Haunted Houses and the Dark Side of Real Estate
If you’ve ever seen the film “The Amityville Horror,” you are one of the many, scarred enough to consistently ask if there was a death in any home you’re viewing or if there have been reports of paranormal activity. While hauntings and other ghostly tales are normally attached to older homes, many Realtors face these questions on a daily basis. If spooky homes don’t bother you, get a free online rate quote or contact a mortgage advisor.
If this does bother you, when viewing houses, it’s important to ask the tough questions about the bones of the home and regulations deem it mandatory for Realtors to share the home’s gory details (that they’re aware of). But: What about ghosts?
Regulations that demand reporting paranormal activity or a death in a home vary from state to state. And, while many people love visiting haunted locations, living in them is another story. When it comes to putting a “for sale” sign in front of a house with a haunted past, what you share (and don’t share) can get a bit tricky. For most states, if a Realtor knows something that would scare away potential buyers, they are obligated to disclose the information (especially if the buyer asks). With this in mind: How do you get that spooky home off the market? If you’re a Realtor, you know there is a fine line to walk on this front. If you don’t say anything and buyers see a mysterious mist moving around upstairs, they have the right to back out of the sale. If you reveal too much, you’re likely to scare people away and buyers who don’t believe in ghosts will question your sanity. While these properties may have a certain stigma attached to them, not everyone believes in ghosts, so coming out with this information may be a bit hasty. However, if something does “happen” during a showing, it’s best to be honest about the history of the home. And, if a potential buyer asks about the history of the house, this deserves an honest answer as well. It’s also important to point out, that for some buyers, a haunted house is desirable real estate and may actually increase the value of a home – if you’re dealing with the right audience.
If you’re a buyer with “The Amityville Horror” still fresh in your mind, you likely won’t hesitate to ask about the history of any home you’re considering. For those who are more skeptical, this may be a question that you don’t care to answer. While the line of questioning will depend on the buyer, there are some ROI factors to consider. If a home has a spooky past, the resale value could be affected when it comes time for you to sell. On the other hand, a home with a scarred past may also be available for a great price. If you’re a non-believer, have never seen the abovementioned film, or are just a really heavy sleeper – then a home that’s reported to be haunted may be a sweet deal for a nice home. Outside of personal beliefs or fears, one thing to keep in mind is that you can make any home your own, no matter who is rumored to have resided there before you. Adding your own personality to a house through fresh paint, new windows, and other renovations can brighten up any spooky space. And, if you’re still not convinced, there are people in the paranormal industry that can “clear” a space and send those ghosts packing.
While this time of year seems to bring ghouls and other ghostly fears to the forefront of peoples’ minds, viewing homes doesn’t have to be scary. The best action to take is – if you have a question, don’t hesitate to ask. If your Realtor offers a vague answer, it may be time to look elsewhere. As for Realtors who are dealing with selling a spooky house, it’s best to remember that honesty is the best policy. For more information about selling a home, feel free to get a free online rate quote or reach out to a financial advisor today and start planning to get your home off the market – without any last-minute scares.
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