Columbus Ohio real estate

Steering via schools

Equal Housing Logo

Why do agents from outside an area answer questions?

This example is from Trulia Voices.  The same thing happens on the ActiveRain site, I understand. Answering out of area questions for consumers. Why?

Trulia Voices Question and Answer:


"Q. Safe/Not Safe?
Company I work for is relocating to Easton in Fall of 08. I'm window shopping for a home in the area bordered by 270 / Agler Road / Sunbury / and McCutcheon. Don't plan to buy till Fall/Winter 08. EVERYONE is telling me that this is not a safe neighborhood. I've tried to find the truth or falsehood of this by looking at Columbus Police website stats, but can't get a clear picture. Any suggestions or advice?"

Answers...

Most of the answers simply said real estate agents can't steer you to or from neighborhoods. Most directed the consumer back to the police for questions about neighborhood safety.  Here's a novel answer from a Dayton area real estate agent (REALTOR.):

"A. Another way to get an idea of the area is to look at the Ohio State Department of Education Report card for the school district. Check to see if the school is rated excellent, effective, contiuous improvement or ineffective. No one wants to admit it, but there is a high correlation between excellent schools and higher socioeconomic areas."

Ohio Department of Education Report Cards - for all school districts in the state. I thought that told you about schools... not safety of neighborhoods???

Why would a Dayton Ohio area real estate agent answer a question about a Columbus Ohio area neighborhood, in the first place?  Why would you answer a question about safety of a neighborhood with an answer about school district?  Bias against cities? Bias against large school districts?  Race?

Map of the area south of Easton

Map cluster of red dots - the area? - I identified the 2007 sales for the area identified by the consumer. I believe the homes area all in the Columbus School District, the largest Central Ohio school district.

Code Word

Can the Trulia Voices Q. Person afford a home in a "higher socioeconomic" area?  She's asking about the "area bordered by 270 / Agler Road / Sunbury / and McCutcheon."  It's convenient to work! Easton is in the open area just north of the cluster of red dots. Perhaps she's searched and found she can afford homes in the area she'd identified.  She is not asking about school district or the "socio-econonic" situation of the residents of the area.... she's asking if the area she's identified is a safe neighborhood.  She's just asking people who are not qualified or able to answer her question. The can provide her the place to get her question answered, the police.

Bias against big city school district?  German Village, Victorian Village, Clintonville, West Albany, Downtown Columbus, MidTown East and other expensive neighborhoods are in the same school district as the area identified by the consumer. Safe?  Check with the Columbus police department.

The Columbus Police are the source of safety information about neighborhoods in the City of Columbus.   Columbus Division of Police - looks like the area identified by the consumer is in precinct 7 in Columbus. The map of Precinct 7 breaks it down further. I believe 72 (car number?) is the area the consumer identified. "7th Precinct Community Liaison Officer 645-1407 "

Realty Times on 'Housing Group Targets Steering Via Schools' by Blanche Evans says of the National Fair Housing Alliance:

The Alliance says there is a growing tendency by real estate agents to use schools as an excuse to avoid certain neighborhoods when what they are really doing is steering."

Of course she's in Dayton Ohio not Columbus Ohio...

NOTE: Any comments disparaging ANY school district will be deleted, write your own blog post if you want to say something nasty about a school district.   

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


This post provided by Maureen McCabe HER Realtors*

Contact Maureen McCabe of HER Realtors* - 614.388.8249

HER Realtors  Maureen McCabe

Search Columbus mls

email: MaureenatMaureenMcCabe.com  at = @

*Real Living HER

Information is deemed to be accurate but should be verified to your satisfaction.  Information provided herein is supplied by several sources and is subject to change without notice.  Opinions expressed are solely those of Maureen McCabe.

 


 

Comment balloon 45 commentsMaureen McCabe • January 27 2008 10:57AM

Comments

Maureen... I think Agents give out of area advise for the same reason they take listings out of the area they are familiar with. They don't understand the concept of "know the territory" and how that translates into better service.

Because of the internet some Agents think that all there is to know about a neighborhood can be found online.

Posted by Chris and Berna Sloan, Tooele UT (Group 1 Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Hi Maureen-I don't get it...I think some agents really need to be careful in what they say on Trulia Voices...I was reading some of the questions and answers...dang...I see full blown liability...I see steering...I see answers that could cost someone their license....

We at Century 21 are part of Trulia....its one of the perks...or is it?  One of our associates wanted to report another for their responses... Our town is small...reputation matters...and we wonder why people look at us the way they do!

Posted by Midori Miller, Online Marketing For Real Estate Professionals (Talk 2 Midori, LLC) over 11 years ago
Hi Maureen,
That has always puzzled me too.  I think Chris nailed the answer (or another possibility is "ego").

Posted by Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist (Kingsbridge Realty, Inc) over 11 years ago

And I'll take Chris's comment on step farther.  Because of the Internet, some buyers think that all there is to know about a housing market can be found online, even when they are trying to find a diamond in a bag of snakes.  Go ahead, stick your hand in the bag and find the diamond.

For some reason, folks seem to believe that just because a question is asked, it must be answered.  Not so. 

Rather than asking a question so sensitive as this lady's question about safety, seems to me that providing the name of an agent who practices and knows that area would be a safer answer.  Of course, the problem with that is that agents seem incapable of recommending an agent unless they see a referral fee at the end. 

Of course, the real problem here is that the lady making the Trulia inquiry is so leery of actually making contact with a living breathing real estate agent, she relies on the annonomity of the Internet to answer sensitive and critical questions relative to her very life. 

IMO, neither the consumer nor the agent should be asking or answering questions about anything beyond facts.  For me, I can't even formulate an opinion about the viability of an area without knowing the buyers price range, transportation needs, housing needs, etc. 

My answer to the lady's question would have been "Your questions should be addressed in person to a local agent with experience in your target area with consideration for price range and other needs."

Maureen, you're right.  Sending someone to school stats for information about community safety is totally off base.  Has anyone ever heard of magnet schools??  There are schools of excellence in areas across this nation where you'd need a side arm to get from your vehicle to the front door. 

Real estate agents need to deal with facts, no opinions.  Not every question needs to be answered.

Shucks.  I could have made this a post, except that I'm on a roll with Localisms this week. 

Good post.  This points up one of the defects with sites like Trulia.  They are commercial sites that have no quality control.  Agents troll it for business and Internet synergy.  Many of the questions and answers are plants.  Been there, done that.  There is Internet synergy, and then, there is Internet sludge.   

 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 11 years ago
I don't get it either.  I once challenged an agent from Texas who commented about Westchester County, NY and he told me he used to live in Westchester.  Answering consumer questions online of that nature is tricky and probably not such a good idea.
Posted by Miriam Bernstein, CRS over 11 years ago
Maureen I've seen agents respond to questions in areas other than their own too. My own opinion is there are some people who just can't keep their fingers off the keyboards. Something akin to a noseybody. A "bloggybody"?
Posted by Bill Carroll, IN REAL ESTATE, REPRESENTATION IS EVERYTHING (The Corcoran Group Real Estate Co.) over 11 years ago

Thanks all for the comments. 

Midori we (Real Living)  post all of our listings to Trulia.  I am not sure HOW they feel about us answering consumers questions on Trulia etc.  

Chris and Cynthia - Dayton is really out of area...  SW Ohio vs. Central Ohio... Ego?

Lenn Do you think you  get internet synergy answering out of area questions? 

Miriam I lived in the Dayton area but I would not answer questions.   

Bill why not write a post about something in your market rather than answer questions.... especially long distance.  Is it SEO?  Does Trulia give the "Voices" a link?   

Is it steering?  Is it ok for a real estate agent to steer a buyer from or to a school long distance? She's not making a commission, I believe she is just giving what she considers a way of judging good neighborhoods from bad neighborhoods long distance.  I think it would be wrong if she was working in the market to try to influence buyers choices of where to live based on her predjudices. 

A consumer asks about school district ranking, share the resource from the state but don't judge good neighborhood, bad neighborhood safe / unsafe neighborhood based on a criteria that might have nothing to do with what this consumer needs.    

If the buyer had asked about school districts the state report cards would have been appropriate.  

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) over 11 years ago
Maureen--Another example of why some agents really should avoid getting into those discussion boards...Geez! When someone wants to see a neighborhood, I show them the neighborhood. To suggest that the ratings of a certain school district indicates whether a neighborhood is good or bad is idiotic. By whose standards? When people ask me a question like this when showing homes, I suggest drive through the neighborhood(s), check with authorities, question neighbors but as what determines a "good" neighborhood is different to each individual, I have no answer.  I like Lenn's line...Not every question asked has to have an answer. A good response to the question Is this a good neighborhood? is "Great question! But only you can make that determination!"
Posted by Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro (Boardman Realty) over 11 years ago
I would rather stick to areas that I know. I think it isn't great idea to possibly hold yourself liable.
Posted by Neal Bloom, Realtor CRS-Weston FL Real Estate (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago

Teri I remember people early on saying they were answering the out of area questions on AR because people from the area were shirking their responsibilities in answering questions.  

Neal do you answer local online questions on Trulia?  ActiveRain?  Elsewhere?

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) over 11 years ago

Maureen.  There's Internet synergy and there's Internet sludge.

I believe that our professional standards, ethics and reputation with the public is more important than a few ticks on our stats meters. 

Looking for Internet synergy by answering questions about areas out of your market expertise is just serving up sludge.

I understand Trulia and I admire an agent who "works" it for Internet synergy.  But, going out of your market area is dishonest to the consumer and we've had enough of that. 

There are so many opportunities for Internet synergy, I decided to focus on just a few and working them hard.  I do work ActiveRain hard.  I get a lot of Internet synergy from it.  I don't serve up sludge. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 11 years ago
Maureen I don't get alot of the responses on Trulia.  I'm still not sure why some people even  bother answerinng and when they do, they forget that they're suppose to be "the source of the source".
Posted by Chris Griffith, Bonita Springs Listing Agent (Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, FL) over 11 years ago
Maureen - I have not yet participated in Q & A sites because of exactly this - so many answers are so terrible and misinforming - I just do not get it why someone from an area would answer questions that they know nothing about.  It makes zero sense to me and is on top of being wrong - they are wasting everyones time - the questions asker, the readers, theirs.  I know I should take the plunge and start answering with correct, ethical local answers, but for some reasons I haven't brought myself to do it yet.  And in addition to bad info, I have time and time again seen people putting themselves on the line with ethics issues and I am in awe of it every time.  
Posted by Steve Scheer, Highlands Ranch Real Estate - Denver Real Estate (Realty Oasis - Metro Brokers) over 11 years ago
Another one of my pet peeves in the Rain. Thanks for tackling the topic!
Posted by Rich Jacobson, Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker (Fathom Realty West Sound) over 11 years ago
I always send them to the Dept of Education or the police department. I don't even answer specific questions on Trulia when it is about an area in MI, I know nothing about. Too much risk...
Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 11 years ago

I agree Maureen.  It just doesn't make good sense to be the expert on something you know nothing about.  Direct them to the source of the info, as Chris mentioned. 

On another note... It is becoming more frequent (at least in my business) for people to ask about the diversity of a neighborhood. 

I actually had a lady tell me she did not want to live in a neighborhood with a particular race of people in it, and she had specific school requirements...all based on race and crime.  She then asked if I knew what the race the neighbors were. Without taking a breath during her rampage, she continued to tell her reasons, etc.

Seems we're getting a lot more loaded questions these days. 

Posted by Jody Deeds, "Helping You Move On With Your Plans" (Key Realty, LTD) over 11 years ago

Stick to what you know - that's the ethics in real estate whether it's geography or type of property.

Safety, like so many things, is in the eye of the beholder. As Teri said, only the buyer can truly make that determination. 

Posted by Sharon Simms, St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International) over 11 years ago

Chris...  I was just reread some of them... ran into the editor of RealTown platform (lives in AZ?) answering a question in Ohio.  It was a general question... makes me wonder if THEY are going to start doing it too. 

Steve sometimes I think if people who would say contact, the police, look at the school district website other people would not respond...  but I reread this thread.  A number of people said contact the police before the agent said check out the schools.

Rich I seldom even look at ActiveRain Q&A... In fact I wonder how or why I would do it on Trulia (influence of friends... peer prssure... following the herd.)  Lots of the questions really are pretty dumb...  Lenn is right, they should not be answered.  "Not every question needs to be answered." 

Missy I am not sure I want to answer any questions on Trulia anymore....

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) over 11 years ago
I would never answer specifics about an area I do not work. That being said, Schools are likely the single most important factor in determining many of the issues you hit on. Some schools will actually show economic breakdowns of its students....some will give percentage of free lunches. These are all codes.
Posted by Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty, Florida Space Coast Homes (Waves Realty) over 11 years ago

Jody  I thought it was getting better, personally. 

Sharon You are right, we need to stick to the facts. 

There  is another comment on this question from a regular person (non real estate agent ) who says he used to live in the neighborhood and that he lost his shirt selling it... he goes on to tell the person...actually I don't want to get into his prejudices... 

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) over 11 years ago
Excellent Post Maureen and many excellent responses. I too see many answers that make my jaw drop! Interestingly enough many Trulia Voice questions I see seem to be about Safety. Could this be testers?? I echo Lenn's response. Talk to someone who is knowledgeable about the area in person, and not every question needs to be, or should, be answered.
Posted by Carl Guild, Central Connecticut Real Estate (Carl Guild & Associates) over 11 years ago
I would never suggest a link between school performance and crime. We have a local website with crime statistics I suggest. We also have a state website that rates school performance I can quote from. The interpretation of the information is up to the client.
Posted by Wayne B. Pruner, Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI (Oregon First) over 11 years ago

I answer questions on Trulia from time to time when pertinent. I actually received two good leads lately by responding. (Isn't that why I am there?) Any out of area questions, my rote answer is to contact a local agent for good answers and I even may recommend one if I know of a fellow Rainer in the area. (Isn't that one reason why I am here?) But, I am not surprised at some responses because I know real agents in person that stick their necks out in a similar fashion.

 

Wow, jaboticaba, now that's a good one!

Posted by David M. Childress, I would love to be your Realtor® in Akron Ohio! (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 11 years ago

One of my pet peeves Maureen. I have not been on Trulia for quite some time and I no longer answer questions on activerain. Real estate is local. I am a local expert I have only answered questions that are about NYC and even more specific Manhattan. I never touch subjective questions. I only give facts and don't attempt to answer questions about other markets.

But there are agents who answer every question about every market. I think they just want to see their name and picture appear because I can't imagine why anyone would answer a question that they don't have a clue about. Some even preface their answer I don't know about NY but in xxx state. IMHO use common sense.

Posted by Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn (Compass) over 11 years ago
Maureen, This post made me take a look at AR's Q&A section, which I haven't looked at in ages. Many answering questions for Connecticut were from out of state and incorrect. Many then stated to contact them for a referral. They think they can make a quick buck by getting a referral fee.
Posted by Don Fabrizio-Garcia, Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate (Fab Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Thanks all for the comments.  

Carl I think this was the first one I noticed about safety.  I did wonder if it was a tester.  There is something in the question that is puzzling.  

Wayne  I wish we had better resources for crime stats but we don't.  I have seen some in the past that are by ZIP code which gets wEiRd... 

David...Of course that's why you are here... I see you on Trulia, and you emailed me about the one guy in Central Ohio who was asking about the value of his home... and it was listed.   

Mitchell... do you think this   "I don't know about NY but in xxx state. IMHO use common sense." is trying to get a link to them for xxx state?  Internet slduge as Lenn calls it?  Is it for SEO?  Why not write a blog about what you know in xxx state, where buyers in xxx state can read it and continue to read your blog, email you, call you...  seems like a more direct route to me.  I don't begrudge Trulia wanting the participation from agents...

 

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) over 11 years ago
I just don't see those kind of answers turning into referrals Don!!! 
Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) over 11 years ago
The only motive I can see for the agent answering questions outside of their area is a potential referral, but that is a huge longshot. Our team has always followed the rule 'Be the source of the source' with regards to crime, schools, etc. I had never thought of school characteristics in terms of steering. Has this actually been investigated by HUD, or is it just a theory in the media?
Posted by John Novak, Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace) over 11 years ago

Not necessarily by HUD but HUD will provide funds for groups like the NFHA. This was the testing for which there was a suit against NRT a couple of years ago:

"In tests the NFHA says it has performed, under a grant provided by HUD, testers found racial steering by real estate agents to be the norm -- 87 percent. Whites were limited to viewing homes in predominantly white neighborhoods and discouraged from visiting homes in interracial neighborhoods. And "African-American and Latinos lost their right to see homes of their choosing across a wide spectrum of white communities."

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) over 11 years ago

Hi Maureen - why people do the things they do continues to escape me.  I would never attempt to answer a question someone asked about a specific area.  The only thing I can come up with is ego.  Their ego makes them think they know everything and that they just have to share it with everyone.  Perhaps legends in their own minds....??

Ann 

Posted by Ann Cummings, Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent (RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine) over 11 years ago
This is a tricky area. It's best for agents to caution on the side of the specifics of national and state law. As long as agents know these rules they're able to provide competent advice.
Posted by Chuck Willman UtahHomes.me, Utah Homes (Utah Homes) over 11 years ago
Very true or answering a question for a different state.
Posted by Matthew Zgonc, Realtor, CFS, CVS (Aksland Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Maureen, Lenn is right about internet sludge she is also right about internet synergy. I like Trulia and have received leads and traffic.  It's only synergy if someone clicks to me because they liked one of my answers and they are a potential buyer or seller in my market.

They wouldn't link to me if they were asking questions about Columbus Ohio even if I answered an Ohio question because in my profile it says I'm licensed in NY. A direct route to an agent in Ohio is better for the consumer. Don is right about a quick buck referral.

Why not write a blog about what you know in xxx state, where buyers in xxx state can read it and continue to read your blog, email you, call you...  seems like a more direct route to me.

Exactly. We have been doing this long enough to know what works.

Posted by Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn (Compass) over 11 years ago
Seems to be a way of enticing someone for a number of reasons but the likelihood of a consumer coming to me when looking in Ohio is remote.  Sometimes agents have direct knowledge of an area...I just moved four months ago from Melbourne, Fl. that does not mean the information I might share would be accurate today.  On AR answers seem to be open season...and carries forward outside of here too.  Nice post Maureen.
Posted by Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375, Real Estate Services You can Trust! (Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions") over 11 years ago

Thanks all for the comments... 

New Trulia Question this AM in my mailbox... I am NOT going to answer it... 

relocating to columbus ga, where are there cheap rental homes or duplexes or apts

I assume the consumer posted it to the wrong Columbus...   

 

 

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) over 11 years ago

Maureen.  Impressive post and a lesson for all the brokers out there to reign in their agents and remind them to follow all rules, regs, and the code of ethics at all times.  I feel in my gut that this was a planted question.  I guess the main reason for planted q's is to weed out the ignorant agents.  I have neglected the Q&A part of AR, but will check it out. 

Lenn, love your term, Internet sludge!

Posted by Natalie Langford, Winchester, VA Real Estate (Realty Negotiations) over 11 years ago
Natalie, personally I think AR's Q&A has always been sludgier than Trulia's Q&A...
Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) over 11 years ago
I can't believe an agent would post that. The potential buyer should definitely talk to the police about the safety of the neighborhood and look at schools only for their educational quality.
Posted by Christy Powers, Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent (Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners) over 11 years ago

Thanks Christy.

I think a buyer can legitimately determine they want to know what school district they are buying in for resale... but I think the consumer has to prompt that, the agent is overstepping their authority if they decide for a buyer that the consumer should not buy in X school district for any reason. IMHO we would be steering by school district then. Let a buyer tell you what school districts they want. Sometimes we get boosterish (is that a word?) about a particular school district... if we live in the community, are cheerleaders (figuratively) for the community ... but that should not mean that we would steer all consumers to that school district. They have to buy where they want to buy based on their needs... obviously the most important would be what they want for their kids. That's where we give them the school district report cards, a site like School Matters, etc. If the buyer says I want school district X, Y or Z but I don't want to buy in A, B or C, the consumer has that right.... Quality of education, resale, safety, socio economic level of the neighborhood (I still don't see safety) is the buyers choice whatever the agent thinks about the school district is immaterial...

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) over 11 years ago
Some folks just don't get it!  Steering is steering - and its against the law.
Posted by James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORS®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes, When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move (Real Living | At Home) over 11 years ago

I think what the Dayton area agent was trying to communicate was that, generally speaking, higher socioeconomic areas tend to have less crime than others. One way to figure out socioeconomic status is to look at the ratings of schools.  Wealthier areas, generally speaking, have better schools.

I don't that dynamic is any big secret.  Lenn is correct in that there are charter schools, private schools, and magnet school that will not make this general trend true, but the trend is generally true.  That trend is what makes a neighborhood stable and desireable. 

Now having said that, I don't answer questions from out of area clients on this or other forums, and also find it highly irritating when agents do.  Laws vary so much from state to state, and some states are attorney states, so I just stick to what I know.

Posted by Melina Tomson, Principal Broker/Owner, M.S. (Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon) over 11 years ago

Steering is steering - and it's against the law....  ;- )  thanks James

Melina I think everyone got what the Dayton agent is saying, the question is, is it steering by school district? If she said it about her own market would it be steering? 

Columbus is a big city, over 700,000 population and over 212 square miles... in the city limits...all neighborhoods in a school district are equally safe or unsafe based on the 4 words that the state uses to rate the school district?  

The 5000 + homes that sold in the largest local school district last year are all lumped together ... equally safe or unsafe based on the one word from the state?  The neighborhoods  where the homes sold for under 30,000 dollars in 2007 were equally safe or unsafe than the neighborhoods in the school district where the homes sold for over a million dollars?  

I think "ask the police" is a better answer in so many ways than look at the states ratings of the schools... and draw some conclusion about the safety of the neighborhood from the rating of the school district. 

 

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) over 11 years ago
Your point is very well taken and of course one that I think will haunt this industry in the ways you and others have described.
Posted by Greg Knowles Santa Barbara Ca. (Fidelity National Title Group-Santa Barbara) over 11 years ago

I don't think it is steering.  The agent didn't say, "Caucasian's go to this school, so it is better."  The writer clearly stated that she HAD gone to the police and looked at crime data and that it wasn't helpful. Resending her back to an unhelpful source doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

It is NOT steering to say that the state rated these 10 schools better than those 10 schools. Those are facts.  Steering would be if a Hispanic family came to you and said they wanted to be in a good school district, and you as an agent said "here is the good school districts for the Hispanic kids."  That is steering.  It is not steering to pull out the state report cards, and see which schools are rated good by the state, have your client look it over, and then have them decide where they want to look.

Providing someone with information is not steering.  Our job is to give our clients as much information as possible and then let them look.  I just think this agent was trying to give the potential buyer another way at looking at the "health" of a neighborhood. I am seeing this a lot in real estate now, where buyer agents are so concerned about steering that they answer NO questions whatsoever.  What is the point of hiring an agent, if they can't help you answer some basic questions?  There is a point where common sense kicks in.

Posted by Melina Tomson, Principal Broker/Owner, M.S. (Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon) over 11 years ago

We are going to have to agree to disagree, Melina. 

When I saw the answer on Trulia, the first thing I thought of was the articles on Realty Times describing steering by school district. 

No one hired an agent.  They person asking the question on Trulia is not a client, she is not even a prospective  client for an agent  from another market. The multitudes of consumers reading the response (or at least Trulia hopes it's Voices are read by many people ) are not clients.  A client did not ask for information about school districts or even socio-economic make-up of the neighborhood, she asked about safety.   

I give clients information on schools, but not when they ask about safety. 


Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) over 11 years ago

Participate