In honor of our open house today, where NO ONE showed up, even after making the house look museum quality, lighting all the candles, and the dog and I vacating for two hours to erase any hints of his existence (so sad), I got to thinking about haunted real estate as a blog topic today. My home is definitely not haunted, but would it draw more interest around here if it were? Or… would people avoid it like the plague?
[BREAKING NEWS: An hour and a half later, while writing this post, we had to halt life and completely vacate again… moving dog things (and myself) down to the basement because someone wanted to show it while we were here.]
As a seller, should you disclose the details of haunted or “stigmatized” real estate?
I found a really cool blog by a real estate agent from Silicon Valley… http://hauntedrealestateblog.com/. Mary Pope-Handy, the writer of the blog, says that “A stigma can be caused by a murder or other crime, usually violent – it does not have to result in death for a stigma to be attached to the property. The presence or suspected presence of a ghost would cause a stigma, but so would the a murder, rape, or other highly negative event.”
I’m not able to find a master list of states that require you to disclose the haunted history of a home, however, Mary Pope-Handy has compiled information about the laws and disclosure for Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusettes, New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington, It seems as though it is different for every state.
According to Susan Funaro in article from legalzoom.com, “Sellers should disclose grisly facts about the house, so they will not be “haunted” later. Even if not required by state law, in order to soothe prospective buyers and avoid lawsuits, sellers should be upfront about their home’s paranormal guests or ghoulish histories.”
Is there a market for haunted real estate?
And more importantly… would it add to home value? Apparently it depends on what you’ll use the property for. Bed & Breakfasts often attract guests because of their suspected ghosts. I’m willing to bet that there are quite a few B&Bs out there with manufactured ghosts for this reason. I’ve always wanted to have an old Victorian haunted home though, for a B&B or something similar… especially after reading House of Spirits and Whispers, by Annie Wilder.
There is definitely more information about NOT getting stuck with a haunted home… or even how to UNLOAD your haunted home.
Anyone have experience with buying or selling a haunted home? It’s an interesting new topic for me.