Is your house haunted? We’ve all heard the horror stories and seen the Hollywood movies. A nice family moves into what seems to be the perfect home. Everything is great — until it isn’t. Weird occurrences start to happen in the night. Doors are shut when nobody’s in the room, there are sounds coming from the attic, and things just don’t feel right.
Are you living in a haunted house? Is there any way to research these paranormal happenings to see if they’ve been reported before? More importantly, what does all of this Ghostbuster-like activity mean for your home value? Let’s find out once and for all.
Paranormal Activity Defined
First, it’s important to note that a term exists for this type of home experience. A “stigmatized property” is any property where paranormal activity, suicide, murder, cult-like activity, or other misfortunes took place. You can think of this as the home now having a reputation, whether any of this past is still sticking around the home or not.
The word stigma refers to an intangible attribute of a real estate property. This can cause a psychological or emotional response from a potential buyer or an existing homeowner. This usually has a negative effect on the value of the home, even if it’s not warranted.
Do Real Estate Agents Need to Disclose a Stigma?
You’re probably thinking that if you have a stigmatized property, this would have been disclosed to you when you bought your house. In reality, this isn’t the case. In many states and counties, listing agents don’t need to disclose this stigma or history to the buyers of a home.
This is where the term “buyers beware” originates from. Buyers need to take matters into their own hands to uncover the true history of their property. In recent years, many states have updated laws to require agents and sellers to be fair and honest when approaching a real estate transaction. However, it’s still unclear in many cases whether this is 100% required by law.
Researching Your Home
The best way to educate yourself about the history of a property, whether you’re still in the buying stages or you already live in the home, is to simply do some research. It’s unlikely that you’ll be informed whether your property is a former crime scene or if it’s haunted in your online listing, so it’s up to you to dig up any dark past.
First, you can try simply asking the previous owner or real estate agent. You can also check your state laws to see if the past owner was required to disclose any problems like this. Another option for asking around is to talk to the neighbors. Have they noticed any unusual or criminal activity in the past?
If talking to people isn’t yielding many results, it’s time to dig deeper. Googling the home address will often reveal any local headlines or other information. You can even check police logs. The internet will be the most concrete source of information about the history of your home.
Uncovering Skeletons in the Closet
If you do discover some unpleasant truths about your home’s past, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed. There are many steps you can take to cleanse your home of it’s past, from talking to local real estate experts to improving your property value on your own.
In fact, some people find themselves drawn to homes with a haunted past. The extra spirits might make your home more interesting to the right buyers. Either way, you have options for ensuring your home is still a welcoming, friendly place. Don’t let your home be defined by its past.