Undisclosed Real Estate Secrets Have a Way of Getting Out!

arrowheadIt’s a wonder that home sellers and developers continue to try to sweep evidence of issues concerning the property’s condition under the rug — or, in the case of the Rose Lane development in Larkspur, under some new pavement. Word always seems to get out somehow. 

As recently reported by Peter Fimrite in the SFGate article “Indian artifact treasure trove paved over for Marin County homes,” developer Larkspur Land 8 Owner LLC, though following the letter of the law (the California Environmental Quality Act) managed to conveniently arrange to have all the contents of a 4,500-year-old “treasure trove” of Coast Miwok life carted off and buried in an undisclosed location. The artifacts included human remains, tools, musical instruments, harpoon tips, spears, throwing sticks, and more.

Although the actions were done with the input of archaeologists and the oversight of Indian tribal members, the plan conveniently allowed the developer to move ahead with building homes and cottages that will sell at a starting price point of over $1 million.

Fimrite quotes a tribal representative as defending their choice of what to do with the objects, saying, “If we determine that they are sacred objects, we will rebury them because in our tradition many of those artifacts, be they beads, charm stones or whatever, go with the person who died. …” Obviously there are some difficult issues to balance here regarding who has an interest in and decision-making right over ancient artifacts.

But this blog is about real estate, and one of the more interesting points made in the article was by consulting archaeologist Dwight Simons,  who said not only that, “”This was a site of considerable archaeological value,”  but “The developer was reluctant to have any publicity because, well – let’s face it — because of ‘Poltergeist’.”

Whoa. If you don’t remember the movie “Poltergeist,” it was about a family in a housing development whose daughter is terrorized by ghosts.

Well, the developer’s got plenty of publicity now. I searched the article in vain to find any indication of who actually spilled the beans.

Will the shock of what was done to the property reduce its value in buyers’ eyes? Hard to say — plenty of homebuyers are desperate to buy in the Bay Area, and might not think twice about this. So perhaps the developers’ main worry at this point is that new homeowners will start hearing strange noises in the night . . . .  in which case, they might want to see the “Home Defects, Damages, and Insurance” section of Nolo’s website.