Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, October 24, 2014

How to sell a haunted house


Vicki Trapp

Every house has a history, but what if the house you’re trying to sell has a history that is a bit more ... ghoulish than most? If you or your community believes a house is haunted, it can make selling a bit more difficult. However, there a several options for someone with a spooky property to sell. Just follow a few simple steps to get the haunted house off your hands.

The first thing you will want to establish whether you are required to inform potential buyers of their future paranormal roommates. To answer that, you will want to consult your Realtor about your state’s disclosure laws. Haunted houses fall into the category of stigmatized properties. Laws vary by state, so you might be required to inform buyers in writing of any possible problems.

While neither Tennessee nor Georgia law address ghosts per se, property owners and licensees in both states should answer truthfully. However, both state’s laws provide that an owner or real estate licensee cannot be held liable for failure to disclose whether a property was site of  a homicide or other felony, suicide or death of any kind. The reason is that such occurrences have no effect on the property’s physical structure.

Even if you don’t have to disclose, it’s still a good idea to give your buyers a heads up. If your house is known around the community to be haunted, the spooks will eventually let the buyer know. Only a buyer can determine whether any psychological or emotional factors would affect, positively or negatively, their perceived value of a property. It can create a lot of goodwill if you can tell potential buyers to expect a couple of bumps in the night.

Look on the positive – there is a chance that your haunted house may even be a selling point. Strange as it may sound, there are people who would love to live in a haunted house. A survey from realtor.com revealed that 62 percent of respondents would consider buying a haunted house. You can work with a Realtor to tap into that market in your community, perhaps marketing to clubs or organizations with an interest in the supernatural.

If you can’t find an amateur paranormal investigator to buy your house, it might be time to lower the price. That same realtor.com survey showed that nearly one third of buyers would expect a haunted property to be discounted up to 30 percent.

If you’ve tried everything and nothing has worked, bringing the selling price down might be your only option. If ghosts and ghouls have generated interest in your property, than a bargain price should do the trick.

The Greater Chattanooga Association of REALTORS is “The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga.” The Association is a regional organization with more than 1,400 members and is one of more than 1,400 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors services Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net.