Every April, during Fair Housing month, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) recognizes the discrimination and segregation that exists in the industry, striving to build equity for all consumers. But our efforts are not limited to one month out of the year. We encourage members to regularly refresh their understanding of fair housing issues and examine their business practices with a critical eye throughout the year.
NAR requires its members to uphold a strict Code of Ethics and commit to providing equal and fair services to all consumers regardless of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity. Discriminatory speech or conduct is not tolerated. However, prejudice is still a pervasive problem in real estate—and it’s not always easy to recognize.
Bias can be unintentional. It’s easy to follow your instincts or operate out of habit, but to ensure that you’re providing equitable 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 refresh and deepen your understanding of these issues:
- Bias Override: Overcoming Barriers to Fair Housing Training Course – NAR recently released a new three-hour training course that helps real estate professionals understand implicit bias and recognize how it 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, can cause us to provide different levels of service to those individuals. This course includes practical tools and tactics to help you identify stereotypical thinking and overcome hidden biases. The live course launches in Q1 2022; register at training4re.com.
- At Home With Diversity® (AHWD) Certification Course – REALTORS® must 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 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 fair housing cases and conversations. It is an invaluable (and complimentary) tool that is available to NAR members. Log in at fairhaven.realtor.
All three of these programs will empower you to recognize your own biases and implement policies that ensure all clients receive the same level of service. Together, we can step up for what’s right. Because “That’s Who We R.”
Jennifer Rzeszewski is the vice president of Member Development and the executive director of the Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD), NAR’s home for exceptional education. Learn more about CRD at crd.realtor.