That's the Spirit: Selling Your Haunted House
The pained groan of a creaky floor. A whisper that turns into a howl when wind blows through a drafty window. Light fixtures that sway seemingly without provocation. For many of us who live in San Francisco’s Victorian or Edwardian homes, these are just everyday occurrences that we accept as par for the course. But what of doors that open and close on their own, or lightbulbs that seem to unscrew themselves, or fleeting shadows that pass by the corner of your eye? Does your house have a spectral tenant, and if so, could it affect how you sell it? In California, sellers are required by statute to disclose all material facts that may affect the buyer’s enjoyment of the property. For the most part, this involves physical matters — damage and repairs, as well as external influences such as fire hazards, noise problems, and so on. But since not everyone believes in ghosts or hauntings, the question as to whether this is material — or fact — is nebulous. You should disclose the issues, sounds, creaking, but you may not have to venture as to how those issues are created.
I have sold a house that the seller believed was haunted. I will say there was a lot of odd noises that I heard. There were times when people would tell me someone rang the doorbell. I would smile and say that wasn't the doorbell. Keep in mind this was a fully stand alone home, no sounds transference from other buildings or units. Other times light bulbs would unscrew themselves just enough to not work. The house was very old (1865 in fact), could there have been an otherworldly guest? Possibly...probably. Old homes have a storied history that you don't always know. Buying an old home you might be taking on a tenant who may be beyond the scope of eviction law.
Keep in mind that, so long as you’re not seeing blood running down the walls or furniture flying about the room on its own, a rumored haunting may not be a deterrent for buyers; some may even find it charming and consider it a bragging right. Here's some more information on haunted listings:
Ready to put your haunted house on the market? Contact me today to set up a seance about selling your property.