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House of horrors

Opinion: Real estate scares out of control

Some people will do just about anything to make a buck, including terrifying homeowners and home buyers out of their wits. In ever-increasing numbers, vendors and retailers are crossing the line in their use of scare tactics to sell home-related products and services. Take Housemaster as an example. The home inspection systems franchise company this week announced a book that aims to help home buyers and sellers understand the components of a home and evaluate whether repairs are necessary during the home-buying process. The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Home Inspections may be a good read and it might even be chock-full of valuable information, but Housemaster's promotional tactics for the book conveyed exactly the opposite impression. The press release about the book was headlined: "HOME/REAL ESTATE STORY-INVISIBLE DANGERS MAY BE LURKING...INVISIBLE DANGERS AT HOME." The body of the announcement listed eight household hazards along with such scary warnings as "can cause water heater to e...

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