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Fun with Fair Housing

I don’t want to be around old people.

Don’t take me into any of those Spanish speaking neighborhoods.

If there are a lot of kids around, I don’t want to live there.

Gee, Mr. Buyer, I can’t narrow down communities by those factors.  But go check Zillow Neighborhoods, they can answer all of those things.

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It’s a bit of a reach, but not by much.

We’ve been working on the next version of, and have been considering placing local census data on the site, but we run up against potential Fair Housing issues.  Yeah, it’s just facts from the government, but is providing data that one neighborhood has 30% more “multi-lingual people” or more non-US citizens than another neighborhood anything other than answering the probable racial makeup of a community in a round-about way?

one tucson neighborhood




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It will be interesting to watch the neighborhood theory of home search evolve.  Places like Zillow, I would assume, can get away with data like this, where I wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole. 

Being married to a fellow software engineer and database guru, we are perfectly capable of providing this sort of thing in my local market, but won’t.  I’ll admit to a bit of hubris, wanting to be the ultimate resource, but there are ways that we just can’t compete.

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I’m not arguing against Fair Housing regulations, but how do you answer the savvy consumer, who finds information like this on those sites, but can’t get the same from me?  I am required to be a limited resource in some ways.  Obviously, I have local knowledge that a national aggregator doesn’t, but it’s difficult and frustrating to have access to data and not be able to spew it freely.

For now, the Housechindex will have to wait.

Written By

Kelley Koehler, aka the Housechick, is usually found focused on her Tucson, Arizona, real estate business. You may also find her on Twitter, where she doubles as a super hero, at Social Media Training Camp, where she trains and coaches people on how to integrate social media into successful business practices, or at, a collection of all things housechick-ish. Despite her engineering background, Kelley enjoys translating complex technical concepts into understandable and clear ideas that are practical and useful to the striving real estate agent.



  1. Mariana

    December 18, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    Yeah. No touching this with even a 20 foot pole.

  2. Teresa Boardman

    December 18, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    Honestly I am disgusted by some of the comments my clients make about neighborhoods and am actually thankful that I have a legal reason not to comment. There are links on my sites to government sites, I am happy to let them decide what a “good” neighborhood and a “bad: neighborhood are. If they want to check crime rates, I have links to those as well. If they want to know if their are children in the neighborhood I suggest they look at the houses and see if their are swing sets in the back yards. If they want to only associated with people who are just like them more power to them. I guess I would classify myself as an urban liberal.

  3. Athol Kay

    December 18, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    I believe as long as you’re providing Census data and labeling it as such, you’re pretty much covered.

  4. Cyndee Haydon

    December 19, 2007 at 12:24 am

    Kelley – Interesting observation. Ironically we have some strong cultural communities like Tarpon Springs has a history in Greek culture and residence including their rite of the Catholic church. It’s always aekward when someone asks about wanting to live near for example Greeks – because they have greek language schools, churches, etc. that we are limited in how we respond.

    I guess it’s great to have sites to point them to and not have to be the ones saying anything on that slippery slope.

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