Member Perspectives

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, we asked the following REALTORS® to share their thoughts on what Fair Housing means to them. Check out what they had to say!

Fair housing means “Equality To All”. I see this act as a law that EVERYONE is treated equal! This was created to end ALL discriminatory practices in any activities related to housing. I would only hope that all sellers, landlords, lenders and REALTORS® follow the guidelines to protect the classes. We must not discriminate and make housing available to all. Something as simple as denying participation in our MLS will result in discrimination. We, as REALTORS®, have not only a professional image but a human understanding that everybody has an opportunity to pursue the American Dream. The key is to be consistent, treat all parties fairly and listen. Treat everyone with respect and dignity. If you have a question or are unsure if you are breaking any Fair Housing laws, reach out to your broker or contact HUD.  — Marty P. Majka Coldwell Banker King Thompson

Fair housing means that everyone should be treated fairly and the same regardless of ones' differences. I have such a diverse group of not only friends but clients as well so this really is an important act to me. One of my goals within my community is to make sure that I am able to help educate and communicate to fellow agents how important it is to adhere to the Fair Housing Act. No one should ever have to experience being treated differently. I am thankful that the Fair Housing Act is in place and has continued over the last 50 years to recognize the need to update and add different protected classes that are open to being discriminated against. — Angelia Holiday, Key Realty

This Act allows any person to buy or rent property or space, without judgment, no matter what. Every person, no matter the race, religion, gender, family status, sex, disability and/or national origin. As a REALTOR®, it is my role to find any person their next investment and/or help any person be released from their current investment, without judgment or discrimination. Every person deserves the right, no matter what! — Stacy Miller, Coldwell Banker King Thompson

Aside from being the law of the land, fair housing is the guarantee that everyone in the United States has the right to safe and affordable housing. Even though the Constitution protects the right to shelter, a basic human right, laws like the Fair Housing Act—despite its relative youth—are still needed to protect against housing discrimination. So, as a REALTOR®, I feel strongly about my role in helping everyone not only find a place to live, but a place to live that is safe and affordable. We are specially qualified and positioned to provide access to housing for all by educating our clients about opportunities—that is, financing, listings, laws, our skills, and all sorts of resources—to live where they want. Like discrimination in other realms of society, maybe laws won’t be needed to protect the right to housing, but until then we have the Fair Housing Act and REALTORS® to keep the system as just as possible. — Mark Epstein, Coldwell Banker King Thompson

A professional agent gives a $100,000 condo buyer or seller the same service as they give a higher end client is what fair housing means to me. I ask all buyers and sellers the same questions, refer them to the same affiliates (lenders, inspectors, title company). I give them guidance on location, show them what they can get for their money in various parts of town. With all the info on the internet, it is easy to provide demographics, school information and comparables. They then make their own choice and buy a house they will live in happily ever after. — Sue Berg, Coldwell Banker King Thompson

Fair housing is the key to all people having the roof they want over their heads. It guarantees that regardless of a person’s age, race, religion, or family situation, that a person has the right to choose the housing that best fits their needs. I believe that the ideas, connections, and sense of pride that are found in diverse and open neighborhoods make a real difference in our communities and equal access to housing goes hand in hand with quality of life. — Colleen Stilwell, The Mike Laemmle Team Realty

I have personally witnessed some progress as it relates to fair housing concerns and our 50-year journey to be a more inclusive community. I have also witnessed many deficits, failures and believe we still have a long way to go. Some of the concerns relate to the quality of our neighborhoods in all communities. We are seeing some of our urban neighborhoods renew, but failing to include long standing residents. We have also failed at delivering the resources by providing an opportunity to participate in the redevelopment efforts and encouraging long time residents. This is of big concern. On the other hand, housing has become systemically more available and more diverse in the lower and middle income levels.  As a community of real estate professionals, we must continue to strive towards quality housing for all of our community members. We must continue efforts to thwart homelessness. We must continue to encourage home ownership at all levels and incomes. — Theresa Barron, Take A Look RealEstate Brokers

For me fair housing is simple. As a listing agent, I simply communicate to my sellers our only compass for choosing a buyer is to choose one that is financially able to purchase their home. When that is the only compass Fair Housing issues are non-issues.  When working with buyers, it can possibly get a little more difficult if they make certain request about neighborhoods and demographics. I always start every new buyer consult with the Consumers Guide to Agency. When you set the expectation at the beginning, rarely is there an issue however, I would not hesitate to part ways with a buyer that wants me to compromise the law. — Stephanie Hampton, Keller Williams Consultants Realty

It is hard for me to imagine that, in my lifetime, our country harbored such grave biases and discrimination in our industry. I’m glad we now have protections against this in our laws, and that these practices are no longer tolerated. We need to remain vigilant, however, to battle implicit bias and other more subtle forms of discrimination until it is absent in our culture. — Steve Wathen, Equity

It is sad that such a law is even required in today's society. However, it is comforting to know that any person(s) from any walk of life can purchase or rent a home with the law protecting them from prejudice and ignorance. — Steve Broadie, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Calhoon Company

On the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, I am thankful to have these laws in place to protect my friends, family and clients from housing discrimination.  A recent event in my hometown of Hilliard, Ohio reminds me/us that after 50 years some people still find themselves feeling unwelcome in many communities. These flyers were posted on street signs in a neighborhood. The community rallied together to tear them down and publicly announce that these ideas do not represent Hilliard. My friend, Nikki Buskirk, of Hilliard, described to me her family’s recent experience: “We had an experience where there were hate fliers put up in our neighborhood. Left me wondering if we weren’t welcomed in the neighborhood. Made me very concerned for my family’s safety. The people of Hilliard came through and let us know that they supported us, and that my family was very much welcomed. As an interracial family these are things we worry about when deciding on a place to live. Without this law we could be pushed out of a neighborhood or not accepted in a neighborhood simply because of the color of our skin. Unfortunately hate is everywhere, but this law helps protect us.” Often, we take the Fair Housing Act for granted, assuming all members of society are on board. Sadly, outright violence and hatred still exists in the hearts of some of our potential real estate clients. Every time I meet a new customer, we discuss the Fair Housing Act and how it protects them. They know that I am looking out for their best interest. When meeting with property owners, I make my position clear. If they have an agenda to exclude any particular population from having the opportunity to purchase their home, I’m not interested in their business. I’ll be packing my briefcase and hitting the door. — Mary Beth Hurst, RE/MAX Achievers