Thinking of Buying A Haunted House?

According to a Realtor.com survey, 49% of prospective home buyers said they would not consider a haunted house under any circumstances, regardless of price cuts or added perks. However, 18% of respondents said the perception of a house being haunted wouldn’t factor into their decision-making, nor would they need a concession in order to buy. The rest said they’d need some type of perk—a lower price, a larger kitchen, or a better neighborhood.
“Haunted” houses are considered “stigmatized,” an official designation that, though it means there’s no material defect with the house, still elicits an emotional response—usually the heebie-jeebies. Murders, suicides, drug manufacturing, general criminal activity, devil worshiping, extreme hoarding, and other unseemly practices, occurrences, and presences tend to scare off buyers who would otherwise be interested in a house, presenting realtors with the challenge of getting market value for what is otherwise a perfectly fine structure.
If a house has a material defect—such as a structural issue or a leaky roof—sellers are required to disclose this to potential buyers if they’re aware of it. But for stigmas, the law gets murky—and varies from state to state.
Stambovsky v. Ackley, a landmark case in New York from 1991, took on haunted houses directly. The plaintiff sued to rescind a real estate contract after learning the defendant had previously claimed in newspaper and magazine articles that the house was haunted. In what became known as the “Ghostbusters ruling,” an appeals court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, who was refunded the down payment.
According to Realtor.com, it’s understood now that in New York if a seller has “claimed to the public at large” that house is haunted, it is required to disclose this to the buyer. But if this is just a private belief of the seller, it is not required to be disclosed. Realtor.com’s advice: Be careful who you brag to about your house being haunted.

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