Home Buying in Pleasanton>Question Details

Menudo Bongo, Home Buyer in 94085

Buyers agents - please answer honestly - How many of you alert your buyers about Megans law and any offenders living in the vicinity ?

Asked by Menudo Bongo, 94085 Sun Aug 4, 2013

I am shocked - this probably should be the first thing a buyer's agent should ask buyers to verify/ or verify themselves - but nobody ever alerted me to search for this.

Do any of the agents ever alert your buyers (especially buyers with young children) about issues about a potential purchase wrt Megans law ?

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Answers

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As a parent of young children and a recent home first time buyer in Pleasanton, I am surprised you would rely on an agent to tell you to look at Megan's Law. Was the first thing we did after checking out the "home" schools of the property. I think you are the exception to the rule relying on an agent to tell you to do this.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 13, 2013
Well - you will be surprised - when I shared my experience with others, a lot of folks fail to check this.

Anyway - I am not an exception - I did check in time, thankfully.
Flag Tue Aug 13, 2013
Yes, many, many agents do.
Of course this means these agents ARE on thin ice.
There are laws that PROHIBIT agents from discussing such issues. This is NOT an agents preference, but, as others have stated, The FEDS believe your 'not knowing' serves a higher purpose."
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Those courageous agents who venture onto the thin ice are also requied to state, "This does not PREVENT such a person from moving in.?" Further complicating issues is when ANYTHING goes wrong in a real estate transaction...FOR ANY REASON....everyone will try to blame the agent. Being on thin ice is not where you want to be caught when Chase denies the loan two days before closing.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 5, 2013
I instruct my buyers to CAREFULLY read all the disclosures AND the purchase agreement they are signing. Both of these alert them to MANY potential issues, including the possibility of registered sex offenders in the area, earthquake fault zones, potential flood hazards and so much more. I do NOT highlight Megan's Law nor do I highlight any other disclosure - I DO tell my buyer to read everything and ask me questions should they feel a need to know more about anything they read. It is not just in the seller's disclosures - it is now included right in the purchase agreement that a buyer signs when making an offer.

Even a casual reading of the disclosures will alert any buyer to the Megan's Law issue AND give them the website to go to check for themselves. It is the buyer's responsibility to read and check if they wish to. In reality, MANY buyers don't care.

As stated in another response to one of your questions, the Megan's Law website is not necessarily an accurate way to determine whether of not a registered offender is still living at any given address. They move. They don't tell the authorities. Since we are not police, we do not monitor registered offenders and, in fact, would be breaking the law ourselves if we did. I've actually had buyers knock on front doors and ask if the offender was still living there. In some cases, they are no longer there.

Lastly, we cannot - by law - disclose locations of sex offenders - so, to be VERY honest, I NEVER check the website. There are a couple of factors here:

1. Since these individuals move, the website frequently shows offenders who are no longer there. If I provide you with information about these individuals, I am misrepresenting the facts and slandering the current occupant. Additionally, even if the individual IS still there, they could have been accused but never convicted - I could be slandering the accused individual as well.

2. We are not allowed to provide crime statistics, demographics or other information about any neighborhood - we can tell you where to get information, but never give you the actual info ourselves. It's called steering and it's against the law. Here are some posts that may be helpful:

NO STEERING ALLOWED: 3 Important Facts To Know As A Buyer
http://www.trulia.com/blog/carl_medford/2010/03/no_steering_…

Don’t Get ‘Steered’ in the Wrong Direction
http://sanleandrotimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&…
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 14, 2013
Due to potential liability issues, this is not an area that most Buyer's Agents will get into. Our contract clearly spells out what we do and what we do not do.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 5, 2013
The CAR (California Association of Realtors) contract that is used, along with the 10-page Statewide Buyer & Seller Advisory has verbiage regarding the duties of all parties. I go over these documents very carefully with my buyers. It IS the responsibility of the buyer to investigate many item themselves and that is pointed out with every client. The last thing you want to do is have a family NOT read their disclosures, so I tell them the importance of the documentation they are given. Again on the Natural Hazard Disclosure sellers need to provide, there is a section on Megan's Law. Buyers need to educate themselves. This important documentation is given to them for a reason!!

As for your case, I'm wondering if you were provided a Statewide Buyer & Seller Advisory and a Natural Hazard Report? The information is clearly stated in those documents. It's really important stuff!!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 5, 2013
Okay; this being the most important thing in your life; did you ASK about it?
Did you think that bringing out all the negatives of a house and neighborhood is the best way to sell a house?
The Fair Housing Act prohibits us from discussing Race, Religion, Crime, and other topics: If you comment, either positively or negatively, we can be accused of STEERING and lose our licence.
Web sites, relating to Megan's Law, have been available for years now; and you are obviously aware of them.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 5, 2013
I have the Megan's Law app on my tablet and I pull it up for my clients. We look at it together and discuss the broad range of reasons an offender can make it on the list.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 19, 2013
You raise a very good point......in time, one would expect that a disclosure would be a required step in the buying process. One that simply identifies the importance of Megan's Law and how to check for area offenders.

I hear what you are saying, but it sometimes takes time for legislation to reach its fullest extent.

Thank you for your post.

Bill
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 14, 2013
Megan's law has been incorporated into California purchase documents. So, not only should agents advise their clients...buyers have a responsibiity to read everything they sign!!! All too often, buyers sign documents wihout reading them thoroughly.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 5, 2013
We always discuss this with clients and refer them to the website if they want to know more info about it as part of our discussion about disclosures. Most people who actually look it up find it shocking how many sex offenders live near them, although since purportedly 25% of girls/women have been molested (also a shocking number), sadly it's not surprising.

If you have children you should look.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 5, 2013
Actually, the horrible statistic is true but many of these women report being abused by a relative. So not sure how much good megans law would have done for them.. horrible all the way around.
Flag Thu Sep 19, 2013
I do not.

I am going to add it to my first-appointment list, just in case I do run into the one set of parents who are not tethered to the Internet. But I have to tell you, Menudo, all of the parents (and potential ones) I've worked with over the past few years do a ton of research about neighborhoods. They scan the "mom blogs," they hit the school and crime reports . . . . they know.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 4, 2013
If using the CAR-RPA we are NOT allowed to tell you however if an agent has direct knowledge and is aware they must tell you nut to be honest even after having these conversations during my buyer inteeview many decide they don't really want to know necause they would then be forced to disclose when they sell ao moat have told me they didn't search or don't really want to know for that reason alone but its my job as their agent to make them aware of hiw and where to find this kind ofn information especially if they have kids buts its their chiice not mine as their agent
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 4, 2013
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