As Halloween approaches, buyers and sellers of real estate might do well to keep in mind that residential properties - be they condo, co-op, or single-family house - have a past. What’s more, that past might still be lurking around in closets and under floorboards. It could just be an unfixed leak or a squeaky hinge, or it could be something more … paranormal. REMI Realty CEO/Broker Andrew Ragusa in Plainview, New York doesn’t deal in spook-infested properties, but he does offer some tips on making sure your home is ready to welcome new residents who are not the undead.
Ask if Inspections Include Incubi
“Proper due diligence on any home purchase should include a thorough professional inspection of the property,” says Ragusa, “but many inspectors only look at the physical elements of a home during this process.” Therefore, he says, it is wise to ask your professional if a metaphysical inspection is also included in the scope of work he or she will perform. Is that draft coming from a broken seal of a window, or a broken soul of a widow? Mitigation will be different for each scenario.
Beware of the Fine Print
Homes being sold under foreclosure or that are taken over by a lender might not be able to provide a Seller’s Disclosure Statement, warns Ragusa. Required in most states, a Seller’s Disclosure Statement provides any known facts or material information that a seller knows about the property to the buyer. This includes disclosure of known spiritual disturbances or ghostly encounters that might not show up on a walk-through. Bank sales might include a disclaimer that a Seller’s Disclosure Statement cannot be provided. (Did something frightening happen in the attic? You’ll never know.)
De-Spook the Residence
Sellers who know or suspect their home is haunted should make an effort to freshen up their space, as it is widely understood that ghosts prefer spaces that are old, dark, and creepy. Clear up those cobwebs; take those dusty sheets off the furniture, and consider removing that creepy old doll in the corner. A fresh coat of paint and some plants will be as welcoming to prospective buyers as they are unwelcoming to spirits. “If your ghosts are particularly tenacious,” adds Ragusa, “you could always hold a seance or an exorcism.” Factor these items into your selling costs.
Use the Ghouls to Your Advantage
With many residents confined to their homes more than usual in the global fight against the much-scarier-than-ghosts coronavirus, some buyers might actually prefer a home that comes with spectral companions—we could all use an extra soul to talk to these days! You might consider marketing your haunted home to ghost hunters, or the paranormally curious. “And if that doesn’t pan out,” Ragusa suggests, “you can always position your home to investors and flippers who are prepared to gut the property anyway.” They ain’t afraid of no ghosts!