Table of Contents
🏘️Neighborhoods Are Important
Today’s home buyers are looking for a lifestyle as well as a house. The neighborhood is a major consideration, especially knowing that the neighborhood is safe. I think I’ve been asked the question about whether a neighborhood is safe more times than I can count. Unfortunately, as much as we may have opinions to give people, as Realtors®, we can’t give those kinds of recommendations.
There are laws that keep me from making “representations as to the ‘quality’ of a neighborhood”.
Not only that, but paragraph 49 of the Maryland real estate contract keeps me from ascertaining any information regarding criminal activity or presence of registered sex offenders.
Paragraph 51 keeps me from “making representations” with respect to the following:
- Water quality
- State of sewage disposal sytems
- Assessments of public utilities
- Details of the lot
- Existing zoning
- Soil conditions, flood hazard area, covenants, HOA issues…
- and the list goes on for about 1/3 of the page.
🤓Realtors® Are Experts… of a Sort…
As much as I have opinions about EVERYthing, because I’ve lived in Frederick County for 28 years (but mostly 😉 because I am opinionated) the truth is…I don’t really know. As a real estate agent, I’m an agent to a transaction, not an expert in all the details of Frederick living. If I make any kind of representation, and I turn out to be wrong, buyers and sellers have made important life decisions based on my wrong information. 😨 The results can be = ruining someone’s financial prospects for a period of time, as well as their well-being. If this were to happen, at best, people wouldn’t like me much, at worst, I could be sued. 😱
When a real estate agent offers advice on anything outside of the scope of their license, whether it is offering an opinion on the discovery made in a home inspection, or even if it is as simple as which school district the resident attends, they are on dangerous ground. These are items that are not in the expertise of the agent.
The expertise of an agent is this: in the transaction, in the negotiation, in the marketing of homes, and in representing their client’s best interests. Maryland law and the National Association of Realtors® Code of Ethics spells this out clearly:
Realtors® shall NOT “advise the public on matters outside the scope of their real estate license”.
One thing I can and will gladly do…is point you to the sources for the answers to your questions.
Here are a few good ones:
⚠️How Do I Know This Neighborhood is Safe?
- The Property Explorer
- Interactive crime map with sex offender registry
- School Finder
- Parks and Recreation Map
- Washington County Sheriff’s website.
- Montgomery County Sheriff
- Howard County Sheriff
- Carroll County Sheriff
📞Pick Up the Phone
You can also call the police department closest to an address you are looking at. Ask them about a neighborhood… it’s their job!
Once (15 years ago or more) Chris was showing a beautiful home to a buyer…newly renovated to-the-nines! The buyer noticed the back fence had barbed wire along the top and asked about it. We not only had no idea, we couldn’t account for it, so we gave them the number of the nearest police station. The next day they reported to us all the gory details of drug sales in the alley behind the home. Buyers MUST do their due diligence! (and needless to say…they kept looking.)
🚸Frederick Schools are Tops!
School districts definitely have an impact on home values. We’ve known for years that good school districts attract young families with children. However, recent studies show much more to the story.
According to a recent Realtor.com study, homes in the best school districts, on average, sell for higher prices than similar homes in less-popular school districts. There is a correlation suggesting that more affluent people buy in the best school districts. It would certainly seem that good schools affect home values, even probably that they protect home values.
If you’re researching Frederick schools:
Additional Reading: Top Ranking Frederick County High Schools
Need A Real Estate Agent in Your City? We Can Refer a Great Agent!
Chris Highland , eXp Realty – Specializing in Frederick County Real Estate