Murder She Wrote – Stigma Effects Value!

So, how do I broach this topic? I have given this question quite a lot of thought and have hesitate for many, many years in creating a blog post about his. It is a difficult topic and something that people don’t want to think about or acknowledge happens in our Toronto neighbourhoods. Just last week there was a shooting at Yonge and Lawrence, shocking! I grew up there, in fact it was right outside my favourite lunch hangout during my high school years, the best submarine sandwich place in Toronto! I mean, this is a family friendly neighbourhood that is considered very safe no matter what time of day it is!

It’s one thing to have this happen on our streets, yet it is entirely another to have this happen in a home.

Let’s consider this example:
You and the love of your life have been looking for a house for sometime, when you stumble across a beautiful house that has been on the market for 8 months. “What an opportunity!” You say to yourself (in this market that would be a head scratcher, as today’s market is seeing houses sell very quickly, in many cases in the sub 30 day range). So, you purchase the dream home. Let’s fast forward a little bit here for the sake of my example, a few months down the road you are speaking over the fence to your neighbour who mentions that they knew the second last owner, a lovely person who she was quite close to. The neighbour goes on to say that the previous owner was killed in the house after interrupting a break-in. Would you find yourself in shock and horror? Probably. What are the chances that later in the day or days to come you begin to ask yourself if that is why you were not in competition for this beautiful well priced home. (I mean, why would you want the house that no one else wants, right?!?). Would you be upset that no one disclosed this? (legally Realtors must disclose any facts that could effect the value of the home – this is STIGMA, that can drastically effect the value of the home!).  Would you feel safe in your new home? Would you feel ripped off? It certainly would beg a number of questions that could very well keep you up at night.

I smell a lawsuit!

Now, I have never run into this scenario in my own real estate dealings but I have read about it in some Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) reports. It can be a real mess for all the parties involved (the seller who didn’t disclose, both the buyer and listing representatives as well). Stigma can have a lasting effect on value. This must be disclosed to all the parties prior to doing a deal, in writing.

So, you must be asking yourself “WHAT CAN I DO TO AVOID THIS?!?” Here is a part of the answer…here is a helpful site that will greatly assist you searching specific properties. The site HouseCreep has listed over 2000 (and growing) places where murders have occurred. They continually add new locations as newspaper articles are released.

Having all the information is essential to getting the deal done. This is one more tool to add to your arsenal.

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