Stigma Houses - How to protect yourself as a Buyer

A stigma property is a property which is, or located very close to, a house that has strong negative associations. Whether it be haunted, a violent crime has taken place there, a grow op or having belonged to or near a convicted criminal, a stigma house can have a negative affect on the value of your property. There are many reasons why a buyer may not care about the stigma. For example, someone who doesn’t believe in ghosts wouldn’t care that their new property has a had a reputation for being haunted. So the right buyer may not even need convincing.

In British Columbia, Sellers must disclose all known material latent defects which means that any damage that isn’t seen by the visible eye but could render the property uninhabitable must be disclosed (ex. A leaking oil tank). If a Buyer is concerned about a stigma house they may ask the Seller directly. The Seller may then:
             A)    Answer the question directly. Or
             B)    Decline to answer and inform the Buyer to conduct their own investigation.

If a Seller declines to answer it may raise red flags and indicate that the Buyer should take the proper measures to ensure that any area of concern is researched. It could also mean that the Seller has no knowledge of a Buyers particular concern. Either way, it is up to the Buyer to confirm whether they deem the property liveable due to intangible situations.

If you’re concerned about certain stigmas there are a few ways to do your due diligence before putting an offer in on a home. Spend some time walking through the neighbourhood and speaking to neighbours about the community. If they aren’t the seller, chances are they’ll be more open to discussing any issues in the area. You can also do internet research or go the local community police station to discuss crime levels and the crime history in the area. Ultimately, it’s up to you, the Buyer, to decide what stigmas you can live with and which you can’t. Either way, Westport Properties is here to help you find the home or investment property you’ve been looking for. Feel free to contact us anytime to allow us to help you start your search!