During the holidays, as we gather with family and friends – and celebrate sharing, togetherness, and “Peace on Earth” – we can express our care for the people around us by striving to build more diverse, equitable, and inclusive communities. Embracing diversity means living diversity. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) is on a mission. That mission is to make sure Realtors® are educated to properly address fair housing, diversity, and inclusion in housing. NAR has recognized there are areas of weaknesses and intends to strengthen those areas through education.
Along these lines, NAR is now offering a higher credential: a certification called At Home with Diversity®. Since 1998, this certification program has educated thousands of Realtors to work fairly and effectively with a changing and increasingly diverse pool of home buyers and home sellers.
Recently, the Boulder/Longmont Realtor® Association hosted a certification class, taught by Natalie Davis. Davis is a highly qualified, dynamic, and energetic speaker who currently serves as the Chair of the Colorado Association of Realtors Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She will be retiring from that position and will chair the Colorado Association of Realtors in 2023.
The At Home with Diversity Course teaches Realtors how to:
• Assess and understand attributes of diversity in local markets and their impact on the real estate industry.
• Understand basic competencies to earn the confidence of potential buyers and sellers, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, handicaps, familial status, or national origin.
• Build a business plan that minimizes risk and successfully services all types of clients.
Realtors have a commitment to the Realtor® Code of Ethics. Article 10 in the Code of Ethics addresses the Realtor’s commitment to fair housing. Article 10 prohibits Realtors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity in the provision of professional services and in employment practices. As recently as November 2020, the NAR Board of Directors approved a new standard of practice under Article 10-5, which states, “Realtors must not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets, or slurs” against members of those protected classes.
The Board also approved a change to their professional standards policy, expanding the Code of Ethics applicability to all activities by a Realtor, and added guidance to the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual to help professional standards hearing panels apply the new standard. This means that NAR has strengthened and expanded the Code of Ethics applicability to discriminatory speech and conduct. It means that posts on social media accounts and other public expressions of hate speech or discriminatory practices may be subject to a Code of Ethics hearing and disciplinary action.
NAR’s Interpretation of Standard of Practice 10-5 is as follows:
“Standard of Practice 10-5 is not focused on types of speech that might be subjectively deemed ‘offensive’ or ‘discriminatory’ by one person and not another. The Standard of Practice is based on very particular types of speech that are directly connected to the protected classes of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity under Article 10. Only the use of harassing speech, hate speech, epithets and slurs based on the protected classes of Article 10 are prohibited. The terms ‘harassing speech,’ ‘hate speech,’ ‘epithets,’ and ‘slurs’ can be commonly understood by use of a dictionary as well as other easily available references.”
Realtors have made a further commitment to pledge to their customers and clients to subscribe to the One America principles. In 1997, the Clinton Administration in conjunction with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) created the One America Principles as follows.
I welcome you and want to do business with you.
I will base my decision and opinions of you on who you are, not on any preconceived stereotypes or ingrained value judgments.
I subscribe to the federal Fair Housing Act and its principles.
I embrace and celebrate the strength that diversity brings to our communities and our nation.
I will help you find opportunities to buy the home you choose.
I will market home ownership to the public and reach out to people who may not know that home ownership is a realistic option.
I will make sure you know there is a full range of housing choices available to you, and encourage you to consider all communities and neighborhoods.
I will make every effort so that we can communicate with each other. If we do not share a common language, I will work with you to find someone who can interpret.
I have incorporated these principles in my daily operations and my overall business plan. I would be proud to share the plan with you.
I am here to help you meet your real estate needs because you are the reason I am in business.
Please let me know about any cultural or special needs that you have so that our business relationship will be comfortable and successful.
If you have any concerns about fair housing, be sure to discuss it further with your Realtor.
By Duane Duggan. Duane has been a Realtor for RE/MAX of Boulder in Colorado since 1982 and has facilitated over 2,500 transactions over his career, the vast majority from repeat and referred clients. He has been awarded two of the highest honors bestowed by RE/MAX International: The Lifetime Achievement Award and the Circle of Legends Award. Living the life of a Realtor and being immersed in real estate led to the inception of his book, Realtor for Life. For questions, email DuaneDuggan@boulderco.com, call 303.441.5611 or visit BoulderPropertyNetwork.com.