Century 21 Affiliated
Barry Shaw - CENTURY 21 Affiliated

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Barry goes above and beyond for each client whether buying or selling, regardless of the price point. WI and MN Licensed.

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There can be some emotional attachment when people sell a house, since it was usually the person’s home. So it’s understandable that a homeowner might want to know that the buyer is someone who’s going to love and appreciate their home moving forward, which is why many buyers have written so-called “love letters” to go along with their offers over the years.

The “love letters” aren’t just objective data and facts; they’re a peek into who the potential buyer really is and are written in hopes of swaying the seller to accept their offer by tugging at their heart strings. Sometimes it’s to give them an edge when there are other offers to consider, or it could be to convince the owners to take an offer they’d otherwise balk at due to a less than desirable price, contingencies, or terms.

But those letters have come under scrutiny in the past few years. Oregon went as far as banning them in 2021, because they were trying to prevent discrimination which can occur when a seller considers who the buyer is, rather than just the price and terms being offered. A federal court ended up ruling the ban to be a violation of First Amendment rights, so they’re legal again, but it’s a good reminder to think about how easy it can be for someone to cross the fine line into discrimination.

You might be the most accepting, unbiased person in the world, but there’s always that chance that the human tendency to identify with someone could sway your judgment. And sadly, there are still home sellers out there who would deliberately choose to discriminate against someone who wants to buy their house because they’re different from them — even if it’s the best offer.

But discriminating against a buyer because of who they are isn’t just morally wrong, it’s illegal.

What Can’t You Discriminate Against?
To keep it as simple as possible, the only things you should be considering about a buyer are the price and terms they’re offering. Are they acceptable to you or not? If you have multiple offers to consider, are they the best price and terms out of all of the other offers? That’s the simplest way to avoid even the possibility of discriminating against a buyer.

But it’s not always possible to be completely unaware of who the buyer is. For instance, sometimes you meet them or see them when they come to look at your house. Or they submit a letter with personal details, as mentioned above.

In case you do get to know who your potential buyer is, you should know that The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal for you to discriminate against anyone based upon their:

Sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation)
Familial status
National origin

Those are the protected classes on the federal level, but many states have even broader laws.

Discrimination Isn’t Just Wrong, It Can Cost You…

Making a discriminatory decision isn’t just wrong to do, it can have legal and financial consequences.

If you’re found to have violated the Fair Housing Act by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), among other things, you can be ordered to:

- Compensate the victim for actual damages, out-of-pocket expenses, and emotional distress damages.
- Pay their attorney’s fees.
- Pay a fine of between $16,000 and $65,000, depending on the number and frequency of your violations.

In addition to HUD, the person you discriminated against can bring a civil suit against you to pursue further damages and costs.

Your Real Estate Agent Can Help You Stay Out of Trouble
Every real estate agent should be very much aware of the Fair Housing Act and make sure you don’t violate it. But if you hire an agent who’s willing to help you ignore it or violate it, you’re asking for trouble.

While all agents have their own way of doing things, if you want to avoid any hint of discrimination, you might ask your agent to only divulge the objective facts about the offers you receive.

Discriminating against a buyer because of who they are isn’t just wrong, it’s illegal when selling your house. The Fair Housing Act makes it against the law to let anyone’s race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin impact whether or not you accept their offer.
To avoid any hint of discrimination, focus on what the buyer’s offer is — the price, terms and contingencies — and not who they are.

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What my clients are saying  

Barry is the best in the business! He exceeds expectations and truly cares about the people he is working with! Thanks Barry, we look forward to working with you again.


~ Kelli Joy

"Great experience would use Barry again. All worked out well. Excellent experience."


~ Collette

First time home buyer, and he was great to work with! I will definitely be using Barry in the future! Best guy in the business!


~ Jon K.

"Pleasure to work with. Answered all of our questions and always responded promptly. Made his schedule flexible to fit ours. Overall great experience."


~ Brad

"Barry helped my husband and I buy our first house. A lot of people advised me when I started talking about the home buying process that it was very stressful and time consuming. Yes, it felt a little stressful but I have to say buying our first house was a smooth transaction. Barry was excellent with communication. I prefer using my email since I don't always have my cell phone on me. Barry was very quick at replying to all my emails and was always very polite. Barry was also very professional when setting up showings for us, showing the house and at closing. When we received a counter offer on the house from the owner I wasn't sure how to go about it. Barry walked me through all possible options. The options he gave with his opinions felt trustworthy (he wasn't just trying to make the sell). I also really liked that Barry was laid back. He has a calm and friendly demeanor, made him a pleasure to work with!"


~ Katarina

I chose to work with Barry because he was recommended by a good friend. Barry was amazing. The process went smoothly because he constantly kept us up to date on EVERYTHING. I have already recommended Barry to a few people.


~ Liz

I was purchasing this home from out of state and Barry carefully chose a beautiful home for me and my price range.He carefully listened and answered all questions and was always available.I would highly recommend him!This was the perfect place to come home to.


~ Mike

This realtor is more on selling your home and investing his time and money into it. He works with you and is very respectable of your home. I have not found another realtor that cares about you selling your home instead of how much money they make. He is the best by far!! I have also heard from others how nice this person is and how helpful he is; who goes out of his way to please!


~ KT N

Barry was wonderful to work with, especially as I was a first-time home buyer and being completely novice with the home buying process. From working with me on affordable homes and proffering advice, and knowing when it was right to delegate concerns as appropriate, Barry definitely knew my needs and interests in a home. His approach is no-nonsense. Definitely not pushy. On the contrary -- On the day I saw the home of my dreams, there were still a couple homes on the list to check out and he had asked me if I was sure I didnt want to see them. I'd said no, but it was fantastic he encouraged me to try one or two other homes. But even my mum has an old adage - when the right house is found, one knows straightaway that is the one. And he was very helpful for a post-sale issue too. Am most grateful! And he's right - living in Wisconsin is fantastic. Barry is highly recommended - again, much thanks!


~ David

If you are looking for a new home Barry Shaw is your guy. He is excellent! He found us the home of our dreams and helped us with all of our questions through closing. Thank you Barry!!


~ Robb

Barry understands all the emotions you go through when buying/selling your home. He responded to emails quickly. He set up home showings quickly for my husband and I to view. His negotiation skills are excellent. I highly recommend Barry to sell your house or find the house you always wanted! He found the perfect house for my family.


~ Jennifer

It was very enjoyable to have Barry show us houses in Prescott,WI. and surrounding areas. He was responsive in showing us the homes we were interested in, with no pressure. He was very helpful.


~ MC

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