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15 Illegal Listing Descriptions

Updated: Mar 10

Do not break the law when it comes to fair housing!


It is not just 'politically acceptable,' but it is also the law (and it is plain smart business) to describe a space in a way that appeals to all customers.


Phrases about the neighborhood

Many of these phrases appear in property descriptions as part of the overall picture of the area and the home's location.


1. "Great schools"

Even though you know you should not discuss about schools, this term still comes up regularly. You can include the distance to local schools if you want to discuss about closeness to local schools, but you should not make any claims or assumptions regarding the quality of the schools in the region.


2. "Safe neighborhood/quiet neighborhood"

You should not be making these claims because you do not have a basis for telling potential clients what kind of experience they will have in a neighborhood. Not only is this loaded from a Fair Housing standpoint; you should not be making these assertions because you do not have a basis for telling potential clients what kind of experience they will have in a neighborhood. Someone else's definition of safe or quiet may differ from yours. Furthermore, these are frequently employed as coded language to denote predominantly white, wealthy, or child-free communities.



3. "Nice neighbors"

Making assumptions about the neighbors might sometimes be deceptive and erroneous. When it comes down to it, you have no idea what the neighbors are like or how they will receive a newcomer to the area.


4. "Walking distance"

Walking distance can be deceiving or hazardous for persons who are older or have restricted mobility. Using Google Maps to provide fractional distance is significantly easier. For example, "Harris Teeter (0.2 mi), Food Lion (0.4 mi), and Freedom Park (0.6 mi) are all located near this amazing property.”


5. "Near churches"

What’s even worse than this is to describe a certain church as a local landmark, as it implies that the prospective buyer should not only attend church, but should also belong to a specific denomination.


Property-related phrases

These terms are frequently used in property descriptions to describe the layout or contents of a home.