In a perfect world the fact that a sex offender lives next door should not affect the price. It does not affect the house itself, and if you go to the sex offender websites, there is virtually a sex offender in every neighborhood practically. Home buyers have every opportunity to research sex offenders and crime rates in the neighborhoods they are looking in, and seldom do they take advantage of this accessible information.
I think Don Tepper had some really good points. Knowing the nature of the offense is important - find out as much as you can. I would call my Attorney and the Sheriff's office and ask about the definition of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse. Is it a 16 year old girl and her 18 year old boyfriend who made a bad choice and the girl's parent's are out for blood? I'm not saying this is acceptable or o.k., I'm just saying that you should try to find out the details and exact nature of the crime. I know for a fact that buyers do care about the proximity of a registered sex offender in relation to their home. Most people do care - buyers, sellers, renters, grandparents, etc. There was a home in this area that just wouldn't sell because a registered sex offender was living with his mother in the neighborhood. The crime was of a serious nature. The neighbors got together and things got a little bit ugly. The good thing that came out of it is that the local police came to the neighborhood and spoke with the children and their parents about what they can do to protect themselves and steps they can take to be safe. Once the seller has knowledge of that a sex offender is living in the neighborhood - they should disclose that information to potential buyers. A registered sex offender moved into our neighborhood (didn't purchase, just staying with a home owner around the corner), and that was a huge issue for the people in my neighborhood. Knowledge is power - we didn't sell our homes, but we took extra precautions to make sure the children were safe and not outside without adult supervision.
I always encourage my buyers to go to the local sheriff's website and conduct a sex offender search prior to writing an offer. It is in the best interest of the buyer to know everything. Do seller's always disclose? No. The buyer has to make sure they do their research and have the information to make an educated decision regarding what is right for them, personally. In Ohio (Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors), there is a clause in the purchase contract regarding sexual offenders - "Buyer assumes sole responsibility for researching conditions outside the boundaries of the Real Estate, such as, but not limited to: crime statistics, registration of sex offenders. . .and any other issures of relevance to the Buyer and acknowledges that Buyer has been given the opportunity to conduct research pertaining to off-site conditions. In making this offer, Buyer shall rely soley upon Buyer's own inquiry with local agencies...and is not relying on the Seller or any Realtor involved in the transaction." The Buyer stats in the purchase contract that they request X amount of days to complete inspections and respond to the Seller with the results of their inspections. I do not understand why a Buyer, especially one that is represented by a Realtor, would not check it out. If the Realtor reviews the purchase contract with the Buyer, as they should, this topic is part of the purchase contract. Buying a home can be overwhelming for some people and it is the Buyer's Realtor's responsibility to make sure the Buyer's best interest are being seen to and that nothing slips through the cracks. If the Buyer is aware of their rights to conduct a search, and fails to do so, that is unfortunate, but the Realtor has done their job.
Yes, there are a registered sex offenders living amongst us, it is a sad fact of life. Everyone has a right to know where they are. In my opinion, a house for sale with a registered sex offender living next door, or even a couple doors down, who has a view of the yard where the potential buyers children will be playing, will have an impact on the value of the property. I would not encourage anyone to take that situation lightly. That being said, if the registered sex offender is living a couple blocks away, it shouldn't have as great an impact (on marketability). Remember - location, location, location. In my market area, we have an over-supply of homes for sale, if a buyer doesn't want to live next door to a registered sex offender, they can easily find a home they like in a different location. But, like Sandy Nelson stated, a registered sexual offender can move in (or out) after the buyer closes on the home, or at any time. I recommend that home owners visit the sheriff's website and sign up for "email alerts" so they are informed when a registered sex offender moves in. If you know what you are dealing with, at any point in time, in any situation, you can take the necessary steps to deal with the situation and do your best to keep you & your loved ones safe.
Consider the number of questions on Trulia (and asked to Realtors generally): "Is xxx a good neighborhood?" Or "Which schools in xxxx are the best?" Or "I'm a single woman. Would it be safe for me to live in xxxx?" People care about safety; they care about crime; they care about the welfare of their children. And if someone cares which school's students have higher SAT scores, I suspect that person would also care how many sex offenders live on the block.
Now, as noted below, not too many people check out the sex offender lists before buying. And it's also important to note that there are a wide range of offenses put into the "sex offender" category. Some are (at least to some people) more troubling than others. So saying someone is a sex offender is in some ways like saying someone has been convicted of a traffic offense. Maybe it was going 50 mph in a 25 mph zone...or maybe it's 4 drunk driving convictions and two counts of vehicular homicide. That's a decision each person has to make for him/herself.
Actually, most of those (non-realtors) I spoke to felt it would affect the value, regardless whether they were buying or currently own.
I even showed my parents how to check (as they sometimes watch the grandkids) the database. When they found out there were 2 reg. offenders living in the apt. building 1Â½ blks away; my dad's 2nd comment was about his housing value dropping. (his initial comment was how to keep them away from the playground).
Quite honestly I can't see that people would have 'no problem' living near a criminal (that is what S.O. are). If folks have an issue with it, in the end it will affect the value. I think as more people become accustomed to looking for this information it will differentiate properties. As it is, it's fairly new concept to some, to think they they can check ahead of time to see if there are any bad elements in the area.
However most of the public that I ask respond quite differently. Even if they don't have children... most have nieces, nephews, or friends with children that may visit. These folks almost UNANIMOUSLY believe that it impacts the value.
However, I believe that Heidi was right, in that most folks when researching a home will look at tax information, schools, etc, yet fail to take advantage of looking up info on predators in the are. Even though it is a priority for them... usually comes up as "oh, I forgot to check". Followed by where would I look for that.
I don't believe that the PRICE of a home right next door to a sex offender is going to differ from those in the immediate area.
I do however believe that many families especially with children are very aware of the areas where sex offenders reside because of the websites available to track such information. Some areas tend to have more sex offenders than others and still homes are being bought and sold regardless...they just might not be to someone with children and that's okay.
I think your answers are in line with what I've heard myself locally. Thanks for your input.
It's good to know that at least in Ohio there is reference in the contracts that directs buyers to consider that factor. Thanks for the answer.
The reason I initially asked the question is that while my wife & I were recently shopping for a home our realtor showed us a property that was on the market for 9+ months. We looked at it and other than being about $5,000 above the comps... looked pretty good. I began researching the neighborhood etc & found that there was an adult (30+ yrs) convicted of Aggravated Criminal Sexual abuse (victim was age 13-16) living in the house right next door with his parents. When I brought this up with my realtor, her response was that it wouldn't affect the property value (nor any bids we would consider putting on it).
As it is the home owners wound-up taking the home off the market after 10 months. Local realtor still maintains that it was "priced OK"..(close enough for negotiations to start).
Thanks for all the responses!! It's interesting to see just how much they vary.
I can't believe, Heidi and Sandy, that you guys really think it doesn't matter to us buyers. That feels a little condescending, and it feels more like a "realtor" answer than an honest one. In a "perfect world" it wouldn't affect the price? Really? Yikes! A perfect world for whom? For the realtor? The seller? Certainly not the buyer. Certainly not the buyer's family.
Even if buyers research the sex offender registry before they purchase a home and then buy a home that does not have a sex offender living in the neighborhood. The very next day a sex offender can move next door. I'd be interested to know if the people who feel that having a sex offender living in the neighborhood affects the value of homes think in terms of being buyers, or sellers.