Avoiding Discrimination in Real Estate

If you are a member of a minority group, you may have run into discrimination while trying to buy a home. Whether you are discriminated against because of your race, gender, age, religious background or any other group you are in, you have the right to be treated fairly. There are several steps you can take to make sure that you are.

1. Know Your Rights

You have a right to choose where you want to live. If you have the means to buy a house, you cannot be discriminated against because of who you are. HUD has become a champion of fair housing practices, and has recently launched a campaign to promote them.

Also, look for the governmental publications concerning your particular state. These may be different from state to state. For example, some states actively fight against discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. Research the subject thoroughly to know how much help you can get from the government.

2. Recognize the Signs of Discrimination

Several unfair housing practices have been exposed for what they are, and it is a good idea to review them and know what to look for when you are house-hunting. One example is called “redlining.” This occurs when a mortgage lender places an imaginary line around a minority neighborhood and charges a higher rate of interest for people who buy houses there. This is patently unlawful and should not be tolerated.

Also, watch for extremely stringent qualification process when applying for a loan. For example, HUD has filed charges against one of the major banks which has made the loan application particularly difficult for people who have disabilities. This bank has held disabled people to a higher standard than the general population. This is unlawful too.

You may notice other signs of discrimination. For example, if your agent refuses to show you a home in a certain neighborhood, your rights are probably being violated. This might happen with any group. An older couple may not be made welcome in a neighborhood that seeks to attract younger buyers. Likewise, a family with too many children may be discouraged from buying a home in a neighborhood where there are few or no children. You do not have to accept this kind of treatment.

3. Stand Up for Yourself

When someone puts you in an imaginary box and tries to keep you there, stand up and make your voice heard. Let mortgage companies and agents know you will not let it happen to you. Sometimes all they need is to be reminded of their duties and responsibilities.

4. Call In Help

Armed with the knowledge of what your rights are, keep notes about ways you think you are being treated unfairly in the housing market. If you do not get any satisfaction when you speak up for yourself, it may be time to call in a real estate attorney. No matter who you are, you deserve to be treated fairly and honorably.



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