Sex Offenders: Dreaded topic and necessary disclosure

Home buyers beware!

I know this is a dirty topic that none of us like to discuss, but in your consideration for a particular neighborhood, have you checked to see if there is a registered sex offender living nearby?  As real estate agents, we should all be giving the advice to buyers to research this, it's in our buy-sell document!

Not everyone is concerned, but I firmly believe that if you have children, or a spouse, your obligation to check is not negotiable!  Family Watchdog has a web page that will allow you to check any neighborhood or address and provides names, photos, and the address of any registered offender living there, as well as the severity of the crime.

While this may or may not affect your home buying decision, it will allow you to help your family to identify the potential threat and steer clear of any danger.  When I moved to the Elk Grove area of Bozeman, Montana, there was a registered offender in the neighborhood.  I showed my then 13 year old daughter his photo, and where he lived and explained the situation and possible consequences of not paying particular attention to who was around her.  It was a great learning opportunity for me with her, and there was never an issue while we lived there, but I had a choice because I knew where to look!

I hope this has helped someone in the process of purchasing a home, or even if you are presently living in a neighborhood, to be just a bit more safe in your daily life!

If you are considering buying or selling a home in the Gallatin Valley, please contact us for all the real estate tools you need to do either!

Comment balloon 9 commentsJenifer Lower • November 20 2011 10:13AM

Comments

Our company has buyer clients sign a disclaimer form with any offer for real property.  This issue is one of the items addressed on the form.  It insures that whether or not the agent is comfortable bringing up the subject, it does get on the buyer's radar screen. 

Posted by Margo Otey (REMAX EXECUTIVE REALTY) almost 7 years ago

Jennifer it is a great website. I have used personally before I visit new listing in the area. Our association has a disclosure form that buyers should sign that allows them to do their due diligence in checking out the neighborhood.

Posted by Ritu Desai, Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949 (Samson Properties) almost 7 years ago

Jennifer, we have this in our packet as well and I hate it. It's a neccessary ugly.

Posted by Terri Poehler, Coral Springs Real Estate Agent (Realtor) almost 7 years ago

Margo and Ritu, it is fantastic that both of your agencies provide the disclosure forms for this important subject.  It at least brings it up with the buyer, but I also hope the agent can stress the importance of checking if the buyer has female family members.

Posted by Jenifer Lower, Your Dream. Our Passion. (Bozeman Montana Real Estate .net) almost 7 years ago

Jenifer, This is a great topic for discussion and a very delicate issue.  In over 25 years, I have only disclosed MY Personal Knowledge of a registered sex offender one time.  It almost cost me a listing, because the homeowner didn't want me to disclose it.  Ironically, THEY were the ones to disclose it to me (They just told me)

After discussing it with my manager and getting the opinion of the Broker of Record, it was decided that either I disclose the information or cancel the listing.  I advised the seller, they allowed me to make the disclosure plus I convinced them to also make the disclosure,  The house was sold within a normal time on market, the buyer's had full disclosure and the escrow closed.  Just imagine what might have happened IF we had not disclosed, and the buyers heard about it from a neighbor after close of escrow. 

After this experience, I was advised to NEVER personally search for information regarding registered sex offenders (which I hadn't) and to only disclose that such sites were available (which I had).  By advising buyers that information about the location of registered sex offenders is available, we meet our disclosure obligation.  But knowing about a specific location of a registered sex offender that is near a listing and not disclosing it, we are taking a huge risk.  Once again, this is a great topic for discussion.  Thank you and best wishes.

Posted by Richard Yates, Broker and Realtor Orange County, California almost 7 years ago

Our Buyers Agency Agreement here is Missouri states that the buyer should contact law enforcement officials for information pertaining  to registered sex offenders or other convicted criminals in the area. 

Posted by Delores Campbell, Your St. Louis Real Estate Resource (Keller Williams Realty - Chesterfield) almost 7 years ago

Too bad there is not a convicted murderer, domestic violence perpetrator, meth manufacturer or thief register that is published.  Guess we never know who is living in our neighborhoods.  Just exercise common sense.

Posted by Leslie G. Rojohn, GRI, ABR ~ MoonDancer Realty (MoonDancer Realty) almost 7 years ago

This is not a required disclosure in our state...unless you are specifically asked the question and are certain of the answer. This is part of the due diligence process of the buyer to determine. I absolutely think it is essential to have a source to provide to your clients and the one you provided is a great source of information.

Posted by Ken Brandon, Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, NC (Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage (Jacksonville, NC)) almost 7 years ago

Richard, I do not ever search, but you are correct and so is your broker.  If it is disclosed to you or you have first hand knowledge, you have an obligation to disclose it.  I just provide the tools for them to do the search!  I want them to be armed, not necessarily use it as a deterent.

 

Delores, at least there is some disclosure there.  It is written in our buy-sell rather than buyer broker agreement.

 

Leslie, the convicted murderer and doemstic violence perps get registered here and are disclosed on that site, it is part of the violence of the crime rating that they assign them.  Meth is another story, but you can usually spot those guys from a mile away!  Common sense goes a long ways.

 

Ken, I agree, it is part of due diligence, but we feel as though it is our duty to make it known that it is one of those items on a checklist that should be researched by the buyer and we provide the tools to do so, but not the actual research.

Posted by Jenifer Lower, Your Dream. Our Passion. (Bozeman Montana Real Estate .net) almost 7 years ago

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