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Are You Buying A Stigmatized Home?

 

Hello everyone, Chris neighbors here and this is my blog post on stigmatized properties. So what is a stigmatized property? According to realestatewebmasters.com it is:

  • while the exact legal definition varies by state and country, typically it is construed to be where something has taken place on a property (such as the death of one of the occupants in a traumatic or notorious fashion) such that it has affected the value of the property.

This topic is something I’ve always wondered about. I can’t imagine anyone would want to buy a home where a gruesome event has occurred. I remember asking people about this topic, people that had no idea what they were talking about, and generally they told me stigmatized properties had to be disclose. As it turns out they were wrong. Every state has a different set of laws on the matter. As hard as I tried I couldn’t find a list that gives every state’s laws. Instead I found mixed information about random states. Here is what I found:

South Dakota is the only state that requires all stigmatized property issues to be disclosed.

Alaska requires this as well, but only for 12 months after the event took place.

The states that require stigmatized property information to be disclosed only when the buyer asks are: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.

In California these events must be disclosed if they have happened within the last 3 years.

Tennessee and Florida don’t require any disclosure on these issues.

While it’s difficult to get a list of all the different state laws and definitions it has been made clear to me that you can’t expect sellers to hand the information over willingly. My advice for any perspective home buyer that cares about these issues is to always ask about it and do your own research. A great way to find out is to talk to the neighbors (that is how most people find out anyways). In this case just ask them before you purchase the home. In smaller towns this information should be easy to find, but larger cities will present more of a problem. In many cases ignorance might be bliss. A warning sign that the house might have has a shady past is it might be that the house is being sold really cheap with not a whole lot wrong with it. They have done studies that in large cities these properties, on average, sell for 3% less than comparable properties. In small towns, where the devastation lingers, the reduction can be a lot more significant.

I know that I would definitely want to know about any unfortunate history that took place in a house I was living in. that being said, I also believe that what you don’t know can’t hurt you (most the time). Have any of you thought about this topic before? Would you mind buying a house with a rocky past? If you were to sell one do you think you would willingly disclose?

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Posted by on June 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Five Key Things to Check BEFORE Renting a Home

So I’ve mentioned in a few posts about me looking for a new place to move into. I have no experience in deciding if a home is in good shape or not. After getting approved for the duplex I thought everything was going to be smooth sailing from here on out. I guess I was naïve to think that if someone was going to rent out a property they would make sure everything was in working order before they allowed someone to live in it. Luckily for me, my girlfriend’s parents happened to come up and visit us the weekend before we signed the lease.

Her father deals in real estate so he has all the experience I’m lacking. When we walked into the duplex he immediately started combing through everything. As he went through the places we made a list of over 15 problems that needed to be fixed before we could move it. Some were minor, like one of the electrical outlets was missing a cover. Then we found some major issues, like where the plumbing in the bathroom leaks into the wall. I would like to give the owners of this property the benefit of doubt that maybe they didn’t notice the leaks (but I’m sure they had). The things that really blew my mind were the tricks the landlords had used to hide major issues. For instance, instead of replacing the bathtub they decided to paint it. Well it looks ok at first, but after a while the paint peels away (sneaky, sneaky). Also, they painted the ceiling to make it look nicer; however, to cut costs they didn’t use primer and the whole ceiling was starting to peel off. After seeing what type of people we were dealing with, I knew we couldn’t move in.

I wrote this blog post because I want to pass on the lessons I’ve learned to others so you don’t make the same mistake I almost made. Here are the main things:

1) Take Your Time And Look Through EVERYTHING– When we first found this place the only thing we looked at was the floor plan. It’s so important to look at all the little things to make sure everything works. Check things like the toilet, the shower, the fridge, the stove, the furnace/water heater, the air vents/filter, and especially look for water damage.

2) Don’t Be Shy, Talk To The Neighbors– We talked to the guy living next door to the duplex, and he filled us in on some very important information. He told us the roofers that built the roofs in this neighborhood were cut rate and did a terrible job. We also found out that the area was really windy and the siding of the houses tends to fly off. We wouldn’t have known about any of this if we hadn’t been open to chatting with the neighbors.

3) Never Trust the Landlord– It’s sad. The older I get the more I realize you can’t trust anyone (except a select few) when it comes to money. Never assume the landlord will have made sure everything is in working order before you move in.

4) Ask For Repairs Before You Sign The Lease– There are two main reasons it’s important to catch all these issues before you sign the lease. A) Their might be too many problems and you don’t even want to move in anymore (like in my case). B) You have way more leverage to get them to fix things before you’re already locked in to the lease. If you tell them you won’t move in until everything is fixed you will have a better chance at getting them to do it quickly.

5) Do All This Before You Fill Out The Application– We didn’t do a good job at checking the duplex before we filled out the application. If we had, we wouldn’t have wanted it and saved ourselves the non-refundable application fee.

Does anyone else have more advice for people that are looking to rent?

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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