Would you buy a haunted house?
If your first instinct is “hell no!”, you’re not alone! Unfortunately, most haunted houses remain on the market for much longer than regular properties and sell for far less.
While for most of us, the idea of a haunted house is nothing more than a fun component to celebrating Halloween, for those that wish to buy or sell a haunted property, it is so much more. It may be hard to believe but haunted real estate is a very serious reality with very real laws. Here is what you need to know before you buy or sell a possessed property.
Defining A Haunted House House
Although the laws vary a great deal, the majority of sellers will be forced to disclose to buyers that the property is “haunted”. However, to get a better understanding of what this all means, we must first define what makes a property “haunted”. Better yet, we need to define a stigmatized property because that is the legal term used in these cases. A stigmatized property is one that has been impacted psychologically by an event that occurred or is suspected to have happened at the property, which resulted in a physical impact to the property. For example, if there was a suicide, murder, or have been reports of paranormal occurrences in a home it will legally be considered stigmatized or haunted.
Understanding Material Facts
Material facts, one of the lesser-known real estate terms, refer to any piece of information that would cause a potential buyer to make a different decision about their offer price or decision to buy a property at all if that information had been disclosed. Obviously, this plays into our haunted house scenario because many people would think twice about buying a haunted or stigmatized property. At the very least, they would probably offer less than the asking price or ask for some special accommodations to be made.
The Iowa Haunted House Real Estate Laws
As we mentioned, the laws about haunted houses differ from one state to the next. Here in Iowa, you are actually required to disclose more than most. Unlike some states that only ask that you tell a potential purchaser if there are defects, an Iowa seller “must disclose known information related to the condition of the property and important characteristics of the home” according to the Iowa Administrative Rules. In general, we advise that you always disclose everything you know about the property, even if it has already been repaired, to legally protect yourself as a seller. If you fail to disclose any defects that you know about the property, it could result in a lawsuit from your buyer which will be far more stressful and costly than being upfront and honest.
You know what they say...better sage...I mean safe than sorry!
Would You Buy A Haunted House?
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