each municipality has different laws regarding setbacks and variances. If building a garage is important to you (or a shed or a separate structure or modifying the structure that currently exists), I recommend you check with your local building department to find their specifics for what you have in mind.

  9. What's the standard real estate commission?

    THERE IS NO STANDARD REAL ESTATE COMMISSION. I can tell you what my company charges as standard practice, but commission is negotiable and I can't speak to what any other company or agent charges.

  10. Why do Trulia and Zillow advertise five bedroom houses for $50,000 on five acres in the mountains that were never available?

    definitely can't answer that question. Please stop asking.

    Realtor can't tell you why Trulia advertises homes that aren't for sale

 
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If you would like to search for Homes for Sale in Colorado Springs,

or for any of your other real estate needs,

please contact your Colorado Springs Realtor

 Colorado Springs Realtor Mimi Foster

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Selling homes throughout Colorado Springs, Old Colorado City,
Manitou Springs and surrounding areas with a
Specialty in Victorian and Vintage Homes in
Downtown Colorado Springs
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Rainmaker
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Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Jeff Dowler CRS good choice for reblog.  As agents we need to follow fair housing laws and building codes.  No we can't control ads on Zillow.

Feb 25, 2016 09:52 AM #1
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Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Solutions - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Thanks so much for the reblog, Jeff. Surprises me how often we're asked. :)

Feb 25, 2016 09:58 AM #2
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Mary Yonkers 

I have been at listing showings with the LA and buyers asked some of these questions, and got answers!

I thought Mimi did a terrific job here

Jeff

Feb 25, 2016 10:08 AM #3
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
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Mimi Foster

Some of these are pretty frequently asked, and I get why buyers want to know. But there are some good ways to get some of this information and do the appropriate due diligence so buyers can feel comfortable.

Jeff

Feb 25, 2016 10:10 AM #4
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Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Solutions - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

I believe over the years that we learn how to get them the information they need without giving them specific answers that would jeopardize our license. One of my first deals was in a 'very good neighborhood' where it was soon found that the wonderful grandfather who lived next door was not so wonderful. It was such a wake-up call that a neighborhood that's 'good' one day only needs one person to make it not so good. Of all of these, I can't imagine assuring someone what is or is not a good neighborhood. 

Feb 25, 2016 10:17 AM #5
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Larry Johnston
Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC - Elkhart, IN
Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN

Hi Jeff Dowler CRS , Thanks for the reminder to all of us of the things we cannot discuss.

Feb 25, 2016 10:47 AM #6
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Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Fortunately we can still be the provider of the place to get most of the information they want.  Our contracts have a link to the sex offender registry, I give them school grading sites and the local law enforcement's number to ask about the number of police calls in various areas. While I can't tell them my opinion I can still be a source to help make them know if it's the right property. 

Feb 25, 2016 11:15 AM #7
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Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
RE/MAX Northwest. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

What a wonderful re-post of why we say so very little Jeff Dowler CRS 

Feb 25, 2016 11:39 AM #8
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Larry Johnston 

It was a good reminder, and something that buyers, hopefully, will read and understand. They are good questions that deserve answers that we can provide the resources for

Jeff

Feb 25, 2016 11:52 AM #9
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Tammy Lankford 

Being the source for great resources is where I want to be. Some of these issues are addressed in our contract, although I suspect many buyers overlook this

Jeff

Feb 25, 2016 11:53 AM #10
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, Broker, Tacoma Washington 

I know Maggie will appreciate the compliment. This was a good read and very worth sharing

Jeff

Feb 25, 2016 11:55 AM #11
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Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Our local paper ran a syndicated article this past weekend on 11 things your real estate agent should but probably won't tell you

Feb 25, 2016 12:11 PM #12
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
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Ed Silva 

Was it a good read or a glamour post by a reporter show does not understand real estate?

Jeff

Feb 25, 2016 12:24 PM #13
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John Meussner
Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA, - Walnut Creek, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852

Enjoyed a lot of these, Jeff, and knew most of them.  I wonder why an agent can't share whether a sex offender lives in a neighborhood with it being public info easily found online?

Feb 25, 2016 12:35 PM #14
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Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Solutions - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

If it's important to them, I always give them the resource where to find the answers, John Meussner. But what if I missed one, or what if I gave them information one day, and the next week someone registered next door? Especially because it's easily found online, let them look at what they want to look for. The liability is too great to tell them something that could change tomorrow. (And, like it or not, several times offenders didn't register the way they should and a client found out one is living in the neighborhood - or registered in a neighborhood and is living elsewhere.) Let that decision be the client's.

Feb 25, 2016 12:51 PM #15
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

John Meussner 

Well it's a good question. For one, it's part of the contingencies noted in our CA contract so it's something the buyer should investigate. It specifically states broekr or seller is not required to check this database and if buyer wants further information "broker recommends that buyer obtain information from this website...". Besides, we would only know if there were any issues by checking the data base ourselves, and what if we miss something, or misconvey information? It's a valid question, but I sure don't want to be responsible for providing any information on a subject like this that could be a problem should the situation change or if something happens (e.g., but you told us there were no registered sex offenders in the neighborhood!). No doubt there are some legal cases, too.

Jeff

Feb 25, 2016 02:08 PM #16
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Mimi Foster 

Absolutely. It's their concern, or not, and their decision to investigate, or not. And as I noted above, it is specifically noted in our CA residential purchase agreement.

Jeff

Feb 25, 2016 02:11 PM #17
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