Do you hear bumps in the night a little too often? Do your doors and windows seem to open and close by themselves? Is your home a regular stop on your city's haunted history tour? Or does your house just have a dark past and a spooky reputation about town? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you have a haunted house on your hands, and that can make it tricky to sell. Take a look at some tips that can get the house off the market and you into a new, less frightening home.
To Tell or Not to Tell
The first thing you need to know is whether or not you need to disclose your home's haunted history to any potential sellers. Usually, sellers are required to disclose major material defects, like leaky pipes or a crumbling foundation. However, some states require that you disclose emotional defects, which could be anything that gives the home a bad reputation or that might lower its value. California, for example, requires you to disclose whether anyone has died on the property in the previous three years, and you have to be honest if the buyer asks about the history prior to that three-year period.
Your best bet is to consult with a real estate attorney before meeting any buyers. A local attorney can advise you about what you're legally required to disclose, and can help you come up with a way to convey the information truthfully, but without scaring off the buyer.
Call the Ghostbusters
It may sound crazy, but if your home has a bad reputation, smart buyers will find out even if you don't have to disclose or if you break the news gently. If you're having trouble selling the house because of its history, it could help to call in a medium, a priest, or some other type of ghostbuster to cleanse the house of spirits. After all, you would call in a roofer if problems with your roof were affecting your ability to sell the house. Why not call a ghost expert if ghosts are what is keeping your from closing the deal?
Make sure you get some documentation of whatever you have done to chase out the spirits. Then you'll at least be able to assure nervous buyers that the place has been cleansed—if they're genuinely spooked by the idea of ghosts, this may actually allay their fears and help close the sale.
Embrace the Paranormal
There may be nothing you can do to rehabilitate your house's reputation if it has a very well known dark past. And if the house's history is interesting enough to attract tourists and amateur ghost hunters, your potential buyers might be more worried about disturbances from curiosity-seekers that want to get a look at the place than by any actual fear of the supernatural.
In that case, your best bet may be to market the house to the curiosity-seekers. While many people may not be interested in a haunted house, a sizable minority would jump at the chance to find a poltergeist in their kitchen when they come in for a midnight snack. If all else fails, make a point of marketing your home's oddities and its reputation, and draw in the people who would enjoy a paranormal encounter.
You might have to get a little creative, but with a good agent and a good real estate attorney (like those at Levin & Levin, LLP - Attorneys at Law), you will eventually be able to sell your haunted house.