Why can’t real estate agents tell you directly about the crime rate in a neighborhood? Today, I’ll explain.
I’m often asked about the crime the area in which a buyer is looking to buy a home.
We completely understand why homeowners would want to know the answer to such a question. However, real estate agents are unfortunately forbidden to answer it. When your question is met with silence or if you’re directed to the local police station or certain websites, please don’t think you’re being brushed off.
The issue is that in the 1960s, the Fair Housing Act was passed, and it was aimed at ending housing discrimination. In our case, it prevents us from answering certain questions because our answers may be misconstrued as “steering.”
Steering is when a real estate agent tries to discourage a client from buying a home in a certain area. Even if that isn’t our intention, crime statistics, racial demographics, and even which churches are in the area are topics that are off-limits to us.
Though we can’t answer that question directly, there are several ways to check crime statistics or the general safety of a community. One way is to use crime-mapping services like www.CrimeReports.com, which collects data from police and enlists the help of homeowners with security cameras, allowing them to register their cameras with the site.
Also, sites such as www.AreaVibes.com encourage residents to give general overviews of their cities. These reviews will often contain community-level crime information.
Of course, nobody is more in touch with local crime than the residents of the actual community. Drive through the neighborhood at different times of day, and when you see neighbors outside, stop and chat with them. Not only will you get the information about the area’s safety, but you may learn a few other valuable things as well. Open your ears and soak in all the gossip.
In this information age, getting the data you need about any particular area is a simple Google search away. Personally, I send my clients to www.HomeFacts.com, because it encompasses crime rates, registered sex offenders, and school rankings.
Regardless of the site you choose, please remember that if you’re thinking of buying or selling in the Grand Prairie, Mansfield, Arlington, or surrounding areas, we’re here to help. Reach out to us and let us know how we can help you.