Blockbusting, Redlining, and Steering
I just got some new clothes to better fit my style, courtesy of my mom! She's unlike a lot of other moms, because she has clothes that are STILL in style now. I would argue even more stylish than today's trends... As a result, I've been having loads of fun dressing up for work! Makes me more excited to get my day started. Sometimes I forget that even the smallest changes can have a huge affect on my mood and outlook. Little things like changing my wardrobe are game changers for me in keeping a positive mental attitude!
As some of you may know, as of the typing of this post, we are going through quite a big civil rights movement right now. Now, I feel like I don't have to emphasize what it is, as there are plenty of sources to refer to to better educate yourself and others on the Black Lives Matter (BLM) Movement. I will be transparent here and say that no, I am not of that race, but I also cannot feel content with sitting around and pretending everything is fine. The real estate industry has had a history of prejudice, injustice, and racism, and as I am directly involved with that, it is my job to be part of a change in the best way I can as well. While staying in my lane,
I want to be part of the change to better my industry and contribute into something that is bigger than myself
Thus, I decided to write this post!
So for some of you who are not familiar with the title of this post, you most likely aren't involved with real estate. However, these terms directly involve racism and prejudice in the real estate industry, and are important pieces of information and terms to look out for when you buy or sell a home. But first, let's start with knowing a little bit of background on how these terms came to be! On April 11th 1968, the Fair Housing Act was created. It created, and I'm citing this here, "the elimination of discriminatory practices and policies in the housing market". That sounds great right? Well, the fact that we needed this act stems from the terms that I mention in the title of this post: Blockbusting, Redlining, and Steering. I will briefly go over what these terms mean and how it affects the unjust practice of prejudice specifically in the real estate market.
- Blockbusting: Blockbusting is when agents will use a "sales tactic" to fear monger people living in a neighborhood that a specific race, community, or class of people are moving into that neighborhood. Basically what that means is that agents will door knock (as per usual in the industry) but will ask something along the lines of "So I heard that [a specific race] is moving into the neighborhood, and that will affect the neighborhood negatively! You don't want to live here because of that right? You should move out!"... Ugh. I think I just vomited a little
- Redlining: Redlining is a term that is used in a general way. Redlining can happen when a certain area is excluded or singled out to restrict people of a specific race the ability to apply for a loan, insurance, or even service at grocery stores or restaurants! It's basically the general term for "being racist". It just sounds more technical, I guess.
- Steering: Steering is a FORM of redlining. Steering is the specific term used in real estate where mortgage lenders will flat out refuse to give a loan based on the neighborhood a home is located. The homes will most likely be in less affluent neighborhoods, or may have a dominant "minority race" that they refused to lend into because of those reasons, and those reasons only. Some lenders will do this to keep the neighborhood homogeneous, or to prevent change in the neighborhood. This goes against the Fair Housing Act because it automatically limits the choices and options for buyers when they are searching for a home.
The terms themselves are not a lot to swallow. In fact, they are very easy to remember, but nonetheless are very important to keep in mind when you are buying or selling a home. Of course, I expect my fellow real estate professionals to already know these terms and TO AVOID THEM AT ALL COST AND NEVER PRACTICE THEM EVER. As a REALTOR in particular, we are expected to follow a Code of Ethics that outlines that, in short, we should treat everyone equally and provide quality service to everyone despite any differences we can or cannot see. Not to mention, practicing any of these things is a direct violation of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 (which was only 52 years ago) which means, yes, it is illegal... But when has the Civil Rights Act or Fair Housing Act ever stopped anyone from being racist?
I truly believe change has to come from every individual person, I myself find racist acts disgusting and I avoid them like my life depends on it. I also do not practice these things, not just because I'm a real estate professional, but as a person it disgusts me... Unfortunately, these practices still exist out there. I don't want to start preaching and writing for another hour to explain this, but yes, I am aware of the discriminatory practices that happen in some peoples' every day lives, and as a result, I can only do what I can do to make a difference in it. I don't know how many people will read what I put out there, but doing all that I can matters to me more than choosing to give up or choose not to see anything.
I hope that with everyone's efforts, love, and change, we can make a difference, no matter how small, to create ACTUAL fair housing for everyone who needs it and are ready for their next (or first) home! Because home is where the heart is.