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April is National Fair Housing Month and reminds every American that all persons have equal access to housing and that fair housing is not an option; it is the law. The Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, protects people from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and family status.

The National Association of REALTORS® and civil rights groups are currently pressing Congress to pass the Equality Act, which adds sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics under the Fair Housing Act and all other federal laws. NAR amended its Code of Ethics to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in 2011 and gender identity in 2013.

Under the NAR REALTOR® Code of Ethics, REALTORS® cannot deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

A home seller or landlord cannot discriminate in the sale, rental and financing of property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. They cannot instruct their real estate agent to convey any limitations in the sale or rental of their property.

Buyers or renters have the right to expect:

  • housing in their price range made available without discrimination
  • equal professional service
  • the opportunity to consider a broad range of housing choices
  • no discriminatory limitations on communities or locations of housing
  • no discrimination in the financing, appraising, or insuring of housing
  • reasonable accommodations in rules, practices and procedures for persons with disabilities
  • non-discriminatory terms and conditions for the sale, rental, financing, or insuring of a dwelling
  • freedom from harassment or intimidation for exercising their fair housing rights.

If you or your clients suspect discrimination, visit https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/ to file a complaint.

 

 

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While many people know that a REALTOR® helps consumers buy and sell homes, not many know that a REALTOR® and a real estate agent are not the same. Last week, the National Association of REALTOR® (NAR) launched the “That’s Who We R” campaign that seeks to educate consumers on the difference and the value of a REALTOR®.

The term “REALTOR®” is a registered trademark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and abides by the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. More than just agents who help clients buy and sell homes, REALTORS® are advocates for property owners, engaged community members and trusted advisors with in-depth knowledge of the industry. The new NAR campaign features compelling stories about REALTORS® helping individuals and families find homes and property, build communities and turn their dreams into realities.

“Our story is a century in the making as we began to set NAR members apart from the rest by establishing a Code of Ethics in 1913. This code is as relevant now as it was one hundred years ago; it’s our pledge of honesty, integrity, professionalism and community service as a true partner for buying or selling a home, or property,” says John Smaby, NAR 2019 president. “’That’s Who We R®’ reinforces that partnering with a REALTOR®, delivers the peace of mind that can only come from working with a real person who is committed to their clients’ futures and neighborhoods just as much as they are.”

Founded in 1908, NAR has grown to be America’s largest trade association representing more than 1.3 million REALTORS® involved in residential and commercial real estate as brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors, and others who are engaged in all aspects of the real estate industry. Members belong to one or more of 1,700 local associations/boards and 54 state and territory associations of REALTORS®. Additionally, NAR provides a facility for professional development, research, and exchange of information among its members.

Alan Barbic, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, which has over 5,000 REALTOR® and affiliate members practicing real estate on the Peninsula and in the South Bay, says the REALTOR® pledge to a strict Code of Ethics and Standard of Practice raises the bar among real estate professionals.

“Today’s homebuyers and sellers deserve a real estate professional whom they can trust and who has their best interests at heart. The Code of Ethics goes beyond state licensing requirements and protects all parties to the real estate transaction, not just a REALTOR®’s client. If a local association of REALTORS® finds a REALTOR® member in violation of the Code of Ethics, disciplinary action can be imposed,” explains Barbic.

Barbic adds in order to maintain membership with NAR, SILVAR or any other local association of REALTORS®, NAR requires every REALTOR® to complete two and a half hours of Code of Ethics training every two years.

 

Even though income and sales volume of REALTORS® have dropped slightly in the past year, membership in the National Association of REALTORS® has increased, as more younger agents continue to enter the industry. According to the “2018 National Association of REALTORS® Member Profile,” membership increased 6 percent from 1.22 million in March 2017 to 1.30 million in April 2018.

“Younger Americans are seeking business opportunities that working in real estate provides,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. But Yun also noted the overall trend is still a slightly older age profile.

Members of NAR account for about half of all active real estate licensees in the U.S. REALTORS® go beyond state licensing requirements by subscribing to NAR’s Code of Ethics and standards of practice and committing to continuing education.

“All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® are properly called REALTORS®. They display the REALTOR® logo on their business card or other marketing material,” explained Bill Moody, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®. The REALTOR® association has over 4,500 REALTORS® and affiliate members engaged in the business of real estate on the Peninsula and in the South Bay.

“REALTORS® are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are required to complete a two and a half hour Code of Ethics course every two years,” said Moody.

The NAR member survey found the median age of REALTORS® was 54 this year, slightly up from 53, the last two years. Sixty-three percent of realtors are female. The typical REALTOR® is a 54-year-old white female who attended college and is a homeowner.

Sixty-five percent of REALTORS® are licensed sales agents, 21 percent hold broker licenses, and 15 percent hold broker associate licenses. New members tended to be more diverse than more experienced members. Twenty-five percent with two years of experience or less were minorities, up from 22 percent last year.

According to Moody, the national survey reflects the profile of incoming members in the local REALTOR® group, which has over 4,500 members. “Our new members definitely reflect a younger and more diverse group of agents,” said Moody.

Impacted by low inventory, the typical number of transactions decreased slightly from 12 transactions in 2016 to 11 transactions in 2017. REALTORS® said the main factors limiting potential clients in completing transactions are difficulty finding the right property (35 percent), housing affordability (17 percent), and difficulty in obtaining mortgage financing (12 percent).

 

 

 

All REALTORS® MUST COMPLETE ethics training between the January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018 cycle or be suspended by NAR.

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) requires that every REALTOR®, in order to maintain membership in the Association of REALTORS®, must complete a 2 1/2 hour Code of Ethics course every two years. This means all REALTOR® MUST COMPLETE the ethics training at some point between the cycle of January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018. Failure to comply with this required ethics training is a violation of a membership duty and will result in suspension and possible termination from the member’s primary Association.

It is this mandatory ethics training and membership with NAR that differentiates REALTORS® from real estate agents. Although both are real estate licensees, REALTORS® proudly display the REALTOR “®” logo on the business card or other marketing and sales literature. REALTORS® are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate.

REALTORS® can take the ethics training online through NAR. It’s easy and it’s FREE. Visit NAR CODE OF ETHICS ONLINE for more information on online classes and this mandatory NAR requirement. Code of Ethics training is also included in CalBRE license renewal requirements, so if a member has renewed their license between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018, their Code of Ethics requirement is covered.

If you have already taken Code of Ethics training for this period outside of California license renewal, via NAR or the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) or elsewhere, please email a copy of the certificate to your primary Association. If you are a member of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR), you can email a copy of your certificate to membership@silvar.org before the deadline of December 31, 2018. The next compliance cycle will start January 1, 2019 and end on December 31, 2020.

April 2013 marks the 45th anniversary of the 1968 landmark Fair Housing Act, which strives to to ensure equal housing opportunity for all. Each year REALTORS® join the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and rest of the nation in recognizing April as Fair Housing Month.

REALTORS® play a vital role in ensuring fair housing for all and strive to make homeownership accessible to everyone. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) works to help create an environment where everyone can choose where they want to live and not be discriminated against as they seek to achieve the American dream of homeownership.

Carolyn Miller, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, whose members are also members of NAR, says REALTORS® abide by a Code of Ethics that states REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services and shall not be a party to any plan or agreement to discriminate against any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or sexual orientation.

“REALTORS® want all buyers and sellers to enjoy the benefits of a housing market free from discrimination,” says Miller.

On April 26, SILVAR is promoting Fair Housing Month by offering At Home With Diversity®, a course that teaches REALTORS® and other business professionals how to work effectively within a multicultural market. The full-day course addresses topics like diversity, fair housing and business planning development. For more information about At Home With Diversity®, call SILVAR at (408) 200-0100.

“Knowing how to work effectively with diverse populations can help you build business success in today’s multicultural real estate market,” adds Miller.

Under the law, a home seller or landlord cannot discriminate in the sale, rental and financing of property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. They cannot instruct their real estate agent to convey any limitations in a sale or rental.

Buyers or renters have the right to expect housing will be available to them without discrimination, including:
• housing in their price range made available without discrimination.
• equal professional service.
• the opportunity to consider a broad range of housing choices.
• no discriminatory limitations on communities or locations of housing.
• no discrimination in the financing, appraising, or insuring of housing.
• reasonable accommodations in rules, practices and procedures for persons with disabilities.
• non-discriminatory terms and conditions for the sale, rental, financing, or insuring of a dwelling.
• freedom from harassment or intimidation for exercising their fair housing rights.

Buyers or renters who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing within one year of the alleged discrimination.

HUD recently launched a new mobile application for iPhone and iPad that provides the public information about their housing rights and responsibilities. The app also provides information about the fair housing complaint process, and allows the public to access HUD’s toll-free discrimination hotline and link to HUD’s fair housing website: http://www.hud.gov/fairhousing

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