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For Sale By Owner: Fair Housing Laws And Ethics

Aug 17, 2007
When advertising your home for sale by owner, you will undoubtedly come into contact with a variety of people. All of these people, simply put, will not look just like you. You may come into contact with people of different ethnic groups or nationalities, people of different race, or even people with disabilities or handicaps. Situations can arise where discrimination against different types of people can be a violation of law, particularly regarding housing. Most types of housing are covered under these laws with the exception of those dwellings that operate under shelter laws, for example exclusively for battered women or for the hearing impaired.

Under the Fair Housing Laws, it is illegal to, based on someones color, creed, nationality, sexual orientation, handicap, etc; refuse to sell or to rent housing; refuse to negotiate for housing arrangements; make housing unavailable; deny a dwelling; set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling; provide differing housing services; claim falsely that housing is not available for rent, sale, or inspection; persuade owners to sell or rent - this is known as blockbusting; or deny access to membership in a service and / or membership related to the sale or rental of housing. All of the above, if violated, will result in prosecution and criminal charges being brought against the violator. The same, or similar criteria exist for mortgage lending for the purchase of a home.

There exist clauses in the laws that state it is illegal to threaten or coerce, to intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right. Also, you may not advertise or in any other way make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, handicap, etc; This prohibition against discriminatory advertising applies to single-family as well as owner-occupied homes that are otherwise exempt from the Fair Housing Act.

Housing discrimination is not always characterized by the slamming of the door in someones face or a bigoted remark being hurled at a potential homebuyer. However, it can be just as ugly and just as hurtful to the would-be buyer. Even without this as deterrence from the act, it is against the law. As a seller, it is important to treat each and every person interested in your home with dignity and respect. It helps to think of everyone as being a member of the human race instead of seeing them as being undesirable if they do not look like you.

With the legislation that exists, it is best to conduct the sale of your home in a business-like manner and treat the transaction with all seriousness and gravity without allowing personal preferences to interfere, as this is counter-productive to the ultimate goal: the sale of your home.

Your newspaper as well as other advertisements should be directed to the general public with the only descriptive language used being the language that describes your house alone. You must describe the demographic of your neighborhood and especially do not describe what type of person you would like to become interested in your house. If these guidelines are followed, there should be only the technical difficulties of closing the transaction rather than the complex ones dealing with offensive and discriminatory practice.
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For Sale By Owner - Search our database of farms for sale by owner or read a selection of real estate for sale by owner home value articles and information at Home-Sale.com.au
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