Can You Sell a “Haunted” House? – Palestine Real Estate
Visiting a haunted house attraction is fun, but what if it is a real-life haunted house? For many people this just fantasy, but for just as many, it is a real concern. Palestine has many historic homes and with history comes rumors of hauntings. When it comes time to sell, keep these things in mind:
HOW DO YOU KNOW?
This is a tricky subject, because really, how do you know?! Unless you are living in the house, you are probably skeptical. I am no “ghost expert,” but I do know houses. Houses creak and groan, especially older ones. Don’t assume that every creak is a ghost having a dance party. If you have objects flying around or red goo dripping down the walls, you can’t keep that to yourself…but if you’ve got that, I’d venture to say that determining the validity of a haunting are the least of your troubles.
HOW DO YOU SHARE THIS WITHOUT SOUNDING LIKE A WHACKADOODLE?
Any violent death (i.e.: a murder) or a death caused by the house (i.e.: carbon monoxide poisoning) would have to be disclosed to any buyer. “Haunting” (in the eyes of the Texas Property Code) is up to the discretion of the seller. However, if they ask and you believe it is, tell them your experience (or have your Agent do it for you). Don’t hide anything—you can’t disclose too much and they will find out eventually (probably on move-in day when the neighbors walk over and greet them and the scoop on the “haunted” house they just purchased.)
Not everyone believes in or cares about ghosts and hauntings. The buyers who are concerned with it will ask, the ones who aren’t concerned, won’t. If the activity is of a high enough level to be of concern, it definitely needs to be shared. If you believe your house is “haunted,” have a serious discussion about it with your REALTOR® and get a game plan for disclosing it to potential buyers without scaring everyone away.
On a positive note, some buyers would love to own a “haunted” house! Ghosts are kinda hot right now, so it could be a marketing tactic to attract those buyers. The popularity of ghost hunting shows and reality TV have given rise to a subset of buyers that would be drawn to a property because it is “haunted.”
It is easy to make light of a potential haunting, but if it is at a level where you are concerned, it is your duty to disclose it to any potential buyers. Hopefully this is never an issue and the only ghosts you have at your house are the ones wearing a sheet while exclaiming “Trick or Treat!” at your door. If you ever find yourself selling a haunted house, you’ll know how to approach it with potential buyers. Or maybe you’re lucky and your ghost is a clean freak who likes to do dishes and fold laundry. If you’ve got that type of ghost, call me, I’ve got a buyer.
Lisa E. Priest wonders what the cut-off age for trick or treating is and is an East Texas Area REALTOR® with Picket Fence Realty, Inc. You can reach her via phone or text at 903-948-3343 or at BuyPalestine.com.