What’s the best approach to selling a “Haunted” House?
Most Americans love watching scary movies and going through haunted house on Halloween, but how do homes that are haunted do when place on the market for sale? Homelight compiled a thorough investigation and came up with an in-depth evaluation with suggestions. The following is our take-away from their article.
Homelight columnist, Caroline Feeney, chatted with several realtors who have been through this experience and the common thought is to “treat it like a matter-of-fact business deal”, so the same as you would treat your other listings. Even though sometimes there is no “putting a lid on the publicity” and there may even be a “local murder mystery house tour” that routinely passes by the home, try your best to ignore the hype.
The first step is to evaluate the home. In what condition is the home and can you improve it along with the curbside appeal? Your obligation as an agent, is to sell the home for the highest amount possible, therefore make all approved improvements. Next, should you openly inform every on-looker if the home has had a murder, suicide or rumored haunting? Check your state’s disclosure requirements; do you have to disclose this information to the buyer? Usually this is a murky area, as this is more of a psychological impact than a material issue that may affect the sale of the home. Make sure you choose an agent that is knowledgeable about the laws in your state.
Florida statue 689.25, “the fact that a property was, or was at any time suspected to have been, the site of a homicide, suicide, or death is not a material fact that must be disclosed in a real estate transaction,” and owners and agents are protected from legal action. Even though, by law (in Florida) it is not mandated to disclose, our thoughts are that it is always advisable to be transparent. You don’t need to advertise the history, but you can disclose the information in the MLS realtor notes. That way the buyer’s agent can advise their client as to the history and if that will break the deal.
You may have to lower the price, but don’t settle for the first offer. Interesting enough, statistics show that “33% of buyers would be open to living in a haunted house, and 25% would consider it, according to a 2017 survey by Realtor.” The trick is finding the right buyer.
Feeney, Caroline. HomeLight: How to Sell a Haunted House Like Any Other Home on the Market. October 2018. <https://www.homelight.com/blog/how-to-sell-a-haunted-house/>.