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Real Estate Tips

Stigmatized Property Listings: Removing the Bad JuJu

Selling a stigmatized property listing can be a lot of work, but with dedication from you and your clients, it can still be a very profitable sale.

When a property’s reputation precedes it, your job can become difficult quickly. It’s true that stigmatized property listings can be a hassle, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be profitable. Oftentimes they just need some work and TLC before they can be successfully sold on the open market. So, if a client comes along with a stigmatized property, explain to them that taking a few extra steps to prepare it will be well worth the trouble. A good cleansing to get rid of all the negative spirits and bad juju is all they need, and they be will getting market value for the property they can’t wait to get rid of.

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Be Honest.

Every state has different standards on what exactly you are required to disclose. So, investigate the laws your state has on the subject. Typically though, you will be obligated to disclose at least some of the following:

  • Murder or suicide. While many states require you to disclose this information there is often a time limit on it. For example, in California you only have to disclose this information if the incident happened in the past 3 years.
  • Debt. This is in order to warn the new homeowners in case of any calls or visits from debt collectors.
  • Phenomena. This includes any hauntings, paranormal activity, or unexplained events that occurred in the home. So, if your clients have any witches haunting their house, potential buyers will need to know. 
  • Criminal activity. Activity such as drug dealing or prostitution would need to be disclosed.

You are legally obligated to disclose this information. So, even if your clients are insistent on omitting some of it, you must still disclose it in order to avoid a lawsuit.

Stigmatized property listings can be a lot of work, but that doesn’t mean the pay out won’t be worth it. Just make sure you are being completely honest and transparent with every potential buyer in order to protect you and your clients.

Remove the Stigma. 

Even though your client may want to get rid of their property pronto, advise them that taking the time to remove the stigma from the property will positively affect they offers they get. When attempting to sell a stigmatized property quickly after an incident they will likely have to take an offer below market value. In order to avoid that scenario, encourage them to follow the steps below. 

Remodel and Clean Thoroughly.

Remodeling a stigmatized property is a great way to remove some of the negative perceptions of the property. If the property is infamous you will want to encourage your clients to invest in a remodel if they wish to get full market value for the property. For instance, if something happened and the home was televised and followed by the public, changing the appearance of key aspects of the home inside and out would almost be essential. Transform that property like a werewolf on a full moon, and you will actually be pleasantly surprised with the results.

If the property is not infamous though, a full remodel is probably not necessary.

In the case where remodeling is not an option for the owners, at the very least get the house professionally cleaned, and keep it exceptionally clean. Cleanliness is especially important for a stigmatized property listing. Any traces of something taboo could immediately turn potential buyers away. As well as continue the negative perceptions of the property. To ensure the property looks pristine, a new coat of paint and some landscaping should be done. These can be done inexpensively. They could even make some cheap DIY pumpkin décor and spice up their front porch for the holidays, while also doing a fun family activity. So, even if your clients have a very small budget for renovating, they can at least take these necessary steps to prepare their home for sale.  

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Rent it Out.

Knowing that other people have lived in the home and had a great experience will immediately help put a potential buyer’s mind at ease. People are much less scared of the monster in the closet if they know someone else has already faced it. 

The property will also become more prone to break-ins if it remains vacant. The “haunted house effect” states that when a taboo event occurs on a property thrill-seekers are very likely to attempt to break-in to the home when it is vacant. 

Understandably bringing in renters for a year or two may not be appealing to your clients. However, it is important for them to understand the renters will not only help remove some of the stigma and protect the house, but the rent checks they receive will also help them get by until time can fade the stigma. 

Wait it Out. 

Time has the ability to remove a significant amount of the stigma revolving around a property. Depending on what happened on the property, a year may be all that is needed for people to completely disregard what occurred. Especially if the above steps have been taken. Every property and situation is different though, so do your best to advise patience. Then, when they absolutely must sell, assist them in the best way you can.

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