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What are the main legal issues residential realtors face?

You remodeled the home office, hung out the shingle and built an online presence with a basic website. On Saturday afternoons, you are now out and about in Illinois suburbia keeping a watch for prime residential properties. As you begin your career in residential real estate, remember to think through the legal issues that go along with being a realtor. 

The National Association of Realtors outlines the main “legislative and regulatory issues that affect real estate.” One concern that has been in the news a lot in recent days is data breaches, which have affected some of the largest global organizations in business today. They are also of concern to you, a local realtor who collects a significant amount of personal information from potential clients. Knowing the laws that govern collection of such data will be important to your success.

Fair housing regulations also belong in your knowledge toolkit. The NAR reminds readers these “laws [intend] to eliminate discriminatory behavior from the housing market.” As a realtor, you cannot discriminate based on a number of factors, including but not limited to religion, handicap or national origin. How that plays out in your day-to-day role is a prohibition against “steering” potential clients to certain more accepting neighborhoods or “blockbusting, which is an attempt to create sales by playing on discriminatory fears.”

Other laws the NAR states you should be aware of are those regarding:

  • Issues surrounding lead-based paint
  • Antitrust guidelines
  • Restrictions in federal marketing

If you have questions about the laws that affect residential real estate in your area, you may want to consider contacting a real estate attorney.

Note this information only intends to educate and should not be construed as legal advice.