Violent crime hurting real estate sales

Reported by: Erik Avanier
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Updated: 7/15/2014 6:30 pm
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - A gang related shooting that left one person dead on the front porch of a vacant home has shined light on how violent crime affects real estate property.

Prior to last Thursday, "For Sale" signs proudly stood in front of a home on the 2100 block of Foust Street. But now that home is  considered a stigmatized property.

"Stigmatized properties are properties that had something happen that people believe affects the sale of the property," said Vicki Trapp who is the president of the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors.

On Friday, the real estate agency that was representing the owner of the home cut ties with the owner after it became public knowledge that a man was found shot to death on the front porch.

That man was identified as Dominic Wright, 22, of Chattanooga. Police say his death was gang related.

Real estate experts say it's often hard to sell property that has a murder or heinous crime associated with it.

"It is something in someone's mind. What happens if I buy this house? Is something going to happen to me? Maybe people think that. But there's nothing wrong with the house itself. It's just what happened," Trapp said.

By law, realtors don't have to be forthcoming about a murder at a home for sale but if a potential buyer ask about it, the situation changes.

"If someone came up to me and said I was looking at this house and a neighbor told me that someone was murdered on the front porch, is that correct? I would have to say yes," Trapp said.

That type of disclosure can scare some buyers away or cause them to think hard about what they're willing to pay.

"It's been on the market for a long time. I heard what happened. I'll buy it but I'm not going to pay what you're asking for it. So they use it as a negotiating tool," Trapp said.

That tool could keep sellers from making a profit.

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