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Steering is the illegal practice of discrimination by limiting home buyers’ choices based on ethnicity, nationality, etc.
While the law is clear that such practices, especially by agents, are illegal, detecting and proving such instances can be a challenge in itself.
This is because whether someone is deemed to be doing it can be subjective.
For example, an African-American might be subtly advised by an agent to look at homes in a particular neighborhood. Thus, “steering” the buyer towards a location. While the client might feel discriminated, the agent might be truly recommending that neighborhood based on the buyer’s needs and budget.
On top of that, the intention and motive of an agent accused of steering can be hard to prove, if not impossible.
As such the law acts more as a deterrence more than enforcement.
If you feel that you are not being treated fairly by an agent, ask them to show you all properties within your budget in all neighborhoods you are interested in.