It's the latest tool for Saskatchewan homebuyers — with a macabre twist.
The website www.housecreep.com is a national database of "stigmatized properties." Plug an address into its search engine and a property's unsavoury history emerges.
The categories run the gamut of human tragedy: Homicide, shooting, stabbing and murder are all covered. So are meth labs, grow ops, dismemberments and mental illness.
A history of violence
Jason Yochim is an executive officer with the Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors. He's aware of the expression "stigmatized properties," and he said they present a challenge to real estate agents.
There is no law that says an agent must disclose when a grisly crime has been committed in a home for sale. Structural damage from an accident? Yes. But a grim history? No.
In fact, he said the agent selling a home takes their direction from the owner.
"If the seller says, look, I don't want you to disclose this information, they have to obey those lawful instructions of the seller," Yochim explained.
The association encourages disclosure, and Yochim said hints of a troubled history may come from the buyer's agent, who can relay a seller's reticence on disclosing the full story.
"We strive to have our members do that in that professional way to build their reputation and continued business and referrals and so on," he said.
The national website has 41 addresses listed in Saskatoon.
They include the downtown apartment building where a drug dealer fell to his death, an Avenue Q South home where a woman fatally stabbed her boyfriend in 2007 and a west-side home that sustained $50,000 damage in an arson fire.
In Regina, there are 10 addresses listed on the site.
They include the north end home of a Burmese family where a triple-homicide occurred, a home on south Albert Street where Saskatchewan politician Colin Thatcher murdered his ex-wife, and a house in the North Central area where a fatal house fire occurred earlier this year, for which a mother and daughter have been charged with second-degree murder.