A couple weeks ago I took my required Fair Housing class. I love taking this class. For starters, it's always smart as a Realtor to be "up on" Fair Housing. Second, the information never gets old, or becomes dull or uninteresting. Third, it is a reminder that discrimination is still alive and kicking. Yes, in this day and age.
The instructor this time, Fran, made a statement to the class that if we think we haven't been tested - guess again. It made me think back to two separate incidents that occurred to me when I was a new agent.
The first was during an open house. I think it was either my first or second open house ever, so I was brand new at this - which means I knew what I'd been taught but wasn't very quick about getting the words out of my mouth. Anyhow, by looking at the pictures in the home, you might draw certain conclusions about the owners. I don't prescribe to this particular line of thinking, and never have, because what makes you so certain those are pictures of the owners? Two people who came into the open house (together) asked me point blank: are the sellers xxxx?
I was shocked that I had been asked. I was in so much shock that I didn't know what to say, so I didn't say anything. At all. Dead silence. I can't even imagine what the expression on my face was. Cancel that. I don't want to know what the expression on my face was.
I remember telling my manager about what happened, and she laughed at my distress. She told me it wasn't the best response, but at least I didn't say something that I shouldn't have.
The second incident started with someone who walked into my office while I was on floor time. She wanted to buy a house in a very specific racial type neighborhood. Again, I was floored - but quicker to answer. I told her point blank that I could not and would not help her find such a neighborhood. I could sit down on the computer and show her houses that matched her price range and number of bedrooms, but refused to select houses based on the racial makeup of the neighborhood. She kept looking at me as if I should apologize for my outburst, and I remember saying something along the lines of, "I can't do it, and I'm not sorry that I can't do it!"
Were any of these people testers? Maybe. What's really scary to think about is what if these people weren't testers. Kind of stops and gives you pause, doesn't it?