Have you ever been inside of a haunted house, or tried to sell one? If you were selling a haunted house, would you have to disclose that it was haunted?
I was asked to sell a haunted house once, and here’s the spooky story:
During the financial crisis (2007-2008), my clients were going through a rough time, they were in the process of losing their home, and we were going to do a short sale on it. During our meeting, the wife was continually talking about the house being haunted. She was hearing footsteps in the attic, seeing flashing lights, noticing a brilliant light coming out from beneath a door, and so on. I was kind of trying to ignore this because there was so much more to talk about. Finally, she had spoken about it so much, that I turned to the husband and asked if he had also experienced any of this activity. He said, “All I can tell you is that I’ve never been harmed in the home. I’ve never been harmed.” So, I thought that was strange, but we got everything going, got the home on the market, and we had some people come in to view it.
Then one day, an agent called me and said that there was a bit of interest in the home, but asked if it was haunted. I thought it was eerie that he was asking me this. I said, “Why do you ask?” He told me that he and his clients were upstairs, and their 12-year-old son was on the landing overlooking the foyer, and he said he saw a figure cloaked in black float across the foyer. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I said that I didn’t know and I would have to speak to my seller and find out.
I called the seller and asked if she had ever seen a ghost floating across her foyer. She said, “Oh, that—that’s not a ghost, that’s a demon!” Well, that made me feel so much better! I had to call the agent and tell them yes, the sellers were experiencing paranormal activity in the home.
Now, this was a legitimate problem. I had a dilemma on my hands: Do we disclose this to every prospective buyer walking through the house? We sought legal opinion on this, and the Ohio disclosure law, (which is that form you fill out stating what’s wrong with the house) is all about the physical, material defects that need to be disclosed by the seller, like a poor roof or furnace. Those are the types of things that go on that form—it’s not intended to be a disclosure for paranormal activity. However, we were advised that if a buyer asks us directly about paranormal activity (like I was asked), we would have to be truthful about it. We would have to say yes, we believe there is paranormal activity in the house. So that’s how we disclosed it, on a case-by-case basis, but we didn’t have to put in on the disclosure form.
So, that’s how you sell a haunted house and how you go about disclosing that there are ghosts or demons in your home.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to me about any topic concerning real estate, give me a call or send me an email, I would love to help you.