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Thread: Undercover Investigation Reveals Evidence Of Unequal Treatment By Real Estate Agents

  1. Top | #21
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trausti View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by laughing dog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Trausti View Post
    In our time of multiple real estate websites, if you’re interested in a house there seems little an agent can do to stop that. No agent? Then just go to the open house.
    Are you arguing that it doesn't matter if these real estate agents are bigots because people can use the internet or are you just trolling?
    How is this trolling? We bought our house a few years ago. That was our experience. With all the available information, the buyer has a lot of power.

    Ok not trolling. So it was the first thing LD suggested? I mean, same question to you as to metaphor, of what relevance is it if people can get around such things by certain means?

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    ITT:

    Identical applicants of different perceived race treated differently, with 'black' applicants being segregated.

    Racists: ITs nOt RaCIst BeCAuSE ThE agENtS JusT AsSumED thAT The aPPlICAntS WaNtEd tO Be SegreGAtED sO ThE ApPlIcANTs ArE ThE ReaL RAcISts

    Seriously? This is textbook racial profiling. AKA racism. It's racist to assume someone wants to be racially segregated.

  3. Top | #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Metaphor View Post
    I want to know how realistic the scenarios are of somebody walking into a real estate agent and being directed to particular properties, rather than (what I would expect), somebody researches properties online in the areas they're interested in and then approaches the real estate agent to see certain houses.
    Why do you want to know that?
    To get an understanding of what effect agent actions and prejudices and preferences actually have on the segregation of neighbourhoods.

    People have prejudices (though they're not necessarily "racist" - which used to mean discrimination against somebody to their detriment because you believe your own race is superior, and now means god knows what). These prejudices might be "people want to live in neighbourhoods that is composed of as many people of their own race/ethnicity as possible". But, if somebody does not have the infrastructure to enact their prejudices, their prejudices don't matter.

  4. Top | #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhyn View Post
    ITT:

    Identical applicants of different perceived race treated differently, with 'black' applicants being segregated.

    Racists: ITs nOt RaCIst BeCAuSE ThE agENtS JusT AsSumED thAT The aPPlICAntS WaNtEd tO Be SegreGAtED sO ThE ApPlIcANTs ArE ThE ReaL RAcISts

    Seriously? This is textbook racial profiling. AKA racism. It's racist to assume someone wants to be racially segregated.
    'Black' applicants weren't segregated. White ones were.

  5. Top | #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metaphor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhyn View Post
    ITT:

    Identical applicants of different perceived race treated differently, with 'black' applicants being segregated.

    Racists: ITs nOt RaCIst BeCAuSE ThE agENtS JusT AsSumED thAT The aPPlICAntS WaNtEd tO Be SegreGAtED sO ThE ApPlIcANTs ArE ThE ReaL RAcISts

    Seriously? This is textbook racial profiling. AKA racism. It's racist to assume someone wants to be racially segregated.
    'Black' applicants weren't segregated. White ones were.
    Yes, they were. By keeping white neighborhoods segregated, they were segregating black people. You can't segregate white people without segregating black people.

    Housing is zero sum.

  6. Top | #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhyn View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Metaphor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhyn View Post
    ITT:

    Identical applicants of different perceived race treated differently, with 'black' applicants being segregated.

    Racists: ITs nOt RaCIst BeCAuSE ThE agENtS JusT AsSumED thAT The aPPlICAntS WaNtEd tO Be SegreGAtED sO ThE ApPlIcANTs ArE ThE ReaL RAcISts

    Seriously? This is textbook racial profiling. AKA racism. It's racist to assume someone wants to be racially segregated.
    'Black' applicants weren't segregated. White ones were.
    Yes, they were. By keeping white neighborhoods segregated, they were segregating black people. You can't segregate white people without segregating black people.

    Housing is zero sum.
    So why did you mention only the segregation of black applicants?

  7. Top | #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metaphor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhyn View Post

    Yes, they were. By keeping white neighborhoods segregated, they were segregating black people. You can't segregate white people without segregating black people.

    Housing is zero sum.
    So why did you mention only the segregation of black applicants?
    That is your reason for obscuring the apparent racial profiling?

  8. Top | #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arctish View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Some problems here:

    1) The biggest issue was whether they were prequalified or not--being more willing to show houses to someone without prequalification if they were white. To a large degree this is a financial judgment call--does this person seem to know enough about the finances. That's not something they will do a good job of controlling for using paired testers.

    2) The next thing they are squawking about is realtors steering buyers to neighborhoods generally favored by other homebuyers of their race. Hey, that's their job--find what the customer wants!

    This looks like once again having to stretch to find "evidence" of discrimination.
    People don't have to be pre-qualified for loans in order to be shown properties. For some types of loans, you have to apply to purchase a specific property. It is not unusual for people to first see what's available and then apply for a loan if they find something they like. And anyway, "does this person seem to know enough about the finances?" is not a question a real estate agent should be asking or would even consider. They get commissions on sales. The bigger the price tag, the bigger the commission.
    But it most certainly is something they should be asking for their own personal reasons:

    A real estate agent only gets paid if the customer buys a house, but is going to cost the agent just about as much whether they buy one or not. Thus it's in the agent's interest to not show houses to those who aren't qualified. It's a balancing act--if someone comes in without a prequalification you have to decide if the odds of them being able to buy are high enough to risk investing time and miles. Accept too easily and you waste your time on the unqualified, reject too easily and you lose too many actual sales.

    Their pairing was based on faked actual finances, not upon how the people will appear to the realtor--this aspect of the test was actually totally lacking in controls. And you don't understand about prequalification--it's not based on a specific house and isn't a guarantee the bank will fund a particular mortgage. Rather, it's an evaluation that it appears they will be approved to borrow up to $x. Without that it comes down to the prospect's evaluation of whether they can afford it--and for the financially naive that can be wildly wrong. Thus showing houses to the naive who aren't prequalified is a far bigger risk than showing them to those who know what they're doing.

    If the more expensive houses are in neighborhoods where whites congregate, then that's where the agent should want to make a sale. But the race of the prospective buyer influences whether they'll be shown those properties, with black buyers being noticeably less likely to be given a walk-through.
    Showing a buyer a house they can't afford is a waste of time. And an agent is better off finding a house they want quickly than finding the most expensive house they could buy but taking longer at doing it. The difference in what they'll make nowhere near makes up for the time invested. (You have the same problem with selling--the agent is more interested in making a sale than in getting the best price.)

    I think some agents fear blowback if they sell a house to a black family and the neighborhood racists take offense. I also think some of the agents are racists themselves, and are doing their part to preserve racial segregation in certain communities. Either way, racial discrimination in the real estate business is an ongoing problem.
    Blowback how? There are far too many agents out there for the few people who know what happened boycotting a given agent to have any meaningful effect.

  9. Top | #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Higgins View Post
    We are talking Nassau and Suffolk counties here... where people who aren't "pre-qualified" go home shopping.

    Did the customers say they wanted segregation?

    This looks like once again having to stretch to find "evidence" of discrimination.
    You likely didn't even read the report.
    It's not what they say they want, but what history shows they buy.

    Admittedly, in the presence of substantial racism it could be self-fulfilling. However, if it was racism we should be able to see it by breaking it down by the race of the agent.

  10. Top | #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by laughing dog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Metaphor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhyn View Post

    Yes, they were. By keeping white neighborhoods segregated, they were segregating black people. You can't segregate white people without segregating black people.

    Housing is zero sum.
    So why did you mention only the segregation of black applicants?
    That is your reason for obscuring the apparent racial profiling?
    I obscured nothing; I was pointing out the bias in Jarhyn's characterisation.

    In general, I don't think people should discriminate based on race. But I also think people have prejudices, from malicious to benign, that will always affect their behavior. We should encourage systems where people's prejudices about race can't have much influence.

    For example, one of the agents in the study said they needed a pre-approval letter in one case, but not in the other. A policy around when pre-approval letters are required should be implemented, and exceptions to the policy should be rare but justifiable.

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