THINGS FOR HOME BUYERS TO CONSIDER: DEATHS, GHOSTS, GROW-OPS..
Stigmatized property includes homes and condos where unfortunate circumstances have taken place: like robbery, death or ghosts (*shudder*). Personally, I think that “ignorance is bliss” in these situations, and apparently the Vancouver Real Estate Board thinks so as well. Realtors are not obligated to tell you any of these things happened in a home unless they are asked.
SIDENOTE: A home that as a former grow-op is also stigmatized, but if this is known information to the Seller, you will know as well. This is much more of a concern than a death in a home simply because grow-ops can seriously affect the structure of the home, and purchasing a former grow-op is not something I would recommend, unless the home has been completely re-built. Also keep in mind that banks won’t finance a mortgage to a former grow-op property.
Your question doesn’t have to be very specific: you can inquire if the property is stigmatized or if any deaths have occurred previously in the home (whether by natural causes or a violent crime). This rule also applies to other odd (and rare!) situations, including if a sex offender lives in the neighbourhood, if the house is known to be haunted, if a suspected gang member lived there, or if the property was previously robbed or vandalized.
Though one thing to remember – Realtors have to give you an answer if you ask, so consider if you really want to know! Are you okay with not knowing? Was it an issue with the structure or history of the house, was it because of particular owners, or was it because of the location?
This is a big deal for certain cultures, and for many people who may get the “heebie jeebies” from knowing that kind of information. Something to keep in mind, if you do not want to live in a property associated with any of these situations, ensure your Real Estate Agent knows this when you discuss what you’re looking for in a home and will ask on your behalf. You’ll be happy to know that situations like this are rare in Vancouver!