Is This House Haunted?
Sep 30, 2019 06:00AM
● By Pamela Johnson
Properties that have been the site of a murder, a suicide death, or a haunting have long been considered “stigmatized or psychologically impacted.”
As a seller, are you required to disclose this known fact to a potential purchaser? As a buyer, do you feel you should be told about such an event? A conversation among friends about this situation found us all over the board. Some felt that it is no big deal while others felt the hair on the back of their necks rise.
Growing up in Massachusetts, I’ve heard countless tales of eerie happenings from people who claimed to live in haunted houses. Some of these stories gave me the creeps while others made me think, well, it might be kind of cool to have this sort of paranormal experience. These people were, in my opinion, rational people who truly believed that they were sharing their homes with ghosts!
Maybe it’s true and maybe it’s not, but there are a lot of old homes in the area; 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, it brings up uncomfortable feelings.
So, would you consider purchasing one of these properties? Would such stories affect the price you are willing to pay? As a seller, are you obligated to offer this information to a prospective purchaser? How about your Realtor®? What can you expect of her/him?
The reality is that Massachusetts Realtors are obligated to disclose just about everything you can think of; but they are not obligated to disclose this type of information to you unless you, as a buyer, ask. Other rules apply for things like HIV status of former or current occupants, but a law enacted in 1998 is clear on this issue.
If it is important for you as a buyer to know that someone was murdered at a property, that someone committed suicide there, or that a ghost roams the property nightly, then you need to ask questions pertaining to this. Your questions will trigger a duty to disclose.
Kind of weird, I know, but it’s like listening to my doctor remind me that our health care is in our own hands. We should investigate and question. The same should be said when purchasing a property.
You should and can rely on your Realtor for sure, but ultimately you should be looking out for yourself as well.
So, back to the question: Is this house haunted and will you buy it?
Submitted by Carol-Ann Palmieri (left) of Al and Cal Realty Group, RE/MAX Executive Realty. Palmieri may be reached at 508-494-9061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.