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Idaho Disclosure on Haunted Houses and Ghosts

When you take your kids out trick or treating in the northend this year make sure to hit up Harrison BLVD.  That’s a no brainer right!

Since today is Halloween I would like to talk about disclosure on the topic of ghosts.  Sellers are supposed to disclose all adverse material facts that they know about the property when selling.  In Idaho, real estate law states that an “adverse material fact” means a fact that would significantly affect the desirability or value of the property to a reasonable person, or which establishes a reasonable belief that a party to the transaction is not able to or does not intend to complete that party’s obligations under a real estate contract.

Do I Have to Disclose?

In Idaho, a psychological impacted factor is not an adverse material fact.  This includes deaths and ghosts.  This law varies and is different from state to state.  Sellers should however disclose grisly facts about the house, so they will not be “haunted” later.  🙂 Even if not required by state law, in order to soothe prospective buyers and avoid lawsuits, sellers should be upfront about their home’s paranormal guests or ghoulish histories.

“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.

That’s because in addition to scaring buyers, paranormal activity may lower a property’s value.  In some cases however, ghosts and ghouls may also up the price of a property.  Some customers may look for homes with an interesting history as it can add to the property’s character.  Realtor magazine found some interesting results after a poll.

Based on a poll, nearly a third of prospective home buyers would not rule out buying a “haunted house” or a property where some sort of paranormal activity is said to have occurred.  However, 29 percent of those house-hunters said they would expect a discount of at least 20 percent for stigmatized property.

Warm or cold spots in a house, possibly from a supernatural source, are deal-breakers for 62 percent of those polled.  Strange noises and/or voices, flickering lights or appliances, eerie sensations, ghost sightings, and levitating objects are other occurrences that are likely to put a buyer off from going through with a deal.

About 35 percent of those surveyed, meanwhile, signaled that they would not even consider buying a haunted house in the first place.  At the other end of the spectrum, meanwhile, 2 percent of poll participants said they would pay a premium for a haunted property.

I think the 2 percent has to be crazy.  🙂  So since Idaho is a non-disclosure state when it comes to this activity, just be careful when house shopping because you never know when Casper and friends might be living there too!  Happy Halloween!