BERLIN — In observance of the spookiest day of the year, roughly 50 local REALTORS® attended on Halloween a Stigmatized Properties Continuing Education Course, which focuses on homes whose tales of murder, ghosts, felonies, and suicides may scare away potential buyers.
Held at the Coastal Association of REALTORS® (CAR), the course was taught by Tony Kinch, account executive with American Home Shield Home Warranty Mid-Atlantic.
Kinch said the basis of the course is the real estate agent’s duty to disclose material facts to potential property buyers. In Maryland, he said, REALTORS® are not required to disclose facts surrounding hauntings, criminal activity, death at the property, or whether the home was once owned by a person of notoriety. What they must disclose, he added, are termites, homeowner’s insurance claims, mold, and contaminated water.
“It’s a real estate agent’s primary duty to represent the client as best as possible, while also protecting themselves,” Kinch said. “They need to make sure they’re not increasing their liability by not disclosing an item when they’re bound to do so by law.”
Following the course, CAR held an Autumn Open House, complete with a costume contest. Betsy Edwards of Whitehead Real Estate Executives in Salisbury won the contest with her identity thief costume.
Although the idea of buying a haunted house seems creepy, studies show that a large portion of buyers wouldn’t mind a house that goes bump in the night.
A survey of roughly 2,000 potential homebuyers conducted by the National Association of REALTORS® in 2012 reflected that:
- 41 percent of respondents would buy a house with reported ghost sightings.
- 36 percent of respondents wouldn’t object to levitating objects.
- 15 percent of respondents would pay full market value of the homes.
- 19 percent of respondents would take a 31 to 50 percent discount.
Coastal Association of REALTORS® is the leading local advocacy group in the real estate industry on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Coastal REALTORS® works in partnership with its members to promote home ownership and preserve, protect, and advocate private property rights. The organization supports 1,000 REALTORS® who serve Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties. For more information on Coastal REALTORS®, visit www.coastalrealtors.org. The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark unique to real estate professionals who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics.