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Redlining? No, Realtors follow a strict code of conduct

Realtors know better than to steer certain customers to certain neighborhoods, the Realtors Association president says.
Realtors know better than to steer certain customers to certain neighborhoods, the Realtors Association president says. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

In response to “We still keep whites separate in Charlotte” (Justin Perry column Jan. 22):

Justin Perry’s column makes assumptions about real estate agents that are not only grossly inaccurate, but also unfair.

As president of the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association, it’s important that I speak out on behalf of the more than 11,000 Realtors in our membership who adhere to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of Realtors. If Mr. Perry had done his research or contacted our association, we would have been happy to educate him on the standards of conduct to which Realtors are expected to adhere and the various terminology.

Let’s start with redlining, which is the same thing as steering. It’s illegal – period.

The practice of steering specifically applies to one of the seven federally protected classes, such as race, religion, national origin, etc. Realtors should never tell clients to avoid specific neighborhoods or school districts based on any of the protected classes. If Realtors are telling clients to avoid certain schools, as Mr. Perry implied, then they may be engaging in an unethical practice and either unintentionally or intentionally steering. It is still illegal and should be reported.

When buyers ask questions about schools, Realtors are expected to direct them to online resources such as the North Carolina School Report Cards, and encourage them to schedule visits to the schools.

Likewise, if a buyer asks about the crime rate in a particular neighborhood, Realtors should refer them to the local police department or other sources of information. Realtors do not disclose crime statistics or school performance rankings.

The public needs to know that Realtors take our professional code of conduct seriously.

If any member of the public observes the type of behavior described by Mr. Perry, they can file a complaint by contacting the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association or the North Carolina Real Estate Commission.

Realtors sell homes, not schools – but we recognize how critical good schools are to a homebuyer’s purchase decision. That’s why the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association is a proud supporter of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, and consistently supports bond referenda to improve schools across our entire city.

We hope Mr. Perry will take the time to do a little more homework before writing another inflammatory column that defames the Realtor community.

Hayden is president of the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association and CarolinaMLS. Email: president@carolinahome.com
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