You are relocating to a new state or just moving to a neighborhood.  You have children who are school age and want a “certain type neighborhood”.  You know that a real estate agent will be critical in assisting you finding that dream home with everything you desire.

But, wait.  You need to know what a real estate agent can do for you and what they cannot say or do so that you don’t get angry when meeting them.  I have had potential new clients feel I’m not helping them when I refer them to websites or local authorities on the following questions, but its against Fair Housing Law.

What Real Estate can’t directly advise you on:

Schools.  You want to know is it a good or bad school district?  A real estate agent can refer to you to several sites to research to get local testimonials or state test scores.  Some of the sites include:  





Religious communities.  A real estate agent can relay a list of local religious organizations that you can call and explore, but not say things like “it is predominantly this denomination.”.

Crime Statistics:  Again, this is against Fair Housing because it pinpoints a certain class of people.  You can call the local police departments to get a more personalized answer, or you can visit sites like  http://www.citi-data.com

or familywatchdog.us

Household income:  A question you may be thinking of asking is “is this an upscale neighborhood?”.  Or, I was told its a bad neighborhood to look in.

Our answer most likely will be to explore the various sites like www.citi-data.com  or even to walk around the neighborhood early morning, midday and evening and see if you are comfortable with who your neighbors are.

So, what can a real estate agent do for you, you ask?

A real estate agent is critical in the whole home buying process.  They are not just “door openers”, but also really participate in your search from the very beginning until the closing.  First, to determine where you’d like to focus and if new to an area, should give you a general tour of your various towns/cities.  In Westchester there is a broad range from small towns like Dobbs Ferry all the way up to a larger city like White Plains with an active downtown area.

They should give you the tools to research the above Fair Housing questions so that when you start your search, you have basic knowledge of the area.

Real estate agents are the main liaison between your attorney, mortgage banker, and listing agent, as well as providing you sources for an inspection which they attend for you.  They also let the appraiser in when the time comes. Most importantly, they provide you with the comps of a house that you are looking at and help with negotiating on your behalf. With knowledge of their local areas, they can tell you whether a house will go quickly.   I set up all of my buyers on their own personal MLS reporting system.  This way we can both view properties that interest them and share notes.  

So, don’t shoot the messenger if they say, I’m sorry but that is not a question I can answer, and give you sources to check.  Check those sources, become knowledgeable and then your home search will be a smooth one!

If you are looking for a home in  Central to Lower Westchester County, don’t hesitate to call/text me at 914-523-5087 or email me at [email protected]hilip.com.

Thomas Ricapito Headshot
Phone: 914-804-3048
Dated: March 2nd 2015
Views: 1,679
About Thomas: I got into real estate sales by accident in 2006. At the time, I recently earned a Bachelor's Degre...

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