Inman

How to respond when clients ask: ‘Is this a safe neighborhood?’

By April 23, 2018 No Comments
How to respond when clients ask: ‘Is this a safe neighborhood?’
REPOSTED DIRECTLY FROM INMAN NEWS. THIS CONTENT HAS NOT BEEN MODERATED BY WFG NATIONAL TITLE.

This spring, Inman is obsessing over helping you to tune-up your listings business, with actionable insights, the best advice from top agents and hundreds of helpful stories from all over the world. Interested in sharing your advice and insights with us? Reach out to me at matthew@inman.com.

Don’t forget that we’ll also be focusing on how agents and brokerages can all move Faster, Better, Together this July at Inman Connect San Francisco. Not got your ticket yet? Buy it here, and remember that Select members get a $100 discount. Thinking of bringing your team? There are special onsite perks and discounts when you buy those tickets together too. Just contact us to find out more.

Save My Seat for ICSF Now

Safety is always at the top of the list for people buying a new home. A recent study from the online listing site Trulia shows that people are even willing to give up a lot in exchange for an added sense of security.

The poll of 2,000 people found that 72 percent were willing to go without a pool, 55 percent were OK without their home having a finished basement and 21 percent agreed to forgo a garage if the home was in an ideal neighborhood. Further, a full 80 percent said that safety was the most important element of a neighborhood.

Knowing the premium that homebuyers place on good neighborhoods, real estate agents should make it a point to understand area safety and learn how to market that information to their buyers.

Here’s a look at the top 10 safest cities in the U.S. — and how you can encourage your buyers to think about area and home security whether you’re selling in those cities or not.

Top 10 safest cities in the US

Safe city research can be a powerful tool for motivating homebuying and selling. Ranking company Niche, an organization dedicated to neighborhood and school insights and analysis, lists these cities as the top 10 safest in the United States:    

  1. Naperville, Illinois
  2. Irvine, California
  3. Thousand Oaks, California
  4. Provo, Utah
  5. Round Rock, Texas
  6. Carlsbad, California
  7. Sunnyvale, California
  8. Glendale, California
  9. Plano, Texas
  10. Overland Park, Kansas

How to talk about security with your clients

Although being in a safe city is a nice selling point, it doesn’t mean your buyers shouldn’t further investigate their potential new neighborhood. Here are three things to discuss with your clients.

1. Tell buyers to check areas out firsthand

Anyone looking to buy a home should make a point of driving or walking the neighborhood at various times of the day and night on weekdays as well as weekends, so encourage your buyers to visit the area where they’re considering property.

“A safe neighborhood means people will feel free to walk around, be outdoors and interact with their neighbors,” said Brendon DeSimone, a national real estate expert. “Communities still exist today where people don’t lock their doors, and they know their neighbors are there for them in a pinch,” he noted, so your clients should be on the lookout for signs of community and engagement that match their needs.

2. Ask the locals

There’s no substitute for getting information directly from people who live in an area. Suggest that your clients chat with neighbors to learn more about the local community.

Neighbors familiar with the area might offer information your buyers didn’t even think to ask about, such as the presence of a lot of loud parties on the block or roads with higher speed limits.

3. Talk about additional security measures

Lastly, regardless of where you’re selling, a security system can add a layer of protection for any homebuyer. Today’s security providers offer a range of attractive options:

  • Wireless systems that ensure no one can disable the alarm by cutting a phone line
  • Pet-immune sensors that avoid false alarms
  • Mobile access that provides remote monitoring of a home

So if your buyers are concerned about keeping an eye on their property, direct them to an area security provider to see what options are available.

Getting a neighborhood snapshot for other areas

For those cities that didn’t make the list, similar data is available online. Your clients can search area crime reports for free on sites like CrimeReports or SpotCrime.

For specific information about registered sex offenders, the government-run Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) includes state, territorial and tribal information. The data can be searched by name, address, city or county.

So while you shouldn’t offer personal opinions on a given area’s safety, you can absolutely help your buyers find the resources they need to make the right choices for their needs.

Whether or not your city ends up on one of the annual lists of safest places to live, there are ways to dig into a specific neighborhood or address for more detail. And potential homebuyers who feel confident they have the tools to find a home where they feel safe are clients with faith in their real estate agent.

Have you ever sold property in a particularly safe city? Share any methods you’ve used to add this key piece of information to a home’s profile or ways you’ve helped your clients to a resource that gives them greater peace of mind and has helped put them in the house of their dreams.

Scott Bay is a digital journalist who reports on the latest technology trends, focusing specifically on travel, home and AI topics. He has written for Venture Beat, Men’s Health and ITS.

The views and opinions of authors expressed in this publication do not necessarily state or reflect those of WFG National Title, its affiliated companies, or their respective management or personnel.

Want to get these articles delivered directly to your inbox?

Sign up to get a weekly recap email with the hottest articles delivered every Friday.