During your new home search have you ever stumbled across a listing that has been classified as a “stigmatized property”? Just what does that term really mean?  The word, “stigmatized”, might conjure up images of ghostly visitors, paranormal activity and things that go bump in the night, but, in actuality, it covers much more than merely supposed supernatural happenings.


What Homes & Properties Are Considered Stigmatized?

Ask any seasoned real estate professional and they will tell you, some properties are easier to sell than others. In certian instances, upgraded countertops, finished basements and eye-popping curb appeal still isn’t enough to overcome the history of certain properties. Many homebuyers will stay far away from any home that is rumored to be haunted or was the location of a terrible accident. There are, however, more criteria than unexplained phenomena that can firmly place an otherwise beautiful home for sale in the unwanted stigmatized property category.


Criminally Stigmatized Properties

In cities and neighborhoods across the country, crimes occur everyday.  Unfortunately, many of these crimes are committed behind closed doors in homes and properties. A house can be considered to have a criminal stigma if it was used for any illegal activity including selling drugs, fencing stolen property or, in some instances, even counterfeiting. In order to protect buyers, most states require full disclosure if the home played host to any illicit activity.


Death Or Loss Of Life Stigmatized Properties

Legal disclosure varies on a state-by-state basis regarding violent acts resulting in death, suicide or natural passing that has occurred at the property. For example, California requires full disclosure if the death happened only within the prior three years, however other states feel it is only pertinent to convey strictly material defects in the home.


Paranormally Stigmatized Properties

We know this is the category that all homebuyers and sellers are really interested in! As far as property law in our local West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland area is concerned, no statutory law exists requiring sellers to inform buyers that they may be getting more unwanted—and otherworldly—guests than they bargained for. Most real estate agents, however, will choose to disclose any rumors of suspected paranormal activity if a curious seller asks.


Overall, it’s important to be upfront, transparent and completely honest regarding full disclosure pertaining to real estate transactions.  In certain instances buyers have been known to actually like the idea that the dream house they are considering may be haunted! Some homebuyers will not even visit a property, regardless of the incredible price, that may have an odd past. In fact, Coldwell Banker Innovations‘ very own agent Kevin O’Leary recently had a very strange experience of his own that you really should read!


Do you have a story about a stigmatized property? Share it with our readers in the comments section below!