Is your Realtor giving you all the facts? While Realtors have a duty to disclose everything that they know about a property, the same cannot be said of its neighborhood. You may think that you can ask your real estate agent anything, but unfortunately there are some questions that they just can’t answer.
Doing so would be illegal, in fact. This has its grounds in the Fair Housing Act, which, in the words of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, “prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability.” The legislation’s goal is to help ensure that buyers won’t get steered to or away from certain neighborhoods due to the abovementioned factors.
What Your Realtor Can’t Tell You
The Fair Housing Act has been around for decades, but not all buyers are aware that it prohibits their Realtors from discussing certain things with them. If you’re not sure about what you can or can’t ask, we’ve enumerated some of them for you:
- Demographic information. You can’t ask your Realtor what the household income in the neighborhood is nor will he or she answer queries regarding the race, religion and ethnicity of your potential neighbors.
- Crime rates. Most buyers are surprised that their agents can’t really comment on what a neighborhood’s crime profile is. They can, however, tell you where to find the information you need.
- Schools. Realtors can direct you to the right resources, but they can’t comment on particular schools and school districts.
Where to Find Information
While your Realtor may not be able to answer all of your questions, it’s not that difficult to find information yourself. Moreover, it would be in your best interest to get personally acquainted with any neighborhood you’re interested in – walk or drive around at different times of the day to get a feel for its rhythms and find out whether or not they’d mesh with yours. As for actual data, buyers of Humboldt County, CA real estate can get it from these sources:
- For general neighborhood information, check out NeighborhoodScout.com. This site makes it easy for buyers to crime, school and even real estate appreciation reports. You can get an overview of a city or key in a specific address to find out what schools serve the area, and so on.
- To learn more about area schools’ test scores and other school-related information, check out GreatSchools.org. SchoolMatters.com, though currently offline, is a great resource as well.
- FamilyWatchdog.us lets you enter specific addresses so you can find out about sex offenders in particular areas. For more crime information, contact the local police department.
- The Humboldt Geographic Information Systems (GIS) portal at gis.co.humboldt.ca.us has extensive datasets on zoning, fire district boundaries, earthquake faults, and so on. A variety of maps is also available.
- For more real estate information, check out Foreclosures.com (sign-up required), Realtor.com and do browse our site.
Interested in Humboldt County real estate for sale? Find out what properties are currently available here and get in touch with Sue Forbes & Associates for more information on the market and your housing options.