Megan’s Law and Real Estate

Megan’s Law and Real Estate: How to Research Your New Neighborhood for Sex Offenders in the Area

When you are looking at a new house, one of the last things you want to think about is the possibility of sex offenders living in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, if you have children, plan to have children in the future, or have children visit your home, you need to know if they will be safe.

What is Megan’s Law?
Megan’s Law requires all convicted sex offenders to register with the local law enforcement agency and keep them updated of any change in their address. While there is always a chance that a sex offender will fail to register, this system is the best and most comprehensive means of knowing the whereabouts of convicted sex offenders at all time.

When you are thinking about purchasing a home, it is certainly in your best interest to find out about the presence of convicted sex offenders in an area before you enter into a sales contract. Once you enter into a purchase agreement with a buyer, you have no leeway to change your mind and will lose any deposit that you made on a home if you decide to back out of the purchase because you later become aware of sex offenders in the neighborhood.

How to Check for Local Sex Offenders
A great deal of information about convicted sex offenders is available online. In California, for example, the sex offender registry can be found at http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/. You can get information about the presence of sex offenders in the neighborhoods where you are thinking about purchasing property.

The information provides you with name, last known address, date of conviction, offenses, and when the offender registered. It allows you to see how serious the offense is and if it involved someone in particular age groups such as under twelve, twelve to fifteen, or between sixteen and seventeen or even between adults where rape was involved. Though the law’s intentions are to protect children, making sex offenders register helps protect more of the population from these acts of violence toward both children and adults.

If you prefer in-person contact instead of using your computer to research this subject for your new neighborhood, you can begin your search with the local law enforcement agencies in the areas you are thinking about purchasing your new home. Each area may have a different place for you to obtain the information, but if you check with the local police department, they can provide you with the information or advise you where you need to go in order to get what you need.

Research Paired with Good Judgment is Key

If you have several areas in mind, you may want to check on all of them, so that you can make a decision about the one that may be the safest. Keep in mind that you may not find a neighborhood that is completely free of sex offenders, so you may need to look at the charges and decide the best course of action. You can also inquire of the neighbors to see if they are aware that the person lives there and see if they have ever had any problems with him in regards to their children or children who came to visit.

Content contributed by Castle Pines real estate specialists in Colorado, Automated Homefinder.