No, this isn’t just another timely spooky story, although it just may have to do with ghosts! Be you a believer or a scoffer, the fact is that there are pieces of real estate on the market which are purported to be haunted and are thus more difficult to sell. Known in the industry as “stigmatized” properties, these houses have the reputation of being haunted or are the site of a previous violent crime--and the perception of ghosts and gore is not easy to erase from the minds of too many would-be purchasers
So what to do? First, make yourself (and your Realtor) familiar with state laws regarding disclosure. Contact the Minnesota Real Estate Commission to see if you’re required to disclose information about the stigma attached to your property because you could be spooked by a lawsuit if you don’t. Regardless of what the state dictates, being upfront about your home’s paranormal guests or ghoulish histories is always the best moral policy, says Gena Riede, a California-based realtor who recently represented a buyer in the purchase of a haunted house.
Then what? Pay attention to the appearance of your property—inside and out. To minimize any thoughts of ghosts, your home needs to look spirit-free and inviting on the outside. Avoid a dark, forbidding atmosphere by clearing away dead trees and hanging branches; replacing rusty iron gates with a white fence, and getting rid of unwanted residents like stray cats and spiders. On the inside, think warm, bright, and clutter-free. Doing away with darkness and gloom that could promote the idea of spirits may require removing outdated, musty furniture, antique rugs, old pictures of ancestors, and any other items that contribute to an “eerie atmosphere” so that you can alleviate any pre-conceived notions in potential buyers.
If you simply cannot dispel persistent beliefs about the “dark side” of the home you are selling, you may have to resort to bringing in a Ghostbuster. David Frankin Farkas, owner of HouseHealing.com, makes a full-time living ridding properties of specters and/or negative energy. Click here to find groups who will investigate paranormal activity in your home.
And finally, pricing your home to sell is another strategy you must consider. By lowering your price 20-25%, you may make your property more attractive to potential buyers, especially investors.