Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, April 14, 2023

Realtors’ ongoing commitment to fair housing

For Realtors across the country, April is the month we spotlight the importance of housing being accessible to all.

In conjunction with all other local and state associations, as well as the National Association of Realtors, we commemorate the April 1968 passage of the Fair Housing Act with events and education to learn from past discrimination and how “Fair Housing Makes U.S. Stronger.”

Working to make the dream of homeownership available to everyone might seem like a no-brainer. Still, history teaches us about redlining and other steps that fought against neighborhood integration.

We can learn some hard but important lessons through Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, bestselling author and Chattanooga native Bill Dedman in Newsday’s Long Island Divided investigation. Dedman highlighted racial steering by real estate agents and what can be done to combat racism in real estate.

All Chattanoogans can hear Dedman discuss his investigation Tuesday, April 18 at Bessie Smith Cultural Center beginning at 11 a.m. This luncheon is free to members. Nonmembers can call 423 698-8001 to register for $20.

So, from a national perspective, what are we doing to right the wrongs of our past? For starters, the NAR implemented a Fair Housing Action Plan called “ACT!” that’s composed of three pillars:

• Accountability

• Culture change

• Training

Through the ACT! initiatives, NAR is working to ensure America’s 1.5 million Realtors are doing everything possible to protect housing rights in this country.


The preamble to the Realtor Code of Ethics charges every Realtor with identifying and taking steps through Code of Ethics enforcement to eliminate practices that might damage the public or which might discredit or bring dishonor to the real estate profession.

Regarding fair housing and discrimination, Article 10 says, “Realtors shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Also, “Realtors shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Further, Article 10, Standard of Practice 10-1 states, “When involved in the sale or lease of a residence, Realtors shall not volunteer information regarding the racial, religious or ethnic composition of any neighborhood nor shall they engage in any activity which may result in panic selling.”

In November 2020, NAR expanded Article 10 to include Standard of Practice 10-5, which prohibits Realtors from using “harassing speech, hate speech, epithets or slurs based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

And in April 2021, NAR confirmed that while Realtors are subject to disciplinary action due to their real estate-related activities, Standard of Practice 10-4 applies to all of a Realtors’ activities. Such evolutions to our Code of Ethics help us all do better through peer-to-peer accountability and enforcement.

Culture change

The NAR teamed up with the Perception Institute to create a free online workshop – Bias Override: Overcome Barriers to Fair Housing – to help Realtors avoid implicit bias in their daily business interactions.

This year, I’ve challenged all Realtors serving on a local committee to complete the Bias Override Workshop. We’re learning we all have unconscious stereotypes due to our history, culture and past experiences that can cause us to treat those who are different from us unfairly, even while our conscious mind rejects discrimination.

By learning about their implicit biases, Realtors bring about culture change using tools to help with cross-group interactions and improve relationships one interaction at a time.


In addition to Code of Ethics and Implicit Bias training, the NAR offers tools such as the At Home With Diversity certification, which the association designed to enable Realtors to work successfully in changing multicultural markets.

It teaches diversity sensitivity, how it applies to U.S. fair housing laws in business and ways to develop professional guidelines for working with people in real estate.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors is offering this class free to members April 24. Like the Implicit Bias training, I’m challenging all local leadership to obtain the AHWD certification.

Also, NAR created Fairhaven, which is my third 2023 challenge to the leadership of Greater Chattanooga Realtors. In completing a visit to Fairhaven, an online fair housing simulator, agents work against the clock to sell homes in the fictional town of Fairhaven while confronting discrimination in the homebuying process.

During the training, Realtors walk in the shoes of a homebuyer facing discrimination and obtain customized feedback to apply to daily business interactions.

Since NAR introduced Fairhaven in 2020, nearly 200 Greater Chattanooga Realtors have completed or started their visit to Fairhaven.

Realtors across the country take fair housing very seriously, whether during this month of commemoration or all year long. For all the ways Greater Chattanooga Realtors is promoting fair housing, see www.gcar.net/fair-housing-month-2023.

Thanks to these efforts, we better understand our local markets and our impact on the real estate industry. Our members know how best to work with potential buyers and sellers, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin.

Realtors work with people of every background so they can achieve the dream of homeownership. That’s Who We R.

Founded in 1912, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is the voice for real estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,700 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors serves Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. The association is one of approximately 1,100 local associations and boards of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. Greater Chattanooga Realtors owns and operates a Multiple Listing Service that is one of approximately 600 MLSs in the country and services more than 3,000 MLS users. Local association membership consists of Realtors servicing the Greater Chattanooga area and specializing in a variety of disciplines, including appraisal, commercial, industrial, land, multifamily, property management and residential. Affiliate members who represent related industries work alongside these Realtors, including mortgage lenders, home inspectors, title and closing services, pest inspection and control services and insurance providers.