Your dream home is haunted!

The challenges of selling a spooky house

‘Haunted’ houses present a very real challenge for realtors

(NEW YORK, NY) — You go to an open house and immediately love it. The decor, the neighborhood, everything is perfect. But then you get some news, and no, we aren’t talking about the “it’s out of your budget” conversation. We’re talking one word, paranormal. That’s right, the humble abode you just envisioned spending holidays in is haunted.

Are you still interested?

No?

What if the price was knocked down?

A survey from realtor.com showed that 49 percent of prospective homebuyers said they would not consider a haunted home even if there was a price reduction or added perks.

In some states, paranormal activity does not have to be disclosed to a potential buyer. A haunted house is considered to be stigmatized property. This refers to all conditions or features that are not physical such as the death of an occupant, murders, suicides, and paranormal activity.

One place where this is a common obstacle for real estate agents is the spooky, Salem, Massachusetts. Due to the city’s 17th-century witch trials, it has been a draw for those interested in all things paranormal. However, stigmatized houses can be quite common and can serve as a deal breaker to many potential homebuyers.

So what do you do as a buyer?

In the landmark New York case, Stambovsky v. Ackley, the plaintiff sued to revoke a real estate contract after finding out that the defendant publicly claimed that the house was haunted.

The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff who was refunded. Now, in New York, if a seller publicly claims that the house is haunted they are required to disclose it to the buyer. In cases where it is not publicly claimed, most buyers rely on the ethics of the seller, hoping that if something spooky is going on, they’ll have the decency to tell them.

Stambovsky v. Ackley. The house as it exists on Google Maps today.

If there is a death in the house, though the laws are tricky, the public website, DiedInHouse.com, is used as a major resource to help buyers find out themselves. In most cases, a seller does not have to disclose the information unless asked, so if that is something that would impact your decision to buy, make sure you do your own research!

Speculated haunted houses are surprisingly everywhere with real estate agents giving recounts of some spooky experiences. Some agents have even said that the news of a haunted house can draw more traction to the listing, if it appeals to the right crowd, of course.

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