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?