A discussion of instant criminal background checks would not be complete without considering the legal issues involved. Aside from the obvious legal implications of inaccurate reporting, according to the Supreme Court, the use of background checks may be a violation of the Fair Housing Act. In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled on Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. The opinion, written by Justice Kennedy, said that a party may prove violations of the Fair Housing Act by either showing intentional discrimination or that a certain practice has an adverse or "disparate impact" on protected classes.
In a 2016 article entitled "What the Latest Fair Housing Guidance on Criminal Background Checks Means for Real Estate" about new HUD rulings, the National Association of Realtors said, "While persons with criminal records are not a protected class under the Fair Housing Act, HUD's recent guidance maintains that criminal history-based barriers to housing have a statistically disproportionate impact on minority groups. Because minorities are a protected class under the Fair Housing Act, HUD's guidance says that creating arbitrary or blanket criminal-based policies and restrictions could potentially violate the Fair Housing Act."
When one considers the completeness of criminal history databases, the error rate due to data variances, and the predatory nature of crime against agents, the effectiveness of background check systems in providing agents with "red flags" disappoints. Furthermore, instant criminal background checks pose a potential Fair Housing Act violation. Considering the lack of efficacy and potential Fair Housing issues, if an agent chooses to use instant background checks, he or she needs to do so with an understanding of the issues and risks involved.
Images are an important part of marketing yourself and your listings. However, they are also often the item that starts the targeting process.
A predator’s motives are power and control and they will therefore be attracted to characteristics such as weakness, subservience, and vulnerability. Your professional photos can act as an attractor to the predator by conveying vulnerability. Typically, an agent’s headshots fall into one of two types… a personal smile (right picture) and a professional smile (left picture).
A personal or intimate smile is the smile one would expect to see when someone they love says I love you. It’s typified by a slight tilt of the head, eyes that appear more oval than round, and a flatter smile where the ends of the mouth are pointing towards the lower connection of the ear. In pictures, as in real life, intimacy is vulnerability, and an intimate smile is more likely to attract the attention of a predator.
Conversely, a professional smile will make an agent less attractive to a predator because it projects power, confidence, and authority. A professional smile is typified by the head being straight, the eyes wide open but not strained, and a big smile where the ends of the mouth are pointing towards the upper connection of the ears.
It should be noted that by projecting confidence, power, knowledge, and authority you will attract more buyers and sellers. Basically, personal smiles increase the likelihood that you will be targeted by a predator and less likely that a buyer or seller will contact you. At the same time, a professional smile makes it less likely that a predator will target you and increases the likelihood that a legitimate buyer or seller will contact you.