A superstition is a widely held belief associated with supposedly supernatural influences thought to bring good or bad luck. Since such beliefs come in all shapes and sizes, let's consider how a few of them can significantly impact a property's value.
Numerology: The number four is considered to be unlucky in some East Asian cultures. For example, in Chinese culture, the number four sounds like word for death. Whereas, the number eight signifies wealth and prosperity. Another number commonly embraced is the number three, as it signifies life or new beginnings. The number 13 seems to get a bad rap, such is life. You will frequently find many buildings do not name the actual 13th floor. Instead, the building magically leaps from floor 12 to 14 (In some specific areas this also applies to a building's 4th floor.) So it might be smart to avoid the dreaded number 13 when choosing a closing date as well.
These various beliefs can net you more than two-percent -- or less than two-percent -- in geographic areas with a high concentration of superstitious buyers. So, by using the average price of a Toronto home, you can gain or lose over $20,000 because of numerology.
Another superstition or religious belief -- burying a small statue of St. Joseph -- is believed to facilitate a quicker sale for a property. And how a strong belief in Astrology can impact a real estate transaction cannot be underestimated either. One such example occurred when I had to wait a month or more for a Mercury in Retrograde cycle to pass before a seller would sign paperwork to accept a deal.
Location: A cemetery could seem like spooky fun to a kid, but it could have an ominous meaning altogether different for a potential homebuyer. Since cemeteries often conjure up a frightening sense of negative energy, certain buyers would deem nearby homes as those best to avoid. Churches, and the funeral services associated with them, might also project a similarly negative connotation.
Properties situated too close to a large school or on a well-traveled public bus route can also be turn-offs. Immense utility towers servicing power lines, radio frequencies, cell phones, etc could be seen as neighbourhood deterrents. Though local plazas are handy for a quick shopping run being too close to a plaza's busy parking lot, or coping with a store's open 24 hour policy, or dealing with a popular restaurant or bar's unwelcome loud noise could make a buyer rethink their idea of convenience. Often the smells from the restaurant and it's garbage bins can cause annoyance.
Pros and Cons: The overall size and condition of a particular home when compared to the city's average, or even when compared to the immediate area's competition, will have an effect on price. Some buyers mistakenly avoid corner lots because they think the property taxes are higher, but in fact, the shorten lot line is used to assess. And similar to the negative vibe of a cemetery, finding out an actual murder had previously occurred in a home could be a creepy obstacle to many buyers. Currently, Quebec is the only province with a murder disclosure law. It's always best practice to disclose such a happening, but it's good to perform your own due diligence. And include other traumatic events and/or paranormal activity as well, because not every ghost is named Casper the Friendly Ghost. Lastly, a home formerly used as a Grow-op could see its price significantly reduced to attract a new buyer.
Well, what does this all mean…as a buyer should you avoid these types of homes? And what about selling such homes associated with these stigmas? Many people are perfectly okay with the number 666 on their front door. Others who accept it at the time of purchase could decide to petition the city later on to have that notorious number changed. Sometimes they're successful…and sometimes it's a no go, since not every superstition can be accommodated.
Pretty much any house will sell at the right price. But just be aware if you score a good deal because of a stigma being attached to a property, you will also sell for less down the road and could possibly even face trouble selling, especially in a soft market.
If there is something you should disclose, please disclose it instead of costing yourself and the buyer unnecessary pain and suffering. Nobody wants a possible legal battle in their future.