If you ever ask a real estate broker specific questions about neighborhood demographics and don’t receive a direct answer, it’s because you have started treading in dangerous territory.
Real estate brokers know the definition of steering: the illegal funneling of homebuyers to a particular area based on the desire to keep the makeup of that neighborhood the same or intentionally change it. Racial steering receives the most consumer complaints, but the practice is not acceptable for any reason, and it goes against Fair Housing laws.
A real estate agents job is to match buyer’s financial parameters with desired features of available properties, not to the racial (or other) makeup of the area. If you ask a realtor to eliminate certain areas based on any of the protected classes, your agent cannot legally follow your request or instructions, even if they are your broker. A real estate broker may not answer your direct questions as to the make up of a neighborhood with regard to the following protected classes.
- national origin
- religious preference
- familial status
SOLUTION: If you really want to know about a neighborhood then find a Dog and go for a walk. You will be amazed at what you see and observe while walking around the neighborhoods you are considering. The reason I suggest you walk a dog, especially if it is a Golden Retriever like one of mine, is they are like a magnets and will cause people stop and want to talk with you. You are perfectly free to ask any question about the neighborhood with anyone who is not a real estate broker.
If you’d like to walk one of my dogs the rental fee is: Tennis ball, lacrosse ball, or baseball.