Housecreep: A Website where Stigmatized Properties Run Amok

By Susanne Dwyer

On the top of the homepage for housecreep.com, we learn that “housecreep” is a verb meaning: to research and expose homes with secrets, criminal histories and unexplained mysteries. (Thus, housecreep is our new favorite real estate site.)

Housecreep is where some of the darker aspects of real estate come to life. Their tagline: “Where walls talk – murder houses, grow ops, sketchy apartments, haunted houses and other stigmatized properties exposed.”

In short, it really speaks to my macabre, horror movie-loving psyche.

Right up front, the site gives you a couple links to check out, such as Murder Houses Near Me, Haunted Houses Near Me, Drug Lab Busts Near Me and Famous Homes Near Me. Alternately, brave souls can enter an address and see what creeps up for you. (I tried out my home address and got no results. While part of me wanted to dig up some gory dirt, this is probably a very good, comforting, anxiety-free conclusion.)

While searching a la carte can be a scream, users can also feast upon their features, which group like houses together for your perusal. Here are a few of our faves:

3 Homes That Could’ve Been Featured in ‘Breaking Bad’

3 Homes Where Infamous Killers Lived

3 Homes With Unexpected Discoveries

5 Homes You Wouldn’t Want to Visit on Halloween

Though horror nerds and true crime fans might want a little more information than is provided, you can always go digging for more info yourself or click one of the provided links to learn more (like I did when I learned about a missing woman whose body was found after 28 years…inside a false wall of her own home!)

Spooky, scary!

With a more expanded database (tell me where the closest murderer lives, dangit!) and some more original content, housecreep could certainly slay. Despite its drawbacks, you definitely can’t beat the concept.

This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Visit the blog daily for housing and real estate tips and trends.

From: Consumer News and Advice

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

Are There Laws for Selling a Haunted House?

By Susanne Dwyer

As a real estate professional, you may have come into contact with a spooky space. Self-slamming doors, footsteps on the stairs, the laughter of small children—we’ve heard all about haunted houses here on Housecall. But are there any disclosure laws for selling a haunted house?

With Halloween haunting us right around the corner, Western Michigan University-Cooley Law School professors are sharing their thoughts regarding disclosing paranormal activity during a real estate transaction.

“In most areas of the country, a home seller would not need to disclose whether their home is haunted, but laws differ by state or even local ordinances,” says WMU-Cooley Professor Chris Trudeau.

“In Florida there is a stigma statute that absolves responsibility of disclosing past murders,” says Professor Renalia DuBose, who teaches at WMU-Cooley’s Tampa Bay campus. No need to disclose past murder? Potential buyers may not appreciate this, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t legal.

New York’s Stambovsky v. Ackley is often cited when discussing disclosure of haunted happenings. In this case, the state’s Supreme Court said that a house, which the owner had previously advertised to the public as having paranormal activity, was legally haunted for the purpose of an action brought by a purchaser of the home.

“Under Stambovsky, when a homeowner tells others their home is haunted, they would have to disclose this information,” says Trudeau. “If a home has a reputation, or is known as haunted, it will need to be disclosed. The house in the Stambovsky case had media coverage about it being haunted.”

Trudeau notes that laws do differ by state, but the disclosure of psychologically affected properties depends on what others know and do not know. “Such disclosures would be positive under good faith,” he says.

So, in most states, the more famously your home is haunted, the more you need to disclose. “If it is just some inkling, one would not have to disclose, so it would vary on the amount of certainty of the owner,” says DuBose. “The more likely an individual thinks a home is haunted, the more likely a disclosure is expected.”

The verdict: Unless your property has had high media coverage for spooky spectacles, feel free to keep those skeletons in the closet.

This was originally posted on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Visit the blog daily for housing and real estate tips and trends.

From: Remax Real Estate Advice

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

How to Sell a Home during the Winter Season

By Susanne Dwyer

As a real estate professional, you may find the market slows down in the winter. However, this doesn’t mean you should lose hope in selling that property before spring. Below are a handful of tips for selling during winter.

Stay seasonal. Make a festive impression on potential buyers with garlands or boughs, and containers of greenery, branches with winter berries and a colorful welcome mat on the front porch or doorstep. Stay away from religion-specific staging/decorations, but stacked fresh wood in the fireplace, candles and fluffy throw blankets can add warmth to winter ambiance.

Know the local football schedules. In many markets, having an open house during a “big game” is asking for a slow open house. Be flexible with timelines and open early or stay open late to avoid competing with a popular local game.

Use a drip campaign. The winter months are the best time to “set it and forget it” with email drip campaigns to your clients. This keeps you in contact with them while you are busy with parties, family and travel during the “down time.” Most CRMs, like Chime, have this type of drip system to keep your clients engaged.

When business is slower in the winter months, it is also good time to use a CRM to add to and manage your past customer database, giving yourself “calls to action” around client birthdays, home purchase anniversaries, etc., as well as checking in with clients who are owners and may be looking to downsize or upsize in the spring.

Stage a party. Winter is party time, so showcase the opportunities for entertaining in the home with an enticing display. Set out stacks of plates and fresh flowers on a dining room buffet or display holiday cookies on cake stands in the kitchen.

Light it right. Winter showings are often done after dark because of Daylight Savings, so make sure that you or the stager add extra lighting to the rooms so that the house feels warm, bright and inviting, not dark and cold.

Don’t get discouraged. The open houses and showings will be lighter and days on the market may be longer, but on the brighter side, there are less properties to compete against.

This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Visit the blog daily for housing and real estate tips and trends.

From: Remax Real Estate Advice

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

5 Tips for Selling a Luxury Property

By Susanne Dwyer

Selling a luxury property is slightly different than selling a more moderate home or property. To begin with, the new owners will often be more able to tailor the property to their own specifications and may not even view the property themselves; rather, they may purchase the property through an agent, sight unseen. Here are five tips to help you command top dollar for your luxury property.

  1. Don’t remodel or repair prior to selling.

Unlike almost any other property, the majority of remodels and repair work will essentially be wasted on luxury properties. Even essential repairs that are generally recommended on lower end properties, like putting on a new roof or installing a new furnace or water heater, are not recommended for luxury properties. Luxury properties are most likely to be remodeled entirely by the new owners, which may even include adding onto or tearing down parts of the existing structure. Unless the repairs are necessary for the protection of the property or structures—such as fixing a leaky roof—it’s often best to sell your luxury property as is.

  1. Hire a professional stager.

Most real estate agents will do some level of staging prior to selling a property, but that may simply include things like removing family photos and knickknacks and clearing away excess furniture to show off the spaces in their best light. With luxury properties, however, it is even more important to hire a professional staging company that can showcase your property without a lot of excess distractions that take the spotlight away from the “bones” of the property. Again, the majority of buyers of luxury properties will remodel anyway, so what they are looking at is merely its potential, not its current state.

  1. Advertise discreetly.

There is a certain amount of fame that comes attached to almost any level of wealth and therefore the wealthy owners of luxury properties will often pay top dollar for privacy. Loudly proclaiming a luxury property for sale will not only draw the wrong parties to the table, but it will also make the property a prime target for thieves and vandals.

  1. Hire a real estate agent who specializes in luxury properties.

Since real estate agents work on commission, almost any agent will be chomping at the bit to get their hands on a luxury property to sell. There are, however, specific agents that specialize in luxury properties and have both the specialized knowledge and resources to help you get the best price for your property. Sometimes, market trends for higher end properties are very different from current market trends for lower end properties. It’s important to find an agent that really understands the current market conditions for your specific type of property and can advise you on the best course of action for selling it. You might also contact a real estate training expert at a place like Success Path Education.

  1. Understand the true value of the property you are selling and market accordingly.

This is of great importance when selling a piece of property the seller may have sentimental attachment to, such as a family home. It’s important to understand where the real value in your property lies. If you have older structures on a valuable piece of property, then the structure itself probably has little value and may very likely be torn down. Make sure you can be emotionally okay with that before choosing to sell.

When done well, selling a luxury property can bring a tidy profit. But selling a luxury property is not like selling a modest property. That’s why it’s important to be sure that you surround yourself with the right people to help you sell. Look for an agent who has an established track record of successfully selling high-end properties and you should do very well.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Visit the blog daily for housing and real estate tips and trends.

From: Remax Real Estate Advice

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

13 Metros with the Most Real-Life Haunted Houses

By Susanne Dwyer

scranton_ghosts_1

In 2016, a visit to a haunted house is on the Halloween agenda for about one-fifth of Americans, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. Kids and adults alike will be shelling out millions of dollars to snake their way through haunted attractions with names like House of Torment and 13th Gate.

“From locations in creepy old industrial districts to country farms and hayrides under the stars, each location has a unique approach to interactive horror, but all deliver the thrills and excitement that Halloween fans are seeking,” says James Olmsted, a spokesman for HauntedHouses.com.

We get that these attractions are fun and frightening, but they’re just temporary, Hollywood-inspired spots. They’re not real haunted houses. So we went looking for the metro areas in the U.S. where you’re most likely to find real haunted houses that’ll give you a real scare.

Old and Vacant
To come up with the list, we sifted through two sets of data for the 100 largest metro areas: the number of homes built before 1940 and the number of vacant homes. LawnStarter pulled the data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey.

Why did we pick these two sets of data? Because older homes and vacant homes have a perceived, if not actual, chance of being haunted. In our ranking, we assigned 75 percent of our score to the percentage of homes in a metro that were built before 1940 and 25 percent to the percentage of homes in a metro that are vacant.

Tragedy and Trauma
Paranormal investigator Sharon Day says that the older a home is, the more residents it’s probably had and, therefore, the house has more of an “emotional and traumatic history” tied to any number of tragedies. Furthermore, she says, older homes might have been used in the past as hospitals, morgues, TB clinics and retirement homes—all of which are associated with death.

“Whether you believe in ghosts or not, one thing is certain: an old house has so many little quirks and creaks that the thought of ghosts definitely messes with your head,” writer Shannon Lee says on Old House Web.

‘Reclaimed by Ghosts’
As for the likelihood of a vacant home being haunted, Sarah Petruno, a shaman who serves as an intermediary between the natural and supernatural worlds, says “something interesting can happen” when homes, apartments and other structures don’t have human inhabitants. Petruno says vacant homes can be spiritually “reclaimed by the land” and then ghosts can freely take up residence.

“Abandoned and mostly abandoned homes can become inhabited by ghosts forever if they remain mostly vacant indefinitely,” Petruno says.

In those situations, you might come across some uninvited guests, she warns.

“If you own a vacation home or are considering buying or renting a mostly vacant or abandoned home, do consider the spirit inhabitants that are almost assuredly present in the space. It may take considerable work to get them to leave,” Petruno says.

Here, for your Halloween pleasure, are the 13 metro areas that potentially have the most real-life haunted houses, based on their mix of old and vacant homes. For purposes of this ranking, LawnStarter included houses, apartments, condos and other dwellings.

  1. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Credit: Scranton Ghost Tours

Number of homes: 259,918
Number of homes built in 1939 or before: 96,993
Percentage of homes built in 1939 or before: 37.3 percent
Number of vacant homes: 38,718
Percentage of vacant homes: 14.9 percent

  1. Albany, N.Y.

Credit: Discover Albany

Number of homes: 398,555
Number of homes built in 1939 or before: 118,984
Percentage of homes built in 1939 or before: 29.9 percent
Number of vacant homes: 55,789
Percentage of vacant homes: 14 percent

  1. Syracuse, N.Y.

syracuse_ghosts_3

Credit: The Daily Orange

Number of homes: 290,445
Number of homes built in 1939 or before: 74,858
Percentage of homes built in 1939 or before: 25.8 percent
Number of vacant homes: 36,444
Percentage of vacant homes: 12.5 percent

  1. Toledo, Ohio

toledo_ghosts_4

Credit: HauntedHouses.com

Number of homes: 273,783
Number of homes built in 1939 or before: 69,616
Percentage of homes built in 1939 or before: 25.4 percent
Number of vacant homes: 31,142
Percentage of vacant homes: 11.4 percent

  1. Cleveland, Ohio

cleveland_haunted_5

Credit: HauntedHouses.com

Number of homes: 957,518
Number of homes built in 1939 or before: 232,103
Percentage of homes built in 1939 or before: 24.2 percent
Number of vacant homes: 108,043
Percentage of vacant homes: 11.3 percent

View the full list of top 13 real-life haunted houses on Housecall.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Visit the blog daily for housing and real estate tips and trends.

From: Consumer News and Advice

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a New Neighborhood

By Susanne Dwyer

Whether you are looking for a hip enclave of bars or a quiet suburban street filled with families for your kids to play with, choosing a new neighborhood requires a lot of consideration. There are many things to think about when making the leap to new surroundings. From creating a helpful checklist of must-haves to uncovering crime statistics, the more information you can ascertain about a neighborhood, the better. This article will take a step-by-step look at what to consider, what to avoid, and what you may have to compromise on.

Step 1: Assess Your Needs
First, assess what you and your family want out of a neighborhood. Start by making a list of must-haves, nice-to-haves and won’t-haves. The must-haves and won’t-haves should be non-negotiable, but the nice-to-haves can be where you compromise. Create these lists together before you even look at new neighborhoods so everyone is clear on each other’s preferences from the start.

Step 2: Lifestyle Matching
A small town may sound appealing when you want a break from the city, but if you’re thinking about a neighborhood that varies greatly from where you currently are, take a look at your lifestyle before you make any decisions.

If you’re the kind of person who buys groceries once a week, then being in a remote neighborhood shouldn’t be too much of a problem. But, if you regularly drop in to the store, make sure your new neighborhood has one. Similarly, if you enjoy a quiet way of life, ensure there aren’t too many late night bars around. On the other hand, if you are looking for a busy and stylish lifestyle, you might want to take a look at America’s Hippest Hipster Neighborhoods.

Step 3: Think about Budgets
You may have found the perfect neighborhood for you, but can you afford the properties in it? The perfect neighborhood won’t remain perfect if you don’t have the cash to enjoy it. Use a budget calculator to work out just how much money you will have left in your pocket.

It’s also worth considering if a new area is going to cause additional expenses. If it’s far from your workplace, work out how much of a dent the extra gas will put in your wallet. Also, think about where you need to get to and how often—you may dream of a peaceful town, but if you’re going to have to drive one hour every week to the nearest store, then take that added cost into account.

Step 4: Think Ahead
So you have your list, you’ve thought about a neighborhood that would suit your lifestyle, and you have a budget in mind. Now, you need to think ahead and work out if any of this is going to change.

Perhaps you’re planning to start a family in the next few years, or your kids might be ready to move out. Consider if the neighborhood would have enough amenities to entertain a teenager or if the town’s nightlife will make it too noisy when you have young children. Nobody can predict the future, but it’s worth thinking about it before you make any major decisions.

Step 5: Look into Safety
By now you should be narrowing down your selection of potential neighborhoods, so now is the time to research the crime rate of an area. If it’s high, then perhaps consider another neighborhood. If it’s average, don’t rule out the area because it’s not perfect.

Unfortunately, crime can happen anywhere, but the good news is neighborhoods can change their reputation. Check out these five steps to building a safer neighborhood, which gives some really easy things you can do to immediately make your area safer. Don’t let yourself get put off if you hear bad rumors about a neighborhood.

Step 6: Do Your Research
Now it’s time to think about the little details. Go and visit your prospective neighborhood at different times of the day to get an all-round perspective. You may discover rush hour traffic is terrible or that you can hear trains passing early in the morning. Go on a hunt for For Sale signs; if there are a few in the same area, then find out why. This could be a warning sign.

Step 7: Talk to Neighbors
You may have found the dream neighborhood, but bad neighbors could ruin that. There are some telling ways you can spot a bad neighbor: one way is to look out for how they keep their house and yard. For more ways to spot bad neighbors, have a read-through of this useful guide.

Even if you don’t suspect your neighbors will be a problem, it may be worth chatting to them to get their thoughts on the neighborhood. After all, they will know it better than any guide.

Step 8: Don’t Forget about the Aesthetics
This guide has given you a lot of steps to think about but finally, ask yourself if you actually like the neighborhood. It’s easy to get hung up on budgets, neighbors and local schools, so take a moment and think about the feeling you get from the place. Don’t worry about being petty. Ask yourself if there are enough trees. Do you hate the windows? What does your gut tell you? The little things will make a huge difference.

This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Visit the blog daily for housing and real estate tips and trends.

From: Consumer News and Advice

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

Safe at Home: Six Great Places to Move with Your Young Family

By Susanne Dwyer

Moving to a new locale can be very beneficial. At a new locale, you can take advantage of a fresh change of scenery which may also bring better employment opportunities, affordable housing and increased safety. When looking to move, there are six states that rank among the best to live in. Experience a high-quality of life in the following states.

Idaho
One of the best states to move to is Idaho. This is part of the Pacific Northwest which is among the most livable regions in the United States. In Idaho, you will be able to get lots of quality housing. In fact, Idaho homes are among the most affordable in the entire nation. As well as affordable housing, Idaho has plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation and employment. Residents are also able to take advantage of amenities such as restaurants and shops along with enjoying life in an area with very low crime.

Washington

Another ideal state to move to is Washington. This state has one of the top major cities in terms of economy and outdoor recreation. In Seattle, you can enjoy quality living with lots of amenities such as biking and hiking. The rest of Washington offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation and entertainment. There is also affordable housing as well.

Utah

Utah is among the best places to live for many people. This state also has lots of outdoor recreation opportunities like skiing. It also has good employment opportunities as well as affordable housing. Another great thing about Utah is that it is one of the safest states in America with its very low crime rate.

Texas

When looking to move to a state that offers high quality living, Texas ranks as among the best. In Texas, the economy is very prosperous and therefore, people can take advantage of a number of good employment opportunities. In addition to good employment opportunities, Texas also offers quality housing that is very affordable and nice weather year round. Texas is a great place to live if you are looking for a well-balanced lifestyle.

North Carolina

Individuals and families who are looking for a nice place to live will benefit by considering North Carolina. This is one of the Mid-Atlantic states that offers a very pleasant lifestyle for many. In this state, you can take advantage of some of the most affordable housing options on the east coast. There are also a good amount of employment opportunities in the major cities such as Charlotte and Raleigh. Residents can also take advantage of quality education as there are a number of top colleges and universities in the state as well.

Virginia
Virginia is among the top states to live due to its high-quality education, employment opportunities, and also its low cost of living. In Virginia, residents can attend a number of high-quality educational institutions in both compulsory and higher education. There are also a number of good jobs available in some of the most in demand fields. Virginia offers plenty of amenities such as restaurants and shops along with outdoor recreation.

When looking to get the most out of life, moving to a new locale is one of the first steps you should take. Fortunately, there are a number of great states in our country for your family to live.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for top real estate tips and trends.

From: Remax Real Estate Advice

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893