Sex Offenders and your Home Buying Experience
100 Real Estate & Relocation Tips in 100 Days (Day 61)
by Larry McGee, Guest Blogger from The Berkshire Group
To start with, let us hope that there are no sex offenders (or any other kind of offenders) in any way involved with your home buying experience. The Colorado Buyer's Agency Contracts have an important reference to Megan' s Law, which provides the home buyers with an important but seldom discussed right in the due diligence process. Before we get into all of that, let's hop on the Way Back Machine and turn the clock back to the 1950's.
I have often wondered where the sex offenders were hanging out when I was growing up in suburban Denver. I am not certain if it was a combination of less tolerance and tight lips, or the fact that the city was not as large and propriety was still important, but as a child, sex offenders just never seemed to be an issue. I suppose we had those kinds of folks in our society in the 50's and 60's, and maybe the "Mom" network just did a group protection thing, but the problem was simply not discussed at the time. Even during my time as a police officer in the 1970's, sex offenses, especially against children, certainly was not a crime on the Radar of most cops of the era.
For whatever reason, things have changed, and many parents want to know if there is a sex offender anywhere near the sanctuary of their proposed home.
If the issue is one of concern to you as a home buyer, there are two very important things you can and should do:
- Check with the County Sheriff or local Police Agency for information regarding registered sex offenders residing "near" (your definition) your prospective home purchase. The information is public knowledge, and most law enforcement agencies have that information accessible on their WEB sites. Your Realtor® should not be providing that information to you, and you should not ask, for what seem obvious reasons. (Many Counties have email opt-in subscriptions lists that will notify you when someone registers in your County. See previous post about "What County are You In? For links to Metro Denver Counties)
- You, the buyer, should perform some personal due diligence with your prospective neighbors. Knock on a few doors, get to know the people that you intend to live next to, and ask questions about the neighborhood. All kinds of questions, not just about sex offenders. If you are not pleased with the answers you receive, then move on to the next house.
It is sad really that the non-threatening time of "Leave it to Beaver" and "Father Knows Best" are gone forever, but it is the reality. Houses are big, expensive things, and the task of making a house your home is challenging. Take the time to be comfortable with your neighborhood, as well as the house, before you buy.