Bill Creates Equal Footing for Oregon Buyers

Awaiting Governor Kate Brown’s signature is House Bill 2550, which directs a seller’s agent for a real estate transaction to reject personal communication with buyers. Representative Mark Meek of Clackamas County, also a real estate agent, is a chief sponsor of the bill and believes that such personal communication may foster favoring or rejecting a buyer based on sentiment other than price. 

Meek’s concern is that the price or conditions of sale may be affected if a seller reveals their identity or affiliations such as race, sex, or religion. He told KATU2, “It’s time for us to come into compliance and bring an equal footing to all home buyers out there and help our BIPOC communities to experience the building of intergenerational wealth.” 

Ilyse Ball, a principal broker at Re/Max Equity Group, disagrees with the bill’s value. She favors personal communication which allows the seller to learn, for example, how the property will be cared for by the new owner. Ball is also concerned that prospective buyers who cannot pay cash, overpay, or afford a larger down payment will be eliminated from the applicant’s pool. She also points out that race, sex, or religion are readily discoverable by a curious seller who may vet the potential buyer anyway. 

“So many of my sellers and buyers use the internet to search the other party to find out who they are and to find out more about them,” Ball said. “So unless somebody doesn’t use the internet at all, a seller is easily going to be able to figure out more about that buyer just by doing a search on Google.” 

By Joanna Rosińska