The Real Estate Adviser on Bankrate.com has answered an important question from a reader: Does a registered sex offender living in your neighborhood affect your home's value? The unfortunate answer is "yes."

One study found that a sex offender within one-tenth of a mile of your home makes your house sell for about 17% less than comparable homes without a sex offender in the neighborhood. If a sex offender is within two-tenths or three-tenths of a mile from your home, expect a 9% to 10% lower sales price. A separate study found that homes within one-tenth of a mile of a sex offender only sold for 4% less than comparable homes.

Even though there is a range of numbers presented, it's clear that the presence of a registered sex offender in your neighborhood will have an impact on the sale price of your home. It's no wonder. What parent would buy a house in close proximity to a registered sex offender? For most parents, that's too big a risk to take when you know your child will want to play outside during summer.

This is a good time to remind buyers to check registries to see if a sex offender is living in the neighborhood you're considering. If you can't locate a registry, check with the local police station for guidance on sex offender registration. You want to make an informed choice before you buy a home for your family.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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