Is this House Haunted? Stigmatized Properties

By
Real Estate Team Leader with RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group S-96414

Is this House Haunted?     Stigmatized Properties

Properties that have been the site of a murder, suicide death or a haunting have long been considered "stigmatized".  

As a Seller are you required to disclose this known fact to a potential purchaser?   As a purchaser do you feel you should be told of such an event?  haunted house

A conversation this evening with friends found us all over the board on this issue.  Clearly some feel it is no big deal while others feel the opposite.  

This is Massachusetts.   Arguably the oldest community in America.    We have lots of old homes and if we remember correctly, at the very least, many of these old homes hosted  "calling hours" for the dead.    Not as dramatic as a murder for sure, but still for some an unusual and uncomfortable situation.   It puts us in a very interesting situation.

So, that being said...this brings up a few questions. Would you consider purchasing one of these properties?   Does it affect the price your are willing to pay?  As a Seller are you obligated to offer up this information to a prospective purchaser?     How about your Realtor?   What can you expect of her/him?

The reality is that Massachusetts Realtors are not obligated to disclose this type of information to you.    A law enacted in 1998 is clear on the issue.     

There are other properties that may be considered stigmatized where other rules apply (including HIV status  of former or current occupants),

but for this conversation,  as a Buyer, if it is an important you know that someone was murdered or committed suicide in a property, or that a ghost resides there, then you should ask questions pertaining to this type of event.   Your questions will trigger a duty to disclose.   Kind of weird, I know, and it is sort of like my Doc, a very cool guy, tells me that our health care is in our own hands.   We should investigate, ask and question.   The same should be said for purchasing a property. 

You should and can rely on your agent for sure, but ultimately you should be looking out for yourself as well.  

Back to the question.    Is this house haunted and will you buy it?  



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  1. Dale Taylor 11/24/2012 07:51 PM
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Rainer
27,873
Brian Park
Park Realty Investments

Yes, the law is the law but I prefer to disclose to buyers because of the reasons cited and I believe it to be a material fact whether the legislature of my state agrees or not.

Twice I disclosed ghosts, why, because I saw them which was truly something I didn't believe in prior to my first experience. Both were friendly and non-threatening but the sellers insisted I keep my mouth shut, I told them to find another broker and gave them the name of a good attorney in case the buyers didn't like the information being withheld. Both sold with disclosure, both buyers happy.

As one poster stated property with very bad vibes. I had a newly married friend move into a home and then the fighting started. We went over to visit with a second couple and withing an hour 6 good friends were ready to kill each other but as soon as you would leave the property every thing would be back to nice.  He did very well in business and after losing one renter after another, he donated it as a burn house to the fire department. He then salted the land after the burn debris was removed, followed by a sprinkling of holy water by his priest. He then let the county have it by not paying the property taxes. I don't know if it was ever built on again. Maybe one of these days I will be back there and check it out for fun.

Another case that wasn't disclosed was the attempted murder of two parents by a mentally deranged son who was committed to a mental hospital and when he was released years later where was the first place he headed to, you got it but the new owner wasn't the type to play games and just shot the "cured " son holding a big knife from the kitchen and telling to get out and attempting to slash them, problem solved.

November 15, 2012 10:14 AM
Rainer
115,951
Sylvia Jonathan
Broker Associate, SFR
Coldwell Banker Platinum Properties

If a house experienced a much publicized violent crime it could be uncomfortable for new owners simply because of a never-ending stream of nosy visitors congregating outside (remember OJ Simpson's house?)

As for disclosing, Realtors and sellers MUST disclose a death in California if it happened within last 3 years. But we all know that the neighbors will be over first opportunity with the gossip no matter how far back it was. My credo is: disclose to the buyer, and the one who does not care, will buy the house anyway.

What do you all think about houses that have been foreclosed on multiple times like a daisy chain from one owner to the next? Coincidence or bad vibe?

November 16, 2012 04:00 AM
Rainer
83,887
Brad Baylor
ERA Coup Agency

Carol-Ann, In PA, it is not something the seller has to disclose, but I have had two buyer clients in the past year that have specifically asked about para-normal activity, and I've had to ask the seller's agent to find out for me.  Fortunately, in both cases, there was nothing to report.  I really feel that at some point, that question will appear on the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement. 

January 20, 2013 03:28 AM
Rainmaker
268,841
Carol-Ann Palmieri
"Cal" the Real Estate Gal
RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group

Thank you all for the very interesting comments.    Syliva, I do think homes have karma and it appears by reading the other comments others feel the same way.    

January 20, 2013 06:05 AM
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July 15, 2013 11:40 PM
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Rainmaker
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Carol-Ann Palmieri

"Cal" the Real Estate Gal
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