How To Overcome Bias And Promote Fair Housing

“How would it feel to be really excited about living in a certain neighborhood only to have a real estate agent tell you, ‘I think you’d be more comfortable somewhere else,’ ?”

This is the question that Rachel Godsil, Law professor at Rutgers Law School and co-founder and co-director of the Perception Institute, asks near the beginning of a 52-minute video that the Institute created in conjunction with the National Association of REALTORS® titled “Bias Override: Overcoming Barriers to Fair Housing.”

The video, created to help REALTORS® create protocols to both recognize and eliminate implicit biases in their industry, comes at an important time in the nation’s history, as awareness about social issues like systemic racism and implicit bias have been brought to the forefront.

NAR is using this video as an introduction to implicit bias training but has plans to go even further.

“To override bias, brokerages need to develop a set of protocols to make sure that everyone is treated fairly.”

The organization is working with the Perception Institute to develop a three-hour curriculum that brokers can use to train their agents. The plan is that the curriculum will be customizable for each brokerage so that they can address real life scenarios that their agents may encounter where an unrecognized bias could enter into the transaction.

Godsil suggests that it’s all about “building muscle,” much in the way you would working out in a gym. Keep doing the exercises repeatedly until it becomes easy.

She suggests to REALTORS® that when interacting with clients they:

Have a go-to positive memory.

Really focus on the other person’s experience.

Have a script – something that you validated to ensure that your words will be received well.

Respect reset – if something said lands wrong, don’t self-justify, but explain, and take ownership.

“To override bias, brokerages need to develop a set of protocols to make sure that everyone is treated fairly,” she says. “Listen to the clients’ preferences and allow every client to make his or her own choice… This may seem obvious but ignoring this is when bias gets in the way.”

Source: Home Ownership Matters