Selling a House with Ghosts?
Visiting a haunted house attraction is fun this time of year, but what about a house that really is haunted? For many people this just make believe, but for just as many, it is a real concern. Palestine has many historic homes and with history comes deaths in a home, ghost rumors and concerned buyers. When it comes to a haunted house, how do you sell it?
Is it really haunted? – 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 disclose and what disclosures are necessary? – 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—there’s no such thing as disclosing 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 bought.) Yikes! In short—disclose, disclose, disclose!
The Ghosts Convey! – On a positive note, there is a buyer for every house and some people would love to own a “haunted” house! The popularity of ghost hunting and reality TV have given rise to a subset of buyers that would be drawn to a property because of the ghosts!
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 bother with it. 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 Agent and get a game plan for disclosing it to potential buyers without scaring everyone away.
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 yelling “Trick or Treat!” at your door. If you ever find yourself selling a haunted house, you’ll know how to approach the sales side of it. Or maybe you’re lucky and your ghost is a helpful soul who likes to clean and fold laundry. If you’ve got a ghost who puts away the laundry, call me asap, I’ve got a buyer! Happy Halloween, y’all!
Lisa Priest loves to pass out candy to trick or treaters and is and is an East Texas Area Broker/REALTOR® with Picket Fence Realty, Inc. You can read more at BuyPalestine.com