Notes From Readers: Sex Offender Apps, Appraisers, Sign Bans and More

REALTOR® Magazine readers comment on recent articles and housing news.

August 1, 2010

Sex-Offender Lists Not Reliable

"Your article about sex offender apps was an eye-opener, especially the part about how many people end up on lists for minor crimes and pranks ("Sex Offender Apps: Use With Caution," June 2010). The manpower to keep track of registered sex offenders just isn’t adequate to keep sex-offender lists current. Many are living in cities or states other than their registered location. Consider the buyer who decides to purchase a home, feeling safe after looking at a Web site, unaware of the serious sex offender living next door unreported. Or, the potential buyer who sees on a Web site that an offender lives across the street from the property, not knowing he has moved. More education about what the lists really mean would help us all." --John Bogner, CRS, Realty World Selzer Realty, Ukiah, Calif.

Accurate MLS Data Helps Appraisers

"I read with interest Stacey Moncrieff’s editor’s letter in the June issue ("Take a Problem-Solving Approach,"). The first bolded point, "Help appraisers do a good job," hits the nail on the head. Appraisers really could use more help from real estate pros. I can’t tell you how many times we discover that data entered in the MLS is wrong—the wrong subdivision is listed or the property isn’t identified as a foreclosure. Errors make it difficult to locate accurate comps and cause us to question the other data in the listing. Most appraisers want to do a good job, and we look to real estate agents to help in the process." --David Gremar, Gremar & Associates, El Paso, Texas

Strict Signage Rules Hurt Business

"Genie Birch’s commentary about sign ordinances resonates with issues we’ve encountered in the Chicago area ("Stand Up for Your Signs," June 2010). The suburb of Fox River Grove tried to reduce the size of signs to no larger than 2 feet by 4 feet. A few of us commercial brokers launched a campaign and got it changed. The village seemed to think that most of our business comes from the Internet, which can’t be further from the truth—about 70 percent of our calls come from signs. On a more positive note, the city of Crystal Lake abolished fees for all real estate signs to eliminate obstacles to filling vacant commercial space. We hope it sets a good example for other towns that might otherwise charge sign fees to fill budget gaps." --Bruce S. Kaplan, Premier Commercial Realty, Lake in the Hills, Ill.

Correction: In the For Brokers edition of the May issue, the article "What’s Your Tech Budget?" included a broker from Newnan, Ga., who’s not a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. We apologize for the oversight and have removed the person’s quotes from the online version.