Are You Buying a Haunted House?
It’s very unlikely that you’ll see the word “haunted” in any home listing. So how do you know that the home you’d like to buy is free from unwanted, otherworldly guests? While you may not believe in ghosts, it’s important to know the home’s history. If the property has a reputation for being a house of spirits, then it could affect your resale value down the line. Here’s how you can find out whether or not the house you’re buying is haunted.
Check the disclosures
The first place you should check for evidence of a ghostly presence is the seller’s disclosures. Although requirements vary from state to state, in general, sellers are required to disclose information about the condition of the property. This usually includes things like roof leaks or cracks in the foundation. In some states, hauntings fall into the same category as deaths in the home, or whether the property is located on a former graveyard. If you’re in doubt about what the seller is required to disclose, then ask them. If you directly inquire about whether there’s paranormal activity in the house, in most states the seller is required to give you a truthful answer.
If you’re worried about the things that go bump in the night, then there’s no reason you can’t research the address online. That’s what the Internet is for, right? When you perform a simple address search online, you can find out all sorts of information. This includes whether or not there’s ever been a violent crime on the property as well as any suspected ghostly activity.
Ask the neighbors
Are you moving into the neighborhood from another area? Then it’s a good idea to get friendly with the neighbors before buying the home. If you’re new to the neighborhood, then you aren’t aware of local lore or rumors. By chatting up the neighbors, you’ll get a feel for what the neighborhood is like. Don’t feel like you have to ask them point blank whether or not the house is haunted. You could simply ask if they know anything about the home’s history. You never know what you may uncover.
If the thought of buying a haunted house scares you, then it’s something you should look into before purchasing the house. Once the agreements have been made, you could have trouble backing out, unless the seller failed to make a required disclosure. There is one landmark case where a buyer in New York sued a seller for failure to disclose a haunting and won. In the famous case Stambovsky v. Ackley, the seller, Helen Ackley, did not tell the buyer, Stambovsky, that the property was haunted. It was later discovered that several years prior, Ackley had sold a true story about the ghosts in her home to Readers Digest for $3,000. Stambovsky was allowed out of the deal when the case went to the appeals court.
The bottom line is, if you’re concerned about buying a home that may come with ghoulish tenants, it’s best to do your due diligence. Ask questions and thoroughly research the property before signing on the dotted line.
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