“Is it a Safe Area?"

One question I am asked as often as any by homebuyers: “Is it a safe area?”  And I wanted to take a moment and flesh out my standard answer which is: “I don’t know.”

Of course I have an opinion, everyone has an opinion.  In fact just the other day a client referred to area that I happen to live in as “not a good area” (he didn’t know I live there).  I thought he was nuts, but I didn’t correct or argue the point, it’s his opinion.  That’s what safety is.  You can live in an area that 90% of the public hypothetically would rate as a “great area” and still get robbed. As a REALTOR there are three main problems with expressing my opinion on THIS particular subject:

1) Steering is a major no-no in real estate, and any agent who tells you what’s a great area and happens to not mention an area that you might’ve want to live in, could be accused of steering (unintentionally).  That’s already too much liability for me as an agent, so I avoid suggesting or recommending any areas.  I instead ask questions like what things you like to do, where will you work, is there a school you have scoped out for children, or do you need to be near a hospital or freeways, etc.  Then I can point out areas that match your criteria.

2) You can get robbed absolutely anywhere, and I don’t want to take on liability for that unfortunate possibility.  I haven’t had many clients get robbed over the years that I know about, but the ones that have been robbed were in high-priced neighborhoods. 

3) You don’t need an opinion - we have actual crime reports.  This is the cool thing about Vegas - you can get crime stats on a map covering the entire city.  I have listed out the web links below — I always point clients here so they can feel comfortable with the areas and then direct me on where they want to live. 

Remember, no REALTOR (or lender) knows what your priorities are by default, and they shouldn’t be recommending to you a safe area.  Friends and family members of course, they always have ideas…