Sellers may be surprised to find realtors describing their home in a new way. To comply with fair housing laws, officers strive to identify and remove terms that might be considered discriminatory. While the following terms do not necessarily violate fair housing laws, they are increasingly seen as insensitive and exclusive. Real estate regulatory boards across the country are taking steps to discourage their use.
You’ll still see this one every now and then, but some local real estate boards are cracking down on its use based on the idea that the term “master” is reminiscent of the era of slavery. She can also be seen as sexist. More inclusive descriptors include “master bedroom” or “master bedroom”. This also applies to the old “master bathroom” It is now a “master bathroom”, an “ensuite bathroom” or a “connected bathroom”, depending on the layout of the house.
Small condos, apartments, and houses were often referred to as bachelor apartments to indicate that they were only large enough for one or two residents. But it may suggest that different types of families are not suitable, such as single parent households. Better ways to describe this type of space are to use terms such as “small,” “comfortable” or “compact” and then list the actual square footage. Buyers can then decide if it is the right size for them.
Within walking distance
The phrase “within walking distance” was often used to describe a house near a park, school or shopping area. However, its use can be interpreted as excluding people in wheelchairs or those who are otherwise of reduced mobility. A more appropriate way to get the message across is to say that the house is “three blocks from restaurants.”
A little casita located in the backyard or wing of a house suitable for independent living has been called the “mother-in-law’s quarter” or “mother-in-law’s suite” for decades. However, today’s real estate boards believe the term may be offensive to those living in non-traditional families. A more inclusive way to describe the space is to call it “guesthouse” or “bonus quarters”.
The only time agents can advertise a home as not suitable for children is when it is part of a designated retirement community where most residents are of retirement age or above. Otherwise, the term violates the rules of fair housing as it discriminates against families with young children. It is better to describe the home as part of a “retirement community” than to say “no children” or “only for adults”.
Accessible to disabled people
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was instrumental in enacting positive changes in building codes and utilities to meet the needs of people with mobility impairments. Yet some may find the terms “disabled” and “disabled” discriminatory. Most real estate agents will now describe a home with exceptional amenities as having “universal design” or simply use “accessible”.
His and hers
Formerly used to refer to two vanities in a bathroom or two closets in the master bedroom, the descriptors “him and her” suggest a traditional male / female lifestyle. Real estate agents can best describe these amenities as simply “double” or “double”. Likewise, a thoughtful description will not refer to a kitchen as being ideal for the “lady of the house”.