Rules for Buying & Selling a “Haunted House”

The laws about disclosing if a house is “haunted” vary from state to state.

Massachusetts
The possibility of a property being “psychologically impacted” isn’t considered a “material fact required to be disclosed” to potential buyers.

Virginia
Emotional defects like murders and ghost sightings only have to be disclosed if they physically affect the property (Blood running from the walls? Gotta tell the buyer).

California
As “American Horror Story” demonstrates, sellers do have to disclose emotional defects, but only in a very limited way. The state Civil Code requires that a death on the property only needs to be disclosed if it occurred less than three years prior to the sale and older incidents need to be addressed only if the buyer specifically asks. Some jurisdictions are a little more vague in the way they word things, so smart sellers could potentially disclose what they need to without having to drop words like “haunted,” “poltergeist” or “murder spree.”

Other U.S. States
Most states require “Seller Disclosure Statements” where the seller must disclose all known facts.With the recent flood of foreclosures and bank owed properties many people who could “disclose” are not the seller so homes are being sold with a disclaimer that the seller cannot provide a “Sellers disclosure statement”, and that the buyer is buying based on a material inspection. If no ghosts show up during the inspections you may not even know what you are getting into. This also goes for leaky pipes that had a good patch job.

Obviously in a known case of unwanted guests the value of the home may just be affected and possibly dramatically if they home is a known nuisance. Rumors will affect your sales price, even if the buyer thinks they are getting the deal of the century they have the mysterious to deal with and they will want to be compensated for the remediation or unwanted roommate.

This is always a tough sell. Not too easy to explain a cabinet opening and closing on its own or levitating candlesticks, but it still may be sellable.

Bottom line is unfortunately these guests don’t pay rent and being the capitalist I am I am not much on free rent so in true real estate lingo and all meaning of the statement…. CAVEAT EMPTOR!

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About thenoelteam

As a Broker with RE/MAX Alliance, I work energetically for my clients whether they are a buyer or seller. I help you achieve your goal of owning a home or getting the best price for your home in the shortest time possible. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in communications and finance, I was licensed in 1977 and since then I have sold over 3600 properties amounting to over $1 billion in sales. I currently rank in the top 10 in home sales for Colorado. I offer the same quality of service and superior communication to all clients, ranging from starter homes to multi-million dollar estates, commercial and income properties, relocations and foreclosures My goal is to provide you with the best representation possible whether you are buying or selling. Over the years, one of the things that I've discovered is that there is a difference in the way individual Realtors do business. For me, I have always felt that honesty and personal integrity are the foundations upon which a successful business and career are built and sustained. I have an extensive background and knowledge base in real estate, including financing, which has enabled me to provide outstanding, quality advice and service not found with many agents today. My commitment to communication creates a positive relationship between my client and myself that results in a successful property sale or purchase. My passion for real estate, commitment to my clients and personal integrity has helped me to achieve success placing me in the top 1% of all brokers in nationwide. In my career, I have earned a number of awards and received considerable recognition for my success but the most significant recognition comes from the fact that over 75% of my business comes from past clients. My success is a true measure of my client satisfaction.
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