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Tech changes make Realtors’ jobs easier – and harder


IRVINE, Calif. – March 17, 2016 – While buyers have been able to access neighborhood information for a while now – including the location of nearby sex and criminal offenders – technology upgrades continue to make the process easier to use and understand.

A RealtyTrac tool, for example, allows homebuyers to type a home's address into a search box and receive a free report about that specific home and attributes of the neighborhood, including the distance of sexual and other predators. The tool even provides a photo of the criminal at RealtyTrac's dedicated website,

In addition to criminal information, the free report provides a home valuation estimate, crime index rating, local meth lab report, and data on brownfields, registered polluters, radon, airport noise and UV index. It also includes a rating for a listing's natural disaster risk: flood, earthquake, tornado, wildfire, sinkhole, hurricane and hail.

As a one-stop shop for buyer info, additional area data is included, such as the home's history: building permits, taxes, previous sales, comparable sales and fair market rent. It even breaks down the home's distance from the nearest fire station, police station and library.

Criminal offender risk

RealtyTrac recently added the criminal risk element to its evaluation, and it found that average home price appreciation was slightly stronger over the past year and five years in zip codes with a higher offender index than in zip codes with a lower offender index – but only zip codes with an offender index in the bottom 20th percentile saw home prices rebound above levels from 10 years ago.

However, as more buyers become aware of the index – and others like it – the demand for low-risk neighborhoods could go up. An increase in buyer access to the statistics could possibly create new sales challenges when marketing homes in certain neighborhoods.

"This new index provides concrete evidence that registered criminal offenders pose not only a potential safety risk for homeowners and their families, but also a potential financial risk for what is likely a homeowner's biggest asset," says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at RealtyTrac.

For RealtyTrac's analysis, zip codes were placed in one of five risk categories that represent 20 percent of all zip codes: Very High, High, Medium, Low and Very Low. Publicly recorded real estate data was included for each zip code to analyze home values, homeowner equity, home price appreciation and foreclosure rates.

Study results

  • Markets with the highest percentage of homes in zip codes with a "Very High" offender index were Greenville, South Carolina (73 percent); Columbia, South Carolina (66 percent); Boise, Idaho (66 percent); Pensacola, Florida (60 percent); and Flint, Michigan (57 percent).
  • Major markets where more than one-fourth of all homes were in zip codes with a Very High offender index included Detroit (39 percent), Nashville (32 percent), San Antonio (31 percent), St. Louis (31 percent), and Tampa (26 percent).
  • Markets with highest percentage of homes in zip codes with Very Low offender index

Markets with the highest percentage of homes in zip codes with a Very Low offender index were Minneapolis-St. Paul (90 percent); Portland, Oregon (88 percent); Trenton, New Jersey (62 percent); New York (61 percent); and Boston (52 percent).

© 2016 Florida Realtors®


Related Topics: Technology