Things like murders, suicides and ghosts – emotional defects – must be reported in some states, but not in others.
- In New York, all defects including intangibles like haunting must be disclosed.
- In Virginia, emotional defects like murders and ghost sightings only have to be disclosed if they physically affect the property like blood seeping from the walls or books flying through the air.
- In California, emotional defects must be disclosed if they are less than three years old. If older, they must be disclosed if specifically asked.
- In Massachusetts, emotional defects, or psychological impacts, are not considered material facts and do not need to be disclosed unless specifically queried.
If you’re buying a home in Massachusetts and you’re concerned about paranormal activity, you had better ask the question as it is unlikely the listing agent will volunteer the information. A study at Wright University showed that home where emotional defects exist can take up to 50% longer to sell and for less than comparable properties.
Sometimes, there is a property of such notoriety in the community that it’s best to tackle the reputation head-on. Realtor.com suggests marketing as “a house with an interesting history” and marketing to buyers who want a haunted house like paranormal societies or individuals with a special interest in the supernatural. Or, you can bring in the “ghost-busters”, a spiritual person or priest to cleanse the property.