Casper the Friendly Ghost

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Preffered Group

Do you believe in Ghosts? I'm not sure if I do...but then I don't think I can be hypnotized either. I do love magic and magicians or illusionists.

What about haunted houses? If you believe in ghosts then you believe there are haunted houses. Some of the phenomena generally associated with haunted houses, including strange visions and sounds, feelings of dread, illness, and the sudden, apparently inexplicable death of all the occupants, can be attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning. It has been proven that in some extreme cases of suicide or accidental death preceded by the occupants witnessing paranormal activity were actually victims a failing gas furnace or improperly installed gas water heater.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This brings me to the topic of stigmatized properties. An attorney friend of mine called me last week and asked me what I knew of stigmatized properties. The best explanation I could offer is ...a property that is mentally distressed. Distressed in the mind of the beholder, whomever that may be. A property being stigmatized has nothing to do with its habitability or use or operation of its systems. It has to do with desirability based on certain occurrences or happenings in or around the house and these occurrences could effect the value of the property.

For example. Would you want to buy a home where the previous owners had committed suicide or murder or both? Of course not...lets face it this property will possibly never sell if these facts are disclosed, yet the suicide and/or murder has nothing to do with the usage of the home itself. The doors still open, the furnace still works, the appliances all function, everything works. This home has been compromised by unfortunate happenstance and no amount of decorating, staging or aggressive pricing or incentives will help it sell anytime soon.

The key here is "If the details are disclosed". This brings me to the question my attorney friend had. Do I as a licensed Realtor have to disclose these facts? My answer is that disclosure is the responsibility of the seller of the property. If a buyer were to ask me straight forward "Did anyone commit murder or die in this home?" I would have to answer them honestly. However, do I automatically offer these seedy details to every buyer that calls on or looks at this home?

There was a case of a rape that occurred in an upscale neighborhood near Cincinnati a few years ago. The new buyer had just moved in when the next door neighbor revealed why the previous owners decided to move. The wife and daughter were raped inside this house. The new buyer was appalled and sued their real estate agent, the listing agent, the lender and the title company. They sued everyone involved with this sale. It was dragged out in the courts for several years and their buyers agent ended up filing bankruptcy and leaving the real estate business. The court decided on the side of the defendants that the rape had nothing to do with the habitability of the property and no one did anything wrong. It was a day late and a dollar short for some of the defendants. This is a lesson worth learning. Anyone can sue you for anything legitimate or not. It is best to do whatever you can to avoid going to court. Everyone loses. No one wins.

God bless you and pray for our troops.      

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Rainer
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Greg Hampton
Re/Max Around The Mountains - Blue Ridge, GA
North Georgia Mountain Property,Blue Rid

There are no such thing as a ghost, houses just have building issues or settling.

May 14, 2008 09:10 PM #1
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Rainer
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Gary Rossignol

Greater Cincinnati's Rock-n-Roll Real Estate Agent
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