Riverside Realtor Blog - Alma Dizon

Alma shares her experiences and observations as a Realtor in Riverside California.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I'm not supposed to tell, but you can ask...

As a realtor, I'm not supposed to show or not show property on the basis of the ethnic make-up of the neighborhood. It follows that I shouldn't volunteer information about race, marital status, and sexual orientation either. I can and do talk about the economic conditions of a neighborhood and will tell buyers how to find public schools rankings. People generally understand that this is how it works, but every now and then, I get a surprise.

Some months back, a woman called and asked me if she could talk to my seller directly as she had some questions about the neighborhood. I asked my seller if he minded, and he said he just didn't feel comfortable dealing with potential buyers. So I asked the woman if she wanted to ask me the questions. Finally, she said that what she wanted to know was if any Black or Mexican people lived nearby. She added hastily that she wasn't racist. I paused, and it occurred to me to suggest that she park on the street and watch for a few hours on a weekend. But then I thought better of it as the elderly Black couple next door might call the cops on her. So I told her that the neighborhood was "fully integrated," and that I knew of African American, Spanish-speaking, Asian, and Caucasian families who lived on the street. I said that there might be other groups, but that I didn't know for a fact. This was enough information, and the woman assured me that she would call back if she had any more questions. She never did call again.

The funny thing is, I'm Filipina (several Philippine ethnicities), Chinese (probably Fukien), Anglo, and who knows what else. My extended family has members who are part Hawaiian, Native American, Jewish, Scottish, French, African American, and Japanese among other backgrounds. If this woman had seen my photo, she probably would have been scared off and never called in the first place!

2 Comments:

  • At 8/14/2006 2:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You blog about the different cultures is very interesting.

    You should read the Trends Report written by Stefan Swanepoel (he blogs at http://www.realblogging.com. In his sixth trend he extensively writes about the importance and impact of minorties and foreign born on the US real estate market.

    There was a good article about this trend that was published by RIS Media and can be read at http://www.rismedia.com/index.php/article/articleview/14120/1/1/

    I think there is a huge opportunities for realtors that serves this market over the coming years.

    Good luck.

     
  • At 2/11/2007 6:05 PM, Anonymous Bonnie Erickson said…

    I hate the fact that this is such a touchy subject. For those who are discriminatory, they will continue to find a way around it. For those who aren't, it acts as a straight jacket. For instance, my clients were Puerto Rican and African American. They require a racially diverse neighborhood for their kids. They are not wanting to stay away, but come to the neighborhoods that we are being mandated to protect. I'll never forget the young couple with their group of friends on a second showing. One set of friends was Caucasian and African American. The second set were both Caucasian with African American adopted children. The buyers were Honduran and Caucasian. One of the friends asked if they had explored the demographics of the neighborhood. "Is it all white?" I started laughing (Yes, in front of them!) saying a stranger who didn't see the mix of this group would think they were steering clear of the mixed neighborhood when the exact opposite was the reason for asking the question!

     

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