Property Stigmas Are Subjective But Should Be Disclosed

Real-Estate Professionals Can Uncover Hidden Property Stigmas That Affect Your Decision to Buy 

It isn’t uncommon for sellers to keep quiet about possible stigmas relating to their properties. Sellers may not feel comfortable disclosing a factor that could be perceived as negative, even if this factor doesn’t affect the property’s physical value.

Though property stigmas can present challenges for sellers, transparency is key when it comes to selling. When sellers provide all the information about their property, they enable smoother processes between all parties involved in the sale.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into property stigmas and explore how you can uncover any secrets that could be lurking beneath your potential new home.

But first, what is a stigma in the property market? As a buyer, what kinds of stigmas should you look out for?

Defining Property Stigma

A stigma against a property is an intangible feeling of uncertainty about a particular house: a negative psychological or emotional reaction. For example, a crime or media-centric event may have taken place either inside or near the property.

Stigmas have no effect on a property’s condition, function, or appearance. However, some people feel uncomfortable about buying or living in a property that they associate with a particular event or person.

Property Stigma Subjectivity

Though buyers are often swayed by other people’s opinions—often their families’ and friends’—a stigma triggers individual reactions. These emotional responses can vary widely.

  • Circumstances that may create a property stigma:
  • A notorious person used to live in the property.
  • Someone has committed a crime in or near the property.
  • Rumours that the property is haunted.
  • A suspicious death occurred in the property.
  • A former grow-op has been remediated according to the local health or building authority.

In short, stigmas are subjective. A factor that puts one buyer off a property may be a major selling factor for another buyer. For example, while one buyer may not want to live in a house that previously belonged to a celebrity, another buyer might be excited by this prospect.

Disclosing Property Stigmas

There is no legislation in Ontario that requires sellers to disclose potential stigmas when selling their properties. Instead, Ontario buyers are responsible for selecting suitable properties for their needs under the legal doctrine caveat emptor. This legal doctrine means ‘buyer beware’.

It’s good practice for sellers to make buyers aware of all factors that could affect their decision during house-hunting. Though not all sellers do this, some sellers are fully transparent and even include statements that address stigma in their offers. They might include a warranty to state that they aren’t aware of any circumstances that could cause a property stigma.

The Advantage of a Real Estate Professional

Although sellers aren’t obliged to discuss property stigmas with buyers, your real estate agent should be able to help. The Real Estate Council of Ontario recommends that real estate professionals ensure due diligence when researching potential property stigmas for clients.

If you are in any doubt concerning property stigma, a Realtor® can advise you on how to access the information that will allow you to make an informed decision. Storey Collective can contact both local residents and sellers (or sellers’ representatives) to make necessary queries. We can also carry out research to reveal any potential stigmas before you commit to a property sale.

Book a free 15-minute consultation with a real estate expert to ask any questions you have about property stigmas. We’ll advise you on the best steps that you can take to buy with confidence. With specialists covering each facet of the real estate industry, Storey Collective offers invaluable, tailored advice in all property-related scenarios.