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RISMEDIA, July 25, 2007–“Each neighborhood is affected differently by a building project, so knowing the issues surrounding potential building projects is an important part of being a true real estate professional,” says Allen Wright, co-author of the new, cutting-edge Certified Neighborhood Specialist (CNS) course.

During the last century homeownership has grown from 46% in 1900 to 68% in 2007.  Along with this growth in homeownership comes the inevitable potential change of value resulting from an outside force such as a building project.  These projects range from roads to prisons to schools to airports but not every project has a positive impact on building values in the area.  Some that, on the surface, would seem to have a positive impact can actually produce the opposite affect.

According to Wright, knowing where to find future building project information is the first step.  “Understanding and being able to present those potential impacts is part two of the role a ‘Neighborhood Expert’ plays in the home buying and selling process,” he says.

A new prison is to be built; in some areas this would have a negative impact on property values, such as a suburban community of a large metropolitan area.  This negative impact is due to the stigma of having the incarcerated next to neighborhoods of families and the potential for a prison break.  The same prison being built in a rural area would bring jobs to the area may actually have the opposite affect on property values.

The first step is the simplest and involves a little research to find the local source for potential building projects.  Most city-planning departments have future building projects posted on their Web site.  If not, make it a point to research how you can be notified of projects that come about.

The second step involves finding third-party data on the pros and cons of the building project.  It is not the responsibility of the real estate professional to render an opinion, but rather to present the facts.  For example, a statement that might be construed incorrectly would be that of an airport closure that would relieve the area of airport noise.  However, if the area home prices are based on proximity to the airport, the perceived increase in value because of less noise would be incorrect.

The new Certified Neighborhood Specialist course teaches real estate agents how to research future building projects and the impact those projects may have on the property values affecting the areas in which they specialize.  This knowledge is what separates a typical agent from a “Neighborhood Expert.” The course is approved by RealtyU, one of the nation’s largest real estate education and training companies. For more information on the Certified Neighborhood Specialist course and the CNS designation visit