A property’s history can come back to haunt you
What is a stigmatized property?
Properties that are stigmatized may be perceived to be unsellable or undesirable for other than physical or environmental reasons. A property may become stigmatized because of murder, suicide, molestations, satanic rituals, or a reputation of being haunted or a “unlucky” house.
The National Association of Realtors defines a stigmatized property as “a property that has been psychologically impacted by an event which occurred, or was suspected to have occurred, on the property, such event being one that has no physical impact of any kind.”
The seller has a duty to disclose the history of the property in most states. The courts would most likely view the willful nondisclosure of stigmatized property as adversely affecting the buyer’s decision. Disclosing stigmatized property may seem silly to some people but to others it could have a great impact on peace of mind.
There are four types of stigmatized property. The first is public stigma. This happens when the stigma is known to the general public and any reasonable person can be expected to know of it. An example would be famous homes from television and films could fall under this category. The next stigmatized group is criminal activity. A property is stigmatized if it has been used by drug dealer, prostitution or other criminal action. The next type is the most nitrous, murder/suicide stigma. California state law requires that any death be disclosed if it occurred within the previous three years. The last type is Phenomena stigma. Phenomena stigma occurs if a home is known for hauntings or ghosts, or any other paranormal activity.
The Wall Street Journal has a short video about “Selling a Haunted House” that is interesting.
Source: Selling a Haunted House, (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 29, 2012)
Stigmatized property may constrain peace of mind. There are many ways to deal with a stigmatized property. Brother Sirvante of Sacramento does house blessing that have brought peace to some people’s lives.
Brother Sirvante is what's known in the religious community as a Contemplative. He feels the calling to bless houses. He developed a spiritual process that “met with God's approval to purify houses in the spirit of Jesus, and summon ministering angels of God to keep harmony and serenity in your living environment” says Brother Sirvante. “The blessings have been all very well received. And people often go on and on about how wonderful it was to have been able to receive such a blessing in Christ. They also often talk about how much the blessing has improved their entire existence, particularly in their households! I give all the credit where it is due, with God, and Christ Jesus! To date I've done several homes and apartments. I don't charge, but the ministry does accept donations.” The process takes about twenty minutes, and includes ancient holy text as well as biblical reading and prayer.
The above photo shows the holy instruments Brother Sirvante uses to bless a house. Brother Sirvante describes, the articles “left to right is the Crystal and porcelain Angel candle stand used to summon God's holiest of Angels. The crystal water bowl is slightly filled with holy water to cleanse the house of any potential adverse spirits. The photo shows a small crystal tray and small antique oriental vase to symbolize the universal acceptance of God, and to hold incense that burns during the ceremony as a sweet aroma to the Lord to invite in the full power of His purifying Spirit.”
These are just two ways of dealing with a stigmatized property. Whether you believe it or not, stigmatized property has a real financial impact, legal impact and peace of mind impact. If you are selling, disclose anything that can make a property stigmatized. If you are buying, ask. In many areas this concept falls under “caveat emptor” -- let the buyer beware. Being informed can make for savvy buying decisions.
Location is important to a property’s value. Its history can also have a big impact on the property value.
Information about Brother Sirvante: The Santana Foundation (www.thesantanafoundation.org) (www.thesantanafoundation.blogspot.com) and the ministry page is: Faithful Harvest Ministries (www.faithfulharvestministries.org)