Every Realtor has had a near disaster in their career. I am no exception.


There’s the one about the seller who insisted on learning everything they could about buyers before letting them through the door. A long list of questions. Talk about opening yourself up to violating Fair Housing Regulations. Yup, we had to fire that one.


Fair Housing Regulations are in place for a reason, and the Justice Department can levy fines up to $100,000. Recently social media advertising platforms have been fined for allowing advertisements that violated Fair Housing regs. Bottom line is that no one has the right to discriminate against anyone when it comes to housing.


What does that mean for the average home seller and their Realtor? I suspect some home sellers don’t even think about how questions may be interpreted by buyers. But we need to be very careful in the questions we ask to eliminate even the impression of discrimination. 


Personally, I do not know of a situation in Vermont where a Realtor has been called on this, but the risk is there. We don’t hesitate to cancel a listing contract if a seller insists on putting us in danger of a violation. Luckily it has only happened once. I like to believe Vermonters really do not want to discriminate, so we don’t run into it very often.


In talking with a potential buyer the only thing we should be asking them for is a pre-approval letter. If they are financially able to purchase, that’s all we need to know. 


If you have any real estate or Vermont related questions, let me know. Happy to answer all questions.

Cindy Lyons, co-owner and principal broker

New England Landmark Realty