Tag Archives: real estate industry
Excerpt from an article by Bob Aaron
Buying and living in a house which was the scene of a murder or suicide is not everyone’s cup of tea, but for some people, living in a tainted house is simply not an issue.
Last month, the would-be buyer of the house where child model JonBenet Ramsey was murdered lost out on his plans to move into the $1.7 million property when it was taken off the market following the arrest of John Mark Karr.
In July, Mike Hatter had signed an offer to purchase the 6,866-square foot home where the six-year-old was killed in 1996. Shortly after Karr was arrested in Thailand in August, Hatter got an email from the real estate broker in Boulder, Colo., saying the house was being taken off the market by its current owners who are unrelated to the Ramsey family.
JonBenet’s parents sold the house in 1998 soon after their daughter’s murder. A group of investors purchased the red-brick Tudor-style mansion at 749 15th St. for $650,000, and the house has had four owners since then.
The most recent owners, Tim and Carol Schuller Milner, paid $1.05 million for the house in 2004, but moved out late last year because they could no longer take the pressure of living in the glare of curiosity seekers.
The would-be buyer is not at all bothered by things that go bump in the night. In fact, he seems somewhat fascinated by the whole subject. “I’m the kind of person who likes graveyards and full moons,” he told a reporter.
In the real estate industry, this kind of house is known as stigmatized or tainted. The perception is that the value of the property has been reduced by non-physical, non-scientific, irrational or even superstitious perceptions by buyers.
Colorado realtor Joel Ripmaster has represented the last four owners of the Ramsay home. Last month, he was quoted in USA Today as saying, “It’s stigmatized. It’s always been stigmatized.”
Whether a home has been tainted by being the site of an actual murder, or by the reputation as being haunted, its value may be affected â€” positively or negatively.
Consider, for example, so-called haunted British castles and guest houses, where tourists flock to spend a night or two in the company of ghostly housemates. Or the bed-and-breakfast in Fall River, Mass., where guests can sleep in the room where Lizzie Borden was accused (and acquitted) of killing her father and stepmother with an axe in 1892.
Usually, however, the value is adversely affected by the property’s reputation.
Ontario has hundreds of homes, condominiums and apartments that were the sites of notorious and even grisly crimes â€” some private, and some very public. Consider, for example, the site of the now-demolished Bernardo house on Bayview Dr. in St. Catharines, or the site of the Mississauga home (since destroyed by fire) where Christine Demeter was murdered in 1973.
Buyers have many reasons to shun stigmatized real estate, according to Toronto real estate appraiser and educator Barry Lebow. A frequent lecturer on haunted and stigmatized houses in Toronto, Lebow is the former owner of a house that was the site of a messy public suicide.
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Tony Wong – Yourhome.ca
Forget about the fake lake. What if you can’t close on the sale of your property because your bank was shut down for the G20 Toronto summit?
While media attention might be on the uproar over the $1.9 million man-made lake and pavilion being built for the media at the meeting of world leaders, real estate and legal professionals are worried over a potential “disaster” in the making.
The last Friday in June is traditionally the busiest for house closings from buyers who have purchased in the spring market that saw record sales this year. If downtown banks close during that week thousands of closings could be affected creating major market turmoil, say industry professionals.
“It was already going to be brutal without the summit because we’ve been so busy. The timing couldn’t be worse,” says Andrew Zsolt, president of Coldwell Banker Terrequity Realty Brokerage.
Zsolt, who has 14 offices in the Greater Toronto Area, said he expects his agents to close about 500 sales at the end of this month alone.
“We usually tell buyers to try not to close in the last week of June because it’s so busy. It’s right after school and before full cottage season so they’re all in a rush. It could be a bit of a disaster,” says Zsolt.
On Tuesday the Law Society of Upper Canada issued an advisory to lawyers saying that they should make arrangements in case retail branches downtown are shuttered for security reasons.
“If you are a lawyer with a transaction that is pending, make sure you make alternative arrangements,” said Roy Thomas, spokesperson for the Law Society.
So far the policy has been in flux as banks monitor how they will be affected by the security perimeter.
“Recognizing the fact that employee and customer access will likely be impacted by summit related activity, we will be closing some branches in close proximity to the security zone,” says Ralph Marranca, spokesperson for Bank of Montreal. Marranca said no specific details on branch closings were available as yet, but some branches had been proactively reaching out to customers to advise them of any alternate arrangements.
Bank of Nova Scotia spokesperson Joe Konecny meanwhile says some branches in the downtown core would be open on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before the summit, but would be closed on Thursday and Friday.
“We are committed to taking all reasonable steps to provide for the continuity of business,” says Konecny. “We will adjust our business continuity plans as necessary.”
The Royal Bank of Canada, Canada’s largest bank said no closings were planned at the moment.
“There are continuity plans in place in case we have to make adjustments,” said spokesperson Don Blair.
Bob Aaron, a real estate lawyer and Toronto Star columnist, says he has written to his bank in frustration trying to figure out how the closings would have an impact on his business.
“My bank tells me I’m on my own to make arrangements for alternate banking on June 24 and June 25. That’s hardly the appropriate level of customer service,” Aaron complained to the TD Bank in a letter sent Tuesday.
Mohammed Nakhood, a spokesperson for the bank says TD was “evaluating potential bank closings” but had not made a final decision as yet. As for alternate arrangements, Nakhood says it would be “speculative” to guess what they would be at this point.
Aaron says that’s not acceptable, since lawyers would be left scrambling at the last minute to figure out how to close deals.
“There could be financial penalties and lawsuits because we have failed to close,” he says.
The summit of the top world leaders will take place in Toronto June 26 and 27, but a security zone will be in place before then. Some office towers surrounding the Metro Convention Centre will have severely restricted access as a result, with a security bill in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Meanwhile realtor Zsolt says his wife, who works for TD Bank has been told to stay away from the office and work from home.
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