Each April, during Fair Housing Month, the National Association of REALTORSÂ® (NAR) recognizes the discrimination and segregation that exists in the industry, working to strengthen fairness for all consumers. But our efforts are not limited to one month a year. We encourage members to regularly refresh their understanding of fair housing issues and critically examine their business practices throughout the year.
NAR requires its members to abide by a strict code of ethics and commit to providing equal and fair service to all consumers, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, disability, status family, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity. Discriminatory comments or behavior are not tolerated. However, bias is still a pervasive problem in real estate and it’s not always easy to recognize.
The bias may be unintentional. It’s easy to follow instincts or act out of habit, but to ensure you’re providing a fair and inclusive service, it’s important to slow down and take a closer look at your biases and business practices. Here are three resources that can help you refresh and deepen your understanding of these questions:
- Countering Biases: Overcoming Barriers in Fair Housing Training Course – NAR recently released a new three-hour training course that helps real estate professionals understand implicit biases and recognize how they might show up in their thinking and practice. Implicit bias means that our brains automatically and unconsciously associate stereotypes with particular groups of people, both positive and negative. This, in turn, may cause us to provide different levels of service to these individuals. This course includes practical tools and tactics to help you identify stereotypical thoughts and overcome hidden biases. The live course will be launched in the first quarter of 2022; sign up at training4re.com.
- At Home with DiversityÂ® (AHWD) Certification Course – Realtors need to be adept at working with clients of all backgrounds and identities, and the AHWD course prepares you to do just that. It refreshes your knowledge of fair housing laws and helps you ensure that your marketing, advertising, and business practices are inclusive and FHA-compliant. The course is available live and online; register at nar.realtor/ahwd.
- Fairhaven: a fair housing simulation – NAR’s interactive online simulation uses storytelling to help agents identify, prevent and address discriminatory practices in real estate. The scenarios used in the simulation were inspired by real cases and conversations about fair housing. It is an invaluable (and complementary) tool that is available to NAR members. Log in to fairhaven.realtor.
These three programs will allow you to recognize your own biases and implement policies to ensure that all customers receive the same level of service. Together we can stand up for what is right. Because “This is who we R.”
Jennifer Rzeszewski is Vice President of Membership Development and Executive Director of the Center for REALTORÂ® Development (CRD), NAR’s home for exceptional education. Learn more about the CRD on crd.real estate agent.