15 Things Your Realtor Can't (or Won't) Tell You

SAVING & SPENDING - HOME & AUTO
There are some things a real estate agent cannot share with you, no matter what their opinion or knowledge tells them.
Updated April 11, 2024
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Hiring a real estate agent means getting someone on your side. A realtor’s job is to help you every step of the way through the home-buying (or selling) process.

Even the best real estate agents have limitations on what they can share, though. They aren’t likely to give you financial advice, such as ways to pay your mortgage.

If you’ve asked your agent a question and cannot get a straight response, it could be they aren’t legally allowed to answer. Here’s what your realtor isn’t allowed to share with you… or just won‘t.

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Is it in a good school district?

pololia/Adobe little student girl studying at school

It seems like such a logical, highly valuable question. However, most agents can’t share their opinion of the school district where you’re buying.

An agent may be willing to provide you with information on the public school test scores — if publicly accessible — but they can’t offer opinions or suggest which school has a good or bad reputation.

Is this a good neighborhood?

Monkey Business/Adobe three girls riding down the street on scooters and a bike

The quality of a neighborhood is very subjective and one that most real estate agents cannot touch. Opinions like that can sway your decision, which means you could blame the agent later if you don’t agree.

Is this area safe?

fergregory/Adobe Crime scene tape and police car

Most home buyers have this question, but agents are limited in how they can answer. They can provide facts, such as government statistics on crime rates in an area, but they cannot tell you if it is a “safe” community.

They can point you in the right direction to finding this information, though, like publicly available databases.

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Is this area family-heavy?

Monkey Business/Adobe couple push daughter in stroller as son rides scooter

A “family-friendly” community may be something you want, or it may be something you want to avoid. In either case, the agent cannot tell you an answer to that question. 

That’s because (like many other topics here) it’s a protected bit of information called familial status, which the Fair Housing Act limits agents from sharing.

Is this a strongly religious area?

Deemerwha studio/Adobe Christian group of people holding hands praying

Whether you want to center your life around a religious organization or not, your agent can’t share information with you about the religious makeup of the community.

They can tell you where you can find specific religious organizations, but they cannot tell you that the area is a “heavily Catholic community” or “most people don’t follow a religion here.”

What is the racial makeup of this community?

CarlosBarquero/Adobe cheerful young friends taking selfie portrait

Another protected classification is race. Your real estate agent cannot tell you that the area is “mostly white” or “there are very few people of Hispanic background here.”

The racial makeup of a community may be available through the city’s website or Census Bureau information, but it’s up to you to find it.

Is this community a clean one?

Barbara Helgason/Adobe happy neighborhood

While you can certainly drive around to check out how often people cut their grass or keep the hedges trimmed, asking your agent if it’s a “clean” neighborhood isn’t an easy question to answer for many reasons.

You may want to live in a community where people care for their property. But your agent can’t offer an opinion on this question.

Find me a neighborhood without any…

Rainer Fuhrmann/Adobe aggressive man watches his neighborhood over the garden fence

That “any” could be anything that falls under these headings. Perhaps you don’t want to live next to someone of color, a specific religion, a specific lifestyle, or so on. 

No matter what you don’t want to do, real estate agents cannot steer you in any direction. 

Steering you means they cannot seek out a community to show you a home that’s specifically related to these types of inquiries. Even if they don’t outright say it, they cannot offer these types of recommendations.

Are there sex offenders in this community?

Atstock Productions/Adobe criminal man with handcuffs in interrogation room

Local officials can help you here since Megan’s Law requires all sex offenders to register their addresses.

While you can reach out to the local police or look for information online, don’t put it in your realtor's hands to tell you if someone with this type of background is present in an area where you’re planning to buy a home.

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Can you advertise my home as “safe”?

Krakenimages.com/Adobe couple wearing casual clothes smiling

When listing a home for sale, you may have plenty of recommendations for what you want your real estate agent to add to the listing.

You’ve never had a break-in or any damage to your home. You may want the agent to let buyers know there are great families in the area with lots of kids. Or you may want the agent to list your home as surrounded by seniors.

But an agent is going to market your home based on professional knowledge and experience, not what you tell him to say about it. After all, that’s why you hire a realtor, right?

Can you help me find a home with lots of singles around it?

goodluz/Adobe single man relaxing in sofa at home

Many people want to be surrounded by others like them, whether that’s married or single individuals or those that follow a specific lifestyle.

The problem is that it’s a form of discrimination based on marital status, which your agent cannot perpetuate.

Will my home’s value increase in the coming year?

Kiattisak/Adobe increased value of real estate

You certainly want some insight into what home prices in the area will do, but real estate agents don’t have a magic wand, and they cannot make statements like this. 

The reason is easy to see. If you buy a home anticipating the value to rise 10% in the coming years, and that doesn’t happen, you may try to blame the agent for your buying decision.

Can you market my home to young professionals?

Vasyl/Adobe young business people in office

There are definitely areas in many communities that attract a very specific demographic, but your agent cannot recommend one area or another to a specific group of people.

He cannot advertise the house to, say, “up-and-coming young professionals” or people who work in the tech industry. That’s a form of discrimination against others.

Is this home a good investment?

Krakenimages.com/Adobe young couple moving to a new home smiling positive doing ok sign

Buying a home could be a good investment, especially if your home’s value increases over time and you build financial stability from that. 

Yet, your agent cannot tell you that buying a home is the “right” or “best” decision for your situation. 

Realtors also cannot tell you what to do with your money, including which loan is “best” for you or how to start investing. That’s up to you and your financial advisors to discuss.

Which home should I buy?

Krakenimages.com/Adobe middle age senior couple moving to a new home with boxes

Home buying is a very personal decision — we all want to avoid throwing money away — but it’s not a decision that people can share. 

While your real estate agent may have an opinion, they cannot know which is the best choice for you.

Bottom line

Rido/Adobe happy multiethnic family with child holding cardboard roof

Your realtor should do everything possible to help you find or sell a great home. But, by law, there are some things your realtor can’t tell you. 

Being aware of these things puts you in a position to get ahead financially with a good investment. And given that a home is typically the largest investment you’ll make, you want to be an informed investor.

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Author Details

Sandy Baker Sandy Baker is a has over 17 years of experience in the financial sector. Her experience includes website content, blogs, and social media. She’s worked with companies such as Realtor.com, Bankrate, TransUnion, Equifax, and Consumer Affairs.

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