You’ve surely heard the saying, “If only these walls could talk.” Truthfully, as a homeowners, there are times we wish that could be true. While the vast (vast!) majority of homes offer the chance to unfold your own housing future, unfettered by the past, there are houses that have a complicated history; these histories may involve murders, suicides, or general criminal activity. Perhaps a house has a reputation for being 'haunted'. As a homeowner, would you want to know ugly details, if you could?
If this kind of thing matters to you personally (and this is an item to consider in the quest for top dollar when selling the property down the road) then you’d like to know, right? What did unfold between these walls before you crossed the threshold: happiness and harmony, or something more sinister? While calling in your favourite medium to determine if the property in consideration is ghost-free, or enlisting the help of your favourite intrepid reporter to get the scoop, there is a decidedly more factual (and faster) research methodology available to house hunters.
Housecreep is an “online community that chronicles the history of homes from all over the world by crowd-sourcing publicly available information and personal experiences”. Houses, while brick and mortar, do emanate an indefinable energy that draws you in. Some of this is engineered through presentation and staging, and some of it just quietly exists with that quality of “Home”. Houses have personality, often built on history. Housecreep’s tagline of “Where Walls Talk: Over 20,000 properties with something to say” reminds us of the fact that houses have stories to share- and finding them out (good or bad) can be an important part of a homeowner’s due diligence, pre-purchase.
Toronto house hunters should check out HouseCreep - City of Toronto.
This isn’t just the fodder for fiction either. Check out this interesting piece from the Toronto Star, entitled, “Ghosts among reasons to scare up legal advice” that discusses the legal obligations of disclosure of a property’s history surrounding murder, suicide, death, haunting — or other unpleasant event to a purchaser.
The story talks about a recent Ontario case, where the new owner of a commercial property sued the seller, saying that the property was allegedly (and well-known anecdotally) to be haunted, and that this fact had not been disclosed to him prior to making the purchase.
While the courts disagreed, and the new owner lost his case, the Real Estate Commission of Ontario has its own set of guidelines around full disclosure. If a realtor is aware of any event that might potentially stigmatize a property, they are bound to disclose that information.
Sort of makes listen more attentively when the walls talk, no?
At urbaneer, we thrive in detail-oriented housing environment, where we arm our clients with abundant knowledge. Decades of experience, a connectedness to the market and resilient research allows us to do just that. We’re here to help!
~ Steven and the urbaneer team
Like what you've read? Consider signing up below for our FREE monthly newsletter on housing, culture and design, including our love for Toronto real estate and other unique urban homes!