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Trulia Blog

My Home Has An “Emotional Defect.” Now What?

woman looking at a haunted house for sale
Have a house with a notorious past on your hands? Learn how to tackle the sale.

Think your house is haunted? In some cases, promoting that kind of “emotional defect” can become a sales tactic (if you can find the right buyer). But it’s more likely that rumors of ghost sightings could land your home on a list of real-life haunted houses for sale or make it tough to sell. And if a death has occurred there — whether violent or nonviolent — it could scare off potential buyers.

That said, it’s not impossible to sell a home with a notorious past if you know what you’re up against. First things first: Do your homework. Each state has different rules regarding whether a seller must disclose an emotional defect. Some states don’t require disclosure of any kind. Others deem it necessary to reveal any death that occurred for reasons outside of illness or natural causes but don’t require a mention of ghost sightings, which means you’re not required to share that your house might be haunted when selling.

Selling a house with paranormal activity

Even if you aren’t required by law to disclose paranormal activity, you should consider being upfront with potential buyers. By being honest, you eliminate the risk a buyer will back out at the last minute if they uncover the truth on their own — you’d be surprised what you can find online. Plus, there are always buyers out there who want a home with a bit of character and history (even if that history is on the darker side), so being proud that you have a haunted house for sale may help you find a buyer who loves your home’s back story as much as you do.

Selling a house where a death occurred

Unfortunately, if the emotional defect is a more recent occurrence, you may have to consider pricing the house under market value. Even in states with no formal disclosure laws, a house that has seen unnatural deaths in recent years typically can’t fly under the radar (especially if you have chatty neighbors!). In that case, talk to your real estate agent about smart pricing to keep the house from lingering on the market.

Have you sold a home with an emotional defect? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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