So you’re ready to sell your house. And it’s a haunted house. The problem is you’re afraid it should have been the set for American Horror Story‘s Murder House. If you’ve experienced some voodoo business in your home, finding the right buyers for it could also prove to be haunting. But you might not have to disclose the seriousness of the ghostly vibes you’ve been feeling. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to selling your spooky digs.
1. Figure out whether you’re really dealing with a haunted house
Maybe you’re just paranoid, or maybe you’re not. First things first, you must determine whether you’re really dealing with a haunted house. Just because your home is old, weathered, and makes weird sounds doesn’t mean it’s ridden with evil phantoms. On the other hand, if you’ve witnessed creepy children climbing out of your TV or furniture hovering above the ground, you probably have some paranormal activity. In this case, call a paranormal investigator to get some solid proof.
2. Keep quiet — for now
The last thing you need to do is lay all your freaky business out on Front Street. After all, letting the cat out of the bag is what determined the verdict in 1991’s Stambovsky vs. Ackley case in New York. Ackley disclosed to her friends, community, newspapers, and even Reader’s Digest that she thought her home was haunted. The person not on the receiving end of this information? The buyer of her home. Stambovsky didn’t become privy to the information until he was under contract. So Stambovsky took it to court and eventually won.
3. What if it’s stigmatized?
Perhaps your home isn’t necessarily haunted, but it was the scene of a kidnapping, suicide, murder, or other crime. That would make the place stigmatized. In 2000, researchers at Wright State University conducted a study on stigmatized homes and found they remained on the market 45% longer than the average home. States have different laws on disclosing stigmas, so you’ll have to do your part when it comes to checking your legal obligations.
For buyers, a good rule of thumb is always to beware of caveats by asking written questions and doing solid research. Any specific questions must be honestly answered by the seller or real estate agent.
4. Who ya gonna call?
Do yourself a favor, and call in the pros. Real-life ghostbusters exist. Preferring the term “ghost hunters,” these folks come to your home to detect the whereabouts of your banshees. Once detected, they work to remove them. For instance, David Franklin Farkus of HouseHealing.com charges a minimum of $300 to heal your house from the paranormal.
5. Disclose with caution
In keeping with the Stambovsky vs. Ackley example, it’s important to know your laws. Each state has its own when it comes to disclosing information about haunted and stigmatized homes. Normally, Ackley would not have been required to disclose the information to Stambovsky. The caveat was Ackley had previously opted to share the paranormal activity with her community and media. Because of that, the value of the home was considered to be impacted. So connect with your attorney and real estate agent to make sure you’re protecting yourself and your potential buyer.
6. Market to the creepy crawlers
As strange as it might seem, there are people in the world who enjoy conjuring up some mischief. Some folks are really intrigued by the paranormal world and are all for moving into a haunted home. Seek out these people. Furthermore, even if potential buyers aren’t looking to hunt a ghost or two, constrained housing markets could allow homebuyers to make exceptions.
7. Be prepared to lower the selling price
If all else fails, lower your price. According to the Wright State University study, a highly broadcasted murder could cause a house to sell for up to 35% less than the fair market value. That being said, it’s wise to prep yourself for a sale that is lower than market value. Reducing the price of your home could be just the ticket both for offloading your haunted house and providing a bargain to someone on the hunt.
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