With Halloween just around the corner, we thought it would be interesting to revisit an Ask a REALTOR® post about home sales disclosures, but add a twist with regard to disclosing if the house being sold is haunted.
According to Idaho Law, sellers are supposed to disclose all adverse material facts they know about the property they’re selling. Basically, any details that would significantly affect the desirability or value of the property to a reasonable person need to be disclosed.
So, do you need to disclose if your house is haunted? According to Idaho law, a psychological impacted factor is not an adverse material fact. So, the short answer is, no. This law includes not only ghosts but also deaths in the house. However, even if not required by state law, in order to placate prospective buyers and avoid potential lawsuits, honesty is the best policy. Failing to disclose such facts could be the basis of a lawsuit if it’s discovered that a death or a haunting wasn’t disclosed.
Of course, proving the house is haunted might be an experience in itself, especially if people are prone to skepticism.
“Haunted properties fall within the category of stigmatized properties or real estate that is not defective in any physical manner, but due to psychological or emotional factors may have a reduced value. Among the situations covered under the title of stigmatized is a property that was the site of a murder, suicide, alleged haunting, or other parapsychological phenomenon,” says Steven J.J. Weisman, a Cambridge, Mass., lawyer and college professor who teaches about paranormal disclosures in his business law class at Bentley University.
Paranormal activity may decrease the home’s value and since it’s a significant purchase, people may be distraught at learning they’ve bought a property that is haunted.
While Idaho doesn’t specifically say haunted houses have to be disclosed, it’s better to err on the side of caution and disclose if a home is haunted. At least that way, you won’t have any skeletons in the closet when it comes to selling your home.