The Webster Dictionary defines stigma as a “mark of shame and being inferior in nature”. What the heck does this have to do with real estate? As realtors, we deal with stigmatized properties more often than you think. Generally speaking, the most common things we see when it comes to stigmatized properties are: 1) a suicide or death that has occurred on the property, 2) a major crime that has occurred on the property (i.e. a murder), 3) a haunted property.
We’re sure you’re wondering what all of this has to do with you as prospective buyers or sellers. Let us enlighten you. Did you know that sellers aren’t required to disclose if their property is a potentially “stigmatized” one? Some people argue that sellers should have a moral or ethical responsibility to do so, however, legally, no obligation exists. We’re not going to lie, being visited by a ghost in the middle of the night in a new home just doesn’t scream “welcome home” to us. But on the flip side, if an elderly person passed away in a home from old age, it almost seems more bearable than the ghostly visits at all hours of the night. The truth is, what one buyer considers a stigma, another may not.
As realtors, we must follow our clients’ lawful instructions. We’re not legally required to answer questions about stigmas to buyers or other realtors, however, we cannot lie. If we choose to answer any of those posed questions, we must do so honestly.
As a buyer, if these types of properties are ones you want to avoid, please make sure you tell us. And ask questions – lots of them! We’ll do our best to find as much information as we possibly can to ease your mind and honour your wishes.
If you’d like to know more about these types of properties in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, or Parkland County, give us a shout – we’d love to help. Any maybe even help you find that special haunted house… should that appeal to you 😜.