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Selling a Haunted House in Massachusetts What to Know

Can You Sell a “Haunted” House?

Selling a Haunted House in Massachusetts What to Know

Halloween is upon us, so of course it’s the time of year when spooky stories are told, and one of the most common locations of these tales is a haunted house. From campfire tales to urban legends, people love to hear stories about ghosts and haunted houses, especially in a state like Massachusetts where some homes date back to the 1700s. But as a real estate agent, you may have other concerns. Specifically, can you sell a haunted house?

What Makes a House Haunted?

Often, a house is considered “haunted” when it is believed to be inhabited by ghosts who have suffered from violent or tragic events in the building’s past. This could be events such as murder, accidental death, or suicide. In legal terms, such a house would be considered “psychologically impacted.”

According to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 93, section 114, a property is considered psychologically impacted if somebody lived there who is suspected to be infected with HIV or AIDS, it’s the site of a homicide, felony, or suicide, or it’s the site of an alleged supernatural phenomenon. This doesn’t guarantee ghostly specters wandering down the halls or items floating around the room. Some people will count unexplained cold spots, strange sounds, or just a general feeling of dread as enough of a sign the house is “haunted.”

Sign that says Haunted

Do You Need to Disclose if a House is Psychologically Impacted?

In Massachusetts, you do not have to disclose if a house is physiologically impacted unless directly asked. Massachusetts functions under caveat emptor – buyer beware – laws when it comes to real estate, and a house being psychologically impacted is not considered a material defect.

In fact, Massachusetts law only requires you to disclose upfront if a house has a septic system and/or lead paint. However, you are legally and ethically obligated to tell them the truth as you know it when directly asked about a property being psychological impacted.

Does a House Being Haunted Affect Resale Value?

Not necessarily, or at least, not always in a negative way. Some people are superstitious and might feel the possibility of a paranormal presence to be a dealbreaker. Others will actually find it appealing. Some people consider living in a haunted house to be a great story for their friends. They feel a dark history and “ghosts” give a house more character. Then there are others who consider the “risk” of ghosts worthwhile because the house is perfect in every other way. And, of course, there are plenty of people who aren’t superstitious at all. These homebuyers will just roll their eyes at rumors of ghosts. What matters to them is that the house is affordable and in good condition.

If there are rumors of a property that you’re selling being haunted, you could always look into booking a house blessing. These are believed to banish misfortune and bad spirits from the home. Even if you don’t believe in the supernatural, it might give potential buyers peace of mind.

Some people believe in ghosts. Others consider them to be nothing but stories told around the fire or on Halloween. But for a real estate agent wondering if they can sell a haunted house, it’s a fair concern. So it should be of some relief that a house being haunted might not be the dealbreaker it might seem. 

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