• kimfairfieldmba

Racism and Real Estate

Before I get into the meat of this blog topic, I want to fully admit that I am feeling uneasy and uncomfortable in addressing race and discrimination - perhaps more so because it is the national dialogue right now. As an Asian American growing up in an overwhelmingly white community as a child, I have experienced racial bullying and many of those "jokes" that some people seem to find funny but are really just offensive - some of this recently. But my own perceptions and experiences don't come from generations of oppression. Nonetheless, the unease and discomfort are necessary. We need these tools to fuel growth and create change. So in keeping with my promise to be authentic, I'd like to share some of my story with you and explain how this has impacted my real estate practice.

This blog became so long, that I've separated it out into two parts. Please follow the link below to read about my limited, but true experiences.



I'm going to put the most important bit right up front for you:

I do not and will not discriminate in my real estate practice. Not just because it's the law, but because this is how I choose to embrace every aspect of my life.


Before we move on, I also want to point out that if you are looking to buy/sell a house and would feel more comfortable with a translator assisting, most Realtors have the ability to make this happen. There are programs we can use to have virtual translators attend meetings, and locally I can also make arrangements for in-person translators in a variety of languages, such as Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese.


As a global firm, Sotheby's International Realty has offices around the globe and works with partners from all backgrounds and walks of life. But recent events have made us all focus on the issues closer to home. On June 1, President and CEO of Sotheby's International Realty Philip White sent a message to all affiliated realtors and brokers that racism and discrimination have not and will not be tolerated. I absolutely 100% agree and advocate that the basic tenant of real estate should be applied not just in real estate, but across all industries: to provide FAIR AND EQUAL service to ALL clients.

Unfortunately, as recently as November 2019, Newsday published the results of a three year undercover investigation of real estate in Long Island that revealed that this isn't always the case. So I want to be crystal clear here:

I adhere to all Fair Housing Act, Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, and National Association of Realtor's Code of Ethics guidelines related to race and discrimination.

Specifically, for PA local Realtors this means no discrimination when it comes to renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities, based on:

  • Race

  • Color

  • National Origin

  • Religion/faith

  • Sex

  • Familial Status

  • Disability

  • Sexual Orientation

  • Gender Identity (specified only by NAR Code of Ethics)

  • Ethnicity

  • Age

  • Ancestry

  • Pregnancy

There should be no discrimination when it comes to advertising or marketing homes or house-related services. Racial steering (guiding prospective home buyers towards or away from certain neighborhoods based on their race) and blockbusting (the practice of persuading owners to sell property cheaply because of the fear of people of another race or class moving into the neighborhood, and thus profiting by reselling at a higher price) are both illegal.

If you feel that you have been unfairly treated based on any of these protected classes, you should call toll-free, PA FAIR HOUSING HOTLINE, 855-866-5718.

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