The American real estate portal Realtor.com has announced the integration of a new tool that helps prospective homeowners identify down payment assistance programs in their area.
The tool is part of Realtor.com's 'Closing the Gap' initiative which is aimed at increasing the homeownership rate of underrepresented communities. The tool was developed in partnership with Down Payment Resource, a company that provides a database of assistance programs around the country.
“This program brings together many different parts of our business in a focused effort to increase the home ownership rate for underserved and underrepresented groups. Systemic discrimination in real estate has held people back for far too long, it’s time for us to all work together to make a change," said Mickey Neuberger, Chief Marketing Officer at Realtor.com.
Users input location information along with an estimated price to search through the 2,238 buyer assistance programs that may be available to them around the country. Unlike a similar tool launched by Zillow back in December, Realtor's tool is not embedded on listings pages but hosted on its own /foreveryone/ page within the website which also contains an advice video and links to more information.
In another apparent step forwards for fair housing on U.S. real estate marketplaces, the brokerage and portal destination Redfin has settled a lawsuit that alleged that the company practised "digital redlining".
In paying $4 million to squash the suit, Redfin has avoided an admission of guilt over claims dating back to 2020 brought by the National Fair Housing Association. The accusations were that Redfin did not offer its services in areas where homes were listed below a certain price, thus disproportionately impacting the “communities of color” living in those areas and perpetuating unfair housing.
Redfin has repeatedly denied the accusations of "redlining" with CEO Glenn Kelman arguing that as one of the few brokerage companies that gives agents a salary and benefits it makes a loss on housing transactions under a certain threshold.
Redfin has now ended its minimum home price policy and will no longer decline to refer buyers or sellers viewing homes below a certain threshold to its partners. The Seattle based firm will also be implementing a diversity drive in its recruiting.