Author - PDH Real Estate

Hand holding a stethoscope over a pile of credit cards.

How Policy Changes at the Major Credit Bureaus Could Benefit Your Real Estate Business

This year, each of the three major credit reporting bureaus is rolling out a new policy, and it could mean good things for consumers. After all, a person’s credit score impacts everything from their ability to rent an apartment to a mortgage interest rate.

As a real estate agent, you may see how this impacts your clients directly. For many clients, getting a house will be easier. In other cases, lenders could make decisions that take into account changing scores. Here’s what you need to know.

How Do Credit Scores Work?

As you likely know, credit scores range from 300 to 850. A score higher than 700 is considered good, but most people looking into buying a house will want scores higher than 760. A credit score is based on payment history, credit utilization, credit history length, credit inquiries, and the number of accounts open.

What Is Changing?

The three major credit bureaus are improving standards by which they use records to report scores. Beginning just recently, the bureaus will exclude tax liens from all credit reports. This could impact some 11% of adults in the United States, many of whom will see an increase in their score up to 30 points.

If someone has failed to pay local, state, or federal government taxes, they may have a lien filed. In the past, tax liens have been included in credit reports. Tax liens were previously included because they indicated that one was unable to pay overdue taxes and thus may not be able to pay other types of debt. Unfortunately, even people who have paid off their liens may still see this reflected in their score for years.

Civil judgment data was also included in credit reports. Judgments may have been made against a person in court, and they have previously reflected as such in a credit score. Even paying off a judgment could mean that the bad mark stays on a person’s credit report for a certain amount of time.

What Do the Changes Mean?

The first change resulting from these new rules could be that more consumers qualify for home loans, which could initially be positive for business. People who were held back by their credit scores in the past may soon realize that they have the opportunity to buy a home, possibly for the first time in their lives.

Man smiling with a cut up credit card.

Consumers may be excited by their changing scores, but lenders could make changes to current policies to address this.

On the other hand, mortgage companies may begin to change their rules for approving loans. They may develop new programs for those with scores that have increased under new guidelines. Sub-prime mortgages are not a thing of the past, so it may feel that a burden falls on your shoulders to discuss loan offerings with your clients.

All of these changes also mean that real estate agents should pursue real estate continuing education to stay up-to-date with industry shifts. No matter where you live, you can keep up with changes that influence your industry. Choose your state now!

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Real estate CE

Arizona Will Permit Online Real Estate CE Beginning in 2019

With news of the passage of Arizona House Bill 2399, real estate agents in this southwestern state can rejoice. Beginning very soon, real estate professionals in Arizona will have the opportunity to fulfill their real estate continuing education hours online.

Taking into account the fact that real estate CE was previously only available in a classroom setting, this is great news. Read on to find out how the world of real estate is about to change in the Grand Canyon State.

What Is Changing in Arizona?

Arizona has only allowed classroom instruction for continuing education up to this point. With the passage of Bill 2399, Arizonans will be able to attend real estate CE on the web. This new law allows real estate agents to renew their licenses easily and on their own schedules.

 What Is Staying the Same in Arizona?

Arizona salesperson education requirements will remain the same in spite of the changes. Sales licensing requirements include 90 hours of classwork. Real estate salespersons must also complete a licensing examination.

Sales professionals must take 24 hours of CE every two years to renew their state licenses. Continuing education includes courses in agency law, contract law, disclosure, fair housing, and legal issues.

Arizona brokers must complete 90 hours of prelicensing education and maintain a real estate sales license for at least three of the last five years. They must also attend a broker management clinic and complete the state and national licensing exam.

Broker continuing education requires 30 hours of CE every two years. Coursework includes topics in agency law, contract law, broker management, disclosure, fair housing, and legal issues.

What Are the Advantages of Online Real Estate CE?

One of the most significant benefits of online education is the opportunity to pursue different topics. You can study a variety of subjects pertinent to your interests and career. The web offers more options for study than any single institution.

Online education gives you the chance to learn from the comfort of your own home, maintaining your routine. The convenience and flexibility of online education are often crucial factors for individuals who go to school while they manage a full-time job. Real estate agents can continue working while they pursue license renewal.

Continuing education on the web also allows you to learn in a self-paced environment. Depending on the layout of the class, you may have the opportunity to move at a pace that is more in tune with your schedule and learning preferences.

Real estate CE

Online learning will provide Arizona’s real estate agents with more opportunities to pursue their passion.

What Can Arizona Real Estate Agents Expect?

Beginning in January of 2019, Arizona professionals can pursue real estate continuing education on the web. Arizona real estate agents can look forward to taking PDH real estate courses online beginning next year.

As the new year approaches, look for CE courses online at PHDRealEstate.com.  Signing up for online coursework could not be simpler. Choose your state now!

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What Will the New Tax Laws Mean for Real Estate?

In December of 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The new laws will impact not only businesses but also individuals and families — including those looking to buy homes this year. Changes to the tax law this year undoubtedly affect your industry as a real estate agent.

Your real estate training will likely begin covering the new tax law, but this does not mean that you should not start with an understanding of the changes now. As a real estate agent, you may be wondering how the new tax legislation will influence your industry. This guide will help you understand what to expect with new rules in place.

Bonus Depreciation

For items deemed in service between 2017 and 2023, owners can expect to see a possible bonus depreciation at 100%. Formerly, the depreciation value was granted at 50%. For you to receive the full amount of money, the item must be recently acquired, though not necessarily new.

Why is this relevant to new homeowners? The new rules include roofing, HVAC systems, alarm systems, and security systems. If you own or buy a rental property, you may be able to say hello to new deductions.

Interest Deduction

For those who own homes between 2018 and 2026, a reduction in mortgage debt interest up to $750,000 is possible. You may see that people living in expensive homes are less willing to move at this time. With fewer people moving out of these high-cost homes, buyers may be considering moving into less costly houses.

Increase Standard Deduction

Your real estate training likely touches on tax law, including the standard deduction for individuals and married couples. With the new law, the standard deduction nearly doubles to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples.

These new laws indicate that individuals in the future will be less likely to turn to itemizing. Most individuals with mortgage interest and SALT deductions will not exceed these new limits. The value of mortgage interest and property tax deductions are not as relevant to homeowners as a result.

All of this goes to say that most homeowners will not benefit from a tax differential here. Owners and renters will experience little to no tax difference where there was once a significant one. Of course, owners and buyers should always consult with a tax professional to receive a personalized description of how purchasing a home may affect their finances.

Real estate training

Under new tax laws, homeowners must take note of changes made on their returns.

After-Tax Housing Costs Increase

Under the new law, homeowners may see an increase in after-tax housing costs. Buying a home may not seem as desirable as renting for first-time buyers. Of course, location, home cost, and family needs will all play a role in this decision-making process.

Real estate training should prepare you for the financial aspects of running a real estate business. If you need to brush up on new finance laws and how they relate to your job, you might consider continuing education courses that also help you renew your real estate license. Choose your state now!

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Real estate continuing education

How to Better Help Your Buyers in a Seller’s Market

Right now, experts claim that we are living in a seller’s market. That may be good news for some, but what about those looking to buy homes? While sellers may have the upper hand, real estate agents still need to look out for their buyers. The biggest challenge may be figuring out exactly how to do this.

What Is a Seller’s Market?

As part of your real estate continuing education, you have likely heard the phrases ‘seller’s market’ and ‘buyer’s market.’ In a seller’s market, the demand for houses exceeds their supply. With so many buyers interested in one house, you may not always have the opportunity to get buyers the low prices they would have received in days past.

While it may be a seller’s market, buyers are still relying on you. You can help your buyers navigate this market with a few helpful tips.

Know Your Buyers

First, you need to understand your buyers. More than one-third tend to be first-time buyers, which means they may need extra attention. The median age of first-time buyers is 32-years-old. Additionally, you should note that most real estate agents appealing to buyers use social media as a way to reach out to them.

You also need to know that in a seller’s market, many buyers may begin to think that renting a home may be a better deal. Appealing to buyer’s needs and desires may be the key to landing a sale. Spend time getting to know your clients so you can speak to their desires.

Encourage Flexibility and Readiness

When you are dealing with a seller’s market, your buyers need to be ready to make an offer at any given time. Flexibility is a crucial characteristic to have in the homebuying process, and the need to place an offer may occur at any time. Buyers also need to know that they are up against a sea of other buyers vying for the same property.

Stick to the Budget

Buyers are often on a strict budget, having already determined how much they are willing to spend. You may be tempted to encourage buyers to step outside their budget in a seller’s market, especially as the bids start pouring in. Contrary to what you may feel your real estate continuing education has taught you, the key is to allow the buyer to stay within their budget.

You can help your clients by pushing them to receive pre-approval for a home loan. Pre-approval will give buyers a specific budget and prepares them to walk away from homes that simply are not within their means.

Real estate continuing education

In a seller’s market, buyers need to make quick decisions.

Utilize Pre-Inspections

The more you can speed up the buying process, the better your chances are of landing the perfect home for your client. A pre-inspection prevents the need for further negotiation regarding the price of the home, and the process is advantageous for the seller as well.

Stay Educated

Real estate agents need to keep up with current trends and regulations. You can best help your buyers by staying in the know. Real estate continuing education is one way to do exactly that. Start your training today to see how you can prepare your buyers.

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Real estate CE

4 Reasons Real Estate Agents Should Join Their Local Chamber of Commerce

Even new real estate agents know that exposure and networking are the basis of success when you are running a local business. What many real estate agents fail to consider is the impact of joining city-specific organizations, including the local chamber of commerce. Is joining your chamber of commerce the right move for your business? How can you make this move cost-effective?

What Is the Chamber of Commerce?

The chamber of commerce is a local association that works to promote and protect the interests of the local community’s businesses. In return, members of the organization will pay dues. You can often join the chamber of commerce at different levels and price points, and you can choose how much you interact with the community through the organization.

The chamber of commerce typically pushes forward community interests. The organization represents the voice of the business community at large, providing unification.

Reason #1: Become a Participant in the Community

Many real estate agents are tempted to join the chamber of commerce because they want to build name brand association among locals. You will certainly find it advantageous to get your name out there.

One way to get involved with the community is to become a part of fundraising efforts for local schools and organizations. Your business has a lot to gain from demonstrating genuine care for other community members.

Reason #2: Create Networking Opportunities

Opportunities to network with fellow business owners do not necessarily come easily. Cold calling feels like a useless chore, and cold emails often go unanswered.

When you become a member of the chamber of commerce, you may receive free or discounted entries to local conventions and expos. At these events, you have a readymade reason to engage with other business owners in your community.

As a member of the organization, you may also have access to exclusive mailing lists allowing you to directly contact other businesses interested in what you have to offer. With this list, you have a better likelihood of reaching interested parties.

Reason #3: Establish Authority

One of the key components you learn in real estate CE is to establish a sense of authority with your potential clientele. You must show community members that you are an expert in the real estate field, building a strong sense of trust.

Studies show that a high percentage of consumers are more likely to think favorably of businesses if the owners are members of the local chamber of commerce. They are also much more likely to become a client of such a company.

Real estate CE

Establishing authority while remaining open to education from others is crucial for any real estate agent.

Reason #4: Learn from Other Business Owners

Many chambers of commerce host workshops and other opportunities for learning. You can see how other real estate agents build successful businesses, and you can also borrow ideas from firms in other industries. The key is to collaborate with other members of the community.

Whether or not you opt to join your community’s chamber of commerce, you have a lot to consider as your business grows. Education is one such consideration. Real estate CE does more than allow you to renew your license; it also allows you to develop into a more prosperous professional. Start your training today!

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Real estate continuing education

Top Legal Issues Real Estate Agents Encounter

Legal issues are a fact of life for many real estate brokerages and agents. Even with real estate continuing education, the laws surrounding the industry can be tricky. New real estate agents just getting their feet on the ground will especially find this to be the case.

The good news is that you can stay up-to-date on local, state, and federal laws. Understanding the guidelines that rule the real estate world will help you avoid legal issues that can ultimately swamp even the best agents and brokerages.

Misrepresentation

Misrepresentation is the most significant type of lawsuit brokers and real estate agents face. Typically, misrepresentation refers to misstating facts about features of a property, perhaps by claiming that the foundation or structure is in excellent shape when it is not. Real estate agents might perpetuate false information about the boundary line, roof quality, or pest issues.

Real estate continuing education often focuses on issues of misrepresentation because it is so common. In fact, many real estate agents do not know that they are misrepresenting a property. You can prevent problems like this by avoiding making predictions and by using seller disclosure forms.

Non-Disclosure

Failing to disclose the condition of a property is different from misrepresentation in that the agent is purposefully not revealing information. Non-disclosure may refer to issues like unpermitted renovations, easements, and environmental concerns.

Real estate agents can avoid getting into trouble about non-disclosure by using disclosure forms and providing evidence that you have informed the buyer about pertinent issues.

 Discrimination

Fair housing laws protect classes at different levels, ranging from state to federal. While these are not the most common lawsuits in the industry, the judgments resulting from the cases can be costly.

Discrimination can occur even when you write listings or make off-the-cuff statements like, “This house would be perfect for a couple with no children.”

Because laws are continually changing, real estate agents must pursue continuing education about fair housing laws and discrimination.

False & Misleading Advertisements

The listings and advertisements you use must be factual and accurate. Even Internet listings, as casual as you might think they are, must follow protocol. You cannot mislead a potential buyer in an attempt to lure them to a house they would have no intention of purchasing otherwise.

Not only must you comply with state licensing laws, but you must also abide by the Code of Ethics as a member of a real estate agency. You can also stay up to date on the laws of misrepresentation.

Real estate agents

Real estate agents need to understand legal contracts to prevent potential problems, but there is much more to learn about the law.

 Environmental Issues & Hazards

Failing to address environmental issues and hazards, like lead paint, contaminated water, and asbestos, can lead to a lawsuit against your brokerage. Additionally, real estate agents must know how to accurately address and disclose these issues.

Always recommend to buyers that they have a house evaluated and inspected. Real estate agents should never make statements about what a house “might” or “might not” have.

 The Importance of Real Estate Education

Ultimately, real estate continuing education can prevent many of these legal complications. In the end, studying these issues and knowing how to avoid them when you are in the field can save stress and money. Refresh your legal know-how and start your training today!

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Real estate continuing education

Top Tips for Real Estate Networking

Nobody can deny that real estate agents must become social creatures to be successful. Networking is a significant component of working in the real estate industry, and developing proficiency in this area is crucial.

The good news is that you do not have to be a natural in networking in order to maintain a successful real estate career. Many of the best real estate networking tips are those you can implement with time and dedication to your practice. These tips are sure to make you a better professional in your craft.

Tip #1: Create an Effective Marketing Plan

Every effective marketing plan will include a method for networking, which involves attending social events and even responding to emails quickly. Your plan should encompass every aspect of advertisement your real estate firm intends to incorporate.

The key to crafting a plan is to find a voice that feels authentic. Although your goal is to cultivate a network that will prove to be profitable to you, it is important to remember that your clients want to feel respected and genuinely cared for. All marketing materials should seek to entertain or inform first.

Tip #2: Establish an Online Presence

Interaction with potential clients and others online is essential to honing your craft as a real estate agent. Approachability is a major factor that contributes to people choosing to reach you, which means you might need to turn to social media websites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to share listings and photos.

Real estate aggregators are also useful tools when you are trying to create an online persona for your firm. Do not forget how often buyers look at websites like Trulia, for instance.

Tip #3: Build Solid Listening Skills

Listening is an essential skill. Whether you are talking to potential buyers or you are at a real estate networking event discussing the latest trends, you must pay careful attention. Failing to listen properly means that you are missing out on networking gold.

Active listening requires you to use nonverbal cues, verbal affirmations, and questions to demonstrate that you are interested in the material another person presents in conversation.

 Tip #4: Follow Through

One of the worst mistakes real estate agents make is not following up with leads. True networking means that you take every step to reach out to leads, whether they are marketing professionals or possible buyers. An email, phone call, or text can make all the difference.

Real estate continuing education

One of the biggest components of networking is learning the significance of social cues. Real estate agents have to “read” people.

Tip #5: Become Part of the Community

While establishing an online presence is crucial, you must not discount the significance of becoming part of your community. Shining a spotlight on your local business makes you more appealing to other community members.

You might consider sponsoring a local sports team or volunteering for a cause in which you believe. Your firm might put advertisements on local radio and television stations or partner with other local businesses to find new leads. Some firms reach out to the local Chamber of Commerce in the search for additional options.

Tip #6: Stay Educated

One of the best ways to stay up-to-date on the best practices for real estate professionals is to pursue continuing education. In these courses, you may learn about anything from real estate marketing to ethical issues in the industry.

Real estate continuing education is an excellent way to stay on top of more than networking trends. No matter where your business operates, online courses are available. Choose your state now to learn what’s available.

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How Real Estate Agencies Use Drones

No industry has been able to escape the inevitability of changing technology. In the real estate industry, drones are only the latest in a long line of growing trends. In fact, drones are so pertinent to real estate marketing that their use is even covered in real estate continuing education courses.

Are you unsure if drones will benefit your agency? A quick look at the benefits and uses of drones may convince you that this technology is helpful for your growing business.

 How to Use Drones in Real Estate Marketing

In many cases, real estate agents struggle to photograph an entire property in a way that showcases all the amenities and their proximity to the home. Real estate agents use drones to create marketing materials with stunning aerial views that capture the attention of future clients by showcasing the entire property.

Drone photography also allows a buyer to see the condition of the roofing on the property. When you need to show a buyer that a roof is in excellent condition before a formal inspection, drones provide some peace of mind.

Clients can also see what a neighborhood looks like as a whole, and they may even be able to catch a glimpse of how a commute or walk to school will look. Drone photography also allows the client to see developments in the area, especially those that are city property.

With drone video footage, the buyer also has the opportunity to see exactly how close a property is to neighbors and other structures if they are not yet able to visit the property in person.

 Why Drones Are So Popular in the Real Estate Industry

Drones became much more popular in 2016 when the FAA loosened restrictions on the use of drones for commercial use. The rules stated that real estate agents would no longer need a pilot’s license to use a drone for commercial photography. Instead, they would need the more affordable remote pilot certificate.

Lower costs for filming with drones is also contributing to the popularity of their use. With no need to hire a professional to take photos, real estate agents have free reign.

Additionally, drones allow for the use of still photos and videos, enabling real estate agents to create the most compelling visuals possible. This tool is especially beneficial when you consider that photos taken from the ground often do not do a property justice.

Real estate continuing education

Drones and the unique views they offer are more accessible now than ever before.

Real estate agencies are also always looking for new ways to get leads on homes listed for long periods of time. Some houses look otherwise normal in a still photo, but a drone video can show off features that buyers tend to overlook.

Finally, drones can capture an entire atmosphere better than regular cameras suited for real estate. The result is a much more emotional journey for the potential buyer. The client has a first-person perspective of the home.

 The Importance of Real Estate Technology

The role of technology in real estate continues to grow. You can narrow potential gaps by pursuing real estate continuing education. Your coursework will keep you up-to-date on many changes in the industry. Start your training today to learn more.

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Best Tech Tools for Real Estate Agents

Real estate professionals are always on the move, and the nature of the job means that being stagnant in technological developments just is not an option. Fortunately, tech developers are staying just as busy as real estate pros, ensuring that new tools come out regularly. With these tools and reliable real estate training, real estate professionals keep their businesses running smoothly no matter where they are.

 Real Estate Touring and Staging Options

Not every potential buyer will be able to make it to an open house, but with 3D tour options through services like Matterport, you can essentially offer a way for clients to tour the house without leaving home. Some websites provide detailed floorplans so that buyers have an in-depth scope.

Additionally, you also have the option to virtually stage a home so that clients have all the visuals they need to make smart decisions.

Real Estate Video Solutions

Youtube has been a critical player in the way real estate agents operate on the web, but organizing videos on the platform is often still a hassle. Thankfully, services are realizing the challenges posed and offer new categories and clean channel pages. Vidcaboodle is one such service, providing a way to organize videos by listings, testimonials, tips, and more.

 Real Estate Live Videos

Real estate training emphasizes the need to communicate clearly with clients, but now clients expect more bang for their buck. Reaching out to a broader audience via live touring capabilities could be the key to snagging younger clientele. Periscope, Facebook, and Instagram all offer ways to broadcast your open house to remote buyers.

Time Management Resources

Time management is a significant issue real estate agents contend with, but new resources help professionals improve efficiency. Hours is just one of many different ways to track precisely how much time you use performing various tasks throughout the day.

 Real Estate Marketing Material Creation

Clean marketing materials used to require a strong graphic designer on staff. Today, real estate professionals can create their own visuals thanks to websites like Canva, DesignBold, and Piktochart. These resources allow you to create visual marketing materials you can use on Facebook, your website, a blog, or even on printed materials like fliers and business cards.

Document Services

It used to be that real estate agents had to meet with buyers and sellers in-person merely to collect signatures, which becomes a painful and time-intensive task when clients live further away or have hectic schedules. With resources like HelloSign, DocuSign, and even Adobe, you can collect signatures from clients that are legally binding.

Real estate agent looking at his mobile phone

Real estate professionals rely on more than their phones to get through the workday.

Real Estate Keyword Planners

Search engine optimization requires that you pay close attention to the words and phrases you incorporate into content. A keyword planner, like KWFinder or Google Keyword Planner, provides you with the best words to use based on search volume and relevance.

Real Estate Education

Online real estate training prepares you to incorporate the best tech tools into the daily management of your business. Are you ready to learn new tricks to help you become the most effective professional possible? Start your training today!

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Real estate continuing education

What Real Estate Pros Should Know about Fair Housing Regulations

If you work in real estate, you have likely taken courses on fair housing issues. In fact, not having a solid understanding of fair housing regulations can be detrimental to your career. Real estate continuing education, along with this guide, will help you better comprehend laws all real estate professionals must follow.

Fair housing is the practice that prohibits discrimination in housing situations, whether you are a real estate agent or a landlord. Laws in the United States aim to prevent discrimination against individuals based on factors like sex, religion, race, nationality, disability, and familial status.

Real estate agents must understand how the Fair Housing Act of 1968 affects their work. Practices linked to patterns or instances of discrimination claims may be taken to court and agents can lose licensure.

Racial Issues in Fair Housing

Racial issues are often linked to false information about the availability of homes or steering families away from certain neighborhoods or homes based on race. In the past, many legal cases involving mortgage lending and zoning issues have been linked to racial discrimination.

 Religious Issues in Fair Housing

Overt and indirect discrimination against religious groups is prohibited in the real estate industry. For instance, private homes may be used as places of worship to some degree. One exception to discrimination issues is linked to zoning ordinances. For instance, private buildings owned by religious organizations may be reserved for housing individuals of the same religion.

 Sex and Gender Issues in Fair Housing

Sexual harassment, humiliation, and degradation can lead to an untenable living environment, as you will learn in real estate continuing education courses. Real estate professionals or landlords who create a hostile environment based on sexuality or gender may face legal claims. This includes pricing discrimination.

Nationality Issues in Fair Housing

Discrimination based on one’s country of birth or the nation of origin for their ancestors is not acceptable in the real estate industry. In the past, real estate professionals have been penalized for trying to reduce the number of individuals of certain nationalities in different neighborhoods. In other cases, loan managers used more stringent standards for individuals from certain countries.

Familial Status Issues in Fair Housing

Real estate professionals are prohibited from discriminating against families, including those with children under the age of 18. For instance, landlords are not allowed to have special requirements for tenants with children. An exception is made for buildings designated for individuals over the age of 55.

Real estate continuing education

Legal issues pop up occasionally in the real estate field, but educating yourself now is beneficial in the long run.

 Disability Issues in Fair Housing

Mental and physical disabilities or impairments that limit life activities may not be used to discriminate against potential tenants or clients. This includes individuals who are blind, deaf, experience head injuries, are diagnosed with conditions like HIV, and those with mental illnesses. Individuals who are not covered by disability discrimination laws include sex offenders, users and manufacturers of illegal substances, and juvenile offenders. Anti-discrimination laws for individuals with disabilities ensure that multi-family housing is built to meet accessibility requirements.

Understanding Fair Housing Regulations

Still not sure how to approach fair housing issues? Real estate continuing education can help. Brush up on current laws to stay up-to-date. Start your training today!

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