Stigma and Real Estate: Your Guide to Buying or Selling a Haunted House
Blog • October 20, 2021
In many years of helping my clients buy and sell Real Estate, one thing that I have learned is that each house has its own personal quirks and quips. Older homes may sport a creaky staircase or a light that flickers, others may have a window that takes a little more than elbow grease to open. While some may see these as minor flaws or imperfections, some think it adds character to their home. Every once in a while, however, these flaws begin to feel a little more supernatural, or, paranormal even, leaving homeowners, their REALTORS ® and prospective clients questioning if the house could be haunted.
Would a haunted property affect whether or not you would put in an offer? What happens when you find the home of your dreams, only to later hear rumours of ghosts occupying the premises, or that the home was subject to crime, death, or other stigmatizing factors. Before you run away and hide, we have put together a reference guide for what you should know about stigmatized properties and Real Estate.
What is a “Stigmatized Property”
Stigmatized properties in Real Estate contain non-physical, intangible attributes that may elicit a psychological or emotional response from a potential buyer, sometimes presenting a challenge for REALTORS®. Stigmatized properties can include those that were used in the ongoing commission of a crime, a home in which unnatural death has occurred, a property previously owned by a notorious criminal, or your average “haunted house”.
Disclosure and REALTOR® Obligation
According to the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), when it comes to buying stigmatized properties, it is best to move forward with a “buyer beware” approach. If a property’s stigma becomes public knowledge, the sale could become jeopardized. While there are no laws that state full disclosure of a potentially “haunted house” is needed, if the REALTOR ® had prior knowledge of the stigma and did not disclose such, their reputation could be tarnished. It is best to always put your best foot forward and get ahead of the game, after all, honesty is the best policy!
How Will Stigma Affect My Sale
There is no one answer to whether or not any potential stigma could affect the sale of a home. While some buyers might turn away from inheriting the ghosts or spirits that inhabit your residence, others may be unbothered or intrigued even, by the presence of the paranormal and put your home at the top of their list. Superstition is around every corner, whether it be in the form of a black cat crossing the street in front of you, or avoiding stepping on cracks in the sidewalk out of fear of “breaking your mother’s back”. While most people are not phased by these things, some take them very seriously and as a seller or an agent, we have no control over that. Fortunately, with a well-staged home and the right buyer, you are likely to get the sale you are looking for without calling in your local ghostbusters.
Buying and Selling real estate is a big deal, and with stigmatized properties that may be selling in the haunted season, it’s easy to understand why worry takes place. However, just like any home, there are stages to complete to ensure the sale is solid, and following these guidelines with a trusted and knowledgeable REALTOR® is important, stigma or no stigma. However, if you’re looking for a fearless team who won’t get too spooked at the presence of a ghost, West Ottawa Real Estate is here for you.