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Purchasing Stigmatized Properties: What You Need To Know

The end of October is a spooky time of year and it’s the perfect opportunity to learn about stigmatized properties! What does that mean? Should you buy stigmatized properties? What if you like haunted houses? These are all great questions. Stigma is hard to define, especially on a property. Preferences are individual too, adding to the complication. While this may seem mysterious, have no fear! We’re going to walk you through it. Let’s start with taking a look at what it means.

What are stigmatized properties?

Simply put, they are properties that have psychological events surrounding them. Sound spooky? For some people it can be! One example is a home that has been the site of a tragic event like a sudden death or homicide on the property. Other examples could be criminal in nature. For instance, the home could have suspected ties to a member of organized crime, or perhaps it has been the previous target of a break-and-enter or vandalism. This idea can also include sexual offenders living in the vicinity. And, maybe you guessed it, this also includes reports of a property being haunted.

Can I tell what listings are stigmatized properties?

Disclosure of stigmatized properties is not required in British Columbia. Since stigma isn’t considered a defect on the property legally, these types of situations rely on the idea of “buyer beware”. This simply means that buyers are responsible for making sure the property is suitable for what they’d like to use it for.  Sellers have the option to either answer questions about potentially stigmatized properties directly, or they can refuse to answer and get the buyer to do their own research.  The good news is that if you feel uncomfortable with any of these events, your Realtor® can help out! They can look into what happened to a property you are interested in.

Should I buy stigmatized properties?

There are a few things to consider before you make a decision to buy a home where a pyschological event has taken place. Firstly, these events bring up different reactions depending on how old you are, your gender, your religion, and your family. Secondly, there can also be more to the story. For instance, a death on the property could refer to something tragic, but it could also refer to a loved one passing on with family nearby. It could have happened recently, or a long time ago. Having your questions answered is the best way to decide how you feel about what has taken place, and to know if the stigma affects your own perception.

In the end, stigma is really a matter of perspective. The best thing you can do is think carefully about what would bother you and what wouldn’t. Make sure to define your concerns as specifically as possible. As you’ve seen, the concern of a death on the property gets more complicated when you start asking questions, and for many people, some of the answers to those questions can actually reduce the stigma surrounding the event. Whatever you decide, talk to your Realtor® about any concerns, as they can find out what has happened to a property you are looking at. They can also steer you to different properties if there are known events surrounding specific properties ahead of time. If you’re looking to buy a home in the Comox Valley, whether you want a haunted, spooky home or a regular one, give us a call! If you want to know what your home is worth in this busy market, we do that too. Contact us today!

MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification.